Big Idea: God loves us by allowing us to feel the painful consequences of our sin.

This is part 2 of a message entitled “Tough Love.”  In part 1 we learned that God loves us by removing His protective hand from our lives and allowing us to feel the painful consequences of our sin.  In part 2 we learned from Hosea that if we persist in our sin, we are essentially telling God to stay out of our lives, and He just might do that.  This happened in the case of the Israelites.  So how did it get that far with them?

The spiritual and political leaders told God to stay out (Hosea 5:1-2). It is sad when leaders guide their people down a sinful path, but God will hold them accountable- saved or unsaved.  We need to remember this in our own homes as well.  Men, you are also held accountable for the spiritual state of your home.  Remember,  spiritual growth will not just happen, and you cannot coast; you can either get hotter or colder toward Christ; there is no middle ground.

The people’s sins told God to stay out (Hosea 5:3-5).  Their sin established a tension between two truths: God always forgives, but people can get so deep in their sin that their hearts become calloused and they never get back to Christ.

The people’s false religion told God to stay out (Hosea 5:6-7).  Even in all their years of sinfulness, Israel continued to go through the right spiritual motions; they were “perfect cultural Christians.”  However, their hearts were far from God, and Hosea said they would not find Him because He had withdrawn Himself from them.  This ought to wake us up!

What does it look like if we stiff-arm God and keep Him at a distance?  Here are some examples.  Do you hold onto certain sins and never get serious about changing?  Do you participate in church on a cursory level and never dive into the Word or community?  Do you justify your sin by saying it is just someone’s opinion?  Do you regularly ignore the biblical advice of spiritual people in your life?  In all those instances, you are essentially telling God you don’t need Him and want to live your own way.

So what do we learn from the Israelite’s example?  We tend to think God has a lightning bolt in His hand ready to strike us when we do something wrong.  Or as soon as something bad happens in our life, we wonder what we did to make God do that to us.  This is terrible theology.  The root of the word “discipline” is “disciple” meaning it is training or learning.  How does God teach us?

God’s disciplinary hand often shows itself in the form of…

Correlative lessons.  Sometimes bad things happen in life that are not necessarily caused by our own sin.

Corrective lessons.  This is when God allows us to experience the natural, painful consequences of our own sin.  

Confrontational lessons.  God may even stir up instances where we experience the consequences of our own sin even more by bringing other people to confront us.

Hosea 5:15 says God is like a lion who has attacked his prey and is going back to its lair to wait until the people realize their desperate situation, call on Him, and earnestly seek him.  Why?  Because he wants us to know that life stinks without Him.

Think through where you are in your life.  Are you in sin?  There is grace!  Jesus died and rose victorious for that sin.  Please wake up and run back to the arms of Christ.  If you are not in sin, continue to strengthen your relationship with your Father.  Seek the face of God through Jesus and recite the Gospel daily.  

Lord, thank you for helping us grow!  Do a work in our lives and help us to understand just how much we need Jesus.

Tweetable Quotes:

Sometimes when we tell God to stay out of lives, He just might do that.  #iamgomer

You can either get hotter or colder toward Christ; there is no middle ground.  #iamgomer

Lord, do a work in our lives and help us to understand just how much we need Jesus.  #iamgomer

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