Today’s Reading: Hos 8:1–10:15, Acts 4:1–37, Job 16:1–9
Today’s Theme: Rebellion vs God’s Spirit
Today’s theme will look at the futility of our natural state of rebellion vs the supernatural empowerment of God’s Holy Spirit to live lives in faith and obedience to God and His word.
Do not rebel against God
They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. Hosea 8:4 (ESV)
This is not a good place to be in, we should be careful not to walk in rebellion or God may leave us to our own plans in judgement.
This also reminds us that we must seek God’s guidance in all that we do.
Be careful about what you invest in
For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. Hosea 8:7 (ESV)
We should be careful where we spend our time, money and resources because we will reap what we sow.
Sacrifices are not an end in themselves
As for my sacrificial offerings, they sacrifice meat and eat it, but the LORD does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. Hosea 8:13 (ESV)
Sacrifices are not an end in themselves, we may make them and God not accept them because we only make the sacrifice to make up for the lack of love, affection, desire and obedience we have toward God.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can appease God with religious duty. He is seeking a faithful and fruitful relationship with you not a phoney externalised religiosity.
God is no automatic impersonal force, the bible teaches us that God is a person and operates on the basis of relationship.
The deceitful pleasure of Sin
Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors. Hosea 9:1 (ESV)
Do we like the reward or pay off from prostituting our devotion to God with the world?
We must not be negligent to the fact that sin is pleasurable. We must recognise that this pleasure pales into insignificance when compared to the pleasures found in God.
Don’t get choked by things
For behold, they are going away from destruction; but Egypt shall gather them; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents. Hosea 9:6 (ESV)
This reminds me of those who heard the word but the cares of this life choke it out.
In Jesus own words from Matthew 13:22 “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
You become what you love
Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved. Hosea 9:10 (ESV)
The words “became detestable like the thing they loved.” reminds us that we become what we love. We have to be careful with our affections. Ultimately we should set our affections on God and become more like Him.
God hates the wicked (sinners)!
Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels. Hosea 9:15 (ESV)
God does not just hate the sin as this verse and many others display. Also it doesn’t say He hates what they do. It says He hates them because of their evil deeds, man is culpable and responsible for his deeds before God.
Consider this, sin will not be consigned to hell for all eternity, sinners will.
We need to preach the full context of the Gospel that God is angry with us for our sin and will judge each of us personally for our sin because He hates one who commits sins. Yet because of His love for mankind He has made a way of escape and because of His particular love for His elect He has saved us.
The prosperity test
Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars and destroy their pillars. Hosea 10:2 (ESV)
Riches and prosperity can test our hearts to see whether we are genuine or not, will our hearts prove to be false?
God must be our greatest treasure.
The political idols
For now they will say: “We have no king, for we do not fear the LORD; and a king—what could he do for us?” Hosea 10:3 (ESV)
This is the political state of the west where God is not honoured and leadership is scorned. We should consider this as we pray for our nations.
Ideas like Socialism, Communism and Capitalism all have consequences especially when belief in these political systems seeks to usurp God’s place and His personal and delegated pattern of authority.
Break up the hard ground
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12 (ESV)
This is a great call to repentance, restoration and sanctification. This can apply to us as well, Jesus said His yoke is easy and burden is light as mentioned in the previous verse but if we walk in wickedness, then we will burden ourselves with a great yoke and with work to do.
It is hard to break up hard uncultivated ground, but our lack of trusting in God will leave us with this great burden and work which Jesus did not intend for our neck. ( See next verse).
The promise of the Gospel
greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Acts 4:2 (ESV)
This is a key message and promise of the Gospel. We need to let the world know that there is a hope for resurrection in Jesus to eternal life.
The Gospel is more than just the great escape from Hell.
The victory of the gospel
But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. Acts 4:4 (ESV)
Luke is reminding us here that this was a great victory, even though they were imprisoned, five thousand were saved.
If we are faithful in our proclamation of the Gospel, God will be glorified.
The Holy Spirit speaks
let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. Acts 4:10 (ESV)
As Jesus had promised, they would be filled with the Spirit when standing before accusers
Listen to the boldness of Peters declaration empowered by the Spirit… just wonderful.
Today we must also rely on the Holy Spirit to speak through us.
Jesus is the only way
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (ESV)
Peter outlines clearly the exclusivity of the Gospel message. Jesus is the only way.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 (ESV)
The confidence they spoke with reflected the Lordship of Jesus. We need to remember this, we can speak boldly because of who Jesus is and because we spend time with Jesus.
Speak from your experience with the Lord
for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20 (ESV)
Peter and John were not just speaking from what Jesus had taught them they were speaking from their experience with Him too. We must also do this.
God is Sovereign
while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 (ESV)
This prayer (verse 28 – 30) recognises God as sovereign even over the cross
This is what we should pray for when our faith comes under fire, Lord please give me boldness.
The apostles recognised that even the healing was not coming from some special gift possessed by them but God working through them.
Filled to persevere
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31 (ESV)
Notice this time they were filled with the Holy Spirit to persevere in speaking boldly. We need this too.
Taking care of each others needs
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Acts 4:34–35 (ESV)
This is the great vision of God’s kingdom which in some ways we have lost today. Crippled by pragmatism and conventional wisdom, we would see such devotion and abandon as irresponsible.
At the same time we must look at this in context, this did seem to be a special event at the start of the church. Later through Paul’s writing we hear that the church at Jerusalem was poor so he took a collection for them.
Also note that although land owners sold their land I’m sure they still had somewhere to live, Note also that in the mind of these believers Christ could return at any moment. It is a lesson for us about how we live our lives in this present world in regards to our possessions and the needs of others
“I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Job 16:2 (ESV)
I must admit this made me laugh when I first read it this morning, but looking at it again we should be grateful that we have the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 4
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