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Faith in Action

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2021 1:00 am

Faith in Action

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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Turn you would in your Bibles with me to the book of Ruth chapter 3 I'll be reading from an IV so if you'd follow along your Bibles with me. One day Naomi, her mother-in-law said to her, my daughter should not try to find a home for you where you will be well provided for is not Boaz with two servant girls, you've been a kinsman of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley in the threshing floor washing Prof. perfume yourself. Put on your best clothes then go down to the threshing floor but don't let them know you were there until he is finished eating and drinking when he lies down. Note the place where he is lying, then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do. I will do whatever you say Ruth answered so she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do when Boaz is finished eating and drinking was in good spirits. He would never lie down at the end of the grain pile.

Ruth approached quietly uncovered his feet and lay down in the middle of the night something startled the man and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet, who are you, he asked I am your servant Ruth. She said spread the corner of your garment over me. Since you are a kinsman redeemer the Lord bless you my daughter. He replied this kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier, you have not run after the younger men which, whether rich or poor, and now my daughter. Don't be afraid I will do for you all that you ask all my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character, and although it is true that I am a near kin near of kin. There is a kinsman redeemer, nearer than I stay here for the night in the morning if he wants to redeem good let and redeem, but he is not willing as surely as the Lord lives, I will do it lie here until morning, so she lay at his feet, until morning but got out before anyone could be recognized and he said don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor. He also said bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out. When she did so, he poured it into its six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town. When Manley came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked how did he go my daughter and she told her everything Boaz it done for her and added any gave me the six measures of barley saying don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed. Then Naomi said wait my daughter until you find out what happens for the man will not rest until the matter is settled today. Let us pray dear my father were thankful for your word father used to speak to how your people through the prophets, but now you speak to us through your living word your son in our Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, we pray that you would speak through me and I pray father that you administer to each one of our hearts, encouraging us father to glorify you to lift up Christ in this age and in this time in these last days that he might not only draw all men unto himself, but he would fulfill the kingdom until he comes again in Jesus name we pray.

Amen. I'd rewrite this this afternoon because of Doug's sermon, he brought out some things pertaining to God's will. Determining God's will and there, at the very end. The text from second Samuel seven as well about even as Eugene mentions you how God is good, build through David, an eternal kingdom upon which his throne. Christ will reign and it really does dovetail into the book of Ruth. For what it's worth, I give you the end of the story. First, at the end of the story of the book of Ruth chapter 4, at the very end. You have a genealogy and what's interesting about the genealogies. It talks about the genealogy in relationship to Boaz and Ruth all the way to to David, but David hasn't even been born yet. According to the crown allowed chronology of the Bible. Ruth precedes first and second Samuel is very interesting.

So the author of Ruth. Apparently, some seem to think it was Samuel inserted this genealogy here to make the point of the connection between Ruth and King David as well as it applies to us because we are the recipients of that blessing of the gospel news that was proclaimed that God was going to give to Abraham and that descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky in the sand on the seashore and we are the recipients of that through his grace by means of grace to the preaching of the gospel. We are included in that and that makes Ruth very important. Apart from the Providence and apart from all the great storylines in the works of God and his handiwork are being evident here, guiding and directing her life in Naomi's we can actually take a step back and we can see how God is going to work in our lives is an encouragement from the book of Ruth. How do you determine God's will in your life of God.

A list of about eight things right quick.

So I'm going to go through them. The first important thing in determining God's will is that you need to have a saving personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without God, everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. That's what it says near the end of the book of Judges, which is the timing of Ruth is well left ourselves.

We typically make decisions which will benefit us. Most calls were on the throne of our lives provide us the most comfort, security, success and happiness, which is not always the best route route for us to take. Second of all, in determining God's will that it might be the best thing to do is looking see what the Bible clearly says about the situation that is of question what does the Bible clearly say are they direct commandments pertaining to the situation. First John chapter 1 verse three says this is how we know him.

We obey his commands and abide and walk as Jesus did. Number three. Have you sought the Godly counsel from godly men and women. Proverbs 1522 says plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed for ask what which would bear the most fruit of the spirit and give God most glory you might want to ask the question what would Jesus do, then we can ask. Have I exhausted all my options. Can it wait timing waiting upon the Lord, then we can ask what is my motive.

In hindsight, questioning our hearts and are we serving ourselves, are we truly seeking to honor God doesn't really matter what were concerned with here. Then Elizabeth Elliott said, what is the most difficult choice.

She said if you had the choice. Choose the more difficult of the two. That's not always accurate. You would always choose the hardest road but sometimes the hardest road requires the greatest faith if it was easy then where's our faith trusting in the Lord and I'm not to argue that point. But I'm just saying that sometimes choosing the more difficult road is the best path and finally Doug brought it out this morning at a and and here it is.

St. Augustine said love God do whatever you please.

