Faithlife Sermons

"The Resurrection:" What does it prove?

Resurrection Sunday 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:17
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A pastor and his wife were asked to dinner by one of his church members. He knew she was a bad housekeeper, but still agreed. When he sat down at the table, he noticed that the dishes were the dirtiest he had ever seen in his life. "Were these dishes washed?" he asked his hostess, running his fingers over the grit and grime.
She smiled and replied, "They're as clean as soap and water could get them!"
The pastor and his wife felt a bit uncomfortable, but blessed the food anyway and they started eating. The food seemed really delicious and the pastor even complimented the lady, despite the dirty dishes. But.......when dinner was over, the hostess took the dishes outside and yelled, "Here Soap! Here Water!"
Proverbs 30:12 tells us… “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.”
As we get into Chapter 3 of Ruth this morning, Naomi tells Ruth that “it is Bath Time”. (Read 3:1-5)… (Open with Prayer)...
Ruth has spent the last few months gleaning in the fields of Boaz… And back then, you didn’t come home every night to take a hot shower or a nice bubble bath. We will talk more about that in a few minutes… But over the course of these few months that Ruth was working and gleaning, Naomi has become a different person.
Naomi’s concern is no longer for herself and she no longer harbors an attitude of bitterness. Instead, she is now showing concern for Ruth and her future. When the two widows came to Bethlehem, their plan was for Ruth to take care of Naomi and for both of them to try and eke out an existence the best they could. But now Naomi has a new plan: her plan now is for Ruth to marry Boaz, and then all of them can live happily ever after.
Remember, Naomi was able to read inbetween the lines and she could tell from Ruth’s report that Boaz would be in favor of the plan, so she began to set things in motion… It was common practice, back then, for the parents to arrange the marriages of their children… So, Naomi is just doing her due diligence toward Ruth… And this morning, I want you to see the...

5 Ways In Which Ruth Showed Her Commitment

In v. 3 of our passage, Naomi instructs Ruth to do several things in preparation to meet up with Boaz… And then in v. 5 Ruth tells Naomi “All that you say to me I will do.”
And so the first thing that I want you to see is that...

1. She Washed Herself

According to a study, conduced in 2015, Every day in the United States, 322 billion gallons of water are used for homes, factories, and farms, enough water to fill the Empire State Building, 1,163 times… … In Bethlehem, the heat and the dust made frequent washing a necessity, but water was not always plentiful.
To us, bathing may seem like a mundane activity. But in biblical Israel, where water was scarce, bathing was often a momentous event. Ruth did not have the ability to turn a handle over to the hot water side and let a bathtub fill up for her to soak in. She couldn’t just step into her shower and stand there for 20 minutes while the hot water ran, cleaning the dirt and grime off her body.
She would either have to find a public bathing pool, a stream or river to bathe in, or haul buckets of water up from a pond or stream to a more private location where she could then wash herself… Usually people would only go through this much work if they were getting ready for a special event… Naomi, basically told Ruth to “act like you are getting ready for your wedding”… “prepare to meet your groom”.
I am certain that there is no bride, on the day of her wedding, that wakes up and says… “I’ve been working in the fields for the past 4-5 months, I’ve been walking either barefoot or with open toed sandles down these dusty roads (the same roads that camels, donkey’s, sheep and other animals have been using as well)…” I grew up surrounded by amish farms… I know what was on the roads that Ruth was traveling… … There is not a bride that would wake up on her wedding day and say… “you know what, I haven’t had a real bath in months… whats one more day?”…
Naomi is preparing Ruth for something special and she tells her to get cleaned up...

