Summary: GOD DESIRES OUR REPENTANCE, NOT OUR DESTRUCTION.
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.
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.