Return to Me

This week’s sermon is available here.

This week, Pastor Jordan led us through Joel 2:12-17 as we looked at what it means to be wanderers who return to God.

I really appreciated this sermon — it convicted me about where I’ve wandered and become apathetic. I appreciated the reminder that my salvation doesn’t mean that I no longer have a need to repent and come back to the Lord. In fact, my salvation means that I’m committed to constant repentance.

Pastor Jordan pointed out that we have a few reasons to repent:

  1. God’s great name is at stake. What does it mean if we claim to follow Jesus, but our lifestyles are no different from anyone else? This does damage to the name of God and what we claim He does through the cross of Christ.
  2. We also repent because the day of the Lord is coming. Jesus will return someday, and the Bible makes it clear that our choices about Him have consequences. Those who repent and recognize their need for Jesus are invited to heaven with Him forever. Those who reject their need for Jesus go to hell. These are huge stakes and we must not wait to repent.
  3. We also return because of God’s character. Joel 2:13 reminds us that the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He doesn’t want to send punishment — He wants us to return. What an amazing Father — one who only desires that we follow Him in His righteous ways.

I also appreciated the reminder from Pastor Jordan that our wanderings should not be kept to ourselves, but that we should share with others for accountability. This keeps us on track and humble before the Lord.

When I lived in Denver, I attended an evangelical Anglican church. Before we took communion each week, we would pray together the prayer of confession that Pastor Jordan read at the end of His sermon. I loved doing that each week. It was a reminder for me to look back at the week and acknowledge where I had sinned, and to appreciate the forgiveness that God offers me. This is what we prayed:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Consider that prayer this week. Invite God to search your heart and find any offensive way in you. Share your struggles with someone else. The Lord is gracious and compassionate — as we confess, He always forgives!

  • What stood out to you most in the sermon?
  • Do you regularly confess before God?
  • Where are areas you are prone to wander?
  • What does it mean to you that the Lord is slow to anger when it comes to our sin?

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