In Jonah 1:2 and Jonah 3:2, God refers to Nineveh as a "great city."

"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."

"Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee."


Nineveh was located in modern day Iraq, not very far from present day Baghdad. 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 combined population of the area must have been between 600,000 and a million people at the time Jonah arrived in Nineveh.

Nineveh was the capital city of Israel’s great enemy of that era – the Assyrians.

It wasn’t the place to go – as a Jewish prophet - to preach a hard message.

It was called by the prophet Nahum "that bloody city" in Nahum 3:1 because of the terrible atrocities that they committed against their enemies. They maimed and tortured people in a way that brought great fear of them to the nation of Israel and others that lived during that time.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the people there against their wickedness and Jonah instead fled to Tarshish.

Instead of obeying God and going up to Nineveh, he went down to Joppa to catch a ship to Tarshish in Spain.

Interestingly, Jonah starts from a small seaport near to Jerusalem called Joppa – which is known today as Jaffa.

It was the same Joppa where Peter was staying - about 900 years later - when the Lord called him to take the Gospel to the first Gentiles - the house of Cornelius. (Acts 10:5-48).

Like Peter, Jonah was called to preach the Gospel of repentence to the Gentiles.

Like Peter, Jonah had to overcome the same prejudices - that grace was only for the Jews and not for the heathen Gentiles.

But Jonah, unlike Peter was disobedient in Joppa and took off in exactly the opposite direction - to the other end of the world, to Tarshish.

In Jonah chapter three is the record of the greatest revival in the history of the world.

Jonah preached an eight word sermon in Jonah 3:4,

"And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."

This seems hardly impressive. And yet as we will see it has tremendous results. Why is that?
Let’s look quickly at four steps to revival that we can glean from the book of Jonah:

#1. The First Step to Revival -
There Must Be Faithful Preaching and Faithful Hearing of God’s Word.

Once again listen to Jonah 3:4,

"And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."

It was not a lengthy message!
It was not a intellectual message!

It was not an eloquent message!

BUT it was God’s message!
The First Step on the road to Revival was the Faithful Preaching and Faithful Hearing of God’s Word.

The great Dr. Lee Roberson of Chattanooga, Tennessee was famous for his statement,

"Everything rises and falls on leadership." And it is a very true statement whether you are talking about the church or about any other relationship in life. A business relies on good leadership, a home relies on good leadership, and even our nation relies on good leadership, but I submit to you today that not only is leadership vital and important, but so is good followship!

No leader can do anything for God without having faithful people to follow him as he follows Christ! So there must not only be faithful preaching of God’s word but also faithful hearing of the Word. You can’t hear the word if you are not here and present in the services!

Romans 10:17 says,

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

We have an evangelist coming to our Church because we asked him to come and preach for us so that we can prepare to have a revival in the hearts of the people of New Durham Baptist Church. And if no one comes to the meetings, guess what? No one will ever hope to be revived!

We need to allow God’s Word an opportunity to be thorough with our hearts and dig deep into our souls and search us, and try us, and convict us, and cleanse us.

Hebrews 4:12 says this about the Word of God,

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

We need to be here and allow the Word of God an opportunity to work us over spiritually and bring about the right ingredients for revival.

Psalm 139:23 & 24 says,

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

So #1 There Must Be Faithful Preaching and Faithful Hearing of God’s Word.

#2. The Second step is a Belief in God:

Jonah 3:5 says,

"So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them."


Notice that Jonah does not say the people believed his preaching; he says they believed God. The word "believed" here is the same word used in Genesis 15:6 "[Abraham]And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."

This isn’t just believing what is said; it is trusting the God who has spoken. The people believed that Jonah’s message was from God, and they took it seriously. Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please God."

So They believed God and they responded!

There will not be a revival among the people of God until we learn that it is God we must trust and lean on and not on ourselves. It requires a death to the self life and a total surrender to God’s will and way.

