Message Title: A Change of Heart
Series: Heart Issues (a study in the book of Jonah)
Verses used: 2 Chron 32:9-14, 32:20-21, 2 Kings 19:32-36, Mt 26:52-54, Jonah 3:1-10, Mt 3:1, 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 11:19,18:32, 33:11, 2 Cor. 5:18-19
Key verse: Jonah 3:4-6New International Version (NIV)
Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown." The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 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.
Learning from the mistakes of the king of Assyria:
- Have a healthy respect for God. (2 Kings 19:34.)
- Don’t mess with God’s angels. (2 kings 19:35, Mt 26:53.)
What is repentance?
- Repentance is not merely and intellectual change of mind or even remorse.
- Repentance is a radical transformation of a person.
- Repentance is a fundamental turn around involving mind and action resulting in fruit.
- Spiritual fruit is an outward expression of an inward reality.
What do we learn from the heart of God in His dealing with Jonah and Nineveh?
- God is patient. (2 Peter3:9)
- God takes no pleasure in the judgment of the wicked. (Ezekiel 18:32, 33:11)
- God is a God of mercy. (Jonah.)
- God is a God of reconciliation. (Jonah, 2 Cor. 5:18-19.)
Small Group Questions
Chapter 3 Jonah
Share about a person that you know that you never thought would accept Jesus and did. What was in their life that was so bad that you just thought they would ever come to God?
This week in our teaching series on Jonah our conversation turned toward our response to people who turn back to God.
- Read Jonah 3 in its entirety. Why do you think Jonah responded the way he did? Was there a time in your life that it took “tough love” from God for you to obey?
- How did the people respond to Jonah’s message? Does this surprise you? Why?
- Jonah’s message is a message of repentance. “Repent” is a word seldom used in churches anymore, but it is essential to our life in Christ and connection with God. Read the following passages: Mark 1:15, Acts 3:17-20, James 4:4-10, John 3:7-14, Jonah 3:6-9. Now try to develop your definition of repentance and signs of repentance. What does it mean to repent?
- The people of Ninevah did seem to know that they had things to repent from. Do you think people today know their need to repent? What are some things in our lives that may require repentance? Why would we not repent?
- Read 1 John 1:9. What is God’s promise to the person that repents?
- Read Luke 15:1-7. What perspective is Jesus asking the religious leaders to adopt? Why should we “celebrate” repentance? What would that look like?
- Read Mark 2:13-17. What is the issue that the religious leaders have with Jesus? Why do you think churches have such a hard time connecting with the people of the world? How can we make sure they respond differently to us?
- In Jonah 3, the entire city repents. What do you think that would look like if our entire community did the same thing? Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. What is our responsibility/opportunity to God and to our community?
- Ninevah had a reputation of being an evil, unreachable city and yet God seemed to have prepared the hearts of the people to respond. Have you ever been surprised by who turned to God in your circle? Can you be too far from God for His reach? As we prepare for summer, is there anyone that God has put on your heart to reach out to or invite to join us at church?
Bottom Line: Now is the time to follow Jesus.