Summary: Hosea pointed out 6 ’Gray Hairs’ that we should take care of in order to "Find the Fix in 2006". Link included to formatted text version, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.

Gray Hairs

‘Finding the Fix in 2006’

Hosea 7:1-16

Hosea is one of the minor prophets…this doesn’t mean he was under 18 or unimportant but only that his prophecy is shorter in length than Isaiah’s or Jeremiah’s, etc.

The Pastor was preaching a series on the prophets and one of the members asked him, “when are you going to preach on the ‘meaner’ prophets?” As you read the minor prophets you’ll agree that their messages were rather bombastic and full of judgment.

Our text is in v. 9 – “yet he knoweth it not”

A few weeks ago I turned 35…halfway to what God said I might live on average…this means I’ve climbed and topped the hill, and now I’m…well, you know! Kimberly will tell you I don’t depress easily, but it was a bad day for me…a day of retrospect and looking forward to the future. [The good news is I’m now the exact age the average church member says is ideal to be their pastor!] Then in NC this week I was getting fitted for this jacket I’m wearing today when the salesman said, “you’re fine thru this area [chest] but this area [belly] is gonna be your problem!” So, I’m making a New Year’s resolution to start exercising. I have to find the fix in 2006!

And New Year’s should be a day of looking back and then looking forward. It’s good to stop and think about what we are accomplishing or where we may just be meandering, and it’s a good idea to set some goals and try to build a better future.

At Thanksgiving this year my little sister, in her supportive, considerate way, pointed out that I have a few gray hairs appearing on my head as well as my chin. Usually when a man’s hair turns gray or white it speaks of a milestone…a compliment of wisdom, perhaps, but it’s also indicative of a decline in his physical life. But, I guess hair turning gray beats the alternative of it “turning loose!”

What we have here in our text is an evidence of a spiritual decline. Hosea has much to say about backsliding. Here is a danger that faces every one of us who are Christians: spiritual decline. Here’s the question we need to ask ourselves on this day: “am I turning gray spiritually?”

The first time some of you found a gray hair you attached it to an index card and still have it. Some may still be in denial, and some may attempt to camouflage it! [how many color away their gray? How many know someone in the room who should have raised their hand?!  ]

Spiritual decline always begins inwardly. The prodigal son backslid at home alone, long before he backslid in a far country.

Proverbs 14:14

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

So, what about these gray hairs mentioned in our text? Let’s look at 6 hairs I can find that we need to deal with this first day of ’06:

v. 1

1. The gray hair of falsehood

I must ask, am I guilty of this? Are you? The last thing any of us are willing to do is to admit failure. We grow cold spiritually and we do everything possible that we know to do to keep up the appearance that all is ok. Like trying to color away our gray and feel better. We say amen when we’re right w/ God but say it even louder when we’re out of fellowship w/ Him. Or, we don’t go to the altar when a negative is preached on but run down there if the preacher says, ‘come to pray for the lost’ or ‘to overturn Roe V. Wade.’ How easy it is to ‘profess’ more than we actually ‘possess’!

v. 2

ego = what I think of myself

reputation = what others think of me

character = what God knows about me

Oh, that we would focus on the latter of those 3 this year! In 2005 we focused on ourselves and what others think. Let’s find the fix in 2006 and think about the only One we should try to impress!

Titus 1:16

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Matthew 15:8

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

You say, “this will never happen to me”. Remember what Paul told the Corinthians, “take heed lest ye fall.” No matter how far we’ve grown in grace, it is no guarantee we won’t decline spiritually. Any of us can and do backslide at times!

Rev. 3:15-16

[15] I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [16] So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

A person who is cold seeks heat, and one who is hot seeks the cold…but a lukewarm person is satisfied. I want my coffee hot, and my iced tea cold…not lukewarm…that makes you sick! And a lukewarm Christian makes God sick.

That’s the gray hair of falsehood…

2nd gray hair-v. 4

2. The gray hair of adultery

Hosea said “you love other gods other than God.” It’s spiritual adultery. We have the idea that because we don’t have idols of wood or stone that we aren’t guilty of idolatry. Oh, but we are! Americans have idols, but they are shaped differently.

1 John 2:15

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Some say, “Preacher, don’t tell me how to live!”

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…

-People want their own way.

James 4:4

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

v. 8 Lot was fine as long as he was with uncle Abraham, but when alone, he saw Sodom and it reminded him of Egypt, and he pitched his tent toward it.

Simon Peter cut off that soldier’s ear in the garden. He boasted that he’d go w/ Jesus ‘til death, and in a matter of hours he was warming himself w/ the enemy and cussing like a sailor, denying Christ.

Paul spoke of Demas who forsook him, loving this present world. It’s amazing how many Christians today are unseparated, and unsanctified.

v. 8 “cake not turned”

Do you like pancakes? Imagine eating one that is raw on one side! Are you a half-baked Christian? Riding the fence? How long halt ye between 2 opinions? Are you both hot and cold? Then as a whole, you’re lukewarm! The most miserable people on earth are Christians who try to have it both ways. They have just enough Jesus in them that they can no longer fully enjoy the world, but they hold onto enough of the world that they can’t enjoy Jesus, or ever live the victorious life of fulfillment He wants for them so much!

