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T he G o s p e l a c co r d in g to :

JONAH

CONTENTS
Jonah Introduction Background The Reluctant Prophet Jonah 1 prayer inside a fish jonah 2 NINEVEH AND GODS MISSION JONAH 3 ANGER AND COMPASSION JONAH 4 res o urces Appendix The 4 Gs 10 Questions to Diagnose Spiritual Health 10 Questions for Studying the Bible COMA Method for studying Scripture Asking good discussion questions Recommended resources 3 3 4 6 6 10 10 14 14 18 18 21 21 22 23 26 27 28 29

JONAH
INTRODUCTION

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The Book of Jonah in the Bible is a familiar story and usually relegated to Sunday School, moralisms, whales, and disobedient prophets. While Jonah may be a popular story in Sunday School classrooms it has profound impact for understanding God, sin, spirituality, racism, obedience, prayer, and true faith. In fact, Jonah could be one of the most important Old Testament book s for understandi ng the gospel. This study guide can be used in a variety of settings. For our community (New City Church) it will be used mainly for CITY Groups. we engage the sermons each week. reflection. These guides can be used for facilitating discussion as Another use of this guide can be for personal study and

Please take advantage of this guide and let it lead you into the Bible to ask

questions, reflect, pray, and in the end lead us to worship in the one true living God - Jesus Christ. The same God we see in the Old Testament. The same God Jonah ran from. The same God that granted salvation to Nineveh and Jonah. anyone who puts their trust in Jesus. The same God who offers salvation to

Background
The Book of Jonah is what we call a minor prophet. This does not mean that Jonah is The insignificant, or any of the twelve minor prophets are any less important in Scripture. twelve minor prophets in the BIble are called such because they are shorter books. Shorter in length compared to the major prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.). These longer prophetic books consist of 40+ chapters in some cases. Jonah only has four chapters; but is packed wit h significance because all scripture is necessary and God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Jonah is written during the reign of Jereboam II (2 Kings 14: 23-28). This season of Israels

history is one of rebellion and walking away from God. Even in the midst of being led by an evil leader God continues to expand Israel and show compassion on them. Some have argued that Jonah is a myth or allegory. Jonah is seen as a mythical character to symbolize some other reality. The text above (2 Kings 14:25) would disprove this argument and Jonah is even quoted by Jesus himself (Matthew 12:40-41). The geographic details of Jonah would also ma ke it hard to think Jonah is simply a parable, story, or allegory (1:1-3, 3:2-10, 4:11). Every book of the Bible has a particular genre that we must consider to get a good understanding of what is going on and its theological meaning for us today. not as mere history but as prophetic narrative . Jonah is written This means that what is happening in these

historical even ts with Jonah, the fish, Nineveh, God, are meant to be seen as lessons for our

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benefit. It is not just about history - but about theology. They are trying to teach us significant things about us, God, sin, and many other truths. invites us into the story to ask the question: people as God does? (4:11) Themes Jonah is difficult to nail down all the lessons and themes that emerge as we engage the text. At its core we see a God with limitless compassion towards sinners (Jonah, sailors, Nineveh, and us). A God who not only is compassionate but makes this compassion available to all who trust in Him. Another main theme is Do we have the same compassion God showed this pagan city(and us)? (4:11) Below you will find a few more important themes: 1. Gods sovereign plan and control over events on the earth. 2. Gods deter mination to get his message to the nations. 3. Gods compassion on his people and sinners. 4. People cant run from the presence of God. 5. The need for repentance from sin in general. 6. The need for repentance from self-centeredness and hypocrisy in particular. 7. The confidence that God will relent when people repent.1 Key Words Evil/disaster/discomfort (1:2, 1:7, 1:8, 3:8, 3:10, 4:1, 4:2, 4:6) Great (used 14 times). Actually means evil and wicked (1:2, 4, 17, 3:2, 4:11, and ot hers). How does Jonah fit in salvation history? How does Jonah point us to Jesus? Jonah is rescued from death as he finds himself in the belly of a fish. This points us to the death and resurrection of Jesus ove rcoming physical and spiritual death (Matt. 12:39-40). This book also points to Gods mission of redeeming the entire world (not just Israel). We see these Gentile people (non-Jewish) repent in Nineveh which points to the global miss ion found in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Salvation is for all! (Jonah 2:9) In fact, the way the book of Jonah ends Do I have the same compassion towards lost

Adapted from ESV Study Bible.

