We are called to follow God wholeheartedly as overcomers. This is how Caleb survived as waited to enter into the land that he saw with faith eyes. He refused to dwell on the challenges; he faced fear with faith. Joshua 14:6-12
Sermon # 11306
6:30 PM on 7/30/2017
P. Steve Andrulonis
You know what nation Ruth came from, Moab. How did Moab begin? The daughters of Lot and disasters that happened at Sodom and Gomorrah. They were made pregnant by their father. A pretty unclean beginning. I was reading in the book of Isaiah, there is an oracle he gives against the people of Moab. It started unclean in a strange way, and the people did, but they came to this place in Ruth where Ruth connected these people to the throne of God. As strange as their beginning was and they were enemies to the people of God, Ruth came and connected that people group to the throne of God. How God can redeem any situation. A beginning like that doesn’t disqualify a person from being in the line of Christ. David took his parents to Moab to protect them when he was running from Absalom. Across the Dead Sea was the territory of Moab. We know the story and heard it at weddings. Ruth found her Boaz. There are three people in the story: Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi. There are things about all these people that are important for us to understand.
All the judgment Isaiah pronounces on them…if you read Jer 48:47 at the end of things God will restore the fortunes of Moab. At the end, they are in the divine purpose of God in the whole picture when God puts it together. The thing about the book of Ruth we can see ourselves in Naomi and Boaz. There is a situation that happens. A family is living in the will of God, in the Promise Land. Naomi is married and the famine comes. I don’t know how the husband decided to get over to Moab, maybe a ferry across the Dead Sea. The boys married Ruth and the other Orphah. At a point in time, the husbands die and Naomi’s husband dies also and here is this bitter situation. Naomi’s name means “pleasant” but she becomes so bitter about the situation God has allowed her to be in. She says go back to your gods and family. My God isn’t with me right now. He has dealt bitterly with me. Have you ever been in that place? We are in a situation that has made us bitter. The husband took them from a place of promise to another land and disaster came. Is God here? She is telling them to go back to their gods. My God isn’t the one you want to be with. Have you ever gotten to that place? Ruth heard something different. She didn’t listen to the voice of her mother-in-law. She is speaking from another place than what spoken before. The Word of God never returns void. I don’t know what kind of stories were told around the table, but something said made Ruth know the God of Naomi was the God she wanted to serve. You can tell me to go back, but I’m not abandoning you and the truth you have given to me. She wrapped her arms around it and said I will go back with you. My people will be your people and your God will be my God. Naomi said in effect my God is not worth serving. The other daughter-in- law did go back but Ruth said I’m staying with you. I don’t believe the things you are saying right now. She knew the truth about what she heard about God earlier. When people get very bitter, we have to see beyond that. They are not talking from the frame of reference and the finished work at work in their life. Naomi thought she could kick God out of her life but Ruth heard something different. Ruth brought Naomi back together and served there. There is Naomi now bitter, Ruth who is won by the message, and now has to help Naomi go from a bitter place to a better place. In the other picture is this guy Boaz. He’s a faithful, quiet, follower of God. Ruth goes to his field to find some food for this family in need. No father or husband in the picture, two widows. He was following the law. In Deuteronomy, Moses instructed these rich land owners to leave some things so the fatherless and widows can pick it up and survive. Boaz is doing this faithfully. Maybe he is a little mocked. Why does he do that? You won’t find anything lying around on my field. Boaz is following God in faithfulness. What kind of reward happens for Boaz? He wakes up one night and a beautiful woman is at his feet! That’s like wow!! You dropped her from heaven. This is the whole way it happens. The thing is Boaz was so in order he didn’t sweep her up and elope in the countryside. His faithfulness was a reward.
Do we despise people who do small things in faithfulness? Ruth could have looked at Naomi in her bitterness. We could be right about these kind of things. Naomi is very honest. God has allowed her to be in this situation. We don’t want to say God allowed the situation.
Could we come and be honest and say like Jonah did, I do well to be angry and bitter? Honesty is the best moment to start the healing process. It’s that place, person, institution, etc. That’s what I start projecting on things when God is in control and all things are of God and all things work together.
The bridge between these two people is Ruth. She is coming back from the vineyard bringing things to Naomi. It says Naomi left off talking to Ruth. I’m going to serve with you and your God. How did Ruth get her to start talking again? Tell me the stories. She brought something home from Boaz’s field and starts telling the story. Tell me about the story “let there be light” and the talking snake. Tell me how the chariots got swallowed up. Maybe she starting asking Naomi about the stories in the Bible. Naomi came out of her bitterness some way.
