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Ruth- A Story of Commitment.

Key Scripture: Ruth 1:16 (KJV)  And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

SUMMARY

Commitment is rarity these days. It is difficult to find someone truly committed and because of the lack of commitment marriages are broken; families are split, employees are disloyal and authorities have all gone irresponsible. In this world of perfidy, sham and faithlessness we thank God for the story of Ruth; a story of love and commitment! Even though Ruth was a Moabites,  yet her character in the bible  is profound. She chose to love, follow and stay committed in what she believed! The question today is how many of us can learn the important principles of commitment, loyalty and love and  practice it in our daily lives. God calls us to be committed to Him in various ways and where there is commitment there is a blessing!

SERMON POINTS

Ruth- a story of commitment

Four Things That we need to be committed to:

1) Stay Committed to the House of God.

Ruth 1:1 (KJV)Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 

We need to stay committed to the house of God. Commitment brings blessings. However, in the story of Ruth we see that Elimelech,  decides to move his family out of Bethlehem- ‘The house of bread’ because of the famine that came upon the land. Many of us are like Elimelech today, who can be defined as ‘situational believers’, shifting our focus, culture and lifestyle into a sensual culture away from the house of God.  Elimelech forgot the what God desired of his Abraham and Isaac when they faced the same. He forgot that the Lord is faithful and he took the knee jerk decision to go to Moab. Remember God will visit Bethlehem and would not abandon it. He defends the church and would stand by it. We should never have less commitment to the place where God has planted us.

2) Stay Committed to our Calling.

Ruth 1:2 (KJV)   And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there

Elimelech-means “God is my King”. Elimelech had to live up to his name. Instead of allowing God’s rule in every realm of his life, he led his family away from the house of bread to Moab-the land of sin. God has called us by His name. We are in Christ and the challenge is to hold on to Christ in time of crisis. We are called to be the servants of the King of kings and not the victims of circumstances. How do you live in your calling today? How are we reflecting the kingship of God in our personal and corporate lives.

The One who calls you is faithful, He will do it.

3) Stay Committed in Character.

Ruth1:8-9 (KJV) And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

The meaning of Naomi is “pleasant one”. When unpleasant situations came her way, she was mindful of her daughters in law. She heard that God had visited Bethlehem and irrespective of the tragedies that came in her life, she decided to get back. There was a difference in the God of Naomi and the Gods of Moab. Naomi stayed true to her character. She chose not to be bitter with her daughters in law. She reflected a sound character irrespective of tragic situations.

Orpah means stiff necked and she chose to leave Naomi. Ruth however clung to Naomi. Ruth in hebrew means “beauty” and she was committed to her character. Its our character that determines our beauty.

4) Stay Committed to the Covenant.

Ruth 1:16 (KJV) And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Ruth was determined to stay with Naomi and thereby made a covenant . This covenant is the cause for the existence of this book. This book and the subsequent sequence of events revolve around this covenant. Ruth made Naomi’s God as her God and heavens heard her. She said nothing would separate her from the God  in Naomi’s household except her death and therefore pleads with Naomi not to send her back. Ruth’s statement gives us a strong sense of commitment to reflect upon. Naomi had reflected a strong covenant with God which Ruth knew and hence. Naomi saw and heard the determination of Ruth and stopped convincing her to go back to Moab. This chapter starts with a tragedy but ends with a harvest as Naomi gets back to Bethlehem. Naomi becomes the talk of the town and Naomi attributed it all to Shaddai God-(ALMIGHTY). In every situation of our life we should never forget His sovereignty. He is behind every season of our life and we should be close to Him through it all.

CONCLUSION.

In these perilous times when everything is masked by falsehood, let us be beacons of the Lord committed to His house, to our calling staying rooted to our character in faith to the everlasting covenant. Ruth is an image of the gentile church being strong in faith and entering into the covenant with God. As New Testament believers let’s stay strongly committed to the Lord. He will usher in a harvest.

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Instructions Like Rain & Teachings To Profit (Part II)

Key Scripture: Psalm 32:8 (KJV)  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

SUMMARY

King Solomon, the wisest man on earth spoke thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge which are very important in our daily lives. The word of God stresses on these sayings so that we remember it as we deal with different aspects of our life. As Christians, we ought to live lives filled with the wisdom of God so that we may not become prey to the wicked schemes of the devil. The Lord teaches us through His counsel that we got to be watchful and careful in guarding ourselves and our families from the schemes of the enemy; He helps us to lead lives worthy of His kingdom.

