Summary: Ignorant Christians do not generally have an intellectual problem, they have a spiritual problem. Let’s evaluate ourselves in light of three questions suggested by the text of Hosea.
Ignorant By Choice
(from selected verses in Hosea 4-5)
1. What a great two weeks we had in Camp! It is worth all the effort we put into it.
2. But while our kids were enjoying camp, over in Norway, 92 youth we gunned down at a Labor Party youth camp. What a horrid crime.
3. This week, gay couples in New York State will be able to get married as New York becomes the 6th state to legitimatize gay marriage.
4. From a godly viewpoint, both are disasters.
5. Why is the western world falling apart? No longer believe in the power of the Word to transform our lives; we somehow think we can relate to God apart from His Word. Or perhaps we are bored with God, His Word, and prayer. Like a guest who stays too long.
6. The people in Hosea's time were uninterested in the Word. They offered plenty of sacrifices to God and were religious, although they included pagan religions as part of the mix. But to obey is always better than sacrifice, and obedience begins with meditating frequently on the Word.
Main Idea: Ignorant Christians do not generally have an intellectual problem, they have a spiritual problem. Let’s evaluate ourselves in light of three questions suggested by the text of Hosea.
I. Do You Feel Privileged by the RESTRAINTS of God’s Word or Enslaved By Them? (4:1-3)
A. God’s Word demands godliness: LOVINGKINDNESS (hesed) and FAITHFULNESS (emet)
Psalm 25:10 uses these same terms, “All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.”
B. But the Israelites were VIOLATING the 10 Commandments (find in text)
C. They viewed obeying God’s Word as being in BONDS
• Sports games have rules; talent, alertness, creativity, chance all affect
• Jesus Lodge, Mexican train…
D. The New Birth manifests itself by the Law written on the HEART
• Jeremiah 31:33a,“’This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts…’”
• This is why unbelievers look at our faith as a restrictive set of rules…
• God's laws are there to protect us, direct us, and lead us in the way we should go
E. Even genuine believers can develop an ATTITUDE
• When we embrace bad, cynical, negative attitudes, we are defeated
Application: All of God's commands are summarized under the 2 Great Commandments. You cannot embrace the summaries without embracing the specifics they summarize.
II. Do You VALUE Knowledge of the Word and Demand the Same of Leaders? (4:4-9)
• A minister pastor for 10 years, and was reading the Book of Job for the first time
A. Spiritual destruction: can be AVERTED through knowledge (4-6a)
Amos 8:11, “’The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.’”
• Only part of the Christian life is about DOING.
B. They gravitated toward priests who were also weak in God’s WORD (7-9)
• How Christisns choose churches
• God no longer reigns through His Word in much of the evangelical world.
C. We must fight the movement that disparages KNOWLEDGE
Application: I do not exist simply to breathe, but I must breathe to exist. The Christian does not serve God merely by accumulating knowledge of His Word, but he must accumulate knowledge of his Word to serve him well; check out 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
III. Are You A PLEASURE to Lead or Stubbornly Independent? (4:15, 5:14-15)
A. Are you a HEIFER instead of a sheep? (4:15)
Ron Hutchcraft comments, “Once upon a time, there was a heifer named Muffet. She lived on a little dairy farm in the Ozarks. So did my wife - who wasn't my wife then. She was the farmer's young daughter then, and she tells me that Muffet had a harder life than some of the other heifers, but it was her own fault. See, Muffet was a stubborn heifer. Would she stay inside the fence that was there for her protection? Oh no! She found ways to crawl through that fence. Which meant Muffet got a yoke attached to her head - a sturdy Y-shaped branch that made it impossible for her to get her head outside that fence. Now, it was a nuisance; a nuisance made necessary by Muffet's stubbornness.
• You were meant to be a sheep. Heifers might be smarter than sheep, but in the Kingdom of God, a submissive, co-operative attitude outweighs smarts.
• Hebrews 13:17 reads, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.