We are starting an exciting new sermon series tomorrow (Sunday 20th October) at Bourne End and Sunnyside. We are going to be thinking about what the story of Jonah teaches us about the love of God. Why not come and find out more about the enormity of God’s love for you and all his creation?
The story of Jonah is a popular Old Testament Tale. The prophet Jonah was sent by God to tell the Ninevites to repent. The problem was that Nineveh was part of the Assyrian Empire and they were Israel’s most dreaded enemy so Jonah ran in the opposite direction and ended up in the stomach of a big fish for three days. When he was safely back on land, God told him again to go to Nineveh. This time, he obeyed God’s call and his mission was spectacularly successful. Just as Jonah had feared, God forgave the Ninevites and Jonah had a big sulk.
The book of Jonah is much more than the adventures of a man and a big fish. It is about the enormity of God’s grace and compassion for us, a love which embraces all people and is seen supremely in Jesus. The book of Jonah challenges us to have a larger vision of the extent of God’s mercy and compassion and reminds us that no one is beyond redemption. The message of the book of Jonah is that ‘Salvation comes from the Lord’ (Jonah 2.9) and is for all who turn to him. Anyone and everyone who will repent and believe can become children of God because of God’s abounding love.
The abounding love of God: lessons from Jonah
20th October A gracious and compassionate God
Readings: Jonah 1.1-3; Ephesians 3.14-21
Jonah refuses God’s command to go to Nineveh because he is confident in God’s character and he does not want the enemies of Israel to be forgiven.
27th October God’s abounding love for pagan sailors
Readings: Jonah 1.4-16; John 3.16-21
Unlike Jonah, the sailors show care and concern for others. When they experience God’s compassion and mercy, they respond by worshipping the Lord.
3rd November God’s abounding love for Jonah
Readings: Jonah 2; Psalm 86.1-13
Jonah calls out to God from the belly of a big fish. Although Jonah does not repent for running away, God saves the disobedient Jonah; answers his prayers for help and recommissions him to go to Nineveh.
10th November Remembrance Sunday
17th November God’s abounding love for Nineveh
Readings: Jonah 3; Romans 5.6-11
Just as Jonah had feared, God is true to his nature and forgives the repentant Ninevites. Like the sailors, they respond by worshipping God.
24th November God’s abounding love for all his creation
Readings: Jonah 4; 1 John 4.7-16
Jonah is angry because he wants God’s grace and compassion to be limited to Israel but God’s love embraces all who turn to him. God wants to save the whole of his creation and no one is beyond salvation.
‘I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.’ Jonah 4.2