Sin

Jonah-Jonah 1:1-3:3

Theme: Our sin of bad behavior affects others.

Key Verse: Proverbs 13:20(HCSB)- “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Introduction:

Today we’re going to learn that the foolish, sinful things you do can hurt others too.

Story:

          It was beautiful sailing weather. The sea was calm, and a gentle breeze whisked them along. The sailors relaxed and joked with each other.

          Suddenly a dark cloud rose in the east. The wind picked up. The waves grew choppy. The sailors tensed as they manned their stations.

          It grew violent. The wind shook that little boat almost to pieces. Giant waves lifted them up and down.

          The sailors held on for dear life, hoping they wouldn’t be swept overboard. They were terrified. They cried out to their gods to save them.

          A waved crashed over their heads, filling the boat with water. “Bail!” the captain shouted.

          But they couldn’t scoop water out fast enough. They started to sink.

          “Throw the cargo overboard,” the captain yelled.

          They threw crates and boxes overboard, hoping to make the ship lighter so it wouldn’t sink. But it didn’t help.

          The captain was frantic. He climbed down into the hold to see what was still down there, and he found a man sound asleep.

          “What do you think you’re doing,” he roared, “sleeping at a time like this? Call to your god to save us.”

          The captain took him up to the deck where the sailors were gathered around casting lots. The sailors said, “Someone must have offended the gods. We are casting lots to see who is to blame.”

          Whoever chose the long stick would be the guilty one.

          One by one the men chose a stick out of a pot. They all had short ones. Then it was the turn of the man who had been sleeping. When he picked the long one, everyone gasped. “It’s your fault. What have you done? Where are you from? Who are you?”

          The man said, “My name in Jonah. I am a Jew. I worship Yahweh, the one true God who made the heavens and the sea.”

          The men were even more afraid. “What have you done?”

          Jonah hung his head. “I am running away from God.”

          The storm grew worse and worse. They shouted above the roar of the wind, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?

          Jonah said, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, and it will quiet down. I know it’s my fault.

          “Awww, we can’t throw you overboard.”

          So they rowed hard, trying to get to shore. But it was no use. The storm was too fierce.

          They called out to God, “Please, Yahweh, don’t let us die because of this man, and don’t blame us for his death.”

          Then they picked up Jonah and hurled him overboard into the raging sea. Immediately, the storm stopped. The sailors couldn’t believe it. They realized then that Yahweh was the one true God, and they vowed to worship Him.

          Poor Jonah! As he flew overboard, he closed his eyes and held his breath, knowing he would die. The angry water surged over him as he sank down, down, down, seaweed tangling in his hair.

          But wait. Something was different. He didn’t feel the water anymore. It felt like a long, slippery slide. As he opened his eyes, he glimpsed a big row of teeth.

          Teeth? Where was he?

          He landed with a splash in a soft spot. It was dark and smelled awful.

          He had been swallowed by a big fish.

          There sat Jonah. For three days and three nights, he had much time to think. He remembered how a few days before, the Lord had told him, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and tell them I am going to destroy them for I can’t stand their wickedness.”

          Jonah didn’t want to go. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrians, the most evil people in the world. He wanted God to destroy them, not save them. So he did not go.

          Instead, he booked a passage on the next ship leaving Joppa. It was headed to Tarshish, the opposite direction from Nineveh.

          Now Jonah was ashamed. He should have known he couldn’t run from God. He should have obeyed God.

          He told God how sorry he was. He was now willing to do what God wanted him to do.

          After three days and three nights, the fish wiggled and shook, and Jonah was spit out. He flew past the rows of teeth, through the air, and landed with a thud on the beach.

          Then God spoke to Jonah a second time, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message I tell you.”

          This time Jonah obeyed. He went to Nineveh and told them that if they didn’t repent, their city would be destroyed in forty days. And the people repented of their sin and turned to God.

Application:

          So what is the lesson we can learn from Jonah? Jonah’s disobedience not only affected him, but many others too. Who else did it affect? (Discussion)

          1) The sailors on the ship

          2) His disobedience almost kept a whole nation from hearing God’s Word.

Your sin and disobedience affects others too. Let’s see the effect Ashley’s sin had.

Phil and Ashley Story:

          Ashley entered the dollar store. She needed to buy a card for her Mom’s birthday tomorrow.

          She scanned the card display until she saw a little sign that said, “Birthday- Mother.” It didn’t take long to find a card with a sweet poem she liked.

          Clutching the card, she took the long way to the cash register, past the toys. There she saw a girl from her class, Chloe Jenkins. She was about to call out a greeting when Chloe snatched a small doll from the shelf and hid it in her jacket pocket.

          I don’t believe it, Ashley thought. Chloe actually stole that doll.

          She marched down the aisle. “Chloe!”

          Chloe looked up in guilty surprise. “Oh, hi, Ashley.”

