November 24, 2018
Community Impact DayDecember 15, 2018 - 11:00 AM - 12:30 PMLeaders from the Martinsburg community will be our guests on a panel to discuss the pressing needs of the community with the goal of helping Serenity determine which need to select as its primary outreach to Martinsburg.
- Bible Trivia
1 Timothy 4:12NLT
Community Impact DayDecember 15, 2018 - 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
- IntroductionThe book of Jonah is about what happened to a prophet of God and an Assyrian city, Nineveh.But the theme of the book is:God’s grace and love extends to everyone, even oppressors because the grace and love of God are not earned, they are God’s gift to give to whom He will.Nineveh was part of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrian Empire fought with Israel on several occasions. They were enemies.Yet, God sent one of His prophets, Jonah, to make an appeal to them so they, too, could turn to the True and Living God for salvation.44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.Jonah was the son of Amittai of Zebulun.His prophetic career lasted approximately 39 years (786-747 BC).He had a major role during the reign of King Jeroboam II (793-753 BC), when Israel experienced prosperity, expansion, accompanied by moral decline.Despite the corruption, Jonah remained a zealous patriot.It is not hard to imagine one of the reasons for Jonah’s reluctance to go to Nineveh was because he knew God was going to use Assyria to punish Israel for their sins.Why save an enemy who will destroy your own country?
No other prophet was so strongly Jewish (cf. his classic confession, Jon 1:9), yet no other prophet’s ministry was so strongly directed to a non-Jewish nation.Jonah’s sermon to Nineveh was delivered in five words or eight words in most English translations of the bible.The book of Jonah can be understood by its chapters.Chapter 1 - God calls and Jonah fleesChapter 2 - Jonah’s prayer in the fishChapter 3 - Nineveh repents at Jonah’s preachingChapter 4 - Jonah’s anger and God’s responseOur focus is on Chapter 2, Jonah’s prayer.We do not know how long Jonah was in the fish before he prayed.All we know is that he was there for three days and three nights.In fact, Jesus used Jonah’s experience in the fish to describe his own experience in the grave:39 But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!v. 2 - I cried out to God in my great trouble AND GOD HEARD METhis despite the fact I am the one that put myself where I am...-God threw Jonah out of his presence (vs. 3)-The whole mess was Jonah’s fault (Chapter 1)5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!In this case, death is what I deserved...But because you intervened, I remembered...8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies.9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”My response: Because of what you did for me, I will continually be thankful and live right before you from here on [pay my vows]10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. 1 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time:Jonah took the three day journey inland to the city of Nineveh and delivered an eight word sermon:4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”Effective...10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.1 This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. 3 Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”His anger was driven by self...Still, God continued to reach out to grow Jonah:4 The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”6 And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8 And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. 9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” “Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!” 10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”God’s grace and love extends to everyone, even oppressors because the grace and love of God are not earned, they are God’s gift to give to whom He will.9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.In this season of Thanksgiving:Do not forget to say to God:THANK YOU!
2 Peter 3:9NLT
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