04 Jun 2023

“Hesed” [Hosea 1:1]


Hesed. It's a Hebrew word that means loyal or steadfast love. Psalm 136 is a song about the steadfast love of the Lord. And Hosea is a book about the loyal love of God despite Israel's unfaithfulness. Hosea is written to Israel and to us, the readers, to: 1. Confront our Rebellion. The number one problem of all humanity is that of sin. Hosea confronted Israel regarding her sin against God. They were unfaithful to Him, and have failed Him repeatedly. As such, Hosea warns of impending judgment. Today, the Bible confronts us about our sin, and of God's impending judgment too. 2. Call for Repentance.   Hosea was not written only to inform of sin, but to call Israel and us to repentance as well. Clearly, this represents a way back to God. It is not over for you. You can come back to God today! And it is a command you will have to obey (Acts 17:30). 3. Comfort through Redemption. Though there is a threat of judgment for sinners, the Bible holds out the glorious hope of forgiveness and salvation. It will be accomplished through "David the King", which is a reference to the "Son of David" the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. May you find comfort and true salvation through repentance and faith today



Sermon Transcript

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This morning, we are starting a new book in the Bible. We have journeyed through First and Second Corinthians for close to two years. So after close to two years, finally we say, we're coming to a new book.

Well, er.. I had a little bit of reflection. Er, I started pastoral ministry in Gospel Light in 2006. That's about 17 years ago. And we started with the Gospel of John. And I started with this simple goal of saying, maybe, if I could, it will be such a privilege to study the Bible together with you. So going through all the books of the Bible.

I'm not sure if I can do that. Because number one, I'm not sure if I'm going to live that long. Uh.. number two, I'm not sure if the church will kick me out somewhere in the middle. But that was my simple goal, just taking people through the Bible and hoping to do it in an alternating fashion, that is to say, to take the people through both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

I didn't want the church to think that we today can only appreciate the New Testament. And that the Old Testament is irrelevant or outdated, or out of fashion and so on. Because the Bible itself declares all Scripture is profitable.

So that's what we did and that's what I wanted us to be able to appreciate. So our journey through these two segments of the Bible, I hope has been enriching for you all. It has been for me. It's an easy plan but it's a very fulfilling journey so far. And before I go further, I just want to thank all of you for bearing with me all these years.

So let me take you through some of the places we've been through in the Bible. Uh, in a chronological or in a sequential manner, we.. we looked at Genesis. This is not the first book we started but it's the first book of the Bible. So that's where we start. This is something we looked at before Corinthians. I think you'll be familiar with it, many of you will be familiar with it.

Uh.. very, very early on in my pastoral ministry, we looked at the book of Exodus. So it's a bit of a reverse sequence. But we looked at Exodus. Then we looked at some of the historical books but in a limited sense, in that we looked at the life of David, through the passages in particular in First Samuel.

Then we had the book of Nehemiah. I think many of you would have forgotten this series, it's so long ago. And we looked at Ecclesiastes. Er, it's a poetical book in the Bible and we also looked at Song of Solomon.

Now, just for info, we have looked at the Pentateuch, we have looked at the historical books, we have looked at the poetic books, and we have also looked at one prophetic book - the major prophet, Daniel.

So these are the genres we have gone through, I think it's a good spread. You say, why did I choose these books? Because I wanted to study them myself, huk. And so I dragged you along with me in the various genres we had to go through.

Now in the New Testament, when we first came to Punggol, I thought it should be something easy, something that is very focused on Jesus, and so we started with the book of Matthew. As mentioned, we actually looked at John many years ago, ah.. 17 years ago.

Then we had a to me a very foundational journey through the book of Romans. That's 10 years ago. And to date, I think this is one of my highlights or favourite memories in our preaching journey so far.

We looked at First and Second Corinthians, I think you're familiar. We also looked at Philippians, Ephesians and the book of Hebrews. This was just before we came to Punggol. And we also had a look at First John.

So, 15 books in 17 years, I need to catch up quite fast. I want an average of one a year lah.

