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Presentation 04. I once heard a student ask, What is the basic minimum I can offer to God and still call myself a Christian? Hier whole approach smacked.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 04. I once heard a student ask, What is the basic minimum I can offer to God and still call myself a Christian? Hier whole approach smacked."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 04


3 I once heard a student ask, What is the basic minimum I can offer to God and still call myself a Christian? Hier whole approach smacked of bargain basement Christianity which asks of God: What is the least I can give and what is the most I can get? This approach to Christian discipleship is highly suspect and reveals a failure to understand a fundamental biblical principle; by giving ourselves unreservedly to God we do not loose out. Indeed, we discover that God is no mans debtor. This principle is unpacked in the verses before us. Introduction Presentation 04

4 The Bethlehem Old Bailey, like all ancient eastern courts, was located at the city gate. Boaz was there to support the claim of Ruth and Naomi against the man whose duty it was to act as kinsman redeemer - an office instituted by God to provide for the poor and needy members of Israel. Boaz served his kinsman with a legal summons and then called upon the village elders to act as judge and jury. The Reluctant Kinsman Presentation 04

5 The fact that the man had to be confronted with his obligations in this legal manner suggests that he had little concern for anyone's welfare except his own. Naomis return from Moab had been the talk of the town but this kinsman had done absolutely nothing to enquire after her welfare or provide for her need. Our sensitivity to the needs of others, or lack of it, can often indicate how self-absorbed we are. The Reluctant Kinsman Presentation 04

6 The kinsmans self-centredness sprang into action when he was given the option to buy back the family land. Women had no right of inheritance in Israel and his cash register mind must have thought, Its the sale of the century until Boaz pointed out, 'Marrying Ruth was required as a part of the redemption deal.' That created an immediate financial stumbling block. Why? Because Ruth's first male child would automatically inherit the property. That was a price he wasnt prepared to pay and so he refused his obligation under Gods law to act as kinsman redeemer. The Reluctant Kinsman Presentation 04

7 The claims of both Gods law and also genuine human need, took second place to his own happiness. Does his attitude shock us? It is not uncommon. Sadly, many people who welcome with open arms the benefits of the Christian gospel - forgiveness, acceptance, peace, joy, eternal security etc. -are repulsed by the idea of costly, obedient discipleship. Commenting on bargain basement Christianity, Samuel Rutherford the Scottish covenanter wrote: There are some who would have Christ cheap, they would have him without the cross, but the price will not come down. The Reluctant Kinsman Presentation 04

8 Unbelief causes men to withhold commitment to God because they think that he is out to impoverish their lives. But in actual fact it is the reluctant kinsman who ends up the loser here. This kinsman, by his disobedience would discover that there is a price to be paid for not paying the price. He wrote himself out of the script of a far greater plan of redemption. He forfeited having his name go down in history. In Matt.1v5, which forms a part of the human genealogy of Jesus, there is no place for this nameless man who refused costly obedience. He ended up the loser. Jesus spoke about this kind of loss. He that saves his life will lose it and he that loses his life for my sake will find it.Mk.8.35. The Reluctant Kinsman Presentation 04

9 You may have heard of Jim Elliot a young man who believed that God wanted him to take the gospel message to the Auca Indians in South America. Jim knew that this would be a dangerous mission and that by obeying God he would be seen by some as throwing his life away. He was martyred by the Auca Indians but before his death this entry was written in his diary: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. When a man honours God through costly obedience, he can never be a loser. The Reluctant Kinsman Presentation 04

10 Boaz was no fool. He took over the costly responsibility of kinsman redeemer. He paid the redemption price of the land and was not slow to make the wedding arrangements. Boaz honoured God and expressed his love for him through costly obedience. Genuine love does not ask, 'Whats in it for me? Rather it asks, 'What can I give, what is the best that I can do?' Only love can give sacrificially. Jesus said, If you love me you will keep my commandments Jn. 14.21. These were not easy or empty words. Jesus knew all about the cost of obedient love, he became obedient to death, even death upon a cross. Phil 2.8. The Willing Suitor Presentation 04

11 Today, we are in danger of becoming a Narcissistic society, of loving ourselves more than others and certainly more than God. And as a result words like sacrifice, commitment and faithfulness are increasingly alien. Love has been emptied of its meaning. Today, when someone says, I have stopped loving you, what they are often really saying is, I can no longer see any benefit or advantage for me in this relationship. And so people like Boaz, who give of themselves without counting the cost, are told they are mad. The Willing Suitor Presentation 04

