A Lion On The Prowl

Scripture:  1 Peter 5:7-9 (CSB)

8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. 

INTRODUCTION

Tonight, we are going to talk about the devil {diabolos}, the one who slanders us night and day. C.S. Lewis wrote a great little book about the whiles of the devil, it is called THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS and I highly recommend you read it more than once. Lewis said we make two mistakes in dealing with the devil: the first being, we deny his existence and the second being we take him too lightly. {make jokes about the devil}

The devil slash Satan {adversary} is no joke: he is a fallen angel who rebelled and is in active rebellion against God. We cannot see him but he is very real. He is not a rival to God but he does have a power and knowledge that is superior to we humans. The more we know about him the ways in which he works, the better our chances to overcome him.

To help us with our message: we will use a little outline which will give us biblical ways to deal with Satan.

I. WE MUST RECOGNIZE HIM

Peter said, Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion. 

Imagine walking through a jungle in deepest africa, especially at night. To survive such an experience, you would have to know that YOU are the hunted. They are beast of prey lurking in the shadows. We need to be alert and sober, the devil is lurking in the shadows and we are the prey. I’m not trying to scare you, I’m trying to educate you. We do have weapons at our disposal that can protect us. We are not helpless victims but the first thing we must do is to RECOGNIZE that devil poses a threat to our holiness and happiness. We are not to cower in fear but we are not to underestimate his power.

I love the HOLMAN COMMENTARY. In the chapter on resisting Satan, David Walls tells the story of Thomas Sullivan, Jr. who’s teacher assigned them a project in comparative religions. His assignment was to research Hinduism but in his research, he got side tracked and got to studying Satanism. In a matter of weeks, he became enthralled in the occult. He was checking out library books on the occult, listening to heavy metal rock. Both teachers and parents notice a sudden spirit of defiance in Thomas. Then suddenly without warning, Thomas stabbed his mother 12 times in the stomach. He then tried to kill his father and brother but failed. After his failure to kill his entire family, he slit his own throat. They found out later that he had told a friend about a vision from Satan in which Satan told him to kill his family and preach Satanism. The occult is so prevalent and so connected to crime that some of the major cities have detectives assigned to cult related crimes. The Chicago based Cult Awareness Network estimates that there are as many as 60,000 deaths [ritual murders] each year related to the occult.

There are things to look for when dealing with the occult: [Holman Commentary page 93]

  • Bizarre or violent behavior
  • Irrational or wicked behavior [cruel crimes]
  • Opposition to Christianity [persecution]
  • Malicious slander
  • False Doctrine [false teachers]
  • Addictions [drugs]
  • Extreme Emotions: Hate, Rage, Depression, Terror
  • Self-destructive habits

It is a mistake to deny the existence of the devil or evil and of course–the left deny them both. If you asks a liberal if they believe in evil, they will point to those of us on the right and say, “That is the only evil I see, the intolerance of the those right-wing religious bigots.” They do not believe in Satan nor his ability to orchestrate evil. Satan is the mastermind behind all evil. Islam is a prime example: Mohammed did not form the religion of Islam, his followers did after his death. Mohammed did set the example of hating races that were not Arabic. The Arabs were always their own worse enemy: in the old days, they were not a threat because they killed each other but Islam forged then together by giving them a common purpose–the destruction of Jews and Christians. Islam is a religion that legitimizes hate. A black muslim is a black man who hates whites but it’s OK, it is sanctified by the world because it is his religious conviction. I spent a week with a converted Black Muslim and he confessed: their goal was the destruction of the white race and if anarchy hastened the day, so be it.

Islam is not a good thing: you can’t compare it to being Methodist, Catholic or Baptist. You can compare it to Mormanism or Christian Science. The goal of Islam is to destroy and kill the infidel. Guess who the infidels are? Satans footprints are all over Islam and yet the world and the media would call me a narrow minded bigot for saying such things. It is clear to me but they don’t see it.

WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE SATAN’S PRESENCE IN THIS WORLD

II. WE MUST RESPECT HIM

The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

Would you treat a LION like a house cat? I hope not. We have a wild cat that lives under our house and he keeps us free of mice. He is wild as a buck and never tries to enter the house. I not afraid of him at all because he weighs less than ten pounds. If he threatens me, I will give him a good kick. The average male lion weighs over 400 pounds and has 1,000 pounds of pressure per inch {PSI} in its jaws. They could crush a human bone as easily as you and I can crush a potato chip. Needless to say, I respect Lions because they have the ability to devour.

