INTRO: I would hazard to say that most of us have not given a great deal of attention to the little book of Joel. However, many of us will have read a quotation from the book ... a quotation found in Acts 2 in which Peter quotes a section of Joel 2 and says of the prophecy, This is that... Joel may have been among the earliest of the written prophets. There are few hints (if any) given to us of the date of this book. In all likelihood, however, it preceded the book of Isaiah by some considerable time. Its audience was ancient Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Observations about this book?
I. ITS THEME COULD WELL BE THE DAY OF THE LORD
A. This expression occurs five times in the short book
1. 1:15 - 2:1 - 2:11 - 2:31 - 2:14
2. Joel saw everything that was happening in his world in terms of Gods involvement with it
B. This expression usually denoted Gods judgments, thus ...
1. Alas for the day! ... a destruction form the Almighty (1:15)
2. 2 Pet 3:10 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night...
II. SO, THIS BOOK ALSO MAKES REFERENCE TO REPENTANCE
A. Gods judgments upon sin were, in Joels thought, inevitable
1. he knew that sin would not go unpunished
2. he knew that punishment be severe - 2:10,11
B. So, he pleads for repentance
1. 2:12-14 - ...turn ye even to me with all your heart ...
2. the only hope for a pleasant future was in penitence
C. Notice Joel 2:13 in Joels call for repentance
1. rend your heart, and not your garments
2. Joels call is not for some formality, some outward show of repentance - he recognizes that only a broken heart because of sin can lead to true repentance and turning! (2 Cor 7:10)
D. Has true repentance always been a human problem? Failing?
1. from all that I can read in scripture it would seem to be the case
2. who wants to admit, I am wrong. I must change? - its a difficult thing for people to do - its difficult for me to do - but only a humble, contrite spirit can have a broken heart because of sin
III. TOO, THIS BOOK GIVES WONDERFUL ASSURANCES
A. If there is true repentance, the Lord will bless His people
1. 2:18-21 - Then will the Lord be jealous for his land , and pity his people
2. Joels message is not all gloom, and doom
B. Joel reminds Judah of something of which we need to be reminded...
1. 3:16b - ...the Lord will be the hope of his people...
2. ours is not the only time which has placed its hope everywhere but in Him in Whom we live, and move, and have our being!
C. Joels message needs to be heard resoundingly even today
1. oh, not with reference to the nation of Israel
2. but remember, the church is the true Israel of God ... and Gods
people must reflect on the placement of their hope ... is it possible that we are not as ardent as we should be in our confidence, conviction, devotion?
IV. THERE ARE SOME NEW TESTAMENT CITATIONS FROM JOEL
A. The best known is perhaps the passage in Joel 2:28-32
1. as mentioned earlier, it is found in Acts 2:16-21
2. so, in this little book is found a great prophecy of the coming and establishment of the church
3. although Joel may not have known it, he spoke of a great turning point in human history
B. Then, the apostle John refers to Joel at Rev 9:7-9
1. the earliest part of Joels message had to do with an incredible plague of locusts which he saw as Gods judgment on Judah
2. in Johns description of the locusts from the bottomless pit he refers to 2:4 - 1:6 - 2:5
3. the imagery of a plague of locusts punishing only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads - is certainly compatible with the message of Joel
C. And John certainly refers to Joel at Rev 14:15-20
1. the judgment of God on the Roman persecuting power is cast in the imagery of the thrusting in of the sickle or the treading of the wine vats
2. its a little book with a very long message!
CLOSE: If we can remember nothing else about this little book, we must remember that it shows us God Who is involved in the affairs of His people and Who insists on lives lived in keeping with His will!
Cecil A. Hutson
23 March 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)