          “Chloe, I saw you put that doll in your pocket.”

          Chloe’s face paled. “I-I-I did not.”

          “Yes, you did. See how your pocket is bulging. Don’t you know that stealing is wrong? You’d better put it back.”

          Chloe didn’t move. She just stared at Ashley with wide, frightened eyes.

          “I’m warning you,” Ashley said. “You’d better put it back.”

          When Chloe still didn’t move, Ashley said, “I’m getting out of here. I don’t want to be near you when you get caught.”

          She turned around, and without a backward glance, hurried to the checkout counter. She gave the card and two dollars to the cashier. With tax, it came to $1.09. The lady counted the change and gave her four quarters back.

          Ashley was about to drop the change into her pocket, when she realized, I should have only gotten ninety-one cents back, and she gave me a dollar. Oh, boy, a whole extra nine cents. Too bad. It’s her mistake.

          As she left, she didn’t feel right, though. True, the lady had made a mistake, but since Ashley knew about it, wasn’t it stealing to keep it? She was as much a thief as Chloe Jenkins.

          She went back inside to the cashier. She fished a quarter out of her pocket and said, “You gave me too much change. Here.”

          The lady looked at her in surprise. “You’re the first person who’s ever done that,” she said as she took the money and counted out the right change. “I wish everyone were as honest as you.”

          Ashley felt terrific as she left the store. How glad she was that she had been honest. If only Chloe Jenkins were like her.

          The next day at school Ashley greeted Mrs. O’Donnell at the classroom door and entered the room. Chloe Jenkins was already seated. When she saw Ashley, she ducked her head. Ashley glared at her as she walked toward her seat.

          Her best friend, Mary Lou, was already seated next to her. “What’s wrong with you? You look mad.”

          “I am.” Ashley leaned closer and whispered, “Do you know what I saw Chloe Jenkins do yesterday at the dollar store?”

          “What?”

          “I saw her steal a doll.”

          “No!”

          “Yes, with my very own eyes.”

          “I never did like Chloe,” Mary Lou said. “She looks so sneaky, doesn’t she?”

          Ashley nodded.

          “Hey, what’s the big secret?” asked Tina, the girl who sat behind Ashley.

          “Wait’ll you hear what Chloe did,” Mary Lou said.

          “What?”

          “She stole a doll from the dollar store,” Ashley said. “I saw her put it in her pocket.”

          “Wow! Wait’ll I tell Lisa,” Tina said.

          By noon, every girl in the class knew that Chloe Jenkins was a thief. After lunch, as Ashley jumped rope outside with her friends, Mrs. O’Donnell motioned to her from the door. “Ashley, would you come here for a minute?”

          “Sure.” Ashley gave her end of the rope to Tina and ran into the school.

          “Come into the room, please,” Mrs. O’Donnell said sternly.

          Ashley trembled. Mrs. O’Donnell had never spoken to her like that before. Had she done something wrong?

          She followed Mrs. O’Donnell into the room, and to her surprise, saw Chloe Jenkins sitting by the teacher’s desk, tears streaming down her cheeks.

          Oh, no, Ashley thought. She knew what was coming.

          Mrs. O’Donnell sat behind her desk. “Chloe tells me you’ve been spreading false rumors about her.”

          Ashley frowned. She hadn’t spread false rumors. She had only told the truth. “I saw her steal a doll at the dollar store,” she said.

          “But I didn’t keep it,” Chloe wailed. “After you talked to me, I realized how wrong it was, and I put it back.”

          “Oh!” Ashley felt terrible. Now every girl in the class hated Chloe because of her. “I’m so sorry,” she said.

          “Ashley, you are as much a thief as you thought Chloe was because you stole a girl’s good reputation by your gossiping. I expect you to explain to every girl in this class exactly what happened.”

          “Oh, I will. I’m so sorry.” She took Chloe’s hand. “Come out with me now, and I’ll tell everyone.”

          As Ashley led Chloe outside, she prayed silently, Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for judging another when I was really the thief all along.

Discussion:

How was Ashley a thief?

          She spread gossip and stole Chloe’s reputation.

Who was affected by Ashley’s sin?

          Especially Chloe, but every girl in the class, even Mrs. O’Donnell.

Ashley’s sin affected the girls in her class. Jonah’s sin affected the sailors. They could have died because of what Jonah had done. The people of Nineveh might never have known God.

Your sin affects others too. Be careful what you do. Be careful who you hang out with. Choose friends wisely.

Our verse today is Proverbs 13:20- “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

This verse says that when you surround yourself with friends who love God and make good decisions, you will make good decisions. However, if you choose to be with friends who continually make bad decisions and do the opposite of what God wants you to do, you will have problems.

Do kids at school know you are a Christian? Can they tell you are different? I hope so. Be careful about who you hang out with. Be careful to obey God and not sin, because your behavior affects everyone around you.       

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Beth Livingston

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