We can say things like this because we believe something amazing from God. Things like mud makes people see. Our Savior was once dead and now alive and was born of a virgin. Our Messiah is coming back on a flying horse. There is a lot of things in our Bible that is mysterious, amazing. We don’t know when. No man knows the hour or day. We look to the sky and know some day Jesus will crack that sky and come on a flying horse. We need to have our hearts warmed in these things. Our bitterness doesn’t have to be the things that contain our life.
Look at the Boaz’s and the Ruth’s around you. Be careful how you think of those quiet, faithful people. You might be working for them in eternity. The little things they have done so faithfully have added up to a great reward. Boaz and Ruth became parents of kings, to the height that Jesus is their relative.
We can help people who are bitter get better and thank God for the faithful people who just serve and love and help us.
P. Bob Colban
Help the bitter get better.
Eph.2. If you ask my wife, she would tell you how excited I was telling her about this message. We’ll see how it comes out the second time. I hope to answer a question that plagues many of us. The question is depending on how many years you are saved, or your salvation could be months, years, and decades. The question is how come at times I do the same things I used to do? The same sins or thinking patterns prior to salvation, I find myself doing again after many years. We think in our Christianity the more we go along, the better we should get. I was thinking of the nature of man. That is really the cornel that will answer the question.
We know God made man perfect in Ge 2. He gave man dominion and so on.
In Ge 3, man fell. When man fell, his nature was depraved. We see instantly the result in Ge 3 when God came to speak to them after they fell and ate of the fruit of tree of K of G and E. They hid themselves from God and when he questioned them, Adam blamed God and Eve for his transgression. The woman you gave me gave me the apple. We see a change of their nature. Eve says it wasn’t me. It was the talking snake. Their nature that was sinless, their fellowship with God, everything changed when they fell.
In Ge 4 Cain murdered their son, Abel. In Ge 6 we see in the time of Noah the thoughts and intents of all men are evil continually. How quickly man fell and continued his depraved nature. We can look at history. We see when Christ came and they crucified him. We look at modern history and things we’ve seen in wars and the Holocaust, and World War I and II, and the killing fields of Cambodia and what happened in Rwanda.
Looking in the future, in Rev 19 man will fight against God coming on the flying horse. Man fell and has not gotten any better. If you listen to a psychiatrist or psychologist and you would think because of man’s progression over 10,000 years or a billion, the point is we can see just by opening our eyes and reading history man hasn’t gotten better. Man is better at killing man. Now they do it out of the sky and thousands at a time. Then you have the other side of the tree of K of good and evil and have the self-R people.
Some would say man has gotten better but we could say man was depraved in Ge 3 and will be in Rev 19. Nothing’s changed. If anything, man has gotten more depraved and cunning in his deceitfulness. This is the world we live in. When we were in southern France and would visit these villages on hill tops or plateaus, they always had walls around them. They are always positioned up in these hills. We realized they were like this because of the depravity of man. They had to put themselves in a place where they can defend themselves.
We see in Nehemiah when walls were down, people are open to invaders. We see man is not getting any better. Technology, culture, education, success, living longer has not changed the nature of man.
Eph 2 the way I am describing man, the way Isaiah said the whole head is sick….no goodness in us. This is our nature. This is who we are.
Eph 2:1 he’s speaking to believers like us. God has quickened us and made us alive but prior we were dead in trespasses and sins.
vs. 2-3. This is us. Everything we just said about man is how we existed prior to salvation. The osn was wicked and deceitful and totally depraved.
vs. 4. This is now who we are. Now God has quickened us and made us alive. If God has made us this way and read the rest of Ephesians, seated above, his workmanship, – why do we have these times when we sin that it seems we haven’t grown at all? It seems to plague us sometimes for 40 or 50 years. My gosh! I can’t believe I thought those thoughts. That was the way I thought prior to salvation. We act on an impulse and guilt comes in and condemnation and we can’t believe we did that. We start to condemn ourselves and say has God done anything in my life? Nothing has changed. I’m trying to gauge the reaction that must just be Bob or I can relate to that! I said to my wife, if no one else receives this message it was definitely for me. Why do we still sin? God has quickened us and made us alive. Yet I still sin the same sin. These weaknesses I had, I still have. It doesn’t make sense. Why are we plagued by the same problems over and over again, after 5 or 20 years? Why not getting better? Have I failed in my Christianity? This happens to people. I haven’t changed at all. Therefore I guess I can’t be a Christian and we see those causalities all over the world. I am plagued by the same sins I was plagued with five or ten years ago. I don’t understand this. These questions plague us, discourage us. If man hasn’t gotten better after 10,000 years, why do you expect to get better? Man hasn’t changed in over 10,000 years, why do we condemn ourselves that we haven’t changed in 5 or 10 or 15 years? Man hasn’t gotten any better and you’re not getting any better. That was an edifying service! The osn has not changed. We still drag the osn around with us and he hasn’t changed. In one sense we haven’t changed at all. What plagues us here plagues us here. The weaknesses we had there, we have here. We have not changed in our osn at all.
