GOD HEALS HEARTS TORN APART (Outline)
March 18, 2007 - LENT 4 - Hosea 5:15-6:3
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INTRO: God has created for us another beautiful day. We rejoice as spring drives away our winter blues. The warm sunshine takes away some of the aches and pains of the past season. Today we enter God’s house of worship to draw near to God. We come to rejoice in God’s mercy and love for sinners. "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded"(JAMES 4:8). Lord – help us to draw near to with sincere hearts, hearts that you purify with your forgiveness.
Our theme: GOD HEALS HEARTS TORN APART.
We will discover today, that:
I. Our problem is sin, not the pain, and:
II. Our solution is God’s free grace.
I. OUR PROBLEM IS SIN, NOT THE PAIN
A. The prophet Hosea was commanded by God to marry an unfaithful wife, Gomer.
1. This was repulsive to the children of Israel. Their prophet married an adulteress.
2. Gomer, Hosea’s unfaithful wife, represented Israel, the unfaithful bride of God.
B. The Lord describes his judgment in verse 14. Bodies would be ravaged as if a lion come upon them.
1. In verse 15 the punishment of the Lord will become worse. God will forsake Israel.
2. There is not greater punishment than to be forsaken by God. God would wait.
C. God would wait a long time for Israel to understand their misery and finally seek his help.
1. Israel would be defeated and taken as captives into foreign lands. God waits.
2. Verse 6:1 tells how Israel finally seeks the Lord’s help in the midst of their pain and misery.
3. Israel doesn’t want to be forsaken by God. They want to return to their Promised Land.
4. Israel sought help for their pain, misery, and suffering. But their problem was sin.
D. The world is not much different today than it was during the time of the prophet Hosea. All too many seek the Lord’s help for their pain and suffering. All to many want the Lord to listen and listen right now. In our selfishness we demand that God help us through difficulties in this life. God’s will is not always – thankfully – man’s will. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2). Isaiah reminds us how difficult it can be to see and understand the full plan God has for our lives and us. Our problem is sin, not the pain of this life.
E. Our problem of sin is a constant. On this side of heaven sin is constantly with us. Sin is the infection that you and I and everyone else have inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. Everything is tainted with the imperfection of sin that entered God’s once perfect world. One writer says: “God in his love adds misery to sin to turn us around from our sin.” Just ask King David. David committed adultery and murder all for his own sinful desires. It took some time, but David finally came to his senses and recognized his problem of sin. "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer"(PSALM 32:3,4). God is patient for people to come to see the problem of sin in life.
F. Our Lord God does not want a mere out ward show of repentance. You know the stories. “I will be good God if you just get me out of this mess.” “I promise to dedicate my life to you if you help me.” God helps and people forget that promise of change. Thankfully, Luther was one who kept his vow of dedication to the Lord. (It took years of a dedicated life before the Lord changed the heart of Luther into a saved believer/reformer.) Repentance is change. God is not mocked. God knows and looks into the hearts of mankind. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death"(2 CORINTHIANS 7:10). God heals hearts torn apart by sin.
GOD HEALS HEARTS TORN APART. Our problem is sin, not the pain and misery of this life.
II. OUR SOLUTION IS GOD’S FREE GRACE
A. The opening verses of chapter 6 seem like a sincere confession. They are not – read all of Hosea.
1. The Israelites were only crying out for physical help not the spiritual cure for their sin.
2. These opening verses speak nothing about a confession or sorrow over any sin.
B. Verse 1 seeks the Lord’s physical help. The real problem is sin. God waits for the change.
1. Verse 2 points out how the people are expecting a quick fix from the Lord.
2. After two days…on the third day is the common phrase to indicate a short time period.
3. In their captivities in foreign lands Israel want the Lord to come quickly to rescue them.
C. Verse 3 really reveals the great loving, free grace of God. Israel confessed the truth of God’s grace.
1. God’s grace was like the unstoppable forces of nature – the rising sun and seasons.
2. God’s grace in helping would not be stopped by the insincere confessions of Israel.
D. We have here a beautiful and precious description of the very power of God to bless his people. Our creator God does not withhold sunshine. Our creator God provides the changing of seasons for the benefit of mankind. In the same way our gracious God gives grace freely by and through the magnificent power of his word. Many may try to deny the power of God’s word. This does not change the power or the benefit of God’s true word for his people. "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants" (DEUTERONOMY 32:1,2). May each and every one of us always be like the new grass and tender plants as God showers his word upon us!
E. God’s perfect solution to our imperfect problem of sin is his free grace. What, exactly, is grace? All to many have misunderstood God’s grace. All too many have missed the depth of the love of God revealed to us in the God’s free grace. Simply put, grace is God’s undeserved love. God gives us his perfect love that we do not deserve. None of us deserve a drop of God’s love or mercy – his free grace. One Bible translation defines grace by saying God treats us better than we deserve. How true. We truly deserve eternal punishment in hell for all of our sins. God does not treat us that way. Instead we are given forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved"(EPHESIANS 2:4,5). God’s grace is an undeserved, unearned free gift of God’s perfect love.
F. Our lives are changed forever. Hell is no longer our home. Heaven is our home purely and simply by God’s free grace. There is joy in our lives because of God’s solution to our problem of sin. God has applied the healing salve of grace to the soreness that the infection of sin has caused our souls. Our hearts once torn apart by sin are now healed by God’s free grace. We react. "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed"(1 PETER 2:24). We live for righteousness. Our lives reflect to others what God has done for us.
CONC.: Ah, yes, spring. Spring brings about a new outlook on life as the earth is greened up the power of a warming sun. Everything seems greener, brighter, and more renewed. The winter blues are quickly forgotten. What a blessed time of the year. But there is more. "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall"(MALACHI 4:2). The newborn calves are out leaping in the sunshine. You see them and smile. As you smile may you remember God’s eternal joy as the sun of righteousness rises with healing in our hearts and lives. Our God heals our hearts torn apart by sin. Our real problem is sin, not the pain and misery in this life. Rejoice that our solution is God’s free grace. Amen. Pastor Timm O. Meyer
Sunday radio broadcast @ 9:05am on KQNK 106.7FM or 1530AM + www.kqnk.com
LENT 4 readings:
ISAIAH 12:1-6; 1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-25; LUKE 15:1-3, 11-32