2. She Anointed Herself

Ruth continued with her preparations and annoited herself... Basically, She put on some ointment or perfume. Most, if not all of us, as we are getting ready to meet up with someone special, will try to make sure that the fragrance surrounding our body is a pleasent one. Ladies annoint themselves with perfume, guys use colonge, teenage boys use body spray (they just confuse the act of annointing with baptizing)…
A bride would especially take care to wear fragrant perfume that would make her “pleasent to be around”. These perfumes or ointments that they would use also had some medicinal properties as well. After months of gleaning in the fields, Ruth’s skin was, most likely, dried out, cracked and calussed.
According to The Lexham Bible Dictionary “In the ancient Mediterranean world, ointment was a prized commodity that met a variety of needs. People in the dry Near Eastern climate used ointment as a means of preventing moisture loss. They also used ointment for bathing and for making their skin more attractive. Ointment was also often perfumed. The pleasant aroma, high demand, and restricted sources of these perfumes made them expensive commodities in a cultural environment where the sense of smell was highly esteemed.
Because of the expense of this ointment (or perfume), it was not something that Ruth would wear everyday. It was saved for special occassions… Naomi told Ruth to annoint herself, so she did… … … Thirdly...

3. She Changed Her Clothes

She took off the garments of a sorrowing widow, she took off the garments of a field worker and put on her “Sunday best”. Ruth probably didn’t have a large wardrobe, but she would have one special garment for festive occasions and Naomi said “go put that on”... Naomi had the faith to believe that Ruth would soon be going to a wedding!
I am not saying that it doesn’t happen, but it is not very often that you see a bride, standing with her soon to be husband, at the altar, wearing whatever she could find at the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper. … So Ruth found her “Sunday/go to meetin’” dress... and put that on…
These first 3 actions of Ruth, the washing, the annointing and the changing of clothes… Daniel Block in his commentary sees as a parallel to the actions of David recorded in (2 Sam 12:20). When David’s son finally died, he washed himself and put on perfumed oil, “changed his clothes” and entered the Temple to worship. The Hebrew Word that is translated as “Changed his clothes” in 2 Samuel, is the same Hebrew word that is translated as “best garment” in the book of Ruth...
All of David’s actions were indicative that his time of mourning was over. It may well be that until this time Ruth had always worn the garments indicating that she was a widow. Similarly, it may be Ruth’s preparation would indicate that her formal mourning period is over. This is also a possible explanation for Boaz’s lack of reserve in the romance department. Now Ruth’s change in personal appearance would be a visual indication that she was ready to return to normal life, including the possibly of marriage. [Block. p. 684]...
The fact that Naomi is encouraging Ruth to do all of this… is another example of her changed attitude. Naomi, when she was in her state of bitterness, would probably sit right next to her daughter inlaw and they could soak in there sorrows together… but now, it seems that Naomi is saying to Ruth “Hey, I know its been rough, but God has a plan and it is time to move on...” “Go get cleaned up and put on some clean clothes”…

4. She Learned How To Present Herself

After Naomi instructs Ruth to “put on her best garment” she continues her instruction and says “go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
Naomi told Ruth exactly how to prepare for her meeting with Boaz. This passage of Scripture is difficult for us to understand in our day. It sure sounds like a seduction plot, if there ever was one...
But let me start by saying… … I do not believe that Ruth did anything that was wrong or improper. Boaz was a man of impeccable integrity; that fact is clear throughout the book of Ruth… And Boaz said in verse 11 that Ruth was known throughout the city as “a virtuous woman.”… … So I do not believe there’s any hint here that either Boaz or Ruth did anything wrong.
This was the only way that Ruth could present herself to her kinsman-reedemer. She had to put herself at the feet of the lord of the harvest, and he would do the rest. What if Ruth decided to take a different approach?? Why lay down at his feet? Why uncover his feet? (That seems like a stinky situation)... There’s got to be a better way! … … Wareen Wiersbe says “Had she used another approach, Boaz would have been confused, and the entire enterprise would have failed.”
The question is, why do it in the middle of the night?… … If I may speculate, I would say… just in case Boaz declined the request of Ruth. It would be done in private, and wouldn’t cause any public embarrasement to Ruth or to Boaz.
So Ruth washed herself, she annointed herself, she changed her clothes, she learned how to “properly” present herself.... and finally...

5. She Submitted Herself

v.5 “and she said to her, “all that you say to me, I will do.”
She was not only a hearer of the Word, but also a doer of it. She submitted herself to Naomi’s instruction and was willing to Submit herself to Boaz as well, if he was interested… which if you read ahead, you will notice that yes, he is interested…

God Wants Us To...