This he said for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the one who was beloved. I believe this is a take off of Psalm 37 verse four. The says delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Truly, if our desires are duck are to honor and glorify God with everything that we say and do and honor him.

Then he's got got our footsteps. He's going to guide the outcome ultimately he's going to open and shut the door. This transitions into our text in chapter 1, for a little bit of background a little late during the famine. For whatever reason he decided to take his wife and two sons and go to Moab. Was he trying to escape God's punishment. We cannot say the text does not say, but what we do know is that the end result was that he died and his two sons died. Was this God's will say we would ask these kind of questions when things go Messerli go our way. Difficulties and tragedy come.

We guess it was his will because it happened because you need. Remember, if it doesn't happen then. It wasn't God's will. That's the law of God's decree God's will always comes about. And if it's not, it doesn't happen and even, in fact, from the hymn that we saying God moves in Mysterious Way, #128 in your hymnal. It speaks of William Capper spoke of a frowning Providence alas perspective of human beings because with God all that he decides to do is all good for us. It might be a frowning Providence because is not what we want.

But God's will be done and it's always good, as always, for his glory and he always turns it for our good, so little like is a question what happened to him and why it happened to him was because they went… To Moab. Only God knows if that was a punishment or a redirection. We have another example here at the beginning of chapter 2, the opposite happens for Ruth something positive happens. Ruth decides to go to work. The morning she arrives in Bethlehem.

It was the beginning of the harvest season providentially right on time. She comes into Bethlehem and goes out to look for fieldwork in an chance to chance the Scripture say in chapter 2, by by chance. It just so happened but we interpret that is God's providence because he governs and guides all events that come to pass. She arrives in the field of Boaz, so it once again were talking about determining God's will, but now were starting to see how God can direct us to where he wants us to be just as he's doing with Ruth here and Boaz happens to be a relative. In fact, he happens to be which the text makes wants to make clear to us in chapter 2 is that he is a kinsman redeemer is my introduction. Do you want to see God at work you want to see God's will being done and we need to roll up our arm our hand our sleeves of his feet and get to work. Our text is broken up into three sections and let me go over this right click as I move into the text verses one through five are the plan is point number one. The plan verses six through 15 is the fulfillment of the plan to follow through and then verses 16 through 18 you have a conclusion as a series of events essentially that began with Naomi's plan with with Ruth and then the conclusion them. Waiting and seeing God's handiwork and directing the end result. In chapter 3 what is the point of the author night Naomi instructs Ruth to propose to Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer. When we got to take home for this trusting God does not mean you sit around and do nothing.

Determining God's will is sometimes best and easily accomplished by doing the next thing about not sitting on our laurels, so to speak and waiting for something to happen. Being a fatalist doing something we make plans and all sorts of ways. We don't want to wait for the enemy to attack us. So what we do well in football you run place in football basketball at the sport you run place so that your gonna win. That's the plan. That's the goal in battle. You do the same. There's also to flanking movements and surprises and in delusions and trying to trick the enemy so that you can win the battle. Proverbs 20 verse 18 says make plans by seeking advice. If you wage war obtain guidance when a minister prepares a sermon he does his homework with a lot of time and effort put into it. He just done wing it and call it faith.

Likewise, our text begins with Naomi making a plan. Verses one through five. Naomi is making a plan, but she doesn't sit around and just do nothing.

She sees God's hand at work in Ruth's life and providing through Boaz. Through all these circumstances providentially guided she sees God at work, so she's not can sit back and just wait for the next thing to happen. She speaks with Ruth. Proverbs 20 verse four says a slaughter does not plow in season, so it harvest time.

He looks but finds nothing we can take a step back and think that what if Naomi had done nothing.

What if they had stayed in Moab we can think back retro out retrospectively because it affects us. However, many thousands of light years into the future. Her plan. This speaking with Ruth trying to get Ruth to propose to Boaz was integral in us being here today is believers so the plan is faith in action is not just sitting around so many people seem to do Naomi.

After working after watching Ruth work for weeks or months in the barley season.

After being the recipient of Ruth bringing home on the first day and ethos 60+ pounds of barley of grain. Now she's been coming home continually with with seed and with barley and so she sees God's hand and blessing. Ruth and she's starting to put together that God might be in some way directing Boaz into her life.

She might be asking the question or Boaz and Ruth to be together. So Naomi comes up with a plan to find a husband for Ruth says in verse one.

Should I not seek a home for you, that it may be well with you, Boaz. If you remember, was one of the kinsman redeemer if you go back to chapter 2 verse one. It started out with the word now and I and I told you about the parenthesis sentence here could be in the text, but the author placed it there to magnify God's providence and how he's working everything out together there now.