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THE RELUCTANT PROPHET


JONAH 1

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Right out of the gate we see the reality of our sinful nature. will , his commands, and his desires for our lives. thought that we are smarter than God . spoke you can be like God.

We run.

We run from God, his

From the beginning of history we have

Adam and Eve find themselves in the Garden of Eden Despite already having

living in perfect harmony with God and one another. That was not good enough. The serpent That seemed like a good offer. everything they needed - they got greedy and wanted more. As we read the first few verses of Jonah - nothing has changed. goes in the exact opposite direction. God has given Jonah a

mission to go and preach good news to people far from God. Instead of accepting the call he Tarshish (Spain) was as far away in the opposite an all out pursuit of escaping from God direction as you could get from Nineveh. Jonah is in

and his presence. The problem is that no one can run from the presence of God (Psalm 139). Jonahs Mission and Disobedience (1:1-3) The role of a prophet in the OT was to call people back to the one true God Yahweh. Jonah is one of those prophets who has a simply mission to go and tell the people living in Nineveh that they are evil and need to repent of sin and follow God. Instead of being obedient to God he literally tries to escape the presence of God (3). Jonah heads as far in the opposite direction as possible (Instead of going East you head West). The story of Jonah is going to focus exclusively on the life of Jonah. Most of the prophetic books do not focus on the prophet. Jonahs life is one of disobedience, confusion, and lack of compassion. God is going to teach us many important things through his life. Jonah and the Sailors (1:4-16) As the storm rages on you see these sailors cry out to their pagan gods. unmoved by it all as he goes into the bowels of the ship. God - the more we self-destruct. In this interesting exchange it seems that the pagan sailors have more faith than Jonah. sailors realize that their false gods are not answering their cries. save the day? You will notice the word fear/afraid in verses 5 and 16. It starts with a physical fear that will lead to death if they are not rescued from the storm. Then it leads to in verse 16 to a fear The picture of trying to move away from the presence of God. Jonah seems to be This movement of Jonah is a great The further we move away from

Maybe Jonahs God can

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or reverence to the one true God Yahweh. Theses pagan sailors are now making sacrifices to the same God Jonah believes in. The turmoil in the life of Jonah is not more clearly seen as in verses 8-10. Jonah is asked why this evil is happening and where he comes from. His response is that he is a Hebrew (Jew) who fears the God who created the heavens and the earth. The same God that he has run out on and is fleeing from his presence. sin and disobedience. The same God who is causing this storm because of his Even the Jonahs confession is in exact opposition to his actions.

pagan sailors know Jonah is a fool for fleeing the presence of God (10). Something has changed. out to the one true God. The pagan sailors who once worshipped false gods are now crying Notice: it is not Jonah crying out to God for deliverance. It is not

the Jonah who just minutes earlier confessed his allegiance to the one true God. What does this say about Jonah? God? 2 Ways to Run from God We can run from God in two ways. 1. By being moral, religious, and keeping all the rules. By doing this, we believe that God should save us, bless us, and give us a comfortable life. That is what Jonah does. 2 . B y b e i n g i r re l i g i o u s . By being your own god and breaking all the commands. Both ways of running is a lack of belief in the gospel. Both try and find their salvation by being their own god - one by keeping all the rules, one by breaking them. Which one are you? The gospel is a third way: I can never do enough things to please God. I will never find true salvation by being my own god. I wil l always be a slave to sin. Jesus dies for those trusting Jesus dies for rebels who have Both groups in their good record - by living a perfect life in our place. What does this say about us? What does this say about

tur ned their backs on god and want to sit on the throne of their own hearts. more loved than we could ever hope. See Luke 15:11-32.

need the gospel! We rest in the reality that we are more sinful than we ever dreamed, and

