As soon as I typed the title for today I started singing: Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within, Grace, grace God’s grace, grace that is greater than all my sin.
You know that hymns and songs are most important to me.
They give me strength and keep me close to God.
To begin our sermon time today we are going to sing that hymn, so find it among you song sheets.
It is number 201, Grace Greater than our sin. (Sing)
Now that you know the extent of God’s grace, how do you make use of it?
Or better yet, what is your reasonable act of worship in response to God’s wonderful grace?
Yahweh, the Lord God Almighty, made you in the first place, then purchased you in the second place.
So what does he want from you?
You had better be able to answer that or I have been wasting my time here all of these years.
As you might recall I chose Romans 12: 1 & 2 to study in depth while in Seminary.
Knowing it so well had an impact on my life.
Especially when you put that with the need I had for God to get involved in the life of my two daughters.
The Bible has a theme in it from cover to cover.
Just like the campaign to enlist people for the Armed Services, it is: God wants you!
God created mankind to have someone to appreciate him and for him to have people to take care of.
But he created us with much freedom.
Freedom to love or reject him.
He wants us to choose . . . HIM!
Those of you who are parents know the joy of the appreciation of a child.
God as Father wants the appreciation of his children.
And he offers life with joy when they choose to appreciate and serve him and others.
What does your child have to do to earn your love?
The love of a parent is a given.
They are a part of you.
We are a part of God our Father.
The prophet for today is the prophet Joel.
The text is” “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” Joel 2:25
An interesting text for God’s grace.
Grace is receiving that which is not earned or of which you are not worthy.
The people deserved the locust but God’s grace would restore what had been taken.
The prophet Jonah is connected with a great fish and the prophet Joel is connected with a plague of locust.
It is thought that he spoke in the time between Jonah and Amos.
His time was a time when the land was strongly influenced by priests.
It was a time of strong formal worship.
He begins with the many calamities that had come on the land.
He issues a strong call to repentance.
It is surmised that the people did repent for much of the book is about God’s compassion and speaks of God’s restoring and blessing the people.
It is believed that the book is one great sermon.
The most notable thing about the book is the picture it draws of God’s grace and his willingness to pour out his Spirit on the people when they turn in earnest repentance to him.
The book begins with a description of the complete devastation of the land.
It was terrible and no one could remember anything like it.
It would be remembered for many generations as one generation told the next one of this terrible time.
The land was stripped bear.
For Joel it was God chastening the nation for their sin.
They were living in a state of sin.
Which is, separation from God.
Living ones own life without regard for what God wanted.
When you live in rebellion to God you live in sin and sin brings crises.
The goal of the prophet of God is bring the people to repentance.
The prophets of Yahweh cried out against evil, both national and personal.
While, at the same time, declaring that Yahweh was gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and a God of great kindness.
God’s desire was not to punish but to warn of impending punishment if a change was not made.
The goal was always a reestablishment of the relationship between God and people.
Deliverance from the penalty and power of sin is based on one’s willingness sincerely to repent.
In order to repent, one must realize that sin is more than a series of acts; it is a broken relationship with God.
Sins are the visible results which come from sin.
Sin is a state and refers to the depraved nature, sins are acts, the result of, a fruit of, the sinful nature.
Think of it this way: Sin is character, but sins are in conduct. Sin is the center, but sins are the circumference.
Sin is the root, but sins are the fruit.
Sin is the fountain, but sins are its flow.
Sin is the tree, sins are the fruit of the evil tree.
Sin is the unstrung root, sins are the jangling in-harmonies produced there from.
Sin is the evil lungs, sins are the polluted and poisonous breathings that come from every gasp of the lungs.
Sin is the contaminated reservoir, sins are the streams that flow there from carrying pollution and disease as they go.
Sin is source, sins are secretions.
Sin is the old nature, sins are the manifestations of the old nature.
Sin is what we are, sins are what we’ve done.
Sin is the fact, sins are the act. Robert G. Lee.
In other words sin is an affair of the heart, and the need is not for ritual reformation nor a change in worship methods, but heartfelt sorrow for sin, genuine repentance and full surrender to God’s purpose.
When people come to understand the spiritual nature of forgiveness, they will rend their hearts and not the garments.
God never refuses one whose heart is truly repentant.
Though God sends punishment he looks forward to restoration.
In the end a great future would come.
This message if for both the nation and individuals.
Sins would be forgiven and fellowship with God would be restored.
The people would know that God was in their midst and that he was their God.
They would never be disappointed in him.
It seems a strange way to put it when God said, “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten”. Joel 2:25
This is a statement of restoration for the land and for the people of the land.
God’s grace is an unusual thing.
We see God’s mighty hand all through Scripture.
Do things his way and you will accomplish much.
More than humanly possible.
The sweetness and inward joy that forgiveness brings is marvelous!
Those who taste such joy know God’s love in a unique way.
Such forgiveness makes people remarkably sensitive to the spiritual weaknesses of others.
Those who have been forgiven much can love much and give themselves in a service in an exceptional way, compensating for years wasted in sin.
We must be careful, however.
It is always better not to have sinned so deeply.
The scars remain although the sins are forgiven.
We may tend to express an overbearing zeal that could be emotionally unhealthy.
Extremism will defeat or seriously damage our well-meaning witness.
On the other hand, we are thrilled at the prospect of God restoring the years that the locust have eaten.
We should never limit the matchless power of God’s grace.
With him all things are possible.
God is always present in the life of a nation.
He uses a collective group of people as long as they can be used, and he earnestly desires to see nations continue forever in his will.
Israel was used by God in a unique way to bring Jesus into the world.
He lovingly watched over the nation because he had chosen it as his instrument.
The greatest lesson in Joel’s prophecy should be the message directed to individuals.
Sin brings judgment, but God’s grace brings forgiveness, resulting in joy, peace, and the out pouring of God’s Spirit.
We must remember that although God loves those who are undeserving, they must repent of sin to receive salvation.
Grace greater than our sin is ours for the asking and repenting.
Thank God for his loving-kindness.