Summary: GOD DESIRES OUR REPENTANCE, NOT OUR DESTRUCTION.
JOEL 2:1-2; 12-17
MARCH 3, 2002 SUNDAY PM SERVICE
INTRODUCTION: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves... the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship...”
“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock...”
“It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.” -- The Cost Of Discipleship -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“When Christ calls a man,” says Bonhoeffer, “he bids him come and die.”
I have a gift for the gloomier side of reality, Don’t I?
TRANSITION SENTENCE: Our text for tonight calls us to take seriously our sin and recognize God’s desire to have a nation that is focused on Him and focused away from sin. It is a sad reminder that God will punish sin, but it is also a reminder that OUR GOD LONGS TO PARDON THOSE THAT TRULY REPENT AND SEEK HIS FACE!
[Transition Sentence: (IF USED FOR ASH WEDNESDAY)We have gathered on this Sacred day to call a sacred assembly, to begin a sacred time of reflection. We have come to seek the Lord in this beginning of Lent, on a day that calls us to considered Ashes.
In ancient Israel the symbolism of ashes was understood to be a forceful reminder of the persuasiveness of human sin and of the inevitability of human death. Ashes represented that which, in the human experience, was burned out and wasted, that which once was but is no more. This traditional emblem of grief and mourning has been adopted by the Christian Church as a signal of our own sinful mortality; it has also been embraced as a muted trumpet to warn us of the coming dark days in Jesus’ life: his passion and death.]
THESIS SENTENCE: GOD DESIRES OUR REPENTANCE, NOT OUR DESTRUCTION.
Tonight, I want us to look briefly at a passage from Joel that calls us to hear the sound of the Trumpet once more. It is a Wake Up Call to the church, an affront to Cheap Grace.
Hear this Word from our Lord: Joel 2: 1-2; 12-17
JOEL BECKONS US TO HEAR THE TRUMPET.
I. A CALL TO RECOGNITION (vv. 1-2)
A. RECOGNITION starts with a fire alarm in the night.
1. Here we have a “summons to emergency.”
2. It is visible, public, and close at hand.
3. The blasting of the trumpet is a wake up call to a Real and present Crisis!!!!
4. Something Dreadful is coming, WAKE UP!
B. RECOGNITION reminds us God always foretells of His coming wrath.
1. The people have turn from God and God lets them know.
2. We are not told what has transpired, what sin committed, what offense taken, but we are told Wrath is the outcome of the action.
3. Notice GRACE Abounding Here. Prevenient Grace. God going before His Wrath in a wake up call. Punishment precipitated by an alarm.
C. RECOGNITION IS hearing the call:
1. This text is an invitation to imagine the city under deep assault.
2. It is intended to awaken a complacent, unnoticing citizenry to its actual situation, to evoke in it an intentional and urgent response.
3. Let the Church have Ears to hear!
THE TRUMPET SOUNDS...
II. A CALL TO REPENTANCE (vv. 12-13a, 15-17)
A. REPENTANCE evokes a response: “What then shall we do?”
1. This is the central question asked by people in crisis.
2. There is a call on the community to come to its senses and honestly embrace its true situation. This is no longer business as usual.
B. REPENTANCE IS GOD’S call for a return of the people: “And what does this look like?
1. Fasting, Weeping, and mourning are the signs of repentance (verse 15).
2. This is internal verses external faith.
3. Broken hearts, a rending of the Heart, not a ripping/tearing of the cloth. 4. It is a time for pleading with God, “Spare your people O Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God’ (verse 17)?”
C. REPENTANCE is a concerted effort to return to the Favor of the Living God.
KEY CONCEPT HERE: But why does the Lord call us to awaken and return when doom and gloom are inevitable? What was Joel believing when he wrote these words on the Lord’s Behalf?
HEAR THE TRUMPET....
III. A CALL TO RESTITUTION (vv. 13b-14)
A. RESTITUTION IS NOT FORGETTING WHO THE LORD IS.
1. This call to awaken and return is to a people who have forgotten the nature of their God.