This year as I contemplated the adjustment, a verse from the Prophet Hosea came to mind along with some thoughts I thought were worth considering.
‘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.’ Hosea 10:12
Hosea gave this prophecy in the interval between Shalmaneser's first and second invasions of Israel. In it we see the heart of God pleading and warning the Northern Kingdom of Israel to put away her idols of Baal and the calf gods that Jeroboam had introduced, turn back to YHWH and worship Him. While this spoke in the first instance to Israel, and had it’s primary application to them prior to the deportation of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian kings, Pul and Tiglathpileser in 740 and then 720BC, it has a very real secondary, exemplary application to our day and age. We are called to plead and reason (Acts 2:40, 17:2, 18:4, 19, 24:25) with those who are blindly serving with all their mind and soul the many false gods that abound in our contemporary world. Some of the more apparent of these are, the many pagan religions represented more and more within western society, the ever present and pervasive enslavement to materialism and money (mammon), and of course, the pursuit of pleasure, which both Christians and non-Christians alike can be seen to follow with almost equal enthusiasm. Tragically, many so called believers are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ, but a false god of their own devising that enslaves them to ‘forms of godliness’ (2Tim 3:5), that deny the gospel and gives them a false sense of security. The deception of ‘inclusivism’ that calls for the merging of different religions under the ‘one god we all (they mistakenly think) worship’, is gaining ground with great speed. As believers we need to be very clear in pointing out the error of this line of reasoning: We do NOT worship the same god, or 'gods' that others worship –the God of the Bible is revealed in Jesus Christ alone, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit to the human heart, and He ONLY is the way to the Father. John 14:6. There is salvation in no other name.
'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved'. Acts 4:12
Sadly, many professing Christians are in danger of being deceived on many counts, not least of which this particular one. Though, this one is very serious indeed as it affects our eternal security. The most important thing in the world is to know that you have eternal life. Nothing else even gets close. None of us know what a day may bring forth. Any moment we could suffer and embolism, a heart attack, be hit by a drunken driver and suddenly find ourselves in eternity. If we have failed to ensure our eternal salvation by placing our trust and faith in Jesus Christ while we have opportunity, then we will have made a terrible mistake. I urge you to begin trusting in Christ alone for salvation right now. Don't let another second pass before securing this most important provision that the Lord Jesus died to make available to, '...whosover believeth in Him'. John 3:16
What are the marks of deception among those who say they profess Christ?
I submit they will include: A careless life style that pursues pleasure and personal comfort with little or no thought for those without Christ whom they see and mix with every day. A ‘this life only’ philosophy that manifests itself in exactly similar ways as those in the world without Christ. Speech and personal behaviour (Philippians 1:27) that allows them to watch endless TV, movies, read secular books and novels and spend little or no time in reading and praying over the Word of God, both personally and with other believers (Acts 17:11, Col 4:16, 1 Thes 5:27, 2 Tim 2:15).
What are the marks of genuine faith in Christ?
Hosea’s prophecy becomes powerfully relevant in light of the above. As belivers we are called to ‘serve the Lord’ by: sharing the gospel with the unsaved (2Tim 4:2), by caring for our immediate family (if we don’t we are ‘worse than an infidel’ 1Tim 5:8), by caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who do not know Him (Gal 6:10), to fellowship ‘often’ around the Lord’s Table for edification and encouragement of both yourself and others (Heb 10:25, Eph 4: 1-16, 1 Cor 14:26 et al). All of this becomes part of our witness and testimony to the saving power of Christ and affirms the sincerity and genuiness of our personal faith.
I invite you to become prophetic (i.e. a ‘proclaimer’) in these last days and call men and women, to seek the Lord before it is too late and the bridegroom comes and we find that we have not been dressed with the garments of righteousness. (Mat 25:6) I urge you to read and ponder the entire chapter as each of the parables mentioned are powerfully relevant to this day and hour in which we live.
It is time to seek the Lord...
We need to ‘buy back time’ (redeem it) by using it profitably for the Lord. Eph 5:16, Col 4:15.