I’m not afraid of electricity but I do respect it. Electricity will not hurt you if you abide by the laws that govern electric current. If you let you guard down and get careless, electricity can kill you dead on the spot.

Satan is a fallen Angel, it does not have divine powers. I am afraid of lions but as long as I have the U.S. Marines between me and the lions, I’m not going to worry about lions. As long as we have Jesus between us an Satan, we are protected. We just have to make sure, we stay behind Jesus. We are not to fear men or the devil. Jesus taught us to fear God, not Satan. A part of our worship is the fear of God and trust me, Satan doesn’t deserve our worship.

We always have to beaware of extremes: [1] It is a mistake to treat Satan like a joke, he is no joke. The opposite extreme is to [2] treat him like God, he is not God. I love my pentecostal friends but sometimes they talk more about the devil than they do Jesus and that bothers me. Respect the devil but don’t give him too much credit.

You have to remember, HE IS A LION ON A LEASH. He can only do so much harm. He is limited. He is not omni anything.

III. WE MUST RESIST HIM

Resist him, firm in the faith.

Our faith is our belief system and our beliefs come from the word of God. Faith comes by hearing, reading and meditating on the word of God. The key to overcoming Satan is to be saturated witht he word of God. How did Jesus deal with Satan? He quoted him scripture. Jesus did this for our example. Jesus was God, he could have back slapped the devil. Jesus was and is infinitely superior to Satan: you and I are not. We need the word of God if we are to stand against him and that is literally what we have to do. We cannot stand against until we stand for. Satan is a playground bully: he pushes and shoves, he hits below the waiste. I’ve often heard folks say, “I don’t have any problem with Satan.” Hey, you stand up for what’s right and you will have a problem with him. Satan don’t mess with dead folks. He is the last one in the world who wants to wake up a carnal Christian. As long as you are idle, he is happy. Get on your knees and see what happens, take a stand for the unborn and see what happens, start talking to people about Jesus and see what happens. Satan is no stupid, he does not waste energy.

If we are going to resist him, we have to do it in the faith. Paul said in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might.” We will never be able to resist the devil in our own strength. Peter knew from experience that this never works. Jesus warned Peter and told him to pray but Peter resisted Jesus and became a servant of the devil, all because he tried in his own strength.

 

Our Growing Need For Grace

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 5:5-7

5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:5-7 (CSB)

INTRODUCTION

Peter is moving toward the conclusion of his letter which he wrote to encourage them in their suffering and to assure them that their suffering was a part of God’s grace. (1 Peter 5:12) A lot of the epistle deals with suffering and how we handle it as believers. The one thing that a believer must have if he or she is to suffer redemptively is GRACE. It takes grace to maintain a good attitude in suffering. I have seen people suffer without the first complaint: how is this possible?GRACE, amazing grace. Since these believers need GRACE, Peter has to talk to them about PRIDE the antagonist of grace. Pride is a serious matter, it turned an angel into a devil, it destroyed Adam and Eve’s home. Pride has been the downfall of men and nations. Never underestimate the danger of pride. It threatens us all.

TRANSITION

So what can we do about this threat to our happiness?

I. PRACTICE SUBMISSION

  • Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. — 1 Peter 2:13-14 (CSB)
  • Household slaves, submit to your masters with all reverence not only to the good and gentle ones but also to the cruel. — 1 Peter 2:18 (CSB)
  • In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live — 1 Peter 3:1 (CSB)
  • Now Peter says–You who are younger, be subject to the elders. {Pastors}

Submission to authority is a big deal because ‘submission’ is an exercise of humility. Pride and arrogant people do not submit unless it is cohersed by fear or force. An Elder [Pastor] does not have the authority of an Admiral, we can’t throw people overboard. We can even dock a persons pay because those who help us are volunteers. I was raised on a farm. I know how hard it can be to drive cattle, especially young heifers. Once you see that head come up, you know you are in trouble. They are going to rebel by going in the opposite direction. Once the leader breaks, you may as well forget it, there are going to be followers.

