Date: 18 April, 2017
Text: Joel 2:12-13
Title: The Truth to Turn us to God
Proposition: Today is the day to turn to God. Are you REALLY following God?
ill. A famine is taking place because the children of Israel have turned their back on God.
exp. In chapter 2 Joel calls upon the priests to weep - because the people of God no longer look like the people of God.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Joel 2:12-13 is our text this morning. The message is "Today is the day to turn to God." Have you really turned to follow God?
2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD,
I. How men turn to God.
... turn ye even to me
... with all your heart,
... and with fasting,
... and with weeping,
... and with mourning:
Jer 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
... And rend your heart, and not your garments,
ill. United Airways - said sorry for dragging screaming passenger from plane - no one believed them until they changed their policies that led to that.
app. Have you changed your policies and pracitices - do you mean sorry from your heart?
Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
... and turn unto the LORD your God:
exp. "v.12 Turn ye even to me.... v.13 ...turn unto the LORD your God:
ill. Pharoah, king of Egypt, honored Joseph - by putting him in a chariot and having his servants cry before him, "Bow the knee."
song: Bow the kneee, bow the knee, his is King of all the ages bow the knee.
question: Why should we bow the knee before Jesus?
A. Because we are turning to Jehovah. "Unto the LORD"
def. LORD IS IN ALL CAPS - JEHOVAH - He is the self existent and eternal one.
Isa 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
ill. Flying in the plane - looking down on the little planet below and realizing how tiny we are in comparison to the earth. AND YET THE EARTH IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THE SUN.
1.3 million earths can fit in the sun
The red giant star - Betelgeuse has a radius (center to perimeter) 936 times the radius of the sun.
VY Canis Majoris - largest known star - 1800-2100 times the radious of the sun.
space.com suggests regarding the number of stars that it would be - 1 with twenty four zeroes after it. - the milky way alone is estimated to have 100 billion stars.
question: How was it all made?
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
app. God alone existed - wonderfully, eternally, self existently - We ought to turn to the SELF EXISTENT ETERNAL ONE - JEHOVAH - HE IS INCREDIBLY POWERFUL - HE IS GOD.
B. Because we are turning to GOD. "The Lord your God."
question: How would you describe God to someone who has no concept of God?
ill. Paul's message to the idolatrous people gathered together at Mar's hill in Athens. Acts 17
1. He is unknown without revelation.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
2. He is Creator.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Note: Jesus is creator - without him was not anything made that was made.
3. He is independent of His creation.
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
exp. You can't give anything to God today - that he did not already give to you.
4. He is over every law of life.
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
exp. Evolution - says some races are more developed - God says - "one blood all nations of men"
exp. average life - 69.7
Psa 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
5. He is approachable and findable.
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
exp. To those who seek Him - he will be found of them. "If ye seek me...."
6. He is a person.
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
exp. Since I am a people - he must be a people too.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
7. He is the judge.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
app. HE IS OUR JUDGE!
8. He lives and we can live as well.
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33 So Paul departed from among them.
app. He is God - you don't get to tell him what to believe - He tells us what to believe. He has revealed himself to us through His Word. He died for our sins and He lives again! Have you bowed the knee to Jehovah God? We tell those who don't know God about God the same way Paul told those people on Mar's Hill.
transition - Now back to our passage - why do men turn to God?
II. Why men turn to God.
Turn unto the Lord your God for he is
Exp. Here then is the reason men can confidently turn to God - it is because of WHO HE IS.
ill. Moses wanted to know God more fully and desired to see God.
Exodus 34:5-8 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
note: God doesn't say sin is ok - he will judge it - but notice how many wonderful truths come first in the declaration of WHO GOD IS.
ill. Studying Revelation 21:8 for Thursday - "fearful" ='s timid, "unbelieving" ='s disbelieving.
app. Perhaps today I am preaching to those who are timid in their search for God. They just can't believe it will work for them. Joel has some ENCOURAGEMENT FOR YOU.
