February 21, 2023
A Revival That Can Transform Our Lives – Jonah 1-4
Last Sunday, Pastor Eric preached a sermon on the topic of how revival can transform our lives. He explained that the word “revival” is not found in the Bible, but the words “revive” and “renew” are. He then referenced Psalm 85:6, where the psalmist prays for God to revive the Israelites who were experiencing spiritual distress and national crisis. The psalmist’s prayer highlights the need for God to breathe new life into the hearts of His people so that they may once again experience the joy and gladness of being in a right relationship with Him.
What is a revival?
In the Bible, a revival refers to a spiritual awakening or renewal among God’s people or a community as a whole. It is marked by an increased awareness of God’s presence, repentance from sin, and a renewed commitment to follow God and His will. Revivals are often associated with preaching, prayer, evangelism and worship, and they can lead to widespread social and cultural changes as people’s hearts and minds are transformed by God’s grace. Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of revivals, such as the Great Awakening in the book of Acts, the revival under King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles, and the revival under the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings.
Pastor Eric also mentioned that revivals can look different but often involve common ingredients such as a deep sense of spiritual hunger and thirst, genuine repentance, an emphasis on prayer, a return to God’s Word, unity and community, a strong focus on evangelism and the work of the Holy Spirit. He mentioned a few revivals happening around the world, the stirring happening at University of Asbury and he also referred to the ongoing revival in South Korea, to show how God desires us to live daily in revival.
He then referenced Psalm 51:10-12, where David prays for God to renew a steadfast spirit within him and to restore the joy of His salvation. He encouraged the congregation to pray for renewal in areas like prayer life, life of integrity, and being an ambassador of Christ. He explained that revival is not just about fixing a broken world, but also about God fixing a broken church and reviving it. God desires a church that is not dead or lukewarm, but one that is revived.
Pastor Eric used the book of Jonah to explain four reasons why revival can be delayed or prevented from happening. These reasons include Jonah running from revival, the importance of prayer, repentance from sins, and crying for the right things.
Four reasons why revival tarries
The sermon is based on the book of Jonah and how it explains why revivals can be delayed or prevented from happening.
1.Running away from God’s call is running away from revival.
The first reason is seen in chapter 1, where Jonah runs away from the call of God on his life. God wants to initiate revival and save the people of Nineveh from judgment, but Jonah goes in the opposite direction, delaying the awakening God wants to produce. The lesson is that running away from God’s call is running away from revival.
Throughout the book of Jonah and the entire Bible, we see that God is passionate about saving broken people, even when they deserve judgment. However, Jonah did not want to see God’s mercy display to the people of Nineveh, as they had done some pretty bad things to the Jews. This raises the question of how many times in history we missed a revival because God’s people were not on the same page as God.
Despite Jonah’s reluctance, God persisted in pursuing him and orchestrating circumstances to bring him back. (see Jonah 1:17). This shows that God can provoke circumstances in our lives to lead us to revival, and if we are not on the same page as God, we can get stuck or swallowed up, just like Jonah was in the belly of the fish.
2.Revival won’t happen until we pray.
The second reason why revivals can be delayed or prevented is seen in chapter 2, where Jonah prays to the Lord from inside the fish. Revival won’t happen until we pray, and God can use circumstances in our lives to lead us to that point of prayer.
3.Revival won’t happen until we repent of our sins.
The third reason is seen in chapter 3, where God gives Jonah a second chance to go to Nineveh and deliver His message. Revival won’t happen until we repent of our sins, and it is never too late to do the right thing and carry out God’s command.
4.Jonah cries for the wrong things.
The fourth reason is seen in chapter 4, where Jonah cries for the wrong things. God wanted Jonah to see the people of Nineveh the way He sees them and have compassion for them, but Jonah was more concerned about his own comfort and the destruction of the plant that shaded him. Revival won’t happen until we stop crying for the wrong things and see sinners the way God sees them.
In short, the book of Jonah provides valuable lessons about why revivals can be delayed or prevented from happening. Running away from God’s call on our lives is running away from revival. Revival won’t happen until we pray, repent of our sins, and stop crying for the wrong things. God is passionate about saving broken people, even when they deserve judgment, and He can use circumstances in our lives to lead us to revival. We need to be on the same page as God to experience the awakening He wants to produce in us and in the world.
What the video here:
Things to think about for further study (Connection Groups)
Who initiates revival?
Revival can be initiated by individuals, churches, or groups of people who feel a spiritual need for renewal and awakening. It can also be triggered by external events such as natural disasters, war, or social upheaval but at the root of it, God is usually behind it.
What is revival?
Revival is a period of renewed spiritual fervor and enthusiasm that often involves a deepening of faith, repentance, and transformation of character. It can be characterized by increased prayer, worship, evangelism, and social action.
When does revival usually occur?
Revival can occur at any time, but it often happens during periods of spiritual drought, persecution or crisis. Historically, there have been many examples of revival during times of war, economic hardship, or moral decline.
Why do people seek revival?
People seek revival for a variety of reasons. Some may feel a sense of spiritual emptiness or dissatisfaction with their current faith. Others may seek revival as a response to personal sin or as a way to bring healing to their communities.However, there are several reasons why we should seek to be revived:
a, To deepen our relationship with God: Revival can help us to reconnect with God on a deeper level and experience His presence and power in our lives.
b, To overcome spiritual dryness: Sometimes we may feel spiritually dry or disconnected, and revival can help us to overcome this and regain a sense of spiritual vibrancy and vitality.
c, To overcome personal sin: Revival can also help us to overcome personal sin and areas of weakness in our lives, as we turn to God in repentance and seek His forgiveness and guidance.
d, To bring transformation to our communities: Revival can also bring transformation to our communities as people are inspired and empowered to live out their faith and make a positive impact on the world around them.
e, To fulfill God’s purposes: Finally, seeking revival is important because it aligns us with God’s purposes and helps us to live out the calling He has placed on our lives. As we are revived and transformed, we are better equipped to fulfill the mission He has given us to share His love and message with the world.
Where does revival typically take place?
Revival can take place in any setting, including churches, homes, or public spaces. Historically, there have been many examples of revival taking place in large gatherings such as tents, stadiums, or arenas.
How is revival achieved?
Revival is achieved through a combination of prayer, repentance, and spiritual discipline. It often involves a renewed focus on Scripture, increased emphasis on personal holiness, and an openness to the work of the Holy Spirit.
How can I maintain personal revival in my life?
Walking in revival involves not only experiencing a personal spiritual awakening but also living out the fruits of that awakening in your daily life. Here are some ways to walk in revival:
1.Live a life of obedience: Seek to align your thoughts, words, and actions with God’s will and purpose for your life. This will involve surrendering your own desires and submitting to God’s plan for your life.
2.Seek holiness: Pursue a life of purity and righteousness. This means avoiding sin and pursuing virtues such as love, forgiveness, and humility.
3.Cultivate a spirit of prayer: Make prayer a regular part of your daily routine, and seek to maintain an attitude of constant communication with God throughout the day.
4.Share the good news: Be a witness to those around you by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and the transformational power of the gospel.
5.Serve others: Look for ways to serve others in your community, church, or workplace. This will help you live out the love and compassion of Christ and make a difference in the lives of those around you.