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/ / D is cu s s an d R eflect
_________________________________________________________________________ How to facilitate a discussion? The goal in these discussions is not simply to gain more knowledge of Scripture. While that is important- the point of scripture is to lead us to Jesus and obedience in Him (see Matthew 28:19-20, John 5:39-40, James 2:22-27). and hands. (hands). We want to help facilitate discussions that lead to repentance, faith, and transformed lives in the gospel. We have to get after peoples hearts so they see where their lives are not living in alignment with the gospel story. The following tools will help facilitate a discussion to this end (Swedish Method): 1. Have the group take tur ns reading through the passages (3-4 verses/per person). 2. Give the group a couple of minutes to skim over the passages and look for three things: Lightbulb - anything that shines out in the passage and draws attention; it can be important, or something that particularly strikes the reader. Questions- anything that is hard to understand; something that the reader would like to be a ble to ask the author about? Arrows- anything that applies personally to the reader. How are you convicted, challenged, a nd what do you need to repent of and tur n to Jesus for grace? 3. Encourage the group to think of at least one light bulb, question, and arrow to share with the group. 4. Begin sharing your light bulb/s and discuss. 5. Begin sharing your question mark/s and then do your best to formulate some answers together as a group from the passages (dont worry if you cant find an answer). 6. Begin to share your arrow/s and discuss. 7. Pray together about what you lear ned and for each other. *See appendix for other suggestions how to facilitate and ask good questions We want to try and find a balance of head, heart, In other words, we want to gain more understanding in the truth of God (head),

that changes our desires, wills, emotions (heart), that will lead to obedience and action

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PRAYER INSIDE A FISH


JONAH 2

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Things are not going well for Jonah. He has fled from God, fell asleep in the midst of a storm, sold out God i n the process, and has now been eaten by a fish - and has three days to think about what he has done. presence on a daily basis. Ou r story now shifts to the inside of a fish. Jonah is in the belly of the fish for three days and decides to pray. Keep in mind that Jonah did not pray for the pagan sailors to be saved. But, he does pray that he would be saved. community? ethnically, class, political, etc.) (1:17-2:10) This prayer of Jonah is very similar t o the prayers in the Psalms. features. It has many of the same You notice very quickly that Jonah knows God will hear his prayers and cries (1, 6, God is the onl y one who can deliver Jonah from the belly of a smelly How does Jonah see those outside of the Jewish How do you see people outside of your tribe? (Christian, non-Christian, It would be easy to be self-righteous in this moment and think we are much better than Jonah. God continues to show compassion on us as we try and flee his

7). God is the only one that can save the pagans and deliver Jonah. God is the only one who can calm the storms. fish! God is Jo nahs only hope. All of these cries from Jonah are found in many Psalms. It is in this acknowledgement of the mercy and sovereignty of God that we see Jonah give credit to God. by Gods plan. It is not easy to understand why pain is the anthem of our lives, and why suffering is all around us. Some have quipped: Why does bad things happen to good people?. That is the air we breathe in America. Everyone is good, no one deserves to suffer, no one will be in hell, all will be in heaven with God. The better question is: Why does any good happen to bad people?. Biblically speaking there was only one perfect, good human, his name is Jesus. He was good and was punished because of our evil and sin. See Romans 3:10-23. Jonah could have gotten it a lot worse. brought on by his own sin and actions. there certainly are consequences. He is beginning to see that his predicament is Most of what comes to us is brought on by our Jonah knows that God is in control of the whole situation and has put him in this predicament (3, 6, 9). Jonah knows that this horrific event must happen for his good and

rebellion towards God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). But

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What was the result of Jonahs prayer?

God vomited Jonah out (2:10).

This is a beautiful

picture of Gods salvation and deliverance. sin and acknowledge God as their only hope.

