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Great Bible Invitations – Sermon # 5

 

Hosea 6:1-2

THE INVITATION TO CONTRITION

Intro: I would just remind us today that the Bible is a book filled with invitations. The first one is found in Gen. 7:1. In that verse God invites Noah and his family to come into the Ark for salvation from the flood. The last invitation is found in Rev. 22:20. In that verse John issues an invitation for the Lord to return quickly. I like both of those invitations. In fact, as I study the invitations I find throughout the Bible, I am discovering that I like them all.

      In this passage, the prophet Hosea calls out to the people of Israel. They have wandered far away from the Lord and he issues a call for them to come back to God. It is a call for both personal and national revival. Israel had forsaken the way of the Lord and they had turned away from Him to worship the idols and false gods of the Canaanites. This invitation is a call for them to repent of their sins and to turn their hearts back to the one true God.

      Verse two of this passage is a prophecy of a future day when Israel will return to the Lord and He will heal them and restore them to a place of blessing. There is coming a day when the Jewish people will once again return to the Lord.

      While these verses were written to people who lived 2,500 years ago, they still have a message that speaks to our need today. Just like ancient Israel, America needs a revival! Our nation has drifted far away from its religious roots. This country has given itself over to sin and evil of every description. The horror of abortion; the abomination of sodomite marriage; the rampant rise in sin and perversion of every flavor, declare that our nation is miles away from God and needs to find a place of repentance and redemption.

      America needs a revival! She needs to be pulled back from the brink of disaster. But, before there will ever be a national revival in America, there must first be a revival within the churches of America. And, before there will be a revival in our churches, there must be revival in the hearts of individual believers.

      This passage is call for the people of God to humble themselves before God to seek His face for forgiveness and restoration. It is, in essence, an Invitation To Contrition.

      Contrition is a word you don’t hear very often. It describes something you don’t see very often either. The word “contrition” means “sincere sorrow over sin, with a desire to repent of that sin.” It describes people who are broken hearted that they have wronged God. They are sorry for what they have done and they want to make things right with Him.

      It is a state of heart that God will honor, Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” And, Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

      It is the people in possession of a contrite heart who will experience revival. Isaiah 57:15, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”  

      I think this message is one that we need to hear today. We are living in a time when there is very little contrition and sorrow over sin. People, even church people, can live any old way and never feel any remorse over their waywardness. These verses have something to say about that. I want to show you ways God reaches out to those who are far away from Him. I want to preach on The Invitation To Contrition.

     

  I.  v. 1a              GOD’S PLEA TO A WANTON PEOPLE

(Ill. The word “wanton” means “deliberate and without provocation or reason; sexually lawless; extravagant living”. “Wanton” comes from an Old English word that means “to be undisciplined”. The people of Israel had every reason to serve and honor the Lord by their lives. Yet, for no reason, they had abandoned Him and turn to follow other gods. They were a wanton people! They had no discipline in their spiritual lives)

A.  The phrase “let us return” implies that a closer relationship than the current relationship once existed. There had been a time in Israel’s past when they were closer to the Lord than they were now. There had been a time when they had followed His Law, sought His face and honored Him above all others. Now, they are far away from Him. They have allowed their relationship to grow cold. Their love for Him is not as strong as it used to be. They had become a wayward, wicked people. Their condition is clearly laid out in Hosea 6-7.

1.  Hos. 6:4-11 – They were like “the morning cloud” and “the early dew”. Their devotion to God was like the early morning dew that sparkles like millions of jewels under the gleam of the sun, but soon burns away. Their devotion to God was shallow and temporary. They talk about getting right with God, but their repentance and devotion was fleeting at best!

2.  Hos. 7:1-7 – They are called “a heated oven”. Like an oven heated to its maximum temperature during the night so that it would be ready for the baker in the morning, Israel burned with a passion for sin. The use of the words “adulterers”, “wickedness” and “wine” bear this out. They should have had a passion for the things of God, but they loved their sin far more than they loved Him.

3.  Hos. 7:8 – Israel is called “a half-baked cake”. The people of this time cooked their bread on heated rocks. A cake not turned would burn on one side and be raw on the other. Israel was burned on her earthly side through sin and compromise with the enemies of God. Yet, toward the Lord, they were cold and uncooked. They were guilty of compromise, because God wants our whole body, soul and spirit to be dedicated to Him.

4.  Hos. 7:9-10 – Israel is describes as a man whose strength has ebbed away, and he is unaware that time and age have taken their toll. Israel has lost their power with the Lord and they aren’t even aware of it. Like Samson, they “wist not that the LORD was departed from” them.

5.  Hos. 7:11-12 – Israel is like a “silly dove”. Instead of looking to the Lord and trusting Him, they flew to Egypt for their help, and then they flew to Assyria. Yet, had they listened to the Lord’s prophets, they would have known that these nations would have failed them. They disobeyed God by making covenants with heathen nations.

6.  Hos. 7:13-16 – Israel is like a “deceitful bow”. They cannot be trusted to serve the Lord and remain faithful to Him. They had been given His Law and they had received His training. They should have been able to hit a bull’s eye, and walk with the Lord in holiness. Yet, they were a fickle people.

B.  This was the condition of Israel. There had been a time when they had walked close to the Lord, but now they had drifted far away from Him. As we look at them, let us not fail to look at ourselves!

            How many in this very room can remember a day when you were closer to the Lord than you are today? Can you remember a day when the things of God were more precious to your than they are now? Can you remember a time when His house, His Word, His business, and time spent with Him thrilled your soul far more than they do now? As I mentioned those six descriptive phrases God used to describe Israel, can you see parallels within your own life?

·        Is your devotion to God shallow?

·        Do you have a greater passion for sin than you do the things of God?

·        Have you compromised with the world?

