Here is an outline of my first sermon on Joel.
Sermon: A Repentant People
Introduction to Joel
Joel never mentions any specific sin. He only mentions God’s judgment upon Israel for their sins. We also have no idea when Joel was written. There have been various guesses from 700 to 300 B.C. But John Calvin rightly says that we have no idea. Joel is generic. God in his providence has given us a book that walks us through repentance and the fruits that come from that repentance. It is as if God said, “Give my people something to use anytime I bring my judgment upon them, anytime my wrath rains down upon them.”
Joel is structured into two main sections with those two sections each divided into two sub-sections.
Joel 1:1-2:17 Israel is being judged by God and needs to repent.
Joel 1:1-20 A locust plague has come as judgment from God. Israel needs to repent.
Joel 2:1-17 The army of the Lord is coming. Israel needs to repent.
Joel 2:18-3:21 When Israel repents God will pour out his blessing upon her.
Joel 2:18-32 When Israel repents God will restore the land and pour out His Spirit.
Joel 3:1-21 When Israel repents God will judge the nations and restore Israel to her former glory.
II. Joel is telling us what a repentant people look like. This is a corporate repentance, not a private one.
a. A Repentant People have woken up to God’s judgment.
i. God wakes us up by His Word. (vs. 1)
ii. God wakes us up by taking away his blessings. (vs.
iii. God wakes us up by taking away true worship (vs. 9 & 16)
b. A Repentant People grieve over their sin.
i. Shame is key sign of a grieving over sin. Understanding we are exposed before God, that all our thoughts and desires are laid bare before his eyes.
ii. Lamentation is another sign of true grief. Here we have weeping like a young bride whose husband has died. A young bride who looked forward to long life and many years with her spouse, but in a blink the spouse is gone. The future forever changed.
iii. Wailing is the final picture Joel gives us of grieving over our sins.
iv. Emotion not a requirement. Too often those things which are commanded in Scripture are things we think should show up spontaneously. Rejoice Paul says. But we say I do not feel like rejoicing so if I rejoices I am being untrue. One of the great lies of romanticism is that we only do what we feel like doing. If we do what we don’t feel like doing we are being untrue to ourselves.
c. A Repentant People cry out to God.
i. The people are called upon to cry out. (vs. 14)
ii. Joel cries out to God. (vs.19)
iii. Even the beasts cry out to God (vs. 20)One of the primary places we cry out to God is in the worship service