Uh.. so today we're looking at the book of Hosea. Ho seh leow, all right, we are coming to Hosea. Uh, this is a fourteen-chapter book but it will only take about 9 to 10 weeks. We are not going to cover it as intensely as some of the epistles that we have gone through. I don't think it deserves that kind of a treatment. So it takes about 9 to 10 weeks.

So, by the end of this year, we should enter our 17th book after Hosea. So that's kind of an average record I'm looking at.

Now Hosea, it's one of the Minor Prophets. You say why minor? Is it because he is very unimportant? No. He's.. it's Minor Prophet because of the length. There are Major Prophets - long prophetic books like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, super long. But Hosea, Micah, Amos and so on, they are called Minor Prophets not because their message is not important but because they are shorter.

So we're looking at Hosea today. And for this first session, I just want to have a bird's eye view, maybe a 36,000 feet view from the aircraft. Just having a big picture idea of what Hosea is about.

So very simply, I want to introduce you to the who, what, where, when and why of this book. So we looked at, let's look at who, who wrote this book? I think this is simple. Er, it's called Hosea because it's written by Hosea. And it is very clear from verse 1.

Today, we're just looking at Hosea 1:1. You see, scripture reading so short. Yup, because we're just looking at Hosea 1:1, serving as an introduction to an overview of this book.

The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri. Now, that's all the background information we have of Hosea. We do not know his tribe, his genealogy, his lineage. We do not know very much about his family, except that he's the son of Beeri. That's all we know because Hosea is not really spoken much of elsewhere in the Bible. So that's all we know about our author.

And where is the book largely based on? It's largely based on the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This is some 250 years after David's reign. And Israel has now split into two empires. The northern part is called Israel and the southern part is now called Judah. It's the time of divided kingdoms.

So this book is written by the prophet Hosea, who is from Israel to the nation of Israel. That's what it is. Some parts of Hosea would address the people in Judah but that's by the way. The major audience is the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

When is this book written? Well, we think that this is, er.. or we are told that this is during the reign of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. So in those days, over this period, there were four kings. They didn't reign for very long. So in four kings, they succeeded their fathers in ruling the Southern Kingdom. And in the Northern Kingdom, this man named Jeroboam reigned for a long time. So this gives us the marker, the timing of the book of Hosea.

What is this timing like? It's about 750 to 720+ BC. You can't be absolutely accurate about this. So this is close to 3,000 years ago, or some 800 years before Jesus came into this world. As I've said, this is the time of the divided kingdoms. So there's a reference to the kings of Judah and the kings or the king in Israel.

Uh, this would make Hosea a contemporary with the prophets Micah, Isaiah and Amos. So when you read about Isaiah and Amos, the situation would be about the same time. So that's how you should read the prophets. Uh, they are with regards to the circumstance, the situation in those days.

Now if this is the timing, these are the kings who have been ruling, then you would know that Hosea would be the last prophet that God gives to the Northern Kingdom of Israel before the Assyrians would come and invade them. So Hosea represents the last, the final warning to the people of Israel. They have been living in sin, in idolatry, in rebellion. God has sent many prophets, they still won't listen. Now God sends Hosea and they still won't listen. So in 722 BC, the Assyrians came and destroyed Israel as it were.

Thereafter, they brought in people from different lands and the people of Israel then had relationships with these foreigners. They intermingled and therefore you have the mixed breed of people called the Samaritans. And that is what you read of in the Gospels when Jesus was walking on earth. So that's what happened. They did not listen to the warnings of Hosea and the nation fell away.

So, uh this period when Jeroboam was king was a time of economic and military prosperity. They succeeded here but there were great spiritual failures. They fell away from God. It was a time filled with idolatry. So even though they were successful in the outward things of life, they ultimately failed in the most important thing of life - life with God.

So, let's go to the what. If this was written by Hosea for the Northern Kingdom of Israel and it was a time of great importance because it was the final warning, what is the message of Hosea?

It's a very simple message, if I may summarize. It's perhaps best encapsulated or crystallized in this one word - Hesed or Chesed in the Hebrew language. It's the word that means.. it's a word that people say very hard to translate in other languages but maybe the best attempt to translate hesed would be the word or the phrase 'loyal love'.

