This is a recap of the latest sermon in our series on Jonah, Commissioned.
Jonah’s inability to understand the radical, scandalous grace of God affected his view of others. God calls us to see others in the grace of Christ so our hearts might be changed and we would be led into the places He has us for the sake of making Jesus known.
God’s Heart for Grace
Jonah finally confesses what was in his heart the whole time. He knew that if he called Nineveh to repent, there would be a chance that God would actually save them because of His love and mercy. God engages Jonah’s heart by questioning his anger toward God with the purpose of getting Jonah to see how irrational and misdirected his anger is. Instead of giving up on Jonah, God is longsuffering and patient with his disobedience, much as He is with ours. He pursues us only because He loves us.
God’s Heart for Our Hearts
His grace changes and transforms those who receive it. By His power, our desires slowly begin to conform to His and we begin to rightly care for that which our God cares for. It helps us begin to see what the true battlefront is in this world. We begin to realize how foolish our political and social divides are and our endless pursuits for personal fiefdoms when God gives us His kingdom in Christ.
God’s Heart for the City
God’s desire for all to be saved is most reflected in His love for the city of Nineveh. He brings up all the different values of the city and His care for it, highlighting all the reasons why cities matter and why we are called to engage it. While some churches unfortunately take unhelpful postures toward the places they live, we are called to engage the city in love and hope for God’s grace to rest upon it.
Reflection and Application
When was the last time you argued with someone, only to later realize how foolish your response was? What was it about? Why was it foolish?
Have you ever had a choice where no matter what you chose, you realize you’ll look foolish? What did you choose and how did the result affect you?
How have you seen God be patient and longsuffering with you? What was the situation and how did you sense His love for you in this way?
What are the things you’re most concerned about right now? What do you have a hard time making a decision on currently? Would you consider them central to God’s kingdom work in your life?
What is your posture toward engagement with the community around you? Do you find yourself conforming to the world around you or shielding yourself off from it? Why?
How does the reality that you are commissioned to the East Bay by God challenge you? What are particular ways you might be able to engage and love your city?