Pipín Ferreras is a free diver who loves to go DEEP. Most men are fine diving 10 ft. A macho man will dive 50 ft. Pros with air tanks call 100 ft a ‘deep dive’. This legendary Cuban descended 561 ft (max depth of most WWII subs) with a wet suit, mask, flippers and one breath of air! Saturating his lungs with 8.2 liters of air (2x our capacity) he descends on a rope for a round trip of 3+ minutes. Though no free diver has been DEEPER it’s not enough. Pipin wants to go DEEPER still!
God invited Jonah and now invites you to dive DEEP to personally experience His grace and then to tell others! The question is, will you run away like Jonah or will you proclaim His limitless love to folks whom you didn’t think deserve it? “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to exper-ience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God Himself. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” (Eph 3:17-19). When did you last take a deep dive to comprehend the greatness of His love for you and other sinners? Did you then faithfully tell others or did you run thinking they would not understand or did not deserve it?
JONAH 1: PROTESTING - RUNNING FROM GOD
Jonah is not about a man who was swallowed by a whale. It is about a man who rejected the deep wail of God’s heart even for exceedingly wicked folks (Jonah 1:2; 3;8-10; Ez 33:11; Rom 5:5-10; Luke 15:1-7) who had not yet heard about His forgiving grace (Eph 2:1-9). God cares for all who are far from Him! Jonah did not, so he ran! Jonah was a prophet during king Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25. 793–753 BC) who reigned over Israel (10 northern tribes). Because of their great prosperity, Israel had forgot-ten (Deut 8:11-20) their purpose which was to reach out to and show all the nations of the world what it looks like to love, enjoy, obey, serve and follow their One true and living Creator God (Duet 6:1-6; 10:12-21). Not only was this runnin’ rebel called to remind Israel of its purpose, he was also commissioned to “Arise and go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it” (Jonah 1:1-2; Rom 9:9-17) so that the people might repent of their sins and turn from their idols to embrace the true God of grace and mercy. The bible has 66 books but has only 1 story of our Creator’s love and gracious offer of forgiveness to all who respond with a whole heart.
(1:1-3; Matt 5:43-45) Why did Jonah run 2500 miles west instead of going 500 miles east to Nineveh? What was Jonah’s attitude towards God’s command? Why did he reject God’s clear call to proclaim His message of grace to men whom he considered ISIS terrorists undeserving of mercy (1 Tim 1:12-17)? Are you fighting God’s call by running away in some area of your life? Who on earth do you consider greater sinners than you and therefore undeserving of grace? To whom has God sent you to explain the message of His Gospel of grace even if you consider them unworthy (Mark 5:19-20; Acts 10)? What is the core of racism, prejudice or a judgmental attitude toward others? Do these attitudes of self-righteous pride keep you from valuing/caring from the heart? Do you compare yourself with others you consider more sinful (Rom 3:9-23; Lk 18:9-14)? Describe a time when you resisted doing what you knew God wanted you to do. What advice would you give to someone questioning or running from God’s calling?
(1:4-10) Where was Jonah indifferent to the people experiencing great storms in life? Where are you “asleep” and unwilling to help others? How did Jonah lose his witness for the Lord and his reputation as a man of God? How could it be restoree (Rev 2:4-5)? What verbs do you see in the Good Samaritan’s life which you want in yours (Luke 10:25-37)? What chisels did God use to get Jonah’s attention?
(1:11-17; 2:10) What storms has God brought to our nation? How did the storm that God “hurled” at the sailors eventually bring them to a saving faith? Why? How was God send-ing a whale to swallow Jonah an act of grace? Is there anything God has asked you to do or not do, but you haven’t gotten around to it yet? What are some of God’s favorite chisels (1:4, 6, 7, 17)? Does your sin affect just you?
(Matt 12:38-41; 16:1-4; Heb 2:17) Why is Jonah the only prophet to whom Jesus likens Himself? With what truth(s) was He chiseling the hard hearts of the Jews (church folk) who had forgotten God’s grace and become indifferent to fellow sinners? How might a fresh view of the Christ on the cross set our hearts right?