In Hosea 2:19 for example, God said, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. The word there is hesed or loyal love, the unwavering commitment and love of God for His people.

This is a word that occurs a lot in the Old Testament. For example, if you look at Psalm 136. Some of you may be curious, you flip your Bible or you turn your page to Psalm 136, you would see that Psalm 136 is made up of 26 sentences and every sentence is a song, you see, it's a psalm. And every sentence ends with this phrase 'and His steadfast love endures forever'. His hesed. We are singing about God's loyal love.

So what is Hosea about? Hosea is about God's hesed, God's loyal love. And it is about God's loyal love despite Israel's unfaithfulness. That, I think, is that thematic message of the book of Hosea.

So in a very loose way, I say loose because it's very hard to carve Hosea up into these neat categories. But I think if I were to look at Hosea today, I would think of it or summarize in my mind to be in these four sections.

Chapters 1 to 3 are super familiar passages because it is a dramatic story of Hosea and Gomer, his wife. Because God intends that marriage to be a picture of Israel's unfaithfulness and God's loyal love. So Gomer will be unfaithful to Hosea but Hosea is called to still love his wife. So there is a story or a symbol that starts the book off in Chapters 1 to 3.

Thereafter, God is going to confront Israel with her sins. Delineate in what ways have they fallen from God, failed God and been unfaithful to God - Chapters 4 to 7. Of course there'll be things like judgment and so on but by and large, Chapters 4 to 7, a lot about their sins.

And then we're going to look at the sufferings. God is going to pronounce His sentencing, His judgment on the unfaithful people of Israel. So we're going to see the sufferings in Chapters 8 to 13 before the book closes in Chapter 14 with a grand message of salvation.

God is still going to practise hesed on His people. They are unfaithful. They will be chastised. They will be disciplined. But God has not given up on His people. God is still going to love His people because that's the message of Hosea - Hesed.

So, the message is written by Hosea to the people of northern Israel, during a time when they were living in great unfaithfulness and rebellion against God. The message of Hosea is: in spite of your unfaithfulness, God is still loyal in love toward you.

So finally, why? Why then is this written for the people of Israel and why then is it written for us? We understand that the Bible was not written just for the people in those days. The Bible is written for all of us, for the subsequent generations who will read it. So why tell us this message of hesed?

Well, I'm going to spend the remaining time I have, just looking at this concept of hesed and the purpose of this book. So this is, like I said, a bird's eye view. Why Hosea? So what if we know the message of hesed - God's loyal love? How is this going to make a difference in our lives?

1. Confront
Well, I think Hosea had a message for the people of Israel for three things. Number one: Hosea is going to confront Israel for her sins. Sin is what God is going to focus on or Hosea is going to focus on. Sin is the number one problem in the Bible. Sin is the ultimate problem in the Bible.

In Gospel Light, we talk quite a bit about sin. Er.. we have Pastor Sin Yu Fei, Pastor Nazario Sinon and Haniel Sinon. Well, we..we talk quite a bit about sin, not because of the names of our pastors, but really because it is the number one problem in the Bible.'ve got to understand the Bible. talks a lot about sin. Now in this world, today we talk a lot about our problems financially, medically, socially, politically. There are many problems in this world but the ultimate problem of all life is sin.

From Genesis, we see that when sin has come in, the world then suffers. So Hosea has a message for Israel. It's not about their economy. It's not about their military might. It's not about their social strata. It's about sin.

So, for example in Chapter 4, we read, Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel. For the LORD has a controversy, has an argument, has a quarrel, has a dispute - that's the meaning of the word there. With the inhabitants of the land.

So what is God quarreling or arguing or disputing with Israel over? There is no faithfulness or steadfast love and no knowledge of God in the land. They have forsaken Me. And as a result of how they have forsaken Me and rebelled against Me, they are now filled with sins in the nation.

There is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, committing adultery. They break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed. All that flows because they have broken covenant with God.

You see, God has a very special relationship with the people of Israel. Both Israel and Judah, they come from the same stock. And you would know that hundreds or thousands of years before this, their ancestors were slaves in Egypt. And God mightily brought them out of Egypt. Brought them to this very monumental mountain called Sinai. And there at Mount Sinai, God made a covenant with the people of Israel.

