Summary: No matter how hard we try, sin is a reality even in the life of God=s children.
WHEN GOD=S PEOPLE SIN
INTRO: Calvin Coolidge was known as a man of few words, a fact confirmed in a conversation he had with his wife one day. Coolidge returned from a church service which his wife had not attended. She asked, ACalvin, what did the preach¬er talk about today?@ ASin,@ he replied. AWhat did the pastor say about sin?@ she asked further. Coolidge answered, AHe was against it!@
In our best moments, all of us would agree with that evaluation of sin. Neverthe¬less, we often allow sin to set up residence in our lives. It could be the great sins of indifference, omission, or some other. No matter how hard we try, sin is a reality even in the life of God=s children.
It was sin in the life of God=s children in Israel that evoked the prophetic mes¬sage of Hosea. He was born in the Northern Kingdom and spent his life there. It was there he prophesied. He was the son of Beeri (1:1), married to Gomer, and the father of three children. The period in which he prophesied was a time of chaotic disorder and a time of a dramatic shift of power (see 2 Kings 14:24-18:12).
The first of the book focuses on a personal problem in Hosea=s life which be¬came the backdrop for his prophecy to the nation. Hosea=s experience with his wife Gomer, who turned from him to an adulterous relationship with other men, led Hosea to a disturbing discovery. Israel had done the same thing to God that Gomer had done to him. Hosea thereby became the instrument by which God called Israel back to the faith.
What was the problem? God=s people had sinned. It is a message about sin is one we need to hear today.
I. THE RESULT OF SIN.
A minister announced to his congregation that there were 375 specific sins. One of his parishioners wanted a list after the service, to make sure he wasn=t missing anything! Actually, there is nothing frivolous about sin. It will eventually destroy everything beautiful and worthwhile in your life.
What does sin do? What are the results of sin in the lives of God=s chil¬dren?
Sin distorts our lives. Paul says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. That means every time we sin, something dies. The personal effect of sin is that our lives are robbed of their joy and fulfillment.
This note of personal destruction is sounded throughout our text. AIsrael and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity@ (v. 5). ANow the new moon festivals will devour them with their land@ (v. 7). AEphraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke@ (v. 9). Sin deprives us of the joy of our salvation.
Sin also disrupts our relationship with God. This not of spiritual separa¬tion is sounded throughout Hosea=s prophecy. ATheir deeds will not allow them to return to their God@ (v. 4). AThey do not know the Lord@ (v. 4). AThey will go with their flocks and herds to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him@ (v. 6). AI will go away and return to My place@ (v. 15). Separation from God=s presence, separation from God=s power, separation from God=s purpose, separation from God=s provision--that is the ultimate tragic result of our sin.
ILLUS: Wayne Dehoney tells of two portraits that Rembrandt painted of him¬self. The first, as a young man, shows him as a handsome youth with the lamp of love burning in his eyes. He is a man full of potential whose creative genius is evident. Twenty years later, he painted another portrait of himself.
During these twenty years Rembrandt had denied himself no pleasure. He sought out every delight. The second self-portrait shows the mark of sin on his life for the joy and potential of the young man has been replaced by a face marked with the lines of sinful living, with eyes dull and without vision.
This is what sin does to us. As James put it in his epistle, AThen when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death@ (Jas. 1:15, NASB).
II. THE REMEDY FOR SIN.
If Hosea ceased his prophetic message of judgment with verse 14, the pain of it would be more than we could bear. Thank God for the word until. God said, AI will go away and return to My place until...@ (v. 15).
Until is a word of hope. It is a word of promise. It is a word that opens the door to a second chance. Sin will destroy our lives and disrupt our relationship with God until. Until what? What is the remedy for sin? Hosea suggests two steps.
The first step is to repent: AUntil they acknowledge their guilt@ (v. 15). That is the step that leads to reconciliation with God.