Sign of Jonah: Teen Version

Tuesday:The Sign of Jonah
Main Passages: Jonah 1-3; Matthew 12:38-41
Other Passages: Matt 27:59-63, Luke 24:5-6, Romans 3:23, 6:23, Hebrews 9:11-23
Objective: Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin.
Memory Verse: Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Introduction: Jonah
God told the prophet Jonah, Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. Jonah ran away from God and got on a ship sailing in the other direction. (Bad idea.) He told the sailors he was running away from God, but God sent a great storm. The sailors were afraid they would sink, and they prayed, but the storm only got worse. They threw things off the ship to make it lighter, but that didn't help, so they asked Jonah what to do. Pick me up and throw me into the sea, and it will become calm. When they threw him in, the storm stopped. Of course, God didn't leave Jonah in the water: Jonah spent three days and three nights inside a big fish, praying, and he repented, and the fish spit him out on the land. God helped Jonah change his mind.
First Point: Repentance
What does it mean to repent? (To change your mind and behavior.) Why did Jonah need to repent? (Because he wasn't doing what God said.) When Jonah repented, God forgave him. Jonah still didn't want to go to Nineveh, but he did go, and he preached the message that God gave him: he declared that the city would be destroyed. The people believed God and repented. The king told everyone to stop their wickedness and to pray to God for forgiveness. (Good idea!) God saw that they repented, and he didn't destroy the city.
Why did the people of Nineveh need to repent? They were violently wicked. They did things like kill the babies, deport entire populations and scatter them to places where they didn't speak the local language, build living people into their city walls... Overall they were cruel. They also worshiped false gods. Why did they repent? (Because they believed God.) When they repented, God forgave them. Why? God's like that. [Have a volunteer read Psalm 103:9-12.] The Ninevites feared God's judgment, and they repented, and he spared the city.
Second Point: The Sign
Did you know that Jesus talked about Jonah? He did. One time, some Pharisees came to Jesus and asked to see a miracle. He told them they were wicked, and that the only sign he would give them was the sign of Jonah: Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the big fish, so the Son of Man would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
What does it mean to be in the heart of the earth? When was Jesus in the heart of the earth? (When he was dead. After he was crucified.) Jesus needed to die to pay the penalty for our sins, so that we could be forgiven. Turn to Hebrews 9. [Have volunteers read v.11-23. Discuss as time allows.]
Conclusion: The Gift (optional)
Your memory verse tonight will be Romans 6:23. [Read the verse.]
What are wages? (something you earn) How do you earn death? (sin) What is sin? (anything you do that doesn't meet God's standards) How many people sin and earn death? Since we have earned death, what can we do to let Jesus pay our penalty? (Romans 10:9, confess Jesus is Lord, believe God raised him from the dead.) Is there any other way to escape death? (No, John 14:6)
Invitation: Salvation
[Offer to discuss this further with any teens who need to make a decision.]

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