Summary: Exposition of Joel 2:12-18 regarding God’s instructions to Joel’s audience for repentance and revival
Text: Joel 2:12-18, Title: Prescription for Revival, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/28/07, AM
Opening illustration: Tell the story of the revival of the Hebrides Islands in 1949-ill file, What is Revival? 1. Revival is not a week worth of meetings. 2. Revival is not started in one day. 3. Revival is not controlled by man. 4. Revival is a heart thing. 5. Revival is always brought on by REPENTANCE. 6. Revival is renewed zeal to obey God
A. Background to passage: The people of Joel’s day had become complacent, apathetic, and backslidden from the days when they truly served God. And God had sent a plague of locusts to bring them to their knees and back to Him. Explain the seriousness of a major locust plague. Our text this morning is the specific instruction given by God to begin to remedy the situation and usher in the return of God’s presence.
B. Main thought: We will see what people are supposed to do individually, corporately, and the reason for it.
A. For You (v. 12-14)
1. Right in the middle of this awful destruction and the realization that the death sentence for many people and livestock was being handed down, God says turn to me. The word that He uses means to make an immediate linear motion back to a point from which you departed. It means to turn from the evil things and turn to God. It means to forsake backsliding, disloyalty, and faithlessness. And God says that he wants all of their heart. He says to rend your heart, meaning to tear it to pieces revealing sorrow over sin. And he expects to see genuine brokenness over their sin. He desires that they truly be sorry.
2. Matt 9:13, Deut 30:2, Josh 24:23, Jer 4:4, 14, Hos 10:12,
3. Illustration: Once a man asked an evangelist “how can we have revival?” The evangelist answered by asking “Do you have a place where you can pray?” Yes the man replied. Tell you what to do, go to that place and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle around you and pray for God to send revival on everything inside that circle. Stay there until He answers, and you will have your revival, "Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late - and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience." -Tozer, A.W. I have a very good friend who recently shared with me that on one occasion she, out of sincere concern over sin and desire to be what God wanted her to be, she prayed, "God, show me the sin in my life. Show me what I really am." She said that in a couple of weeks she began to pray, "Lord, I’ve seen enough! Please, Lord, don’t show me any more. I can’t stand myself!"
4. Do not believe the lie that you are “fine.” Hear me when I say that we are all in need of repentance. Everyday we fail to love Him with all our heart, everyday we fail to honor Him with our lives. Everyday we live and move in a culture that ignores God at every turn. And most of the time we follow suit, making decisions, having interactions, and carrying on with life without a thought toward Christ. Everyday we worship at the altars of materialism, sports, education, recreation, at the expense of the greatest Treasure in the universe. This is not simply an acceptable failure, it is treason! And until we see that, we will never experience revival. All the real revivals in history had a major them of repentance, contrition, and confession. And most were accompanied by external displays of such repentance (however, not those that are disjoint from inner sorrow). We must mourn over sin, beat our breasts and wail and how utterly we have failed to live the radical Christian life that is close to Jesus. We must humble ourselves! We must truly examine where we are, not in relationship to others, but to God and His Word. We must commit individually to radical obedience. We must confess our sin! We must look at every area of our lives—our family, our job, our money, our goals, our priorities, our loves, and our desires. Does He have all of you? Are your highest affections aimed at Christ? Is Christ the preeminent being or thing in your life? If not, tear your heart to bits to rid it of the sin which he reveals. Weep and wail and fast, even during FCW, so that God may lay your heart bare. Ask Him to break you, open your eyes, and help you commit all that you are to Him.