JONAH 2: PRAYING - RUNNING TO GOD
(2:2-9) With what aspect of Jonah’s prayer can you identify? Was this prayer remorseful or repentant? What’s the difference? How does Jonah 4:1-3 reveal that his heart remained hard and unchanged? Was his prayer driven by affliction or affection? What motivates your prayers? What evidence of God chiseling do you see in Jonah’s prayer?
(2:1-2; Ps 116:1-8) Are we ever so sinful that our Father does not graciously hear our prayers?
(2:6; Ps 30:1-5; 40:1-3; 103:1-5) Why is it a good thing to be reminded of our hopelessness and helplessness? Give testimony and praise for a time that the Lord brought your “life up from the pit.”
(2:3, 10) Whom did Jonah say cast him into the sea? Why didn’t God kill Jonah for his selfish disobedience and rebellion? Do you think God has ever wanted to kill you for your sins but didn’t? As a good Father how does He deal with His out of line kids (Heb 12:4-11; Ps 118:18; 119:67, 71)? Never mistake His correction for rejection. How you respond to discipline determines the benefit you receive from it. How did he respond? How relieved was the whale to vomit Jonah?
(2:9; Phil 1:6; 2:12-13; Gal 2:20) What core truth about God’s character does Jonah remind us of at the end of verse 9? How does daily coming to the cross remind us of this truth?
JONAH 3: PROCLAIMING - RUNNING WITH GOD
(3:1) Why did God give Jonah a 2nd chance? Describe a time when God gave you a 2nd, 3rd 20th chance? How can God be displeased with us yet never desert us (Josh 1:5; Is 43:2; Heb 13:5)? In what way is the victor-ious Christian life a series of new beginnings starting at the foot of the Cross? Why is failure in Christ never final?
(3:2) What message has God commissioned you to proclaim in the “great city” of Columbia, Irmo or Lexington? Only when I am secure in God’s love as a citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20-21; Eph 2:18-22) will I weep over the citizens of my city (Luke 9:41) and selflessly seek their welfare (Jer 29:4-14) here on earth! Evaluate this sermon title: ‘What In The Hell Are You Doing On Earth For Heaven’s Sake?’
(3:4-9; Heb 4:11-12; Is 55:6-12) How can a one sentence sermon given by an unmotivated prophet with a crummy judgmental attitude account for the largest revival and turnaround recorded in the bible? How did the people respond to the power of God’s Word? Why is it always best to obey in faith leaving the results to God?
(3:4) “Forty” in the bible is often associated with testing (Noah Gen 7:4; Moses Acts 7:30; Israelites Dt 8:2-5; Israeli army 1 Sam 17:6; Jesus Matt 4:2). Where has the Lord been testing you for an extended period and what is He trying to teach you?
(3:10; Josh 2; Rom 5:6-11) Why has the Father gone to such great lengths to bring the wicked people of Nineveh to salvation? Describe what lengths He went through to draw you to Himself (John 6:44).
JONAH 4: POUTING - RUNNING AGAINST GOD
(4:1-3; Luke 15:1-2; Acts 10:1-16) Has Jonah’s heart changed? Jonah knew God’s heart but he did not care. Why is there still racism, pride and lack of compassion and a judgmental attitude? What is your role in God changing your heart (Ez 11;19; 36:26-27; Ps 51:10; Rom 12:1-2; Luke 9:23-24)? What did Jonah forget about his own heart (Rom 3:23; Jer 17:9-10? If you want to get used by God get usable!
(Matt 5:43-45; Luke 23:44; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 Tim 2:3-6; 2 Pet 3:8-12) Is there anyone for whom you hope the worst rather than pray for God’s best? ASSIGNMENT: after watching the following 5 min video of an Isis leader turning to Christ, pray for someone whom, until now, you could care less if they came to Christ (politician, enemy, family, etc)
(4:5-6) Even with a snotball attitude, what did God do for Jonah? Why? How does anger or happiness reveal the true desires of a heart?
(4:7-11) The book ends abruptly with a question. What about compassion is the Lord trying to teach? Why do we have more compassion for puppies than the unborn? What is God willing to do to bring us back to Himself? The answer is: whatever it takes!
After this deep dive into the depth of God’s grace, how is it one of His sharpest chisels?