Pastoring a church is like herding cattle in a way: the moment I give instructions, I see some heads come up. These are they who have no intention of doing what I have asked them to do. If I say sit, they stand. If I say stand, they sit. They make it very clear, “You are not telling me what to do.”

I am not suggesting that we follow our leaders blindly; we don’t want another Jim Jones and Jonestown, Guyana but neither do we need to cultivate the prideful attitude that says, “No one tells me what to do.”

The reason for this is quite simple: there is a principle taught throughout the bible and Peter quotes it here. This quote comes from Proverbs 3:34 from the Septugint…GOD RESISTS THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

Other References…

  • Though the LORD is exalted, he takes note of the humble; but he knows the haughty from a distance. (Psalm 138:6)

  • “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

  • “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

  • “I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
  • But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

This is the SPIRITUAL LAW or RULE: “God only gives grace to the humble.” In other words, pride is a barrier to grace. The Pharisees had religion, they had tradition, they had standing in the nation but they had no grace and no way to relieve grace. We cannot suffer graciously without grace, God’s grace and we can’t get His grace unless He gives it and He will not give it to the proud.

II. CLOTHE YOURSELF IN HUMILITY

Who dresses you in the morning: hopefully it is you. You choose what you wear. This requires a conscious effort. The LORD has commanded us to “Humble ourselves.” There is no question that He can do it for us but He enjoins us to do this ourselves. This requires SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE. This word clothe implies a servant or slave putting on an apron or towel to serve someone else. Jesus in John 13 is a perfect example…So he got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. 5 Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him. — John 13:4-5 (CSB)

You cannot divorce humility from the practice of submitting to others or serving others. Charles Spurgeon said, “Humility is to make the right estimate of one’s self.” Humility is to be aware of one’s strengths and to accept them as gifts from God to help others. It is also our awareness of our weakness which lead us to depend on God and acknowledge our need for help from others. The proud would say, “I don’t need your help.” HUMILITY IN A NUTSHELL IS PUTTING OTHERS FIRST.

Due to pride, people invariably trust themselves. Their attitude is “I’ve got this…I don’t need God’s help or yours.” Due to pride, we see only our strengths and never our weaknesses. Prideful people consider themselves a model. They think others would be wise to emulate them. They display an air of superiority, self-centeredness and self-righteous. People who dance with pride trust in themselves.

When Peter wrote this he must have had his own experience in mind. Jesus told Peter in Gethsemane, “Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” — Matthew 26:41 (CSB) Peter’s inordinate pride kept him from hearing what Jesus said. Peter had already boasted, “Even if everyone falls away because of you, I will never fall away.” — Matthew 26:33 (CSB) Due to Peter’s pride, [1]He slept when he should have been praying[2] He reacted rashly and in the flesh by drawing his sword and injuring a servant of the high priest and [3] he denied that he even knew Jesus. All three moral failures created shame and guilt; a shame that Peter would bear until his promotion. No wonder Peter has such strong words about pride, look what pride had cost him. After a while, even we slow learners learn that it is best to pray Mary’s prayer–“Be it unto me according to Your will LORD.” I’m tired of lining up ducks, of trying to manipulate people and circumstances. I learning to cast all my cares on Jesus the sovereign LORD and pray for His will to be done. I’m telling you from experience, I lived both ways and life is much, much sweeter when you submit to Christ and pray for his will to be done, not your own. People who dance with pride trust only in themselves. Inevitably, they want others to notice them, to emulate their example and to praise them for their virtue. They don’t understand that God hates such a disposition and He will withhold His grace. The end result is a miserable life filled with disappointment. Their incessant complaining and fault-finding is evidence of their misery. They are in desperate need of grace but their pride forbids it.

III. CASTING YOUR CARES

Peter said,  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. The verb ‘casting’ literally means to throw as a rope or net. It means we turn lose, let go. We stop trying to control the situation or circumstance. Cares is a synonym for anxiety, stress or worry. Whatever worries you, let it go, cast it on Christ. Psalm 55:22… Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

  1. When do we cast? Immediately! No such thing as a small worry…worry has a way of growing, becoming bigger.
  2. Why do we cast? Because Jesus can handle it and He commands us to do it.
  3. How do we cast? Let go and throw it on Him.

