Faithlife Sermons

The Gift of Redemption

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A brief glimpse into the history of our redemption through the beautiful story of Ruth!

Open with Christmas Eve invite video by Skit Guys!

You know, all jokes aside, I would like to ask that each of you here this morning consider inviting someone to come with you next Sunday morning for our Christmas Eve service.

Christmas and the holiday season, is for many people, a time of great sorrow and depression. Your inviting them to come may very well be the one thing that gives them hope.
I am not saying that my sermon and my preaching are going to bring them hope or in any way fix them. But, the one whom I will be speaking on His behalf and the very one that we will be worshipping can and will deliver and heal them, if they allow Him to.
You can literally make the difference between life and death to someone, just by saying, “Hey, I would really like it if you come with me to my churches’ Christmas Eve service this Sunday morning. No strings attached and nothing expected from you. I just think that you would really enjoy it!”
It’s that easy. In that brief moment, you have begun a form of witnessing to that person!
PLEASE NOTE: I said that the Christmas Eve service is next Sunday MORNING! (EVERYONE SAY “MORNING”).
The whole day, the 24th, is Christmas Eve! So, just because I mention a Christmas Eve service, does not mean that it is going to be in the evening. AMEN?!

You know, I think that most of us here, can say that at some level, we all love the receiving of gifts, right?

I know that it is different for each of us and that some of us just go ga-ga over getting a gift from someone.
I mean, at the very least, it shows you that the other person was thinking about you and that they wanted to bless you somehow and in some way! RIGHT?!
And as much as you appreciate the receiving of those gifts, how much more do you appreciate a gift, when you know that the gift you received came with a certain cost from the one who gave it to you: whether that cost was of appreciable monies or time, or even both?!
Unless you are so worldly and commercialized that you have no true appreciation for anything other than the things that are linked to money and the world’s value system, then you will truly value and treasure a gift that cost someone in ways that money cannot measure and that holds with it, that person’s heart and love for you!
My wife will be the first to tell you, that I am most definitely a sentimentalist! I have cards and pictures and trinkets from when the girls were little, that I will never part with!
And if either of them ever took the time to make something for me and give to me as a gift, then I treasure that with all of my heart!
The gifts that were made and given to us with us just in mind, become the things that we treasure throughout our lives and they are the things bring to our remembrance the love and gratitude for that person that we hold within our hearts, because those gifts remind us of the very great and precious love that the giver of the gift, had for us!

This morning, I want to take you back throughout the ages into the Old Testament, the Old Covenant , and I want to show a picture of Yahweh, the God of creation, as He is methodically and supernaturally, making a gift just for you and I.

It is a gift that the more that you examine it and try to understand the height and depth and length and width of it, the more high and deep and long and wide it becomes! It is unsearchable and yet we find contentment in our pursuit of understanding it!
It is a gift that was made out of the most precious of all things and it continually and without falter, yields its fruit to its owner, as a never ending supply!
The thing that this gift is made of, is the perfect agape LOVE of God, Himself!
And what is the gift that this perfect LOVE was used to create?
Well, to answer that, let me take you to a particular set of passages that show us where God was putting into place a set of provisions, that would directly, generations later, help to ensure that this gift would be ready for us to accept!
If you go all the way back in the Bible to the book of , you will see a story of Judah and Tamar and the practice of what is called the “levirate marriage”. (Judah, being one of the twelve sons of Jacob and the father of the one of the twelve tribes of Israel). Without going into a lot detail, this practice referred to a method by which a families property and lineage could be preserved.
It basically meant that if a woman’s husband died, before he had any sons, then his brother could take her and marry her and produce a son through her that would be able to inherit the dead husbands property and thus keep the man’s property and lineage going.
This is what you see with Tamar and Judah. She was a Canaanite woman, who ended up, through the “levirate marriage” practice, producing a son with Judah, named Perez. (More on this in a little while.)
Anyway, in , God instituted “levirate marriage” into the law given to Moses, as a practice that was recognized as a legal way that lineage could be preserved.
Deuteronomy 25:5–6 NLT
“If two brothers are living together on the same property and one of them dies without a son, his widow may not be married to anyone from outside the family. Instead, her husband’s brother should marry her and have intercourse with her to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law. The first son she bears to him will be considered the son of the dead brother, so that his name will not be forgotten in Israel.
In other words, God was setting the stage for building His “gift”, by using something that men were already familiar with and used to.
Then, in , we see God making provisions for the buying back or “redeeming” of the land of others as well as the poor and enslaved!
The gift that I am speaking about this morning, is the gift of REDEMPTION!
Being REDEEMED, simply means, to “buy back”, to rescue, to make free; as in ransom.