Keep in mind that the book of Ruth is much more than the relationship of a poor moabite widow and a wealthy Jewish man... It is also the picture of Christ’s relationship to those who trust Him and belong to Him. In the steps that Ruth takes, recorded in this chapter, we see the steps that God’s people must take if they want to stay committed to Him....
You see, God wants us to...

A. Be Clean

If we want to "Stay Committed” to our Lord, we must, as 2 Cor. 7:1 says “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
When we seek forgiveness from God and confess our sins to Him, we know that “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrightousness”… … But, we have to work on cleaning up our lives… We have to make the decision and put forth the effort throw out those things that defile us. We may need to clean out our movie collection, we may need to clean out our music collection, we may need to clean up our internet searches, we may need to clean up our vocabulary…
The book of Acts gives us an amazing illustration of what can happen when we clean out all of the garbage in our lives… Turn with me to Acts 19:18-20If we want the Word of God to prevail in our lives, then we must be clean!
The jewish people knew the importance of spiritual cleanliness as they came to Worship God. If the Old Testament priests came into God’s presence defiled and unclean, they were in danger of death… Warren Wiersbe said... “so many, Christians today rush into God’s presence without cleansing themselves of the sins that rob them of God’s blessing.”
Remeber folks, if we want to be blessed by God, then we need to be living in such away that we are able to receive His blessing… …
God wants us to be clean… … He also wants us

B. Smell Good

According to 1 John 2:20, we, as believers, have been annointed by the Holy Spirit. And having been annoited, Paul says in 2 Cor. 2:15, that we are the “Fragrance (or the Aroma) of Christ, to God”… … As we continue to become more like Christ, the sweeter our Spiritual Aroma is to our Heavenly Father. Eph. 5:2 gives us instructions… Paul tells us to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
If we want God to think we smell good, then we need to be more like Christ, each and every day...
Next, God wants us to...

C. Wear Clean Clothes

In Scripture, clothing carries a spiritual meaning. Remember, Adam and Eve, After they had sinned against God, they tried to cover themselves. But only the Lord could forgive them and clothe them acceptably, and He had to shed blood to do it.
The Priest’s had their “Priestly Garments” that no one else was permitted to wear...
Salvation is pictured as a change of clothes. We take off our flithy rags of unrightousness and we put on the rightousness of Christ.
Isaiah said “Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness...”
If we are going to stay committed to our Heavenly Father, then we need to make sure that we are wearing clean clothes.
God wants us to...

D. Approach Him

Isaiah 45:22 Says “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other”
Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
If you are here this morning and have never put your faith in Christ, You have been struggling to turn your life around and are getting tired, “weary and heavy-laden”… I encourage you to give it over to the Lord. You can approach Him just the way that you are. You can approach Him from the very seat that you are sitting in… and when you do, when you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, when you turn your problems over to Him, He promises to “give you rest”
Does this mean that you will live on easy street the rest of your life??? No… but it does mean that you have the power of God helping you through the trials of life and you are no longer trying to make it on your own.
For us, as followers of Christ, we too can approach God. However, there is a little higher standard…
Hebrews 10:19-22
Hebrews 10:19–22 NASB95
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
(SLIDE - “Approach Him”)
We need to approach God with a sincere heart and a clean conscience. If there is unconfessed sin in our lives, then that needs to be the top priority when we come before God in prayer.
Our prayer should mimic the prayer of David in Psalm 51...
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11. Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.”
As we prepare to take part in the Lord’s Supper this morning, we will have an opportunity to examine ourselves and maybe this prayer is exactly what we need pray, as we Approach the Throne of God.
And finally… God wants us to...

Submit To His Will

Again, Warren Wiersbe said “The will of God is not a cafeteria where we can pick and choose what we want. God expects us to accept all that He plans for us and to obey Him completely.”
I cannot tell you how many stories that I have heard of Pastors and Missionaries that told God “NO”, or told God “I will go anywhere you want except _________”… and guess where they end up....
Jonah is a prime example of this… He was submissive as a prophet of God, but he thought he could pick and choose where he would go… he found out otherwise…
“The will of God is not a cafeteria where we can pick and choose what we want. God expects us to accept all that He plans for us and to obey Him completely.”
(SLIDE - Communion)
Closing/Communion Transition
It is “Bath Time” for us today.
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