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Desperate for God

God said “Go,” but Jonah said “No” and ran. God wasn’t going to let him go, so he graciously brings Jonah down: physically, emotionally and spiritually. He did this not to pay him back for disobedience, but to bring him back to faithfulness. At the bottom of the sea, in the dark belly of that great fish, Jonah sees more clearly than he has in some time and he learns this lesson: God alone saves desperate people who cry out to him from desperate circumstances of their own making.

Scripture: Jonah 2; Matthew 12:38-42

Knowing Who We Are Through Difficulties

Peter wants to establish that Christians are people of hope — a living hope that is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus — so that as they go through suffering they’ll have a perspective that compels them to:

  1. continue to live obedient lives and
  2. not despair…as this is part of following Jesus.

No matter how disciplined, organized and faithful we are, the reality is that we are sinners living in a sin-cursed world with other sinners. Nothing we can do will ever change that reality. We are surrounded by discouraging, hurtful and sinful realities – Jesus is very candid about our diagnosis; it’s bad and we need help; we need a Rescuer AND he is that and so much more. All things need to be made new, but we are not the ones who will accomplish that renovation (Rev 21:3-5). We are exiles and strangers who see the promises from afar and believe them (Heb 11:13), but we are walking by faith now and not by sight.

Yes, a new day when everything will be put right, but in the meantime, while we’re living in the not yet, we need grace; we need Jesus; we need his help, his truth. And we don’t just need it a tiny bit; no, the truth is we are desperate for buckets of it. We need it every hour of every day. We need it when we remember that we need it AND we need it when all we can see before us is futility and trouble and disappointment, suffering, hardships. We need grace.

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:1-2

Doing Flows from Being

The Bible commands good behavior BUT good behavior flows from good character (Matthew 7:17). Doing flows from being—keeping this order is very important IF you want to understand the gospel well AND deepen in your love/pursuit of Jesus.

Our affluent society is an afflicted society for lack of love. Just imagine how many marriages would be spared the heartbreak of separation of divorce if there were true love in the hearts of men and women! Think of what comfort and encouragement would brighten the lot of the poor, sick, lonely and sorrowing, if only there were more love in this world. Who can tell what new vitality would stir the church, and draw others into its fellowship, if there were real love among the professed followers of Christ? It is love we need—Christian love.

Affection Breeds Activity

As we abide and understand the love of God poured out in the gospel of Jesus our affections we’ll increase and we’ll exude God’s love.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 12:17; Phillipians 2:4-11; Proverbs 25:28

Citizens of the Kingdom Reflect the King’s Love

The love we’re called to exude is a love that does patience, kindness and doesn’t do boasting or envy and doesn’t do arrogance.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4; Exodus 34:6; Romans 2:4, 11:22; Ephesians 4:32; James 4:1-2