This lesson continues the process of teaching older elementary students how to study God’s Word for themselves. The challenge for all people who hear and learn facts from God’s Word is to take what they know and do something about it that transforms their life. There are those who will hear and receive facts and do nothing resulting in an unchanged life. Those who hear and obey will live a transformed life that reflects the Lord Jesus. As students learn to study God’s Word for themselves it is vital that they don’t allow what they learn to remain in their head but transforms their heart.
This lesson was adapted and prepared for older elementary students and can be used as a guide to help you as you prepare for your students. Click here to see the first lesson in this series or or browse all our lessons from the Book of Jonah.
This lesson is the fourth step in the inductive Bible study of Jonah 3-4. This lesson helps students discover how when they personalize God’s word by asking questions directed at themselves they will be able to recognize areas in their life where they need to repent and grow in their likeness of Jesus. This lesson was prepared for older elementary students and is only a suggested guide.
Bible Story:Response Time, Jonah 3-4
Scripture: Jonah, chapters 1 & 2
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Observation sheets of Jonah 3-4,
Learning Goal: Cause my students to learn how to ask questions from Jonah 3-4 to cause them to examine their hearts before God and apply what they are learning.
Memory Verse: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Bible Lesson: Step Four: Do something with it. (Jonah 3-4)
(Begin with prayer)
Introduction: Have you enjoyed doing an inductive study in the Book of Jonah? What are some things you discovered/learned that you did not know before we studied this together? (Allow responses)
We are on the fourth step of studying the Bible inductively. All of the steps we have been learning are important to gain more understanding from God’s Word. The fourth step is one that we can never skip. This step is taking the information we have learned and allowing it to change our hearts making us look more like Jesus.
Read Jonah 3. In our previous lessons we learned that God is a God of second chances and Jonah obeyed the second time. Those are nice facts that we could use in a Bible trivia contest but our goal to study God’s Word is to know Him better and love Him more. We show that we love Him by obeying what He tells us to do. (John 14:15)
When we apply God’s word we move from looking at Jonah and his actions and begin to examine our hearts and allow God to change us from what He is teaching us in His Word.
Looking at this chapter can you come up with a question to ask yourself that would make this Scripture applicable to you? (You may need to give an example to help them understand what you are looking for.)
Here is an idea of a question: Is there something I know I was supposed to do but I chose to disobey God? Will I choose to turn back to God, repent and allow Him to use me?
(If your students come up with application questions use them as you discuss the process of personal application during our Bible study time.)
When we read the question: Is there something I know I was supposed to do but I chose to disobey God? Does anything immediately come to mind? (Allow students to share who want to) Write those samples on the board. We are going to come back to these examples of times of disobedience but first I want to address what to do if when we read that statement and nothing immediately comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind I stop and pray, “Lord I can’t remember a specific time that I clearly disobeyed something I knew you wanted me to do. Will you remind me of a time that I did that?” God will bring to your mind a time if you have.
Use one of the examples of disobedience (if no one shares, think of an example from your life). We take the circumstance we know that we clearly disobeyed God and confess our sin of disobeying Him. “Lord, I know you wanted me to share the Good News with this person because they asked me about Jesus. I was scared and I felt that I couldn’t say the right things. I just told her that I didn’t know the answer. Please forgive me for disobeying you for not sharing the Good News.”
Sometimes our disobedience will lead to a missed opportunity that we can never get back. Other times we can go and do what we know we were supposed to do. If our disobedience is like Jonah’s and we are given an opportunity for a second chance we pray that God would give us courage and the power of the Holy Spirit living in us to obey. If it is a missed opportunity such as sharing the Good News with someone we didn’t know we can pray that God would put that person back in our path so we can share. If we can’t cross paths with that person we can pray that God would send another believer to clearly communicate the Good News so that person can be saved.
Many times when we get to this step of our Bible study we become uncomfortable because we begin to see our sin and need for God’s help to overcome our sinfulness and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow the temptation of not wanting to be uncomfortable keep you going deeper into God’s Word.
Most of us would say we are uncomfortable with doctor visits. Maybe you have gone to the doctor for a regular check up and felt perfectly fine. After the doctor examined you he discovered something from one of your tests that if the problem was not addressed it would cause you sickness later on.
Just like going to the doctor despite our discomfort, we should always spend time in God’s Word. Jesus is our Great Physician. We might think we are doing just fine as followers of Jesus. Jesus knows that while we live on this earth we live in our sinful bodies and are tempted to live sinful lives. When we choose to open His Word daily and allow Him to examine our hearts. He shows us areas in our lives that need to be corrected to protect us from future problems that would lead us away from God.
There are other applications from Jonah 3 that you could work on at home in your daily quiet time to practice this fourth step. Because our time is limited we will turn to chapter four and practice looking for an application question that turns the attention to our hearts rather than just looking at Jonah.
Review what has been learned so far from Jonah 4 (Jonah was angry because Nineveh repented and God turned away from destroying them, God is compassionate, He provided a plant, and sent a worm to destroy the plant etc.).
As I read Jonah 4, think about a question you can ask yourself.
What question can you ask yourself as you look at this passage? (Allow responses)
If no one responds here is a sample question: Is there anyone I have a difficult time showing compassion to? Why is it difficult for me to show compassion to him/her?
When we look at that question did someone pop into your mind? Most of us have someone who causes great difficulty in our lives and in our own strength we cannot show him/her compassion.
Now that we have turned the attention to our lack of compassion for another person what should we do about that? (Pray by asking God to forgive me for not being compassionate and asking God to fill me with His compassion for others.) When we answer the question why it is difficult to show compassion towards that individual we again turn to God and pray. “Lord, this person has hurt me so many times and I have a very difficult time being compassionate towards him/her. Lord Jesus you were the perfect Son of God and did nothing to deserve the cruel treatment others inflicted on You. Since you had compassion for me; ‘while I was still a sinner, You demonstrated Your love for me by dying on the cross for my sins’, help me to show Your compassion to this person so that they might see Your great love and come to you for the forgiveness of sins. I can only do this through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Please help me, in Jesus Name, Amen.”
As followers of Jesus we are on a journey to become more like Him (Romans 8:29) and one day when we are in heaven with Him we will be like Him. Until that day we daily walk with Him allowing Him to change us and make us more like Him. His Word has to be in our lives on a daily basis so we can be sure we are following God’s ways and not our own.
This lesson focused mainly on followers of Jesus. Believers have all the resources and power they need to be obedient to Jesus because once we believed that Jesus died on the cross for our sins was buried and rose again, God’s Holy Spirit comes into our hearts to live. He never leaves us and gives us the power to obey God.
If you have not been saved from your sins you will never be able to please God. You are unable to please God without first placing your trust in His Son Jesus. Without Jesus you are God’s enemy. You are a sinner and sin is not allowed in God’s presence. No matter how hard you try to be obedient to what you know pleases God you won’t please Him until your sins are removed through placing your faith in Jesus.
Close in prayer.