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Can We Have Revival in Our Time? | It Starts With Us

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2022 3:00 am

Can We Have Revival in Our Time? | It Starts With Us

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 22, 2022 3:00 am

Ever been at a candle-lighting service where the candle lighter’s candle goes out before he can light any of the others. Hard to pass on the fire when you got no fire. Such is the case with some believers. They try to ignite someone else’s faith but their own fire has died down. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us make sure revival begins in our own hearts, and then gets passed along to create the kind of nationwide renewal that’s so desperately needed.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Listen to this. First, God sent revival to Jonah. Then Jonah brought revival to Nineveh. That's because nothing can happen through you until it first happens to you.

That's to start with you. Only the revived can bring revival to the unrevived. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie encourages us to take time to examine ourselves. Sure, we can go out into our workplace and tell people that work with us about Jesus Christ, but make sure you're walking in the way of the Lord. Ever been to a candle lighting service where the candle lighter's candle goes out before He can light any of the others? Hard to pass on the fire when you got no fire. Such is the case with some believers.

They try to ignite someone else's faith, but their own fire has died down. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us make sure revival begins in our own hearts and then gets passed along to create the kind of nationwide renewal that's so desperately needed. My text is Jonah chapter 2. Turn there with me if you would. Jonah 2. And my message is can we have revival in our time?

I want to look at one of the largest revivals in human history. And this gives me hope for our own country because this nation we are going to examine together deserves judgment. And in a way I feel as though our country deserves judgment.

And you say, but Greg why? Because knowledge brings responsibility. The only other nation we would be closely likened to would be the nation Israel. A nation also founded on biblical principles. That is how we started this country.

And that knowledge brings responsibility. I think of the words of Thomas Jefferson who said quote, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever. But we are going to look at the story of a nation that had a revival. Just like America needs to have a revival.

The name of this city is Nineveh. But let me make a distinction between the word revival and awakening. We often use them interchangeably. But I think a distinction can be made. America needs an awakening. The church needs a revival. And awakening is when a nation comes alive spiritually and sees its need for God and turns to God. A revival is when God's people come back to life again.

That brings me to point number one. What is revival? We need to take the mysticism out of the Word and just see it for what it is. It simply means to bring back to life. To restore.

To be revived is to wake up from a state of sleep. Sometimes I will watch television with my wife and she will select something that to me is well how shall I put it delicately boring. And we just have different tastes in general. So I will watch whatever it is she is watching and I will sometimes doze off and she will say, Greg you fell asleep and I will wake up denying it. Why do I do that? It is not a sin to sleep. Not to take a little nap.

But especially if something is boring. But that is the way we are. We don't want to admit we are asleep. We don't think we are asleep. But the person that is asleep doesn't necessarily know they are asleep. It is when you are awake that you can say, oh wow.

I was asleep. That is what revival is. It is coming back.

It is waking up. This is the kind of faith that God wants us to have. We need the faith of the Christians of the first century. The faith that changed the world. The faith that turned the world upside down.

Consider this. Everywhere the apostle Paul went there was either a riot or a revival. But there was always action.

It never got boring. I feel the time has come for the church to start making a disturbance again. Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented He shows up Himself. And that is what we need to pray for right now.

That that won't happen. So number one. Revival is waking up from sleep.

Point number two. Biblical preaching can bring revival. Biblical preaching can bring revival.

And that is illustrated in the story that we are going to look at in a moment. The story of the prophet Jonah. The reluctant prophet. The chicken of the sea you might say.

The original chicken of the sea. He did not want to go and preach to the city of Nineveh. But because he finally went with a little extra persuasion it resulted in the largest spiritual awakening in all of the Bible. God said go. Jonah said no. God said oh.

God will always have the last word. Now why did Jonah not want to go to Nineveh. Because Jonah was well a patriotic Israelite. And the enemies of Israel were the Assyrians.

And their capital was Nineveh. And so when God said to Jonah go preach to Nineveh He thought this through. And He thought I know your nature Lord.

I know how gracious you are and loving you are and how willing you are to pardon. And my fear is if I go and preach to those creepy people you will forgive them and not judge them. But if I don't preach, Jonah deduced, then God will judge them and that will be one less enemy we have to deal with.

So he did not want to go. And it is true the Ninevites were really cruel people. They were known for their savagery. In fact when the Ninevites would conquer a nation they would often torture the people they conquered before they executed them. They were known to burn boys and girls alive and to torture others tearing the skin from their bodies and leaving them to die in the scorching sun. And rather than hide this depravity they celebrated it and proclaimed it. They even built monuments to their own cruelty. It reminds us a little bit of the Nazis during World War II or in present day terms.

