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Summary: The book is important because the sad reality is instead of being a nation founded on THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION we seem to be turning into the nation founded on THE FREEDOM FROM RELIGION. We as a nation now behave as though the Bible is to old fashioned.

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(This is not an original sermon. It draws heavily upon points from sermon by Robert Massey’s manuscript from 2002. Sermon has been adapted and expanded upon with my thoughts and direction of Holy Spirit)

TITLE: REND YOUR HEARTS AND NOT YOUR GARMENTS

SCRIPTURE: JOEL 2:1 / 12-14

Joel is listed as one of the MINOR PROPHETS, in contrast to the MAJOR PROPHETS such as – ISAIAH, JEREMIAH, EZEKIEL, DANIEL. They are called the minor prophets simply because of the short length of their works. The title, “minor prophets”, I believe, is somewhat misleading. Many people think because they are minor prophets, their message must not be all that important. However, I beg to differ. God’s word is divinely inspired, all of it, and that includes the so called minor prophets.

There is not a lot that we know about the prophet Joel. All the information we have about him from his prophecy is that he was the Son of Pethuel which means vision of God.

• This prophecy is primarily addressed to the nation of Judah, the southern kingdom

• And even more specifically, Jerusalem

• He is a Minor Prophet with a Major Message

There is not anything within this book that would tell of when it was written, we have no listed date, nor any references to any date within the book. Some scholars believe that Joel was written about 400 BC, others believe it was written as early as 800 BC.

• Perhaps no date is given so we will not be guilty of dating the message as being too old

• The message of this book applies to us today in America and especially to the church

• It is a message that is not too old

• Nor is it one that can’t apply to any generation, past, present, or future

This message found in the Book of Joel is profoundly important for us to hear today. It is important because the sad reality is instead of being a nation founded on THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION we seem to be turning into the nation founded on THE FREEDOM FROM RELIGION. We as a nation now behave as though the Bible is to old fashioned. Society feels as though the Bible has not kept up with the changing times. They tell us things are different today:

• Anybody can now marry whomever they want

• Can I tell you when I roll over in the morning I want to smell Chanel #7 not Old Spice or Aqua Velva

• NRA has their fingerprint in most of our politics

• Churches are more about entertainment than spiritual development

• Go to Church now just to see who the big name guest is going to be

• Go to Church with our Business Cards instead of the Bible

I am so glad at PPWC the biggest name in the Church every week is the Name of Jesus! Someone recently asked me who are the Preachers at our Church because they don’t know me. I mentioned:

• Bishop Palmer – I don’t know him

• I mentioned Rev Frank W. Lawson, Sr. – Oh, I don’t know him

• I mentioned Elder Lawson and Minister Palmer – I don’t know them

• They were waiting for me to speak a big name

• They would probably make a decision to come to our Church based upon the big name

• Finally, I said let me give you someone, a Big Name that perhaps you might know

• Jesus - you do know Him don’t you?

So, what is the message of this minor prophet? To understand his message, we must first understand the spiritual climate of his time. If the book was written around the 800’s, Joel would have been close to the time period of Isaiah and many of the problems of Isaiah’s time would also be faced by Joel and his people. There are certain “Keys” found throughout the prophecy that give us insight to the spiritual climate of Joel’s time.

The Short three chapters of this book help us understand the Climate of the day. In Chapter 1 - we find the word “awake” as it is addressed to the drunkards. This implies either sleep or slumber. The people of Joel’s day had a lack of awareness of the times in which they lived.

• They were asleep spiritually

• They were also intoxicated with alcohol

• The command is given to be ashamed

• Apparently there were those who were filled with pride and arrogance and failed to understand that God was the One in control

• In CHAPTER 2 - we find the phrase “ALL YOUR HEART”

• In CHAPTER 3 - we find reference to those “IN THE VALLEY OF DECISION”

• The Hebrew word for decision is the word "CHARUWTS" - this comes from a threshing instrument that was sharp or sharp-pointed

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