God said to them, Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, My rules, My terms of engagement with you, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples. And the people answered with one voice and said, All the words that the LORD has spoken, we will do.

So in essence, God gave them the Ten Commandments and the implications of the Ten Commandments and said to them, If you will obey them, you will be My people. And the people said yes, we do. And actually, the Bible tells us this was a marriage. This was a marital covenant where God would now become their Husband and they will be His bride.

Unfortunately, Israel was a very adulterous bride. Because right after Moses went up to receive the Ten Commandments, they began to go whoring after other gods. They made for themselves idols. God told them, You shall not make any idols. But they did it. They took all their gold and they fashioned a.. a.. a..a.. a bull, a..a cow and they worshipped that..that image and said, this is the god who saved us out of Egypt.

The nation of Israel then continued to display hardened hearts. They continued to complain and murmur against their God. They did not obey Him in any way. And when they entered the Promised Land by the grace of God, they went after the foreign gods, offered their children as child sacrifices to the gods and idols of that land.

So by the time we come to Hosea, God says the iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is stored up. They have been a people who have been testing the patience of God in sinning and sinning and sinning and sinning. And so Hosea comes to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and says, you have sinned against Me. That's the message of Hosea.

But like I said, the message of Hosea is not just for Hosea but for all of us. And the Bible is a book that confronts us about our sin. Now I would like to say first that the Bible is not a negative book, in that it tells you all the problems and it leaves you with no solution. The Bible is a wonderful Book. It's a good Book. It's a very encouraging Book because the Bible gives us the Good News of how we can get right with God. That's the main message of the Bible.

But in order for you to appreciate the Good News of knowing God, it's got to start with the bad news. And the bad news is that God is angry with us. Just like God has been angry with Israel, God is angry with sinners like us.

I was reading Romans again in my own devotional reading and I can't help but bring you back to this foundational book, isn't it? The book of Romans tells us the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. God is not happy with man.

A lot of people think that God must be quite okay with us. We don't have any bad relationship with God. That is furthest from the truth. Because the Bible tells us God is angry with sinners. God hates and abhors sinners, the psalmist would say.

Why? Because we are sinful. Because God is holy. Because we, like Israel, are unfaithful to God. We rebel against Him. And therefore, this is a world that is filled with pain and suffering, because God is angry with man.

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they immediately plunged themselves into guilt and shame and fear. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, God cursed this world with futility and frustration. God brought sickness and death into this world. There will be difficulty in conception for the woman. There will be that battle of the sexes at home. All that are vivid reminders that God is angry with man.

And the reason is because man in his sinfulness suppress the truth. What does it mean to suppress the truth? Man knows God deep in their heart. Every single human being. I know that because God said so. We all know that there is God. From the creation of the world, God is clearly known. But because of our sin, we suppress it. So we invent or we come up with, with terms like atheism, evolutionism; kind of suppress the knowledge of the truth because of sin.

And so God is angry with sinners. Because what can be known of God is clear. But even though we know God, we will not honour Him as God or give thanks to Him. We refuse to do so. We refuse to believe and to acknowledge that there is a Creator, and as creatures we owe Him our allegiance. We don't want that. We want to rule and run our own lives.

So God is angry with sinners. And so what does He do? God gave them up. God allows us - you want to do this, you want to live your life apart from Me? Then you go do it. It's like the prodigal son. He wants to run from the father. Go, and he lets that son go and waste his life away. So God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.

And you read all kinds of sins - adultery, homosexuality and so on. And they still do not see it fit to acknowledge God. So God continued to give them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. And so we read that that becomes the state of man.

Man is now filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

That's what you read of every day in the newspapers. That's what we see in our social media. You say, why? Because man has refused to acknowledge God. And God has given them up over to a debased mind. And He's allowing sin to play out in human society throughout the ages. And I can only say it's getting worse and worse at a quicker pace than ever before in our day.

So what does God do? Well, Romans 2 tells us that there will be the judgment of God that would rightly fall. God is not unfairly judging people. God's judgment is righteous. It will one day fall on sinners. And in Chapter 2 verse 5, but because of your hard and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

The Bible confronts us with our sins and the Bible confronts us with the fact that the Holy God will judge unrighteous sinners.

