About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Jonah was an Old
Testament Jewish prophet who was called by God to preach judgment to the
Assyrian city of Nineveh, located in present-day Iraq. Surprisingly, the people
received Jonah's prophetic word of judgment and turned to God in
repentance. As a result of
this massive revival, the king of
The historic fact is
that this grass roots revival produced legislative reform.
Legislative reform did not give birth to the revival.
First came the change of people's hearts and then came the change
in the laws of their land. Far
too often we get the cart before the horse, thinking judicial and
legislative reform will give birth to a godly nation.
History has proven that this never works because law can't change
the sinful hearts of men and women.
Another of example of a
grass roots revival producing legislative reforms was the Great
Awakening of the 1700's that spread across England. Like Jonah, men like John
Wesley preached repentance that many embraced.
This grass roots revival worked its way up to the English
parliament, when in 1833, parliament banned the practice of slavery.
First came the grass roots revival and then came the legislative
Romans 1:16 is relevant
to this issue. It reads:
"For I am not
ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings
salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the
It is the preaching of
the Biblical gospel through the inspiration and empowerment of the
Spirit of God, not legislative or judicial reforms, that provides the
power that changes the
hearts of people that can eventually lead to national reform.
In typical human fashion, the influence of Nineveh's grass roots revival only lasted for one generation. In 612 B.C. the Babylonian Empire overthrew Nineveh, which I believe was an act of divine judgment. The influence of grass roots revivals seldom last more than a generation or two because as humans, we are bent towards sin. Each new generation, therefore, must experience its own gospel-empowered revival. For this reason, we petition our Lord for the next revival of repentance within the church, because how the church goes is how a nation goes.