Break Up Your Fallow Ground: It is Time to Seek the Lord (Part 9)
Please turn in your Bibles to Hosea 10:9-13:
O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows. And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods. Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
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Currently, we are in a series titled "Break Up Your Fallow Ground: It Is Time to Seek the Lord" which is based on Hosea 10:9-13. In this passage, Hosea is calling the wayward children of Israel to turn away from their sins, repent, and get right with God.
Last week, we saw in verse 11 how that when a nation turns away from God, God has a way of making things difficult for them. He brings hard times upon them as a form of punishment to get them to realize the error of their ways and turn back to Him.
In verse 12, we see what God's real desire for Israel is. His desire is not to hurt them or to punish them permanently. He wants them to turn away from their sins, turn back to him, and begin to live righteously. Their re-dedication to living in a Godly fashion will cause God to shower His mercy on them. As they seek God's face, He will once again turn toward them and bless them as He had in the past.
In this series of messages, we are addressing specific sins that folks in the church need to confess and repent of, so that we can get our hearts right with God, and so that we can beg God to send revival to our churches, our families, and our country. So far we have addressed twenty-three sins, and today, we are going to continue this series by addressing the next three sins on our list.
I. The first sin we will address today is the sin of hindering another believer from doing God's will. Matthew 16:21-23 says, "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
We see here in this passage that Peter, even though he had good intentions, was attempting to keep Jesus Christ from fulfilling God's will for his life on earth. Jesus took this very seriously and when he saw how Satan was working in Peter's life, he rebuked him immediately and forcefully.
The Greek word used for offense is "skan-da-lon". It means, "any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall; any person or thing by which one is drawn into error or sin."
The devil will often times use another believer to draw someone into sin or not doing God's plan for their life. Have you ever set out to do something for God, and before you could get started good, family members, friends, and other church people started popping up to tell you why you should not continue. You have to watch out for those people. The devil may be trying to use them to hinder you. Just because they are family or just because they are fellow believers does not mean that the devil cannot use them just like the devil used Peter to try and hinder Jesus.
Negative remarks and expressing doubt over what another believer has set out to do for God can be used by the devil to plant the seed of doubt and hinderance in that person's life or ministry. My friend, you do not want to be a part of the devil's plot to hinder God's work.
Are you guilty of trying to hinder someone who you saw was going on for God? Did you discourage a brother or sister from following God's will for whatever reason? If so, confess your sin right now and ask God to forgive you.
II. The second sin we will address today is the sin of lust. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:28, "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Lust is defined as having a desire for or longing for something that is forbidden -- something that you cannot have. Another word for lust is "covet." One of the ten commandments is "thou shalt not covet." The Bible says in Exodus 20:17: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
The Bible commands us to be content with such things as we have. God does not want us as His children to constantly be going around desiring for things that he did not give us. You have your wife for a reason. You have your husband for a reason. You have your house for a reason. You have your job for a reason. Be content! Don't fall into the devil's trap of longing for something that God does not want you to have.
Uncontrollable lust leads to further sin -- for example, stealing, looking at pornography, and commiting adultery all grow out of the sin of lust.
Do you have a lustful heart? Are you secretly coveting something that you do not have or that God has told you you cannot have. Confess it as sin to God and ask Him to forgive you and give you a heart that is content with what He has chosen to bless you with.
III. The third sin we will address today is the sin of fornication and adultery. Fornication is having sex with someone before marriage and adultery is having sex with someone that you are not married to while you are married. The Bible strictly prohibits both of these actions.
The Bible says in I Corinthians 6:9-10: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." God is very serious about these sins.
Today, not only are fornication and adultery prevalent in the world, they are unfortunately a problem in the church. Just this past week, it came to light that the pastor of a prominent church in Indiana was fired because he had been having a sexual relationship outside of marriage with an underage young lady. Another pastor was caught trying to solicit a prostitute and had to resign. If these things are happening in the pulpit, we know it is happening in the pew. In fact, a few news stories came out recently stating that "eighty percent of unmarried evangelical Christians between the ages of 18 and 29 admit to having had premarital sex." These things are going on in Bible-believing churches even when God's Word says, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints..."
Are you a single Christian who tries to find sexual satisfaction outside of God's will? Are you married, but you have a girlfriend or boyfriend on the side that you are trying to hide from your spouse? Just because the world may wink at this sin does not mean that God does. If you have engaged in fornication or adultery, confess this sin to God and ask Him to forgive you.
In closing, I want to encourage you to examine your heart and see if any of the sins we have discussed today or in previous weeks are hidden there. If so, begin to break up your fallow ground by asking God to forgive you and cleanse you of your sins. It may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but if we want to be in sweet fellowship with God, this is something that we must do. Eventually, you will get to the point in your spiritual life where you will say 'no' to temptation because you love God to much and you fear God too much to disobey Him.
If the Lord should tarry his coming and we live, I hope that you will be with us next week so we can continue this journey of getting our hearts right with the Lord and getting back to serving Him. Break up your fallow ground: it is time to seek the Lord.
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