During membership class and actually during baptism class, I always like to ask this question. Many of you would have already heard me explain this, so if you already know, don't answer. But for those who have never heard me before, actually I've repeated this a few times, you may want to guess.

I always ask people, what is the message of the Bible about? I say it's about salvation, really. And it's about being saved from something, being saved by something, and being saved for something.

Everyone would say, you are saved from sin, saved from hell, saved from, saved from judgment. That's very good. And that is absolutely correct.

Saved by what? Saved by Jesus, saved by grace, saved by the Gospel. That's great. Correct answers.

And then saved for what? Saved for service to God, saved for glory to God. That's good answers.

But I would then ask, what is that one word, same word, that would be the right answer for all three blanks?

In the past when I first asked this question, very few would know. In recent years, in recent months, weeks, when I asked, many of you would already know. And the answer is...? There's only one answer that fits all three. No other word fits all three. The answer is..? GOD.

And the surprising thing about this is the first one. What do you mean I need to be saved from God? I need to be saved by God. But you see, you forget. We need to be saved from God. Because He's holy and we are sinful.

Let me say it this way. If God is not holy, you do not need to be saved. Because He doesn't bother with sin. He doesn't bother with spiritual filth. But because God is pure and holy, sin must be dealt with. And the message of the Bible is how can man be saved from God and His wrath?

The message of the Bible is not how you can be saved from poverty or sickness. It's how you can be saved from this Holy God. And the only way is when God does it Himself. When He sends His Son to die as our Substitute. When God will pour His holy wrath onto His Son to make Him sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. And this whole salvation is for God in that it brings glory to Him. That's what the Bible is about.

And you see, nobody escapes this. Nobody does not need this. The Bible tells us, in again Romans, I'm taking you on a very quick tour. It is written, there is none righteous. No.. no.. no, there must be someone, right? No, not one. There is none righteous, no, not one. No one understands God. No one seeks for God. Left to ourselves, no one seeks the true God.

But you say, there are so many religions in this world. They're all seeking God, right? No! Go back and read Romans 1. There are so many religions in this world exactly because they do not want the real God. So in their own darkness of their imagination, they come up with other forms of God.

So false religions around us are not indicators of man seeking God. They're actually indicators of man running from God. No one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. We are so corrupted in sin that even our so-called charitable moral acts are filled with sin. They are nothing but filthy rags. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

It's a heavy start, but that's what Hosea is about. Yes, don't forget the broader context is that this is a book about hesed, about God's loyal love. But Hosea first confronts people about their sin and that's what we need this morning - we need to be confronted about our sins.

I'm glad you're here this morning and I hope that you will not walk away thinking, hey, I'm quite a good guy. God must love me. I've not killed anybody, I've not raped anyone. I'm.. God must be pleased with a chap like me. I hope you will never think that after a message like this from the Bible.

God is angry with sinners. We have all gone astray.

2. Call
But the message of Hosea is not just telling people that you are sinners, but it's also a book that calls people to repentance. So Hosea confronts Israel with their rebellion, but also calls for repentance from them. So we see for example in Chapter 5, it is a longing for Israel to acknowledge their guilt and to seek God's face, to earnestly seek Him.

The book of Hosea is about God saying come, or the people saying come, let us return to the LORD. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD. Chapter 10, for it is the time to seek the LORD. And Chapter 14, return, O Israel, to the LORD. So Hosea is filled with that appeal, that imploring of Israel to come back to God.

What does this tell me? It tells me that God, though angry with sinners, has opened a way back for repentant sinners. There is a way back home. Hosea is not a message that says, sinners, you are going to perish. But it is saying, sinners you are going to perish, but today you can turn back to Me. And I think that's a wonderful message for me to share with you this morning.

Some of you ask, are you sure God can accept someone like me? I say, yes I'm sure. It's not that you may, but I say you must. For example in Acts 17 verse 30, the times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. It's not whether you may, that, but that you must. God wants you to repent. God wants you to turn back to Him.