SERMON POINTS

Why do we need wisdom or understanding from the Lord?

  • Wisdom protects us:

Proverbs 4:5-8 (NIV)  Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.

The wisdom which comes from the Word of God protects us. The counsel that we learn from the Church will protect us from all evil, any wicked schemes planned against us and our family. Therefore, we must not disregard wisdom. The Bible teaches us to incline our hearts to wisdom even if it costs us all we have and wisdom will  watch over us. Only when we cherish the wisdom of the Lord, honor will come our way. The word says, the Lord will remove all positions of dishonor in our lives because of the importance that we place and give to His wisdom.

  •  Wisdom brings Long Life:

Proverbs 4: 9,10 (NIV)  She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 

People try doing so many things during their tenure on earth in order to prove that they have lived the best days of their life. However, when death comes knocking at their door, no one knows how to respond and live out the best life that they have worked so hard for! but the Lord teaches us through the sayings of King Solomon, that when we listen and accept His blessed words, the Lord will add and increases our life span.

The Instructions from our Lord: The following are the second part of the teachings in Proverbs 23-24 NIV 2011 edition. Lets understand the latter fifteen sayings and their application in our daily lives.

Proverbs 22:20,21 (NIV) Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve?

16) Friendship with sinners

Proverbs 23:19-21 (NIV) Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor,    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

We all have many friends. But it is important to know who they really are. This saying warns us against being friends with drunkards and gluttons. Any association with them can be damaging to our lives, families and to our spiritual growth as well.

Philippians 3:18, 19 (NIV) For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.

St. Paul says in his letter to the Philippians in tears to stay away from people whose God is their belly and whose mind is only on earthly things. Let us be careful of whom we associate lest we don’t want friends who are enemies of the cross. Do we?

17) Listen to the Parents.

Proverbs 23:22-25 (NIV)  Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well. The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!

The Bible gives us sound advice with regards to our parents. With the increase in the technologies and awareness of the world around us, we find our parents and elders to be less educated and knowledgeable than us. Truth be told, they may not be technologically advanced, but they do have experience on their side. Let us learn to support, encourage and be loving to our parents and elders. Let us never despise them in their old age.

Ephesians 6:2,3 (NIV)   “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

We must obey our parents in the Lord so that it may go well with us and that we will live long. This is the first commandment from the Lord. Therefore, let us talk to them, listen to what they have to say and obey them in all things, except in matters of faith, wherein we can lovingly, humbly let them know our decisions. We must never forget that whatever may befall they still are our parents.

18)Relationships.

Proverbs 23:26-28 (NIV)  My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

We must be careful with our sexual lives. This saying teaches us about the dangers that lurk around; the world may define having multiple relationships as a ‘vogue’ but the Lord is against anything that crosses the institution that He propagated.  We need to ask God’s grace, wisdom to live cultured and circumspect our dealings with men and women in our workplaces. Lets respect each other’s individuality and never cross the boundaries!

Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

This is the commandment of the Lord and He will judge if marriage is not honored and kept pure. Therefore, join with the spouse and cut off any relationship that has a deep and narrow pit that can cause us to fall into unfaithfulness and judgement from God.

19)Addictions.

Proverbs 23:29-35 (NIV)  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!  They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?

Addictions are taking all forms in one’s life today. We would never know the border line but when crossed it turns a normal pleasant life into an addiction with discomfort. Any addiction be it alcohol, drugs, overuse-age of cellphones, televisions etc. must leave our lives, it might look pleasing, giving us momentary good feeling about the things we possess but in the end it is definite that it will leave us poisoned and bitten by a snake.

II Timothy 2:22 (NIV) Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Timothy is advised by St. Paul to flee from the lusts of this evil world. We must also ask the Lord to create in us a clean heart, a one that is filled with righteousness, peace and faith. Give it all to Jesus and He will control our lives to direct and lead us.

20) Peer Pressure

Proverbs 24:1,2 (NIV)  Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.

In today’s world, the wicked thrive and rise to power. Many a times it might make us envy their ways and desire their company but don’t not fall for the plans of the devil. The Lord looks for people who will stand for Him. Therefore don’t have anything to do with those people and flee from them.

Psalms 1:1 (NIV)  Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

The Bible clearly states that only those who do not stand, sit or follow the counsel of the ungodly will be blessed. Let our hearts make a commitment not to take the highway of sinner and the scornful.

