About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Grass Roots Reform


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 of Nineveh received Jonah's prophetic word of judgment and turned to God in repentance.  As a result of this massive revival, the king of Nineveh instituted godly legislative reforms.


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 reforms. 


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 Gentile."


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. 

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