For example, we read in 2 Peter, they say, Jesus said He's coming back but when is He coming back? We've been waiting for so long and He's not back yet. Peter says, the reason why He's not back yet is not because He's slow, but because He's not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. God wants people to repent.

Now I know I'm going to take a little rabbit trail here but I know this.. this is a FAQ - Frequently Asked Question. They say, or people ask, now you say God wants people to repent, God is calling people to repent but isn't it true that God already knows who is going to repent? Isn't it true that God already has His elect? Then why is He still calling people 'Repent'? It will be qué será, será, whatever will be, will be, isn't it?

Ah, let me try my best to answer this. It's not going to be easy for people to grasp but, especially if you're here today with us for the first time, I know this is going to be complicated, so if you want to sleep, sleep for a while. As I always say, five minutes later I'll wake you up.

Isn't it true that God already has His elect? My answer is yes! You are absolutely right. God has indeed chosen the elect. The elect are people chosen to belong to God.

And let me tell you this, God did not choose you after you were born and see how handsome you are. God did not choose you and see how smart you are. God chose you even before you were born and God chose you even before creation was done.

Hah? You sure? Well that's what God says. Even as He chose us in Him - before, before - the foundation of the world. Before you were even a fertilized egg. Before your parents were married. Before this world was made, God already chose you. So, I affirm the elect are chosen before creation.

But, whilst this is a clear teaching in the Bible, there are many passages in the Bible, equally clear, that says whosoever repents and believes will be saved. The elect are saved, that's true, God knows His elect. But the Bible equally offers this truth, that whoever repents and believes will be saved.

You see, we often like to blame God, hah..hah. You know why I'm not saved? Because God didn't choose me. It's almost saying, I only want to listen to this, I don't want to listen to this. That's the excuse to blame God. God deserved the blame for saving only a few and letting the rest go to hell. It's all God's fault. No.. no.. no.. no. God says whosoever repents and believes will be saved.

And I say if one is not saved, the blame is not on God. But the Bible puts the blame on those who will not repent and believe. You can choose to argue with God for all you like. But one day you'll stand before Him and there'll be no words that can defend us on that day of judgment.

We don't have to wait till that day, God has already given His verdict. For example, in Matthew Chapter 11, Jesus began to denounce the cities where most of His mighty works had been done. So He has left incontrovertible evidences of His power and His divinity. And yet the people will not submit to Him.

Do you know what Jesus said? Oh, I know why you never submit to Me because God did not choose you. No, Jesus didn't say that. Jesus squarely laid the blame on those who refused to listen. Because He said, because they did not repent - that's what Matthew is saying - they did not repent.

Woe to you, Chorazin, and woe to you, Bethsaida. These are the cities and towns Jesus performed these great miracles. For if these mighty works were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, these were historical wicked cities. Jesus is saying, if these wicked people could only see Me and the mighty works, they would have repented. But you wouldn't. So you know what? Woe to you! The blame is squarely on the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida, not on God.

Let me give you another example. Jesus says to the city of Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it. How often, throughout the thousands of years, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, how often have I gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings? And you were not willing.

Jesus didn't say, oh, blame it on God the Father, He did not choose you. No, the fault is yours. You see the Scriptures consistently lays the blame not on the Holy God but on sinful men.

The Bible does talk about election. The Bible does talk about the unconditional election. God chooses someone to be saved not because of his inherent attributes or qualities. He does not look down the tunnel of time and see that you are someone who is more responsive, more able to believe. No, God chooses you out of His own sovereign mercy. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. It depends not on human will or exertion, but on God and on mercy. That's why it's unconditional grace and mercy.

So then He has mercy on whomever He wills and He hardens whomever He wills. God elects and God hardens. That is fact that is established in the Bible. But at the same time, at the same time, I want you to appreciate this. This is Romans Chapter 9. At the same time, just one chapter later, Paul equally says, whoever or everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.

And then in Chapter 10 verse 21, all day long I have held out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people. The idea here is God reaching out, opening His arms, beckoning His people to come and say, you come! But they won't come.