·        Have you lost your power with the Lord?

·        Are you like a silly dove flitting here and there looking for help in every source but the Lord?

·        Are you like a deceitful bow that cannot be trusted to hit the target of righteous, faithful living?

C.  If you find yourself in that condition today, you know you are not where you need to be with the Lord. Like the people in the church in Ephesus, you have “left your first love”, Rev. 2:1-7. You may be going through the motions, but your heart is not aflame with a passionate love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of God. You have allowed your soul to drift away from God and this is His call to you to come back to Him! If I were you, I would respond to Him by coming back home today!

 

 II.  v. 1b            GOD’S PLAN FOR A WAYWARD PEOPLE

A.  The reason Israel is interested in returning to the Lord is found in two words used in verse 1. The word “torn” means “to rend, to tear, to be torn in pieces.” The word “smitten” means “to strike, to beat, to hit, to slay or kill; to attack and destroy.” These words describe what Israel had been going through at the hand of God.

            Hosea 4:1-2 indicate that sin had become a way of life for the people of Israel. Hosea 4:3-10 tells us that God will judge Israel for their sins against Him. He will bring harsh chastisement upon them because they have refused to walk in His ways. Hosea 5:12-15 describe the Lord as a lion that comes upon this wayward people to tear them and punish them for what they have done. Then, after inflicting judgment, the Lord will withdraw His presence from them to wait for them to seek His face.

            It is clear from these verses that Israel is going to pay a terrible price for their sinful ways.

B.  Just as surely as the Lord brought harsh judgment upon the nation of Israel for their disobedience; He will do the same to those who are saved but who refuse to walk in His will. The Bible is clear, the Lord will bring chastisement into the lives of all those who try to walk away from Him, Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:5-12; Pro. 3:11-12; 15:10; 15:32; Job 15:17. You are deceiving no one but yourself when you think you can turn your back on the Lord and get away with it. There is a price to pay for disobedience!

C.  The painful effects of chastisement can be clearly seen in the lives of many of the people in the Bible. Consider David. His sin with Bathsheba in 2 Sam. 11 brought the chastisement of God into David’s life and family for many years. An infant son was taken in death; a son grew up a rebel to his father; another son raped his sister and was murdered by another brother. Psalm 51:8 and 38:3 make it clear that David was suffering under the chastisement of God Almighty.

            We need to understand this truth: no one ever gets away with sin! When we allow sin to grow in our lives, we are inviting God to chastise us. He will use whatever means He finds necessary to get our attention. Like Absalom did to Joab, God will burn your barley fields if He has to in order to get your attention, 2 Sam. 14:28-32. He is not afraid to pull your heartstring, if He has to, to get to you.

            There are families that have suffered financial ruin because of their sins against God. Others have endured sickness and death because someone refused to make things right with God, 1 Cor. 5:5; I John 5:16; 1 Cor. 11:30.

            God knows how to get our attention. He will do whatever He has to do to get us where He wants us to be!

 

III.  v. 1b-2       GOD’S PROMISE TO A WOUNDED PEOPLE

A.  Some people see these words as foolish thinking on the part of Israel. They think the people are trying out a religious formula. They are saying, “If we act in a certain way then God is obligated to respond to us in a certain manner.” While this may be true, there is a ray of hope here for those who have allowed sin to come between them and the Lord.

            Israel has suffered at the hand of the Lord, but if they will return to Him with their whole heart, He will minister to their needs. The word “heal” means “to make healthy and whole”. The word “bind” means “to tie up a wound”. Yes, God had afflicted them and smitten them, but He would prove to be their salvation and healing if they would on come back to Him.

            If they would return to Him, God would minister to them personally. He would meet their needs quickly and He would restore them to a place of help and blessing.

B.  If we will hear His voice; see where we have strayed from Him and return to Him, He will restore us to wholeness once again. We need the blessings mentioned in these verses. Let’s look at them for just a moment.

1.  Those who have been enduring God’s chastisement need His “healing” and “binding” ministry. Those who have been “torn” and “smitten” by Him need His personal, healing ministry in their lives. You can have that in your life if you will come to Him!

2.  Each one of us needs God to do in us what Israel expects Him to do for them.  They expected Him to “revive” them; to “raise them up”; to cause them to “live in His sight”. These three things are the very essence of genuine revival! When He gives us new life; causes us to stand for Him once again; and causes us to walk in His presence, He has given us a revival! That is just what we need in these days!

C.  More than anything in this world, we need to come to a place where we get honest about our condition before the Lord. He already knows what kind of shape we are in, and so do we! When we come to the place where we can confess our need of revival, our need of Him and the depths of our sins, we will have the move of God we need. His promise to us is clear, 2 Chron. 7:14.  He is as eager to hear us and heal us as should be to be restored, 1 John 1:9. When we are ready to come home, He is ready to receive us, Ill. Luke 15:11-24.

 

Conc: Now, we all agree that we need revival. We need revival in our churches, our nation and in our personal lives. The only way God is ever going to send real revival to us is when we heed His call and humble ourselves before Him in contrition and broken-hearted repentance.

      Has the Lord spoken to your heart about your walk with Him today? Can you remember a time when you were closer to Him than you are today? Can you look back at a time when you were more excited about Him than you are today? Aren’t you tired of a powerless life? Are you tired of God’s efforts to get your attention? Wouldn’t you like to have His blessings rather than His chastisement?

      Come home! Let Him heal you and bind up your wounds. Let Him restore unto you the joy of His salvation. Let Him give you the peace, joy and blessing you have squandered out there in the far country. Come home!

      Lost friend, you can come to God today. If you are tired of a life of sin and long for more, you can come to Jesus if He is calling you. You can be saved today if you will come to God.

      Remember, Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

 

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