Summary: Sermon series on the Book of Jonah. Some of my resources come from John Hamby’s sermons as well as Jerry Giffords
“Returning to God” Part 5
The World’s Greatest Revival
We would agree with the great American patriot who wrote. “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” And if they were true when Abraham Lincoln said them when he proclaimed a national day of fasting and prayer in April 1863 how much more true must they be today? Do we need a revival today? Of course we do. We probably have no idea how much!
Yet we are often tempted to believe that it’s the sad moral and spiritual state of our people that is the reason why we are not having revival. But I want you to consider the possibility that it is such conditions that are the cause of revival; not the prevention. In fact, almost every great revival was preceded by times of darkness and depravity.
D.M. Panton wrote, “It is a foolish blunder to suppose that any age can be too evil for revival.” I do believe that revival is possible. Furthermore, I am convinced that our evil age is a case for revival and the reason we need revival. The prophet Isaiah predicted a time when “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2). We see that in our nation today and when you study the subject of revival you will find that the days and times preceding any great revival that has occurred in history were days and times of “gross darkness.”
With that said, this morning we are going to take a look at what I’ve entitled the world’s greatest revival. So let’s recap what we learned last week from Jonah and let it lead us into today’s message. One of the great lessons we learned last week from Jonah’s failure and forgiveness is that God can continue to use those who return to Him. Thankfully, we serve the God of a second chance. Just like Jonah, many spiritual leaders received a second chance to do what God called him to do. Adam sinned in the garden and God covered him. Moses murdered a man and God called him. Elijah quit and complained then God recommissioned him. Peter denied the Lord and then God used him at Pentecost. John Mark deserted the mission team at Pamphylia yet God moved upon him to write the second Gospel.
That has been the story of the church through the ages. We have all received a multitude of opportunities to return and serve God and what we have learned is Jonah is no different. So, once God corrected His reluctant prophet Jonah, we are now going to see this morning that God continued the work He intended. This morning, what we will see in Jonah’s third chapter reminds us that authentic revival impacts both the individual and the culture. Read Jonah 3:3-10.
In my opinion, what we see here is the world’s greatest revival, but here’s the question. Could the kind of Revival that took place in Nineveh happen here in USA? In other words, is revival possible today? Church I want to suggest to you this morning that revival is possible if the conditions are met, but with that said we must remember that revival is possible but it’s also costly. It requires much of us, but the results are well worth it.
Let’s allow this revival that took place in Nineveh be an example of how revival can take place in our nation. In verse three Jonah for the second time refers to the city of Nineveh as a “great” city (1:2, 3:2) “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.” Nineveh is a great city because of its size and its significance.
Nineveh was located in modern day Iraq, not very far from present day Bagadad. It was a city surrounded by massive walls 100 feet high and 50 feet thick. It stretched approximately 30 miles along the Tigris River having a breadth of 10 miles. The Biblical description of being “a three-day journey in extent” meant that it would take at least three days to walk through and see the principal sights of the city. Scholars believe that the combined population of the area must have been between 600,000 and a million people at the time Jonah arrived in Nineveh.