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God- Untamed

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Sermon on Hosea 5, revelation 5

Title:  God- Untamed

Theme:  God’s nature is untamed holiness.

Goal: to challenge believers to remember the nature of God as good, but untamed holiness.

Need:  we often soften up the picture of God.

Introduction to the series:  We often think of Christmas in its gift wrapped form.  We are going to look at some of the natural, organic images that help us understand the reality the real blood, dirt, sweat and humility that is Christmas

Introduction to the Sermon:  story about the softening up of our picture of God.

1.      God is untamed holiness.

a.     Pictured in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

b.     Pictured as a lion:

                                                             i.      Lion’s cannot be domesticated

                                                           ii.      Aslan as a picture of God:  Good lion, but not tame.

c.      Seen in his warnings to Israel

2.     Christ is untamed holiness.

a.     Seen in the judgement in Revelation

b.     His being slain makes him worthy to judge.

3.     Holiness is impossible except that all history was transformed at the coming of Christ.

4.     Untamed Holiness is what lives in us.  We can be holy.


          Oh, look.  It must be Christmas time.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I really do like the decorations and the festivities of Christmas time.  But year after year after year it makes me gag thinking that we ring in the beginning of the Christmas season with 6 foot blow up candy canes at Walmart.  It must be Christmas again. 


          The way we celebrate Christmas almost parallels the food we eat around the holiday times.  It couldn’t have been too many years ago when people had to make all their own party treats.   I know the stories of a generation ago when the greatest treat on Christmas day was the orange your parents gave you.  Now our food is the processed stuff, full of preservatives, full of just fake stuff. 

          People are starting to buy differently with food now.  Now, one of the buzz words you hear and the phrases you see on everything is “organic.”  Nothing artificial is added.  Nothing fake about it.  Just real.

          As our culture turns Christmas into a day full of extra stuff and even turns the manger scene into a neat little cozy place, perhaps we should try to have an organic Christmas together.  During advent we are going to be challenged to see Christmas in its “no added preservatives” state.  We are going to look at the down and dirty nature of Christ and his message.  And specifically this morning, we are going to look at God-untamed.

          Follow along as I read from Hosea 5.  The untamed holiness of God.

          Let’s do a little role playing. You be a curious child.  I will be your parent.  So Suzie, December 25 is Christmas every year.  Why?  Because that’s the day Jesus was born.  Why?  Because... he had to die to save us from our sins.  Why?  Because we all do bad things so Jesus had to die to fix that.  Why?  Because I said so, go clean your room.  No... really, think about that one.  If God is just a nice cozy God, why would he have to send his son into the world to die.

          The very fact that we have a Christmas to celebrate ought to make us realize that our God is not a tame loveable cuddly god.  He is holy.  He is perfect goodness.  And perfect goodness can be pretty terrible.  

          In the story by C.S. Lewis, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the children are being told about this lion who rules all of the land of Narnia.  His name is Aslan.    After all these  wonderful things that are said about Aslan, the kids ask, “so he is a tame lion.”  Good, yes.  But he is not tame.

          That description of God is so perfect and shows us the reason why we need to have a Christmas at all in the first place. And why Christmas needs to be celebrated with the blood of Christ on it.  Its because of the holiness of God.  God is holy and good and perfect holiness completely eliminates anything that is not.

          In the passage from Hosea we hear the unholiness of Israel. The people that God had chosen to be holy have wandered far away from him. 

          Look at this.  Verse 3-5  3 I know all about Ephraim;

Israel is not hidden from me.

Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;

Israel is corrupt.

4 “Their deeds do not permit them

to return to their God.

A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;

they do not acknowledge the Lord.

5 Israel’s arrogance testifies against them;

the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin;

Judah also stumbles with them. [1]

          God is holy and his people are  not.

          The strongest way God shows himself in the passage is when he compares himself to a lion.  Verse 14 says, “For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah.  I will tear them to pieces and go away.  I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.

          This is the God we serve.  And this is the reason that our celebration at Christmas can’t be just tiddy and nice.

          God at his very nature is untamed.  Perhaps the word that comes to mind is ferocious.  In the animal world, tigers can be trained.  They can be taught to do shows at the circus.  But they can never be domesticated.  inside the lion is a ferocity that can’t be forgotten.

          We can’t domesticate God and we shouldn’t domesticate Christmas.  At the basis of Christmas is one incredible tension.  The God of heaven and earth is loving and holy at the same time.  He is patient with people to a point, but his holiness will be unleashed in judgement.

          The only thing that is sweat about Christmas is the sugar in everything.

          But that ought to make us all the more eager to celebrate Christmas in the raw.  You see without Christmas, the only hope we would have is to suffer the same fate as the Old Testament Israelites.  When God said he was going to come at them like a lion, that’s exactly what he did.  He wiped ten whole tribes of Israel completely off the map. Assyria came in and destroyed them.

          I will pour out my wrath on the like a flood of water. 

          But everything changes at the coming of Christ.  Everything.  That’s the joy of Christmas.  That’s what we have to be Merry about.  You see God did the perfectly natural thing for him to do.  He knew that we were completely doomed to a life of hell, this life and the next if we can’t be holy like God.  God knows that.  He knows that we have messed up so majorly with each and every sin we commit that we have lost all hope.  So he took his son. 

          The Lion has not gone out of God.  God’s nature is still holiness untamed.  Jesus Christ is all the holiness of the heavenly father.  Jesus came as a baby, but as we look forward to the first coming of Christ at Christmas, we also are looking forward to the second coming of Christ.  The coming where he will show that he also is God-untamed in his purest form.

          In the book of Revelation we find out what the final outcome of this world is going to be.  God Wins.  You see all the sin and hurts and pain.  Something happens in your life that makes you wonder, is God really going to take care of business down here or what.  And then you find out what it says in Revelation.  God Wins.  And he wins by showing us in an even fuller sense that he is the ferocious lion. 

          Revelation 5 is a picture of heaven.  Let me read a few of the verses.  That baby Jesus, isn’t pictured as a baby very long.  Because he didn’t come to be the cute little center piece of our Christmas displays.  He came to unleash to power of God in the world.  He came to create a holy community of people that would have eternal life through his blood.  He came to be the lamb and was slain and the lion that was worthy to open up the seals of judgement and punishment on all those who do not obey. 

          We are going to sing the song Lion of Judah in just a minute.  But as we do that, I want you to enter into the song with a different frame of mind.  Often we sing the song as a moment of praise and adoration of who God is.  But I want you to stop and think for a minute of gravity of what we singing about.  When we call Christ the lion of Judah and the lamb who was slain we are saying that he is the God of judgement against all those that are not holy.  Perhaps its a song that reminds us that at first we should shudder and worry because we are not holy.  But then as you sing about the might and power of this lion of Judah, I want you to begin thinking about how raw and untamed God gave us Jesus so that we can stand on the same side as the lion.  Not again.

          So congregation, what do you need to do.  First of all, be content doing nothing. Because you can do nothing to save yourself.  Second of all, learn to walk around in fear of God, not because he might do something bad, but because he has shown himself to do only what is in his nature to do.  Absolute untamed holiness.

          Let’s join in singing together.


[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ho 5:3-5

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