It reminds us a lot of ISIS. The size of Nineveh was around one million. That was a very big city for ancient times that would be about the size of San Francisco. They were the capital of mighty Assyria which was the superpower of the day.

It required three days to circle metropolitan Nineveh. And those Ninevites man they lived large. They enjoyed the best chariots, the finest food, the most exotic entertainment, and they had an extensive business and commercial system like none in all of the world. And in addition they had been ruling out for 200 years and they were the reigning superpower on the planet at this time. But unbeknownst to them their days were numbered.

It would not be all that long until Babylon would come and overtake her. So God was giving to Nineveh one last chance. So God says to Jonah, go preach to Nineveh.

Jonah's response was, Lord no way. They drink haterade in Nineveh. These people are wicked.

I don't want to go to them. And truly as I said they were wicked because God said they effectively stink to high heaven. So Jonah you know the story. Got on a boat and went the opposite direction. And a great storm came. And all the sailors on the boat began to cry out to their gods for help. By the way that must have been a bad storm because most people I know that have their sea legs are pretty calm in storms.

But this was a really scary one. So they are crying out to their various deities hoping one of them is the right one. And they think about this mysterious stranger below deck. And they bring him up. Of course that is Jonah.

They ask him what the story is. He goes, well this storm is here because of me. And I am a Hebrew. And I am running from God. And he told me to go preach to Nineveh.

And I said, no. They are looking at him and thinking, so why would you run from a god this powerful? Then Jonah says, listen if you throw me over the side of the boat the storm will stop.

They are like, really? Ok. Bye. Over the side he goes. Now the Lord brings a great fish to swallow Jonah. And inside I have to say Jonah was stubborn. He spent three days and three nights inside of that stomach and said, I am budging. Wrapped in seaweed. Humidity like you can't believe. Fish smacking him in the face.

I am not budging. Finally he came to a census and Jonah had a personal revival in the belly of the fish. And we read about that in Jonah 2 verse 1. Then Jonah then went after three days and three nights. Then he prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish, which reminds you you can pray pretty much anywhere.

If you can pray from the inside of a fish you can pray anywhere else. He said, I cried to the Lord in my great trouble and He answered me, I called to you from the world of the dead Lord and you heard Me. You threw Me into the ocean depths and I sank down to the heart of the sea.

I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. Dropped onto verse 7. When I had lost all hope I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord and my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy temple.

Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all of God's mercies but I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise. Inside the belly of the beast Jonah had revival. Meaning he was revived and brought back to life and what God had called him to do. So now that he had hope again as he turned his thoughts to the Lord he was ready to go obey the Lord. We often make the topic of revival way too mysterious.

It is really quite simple. R. A. Torrey an excellent writer who among other things has written on the topic of prayer put it this way. He said he had a prescription for revival. Torrey said if a church or a person followed it they would be revived. There are three things Torrey said they should do. Number one he said let a few Christians, they don't even have to be many, get thoroughly right with God. If this is not done the rest will come to nothing. A few Christians.

Not a lot. Get thoroughly right with God. Number two Torrey says let them commit themselves to pray for revival until God opens a windows of heaven and it comes down.

And number three let them put themselves at the disposal of God for his use as he sees fit in winning others to Christ. That is all. Torrey says I have given this prescription around the world and in no instant has it failed.

It cannot fail. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Emails, phone calls, and even text messages from listeners are so encouraging to us and they let us know the effectiveness of these studies.

to your messages. As a grown woman and wife I also thoroughly enjoy listening to your wife Kathy speak. I can just see her love for God and others and I want to thank you both for providing such amazing resources for every stage of my life. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through Harvest Ministries and if you have a story to tell of how these studies have touched your life email Pastor Greg. Greg at Harvest dot org.

That's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is examining the need for revival in our time much as Jonah had a need for revival in his time. Pastor Greg continues now. So now Jonah is revived and he's ready to do what God has called him to do. And so the fish cruises up and barfs out Jonah. So Jonah was righteous and roughed. And he was revived and recommissioned by God. Listen to this.

First God sent revival to Jonah then Jonah brought revival to Nineveh. That's because nothing can happen through you until it first happens to you. That's to start with you. You know you're saying I want to raise my children in the way of the Lord. Great.

Do that. But make sure you're walking in the way of the Lord. Because some things are caught and other things are taught. Yeah they'll listen to your bedtime stories and they'll listen to your little mini sermons but they're also going to be watching your life to see if mom or dad live that out. Sure we can go out into our workplace and tell people that work with us about Jesus Christ.

