Key Scripture (Hosea 2):
Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
2 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
4 Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.[a]
5 You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
and I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
9 And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
12 My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore.
•So in bootcamp we develop this mindset that we are broken down to be built back up
•Everyone who comes into the military comes through the same way, into bootcamp
•So the job here is to strip away as much individuality and build up one lean, mean, fighting machine
•Hosea is saying God does the same thing here
•God tears us down so that He may heal us
•We have to be stripped from those habits and things that have been added to us through sin, so that we may be built back into what God desires us to be
•This process is rarely free from pain, and can last for a while depending on how much work there is to do
•We call this process discipline
•Discipline and punishment are very different. Punishment is done to hurt, discipline is done out of love to build up
•However no one ever likes to be disciplined
•In fact, the other day I was at my parent’s house working and as we were finishing up what we were doing they looked at me and said the dreaded words “we need to talk”
•Even as a grown man, my stomach knotted up and I went crap what’d I do now?
•This is because we are scared of discipline, even though it is a good thing, but it means I have to change things in my life
•The Bible words it like this in Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him”
•And again in Hebrews 12:6, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
•We can see here that discipline is a good thing, done by a loving Father
•The same can be true for us
•When I discipline my children it isn’t to hurt them, it is to keep them safe and alive
•God desires us to grow in sanctification, to be more like Jesus every day, that is why He disciplines us
•Just look at John 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
•So how are we pruned?
•Anyone familiar with the gospel can see the parallel in this statement
•Christ was raised on the third day, just as Hosea is saying we are
•Now is this a literal thing, no, but it has a double meaning in the fact Hosea is talking about something that will eventually happen
•Jesus will overcome sin and death, Jesus will pay the price for us, and this allows something magical to happen
•According to Ezekiel 36:26-27, “26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a]
•Not for our sake does the Bible say God will do this, but for the sake of His Holy name
•This is because, salvation isn’t given just so when we die we can go to heaven
•Salvation is given so that while we are here, we can bring Heaven to Earth
•Think about it like this, why has God saved you?
•Most people will answer something along the lines, because He loves me, and while yes that is true, He saved you because God so loved the world
•See Paul in Romans 10:14-15 asks these questions, “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?”
•We are saved, we are disciplined, we are pruned, and we grow into Godliness so that we may be here to preach to the next person who will be saved
•God keeps us here to Go therefore and make disciples of all nations
•Because how will they believe if there is no one to preach?
•Every single person sitting in here who believes Jesus is who He claimed to be does so because at some point someone told you?
•God grows us so we will tell others, and ultimately He will be glorified
•Some of us are sitting in here going, God must have forgot about me
•I am not growing, I am not being pruned, I have been stuck at the same spot for years
•However, Hosea is telling us here that God is always faithful, God is sure as the dawn
•In other words, if we know the sun will come out tomorrow, then God is there for us
•In fact, 2 Chronicles 7:14, “14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
•God will be faithful, because God doesn’t know how to fail
•It may have been years since you “felt” God move, but He has not left you
•Philippians 1:6, “ And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”
•God began the work in you, and God will complete the work He has started
•Yes, we get to help in this work by being obedient, as we see Jesus in Philippians 2 is, but God ultimately is the one growing you
•This is why we can rest in the fact Romans 8:1 says there is now no condemnation for those found in Christ.
•Because salvation started and ends with God
•Our only role is to be obedient and to follow with all our heart
•To do the commands of scripture
•To preach the gospel, and to grow in Godliness
•As the worship team comes back up
•Maybe you are sitting here tonight saying I want to do more, I know I should be doing more
•If this is you come see me in the back and let’s talk about ways to get more plugged in
•Maybe you are sitting here saying I am ready to make Jesus my lord and savior, again I will be in the back to pray with you
•Just remember, we aren’t promised tomorrow, so if the Holy Spirit is pulling on you, don’t wait, you can always Start Over