Destined To Suffer

Scripture: I Peter 4:12-19

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. 13 Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. 16 But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? 

18 And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? 

19 So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good. — 1 Peter 4:12-19 (CSB)

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
    what will happen to godless sinners?”

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. [NLT]

INTRODUCTION

Peter addresses the subject of ‘Suffering’ often because he knew that the church to whom he was writing were about to face a wave of brutal persecution. His objective is clear: He wants to prepare them for this fiery ordeal. They had experienced a singe from the heat but the fire that burns was coming. There are different levels of persecution. The first level is to be rejected, slandered or to be mocked for our faith in Christ. The second level is the lost of property, employment or freedom. The third level is martyrdom. The United States has been the least persecuted society in the world and until the last quarter of a century, we knew nothing about the second or third levels but we are getting acquainted to level two–the loss of property and rights.

In order to prepare these believers from the coming fiery ordeal {Suffering}, Peter tells them the TRUTH. As I have stated, Peter is blue collar. He is practical. He deals with reality, not fantasy.  Let’s pay close attention to what He has to say.

[1] DON’T BE SURPRISED WHEN SUFFERING COMES YOUR WAY

Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. {V. 12}

In other words, Peter is saying, do not be shocked when trials come. Be prepared to suffer because persecution is coming. Don’t feel like God is picking on you, you are not the exception to the rule, you are the rule. This is normal for Christians. In spite of all the teaching we have from the bible on the subject, we usually react to suffering with shock, “Why is this happening to me?” or “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”

Our suffering is intensely personal. God who is Sovereign, sends us trials that are tailor made for us personally. He does not indiscriminately throw trials to the earth so that they land on whomever. It is not a random thing: he sends what we need. It is a part of our Christian education. Paul Belhiemer wrote a book years ago entitled, “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows.” Sorrow and suffering are teachers.

I heard a little poem when I was a kid that stuck in my brain…

I walked a mile with pleasure, she chatted all the way, but I was none the wiser for what she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow and never a word spoke she, but on the things that I did learn with sorrow walked with me.

Suffering is not God’s curse, it is His blessing.

[2] REJOICE WHEN TRIALS COME

Rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. [V. 13]

Again, I remind you that this is Peter talking and not Jack. Peter, like Paul had demonstrated this principle with his life. This is one thing that I don’t think I have done. I have suffered a few times but my rejoicing came when the suffering was over. We are to rejoice in the suffering.

  • Our suffering identifies us with Christ and His suffering. Paul said, “I want to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection by entering into fellowship with His suffering.” You can’t really know Christ intimately apart from suffering. You certainly can’t know the power of His resurrection without suffering.
  • Our suffering will be transformed to glory or joy. Jesus said in John 16...20 Truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. 21 When a woman is in labor, she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. 22 So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy from you. — John 16:20-22 (CSB)
  • Just as a woman’s labor is transformed to joy with the birth of the child, so our suffering will be transformed to glory and joy. [Again, I remind you, that I have never met a happy, thankful Christian who had not suffered. There is a state of joy you cannot get to any other way]

[3] THERE IS NO SHAME IN SUFFERING JUSTLY

If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. 16 But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name.

The repentant thief on the cross realized this truth: 

39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! ”

40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” — Luke 23:39-41 (CSB)

[4] SUFFERING CAUSES US TO EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES

For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? 

  1. Why has God sent this particular suffering to me?

  2. What is He trying to show me or teach me?

  3. What are my motives? What needs to be consumed by the fire of this ordeal?

  4. How can this be used to glorify Christ?

  5. How can it be used as a witness?

[5] OUR SUFFERING HERE AND NOW IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THAT OF THE LOST

18 And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

[6] THE KEY IS TO ENTRUST OURSELVES TO OUR FAITHFUL CREATOR

19 So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good. CSB

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

The word entrust or trust is a banking term: it means to make a deposit. Give your sorrows to Christ, entrust them to God.

 

Jonah and Revival

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Jonah 3:1-10

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:
2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” 3 Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command.

Now Nineveh was an extremely great city, a three-day walk. 4 Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished! ” 5 Then the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth ​— ​from the greatest of them to the least.