Naomi had a relative owner husband side from the clan of the limb like a man of standing. His name was Boaz's, like an insight from the outside to see what's up occurring how God is orchestrating everything with them. If you turn to the end of chapter 2. Look what it says there in verse 20 and 21. The Lord blessed Naomi said her daughter in law.

He is not stopped showing his kind as to the living the dead.

She added that man is our close relative. He is one of our kinsman redeemer's so the very beginning of chapter 2 of the very end, like, it includes yellow Tonka sandwich two pieces of bread on the meat of it all. What you have here is this emphasis upon God's providing and directing Boaz into their lives.

So that's the positive aspect of what's happening for Ruth and comparison to what happened to a little like he died, but now Ruth here is being blessed.

Naomi sees it, she sees the orchestration of all the events and she's seeing Boaz because it says there that he was a relative of a little leg so that puts into your mind about Naomi. She knows that Boaz she's only heard the text doesn't say in chapter 2 that she's met the last they had a great reunion in exchange hugs and kisses or anything like that. No, Ruth is encountered. Her but when she hears that Ruth went to work for Boaz eyes light up and she starts to see how God is working here. He's a relative he's a man of wealth and standing power and influence obvious ease ease of a godly man is greeting everyone with shalom and peace and blessings to you and he's claiming God's blessing to her.

In chapter 2 verses 11 and 12 and he's pronouncing this to her and boy Boaz could be the one who's going to take care of her and protect her. Naomi's wondering he's a close relative. He's one of our kinsman redeemer, you can almost hear her work going over this and in her mind. Just as I'm doing with you, helping you to see that is a connection here this about to open up and were going to see what God is doing here, so she gave her special instructions in this plan.

She should pursue prepare herself get cleaned up and make yourself presentable put onto perfume go down to the threshing floor after he lies down and goes to sleep uncover his feet and he will tell you what to do. Boy, I don't know if it sounds awkward to you as it does for me, but to uncover his feet and lay down and wait for him to tell you what to do. Sounds like an inappropriate response to this physical act. Why on earth would he say or she say to her.

This is done to Ruth. He will tell you what to do, what will he tell you to do. Some people take this as an opportunity to be a springboard to say. While there was something intimate that Naomi was trying to encourage here. There was some sort of physical relationship that she was trying to encourage you but what I want you to see is from the outside looking in. Naomi knows once again that Boaz is a limb elects family relative.

He is family, and he has shown favor to Ruth, he is a kinsman redeemer, but as it says there in verse 21 Chapter 2, he is one of our kinsman redeemer's and that thing here that you wouldn't you wouldn't probably take notice of. Naomi doesn't know if he is willing to be the kinsman redeemer. He's one of kinsman redeemer's many are more than one but is he willing to be the kinsman kinsman redeemer. So Naomi knows because she knows the family Ruth would know the family. She's not from from Julia from Bethlehem. She's from Moab. She doesn't know the ins and outs of the family business, so to speak, but Naomi knows all the relatives in town and she knows that there's one actually in line for Boaz so this creates a problem who's going to be the one and gnomic. Naomi wants to find out.

That's why she's creating this plan is to find out is Boaz willing to be the kinsman redeemer were not what were talking about here is called levirate marriage. Jesus spoke about it. In chapter 22 of Matthew in the disciples asked him, you know there was a man who who was married to woman and she he died and then the brothers married or whose wife shall she be a little be the husband levirate marriage is a symbol he essentially the obligation of the surviving brother relative to marry the widow of the brother who died and had no children, and the first child was to be given the name so that the family line would continue this Boaz going to be this levirate marriage would be the man, is he going to be the kinsman redeemer. The word for kinsman redeemer. I mentioned last time is go well the go well. It is also understood to be the person who can redeem someone like in Deuteronomy, actually.

Leviticus 25, 25, you have the year of Jubilee and if someone is sold themselves into slavery or has a debt then another family member can come and redeem that person's debt paid the debt and and get them out of slavery, so to speak, so he can redeem the relative he can repurchase the probably the property he can pay off their debt so they are in poverty and they can ultimately marry the brothers widow in order to have a son for his brother in case the brother had no children. So that's kind of the background. Naomi is wondering about. She realizes that there's someone else in line, but she wants to know essentially is Boaz up to it.

Point number two Ruth follows the plan.

She did the Scripture say in verse six, she did exactly.

She went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. Now the rest of the dissection here from verses seven through 15 is a more specific breaking down of everything that occurred in the section of the fulfillment of the plan. She did everything that Naomi told her to do so. When Boaz it finished eating and drinking in his heart was married, she will. He went to a distant corner of the grain pile and lay down to sleep. Ruth prepare and prepared self and put on perfume did not make yourself known. She went over to where he was laying down she uncovered his feet, setting the stage for the question. The proposal that's about to happen.

He wakes up suddenly notices a woman in his feet and he asked who she says in verse 14 little bit further down that women were not allowed on the threshing floor, so note to him you know who is this maidservant is working in the field, there's a big big party big celebration of the harvest. Who is this is laying at my feet.