God always relents when people repent of their

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_________________________________________________________________________ How to facilitate a discussion? The goal in these discussions is not simply to gain more knowledge of Scripture. While that is important- the point of scripture is to lead us to Jesus and obedience in Him (see Matthew 28:19-20, John 5:39-40, James 2:22-27). and hands. (hands). We want to help facilitate discussions that lead to repentance, faith, and transformed lives in the gospel. We have to get after peoples hearts so they see where their lives are not living in the gospel story. The following tools will help facilitate a discussion to this end (Swedish Method): 1. Have the group take tur ns reading through the passages (3-4 verses/per person). 2. Give the group a couple of minutes to skim over the passages and look for three things: Lightbulb - anything that shines out in the passage and draws attention; it can be important, or something that particularly strikes the reader. Questions- anything that is hard to understand; something that the reader would like to be a ble to ask the author about? Arrows- anything that applies personally to the reader. How are you convicted, challenged, a nd what do you need to repent of and tur n to Jesus for grace? 3. Encourage the group to think of at least one light bulb, question, and arrow to share with the group. 4. Begin sharing your light bulb/s and discuss. We want to try and find a balance of head, heart, In other words, we want to gain more understanding in the truth of God (head),

that changes our desires, wills, emotions (heart), that will lead to obedience and action

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5. Begin sharing your question mark/s and then do your best to formulate some answers together as a group from the passages (dont worry if you cant find an answer). 6. Begin to share your arrow/s and discuss. 7. Pray together about what you lear ned and for each other. *See appendix for other suggestions how to facilitate and ask good questions

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NINEVEH AND GODS MISSION


JONAH 3

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(3:1-5) Jonah gets a second chance. He is spit out from the belly of a fish and given another chance to fulfill his mission. God. To preach good news to the great city Nineveh. To miss the grace of We run from Most days we God towards Jonah is to miss his grace towards sinners. Jonah ran from God.

He did not care about Nineveh and could care less about its salvation.

seem unmoved by the lost, hurting, and broken people around us. Yet, here is God speaking to Jonah a second time (1). The mission is simple: go to Nineveh, an evil city (like all cities), and tell it what I speak

through you. Tell Nineveh if you dont repent your city is doomed. If you dont tur n from your idols, false gods, and tur n to the one true God that will be the end. It is implied that God will relent i f they do repent and tur n to God ( see Jerem iah 18: 7-8, Jonah 3: 9, 10, 4: 2) . It seemed to work. Jonahs message came and the people of this great city began to repent This was an ancient way of displaying your sorrow

and mour n by sackcloth and ashes. towards God because of your sin.

As we peel back the layers there is something else going on here. Jonahs message seems to be very brief and to the point. Some commentators have suggested that Jonah; despite being rescued himself, has no interest in this pagan city. He has no compassion on them. He does not explain the kindness of God towards them, an opportunity for forgiveness, he seems cold and unmoved. Yet, it is right after the deliverance of Jonah that God will do his best work. used by God despite him. Jonah is being

God always uses weak, ungrateful, rebellious people for his

purposes. If he didn't, the good news of the gospel would never get out. God continues from the beginning to end of the Bible to use most unlikely candidates for his purposes. Examples: David - killed a man and cheated on his wife. Noah - was found naked and drunk in his tent. Paul (formerly Saul)- killed Christi ans before his conversion. go on? The message of the gospel is that C hristianity is for losers and weak people. People who M o s e s - had a speech impediment and killed a man. Jeremiah- w a s a c r y i n g b a b y. Peter- was clueless. Should we

have come to the end of themselves and their own resources knowing God is the only answer.

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(3:6-10) Then the King repents and asks his people to repent - even the animals. Being Gentiles it seems that he wanted to cover all his bases in this act of repentance. Even the animals needed to repent so they would not be destroyed. It is interesting to note that the king did not know if God would relent of his anger (9). But God does (10). Do you and I believe that no matter how far we seem to be from God he will forgive us? we believe that no person, city, or people group is beyond the gracious hands of God? Do