Now Paul is not schizophrenic. Paul is not confused. But Paul is laying down these two aspects that are equally true. That God elects people to salvation, but it is also equally true that whosoever repents and believes will be saved. And if you are not saved and if you will not believe, the fault is yours. Don't blame God.

It's hard to reconcile these two things in our finite minds. But the Bible lays it as it is. It's not just here in Romans, it's also true in John Chapter 3.

Nicodemus asks, what must I do to be saved? Jesus says you can't save yourselves in summary. You got to be born of God. God's got to be the One who gives you this life. None of you came into this world because you birthed yourself. Your mother gave birth to you. Your gynae brought you out into this world. But you did not birth yourself. And so it is, for anyone to be saved, it's got to be by God.

The water and the Spirit is not about baptism, just a FAQ. It's about the operations of the New Covenant as was spoken of by Ezekiel, Jeremiah. I will sprinkle water and I'll put My Spirit in you. I'll take out your heart of stone, I'll put in a heart of flesh. God has to be the One to do it. And like the wind, you can't dictate when He's going to do it. The wind of the Spirit blows where He sovereignly decides.

These few verses talk about God's sovereign work. But just 10 verses later, it's about whosoever believes. See, the Bible is so amazing! On one aspect, the sovereign election of God is extolled. At the same time, the responsibility of man to repent and believe is also highlighted. They are both equally true.

So, in summary, uh.. for those who have been sleeping, you can wake up. I just want to summarize it all for you. In summary, in salvation, it is 100% God's sovereign work. If God doesn't work in your life, you will not be saved. And for anyone to be saved, it's because God has chosen you. Humble yourself to the dust. There should be no pride, ego or arrogance in any Christian.

But at the same time, it is equally true that you and I are saved today because there was a day we repented and believed in Jesus Christ. You will not be saved any other way apart from repentance and faith. I know this is the balance. For example, in Romans 9, vis-à-vis Romans 10, and John 3:5 and John 3:16, held in perfect balance in Scripture.

So the conclusion is, if anyone is saved, it's because God chose him and because he repents and believes. And if anyone is not saved, it's because God chose not to choose him, or God did not choose him, and that he will not believe. But the Bible puts it this way, that if anyone is saved, glory is to God. And if anybody is to be damned, glory also to God. There is no fault in God not saving someone.

We are not going to hell because God did not choose us. We are going to hell because we are sinners. And if God sees it fit that He will be glorified in some vessels of mercy, God be glorified. And if God sees fit that He will be glorified in vessels of wrath and power like Pharaoh was, so be it. All glory is God's, but if you are not saved today, the blame is squarely on you because whosoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life.

Because we do not know who are the elect, we are to preach to all. We don't go around saying, ah let me see uh, you don't look elect ah. You don't look like the type ah. How you know? So we preach to all. And we call people to repent and believe, and if they do repent and believe, they are saved.

We don't have to ask God who are the elect. We can trust God that whosoever repents and believes will be saved. And one day that will be clearly vindicated and shown.

So the book of Hosea is a book that calls people to repentance. Let's not hide behind this excuse. Let's not hide behind this smokescreen. Oh, God is a God of election so there's nothing for me to do. No! Israel, you have sinned against God! Israel, repent! You can come back to God.

So for us, Hosea has a postscript, kind of saying this is not just for Israel but for anyone. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. It's a message for all - repent and believe.

My time is running out. But let me finish off, these are verses that tells us God is still calling people today to salvation. It's a message about God's hesed, loyal love to unfaithful people. He confronts us with our sins but He doesn't leave it as that, just to inform us. But He calls us to action, to repent, to turn from our sin and to believe in the salvation that He provides.

3. Comfort
And then finally, there's a wonderful comfort because there is redemption. So there's a call for repentance, because there is comfort in redemption.

The book of Hosea is not a negative book. I know it sounds negative - a lot of sin. As we journey, you will see, wah 'si a cham' ah. A lot of problems, a lot of judgment, sounds very negative but I want to say from the word go, you've got to know the pain and the sin before you really understand the salvation.

Hosea is a book about salvation because throughout the book, God offers this wonderful shimmers of hope. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, you are not My people because you have been unfaithful, you have broken covenant with Me; it shall be said to them, children of the Living God. There's a day they'd be gloriously restored.

