Summary: Obedience is the first step to revival and this first step starts with the heart of the believer then spreads to the unsaved.
“Obedience Leads To Revival”
Jonah pt 3
Opening Video Illustration: Show clips from Ascension Convention!
Opening Question: How many here in church today want revival? Ask for a show of hands.
Thesis: Obedience is the first step to revival and this first step starts with the heart of the believer then spreads to the unsaved.
Scripture Text: Jonah 3
1Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2“Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. 4On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” 5The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
10When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
In my last few sermons on Jonah we discovered that Jonah in chapter one had ran away from God because he did not want to do what God asked Him to do. In chapter two Jonah runs back to God after going through a storm, getting thrown overboard from a ship and being swallowed by a whale. You could say that when Jonah found himself inside the whales belly he decided to pray a pivotal prayer of repentance to God. The whale of a story is really about what God did inside of Jonah’s heart and not really what happened around Jonah in the belly of the whale. His disobedience to following God’s call cost Jonah and it also hurt those around him. In reality it almost cost him his own life. But Jonah prayed a pivotal prayer at the point of ultimate failure with God and God heard his cry and responded with deliverance.
Jonah ran away from God! Then Jonah ran back to God in the belly of the whale! Then in this chapter Jonah runs to Nineveh for God and revival runs wild!
This last week I started reading the book, “Pivotal Praying,” - Connecting with God in times of great need. The book is written by John Hull and Tim Elmore. The book has been enlightening to say the least but in chapter 5 Tim shares about how important it is to run to God in prayer when we find that we have failed God. He notes how all of us like to hear stories of the “Failure to Fortune” kind or the “Rags to Riches” type. I thought as I was reading this chapter you know this is the story of Jonah “Failure to revival” – really every prophet wants to be a part of a great revival. Jonah got to be a part of one in his life – think about it “A heathen city went from living lives filled with evil to repentance , to revival and to serving Jehovah God.” Sounds like the kind of event I would love to be a part of – Maybe this is one reason why I loved being a part of the revival happening in India with Dr. Nichol’s.
Tim opened chapter 5 with one of those “failure to fortune stories” let me share that story with you.
Charles B. Darrow set a goal while still in his twenties. He determined he was going to become a millionaire. This isn’t too unusual today, but Charles lived during the Roaring Twenties, a time when a million dollars was an enormous sum. He even married his wife, Esther, promising that they would be millionaires one day. Then tragedy struck, 1929 rolled around; and the Great Depression began. Both Charles and Esther lost their jobs. In fact, they mortgaged their home, lost their car, and used up most of their life savings. Charles was crushed. He sat around the house depressed, until one day he told his wife she could leave him if she wanted to. After all, it was clear they were never going to reach their goal. Esther wasn’t about to leave. She told Charles they were still going to reach their goal, but that they would need to do something every day to keep the dream alive. “Keep it alive?” Charles responded. “It’s dead! We’ve failed.” But Esther didn’t believe this. Instead, she suggested that every night they take some time to discuss what they would do when they reached their goal. They began doing this each night after dinner. Soon Charles came up with the idea of creating play money-something quite appealing, since money was so scarce in those days. He would sit around with lots of time, and now lots of “easy money” to play with, as he and his wife pretended to buy things like houses, property, and other buildings. Soon they turned it into a full-fledged game, with a board, dice, cards, little house and hotels…and you guessed it: that was the beginning of a game you probably have in your closet right now. This is how the game Monopoly was born…The game was copyrighted in 1935, and Parker Brothers bought if from Charles Darrow. And do you know how much money they gave for it? That’s right (with royalty rights) he received over one million dollars” (Pages 54, 55).