Summary: What is Revival? How can Jonah's story help us to see Revival today?
'40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown'…an 8 word sermon.
Who can tell me who these people are?
[pictures on slides of:
What have they all got in common?
They have all been engaged in God’s revival. Jonah’s story we will hear more about.
Wesley, whose heart was “Strangely warmed” in Aldersgate, May 1738, then went on to preach in the open air, covering 250,000 miles and seeing God transforming the lives of thousands.
Evan Roberts, 26 year old welshman from the Valleys had visions and led the 1904-5 welsh revival. Leading 100,000 people to Jesus.
Do you think any of them knew of the impact that their obedience to God’s call would have?
Just a quick whistle stop recap on the past few sermons in this series:
Wk1 - Jonah 1:1-3 — Running away from God
Wk2 - Jonah 1:4-17 — When life unravels
Wk3 - Jonah 2:1-10 — Turning back to God
Wk4 - Jonah 3:1-10 — Revival
Wk5 - Jonah 4:1-11 — Why, God?
So far then, Jonah has been called by God to a specific task. Gets the collywobbles and tries to run away from his responsibility. Gets thrown overboard by sailors who appear more faithful than him. Prays to God from the Belly of a great fish. And has just been vomited up onto the beach back where he started in Joppah.
In this passage, we see the impact of obedience to God’s transforming call in Jonah’s life and the lives of the Ninevites. Here we can start to understand the impact of our obedience to God’s call for our lives and for the communities we live in. A clarion call of transformed lives, communities, nations, world. Here we see radical transformation at God’s initiative. Here we see Revival!
Because in Revival God Radically Transforms:
1. Our Lives from: runaway rebellion to walks of obedience
2. Our communities: from citadels of darkness to cities of light
3. Our World of woe into his Kingdom of Heaven
And the Good News for us, the Great News for us, is this amazing transformation is happening right here, right now. When we are obedient to God’s call — Revival Happens!
[In Revival our lives are transformed from runaway rebellion to walk of obedience…]
vv1-3 [read out]
What a difference three days make:
Runaway Rebel to Obedient Servant?
Clearly Jonah’s life has been transformed and he is ready to follow God’s will.
He isn’t perfect — he is still mistaken about God’s will here, but what is important is that he is willing to act as God requires him. And that is all God needs. Because it is God that does it.
[Illustration own call to church planting] I couldn’t possibly…feeling ill-equipped for planting. Ready to run at a moments notice. God uses our fear, our weakness to bring glory to his strength.
Jonah had to walk from Joppah to Nineveh. That is 550 miles, approximately 40 days travel, for a single person with not much equipment at a steady pace. 40 days, walking with God, in the way that Jonah has been led.
What is God calling you to be obedient in?
Does the thought of it terrify you and excite you at the same time?
The church has been called to adventure — remember the prophetic word given by Rob earlier this year:
‘"I am calling you to pilgrimage, to travel with me as a church, to pass through a desert like a pilgrim people, with my pillar of cloud and fire to direct you. The physical disruption of this place is a picture of the spiritual mobility, flexibility and willingness to travel with me as your guide that I am calling you as a body to move into. Are you ready to leave the comfort of certainty and travel with me? Are you ready to reawaken gifts and ministries I have put in you, leave the reassurance of known environments, and work with me.
Are you willing to give generously and recklessly, knowing that I will more than make up for any apparent lack? Walk with me, follow me, adventure into the future with me”’
Jonah walked with God, Jonah wasn’t perfect, none of us are perfect but God calls us on adventure…are we going to walk with God?
[Citadels of darkness are ‘overthrown’ to become cities of light…]
vv4-8 [read out]
That 8 word sermon of Jonah’s is the most powerful set of words in the entire book. It sets wildfire running across the city so that within a day everyone in the ‘great’ city of Nineveh has heard it.
Thing is, it isn’t the most eloquent set of words in the world is it?
It isn’t a soundbite or a tweet that these days would get much attention.