Summary: Principles of preparation for revival.
James O. Davis is the founder and president of Second Billion (TM). You are invited to learn more about Second Billion by visiting www.billion.tv.
TEXT: Jonah 1:1-6, 17; 4:11
THEME: Principles of preparation for revival
REVIVAL: MORE THAN A WHALE OF A STORY
By Dr. James O. Davis
Will we choose to make a difference or choose to just ignore the moral free fall all around us? What will have to happen for there to be unprecedented spiritual awakening? Just as God grew a whale to wake up Jonah, God is growing a global circumstance, bigger than all of us combined. It will eventually wake up those who are asleep to the imminent dangers of God’s judgment. In the Book of Jonah, revival is more than a whale of story. It is about the greatest spiritual awakening in history. On the opening day, nearly one million people dedicated their lives to God. It is a picture of what God can accomplish through his servants who have chosen to prepare themselves to become agents of revival.
In this message we are going to review a most famous story and apply several practical but profound principles to prepare us for the greatest revival in history. The first principle of preparation is that we must:
I. CHECK OUR COMPASS (1:1-2)
God calls particular people to particular places for particular purposes. In Jonah’s case, we find God calling him to Nineveh to preach against its sin. But when God called Jonah, he replied, "Here am I . . . send someone else. I’m on my way to Tarshish!” God said, "Go!” and Jonah said, "No!" Have you ever said “no” to the will of God? It is important to be going in the right direction. What is more important, a clock or a compass? What does it profit a person to be on time when he/she is going the wrong way? If we desire to be headed in the right direction, we need:
A. A Personal Compass (vv. 1-2a)
God had raised up other prophetic ministries, but had not called them to Nineveh. Even though Amos, Habakkuk, and Obadiah were capable contemporaries, God did not commission them to go to Nineveh. God’s will was for Jonah to go there. God calls each of us to our Nineveh. God has placed each of us in our own church and community to be agents of spiritual awakening. God is saying, "Go to Nineveh." Where are you headed? There are only two roads in this life: one road leads to Tarshish while the other road heads to Nineveh. One heads toward revival while the other heads to ruin. If we are determined to move forward in the right direction, we not only need a personal compass but:
B. A Pointed Compass (v. 2b)
It was as though God took out his map and circled Nineveh and gave it to Jonah. God was specific with Jonah. Nineveh was a city of antiquity. Nimrod founded it shortly after the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. It was one of the oldest cities in the ancient world. Do you know the customs and traditions of your Nineveh and its people?
Nineveh was also a city of enormity in what today is modern Iraq. Its streets were 20 miles long. Its walls were one hundred feet high. It was the capital city of Assyria. Nearly one million people lived in and around this megaopolis.
Nineveh was a city of great iniquity. Jonah knew about their cruelty and brutality. Its people were known for their savagery. They burned children alive and tortured adults by skinning them and leaving them to die in the scorching sun.
We, too, live in a cruel and brutal world. The things that use to make us laugh now make us weep. The awful effects of sin have seared the conscience of our culture. We no longer govern according to what is right and wrong but according to what works and what makes money. Our creed is greed and our god is gold. The things that use to amaze us now amuse us. The things that use to embarrass us now entertain us. Our culture has sold its soul to materialism, filled nearly every sector with liberalism, and has as its theme “If it feels good, then do it.” If we are going to go in the right direction, we must also have:
C. A Purposeful Compass (v. 2c)
God called Jonah to cry out against Nineveh because of their sins. Surely God is calling more people to cry out against the sins of our culture today. The twenty-first century cruise business to Tarshish is filled with those who wish to live in a good nation without being good themselves! We have substituted Hollywood and glitz for holiness and godliness. God has a personal, pointed, and purposeful compass for each of us.