21) Family

Proverbs 24:3,4 (NIV)  By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

A home is not just the door, walls and ceilings that surround us. A home is where our family stays together in love. Families cannot be built by money or fame; instead it is built with wisdom and established in understanding. Introspect how do we manage our homes, do we boss around, fight, argue and nag to keep family together? It is only through knowledge that our houses can be filled with rare and beautiful treasures; our children, our elders, our spouse in the family. Let us pray for the wisdom of God to build, establish and fill our homes.

22) Counselors and Mentors

Proverbs 24:5,6 (NIV)  The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.

Who are our advisers? Who do we get counsel from? The bible says to win over anything you need advise. By being  a ‘know-it-all’ person we have more chances of being a failure. We need to be teachable and ever learning. Science may give us so many theories in regards to its functionalities but we must understand that everything runs and rotates on the word of God. Turn the ears to the pastor, family members, elders, parents and to a godly spouse  in need of an advice and the Lord will give us the victory.

23) Do not be foolish

Proverbs 24:7 (NIV)  Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.

We shouldn’t be foolish. If we are foolish, we cannot  attain wisdom because wisdom is too high for fools.

Ephesians 5:17 (NIV)  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

If we do anything, other than the will of God is a foolish decision. God has a purpose and a plan for each one of our lives. Therefore, strive to understand God’s will and not live our life in foolishness. Ask the Holy Spirit for understanding the will of God and He will empower us to deal in wisdom.

24) Motives

Proverbs 24:8,9 (NIV)  Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.

Motives behind every action is very important. Let the intentions of our heart be pure because the Lord weighs our hearts.

Proverbs 21:2 (NIV)  A person may think their own ways are right,  but the Lord weighs the heart.

We may serve the Lord but our ‘Right intention’ is what matters the most to God. If our intention is  to please people than it wouldn’t be serviceable in God’s sight. Instead whatever we do, we must do it with an intention to give glory to God and He will bless us.

25) Perseverance

Proverbs 24:10-12 (NIV)  If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Perseverance is very important in our lives. We must be careful not to falter at times of trouble. It is during the time of shaking that we need to be steadfast. We must be prepared to rescue those headed for destruction.

Jeremiah 12:5 (NIV)  “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”

Hebrews 10:36 (NIV)  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

There are greater challenges ahead of us. So, if we  falter today, how can we stand in the worse days to come? Therefore, be steadfast in the Lord;  patiently endure the challenges and we will receive the blessing He has promised, we will overcome!

26) The Word of God

Proverbs 24:13,14 (NIV)  Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Wisdom is like honey, which will ensure that our hope is not cut off.

Psalms 119:103 (NIV)  How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

King David says that the word of the Lord is sweet to the taste, sweeter than honey! We must have a hunger and love for God’s word, then all the bitterness in our life will vanish away.

27) Don’t  Accuse Anybody

Proverbs 24:15,16 (NIV)  Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Don’t accuse a righteous man. We must remember that the Church is our family and instead of waiting for the downfall of a righteous man, we must stand by the house of the righteous. Do not raid the family of a child of God because though the righteous may fall seven times God will rise them again. Let the word of God change us and make us righteous.

28) Don’t Rejoice When The Enemy Falls

Proverbs 24:17,18 (NIV)  Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.

This saying says how we are to deal with our enemies, especially when they fall. The Lord does not want us to gloat over them or rejoice at their downfall. We are accountable to the Lord our God. In fact the Lord disapproves rejoicing at our enemies downfall so much  that He will turn His wrath away from them.

29) Goodness will Remain

Proverbs 24:19,20 (NIV)  Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

We must never retire in being good. The lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. But there is hope for those who are good. There is an eternal hope and a way for those who remain good and their goodness shall prevail over the wicked.

30) Loyalty

Proverbs 24:21,22 (NIV)  Fear the Lord and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

There is an established system and process in all areas of our lives. It could be our office, church or family, if we become rebellious and start opposing the process, we will definitely be out of the system. When things are going good, we must not disturb the equilibrium of it otherwise it will turn out to be a calamity for us in the end, a sudden destruction. Lets learn to be loyal in all areas of our life. Lets walk an extra mile for the sake of our Lord.

CONCLUSION.

Never forsake the instructions from God otherwise, it can bring about sudden destruction in our lives and families. It might be easy to ignore it but let us make it a point to give importance to God’s word and apply it in our everyday dealings in life. Without God we cannot survive, but with God we can do exploits! So stand firm with God and firm to His counsel and wisdom and we will venture together a saved community, society, nation and race!