Sunday 25 October
How does God rescue?
There seem to be 3 steps to God's rescue in Jonah chapter 3:
STEP 1: Someone presents God's message
Read Jonah 3:1-4
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’ 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’
All Christians are called to spread God's message to those around them so they can also be rescued by God.
Q. How can you do this in practice? Reading 1 Peter 3:15 might help.
Q. How easy do you find this with your friends?
Well Jonah clearly didn't find it easy. He ran away the first time. But in verse 1 we see that God gave Jonah a second chance. And he gives us second, third, fourth chances to share his message of rescue with others.
Make a megaphone
STEP 2: People repent from their sins
Read Jonah 3:5-9
5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.’
The Ninevites believed God's message about their sin resulting in judgement, unless they turn back (repent) to God. In the New Testament, Jesus says all of us need to, "Repent and believe the good news!"
Let's think a bit more about what that means for us as we...
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STEP 3: God relents from bringing judgement
Read Jonah 3:10
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
God loves to save people. This had been his plan for Nineveh all along.
In 2 Peter 3:9 it says God is "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
That's why in John 3:17, we read, "God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but to save the world through him."
Why not give thanks to God as you...
SING this song