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Summary: This message focuses on what a follower of Christ looks like as they sincerely sek to live as God would have them live.

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THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A COVENANT KEEPER.

HOSEA 8:1-14

INTRODUCTION: THE BOOK OF HOSEA, AS WE HAVE SEEN THROUGHOUT THIS SERIES THUS FAR, IS A BOOK OF JUDGMENT. JUDGMENT BOOKS ARE FILLED WITH “NEGATIVES”. WHAT GOD WILL DO AS A RESULT OF UNFAITHFULNESS, SIN, ETC.

THIS MORNING, I WOULD LIKE TO FOCUS ON WHAT A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST LOOKS LIKE AS THEY SINCERELY SEEK TO LIVE AS GOD WOULD HAVE THEM LIVE

AT THE ONSET, WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS HOW GOD SEES OUR LIFE NOW AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST. THIS IS CLEARLY SEEN IN VERSE 1 WHERE GOD REFERS TO OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AS A COVENANT. LITERALLY, THIS WORD MEANS AGREEMENT. GOD LOOKS AT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AS AN AGREEMENT.

WHEN CHRIST CAME INTO OUR LIVES, FORGAVE OUR SIN, AND REGENERATED OUR LIVES, PUTTING TO DEATH OUR RELATIONSHIP TO OUR SIN NATURE, AND GIVING US A NEW NATURE. THE SUM IMPACT OF THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NEW LIVING OF OUR LIVES. WE SHOULD BE LIVING OUR LIVES DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST.

IN VERSE 14, GOD REVEALS THE REAL REASON WE DO NOT LIVE DIFFERENTLY, AS WE SHOULD, AND AS GOD EXPECTS. GOD SAYS THAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN OUR MAKER.

THIS WORD DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE NO LONGER REMEMBER OUR MAKER. YOUR PRESENCE HERE THIS MORNING IS EVIDENCE THAT YOU HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN GOD – YOU REMEMBER HIM. THIS WORD FORGOTTEN DOES NOT REFER TO OUR MEMORY, BUT AS TO WHETHER IT IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT. THE WORD FORGOTTEN MEANS TO NEGLECT.

THE REASON OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD DOES NOT AFFECT OUR LIVES SO THAT WE WOULD LIVE THEM DIFFERENTLY IS BECAUSE THIS NEW LIFE IS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO INVEST OUR LIVES IN.

NEGLECTING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, IS THE ESSENCE OF THE SIN THAT JESUS SAVED US FROM. SEE, WE OFTEN THINK OF SIN AS THE THINGS WE OUGHT NO TO DO. WHAT WE SHOULD EMBRACE IS THAT SIN IS SIMPLY THE EVIDENCE OF OUR BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, REGARDLESS OF WHICH SIDE OF THE WORK OF CHRIST WE ARE ON.

NEGLECT, CAN TAKE MANY FORMS. SOME OF THE SIMPLEST OF THIS NEGLECT ARE ALL AROUND US. WHEN YOU CAME TO CHURCH THIS MORNING, DID YOU TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE? DURING THE SERVICE, HAVE YOU, OR WILL YOU CHECK YOUR EMAIL, SURF THE NET, OR EVEN PLAY A GAME.

THESE SMALL ACTS, AS WELL AS ONES FAR GREATER, ARE EVIDENCE THAT WE HAVE GIVEN GOD, OUR MAKER, INTELLECTUAL ASCENT, BUT HAVE FORGOTTEN AND NEGLECTED HIM MORALLY.

TRANSITION: LET’S LOOK AND SEE SOME OF THE EVIDENCE IN OUR LIVES WHEN GOD IS NOT FORGOTTEN.

I. GODLY LEADERSHIP IS SOUGHT – 8:1-4a

A. WE EMBRACE OUR AGREEMENT WITH GOD – HE WILL BE OUR GOD AND WE WILL BE HIS PEOPLE

B. WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE CANNOT SIN AND HOPE TO RETAIN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

C. WE UNDERSTAND THAT REJECTING GOD IS NEVER GOOD FOR US

D. WE REALIZE THAT IN REJECTING GOD WE GET WHAT WE WANT, BUT LOSE WHAT WE HAVE

1. SAMPSON GOT DELILAH BUT LOST HIS STRENGTH, SIGHT, AND LIFE

2. DAVID GOT BATHSHEBA BUT LOST HIS KINGDOM

3. ACHAN GOT THE GOLD AND SILVER AND LOST HIS FAMILY AND LIFE

WE NEED TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT BIBLICAL LEADERSHIP IN EACH AREA OF OUR LIVE – FAMILY LEADERSHIP, COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP, CHURCH LEADERSHIP, NATIONAL LEADERSHIP

II. IDOLATRY IS RESISTED – 8:4-6

A. WE RESIST ALLOWING ANYTHING TO USURP GOD POSITION IN OUR LIVES

B. WE AVOID ALLOWING OURSELVES TO DILUTE OR PERSONALIZE GOD

C. REMEMBER THE GOLDEN CALF!

1. Exodus 32:5 (NIV) 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD."

2. I AM NOT SURE OF ALL OF THE DYNAMICS INVOLVED HERE, BUT SCRIPTURE DOES TELL US THAT IN THE MIND OF AARON HE WAS DOING THIS FOR GOD (NOTE THE NAME FOR GOD – LORD)

3. THE PEOPLE TOOK WHAT WAS CONSTRUCTED FOR THE LORD (MOSES HAD NOT YET COME DOWN WITH THE 10 COMMANDMENTS FORBIDDING GRAVEN IMAGES) AND TURNED IT INTO SOMETHING ELSE

4. IN ESSENCE THEY HAD TAKEN GOD AND CRAFTED HIM INTO SOMETHING MORE PALATABLE FOR THEM!

D. WE NEED TO ADJUST OURSELVES TO GOD, NOT ADJUST GOD TO US!

III. BIBLICAL ACCOUNTABILITY IS EMBRACED – 8:7-10

A. GOD IS CONCERNED WITH OUR RELATIONSHIPS.

B. WRONG RELATIONSHIPS ARE FUTILE SPIRITUALLY

C. WE REAP WHAT WE SO.

D. SOWING TO THE WIND IS NON-PRODUCTIVE, AND ONLY COMPOUNDS THE VANITY OF THOSE EFFORTS

E. WHEN GIVEN A CHOICE, WHO DO WE CHOOSE TO ALIGN OURSELVES WITH.

F. WHO DO WE CHOSE TO EMULATE.

G. THOSE WHO FOLLOW GOD WILL CHOSE THEIR ASSOCIATIONS WITH SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

IV. REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS SOUGHT – 8:11-13

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