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_________________________________________________________________________ How to facilitate a discussion? The goal in these discussions is not simply to gain more knowledge of Scripture. While that is important- the point of scripture is to lead us to Jesus and obedience in Him (see Matthew 28:19-20, John 5:39-40, James 2:22-27). and hands. (hands). We want to help facilitate discussions that lead to repentance, faith, and transformed lives in the gospel. We have to get after peoples hearts so they see where their lives are not living in the gospel story. The following tools will help facilitate a discussion to this end (Swedish method): 1. Have the group take tur ns reading through the passages (3-4 verses/per person). 2. Give the group a couple of minutes to skim over the passages and look for three things: Lightbulb - anything that shines out in the passage and draws attention; it can be important, or something that particularly strikes the reader. Questions- anything that is hard to understand; something that the reader would like to be a ble to ask the author about? Arrows- anything that applies personally to the reader. How are you convicted, challenged, a nd what do you need to repent of and tur n to Jesus for grace? We want to try and find a balance of head, heart, In other words, we want to gain more understanding in the truth of God (head),

that changes our desires, wills, emotions (heart), that will lead to obedience and action

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3. Encourage the group to think of at least one light bulb, question, and arrow to share with the group. 4. Begin sharing your light bulb/s and discuss. 5. Begin sharing your question mark/s and then do your best to formulate some answers together as a group from the passages (dont worry if you cant find an answer). 6. Begin to share your arrow/s and discuss. 7. Pray together about what you lear ned and for each other. *See appendix for other suggestions how to facilitate and ask good questions

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ANGER AND COMPASSION


JONAH 4

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It would seem that a happy ending is in order. gets angry (1).

Jonah runs, God rebukes, Jonah prays, God

relents, Jonah gets a second chance, Jonah fulfills the mission, the city repents... Then Jonah

Jonah confesses that he would have rather died than see these people repent. obvious that Jonah has not lear ned anything. God. He is superior to these people.

Jon ah knows It is

that God is gracious and slow to anger and did not want that for these pagan people.

He is not remorseful of tur ning his back on

Verse 2 is the key verse for understanding the scope of this narrative. Jonah reveals his true heart. A heart very similar to the older brother in Luke 15:11-32. self-righteous, smug, religious one. The older brother was the The one who could not celebrate the fact his younger

brother had gone off to the far country to waste his money and his life- and yet he came home to a party. The older brother believed he was entitled because of his moral achievements. He had done everything right. Jonah is no different. He is an Israelite, from the right clan, knows the commands, and how

dare these pagan, non-Jewish people have the opportunity to repent and be spared by God. The story of Jonah reveals his heart. A heart that seems to be right with God but in reality he is far from Him. He has no idea how deep his sin goes. You see, you can be moral, religious, and from the right part of town and not know God in any transformative way. The gospel is for the religious and irreligious. It is for those who are tru sting in themselves for salvation. as well. The story of J onah leaves us hanging. question: the gospel. Nobody deserves anything good because of our sin. Nobody has ear ned a right to be in Gods family. How do you see God? How should he work in the world? Do you know the grace poured out on you because of the bloody and risen Savior-Jesus? It ends with no resolve or conclusion. It begs the It is for those who are trusting in their moral, religious,

and self-salvation projects. The gospel is not just for younger brothers; it is for older brothers

Do the pagan people of Nineveh deserve to be spared by the merciful, gracious,

loving hand of God? The answer to the question shows us if we really believe the essence of

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/ / D is cu s s an d R eflect
_________________________________________________________________________ How to facilitate a discussion? The goal in these discussions is not simply to gain more knowledge of Scripture. While that is important- the point of scripture is to lead us to Jesus and obedience in Him (see Matthew 28:19-20, John 5:39-40, James 2:22-27). and hands. (hands). We want to help facilitate discussions that lead to repentance, faith, and transformed lives in the gospel. We have to get after peoples hearts so they see where their lives are not living in the gospel story. The following tools will help facilitate a discussion to this end (Swedish Method): 1. Have the group take tur ns reading through the passages (3-4 verses/per person). 2. Give the group a couple of minutes to skim over the passages and look for three things: Lightbulb - anything that shines out in the passage and draws attention; it can be important, or something that particularly strikes the reader. Questions- anything that is hard to understand; something that the reader would like to be a ble to ask the author about? Arrows- anything that applies personally to the reader. How are you convicted, challenged, a nd what do you need to repent of and tur n to Jesus for grace? 3. Encourage the group to think of at least one light bulb, question, and arrow to share with the group. 4. Begin sharing your light bulb/s and discuss. 5. Begin sharing your question mark/s and then do your best to formulate some answers together as a group from the passages (dont worry if you cant find an answer). 6. Begin to share your arrow/s and discuss. 7. Pray together about what you lear ned and for each other. We want to try and find a balance of head, heart, In other words, we want to gain more understanding in the truth of God (head),

that changes our desires, wills, emotions (heart), that will lead to obedience and action

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RESOURCES
APPENDIX

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These resources are to be used for a variety of situations. your group and personal study and reflection.