And I will betroth you to Me forever. I'll betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice and in steadfast love and mercy. I'll betroth you to Me in faithfulness and you shall know the LORD. There will come this day. Israel is still waiting for this day, but it will come someday.

And I'll have mercy on No Mercy, I will say to Not My People, you are My people and he shall say You are my God. He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth. For you also, Judah, a harvest is appointed when I restore the fortunes of My people.

I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Familiar? 1 Corinthians 15, remember? I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for My anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon.

Hosea is a message of beauty and hope and kindness and salvation, just as the whole Bible is. Hosea is like a microcosm of the whole Bible. God's hesed love to His people, to His elect; He will never forsake them. And that's why again Romans, that's why again in the book of Hosea, we are reminded that all this salvation will be accomplished, will be centred on this person called David their king.

Afterward, look at this, afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. Huh? Doesn't make sense. Because David died some 250 years ago. What, what do you mean we are going to seek a dead man? No. This is a Jesus moment in the book of Hosea.

This David their king, is not literally David himself, but the son of David. The One that God said, on your throne, on David's throne, I will bring about an everlasting King.

So when Jesus was on earth, you know what they call Him? The commonest name Jesus gave to Himself was the Son of Man. But one of the names that people ascribe to Jesus is to call Him the Son of David. Because they knew that Jesus was the promised Saviour King.

So Hosea is saying there will come a day when Israel will seek this Son of David and He's none other than Jesus Christ. And that's what we call the Gospel - this Good News of Jesus Christ dying and rising again to save us from our sins is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. There is tremendous comfort in the Bible because there is a power that can save you from all your sins.

Cleanse you and bring you back to this God. Bring you home to this God. So the Bible tells us we are justified by His grace as a gift, nothing you can do. All done by Jesus on the cross.

Why did He die? Why did He suffer? To save us from our sins freely. In Romans Chapter 6, eternal life is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord. And finally, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Hosea is a book about hesed, God's loyal love. But what's the meaning of the word Hosea? Well, his name means salvation. God raised this prophet to preach a message of loyal love and to preach this message of salvation.

If you have remembered nothing today, walk away from this place remembering the Bible is a message about hesed and it's a message about salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. May you today repent and believe in Him to be saved. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

This sin problem is the number one, ultimate, 'the' problem of the Bible and all of humanity. But it is solved when Jesus paid it all. That is the power of the cross. That is the message of loyal love, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This is how God demonstrated His love.

And so today, you and I must humble ourselves and quit suppressing the truth in our hearts. But come to God and say, dear Lord, I've been unfaithful. Though I know You in the depths of my heart, I've chosen to live my own life. I did not give glory to You. I chose to do whatever I wanted and I've sinned against You.

I can't save myself. There is nothing I can do that can merit forgiveness. There's nothing I can do that can atone for my sins. I thank You that the message of the Bible is Hosea. There is salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So this morning I want to pray for you. That you deeply consider the message of Hosea and indeed the message of the Bible. That God is loyally loving towards His people. He's calling you today, He's commanding men everywhere to repent.

I don't know if you're the elect. In a sense, I don't really need to know. All I need to know and all I need to say is if you repent and believe - it's your choice, it's your responsibility - if you repent and believe, you will be saved. Would you?

For all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I'm speaking to Christians now. Sometimes we forget God's love. We.. we..we become so pained and disillusioned by the difficult circumstances of life that we lose perspective. But this morning let's come back to the right perspective, the Biblical perspective that our God is a loyal Lover. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Look at the way He loves us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

So this morning let us be loyal to Him. Let us serve Him. Let us pursue holiness, Christlikeness. Let us not live our lives for ourselves, but for Him, for He is worthy.

This is God's goal. By the power of the cross, sinful man may be saved, God's mercy and grace will be beautifully displayed and that we will be a people living in joy and obedience to His wonderful will.

So Father, thank You for this morning. Bless Your church as we consider these truths. Very basic but super important. Not just to know but to act upon it. May You grant repentance and faith. May You ignite a passion for You. May we walk worthy of Your calling. We pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

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