This morning, we are going to look at one book of the Bible in the OT, that Holy Spirit brought to my attention Thursday morning. That book is the book of Ruth.

There are really two centralized themes that I want to point out to you about the book of Ruth: they are FAITH and REDEMPTION.
It is through the FAITH of this gentile woman, named RUTH, that we see true REDEMPTION being enacted and the outcome of her faith is forever recorded as being in the greatest legacy and lineage that has ever existed in the history of the world!
So, without further ado, let’s look at the book and the story of Ruth and witness this amazing gift being made manifest and what we derive from it!

There are only 4 chapters the book of Ruth and within these four chapters, the gift of REDEMPTION, is mentioned some 23 times, through the Hebrew words!

Now, we are going to move quickly through the story of Ruth and along the way, we will be looking at some main points that really accentuate the gift that God was preparing for us behind the scenes!
Chapter One: The main thing that is going on in chapter one is the account of how Naomi came across Ruth and where they started and then ended up,as well as setting the basis for the amazing faith and love that we see Ruth demonstrate. This story, this book, actually takes place during the time and period in Biblical history known as the Judges.
If you remember, Judges was a time in the history of Israel where the people rebelled and then God would allow them to fall into foreign hands and thus bring calamity an sorrow upon them and then when they would repent, God would bring a judge onto the scene who would act as God’s agent and lead them back into a time of peace and prosperity. (This was a perpetual cycle and a time that showed the lack of faith by Israel in the one true God!)
Elimelech - His name means, “My God is King”.
He and his family were from Bethlehem (which means, “house of bread”!)
Naomi - Wife of Elimelech. Her name means, “pleasant”
Mahlon - first son of Elimelech, whose name means, “sick”.
Chilion - second son of Elimelech, whose name means, “pining” (to suffer with longing!)
OK, right off the bat, you have to wonder what in this world were these doing when then their sons were born, that caused them to name them, “sick” and “pining”?!
Orpah - wife of Chilion. Her name basically means, “stiffnecked”!
RUTH - wife of Mahlon. Her name means, “friend/friendship”.
Elimelech left the provision of God and the House of Bread and went to the land that was out of God’s will.
How many of us have become uncomfortable with life and what is going on around us and we just moved over to the place that was easier, but not part of God’s will? (i.e. SIN!)
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –”
You can claim that “God is your King” (Elimelech’s name) all day long, but when you move out of His will and into a place that He doesn’t want you to be, then your setting yourself up for failure!
Look at what happened. He dies, his two sons marry into a nation that had recieved judgement from God and they both end up living up to their names “sick” and “pining” (suffering/longing).
Then, within 10 years, both of the sons die and leave a widowed mother and two young widows, within a society where being a widow was tough business!
Naomi hears that Yahweh had blessed their land with crops again, and so she decided that going after God and His will seemed like the logical thing to do! (Funny how some people’s walk with God is dependent upon whether or not He is keeping them comfortable and makes sense for their life at that time!)
Naomi says in verse 13, “Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD himself has raised his fist against me.”
You know, Naomi as she is trying to tell the girls that if they stay in their own land they will have homes and comfort and relationships, etc, but if they follow her to the road that leads to where God’s provision is, “the house of bread”, things will be hard and not comfortable like they would have it there at home.
Sounds a lot like someone else, who said that following Him would not lead to comfort and the finer things. In fact it would require great faith to walk out their walk with Him, because the road that He would be on, was difficult and racked with pain and suffering.
Orpah is like Gone in 60 Seconds (she wasn’t willing to embrace the promises of God, because she liked the foreign gods and the comfort she had), but Ruth will not leave Naomi and even says this, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
Upon entering Bethlehem, (the Jew and Gentile alike, coming to the “house of bread” equal and humbled), the people were excited to see Naomi back. (Note that they didn’t leave when things became trying! As the women asked Naomi about what all had happened since she had left, listen to what she tells them, “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.  I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”
She went from pleasant to bitter, from full to empty. She went from being pleasant to a state of suffering and tragedy and all the while, blaming God for it all! (She never saw the need to acknowledge the fact that her state came from leaving the will of God and pursuing a life and the provision, apart from Him!)