Adultery is the desire for “something else.” [materialism / ambition out of balance]

We may have to fellowship w/ unsaved people or work with them, but we shouldn’t keep company with them of our own accord. We shouldn’t frequent their places either. “Love not the world.” In 2005 we became more like the world. Let’s find the fix in 2006!

The gray hair of adultery…

Another is found in v. 7

3. The gray hair of prayerlessness

This is a fundamental cause for all spiritual decline. Just think back to when you first got saved and recall your prayer life.

D. L. Moody – “All my failures are prayer failures.” In other words, prayerlessness is an ‘umbrella sin’ under which all our other sins can stay safe and protected, never brought out into the open!

In the midst of our busy schedules today, and all our service for the Lord we just don’t ‘have time’ anymore to commune with Him. In 2005 we allowed our prayer lives to be crowded out. Let’s find the fix in 2006!

If you could live your Christian life o’er would you read your Bible more or pray more? Reading the Bible is God talking to you, but prayer is you talking to Him. And the former is more important. That sounds like I’m contradicting my point on prayerlessness.

But in Luke 11:1 Jesus is asked by the disciples, “teach us to pray” [not how to, but “to”]. They didn’t ask Him to teach them to preach, but to pray. And then the Lord gave them a model prayer.

How long has it been since you asked God for something definite and He answered your prayer definitely? We pray in vague generalities. Then the devil says, “Oh, that would have happened anyway!”

The gray hair of prayerlessness…

4. The gray hair of weakness

v. 9 “Strangers have devoured his strength.” It’s a lack of fruitfulness…like a tree that is standing but bearing no fruit. Is real fruit resulting from your Christian service? How many have you seen saved? How long have you been saved? It ought to be as natural as bringing babies into this world is to a young couple.

But we’ve become weak and unfruitful. We have no strength. So, question is, where should our strength come from? Physically, from food…and spiritually, from the Word of God! The strangers in v. 9 are others who take the place of what is to be our spiritual nourishment…the other things we feed on. We feed the flesh, we feed our eyes, we feed our pride…but we should be starving our mortal selves and feeding our spirits!

“2 natures beat within my breast…1 is cursed and 1 is blessed.

1 I love and 1 I hate, and the one I feed will dominate!”

In 2005 we have fed our flesh a good bit, esp. during the ‘Holy-days”. Let’s find the fix in 2006!

John 15:16

…I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…

We often work for the Lord in the energy of the flesh, for praise and glory of man, instead of in the energy of the spirit for the praise and glory of God.

How many of you have ever gone out and broken off a cluster of grapes from a vine and chowed down, raise your hands? Aha! I tricked you!

The grapes grow on the branches, not on the vine. Jesus doesn’t bear fruit unless He does it thru us!

Zech. 4:6

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

Next, look at v. 11

5. The gray hair of empty formalism

A dove is a beautiful bird, but “w/out heart” suggests a silly, vain creature.

Titus 1:16

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

– like an iceburg, most of our spirituality should be beneath the surface, where only God can see it! [not for show]

Psalm 51:6

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

– Christianity should an inner reality, not just an outward appearance!

Solomon told his love she had dove’s eyes. What a line! That kind of pickup can work if you back it up with loving actions…more than words!

In 2005 we have found a lot of words but not nearly so much action. Let’s find the fix in 2006!

v. 13-14

6. The gray hair of rebellion

Disobedience is the essence of rebellion. It’s complaining against God. Often we become bitter over His dealings w/ us.

Or, we rebel at a message such as this one, and excuse ourselves from coming to the altar [see #1-Falsehood!] We need to do business w/ God here at the beginning of the year. We need to get rid of these stubborn gray hairs…and how do we do that? Don’t color them, because then they’ll still be there…we have to yank ‘em by the root! That can be painful. I’ve yanked a few since Thanksgiving and it hurts, let me tell you…esp. the ones in the nose or ear! Even worse is when one in the nose is connected to one in the ear! 

These are a few of the gray hairs indicative of spiritual decline.

Why are these gray hairs unobserved by us? Why are we so blind to our own faults? I’ve already mentioned that we don’t like to admit failure.

We are experts at examining others but not ourselves. In 2005 we have taken many long, hard looks at others, but not ourselves! Let’s find the fix in 2006!

We don’t look into the mirror often enough. [God’s Word.]

James 1:22 - 24

Also, we don’t heed the advice of others, or respond to preaching!

“Preacher, what do I do?”

Take away the gray in 3 simple steps:

• Self-examination

Lament. 3:40

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.

• Confession

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

• Progression

1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

[Paul – “forgetting those things which are behind…”]

Hosea 14:1,2,4,9

v. 2 “take with you words and turn to the Lord…”

v. 4 “I will heal their backsliding…”

Let’s find the fix in 2006!

[this idea and outline came from Jack Greene at a recent meeting of NC preachers where my father-in-law was present. Bro. Jack is the surviving brother of Oliver B. Greene, under whose tent ministry my father in law was saved many years ago.]


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