6 When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he issued a decree in Nineveh:

By order of the king and his nobles: No person or animal, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. 8 Furthermore, both people and animals must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from his wrongdoing. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent; he may turn from his burning anger so that we will not perish.

10 God saw their actions ​— ​that they had turned from their evil ways ​— ​so God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with. And he did not do it. –– Jonah 3:1-10 (CSB)

INTRODUCTION

Theologically, there is a lot to cover in Chapter 3 and it cannot be done is one message: Today I want us to focus on ONE thing which is REVIVAL. Jonah, who is reluctant but goes at the LORD’s command, preaches a very short message on judgment {In Forty days Nineveh will be destroyed} and REVIVAL breaks out and spreads throughout the city. Revival is a divine phenomen that no one can explain.

We know that better Preachers have preached better messages to better people and no revival broke out. Not even Jesus Himself experienced a revival like that which is recorded here in Jonah. UNBELIEVABLE!

God is a CREATOR not a duplicator and He rarely does the same thing twice: One garden of Eden, one flood, one Red Sea, One Cross, One Pentecost. We humans are bad to try to replicate what God does and it cannot be done.

So this is not a formula for REVIVAL, there is no such thing but it is a reminder that REVIVAL is possible. As we study this Revival, what do we see?

I. WE SEE A SOVERIEGN GOD INITIATING

When I say initiating, this is what I mean, everything in and about this Revival begins with God.

  • God sent Jonah
  • God gave Jonah the message
  • God created a climate of faith
  • God spread the fire
  • God answered their prayers

In other words, if you remove God’s activity from this event, you have nothing.

What we see in Jonah 3 is that suddenly the people believe God’s word and have a passion to pray. To my knowledge, there has never been a revival without:

  1. The WORD being preached
  2. A simontanious out break of PRAYER MEETINGS
  3. Plus confession and REPENTANCE

I can plan a revival meeting, I can get a good preacher, I can print flyers, I can even schedule prayer meeting in advance but I cannot make revival happen. I’ve even tried to fake a revival: get everyone to show up and pretend we having REVIVAL but guess what, everyone doesn’t show up.

True Revival is initiated by God: that’s why we pray, if He doesn’t do it, it does not happen.

II. WE SEE A FLAWED AND RELUCTANT PROPHET PREACHING THE MESSAGE

I’ve said so much about Jonah’s flaws that I don’t need to say anything else. The emphasis in Jonah is not on the preacher but on God who commanded the preacher. Suffice it to say that in history, THE PREACHING OF THE WORD has always accompanied revival. In the Revival of Nehemiah chapter 8, the people were so hungry for the word of God that they stood on their feet for six hours. Ezra tells about one occassion were they stood for hours in the rain.

Do you see or sense, in your life or others a hungry for the word?

III. WE SEE A SINFUL PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE AND REPENT

There will be no revival without faith and repentance. These two go together. Jesus first sermon was…“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Speaking to the Jewish Religious establishment, Jesus said…For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

The Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian Elders…You know that I did not avoid proclaiming to you anything that was profitable or from teaching you publicly and from house to house. 21 I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. — Acts 20:20-21 (CSB)

The writer of Hebrews said…Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.

Do we believe God’s word? Do you believe that heavenly treasures are greater than earthly treasures? Why do we live like it?

IV. WE SEE A FIRE THAT SPREADS

Note verse 6When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he issued a decree in Nineveh… the true mark of revival is that it will spread, it cannot be contained.

Nineveh was a big city. We know there were at least 120,000 and Dr. Wiersbe think more like 300,000 counting women and children. It took three days just to walk through the city. Not eveyone heard Jonah’s sermon but word spead.

When I was in college a church in the panhandle of Florida experienced a great revival and so they extended the meeting and it went on for some years but it never spread. In all the GREAT AWAKENING in this country, revival swept through the country like a wild fire.

I pray for the fires of revival to break out again.

CONCLUSION

Well, bro. Jack, you have just confessed that there is nothing we can do except pray. For a GREAT AWAKENING, yes but there are some things you can do today to experience personal revival. You can believe God and repent. I’ve experience several personal revivals and all began with confession of sin, repentance and faith.

  1. Do you need personal revival?

  2. Are you willing to confess your sins?

  3. Are you willing to trust Christ with your life?