Please turn in your Bibles to Hosea 10:1-8
Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Lord; what then should a king do to us? They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
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As you know, we are in a series titled "Break Up Your Fallow Ground: It Is Time to Seek the Lord" which is based on Hosea 10:12 which reads: "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." In this passage, Hosea urges the children of Israel to turn away from their sins, repent, and get right with God.
As we begin today, Let's take a close look at verse two of this passage. As we go deeper into the context, we see that the Israelites were of a divided heart. They were trying to serve "two masters." They were trying to serve the one true God and the false gods of the Canaanites. Scholars tells us that the Israelites still went up to the temple for feasts and sacrifices, but they also had set up golden calfs and idols inside God's temple. They were committing sacrilege. God condemns the Israelites as "faulty" or guilty because of this action. God's clear command in the Old Testament was to worship only the one, true God.
Just like the Israelites tried to mix the worship of the one, true God with the worship of false gods and idols, the church today is guilty of trying to mix its main mission of preaching the Gospel with a whole lot of other things. I once saw a sign in a church that said: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." My friend, the church has gotten away from doing the main thing. We have been sidetracked from doing our main mission and are now doing some of everything else. We have preachers and churches that are eager to get involved in politics and social issues, but are not eager to get involved in soul-winning.
Just like He did to the Israelites, God will bring His judgment down on us if we don't get back to our single-minded focus of preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is what our country truly needs today. We don't need more pastors getting into politics, or holding rallies, or protesting about this or that. We need more pastors who will preach the unadulterated Word of God.
Now, in this series of messages, we are addressing specific sins that folks in the church need to confess and repent of in order to get our hearts right with God, and so that we can ask God to send revival in our personal lives, our families, our churches, our communities, and our country. So far we have addressed forty-four sins in total, and today, we are going to continue this series by addressing three more sins from our list.
1. The first sin we will address today is the sin of loving this life too much. Jesus said in John 12:25: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the life that God has given you. I can honestly say that I have truly enjoyed my life over the years. But there has to be a line drawn between enjoying your life while you have it and loving your life too much. Just as I enjoy my life, I often tell my family that I am ready to die. In other words, yes, I love life, but I don't love it to the point where I am not ready to give it up if that is God's will.
Part of our calling as Christians is to love God more than we love anything else, including our own lives. If we have this kind of love for God, then we will be willing to undergo discomfort, pain, hardship, and difficulty for the sake of Christ and His work. However, if we love our own lives too much, we will always be thinking about whether or not a certain decision will put us and our livelihood at risk.
For example, if God tells you to leave your well-paying job and take a lower-paying position at a Christian ministry, would you do it? Or would your first concern be about your material possessions, your income, and whether or not you will have to cut back on your lifestyle.
Leonard Ravenhill said, "The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity." Maybe what the church in America needs is a good dose of difficult times so that we will wake up and get back to loving God above all else.
Paul said in Acts 20:24: "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Paul's attitude should be our own. We should not count our lives of any significance outside of the work we do for Jesus Christ.
If you are guilty of loving your life too much, then ask God to forgive you of this sin, and ask Him to create within you the kind of heart that puts His work and His calling above everything else.
2. The second sin we will address today is the sin of causing division in the church. Romans 16:17-18 says, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." The church of Jesus Christ should operate as one, unified body. There are numerous commands in the New Testament which urge believers to "be of one mind" and to "be on one accord."
Jesus Christ said that "two cannot walk together unless they are agreed" and that a "house divided against itself cannot stand." A church will not be able to move forward effectively if people are always stirring up controversy and division between different groups of people, between the pastor and the congregation, or between the pastor and the elders of the church.
Part of the reason why we have so many churches in America is not because of new churches being started, but because of old churches being split because someone caused division among the congregation. I saw a statement that someone posted on the internet the other day which said, "Being angry at your pastor does not give you the right to start your own church."
Notice these verses from Proverbs 6: "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Sowing discord reflects the cunning, conniving, and deceptive nature of Satan, and that is why God calls it an abomination.
As Christians, we need to understand that the most important thing for the church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations. That is the command which Christ gave to His followers just before He went to Heaven. Those who stir up division and strife in the church are hindering that mission from being accomplished.
Are you guilty of causing division in the church or causing division among brothers and sisters in Christ? My friend, you don't want to be standing in the way of accomplishing the mission that Christ gave the church. Confess this sin today and begin to look for ways to foster unity in the church of God.
3. The third sin we will address today is the sin of refusing to hear and obey God's word. The Book of Zechariah talks about the children of Israel who refused to listen to the Prophet: "But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts."
In our society, more and more people are depising the Word of God -- throwing it behind their backs and refusing to take heed to it. Even in the church we have preachers and church members who know what the Bible says and still refuse to do it. Just this past week in Maryland, we had a group of so-called pastors publicly defy the Word of God and say that they are going to support homosexual marriage when God calls homosexuality an abomination in His Word. Now, that is a shame.
One of the reasons why I stopped preaching in so many meetings across the country years ago is because I began to see that so many people in the church have already made up their minds as to what they are going to do and not do, no matter what the Word of God says. Basically, I realized that I was wasting my time trying to tell them anything.
My friend, I hope you don't have this kind of spirit. I hope your heart is still soft and sensitive to the Word of God. Psalm 119:105 calls the Word of God a 'lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.' In other words, the Bible is a guidebook for life. We should listen to it and obey it every day.
If you have been refusing to listen to God's word on some issue in your life, please confess it as sin. And ask God to help you become a doer of the Word and not just a hearer.
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In closing, I want to encourage you to not let any sin that we have discussed today or in previous weeks remain unconfessed. Allow God's Holy Spirit to examine every part of your heart and get rid of anything that is not in line with God's Word. Begin to break up your fallow ground by asking God to forgive you and cleanse you of your sins. Then you can enjoy the sweet fellowship of a relationship with God that is unhindered by sin and wrongdoing.
If the Lord should tarry his coming and we live, I hope that you will be with us next week so we can continue this journey of getting our hearts right with the Lord and getting back to serving Him. Break up your fallow ground: it is time to seek the Lord.
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Now, if you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how you can be saved from sin and the eternal punishment of sin.
All you have to do is believe "that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" and you will be saved. And, like millions of others, you can come to know the risen Lord Jesus Christ for yourself.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
If you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me the following simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read "What To Do After You Enter Through the Door".
God bless you and have a great week.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of sixteen books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel's Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master's degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @danielwhyteiii.
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