Ruth’s Redeemer Points to Our Redeemer

Here is an excerpt of a sermon I am preaching through the book of Ruth. Seeing Christ through Boaz really makes it come alive for me.

“I told you that the relationship between Ruth and Boaz was not the main point of the book. Boaz redeeming Ruth and Naomi represents a much larger story. Boaz’s saving action is meant to point to our Savior. In order to read this passage properly, we must point it to Christ. That was the intent of the author. When the Holy Spirit guided the earthly author to write this book, it was meant to point to the ultimate redeemer that was to come.

Jesus Christ is the better Boaz. Just as Boaz lowered himself for the sake of Ruth, how much more did Christ lower himself for us?

Philippians 2 says though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the form of servant, being born in likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Christ put himself last for us! Sitting at the right hand of God, he reduced himself to be a lowly man. He did this so that so that he could redeem sinful and desperate humans like you and me. Christ put our honor above his own. Christ surely did not disappear when times got tough. His death and resurrection allowed our eternal destiny to be restored.

We have to understand this. This means that when we read the story of Ruth, we ultimately see the beauty of our Savior! Because of where he brought us from, we realize that only through Christ’s work by the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to please God. These things I tell you, putting yourself last, lowering yourself, it is impossible unless we put our faith in the person of Christ. He gives us the Holy Spirit who enlightens and transforms us. He makes us able to love and obey God. He makes us able to love and serve others. He makes able to put ourselves last. “

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The Myth of Numbers in ministry

A good friend of mine asked me how I felt about quantitative/numerical goals in ministry. Here was my response. You may not agree with me, but feel free to read it.

“That is very interesting question. And honestly I am against, for the most part, quantitative goals in ministry. If we believe that the Holy Spirit is the true leader of our ministry then who are we to quantify what he is doing or will do. (Very general and spiritualized I know). We are called to submit to him and be faithful and follow his leadership in our ministry. When we focus too much on quantitative goals we begin to define success in strictly in terms of numbers. We begin to say things like, “This isn’t working because we don’t see “tangible results”. This also causes us to give up on things too quickly. For instance, let’s say we don’t reach our crafted goals for the year. What happens? We either get frustrated because our “numbers” aren’t being reached which makes us more likely to abandon something too quickly. We fail to realize that God may choose not to grow something or at least not for a long time. Depending too much on numbers causes us to “scrap” ministries and start over because they aren’t “working” (or least our numbers aren’t being met).

I do not mind using numbers in certain situations. For example, if our church collected X amount of money last year and that helps us compile a budget for the following year (or at least gives us an idea to plan for) then so be it. Also, they can be used in hindsight to celebrate God i.e, , “Look what God has done by bringing this many people to Christ or this many people seeing significant life change.”

I think the reason our loyalty to numbers is so high is because ministry has become driven by pragmatics and tangible earthly goals. We think that God works like we do. We think that God’s economy is like ours. Instead of fully understanding that God’s ways are far greater, we sometimes think that God’s only way of blessing our ministry is through numerical growth.

Personally, I find it hard for people not to allow numerical goals to control and drive a ministry. I don’t see how people can say “we aren’t about numbers” “we just use them to challenge ourselves” and not let them a have significant role in making decisions for the future, whether they realize it or not. God has called us to faithfully serve, not prognosticate. He can handle all that. Let’s faithfully serve and do the things that God has commanded us to do. Preach the Word, make disciples, love those around us, take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and leave the results up to him. Hope this is helpful in some way. Thanks for the question and give me the opportunity to think through it.”

-Sam

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Love Lustres At Calvary

What an amazing picture of what Christ’s work accomplished and the future life eternal! Praise God!

MY FATHER, Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’ There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me; There the sword of thy justice smote the man, the fellow; There thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made; There infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might be attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me, All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished ; Help me adore thee by lips and life. O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise, my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

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Great Example of the relationship between OT and NT

This is an excerpt from Justin Taylor’s blog of Tim Keller’s book, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus. It shows how the story of Jonah relates to Jesus in Mark 4:35-41. It is a great example of video I posted earlier.

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What is the Bible About?

I love to watch this from time to time. It changes the way I read the Bible.

 

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The Precious Blood

What a great description of sin and grace! Meditate on this.

BLESSED LORD JESUS, Before the cross I kneel and see the heinousness of my sin, my iniquity that caused thee to be ‘made a curse’, the evil that excites the severity of divine wrath, Show me the enormity of my guilt by the crown of thorns, the pierced hands and feet, the bruised body, the dying cries, Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God, its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought. Infinite must be the evil and guilt that demands such a price. Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper, born in my birth, alive in my life, strong in my character, dominating my faculties, following me as a shadow, intermingling with my every thought, my chain that hold me captive in the empire of my soul. Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light, the air supply my breath, the earth bear my tread, its fruits nourish me, its creatures subserve my ends?

Yet thy compassions yearn over me, thy heart hastens to my rescue, thy love endured my curse, thy mercy bore my deserved stripes. Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation, bathed in thy blood, tender of conscience, triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.

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Very convicting and very true

I found this post on Justin Taylor’s blog. It’s a quote talking about Evangelicals lack of communion with God. I particularly like this quote.

“We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters.”

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