Erik Bonkovsky

The Church as Light

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For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.
— John Winthrop, 1630

(Please note: We are aware that some of our sermon recordings are cutting in and out. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue.)

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The Church as Salt

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When we see our work as a good thing God gives us to do so we can bless our neighbor, it is inherently empowering; it gives us agency and encourages us to be creative in thinking of ways to dignify others
— Jake Meador

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Matthew 5:13

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

Re-turn to the Lord

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The repentance that accompanies salvation is a continued act... Repentance is a continual spring, where the waters of godly sorrow are always flowing… The work of repentance is not the work of an hour, a day, a year, but the work of this life. A sincere penitent makes as much conscience of repenting daily as he doth believing daily…The penitent soul never ceases repenting till he ceases living. He goes to heaven with the joyful tears of repentance in his eyes.
— Thomas Brooks

(Please note: this recording cuts in and out. We are aware of this issue with our sermon recordings and working to resolve it. We apologize and thank you for your patience.)

Hosea 14:1-19

1 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take with you words
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”

4 I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
6 his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.

9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.

Wait Continually for God

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Faith is a way of waiting—never quite knowing, never quite hearing or seeing, because in the darkness we are all but a little lost. There is doubt hard on the heels of every belief, fear hard on the heels of every hope, and many holy things lie in ruins because the world has ruined them and we have ruined them. But faith waits even so, delivered at least from that final despair which gives up waiting altogether because it sees nothing left worth waiting for.
— Frederick Buechner
  • Service Date: August 11, 2019

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Hosea 11:12-12:14

12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,

and the house of Israel with deceit,

but Judah still walks with God

and is faithful to the Holy One.


1 Ephraim feeds on the wind

and pursues the east wind all day long;

they multiply falsehood and violence;

they make a covenant with Assyria,

and oil is carried to Egypt.


2 The Lord has an indictment against Judah

and will punish Jacob according to his ways;

he will repay him according to his deeds.

3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,

and in his manhood he strove with God.

4 He strove with the angel and prevailed;

he wept and sought his favor.

He met God at Bethel,

and there God spoke with us—

5 the Lord, the God of hosts,

the Lord is his memorial name:

6 “So you, by the help of your God, return,

hold fast to love and justice,

and wait continually for your God.”


7 A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,

he loves to oppress.

8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;

I have found wealth for myself;

in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”

9 I am the Lord your God

from the land of Egypt;

I will again make you dwell in tents,

as in the days of the appointed feast.


10 I spoke to the prophets;

it was I who multiplied visions,

and through the prophets gave parables.

11 If there is iniquity in Gilead,

they shall surely come to nothing:

in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;

their altars also are like stone heaps

on the furrows of the field.

12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;

there Israel served for a wife,

and for a wife he guarded sheep.

13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt,

and by a prophet he was guarded.

14 Ephraim has given bitter provocation;

so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him

and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.

How Can I Give You Up?

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When God can find in man no reason for showing mercy to him, he still finds a reason for displaying his mercy, for he looks for it in his own heart.
— C.H. Spurgeon
  • Service Date: August 4, 2019

(Please note: this recording cuts in and out. We are aware of this issue with our sermon recordings and working to resolve it. We apologize and thank you for your patience.)

Hosea 11: 1-11

1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.

3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

5 They shall not return to the land of Egypt,
but Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
6 The sword shall rage against their cities,
consume the bars of their gates,
and devour them because of their own counsels.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.

8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9 I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.

10 They shall go after the Lord;
he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
11 they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.


Reap the Whirlwind

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Glimpsed through the lens of a cross, what looks like the end may be only the beginning. The birth pangs of a new pathology, one of mercy—for failed teachers and their flailing students, lonely pastors and their exhausted congregants, addicts and their enablers, Christians and non-Christians, you and me.
— David Zahl

Hosea 8

1 Set the trumpet to your lips!
    One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord,
because they have transgressed my covenant
    and rebelled against my law.
To me they cry,
    “My God, we—Israel—know you.”
Israel has spurned the good;
    the enemy shall pursue him.

They made kings, but not through me.
    They set up princes, but I knew it not.
With their silver and gold they made idols
    for their own destruction.
I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
    My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
    it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
    shall be broken to pieces.

