Good evening. Welcome to Leaning on His Grace. The last time we got together, I had given you a practical application to give an additional 15 minutes to reading his word, prayer, to arrive about 15 minutes early to church in order to fellowship, and to worship God with all your heart and all your soul. How many have you done this?
The last time I spoke to you was on Matthew 6: 33, which is in reference to the grace principle of provision. This time I'm going to give you three new grace principles: first is the provision of God's Holy Spirit, second is the display of wonders in the heavens and on earth, and thirdly is salvation. Let's go ahead and open and read God's word. Please turn to the prophet Joel Chapter 2:28-32. Verse 28: After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. I will even pour out my Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth; blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and all inspiring Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.
Our fallen condition that we infer in this wonderful Scripture is that we need God's grace, His salvific grace. Isn't that awesome word, “salvific?” All it means is salvation. We need God's salvation, His grace. His salvation can be found in John 12:47. Jesus says, "If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world."
When I was young I was a Roman Catholic. I grew up in the Catholic Church and went to a Catholic grade school. I did get a decent education but I really never found out who Christ Jesus was. As I moved into high school I started hanging out with drug addicts, those who listen to heavy metal music, and get drunk on the weekends. I was a bad kid, but I never really personified that I was a bad kid. I put up a persona, a façade, of being a good and wholesome all-American kid. As I went into the Army, when I turned 18, I began to mold into a Satan worshiper, yes, I became a Satanist. I was into all kinds of symbols; thank goodness I was not into sacrificing, but I was into magic. I dabbled in Satanism for quite a while, but I did go back into the Catholic Church after I had met and married my wife. It wasn't until I was stationed in Cleveland, Ohio, of all places, for the Coast Guard, that Christ Jesus smacked me up-side the head a number of times getting my attention. It was there that I found out and knew that I needed a Savior and that Savior was Christ. God's grace came down upon me and covered me.
It is all about God’s grace. The big idea of this passage is in reference to the provision of God's Spirit, the display of God grace in the heaven’s and on earth, and the grace of His salvation. God pledges a spiritual outpouring of His grace upon all of mankind. God graces man with the promise of His Spirit. This word, “pour,” is a verb that refers to the relationship of the subject to the one performing the action. The subject is humanity. God is the One providing the action. It is also in the imperfect form, which means that it is an habitual action, it is in progress, it is being unfolded with ongoing results. That means that the pouring out of God's Spirit is continual. Isn't that awesome?
So when is God going to pour out his Spirit? According to the text it will be after this. After what? If you look earlier in Joel chapter 2, God calls for repentance. After he calls for repentance, the people respond. When the people respond, God responds. When God responds He responds to the land first, He then responds to the animals, and lastly, He responds to His people. But still, after what? After God responds, in verse 25 through 27 they speak of what this looks like. Verse 25, I will repay you for the years that the Locust ate. Verse 26, You will have plenty to eat. You will praise the name of Yahweh. Verse 27, You will know that I am present in Israel. After these things, then, therefore, God will pour out His Spirit on all humanity. So, why would it be necessary for God to pour out His Spirit? Jesus promised. Jesus iterates that promise in the book of John, chapter 14 in verse 26: the Counselor, the Holy Spirit — the father will send Him in my name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I told you. In chapter 15, verse 26: when the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father — He will testify about me. The outpouring of the Spirit is a gift. This gift of grace is referenced in John chapter 20. In verse 22 it states: After saying this, he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.” But, what does God pouring out his Spirit look like? His pouring out of His Spirit is on all humanity, even those who are as far away from God as you and I were.
There was a Muslim man who told his wife that he was going to take a shower before going to work. This man and his wife lived in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He hopped in the shower and began to wash up. All of a sudden, Jesus in a vision was there speaking with him. Jesus told this Muslim man about himself. The Muslim man understood what Jesus was saying and received God's gift of grace, His salvation through Christ Jesus. This Muslim man jumped out of the shower, dried off, and ran to his wife to let her know about what just happened. This man and this woman had received the gift of grace which is Christ Jesus unto salvation.