A. A God of grace.
question: Why should God allow you into heaven? He shouldn't. You don't deserve and will never deserve the gift of everlasting life. Only God's graciousness could bring salvation TO MEN WHO DO NOT DESERVE IT.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
ill. Praying and asking God to stop people and give them an opportunity to consider His Word. Jamie - on break, cheeky peers, stopping to listen - I SAW GOD'S GRACE AT WORK IN JAMIE'S LIFE.
exp. You can't get right with God today without the grace of God. It is His undeserved favor.
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
app. You may feel today - like you don't deserve God's forgiveness - and the answer is YOU DON'T. But, because of God's grace you can TURN TO HIM - HE IS GRACIOUS.
B. A God of mercy.
... and merciful,
question: Why should God not cast everyone into hell right now? Answer - he should.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
exp. Mercy is God withholding from us the punishment which we deserve.
ill. Duncan Campbell revival on the Isle of Lewis "Is there mercy for Me?"
app. You may feel like THERE IS NO WAY GOD CAN FORGIVE YOU - and there would not be if God wasn't merciful. But, there is mercy for you today - BECAUSE GOD IS MERCIFUL.
C. A God of patience.
... slow to anger,
question: How can mankind be so wicked against a Holy God and not immediately be judged? Because he is slow to anger.
ill. The church of Thyatira had commited spiritual adultery against God - (idolatry, fornication)
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
ill. Imagine you were fool enough to work a gold mine in a canyon known for flash floods. You were my friend and I pleaded with you to give up your folly and repent. To help you have time to make up your mind and to spare your life - I build a damn and work hard to hold back the waters that will take you to the grave - BUT I CAN ONLY HOLD BACK THE JUDGMENT OF YOUR DECISION FOR SO LONG.
app. Are you in sin and lightning hasn't struck? It is only because He is slow to anger - He gives time to repent - but you have not a moment to lose - because you know not when His anger will come and His patience will depart. GOD IN LOVE IS HOLDING BACK THE JUDGMENT.
D. A God of pleasentness.
and of great kindness,
question: Does Satan treat you that well then? Is your home happy with our cigarretes, your alcohol, your pornography, your lies, your deceit, your anger, your blasphemy, your wicked music and movies, your self righteous pride ....
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
note: There is nothing better in life than being an obedient beleiver WHO GETS TO TASTE OF THE GREAT KINDNESS OF GOD.
Psa 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
ill. Contrast between righteous and unrighteous - Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
app. Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good "of great kindness"? Satan DOES NOT TREAT YOU WELL - GOD WILL GIVE YOU GREAT KINDNESS.
E. A God of pardon.
and repenteth him of the evil.
ill. I didn't see why - but saw a headline that some executions in the States were stopped. For a brief time the evil that was to come to those individuals is stopped. If it is fully stopped and they are set free - it is called a pardon.
note: Someone who has not taken Jesus as their Saviour is not going to be condemned - they are condemned - Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
app. The unsaved ought to feel the fires of hell lapping at their feet - they are only a breath away from eternal judgment in the lake of fire. But God is a God who is willing to pardon you. Believer - you can be under God's chastening as well - but have his judgment removed.
transition: You have every reason to turn to God today - BECAUSE OF WHO GOD IS. He is a God of Grace, Mercy, Patience, pleasentness, pardon.
conclusion: WHEN MEN FINALLY TURN TO GOD - THEN THE CURSE IS LIFTED AND THE BLESSINGS BEGIN TO FLOW.
Joel 2:18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
Have you turned to follow God? He is God - why don't you submit yourself to Him?
Transition: Men need to turn to God
immediately, "Turn ye even to me."
completely, "with all your heart"
sacrificially, "and with fasting"
sorrowfully, "and with weeping"
regretfully, "and with mournging"
seriously, "and rend your heart and not your garment."