For they sow the wind,
    and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads;
    it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield,
    strangers would devour it.
Israel is swallowed up;
    already they are among the nations
    as a useless vessel.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
    a wild donkey wandering alone;
    Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Though they hire allies among the nations,
    I will soon gather them up.
And the king and princes shall soon writhe
    because of the tribute.

11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
    they have become to him altars for sinning.
12 Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
    they would be regarded as a strange thing.
13 As for my sacrificial offerings,
    they sacrifice meat and eat it,
    but the Lord does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins;
    they shall return to Egypt.
14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker
    and built palaces,
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
    so I will send a fire upon his cities,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.

Would Redeem

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I remember when I first became a Christian and I saw God everywhere. I heard Him everywhere. His voice yelled at me from every place. And I’ve been spending ever since I became a mature Christian getting back to that place where I hear Him... It’s everywhere. The wisdom of God cries from everything that you see. God uses the metaphors of your life to teach you the profound truths that he’ll apply to your existential reality. Listen for Him.
— Steve Brown

Hosea 6:4-7:16

 4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
    What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
    like the dew that goes early away.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
    I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
    and my judgment goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
    the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
    there they dealt faithlessly with me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
    tracked with blood.
As robbers lie in wait for a man,
    so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
    they commit villainy.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
    Ephraim's whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.

11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.

When I restore the fortunes of my people,
when I would heal Israel,
    the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed,
    and the evil deeds of Samaria,
for they deal falsely;
    the thief breaks in,
    and the bandits raid outside.
But they do not consider
    that I remember all their evil.
Now their deeds surround them;
    they are before my face.
By their evil they make the king glad,
    and the princes by their treachery.
They are all adulterers;
    they are like a heated oven
whose baker ceases to stir the fire,
    from the kneading of the dough
    until it is leavened.
On the day of our king, the princes
    became sick with the heat of wine;
    he stretched out his hand with mockers.
For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue;
    all night their anger smolders;
    in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven,
    and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen,
    and none of them calls upon me.

Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
    Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Strangers devour his strength,
    and he knows it not;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,
    and he knows it not.
10 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
    yet they do not return to the Lord their God,
    nor seek him, for all this.

11 Ephraim is like a dove,
    silly and without sense,
    calling to Egypt, going to Assyria.
12 As they go, I will spread over them my net;
    I will bring them down like birds of the heavens;
    I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.
13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
    Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
I would redeem them,
    but they speak lies against me.

14 They do not cry to me from the heart,
    but they wail upon their beds;
for grain and wine they gash themselves;
    they rebel against me.
15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
    yet they devise evil against me.
16 They return, but not upward;
    they are like a treacherous bow;
their princes shall fall by the sword
    because of the insolence of their tongue.
This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

Making a Case

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“Christ plays the priestly role, not only to render the Father favorable and propitious toward us by an eternal law of reconciliation, but also to receive us as his companions in this great office.”
— John Calvin

Hosea 4:1-19

1 Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
2 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

4 Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.
5 You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
and I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

7 The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
I will change their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity.
9 And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
12 My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore.
13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
and your brides commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
nor your brides when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.

15 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.
Enter not into Gilgal,
nor go up to Beth-aven,
and swear not, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
Israel is stubborn;
can the Lord now feed them
like a lamb in a broad pasture?

17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone.
18 When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
their rulers dearly love shame.
19 A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Go, Love

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[Our religion] is what we lean on to tell us we’re okay, that our lives matter, another name for all the ladders we spend our days climbing toward a dream of wholeness. It refers to our preferred guilt-management system.... Our religion is that which we rely on not just for meaning or hope but enoughness.
— David Zahl

Hosea 3:1-5

1 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech[a] of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

Betrothed Forever

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The power of healing love in marriage is a miniature version of the same power that Jesus has with us. In Christ, God sees us as righteous, holy, and beautiful (2 Corinthians 5:21). The world tells us about our faults, and we know that they are there, but God’s love for us covers our sins and continues despite them.
— Tim Keller

Hosea 2:14-23

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15 And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.

21 “And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,
23 and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”