Make sure you're a model of what it is to follow Christ. It can't happen through you until it has first happened to you. That brings us to Jonah chapter 3.

Let's find out what happened. So he shows up in Nineveh and hears this message. Look at verse 4.

One day Jonah entered the city and shouted to the crowds, 40 days from now and Nineveh will be destroyed. Well that's not a very hopeful message is it? No promise of forgiveness. No way out. Basically you're all going to die.

Now that message surely wouldn't make a difference but look what happens. Verse 5. The people of Nineveh believed God's message from the greatest to the least and they decided to go without food and wear sackcloth to show their sorrow. And when the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes and dressed himself in sackcloth and sat on a heap of ashes.

And the king and the nobles sent this decree through the city. No one not even the animals may eat or drink anything at all. So they were fasting. Everyone is required to wear sackcloth and pray earnestly to God. Everyone must turn from their evil ways and stop all of their violence.

Who can tell? Maybe God will have pity on us and hold back His fierce anger from destroying us. And when God saw they put a stop to their evil ways He had mercy on them and didn't carry out the destruction He had threatened. Stop there. That brings me to point number 4. A revived person will be an evangelistic person. A revived person will be an evangelistic person.

Let me turn that around. If you have no desire to share your faith you need personal revival. Why is a revived person an evangelistic person? Because their evangelism is a result of a Christ filled life.

You want to know an interesting statistic. Most people that come to Christ do it because someone who is young in the faith shared with them. 80 to 90 percent of people who have the gospel shared with them are from people who have known the Lord for two years or less.

Did you hear that? 80 to 90 percent of people who have the gospel shared with them are from people who have known the Lord for two years or less. Isn't that interesting?

Why is that? Why is it not from 10 years or more? The reason it is from two years or less is these are people who are often still in what we would call the first love relationship with Jesus Christ. They are still discovering what God has done for them.

They are still excited about it. But as we get older in the faith and we walk with the Lord for a time sometimes we start taking these things for granted. You know what that means? It means we need revival.

We need to be brought back to the place where we once were. Where we realize how important it is to share with others what Jesus has done for us. Listen. You want to experience revival in your life? Get a brand new believer next to you and hang out with them.

See here is the problem. If you hang around with a bunch of jaded Christians, some who have even become cynical, and after church you critique the sermon you need some new friends. Hang out with some new believers who are hearing this stuff for the first time and are fired up and they have questions that will get you digging back into Scripture again. It is the best thing you can do for your own spiritual health. You stabilize them and they reenergize you.

Everybody benefits. But you see sometimes we get away from that and we need to have a revival. Now that brings me to my last point.

Number five. Even revived people need to be revived again. Even revived people need to be revived again. Why do I say this? Well here is this awesome spiritual awakening.

Thousands of people are believing. God is not judging them. How does Jonah react? Is he dancing in the streets doing a little happy dance?

No. He is angry. He is upset.

In fact he is hopping mad. Look at Jonah 4 verse 1. This change of plans upset Jonah and he became very angry and complained to the Lord about it saying, Didn't I say before I left home you would do this Lord?

This is why I ran away to Tarshish. I know you are a gracious and compassionate God slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people. So just kill me now Lord.

I would rather be dead than alive because nothing I predicted is going to happen. What a brat. But look at how the Lord reacts. The Lord replied, Is it right for you to be angry about this? You see Jonah is just having a pity party.

I wanted to see destruction. In fact he was so excited he pulled up a ringside seat to watch it. He had his popcorn and his milk duds and it was going to be great.

He is going to put it up on SnapChat and Instagram and Facebook and everything else. And nothing happened. Judgment didn't come. So he is angry.

The Lord is like, What is wrong with you son? I spared these people. You should be rejoicing.

You should not be upset. See the problem with Jonah is he was preoccupied with himself. Here is a man who survived three days and three nights in a fish's stomach. A man who repents and prays and preaches the truth of the people of Nineveh. A man that God uses. They all bring about a spiritual awakening and yet this guy falls into sin. It is a good reminder no matter how long you have known the Lord you can still mess up. No matter how long you have known the Lord you still may need to be revived again. Revival is getting back to the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. Revival is being in the bloom of first love for a lifetime.

Walking closely with the Lord. No you can't always have those initial emotions you had as a new convert any more than you can have butterflies in your stomach like when you first met your husband or wife to be. If I still felt the same way toward my wife as I felt when I first met her and I told her I have a lightness.

My head feels a little dizzy. She would think I was having a heart attack or something. That is unrealistic but your love can grow deeper. Your love can grow stronger. That is how we ought to be as followers of Jesus. Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God. And then it is long obedience in the same direction.

