INTRODUCTION: There is a proper and improper way to confess your sins to God. And as such, based
on the sincerity of your request for forgiveness and healing, God may or may not accept your apology.
In today's culture--especially in America--where sin has been sanitized (i.e., adultery = "improper relationship,"
to reduce the severity of the sin), people differentiate between what they believe is "bad sin" and "not-so-bad
sin so it's not worth putting much effort into a forgiveness prayer for."
However, in God's economy, sin does not have an intensity scale (i.e., a lie and killing someone is the
same thing--simply "sin"--both of which have equal punishment--death (Romans 6:23). This is a message
about taking every one of your sins seriously for the sake of being granted God's forgiveness and healing--not
just of your house but your entire country (2 Chronicles 7:14).
February 23rd, 2003, Sunday Morning
The nature of taking our sin seriously
SPEAKER: Dirk Russell, Minister of Education
OPENING: Hosea 14
The situation here is that Israel has once again turned away from God. But this time, Israel
has conceived what it believes to be bad sin and not-so-bad ("it's not a big deal") sin so that when they feel it's time to receive
God's forgiveness and goodness once again, it's a trivial matter of simply and insincerely saying,
"O.K., we're sorry, please forgive us and bless us again."
Hosea 14:1-2: This special warning from the prophet Hosea says Israel is not
only to turn from its wicked ways but (v2) to "Take with you words", meaning,
"be sincere about it this time!"
- Hosea 7:10-16: However, Israel does not turn, as the God discloses the thoughts
and insincerities of Israel's hearts and the consequences to be
- This was Hosea's final call for Israel to repent of its sins, which it did not. Soon after,
the Lord allowed Assyria to capture Israel
KNOWING WHEN TRUE REPENTANCE IS NEEDED
- To be able to know we need to return to God, we must know we're lost and moving farther from
- Hosea 14:1: Hosea told Israel to return because they had walked away from the
Old Testament scripture and laws of Moses provided to them
- Proverbs 12:15, 21:2: They gave up God's commandments and felt whatever they wanted
to do was right because they had become "sanitized to sin"
- ANALOGY: Sin is similar to the true story
of the woman who ignored the growth of a tumor in her body until it finally overwhelmed her at 300 pounds:
she knew she had a problem but ignored it (continued her own way) until she couldn't bear the problem
(the overwhelming sin) any longer and took action to have it removed (pray for forgiveness and healing)
- Romans 7:14,17,21,23: Because sin is ever-present and we deal with it daily,
we must constantly live as if we're moving farther from God and thus, must return--daily
- God takes sin so seriously that he classifies any sin against another person (i.e. against
your wife, kids, co-workers) as a sin against Him
Hosea 14:3: Two specific sins of Israel are pointed out here:
1. They put their trust and reliance in Assyria ("Asshur" in the KJV Bible) for care,
healing and protection
2. Israel carves idols out of wood/stone and worships them instead of God
- Today, many radio talk show personalities are talking about how the U.S.
attack on Iraq will last "three to four days." They predict this based on what they know about U.S.
military history and the state of technology of our weapons today. CONCLUSION: They're putting their
trust and faith in the U.S. military, not God, in making this prediction ... not good
- Joshua 6:1-21: Conversely, the primitive state of the weapons and capability of the Israeli army showed they
could not take a heavily fortified city. However, simply because God was on their side, all it took was a
shout of the people--not weapons--and the entire city's wall--and everything and everyone within--fell to Israel
NATURE OF REPENTANCE
- Again, it is in our nature to do what is right in our own eyes--even if that means going against
God's rules. Therefore, man "sanitizes" sin by replacing terms such as "adultery" with "improper relationship";
You must not only not differentiate sin into "from bad to harmless" but you must also
verbalize the confession of your sin to God by carefully choosing sincere words
- Hosea 14:2: An example of what it means to "Take words with you":
when there is an internal rift in your family, ignoring the problem doesn't fix it--it makes it worse;
you have to talk the situation out
- Hosea 14:2: "iniquity", used here, does not mean our accidental faults
but rather our intentional transgressions against God's
perfect and holy law. Is it this trespass that puts a wedge in the relationship between you and God
- When you pray before God, it is to be with true repentance in order to receive forgiveness
and grace because God's the only one who put His only Son up to
pay for your sin--don't approach it with a "not a big deal" mentality
RESULT OF TRUE REPENTANCE
- Hosea 14:4: If "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) then
how can God's anger just "turn away"? Is it not paid for? But it is paid for! All of our sins--past,
present and future--were already channeled to Jesus Christ when he suffered and bled and died on the cross
- Matthew 27:46: God forsook
His Son at that time because all sin was transferred from us to Jesus.
Combine that with God's hate for sin and you have God pouring out His wrath for our faults on His Son.
- ASIDE: From this, we can conclude that only one Person in this world was ever truly
(meaning without friends or God) alone--and it was Jesus
- Hosea 14:5: True repentance is like dew on the morning grass--nothing is
- Hosea 14:6: True repentance is like a fresh, pleasing scent/aroma that comes
from a once-stinking pile of garbage; true repentance allows you, your desires and work to be firmly rooted
in the ground so that your results (fruit) may blossom and bloom
- Sin is ugly and disgusting; but to have repentance, we become beautiful (spiritually speaking);
it is a domino-effect that will improve all aspects of your life--not just you; it begins with you and can
result all the way to the healing of your land (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- Are you fearful of the days of uncertainty ahead? If you're not serious about your sin
and trust not 100% in God, you should be
- Hosea 14:7: You gain a renewed faithfulness
and motivation knowing that since you've been forgiven (made clean for God's use) you are about to become
a critical part for use by God in the building and growth of His Kingdom
Psalm 46: In short, "look, come to and rely on God"
There is proven no other religion or philosophy in the history of this world that says God's wrath
upon you for your sins can be taken away because of His Son paying for it because His Son, Jesus, loves you
- In Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and in Him alone, will you find forgiveness; Being
saved is the beginning of the journey--not the end
Hosea 14:9: Hosea concludes this chapter by uplifting God's Name; God not only is
glorified by man but God is man's protector and provider
- SIN: transgressors (sinners) against God brings
heartache and pain upon both man and God while the wise look at avoiding sin as the way to walk faithful
and strong and to grow fruitful and in fellowship with both man and God; therefore, begin taking your
sin seriously today