Some are for studying the Bible

and others are for diagnosing spiritual health. Please take advantage of these resources for

The 4 Gs
This resource is to be used to minister to others and for self-examination. At the heart of our sin is a lack of belief in the gospel. When we sin, in a sense we are saying to God: I dont believe in you, your commands, or that you have the best for my life. We got these ideas from a book we highly recommend You Can Change By: Tim Chester. Read a summary below: In my book You Can Change I identified four liberating truths about God. I suggested that underlying all our sinful behavior and negative emotions is a failure to believe one of these tru ths at a functional level. Embracing, believing, trusting, delighting in the appropriate liberating truth therefore has the power to set us free from sin though we need to recognize that this typically involves a daily st ruggle the fight of faith. These four liberating truths offer a great diagnostic tool for addressing sin in our lives and in the lives of others. The four truths are: 1. God is great so we dont have to be in control 2. God is glorious so we dont have to fear others 3. God is good so we dont have to look elsewhere 4. God is gracious so we dont have to prove ourselves 2 So what might this look like in real life? Someone shares in the group: I hate my boss. He is such a jerk. My last boss was much better. I should get another job or hurt this guy. Not to downplay a cruddy job or a jerk of a boss. The belief in my heart is that I deserve to have a good boss. I cant be a good worker if my boss is a jerk. I am not a jerk. We actually could apply all of the 4 Gs to this situation. control the situation and my boss. If God is great I dont have to

If God is glorious I dont have to fear this person

regardless of who they are - because they are limited, human, and God will take care of us. God is good so I dont have to look to a boss, job, or performance to find my identity. God is gracious and forgives when I have not loved this guy like Jesus. That is a simplified way to apply some of these truths to the hearts of people.

Adapted from You Can Change By: Tim Chester (Crossway 2010)

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10 Questions to Diagnose Spiritual Health


Why do we need this tool? This tool is created for personal, communal, and church-wide diagnosis of the spiritual health of people. The scriptures make it clear that we are are created in Christ to grow up into the fullness of Him (Jesus). Our lives are to bear fruit, make progress, and look more like Jesus as we mature in Christ. Sadly, not many Christians take the time to diagnose if they have even made any progress in the gospel. We simply accept our love of sin and idolatry as the way it is. We pray this tool will bear much fruit in the lives of people. We want to fight the nominalism, poor understanding of Jesus and the gospel, and the lack of living lives of holiness as the norm. This tool can and should produce a better version of what biblical Christianity is supposed to look like in our lives and world. These questions can be used personally, with CITY Groups, leadership teams, in homes, and for periodic check ups of spiritual health when needed. They are not meant to be legalistic check marks or boxes. They are to be discussed, reflected on, and when used most Ask a spouse to be honest with you, a close effectively - they should be used in community.

friend, CITY Group, etc. This follows the principle of speaking truth and love to one another. Question #1: Do you hunger and thirst after God? 3 So holy desire, exercised in longings, hungerings, and thirstings after God and holiness, is often mentioned in Scripture as an important part of true religion - Jonathan Edwards The foundational question is if there is genuine hunger, thirst, and desire to know, trust, and believe in God through Jesus Christ. Lord is good? thirst again? Can you say with the Psalmist: Taste and see that the Those who believe in me will never Paul Can you relate to the words of Jesus:

The apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:10 ...that I may know Him.

already knows Jesus. Bible.

