What manner of love is this?

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For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Steve Jobs

working at change

ON THE ROAD TO RESTORATION
RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS
HOSEA 3
Hosea 3:1-5 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.

INTRODUCTION: Hosea 3 is perhaps one of the greatest chapters in all of the Bible. James Boice says this about Hosea 3, “The third chapter of Hosea is, in my judgment, the greatest chapter in the Bible, because it portrays the greatest story in the Bible—the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for his people—in the most concise and poignant form to be found anywhere.” This chapter is a story of love reviewed, renewed, and rekindled. Now, that is not to say that what happens in this third chapter is easy – far from it! What we do see is that even in the direst of circumstances, the biblical pattern of God’s Word and the practical illustration of that in biblical living are possible, and the effect profound!
So, let us take a look at what God asks of Hosea (and us) when it comes to restoring relationships

I. GOD’S COMMAND TO RESTORE RELATIONSHIPS – HOSEA 3:1
A. THIS COMMAND TO HOSEA IS MODELED IN THE CROSS WORK OF JESUS CHRIST.
B. JESUS IS THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF REVEALED, DEMONSTRATIVE LOVE.
C. HOSEA AND HIS ACTIONS ARE A TYPE OF CHRIST
1. HOSEA IS COMMANDED TO ACT
a. HOSEA IS TO GO – TO ACT FIRST AND PROACTIVELY
b. HOSEA IS TO SHOW LOVE
1) THE WORD USED FOR LOVE SPEAKS OF GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE
2) WE WERE THE MOST UNLOVABLE WHEN WE WERE SEPARATED BY SIN FROM OUR CREATOR AND GOD.
3) GOD, ACTIVELY AND PROACTIVELY SHOWED HIS LOVED TOWARDS US IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST
2. HOSEA IS COMMANDED TO ACT WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT HAS AND IS HAPPENING
a. GOMER HAS LEFT HOSEA
b. GOMER IS INVOLVED IN ADULTERY
c. GOD, THROUGH CHRIST HAS ACTED WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR CONDITION
1) ACTIVELY IN REBELLION AGAINST HIM
2) IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE DESIRES AND ACTIONS OF SATAN
3) WHILE EXISTING AS AN ENEMY OF GOD
3. HOSEA IS COMMANDED TO ACT TOWARDS GOMER AS GOD ACTS TOWARDS ISRAEL, AND WOULD ULTIMATELY ACT TOWARDS US THROUGH CHRIST
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: IN ANY SITUATION IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMANDS OF GOD REGARDLESS OF THE SEVERITY OF THE SITUATION OR THE PERSONAL DISCOMFORT IT MAY CAUSE US!
II. GOD’S PROCESS IN RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS – HOSEA 3:2-4
A. RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS INVOLVES SACRIFICE
1. HOSEA PAID A PRICE FOR HIS WIFE – HE REDEEMED HER FROM HER CURRENT SITUATION
a. SITUATION OF SEPARATION
b. SITUATION OF SIN
c. SITUATION OF SLAVERY
2. REDEMPTION IS A PRICE ON ONE SIDE THAT GRACE CAN BE EXTENDED ON THE OTHER SIDE
WE ARE OR WERE ON THE AUCTION BLOCK OF SIN. THE WORLD BIDS WEALTH, FAME, INFLUENCE AND POWER; JESUS BIDS HIS BLOOD.
B. RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS IN NOT ALWAYS
FAIR
1. WE ARE NEVER SECURE WITH THE POSITION THAT WE HAVE DONE OUR PART AND NOW IT IS THE TURN OF SOMEONE ELSE.
2. SOME WILL NOT MAKE THE FIRST MOVE – HARDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS.
3. SOME CANNOT MAKE THE FIRST MOVE – SHAME OR FEAR
4. GOD ASKS US TO MAKE THE FIRST MOVE
a. RESTORATION IS BASED ON OUR OWN PERSONAL DESIRE TO RECONCILE
b. THE BIBLICAL PERSON IS THE ONE WHO STEPS UP TO RESTORE, NOT WAIT FOR RESTORATION TO COME TO HIM!
c. MOVING FIRST INVOLVES
1) LOVING THE UNLOVELY – EASY TO HOLD ONTO BITTERNESS; MERCY REQUIRES GOD’S GRACE
2) ASSUMING THE COST OF THE RELATIONSHIP. WITH REGARD TO US, GOD TOOK THE INITIATIVE AND GOD ABSORBED THE COST!
3) ACKNOWLEDGING OUR PART
a) LOVE THOSE WHO HAVE WRONGED YOU
b) MAKE RESTORATION A PRIORITY
c) CONFESS OUR PART IN THE PROCESS
d) SEEK FORGIVENESS
e) MAINTAIN A HUMBLE SPIRIT
f) GIVE FORGIVENESS
PRACTICAL CHALLENGE: IF RESTORATION IS A PROACTIVE ACT, ORDAINED BY GOD, WHY WHAT KEEPS US FROM FOLLOWING GOD’S WILL IN THIS AREA?
III. GOD’S FOCUS IN RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS – HOSEA 3:5
A. PEOPLE CAN BE RESTORED
B. PEOPLE CAN CHANGE
C. THE ISSUE IS NOT CAN WE DO THIS (WILL RETURN), THE QUESTION IS WILL WE DO THIS!
D. CONSEQUENCES OF UNRESTORED LIVING
1. WE LIVE IN DECEPTION – WE GET WHAT WE WANT AND LOSE WHAT WE HAVE
The Eskimo uses a deceptive tactic to hunt and kill a wolf. He coats his knife with blood and lets it freeze. Then he adds another coat of blood and then another. As each coat freezes, he adds another smear of blood until the blade is coated over by layers of frozen blood. He then buries the knife in the frozen tundra with the blade facing up. The wolf catches the scent of fresh blood and begins to lick it. He licks it more feverishly until the blade is bare. Then the wolf keeps on licking harder. Because of the cold, he never notices the pain of the blade on his tongue. His craving for the taste of blood is so great that he licks the blade till he bleeds to death, swallowing his own life. The wolf is deceived. He gets what he wants but loses what he had, his own life.
2. WE ARE DISTRACTED FROM GOD’S BLESSINGS – WE FORGET ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US
3. WE BECOME DENSE SPIRITUALLY – BECAUSE PHARAOH WOULD NOT LISTEN TO THE COMMAND OF GOD TO LET HIS PEOPLE GO, HE HARDENED HIS HEART.
4. WE ARE DELAYED IN OUR OWN WALK WITH GOD. PAUL SAYS WE HAVE BECOME “BEWITCHED”, THE WRITER OF HEBREWS SAYS WE CANNOT RUN THE RACE WITH “DILIGENCE”
5. WE BECOME DEAF TO THE TRUTH. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD SOMETHING PREACHED FROM A PULPIT, OR TAUGHT, AND DISMISSED IT REGARDING OURSELVES, YET KNEW OF OTHERS WHO COULD BENEFIT FROM HEARING WHAT WE HEARD. MANY OF US ARE DEAF TO THE CONVICTING POWER OF TH WORD BECAUSE WE HOLD ON TO PATTERNS THAT ARE NOT HONORING TO GOD!
6. WE BECOME DISTANT FROM THE LORD
7. WE DISGUISE OURSELVES LIKE THE PHARISEES
PRACTICAL QUESTION: WILL YOU RESTORE THE BROKEN RELATIONSHIP(S) IN YOUR LIFE NOW, LATER, OR NEVER?

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