Chapter 2 brings us to the main man, the head honcho, of the story, the “kinsman-redeemer” for them both!

In the opening of this chapter, we see Ruth asking Naomi if she can go out into the fields and glean, or gather some grain for them to eat. This must have been something that she had heard Naomi speak of.
All the way back in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we see God saying this, ““When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God. “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.”
This is provision!!!!! God has always made a way to take care of His own and for all who would come to Him!
The gift of REDEMPTION that He was preparing was spiritual provision, just as we see here about physical provision. We were once slaves (to sin) and did not deserve the abundance that the kingdom gives us and yet God has lavishly poured out on us above and beyond all that we can think or hope for!
Also, at the opening of the chapter, we see the introduction of Boaz and two things are made mention of about him: He is of the clan of Elimelech (he could be a kinsman- redeemer) and second, he is a WORTHY man (that is, he has character, wealth, position and or strength!)
So, just as chance or coincidence would have it, Ruth happens into the fields to glean of a man who was of her father-in-laws clan or family! CHANCE AND COINCIDENCE, right?
Boaz wasn’t just a man in family; NO, NO, Ruth came into the presence of the redeemer and the moment that she is introduced to him, everything changes!
Romans 8:28 NLT
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Ruth didn’t accidentally come across Boaz; she was brought into his field. Her steps were led. , “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
Listen to the grace and compassion that Boaz used in dealing with his servants, verse 4 (READ).
Look at verse 5 now. (READ)
Do you see it? “Who is she? Check out that hot mama!” (his whole scene is like from one of those cheesy hallmark romance movies that women watch, right?
It gets better, look at verse 8. (READ)
This is like an early Bible pick up line, right?
Verse 9, continues with what every woman longs to hear in one of the these romance movies, “If anyone lays a hand on you, he will answer to me!”
Apparently, there was a certain amount of possible harm, associated with a woman going into the fields by herself. Boaz makes it clear that she will not be touched while under his care and in his field. (This is a sign of a true redeemer; the redeemer provides shelter and protection for all who come under him!)
Psalm 91:1–2 NLT
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
Read verse 12
Verses 14-16 (READ)
She has just sat and talked and ate with the Lord of the Harvest and found favor in his eyes.
Then he instructs that she is find PLENTY as she gleans! (She is not to want)
The redeemer lavishly provides for his own. ()
John 6:35 NLT
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Chapter 3 is where the full momentum picks up! Naomi feels like Boaz may need a little jump start (especially since he is not married, or at least that is the way it seems to be in the passage.)

In verse 9-12 we find the crucial part of this chapter. (READ)
Note that he calls her a “worthy woman”, or another way of saying this in Hebrew, we find in , a “woman of excellence” a godly woman, a ‘eshet khayil!
It is here that Boaz makes his clear declaration to redeem Ruth and marry her!
There is another who actually has the right of refusal to redeem her and Boaz says that he will go 1st thing in the morning and speak with him!

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