Christianity is not about making the old man better. That’s where we misunderstand what the Scriptures are teaching. It’s not making my osn a better osn. It’s not about taking my osn that is living at the evil side and dragging it to the good side because both are evil. They both fall short of the glory of God.
Ever seen the Wizard of Oz? When they got to the Emerald City and got in, they are polishing up the Tin Man’s medal. And the Scarecrow, the straw guy, they are putting fresh straw on him and cleaning him up. They put the Lion’s hair in pigtails.
That’s what we think should happen to our osn. Put new straw in there. Look, I’ve gotten better. As soon as we say that, we are doing the same thing. We are the same person. Our osn whether five years or one hundred is the same it has always been. It’s not making the osn more acceptable or cultured. I don’t smoke, chew or hang with those that do. That is religion trying to take the osn and make it more presentable. Christianity is saying the old man is dead and I’m alive with Christ. I’m crucified with Christ and now resurrected with Christ. How that affects me as a person.
Roman 6:21 reigned is like reigning like a king or monarch. Prior to salvation, the osn reigned in our life unchecked with absolute power. It said jump and we said, how high? Controlled by the prince of the power of the air and the osn controlled us absolutely. Like an absolute king with absolute power and no one challenged it. We were powerless to challenge it. That’s where we lived and dwelt. We could have been living at the good part of the tree and doing ok or others are living on the evil side but we were all living there separated from God under the power and dominion of a king which was the osn. Jesus dethroned or took off the throne of the osn. For the first time in our life when we received Christ because of what he did on the Cross, the osn’s power was broken. Not eradicated. [He’s quoting Kenneth Wuest but I’m only typing a paraphrase of it.] One is the separation from the osn and an impartation of the divine nature. These two things are a result of a major, surgical operation God performs in every sinner he saved. The breaking of the power of sin and the impartation of the divine nature. God gives us a new nature, his own personal divine nature. Wuest says aorist tense happened once with eternal consequences forever. God has brought a cleavage or separation between the believer and his sin nature…disengagement of the person from his evil nature. That’s amazing. Prior to salvation, we were held captive at his will and had no control over our decision making. We were jumping along like a puppet on a string. God disengages us from that and give us a new nature and breaks the power the osn had over us…this surgical operation is never repeated. That separation could be permanent. This is where we stand now. The sin nature is not eradicated but the power has been broken. Who do we put on the throne of our lives on a daily basis? The question isn’t take this osn and make it better but who are we yielding to on a daily basis? Are we yielding to the osn and say do you want to come back on for a while? This osn we give it authority to come back into our life and rule and reign in our lives.
We have an option now. God has broken that power and the only way it has power is if we give it to the osn. It has been dethroned. Like any king dethroned, it always wants that power back. Now someone new is sitting on the throne of your life and the Holy Spirit is controlling us. Why do we still do these bad things if it’s true? The issue isn’t getting better but who are we yielding to? We come to church, see the faithfulness of God and over time we yield more to God and less to our osn. That’s where the change comes. The things of the world become strangely dim. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will become strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. As we look this way, this stuff gets smaller and smaller. More and more yielding to the power of the H.S. is what delivers us. It’s not the old man getting better but yielding to God and we have a brand new nature. We exchange our life for his. “I’ve become a better Christian.” No, you haven’t. You’re yielding to the divine nature. Not the old man getting better. Why do we do the same things? It’s the same old sin nature, the cravings and desires of the sin nature. He wants to do the same things we did 20 years ago. I thought I was better. No, we yielded to the osn and he is exercising his right and authority and the things he wants to do. We say I guess I haven’t gotten better. As time goes on, we yield more and more to God and experience his divine nature and this stuff becomes less and less. We starve him and feed the spirit. That’s what changes us as far as our walk and what nature we are experiencing and the joy and peace. It’s an exchanged life. Not taking an old coat and sending it to the cleaners. But it’s the same coat. This is amazing. I found it amazing. What I said is all I wanted to say. It answered some questions and became clearer to me. This is the reality.
Read Rom 6. Wuest says this is the mechanism for living a spiritual life.
Rom 7 is where we screw up because we get in the middle of what God wants to do. Rom 8 is the victory side of it. This is truth from God’s Word about where we stand. It’s freeing to know it’s not a self-effort but God doing something with his nature in our life. That’s how we grow and experience his fullness and not get bogged down with the other stuff.
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