Throughout the Beyond Campaign we’ve featured God’s commission to Abram in Genesis 12: “I will bless you, so that through you all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” In short, as Tim mentioned last Sunday, the message is: “Blessed to be a blessing.” In other words, “I’ve blessed you so that through you others will be blessed.” And you know what gets in the way of our executing that commission? The loss of those two truths.
Spurgeon once said, “Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne and coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the woes of mankind. We love Him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until He had made a personal visitation of them. We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord who inclines His ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation…when you weep a tear think not that God does not behold; for, ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.’ Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can incline His ear to you; your prayer can stay His hand; your faith can move His arm…Remember that however poor and needy you are, yet the Lord thinks on you. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him.”
“Oh! Then repeat the truth that never tires;
No God is like the God my soul desires;
He at whose voice heaven trembles, even He,
Great as He is, knows how to stoop to me.”
Spurgeon would be the first to say that the heart that is “perfect toward Him” is one that understands Miller’s summary of the Scriptures. And it’s about that summary, and its connection to being a blessing, that is at the heart of Sunday’s message: “Serving the World” from Jonah, Chapter 4.
As you already know, one of the principle purposes of our Beyond month is to help us all develop a lifestyle of going Beyond ourselves with the Gospel. And at the heart of Sunday’s message is the contention that going Beyond is all about knowing God’s grace.
In preparation for Sunday you may wish to consider the following:
- How is God’s call to Jonah so radically different from His call to Jonah’s father?
- Why does God call Jonah to go to Nineveh?
- What do you know about Nineveh and its people?
- Why would Jonah rebel against God’s call?
- How did the people of Nineveh believe? (3:5)
- Why would they take a chance on a god other than their goddess Ishtar? (3:9)
- What do you make of Jonah’s angry outburst in 4:2-3?
- What was the purpose of growing the plant and then killing it?
- What is God’s point in 4:10?
- What does God’s admission in verse 11 tell us about going beyond?