12 The church's great need is not the pursuit of new patterns of evangelism or, for high-pressure stewardship schemes or, endless lectures on commitment. The great need of the church is for men and women who will love God with a consuming passion and who want to express their love through the obedience of their lives. When John Wesley prayed for a 100 men whose hearts were on fire for God, he was convinced that through such men the spiritual fabric of the nation could be radically altered. He saw a great spiritual awakening take place through a handful of such men! The Willing Suitor Presentation 04

13 In v10 Boaz makes a public commitment to Ruth before witnesses. His vow was not made lightly. Concerning vows, someone has said, We need to stop long enough to let our feet catch up with our mouths. Vows are more than mere words they are a public witness to what we have determined in the privacy of our hearts. Wedding vows, which speak of our commitment to our marriage partner, are there to remind us of this commitment whenever our love is put to the test. Where no such public commitment exists, insecurity is rife as is a readiness to dissolve the relationship when difficulties arise. Public vows do not guarantee a successful marriage but can act as a restraint in a society where casual relationships are becoming the norm. The Willing Suitor Presentation 04

14 Similarly, the vows we take, when we make a public profession of faith in church, serve as very public reminders that we are committed to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and to seek to do all in our power to advance his kingdom. Clearly, we do not make vows concerning things that are easy to do or concerning matters of trivial importance. It is good to ask ourselves regularly are we making good our vows to God or do we fail to stop long enough to let our feet catch up with our mouths? The Willing Suitor Presentation 04

15 In v14ff the focus of attention returns to Naomi. She knew that God had emptied her life because she had wandered from him. But when she had responded to his loving discipline and in repentance and faith made her way back to him she had begun to experience the comprehensive nature of his provision. First there was the conversion and loyal commitment of her daughter-in-law Ruth, then the material provision of the grain gleaned during the harvest period and now the security and support given by their kinsman redeemer and the birth of a child who would maintain the family name and retain the family inheritance. The Fruit of Obedience Presentation 04

16 In the O.T. names were not given to children lightly and Ruth and Boaz named their son Obed v17. Why? The name means, servant of God. Both Ruth and Boaz had both experienced the sheer joy which serving God brings and they wanted nothing less for their son. Such service cost them dearly, but having paid the price they would one day discover that it had brought a far greater reward than they could ever have imagined. The Fruit of Obedience Presentation 04

17 The obedience of Ruth and Boaz led to the birth of a son who became the grandparent of David, the first king in the royal line of Judah and ancestor of the coming Messiah and Redeemer King. Look at the genealogy recorded in Matt. 1v5... We discover that Boaz the son of a Canaanite prostitute and Ruth a despised Moabitess, were the parents of a child who in turn formed part of Jesus family tree. Obedience to God can have far greater repercussions than we realise. In the eyes of God, it is not our background or social status that is important but our willingness to obey his will. The Fruit of Obedience Presentation 04

18 Modern man runs around in a frenzied attempt to secure happiness and insulate his life from costly self-giving. His pursuit of happiness is often the reason given for disobeying God and becomes an excuse for every sort of wrongdoing. So much so, that many people no longer ask, Is this the right thing to do? but instead ask, Will this make me happy? The happiness they pursue is illusory. It depends upon a particular set of circumstances, including good health. But once those circumstances change or health breaks down then the bubble of happiness is burst! The Fruit of Obedience Presentation 04

19 In contrast, the happiness that comes from God is not tied to circumstances. The way to find it is not to pursue it as an end in itself, but in the self- forgetful service that seeks God's glory, aims at his will, and trusts in his enabling power in the midst of all the changing circumstances of life. Ruth and Boaz discovered this kind of joy when they pursued obedient service, something far higher than circumstantial happiness. You might say that happiness crept up on them and took them by surprise. God is no mans debtor! The Fruit of Obedience Presentation 04

20 The book of Ruth describes an ordinary family and yet it is a book about God at work. We cannot but be impressed by God's faithfulness to his people and his eagerness to bless those who take him seriously and who set their minds and hearts upon costly obedience. We cannot tell where our small steps of obedience mat lead in the glorious purpose of God. The decision to abandon bargain basement Christianity for wholehearted commitment to God can affect the whole of our future history. Think about that the next time you are tempted to ask, "Does my response to God matter all that much ? Conclusion Presentation 04

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