What is he talking about? He is talking about moving from a one-time

decision for Jesus to a life long pursuit to love, cherish, know, and delight in the God of the

Adapted from 10 Questions to Diagnose Spiritual Health Donald Whitney (kIndle edition)

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Question #2: Are you being shaped more and more by the Gospel (Gods Story, the Bible)? The sum and substance of the preparation needed for a coming eter nity is that you believe what the Bible tells you and do what the Bible bids you - Thomas Chalmers We all live by a story. It is either our story or Gods story. Paul in Galatians 1 even tells us

that there are many false gospels or false stories that give meaning and life to everything. If we listen to any gospel other than the one about Jesus life, death, and resurrection we are to be condemned. Sadly, even in the Scriptures we see the religious leaders of Jesus day espousing that there was more to spiritual growth and to know God other than his Word. more like Jesus (which is our goal). Question #3: Are you becoming more loving? The more a person loves, the closer he approaches the image of God - Martin Luther Jesus when pinched to summarize the entire Law by some religious leaders he said: You are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.... One of our main spiritual diagnostics of tru e life in Jesus is how we love and whom we love. It is not theological efficiency, spiritual gifting, but love. Question #4: Are you becoming more aware of Gods presence in your life? This is not about mystical or charisma tic experiences. This is becoming more and more led by Gods Spirit, seeing and experiencing Gods presence in the midst of every day life, and desiring to being more aware of it each day. Question #5: Do you have a growing concer n for the spiritual and temporal needs of Do we feel the If we are not being shaped by Gods Story, we are being shaped by another Story, and we are not going to look

others (Mission)? Do we care about the spiritual growth of Christians and non-Christians? of people around us: widows, orphans, homeless, the poor, etc? needs with the hopes of pointing them to their true spiritual need? weight of life now and forever separated from Gods presence? Do we see the temporal needs Do we desire to meet these

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Question #6: Do you delight in your local church community (the Bride of Christ)? Church hopping, shopping, and consuming is rampant in the West. Most people see the local church as optional or only part of my life on Sundays. Do you see the absolute necessity of Do you know that Jesus committing to a local church to lear n, grow, worship, and serve? when people dont understand the part they play.

died for the church? Do you know that the local church will always be less mature a s a whole Do you believe that the local church is Gods main vehicle of bringing the gospel, hope, and transformation to the world? Question #7: Do you still grieve over sin and run to Jesus for forgiveness? As we grow spiritually we should become more aware of Gods holiness and our sin. test is when we sin - do we run to or from God? sins. Question #8: Are you able to forgive more quickly? Ephesians 4:32 says: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. We must have embraced the gospel in faith before we are able to Can you pray for and bless your forgive others. Are we able to forgive others as we see the mercy shown us in Christ? Do you harbor bitter ness and un-forgiveness towards others? enemies? Question #9: Are spiritual habits increasingly important to you? Without a disciplined life you will stagnate as a Christian - Peter Jeffrey Nobody stumbles into godliness. wo rldly things more than God. serving others. Spiritual habits such as prayer, Bible study, and fasting should be something we enjoy doing. Not something we use to ear n favor with God, or to show how spiritual we are, but rather as me ans to experience more of God in our lives. given avenues of becoming more like Jesus. We have to be intentional with these GodGrace is never opposed to effort in the Christian life. Too Another If we run away from God we have not

fully grasped the mercy, love, and kindness shown to us in Jesus dying in our place for our

many people wonder why they seem so dry, cant seem to be freed from sinful habits, or crave I have never met a godly man or woman who were not intensely disciplined in Bible study/meditation, prayer, repentance of sin, confession, and

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Question #10: Are you understanding more and more that you are a pilgrim/sojour ner on the earth and you year n to be with Jesus in heaven? You may judge a man by what he groans after - C.H. Spurgeon Romans 8 paints a picture of the entire creation groaning for it to be made right by God. we groan for Gods heaven, eter nity, when all will be made new? own skin and in this world? passing through. Some would ar gue that if we focus too much on heaven we will be of no earthly use. get everything we can now thinking this is it. eter nity in view? CS Lewis Do

Are we too comfortable in our

Do we see this as the final destination or are we simply pilgrims

actually thinks the more we see earth as our home the less useful we are on earth. We will try to Do we use our time, talents, and treasures with

