It's Never Too Late: Grace's Triumph

Major Posts from Minor Prophets: Be an Influencer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:24
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Never before have a preached a message for those who are not here. For those that are, this will be a message for you to keep in your back pocket, should your future context warrant a second look and listen.
Instead, this is for those of you who have fallen, drifted, turned away, abandoned, questioned, stayed away, or simply gotten distracted from your faith in the God of the Bible, His salvation through Jesus Christ, active relationship with Him, and participation in His church. You know who you are.
You are the dozens of people I meet, almost every week, that tell me you used to go to church when you were young. You say that you are a “Christian,” but that you aren’t active in a church at the moment. For some, the demands of college or 24/7 jobs made it difficult or impossible to attend church and that there was never a time after, that schedules or priorities compelled you to return. You remember some of the Bible, but you really don’t read it or pray…really.
You are not alone, in fact, there millions continually making the same decision you did, are, and tragically may continue to make.
We have heard some of the statistics about the youth, 18-29, who walk away from their faith. The rate at which they walk away from their faith is staggering.
In just 8 years, the church dropout rate rose from 59% to 64% of all self-identifying Christian 18-29-year-olds. That means almost 2 out of every 3, 18-29-year-old Christians are walking away from their faith. Two out of every three.
But this age group is not the only segment of our culture that is walking away from their Christian roots. In fact, it would seem that our entire adult culture is beginning to migrate in the same direction.
Top: The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
Bottom: Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population – a group also known as religious “nones” – have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009.
This means that the % of population that identifies as no religion is almost equal to the total Catholic population.
Of those who claim to still be Christian (65% of U.S. population), a staggering 54% admit they only attend church “a few times a year or less.”
That means the 54% of the U.S. Christian population is one step away from adding themselves to the non-Christian population, joining the non-Christians in turning their backs to and walking away from the Lord, which would make the percentage of population that identify generally as Christian to be at or less than 1 of every 3.
In 2009, there were approximately 233 million adults in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. Pew Research Center’s RDD surveys conducted at the time indicated that 77% of them were Christian, which means that by this measure, there were approximately 178 million Christian adults in the U.S. in 2009.
In 2018/2019, there are roughly 23 million more adults in the U.S. than there were in 2009 (256 million as of July 1, 2019, according to the Census Bureau). About two-thirds of them (65%) identify as Christians, according to 2018 and 2019 Pew Research Center RDD estimates. This means that there are now roughly 167 million Christian adults in the U.S.
In 10 years, the U.S. increased total population from 233 million to 256 million, while the actual number of Christians declined from 178 million to 167 million.
Even the business world is recognizing the trend. Business Insider stated, “...people are leaving Christianity in droves. About 106 million Christians are expected to switch affiliation from 2010 to 2050 while only about 40 million people are expected to enter Christianity.
The religiously unaffiliated (athiests, agnostics) are expected to see the largest net gains from switching, adding more than 61 million followers.
Even Forbes recognizes the trend when it printed on Oct. of 2021, “Americans’ disinterest in organized religion has grown this year. In March, a Gallup poll found that only 47% of U.S. adults were members of a church, synagogue or mosque, the first time that number had ever fallen below the 50% mark.” (an affiliate of ABC News) suggests the statistics support this is more global than regional when it wrote, “...nations with fairly high per capita GDPs (such as Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom) tend to have fairly low levels of religiosity. The U.S. has long been an outlier: a high-income, highly religious nation. But America may have always been destined to grow less religious.”
So, for those of you that somehow are drawn to listen in online, those who attend church a few times of year or less, those who might have turned their backs on and walked away from God and have put all your hope in the world and mankind, I want you to know it’s not too late, it’s never too late to consider God once again.
You who hope in the world, who are bound up with pain; turn to the LORD your God for He watches over you, He will love you freely, for only His ways are right for you.
The book of Hosea is all about the character of God’s compassion and love for His people. With God’s compassion comes a warning to those who have walked away, those who have turned their back on God, those who have embraced a secular and increasingly immoral lifestyle. That warning is found in the 13th chapter of Hosea.

Sin binds you up for pain Hosea 13:6-8, 12-13

Sin binds you up for pain (Hosea 13:6-8, 12-13)
++Prosperity makes it easy to forget your God (Hosea 13:6)
++Remember, there is no Savior but God (Hosea 13:4)
++God is the one who cares for you, not the world (Hosea 13:5)

Return to the LORD your God Hosea 14:1-3

Return to the LORD your God (Hosea 14:1-3)
++Sin makes you stumble (Hosea 14:1)
++Return by asking (Hosea 14:2)
++Recognize it is God not the world that saves you in grace and mercy (Hosea 14:2-3)

God will love you freely Hosea 14:4

God will love you freely (Hosea 14:4)
++God heals from pain’s bondage
++God loves freely
++God refreshes and supplies

God’s ways are the right ways Hosea 14:8-9

God’s ways are the right ways (Hosea 14:8-9)
++God is the only one who hears you and looks after you (v. 8)
++God is the only one who knows how to do right by you (v. 9)
++Come back and walk with the LORD your God, only He loves you freely
You who hope in the world, who are bound up with pain; turn to the LORD your God for He watches over you, He will love you freely, for only His ways are right for you.
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