Fired Up, But Only Half Baked

Text: Hosea 7:1-10

 

I.         We admire those driven by a passion for the things that they do.

            A.        Radio and TV shows that feature people passionately defending their views are popular.

            B.        In religion as well, people are drawn to groups that display rich emotions.

            C.        Passion is wonderful if it is directed in the right direction.

                        1.         Jesus’s passion led to the cleansing of God’s house - John 2:13-17

                        2.         But too often people seek passion for its own sake.

                        3.         In the heat of passion they do not stop to inquire if they are heading in the right direction.

II.        The nation of Ephraim, the northern Kingdom of Israel, was all fired up

            A.        It appeared that they were eager to serve God - Hosea 6:1-3

            B.        But God saw that it was all shallow and transient - Hosea 6:4

            C.        Evil deeds were rampant, but notice Hosea 7:2

                        1.         People tend to see God as an extension of themselves.

                        2.         When God does not immediately act, they believe God did not notice.

                        3.         When punishment does not arrive, they believe God will forget.

                        4.         There is forgetfulness, but not on the part of God - Isaiah 1:2-3

                        5.         They did not understand where their actions were leading them - Deuteronomy 32:28-29

            D.        Their leaders were pleased with the corruption - Hosea 7:3

                        1.         Reminds me of business leaders who overlook lying and cheating among their sales staff so long as profits are up.

                        2.         Some leaders want to hear what they expect, even if it is a lie.

                                    a.         When Ahab planned an attack, he was told what he wanted to hear - I Kings 22:6

                                    b.         When a prophet of God was summoned, he was warned as to the proper answer - I Kings 22:13

                                    c.         You see God knew he preferred the lie - I Kings 22:20-22

                                    d.         Even when Ahab was told the truth, he still did as he desired. He followed the lie and had the prophet imprisoned - I Kings 22:26-28

                        3.         Those who give approval are condemned along with those who commit the deeds - Romans 1:32

            E.        They warmed themselves with sexual sins - Hosea 7:4

                        1.         It reminds me of Thyatira. Their deeds were growing, but immorality had crept in - Revelation 2:19-20

                        2.         Hosea compared them to an oven, where the coals are stirred to get the oven going.

            F.        They fired themselves up with liquor - Hosea 7:5

                        1.         Alcohol and other drugs remove inhibitions. You feel free to do as you please

                        2.         Here fuel is added to the fire

            G.        They smoldered while they laid plans - Hosea 7:6

                        1.         People plot how to do evil - Micah 2:1-2

                        2.         Some people can’t sleep well unless they make others miserable - Proverbs 4:14-16

                        3.         Like an oven loaded, but closed down too soon, it gets hotter and hotter. When the doors are reopened there is a flash of flame.

            H.        They mixed with the nations - Hosea 7:8

                        1.         Unsatisfied with being God’s people, they sought out the ways of others.

                        2.         Psalms 106:34-36

III.       The result was their own destruction. They consumed themselves with their passion - Hosea 7:7

            A.        It is interesting to read of the succession of kings in Israel - II Kings 15:8,10,13-14, 23, 25, 27, 30

                        1.         Kings are murdered, their murderers become king only to be in turned assassinated.

                        2.         Violence breeds violence

            B.        They are like a pancake place on a too hot griddle – burnt on one side and uncooked on the other.

            C.        Worse, they did not recognize their predicament - Hosea 7:9

            D.        They did not look to God for aid - Hosea 7:7

            E.        In their pride they thought they could solve their own problems - Hosea 7:10

IV.      What this means to you and I

            A.        Zeal that is not directed toward serving God is not good.

                        1.         The zeal becomes a fire without control and it will destroy.

                        2.         So many measure churches by the emotions invoked without looking for obedience to God.

                                    a.         If you ask what is attractive about group X, you hear about how fired up they are about God.

                                    b.         Yet, if you ask about what they do or what they accomplish, you soon find they are involved in practices not authorized by God.

                        3.         Much like Paul’s lament over his Jewish brothers - Romans 10:1-3

            B.        Zeal is not the goal

                        1.         So many look at the denominations and long for their “fun”

                        2.         They bring in ideas and practices, never stopping to think if God would approve.

                        3.         They intermix – “We are all Christians, we just have different ways of serving.”

                        4.         Just as ancient Israel intermixed with the nations around them, so the church dilutes itself with denominations. Just as Israel destroyed its, so has the church.

                        5.         We too can become half-baked – over doing and under doing God’s will at the same time. The result being an unappetizing mess that is nothing as God intended.

            C.        Be careful of those who put all their emphasis on the fire and neglect the product.