10 Questions for Studying the Bible


This resource is for those new to the Bible. Or for those that really dont know how to ask good questions of what they are reading in Scripture. The main goal of Bible study is to lead us to Jesus, worship, obedience, and living out what we are lear ning. 10 good questions to ask when reading the scriptures: Who is the author? Who is the audience that is being spoken to? What was the original cultural context? Why was the book written (big idea)? What are the units of thought in the book? What is the biblical context? What are the surrounding verses? How does this verse/book fit into the overall book? How does this verse/book fit into the overall biblical revelation? What is revealed about God (i.e. an attribute such as holiness or love)? How does this connect to Jesus? What sins do I need to repent of? What principles need integration in my life? *Adapted from A Book You Will Actually Read on the Old Testament Mark Driscoll (42)

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COMA Method for studying Scripture


COMA - The Coma method is another method of studying scripture for a more advanced crowd. It can be used with any group or individual; but might be a step up from the Swedish Method used above. Context What is the style of writing? (Eg letter, poem, narrative, prophetic.) Who wrote it? Who to? Circumstances? What preceded this passage? What is the political and social context? Observation Are there any surprises or interesting points? What are the key words or phrases? Are there words or ideas that are repeated? Are there any cultural issues? How are people relating to each other and God or Jesus? What are the main points or point? Meaning What is the Biblical context how does it relate to other parts of the Bible? How does it relate to other parts of the particular book? Does this passage relate to Jesus? How? What does it teach about human nature? What does it teach about God and Jesus? What did it mean for the people at that time? How could you sum up the passage i n a few words? Application How does this passage challenge or confirm what I know? Is there an attitude I need to change? Is there something to obey or confess? Does this passage call me to change the way way I live? Note points of prayer regarding this and pray.

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Asking good discussion questions


The best questions to ask are ones that are not yes or no. They need to be open ended to keep the conversation going. Another helpful technique is to not ask too many questions. Make sure to be clear and pointed with your questions. Below you will find good discussion questions. These also can be used to share short versions of personal testimonies. Lighter and ic ebreaker kind of questions: What is your favorite food and why? What was the best meal you ever ate? Explain why? What sports teams do you root for and why? What is the best book you have ever read? Explain why? Name a movie that you could watch over and over? What do you love about living in Kansas City? Share the good and the bad of where you grew up? Questions geared towards sharing your story: What was your home life like growing up? Talk about your parents, siblings, etc. What three events (good or bad) shaped you into the person you are today? Share the people, influences, churches, that helped you receive Jesus and the gospel message? Name one area in your life that has changed drastically since becoming a Christian? Name one area in your life that is a place of constant struggle? Share a time when God answered a specific prayer request/need? way you see God? Share a favorite verse(s) and/or Christian resource that has helped you in your walk with Jesus. Share three people (dead or alive) that influenced you most towards Christ. Questions geared towards getting at gospel application: What are you daydreaming about these days? What areas in your life are you not trusting Jesus in? What places in your life are you sensing anxiety and worry? Who are you not loving well right now? What is taking time away from family, community, mission, and spiritual habits? How did this change the

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Recommended resources
Books You Can Change Tim Chester Gospel-Centered Life Bob Thune 10 Questions to Diagnose Spiritual Health Donald Whitney Total Church Tim Chester and Steve Timmis Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know Wayne and Elliot Grudem Websites www.theresurgence.com - all kinds of good reads on a variety of topics (print, audio, video). www.acts29network.com - many great teachers and preachers addressing a variety of topics. www.blog.pastorpelton.com - New City Church blog that has many resources on a variety of topics. www.vergenetwork.org - tons of video and audio on a variety of topics (gospel, community, mission). www.desiringg od.org - John Pipers ministry with tons of Christ-exalting resources. w w w. g o s p e l c e n t e r e d d i s c i p l e s h i p . o rg - n e w w e b s i t e w i t h g o s p e l - c e n t r i c r e s o u r c e s f o r discipleship. www.thegospelcoalition.org - tons of resources for lear ning and growth (print, blogs, audio, and video).

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