We must have the same attitude as our Savior had when He said to the Father in Luke 22:42,

"Not my will, but Thine be done."

Do we really want and believe that God can cause a great revival among His people that will cause sinners to repent and trust Christ? Do we really believe that it can happen in 2006? We had better believe it, or else our lack of Faith will keep it from happening!

There Must Be Faithful Preaching and Faithful Hearing of God’s Word and there must be a belief in God, and Thirdly,

#3. There must be action Taken Based Upon That Belief :

Jonah 3:5-9,

"So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?"

This revival seems to have begun from the bottom up rather than being imposed from the top down. The people, we are told, believed in God. They called a fast and put on sackcloth. The response was unanimous from the lowest to the upper classes. By the time the word reached the King, the city’s repentance was already well under way. But because the King also believed, he made very effort to see that there was complete compliance to the city-wide repentance.

It’s not enough to just say that you are a Christian, people need to see a changed life. Talk is cheap. If God is going to send a revival to New Durham Baptist Church, then the members are going to have to say like James that we are going to be "doers and not hearers only" of the word of God. People respond more to what we do than to what we say!

In Luke chapter five where the four men let their friend down through a hole in the roof that they had made, the Bible says that when "Jesus saw their faith," then He acted and healed the man of palsy. Their action caused a reaction from God! Without action on our part, we will never see a revival like we could and should.

God loves to see us take the first action step of faith and He responds to that faith and begins to work in our lives. It is the same way with salvation. We, by faith, trust Christ as our Savior and then God responds by making us His children by the new birth.

It is the same way that God acted when the priests of the nation of Israel took that first step of obedience and stepped into the Jordan River and then God acted and parted the waters.

Joshua 3:13 says,

"And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap."

We say that we want revival, then we must take action.

We say that we want to see the fruit of revival in the changed lives of the saints, then we must take action.

We say that we want to see souls saved and added to the church, then we must take action.

We act upon the Word of God and He reacts and sends blessing and power and revived hearts.

There Must Be Faithful Preaching and Faithful Hearing of God’s Word and there must be a belief in God, and There must be action taken based Upon That Belief, and lastly,

#4. There must be a turning away from sin:


There is some confusion as to what constitutes repentance. Some think that being sorry for their sin is repentance, but it is not. That is remorse. Remorse can lead to repentance but is it not repentance. Others think that repentance is the same as regret, wishing that our sin had never happened. Many more people regret their sin and never really repent of it.

Pontius Pilate regretted his decision concerning Jesus. But did he ever repent?

Some think repentance is the same as resolve; they decide that they are going to do better in the future, like a new year’s resolution. And although that may lead to reform, it is not repentance. Repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of heart which results in a change of action. Its what we plainly see in the life of the Ninevites.

In Jonah 3:8 the King plainly states,

"But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands."

It would seem that apparently there is no need for the people to be told what their wicked ways were!

In true revival, sinners and saints both know that their wicked sin is offensive to a Holy God and turn and repent with swiftness

Look how even the king offers the possibility of hope and God’s compassion in verse nine.

"Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?"

He does not know for certain. He says, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent"

It is an expression of humility!

Verse ten gives us the conclusion of the matter,

"And God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."

The repentance of Nineveh seems unbelievable. When, in the history of the world, has such a spontaneous, thorough, and complete reversal of a violent and arrogant people ever been recorded?

In fact Jonah himself finds their repentance not only unbelievable but extremely frustrating.

Jonah 4:1 says,

"But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry."

Why was he so angry? Verse two,

"And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil."

The point here is not the greatness of Nineveh’s faith or of their repentance but of the extravagance of God’s love that he would go to such lengths to save them.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. It is the same God that says,

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

We looked at four steps to Revival.

The question today is do we really want to see the Lord work in our hearts and work through us in this great metropolitan area?

Do we?

Then we must meet the conditions for revival first, before we can ever hope to see God do a great work in our midst.

Let’s pray.