Listen. Only God can send an awakening to America. But revival can happen right here right now.

What do I need to do? Well remember 2 Chronicles 7 14 said, if my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way then God says I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land.

That can happen for you now. The people of Nineveh repented of their sin. They called it what it was. God sent his healing and God can do the same for you. We need to get back to that again. Pastor Greg Laurie with important encouragement today about revival.

How it's needed and how to get it started. And he'll follow up on what we've heard today as we close today's edition of A New Beginning. Well Pastor Greg I'm not sure I've ever asked you this. You know pastors are the go-to encouragers when a life or death crisis comes up.

Yes. Where do pastors go when a crisis comes up? Obviously God's word but can they go to someone you know with skin on?

Well I hope they can. I know that when my son died 13 years ago I sought out counsel and help from many wonderful men of God. People I've gotten to know. Just as a father who lost his son. Being a preacher doesn't give you a leg up on crisis or tragedy.

You think it would but you're still just a human being. Remember pastors those that serve in ministry they're people just like you. They hurt just like you do and sometimes it's hard for them because they don't have anywhere to go. Thankfully I have a wide circle of very godly friends that I can turn to and I did turn to and I told them I need help. I need to hear the scripture and please pray for me and and I reached out. I think one of the problems Dave is sometimes when people are hurting is they isolate and they separate themselves and that's a huge mistake. You know we weren't meant to do life alone. We need one another.

We're designed that way and I think it's very important for us to give help to others when they need it but also to receive help when you yourself need it. So I have a great resource that's going to encourage you that's going to bring hope to you and it's written by my friend Tony Evans. Now you all know Tony if you listen to Christian Radio he's a fantastic radio program called Urban Alternative and Tony is just such a powerful communicator of God's word and so he's written this book with members of his family. He's written this book with his children so he's got his daughter Crystal and his daughter Priscilla along with his sons Anthony and Jonathan. They all got together and wrote this book called Divine Disruption subtitled Holding Onto Faith When Life Breaks Your Heart and it focuses on the departure of their mother Lois to heaven. She had such a profound influence on all of them so it's a really honest book.

It's candid. They talk about the struggles the pain they're going through but it's a hopeful book and it points you to Christ and I know this book will be a blessing to you or maybe someone you know that has recently lost a loved one. Again the title is Divine Disruption by Tony Evans and his children and we'll send you a copy of this book for your gift of any size. Let me tell you the reason we offer these great spiritual resources is we want to strengthen you in your faith but also this is a way for you to help us do what we do which is reaching people with the teaching of God's word and with the proclamation of the gospel. I know you believe in that you're listening to us would you help us to do that even more effectively so whatever gift you send will be used to help us to continue in our mission and we'll rush you in return your own copy of this great new book Divine Disruption by Pastor Tony Evans and his children. Yeah that's right it's powerful encouragement from five gifted communicators and just a tip chapter 11 has some of the most powerful teaching from Dr. Evans. You'll want to take some notes.

In fact you may want to post some of those thoughts on social media. Again we'll send Divine Disruption your way to thank you for your investment in keeping Pastor Greg's studies coming your way each day. We wouldn't be able to continue without the generosity of those who partner with us.

We're completely listener supported so you can connect with us online at harvest.org or write us at A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us any time of the day or night at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300. The world tells us to find happiness we need the latest electronic gizmo or a new car or to buy a certain miracle diet product. There are so many products that promise happiness why aren't all of us wildly happy?

Because they don't work. Next time Pastor Greg takes us to the Bible to tell us what does work. But before we go today Pastor Greg closes our discussion of revival this way. Now I wonder right now if the Lord has spoken to your heart. And I wonder if you feel as though you need to have a spiritual revival. I wonder if you who have been revived need to be revived again. You are saying I don't care about lost people. I don't have a passion for the Word of God like I once had.

I don't really care that much about prayer. But I want to be revived. I want to get back to that place where God wants me to be.

Or maybe the Lord has spoken to you and there are some wicked things you need to turn from. Listen. If you want to do it you pray this prayer out loud after me.

Mean it from your heart. And I believe it is a prayer that God will hear and definitely a prayer that God will answer. Pray this after me now. Lord Jesus I need revival. I need to wake up. I need to be refreshed. I want to be passionate for you.

I want to be on fire for you. I want a greater hunger for the Word of God. A greater desire to pray.

A stronger burden for nonbelievers. Lord revive me. Refresh me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit right now.

I receive it from you now. Amen. Amen. God bless you. Pray that prayer. God bless you guys. Amen. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-01 19:53:05 / 2023-06-01 20:03:23 / 10

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