The next portion of our passage is in reference to the displaying of wonders in the heavens and on the earth. The kingdom of glory shall be introduced by the universal change of the world. God is readying his people by displaying wonders. Take a look at the illustration of the four blood-red moons. In 1493 and 1494 there were a total of four blood-red moons. These blood-red moons were on Passover and the festival of Tabernacles both of those years. These two years, 1493 and 1494, followed the commissioning of Christopher Columbus. Christopher Columbus himself was a Jew. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand did not know that Christopher Columbus was Jewish. They had originally commissioned him to find a new route to India. This new route to India was to eventually expel the Jews from Spain. Again, in both 1949 and 1950 there were four blood-red moons. These blood-red moons took place on the same days, Passover and the festival of Tabernacles. In 1948 Israel became a nation. Do you see a pattern? In these two sets of years something happened to Israel, or the Jews, and then these blood-red moons were displayed in the heavens. In 1967 in 1968, on Passover and the festival of Tabernacles, both years there were again four blood-red moons. In June of 1967 the Six-Day War occurred and Israel retook the Temple Mount. This war fell within the four blood-red moons. Astronomers have projected that there will be another set of four blood-red moons to occur in 2014 and 2015, all on Passover and the festival of Tabernacles. We are simply waiting to see what is going to happen to Israel or the Jews. God is readying His people for an impending time which is the Day of the LORD to follow. Isn't that fascinating?
Now, let’s take a look at the text in verse 32, "then." After all these signs and wonders, the Spirit being poured out on all humanity, the blood-red moons, and the display of wonders on the earth, the fire, smoke, and blood of war, is a time of the great grace of salvation. I love the book of John, for he speaks about salvation so eloquently. In John 12:44, Jesus cries out, "The one who believes in me believes not in me, but in Him who sent me. And the one who sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me would not remain in darkness, if anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
In Psalm 50 the psalmist wrote to call upon God in the day of trouble. In Romans chapter 8, we can see a gentle persuasion of the Spirit to call upon His name. That is grace. But what does it mean to be saved? Saved from what? In this passage, it is not necessarily a saved from what, but a saved for. Figure a savings account; what is a savings account for? Is it not for putting money away for a rainy day? Is it not a means of storing up your treasures? This is what it means, to be saved for God. God looks at you as His treasure. He is saving you as if you are a treasure being stored up in His savings account. He is saving you for Himself, for His good pleasure, because He values you. When God calls for repentance and you respond, that is what is meant by the “ones God calls,” He is gracing you with salvation, a salvation unto Himself. He is providing you an escape. He has already provided you a place prepared by Him. Whether it is a spiritual escape or a physical escape God has already provided it.
When I was in Cleveland Ohio I began a ministry. This ministry was a towel ministry. I had a whole slew of white dish-drying towels printed with an outline of a cross and underneath of it printed Scripture references. The purpose of the towels was two-fold. They were given to professional bowlers to clean their bowling ball, but the Scripture references were used to clean their soul. There were four Scripture references: Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16; Romans 10:9 – 10. If you do not already know, these references state: For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. And, if you believe in your heart that God raised Christ Jesus from the dead and if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord you shall be saved. I used to hand these towels out at professional bowling tournaments. Even though I was a new believer at the time, I had a number of churches that wanted to provide support. They began to call me the towel guy, which was pretty cool. But, the sole purpose was to provide God Word for those people. By just giving His Word to the people they received it gladly. It was in hopes and in prayer that they, the people, would in turn call upon the name of Yahweh and be saved.
In all these things that we went over is God's gracious provision of His Spirit, His grace through His power in displaying wonders in the heavens and on earth, and His grace of salvation. These are all of the grace principles I had mentioned to you when I first started. The question I have for you right now is, “Have you received his grace?” God pledges a spiritual outpouring of His grace upon all mankind by His Holy Spirit, displaying of wonders, and through gentle persuasion of the Holy Spirit for to call upon the name of Yahweh and be saved. God's will is that all men repent, turn from their evil ways, and receive the grace that is given through the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus. Have you repented of your sin? Repent of your sin today if you have not already done so and receive His gift of grace.