He says who are you and she says spread your garment over me. You are my kinsman redeemer. The text here is very interesting and I want you to see this because this is like a little Golden Nugget. The word for garment in Hebrew is actually weighing spread your wings not spread your garment over me and spread your wings over me, which takes us back to chapter 2 follow along.

If you lose me here.

Chapter 2 verse 12 may the Lord he blesses ours as my Lord repay you what you have done may you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge River. She swore an oath to take care of Naomi and swore her allegiance to God. May nothing separate her from the South, but death. She has come under the wings of the Almighty speak with interesting here is that she's essentially asking him Boaz. Are you God's providential provision. Are you the man for me. Remember, you blessed me back in chapter 2, she wouldn't say that.

But we we sing at their and you blessed me because I'd come under the wings of the Almighty. Are you God's provision for me. She's asking him a clear question. Will you marry me now. The words are not there, but the end insinuation.

The intention is is Boaz her destiny. We know it's a proposal because she makes this connection with under his wings and God's provision here.

We also know it because remember, Naomi said when do what he tells you to do. He will tell you what to do.

That's the response the book the responsibilities gonna be on him to make the next move. Then Boaz says yes I will do for you all that you ask and that's really what wraps it all together in this package of a proposal. Yes, I will do what you are asking Ruth is taking the initiative here because she is not a young widow and he is a man of wealth, it's a godly man he single and he is a kinsman redeemer, as revealed by Naomi to Ruth.

So Ruth wants to know as well as Naomi wants to know. In fact, Naomi's behind this whole series of events. We think this faith in action is could be limited to to Ruth. Is she the one who is putting your faith in action here will actually know Naomi is putting your faith into action as well. She's not sitting back there both putting into action their faith to see what God would have for them. In response, Boaz blesses her a second time. The first time was in chapter 2 now. This time he blesses her and describes it as an act of the second act of kindness that she didn't go after the young men she pursued Boaz, who was an old man to be your husband's willingness to stick with the kinsman redeemer then a younger man was an act of has said kindness that he had shown to her now.

She in turn was a noblewoman of character is showing the respect to this older gentleman is old enough to possibly to be her dad that he could be her husband which she wants to know she was a woman of character, so she's not out there for flirting with all the younger guys trying to find a man she's working hard from dawn till dusk, and she's looking to provide for Naomi that's her first obligation and to glorify God, and is evident in her actions here and that's why he blesses her this time, but it says in verse 12. There's a glitch there's a problem there something unexpected in this product thought process. He says he doesn't know that they already know he's but he's communicating to Ruth what she already knows through Naomi. There's another name or someone else in line before before me like like I could have the eight is like the lights and turning on to see and that's what he's like saying to Ruth King to see it. There's another kinsman redeemer in line closer than Boaz says in Leviticus 25, 25 to 4. Your countrymen becomes poor and sell some of his property.

The nearest relative is to come and redeem what the countryman has sold. That's all we can see is going to occur in chapter 4, so this older gentleman, the one who proceeds Boaz has this obligation, to redeem, to do what a relative should do to take care of the for the family, but if he does not Boaz constantly says yes yes I will I will marry you. I will take that responsibility of Naomi and I'll be delighted to take you as my wife and he shows this by giving her six measures of barley and sends Ron home of our spoken of signs of has said kindness God's loving kindness is mercy shown in his loving his grace and faithfulness to his people. Boaz is been showing this to Ruth but he's also been showing it to Naomi. He's been communicating to Naomi because every time she finishes work. He sends her home to Naomi. The text says each time taking with her this huge amount of grain so is not just for Ruth.

He's sending a message to Naomi that he knows that she's there he know she's is she is his relative and is looking to take care of his beloved family members as well. So he's communicating she's communicating and were trying to clear up. Are they passing in the night. Somehow that's the plan we need to know what's going on here. Naomi is trying to understand what is his intent. Point number three. Ruth and Naomi. They wait for an answer.

Hello, if you've noticed or not but in the bulletins past couple days and on our emails. There's been the text from Isaiah 4031. Yet those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40 speaks of God's greatness and his goodness to his beloved people and speaking of how he's going to deliver them there at the transitional chapter 40 of Isaiah, but at this point the encouragement was to wait and see God's redemptive power at hand. How he is going to deliver and provide ultimately in the Savior which we talk about in Isaiah 53 the coming of the Savior is to build a everlasting kingdom upon David's throne. He's gonna reign forever and ever wait upon the Lord see that the Lord is good.

Don't get anxious wait. Show your trust in God and his greatness in his goodness and his governance wait and see the deliverance of God. Psalm 37 verse seven says be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Do not fret when men succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath. Do not fret.

It only leads to evil for evil men will be cut off, but those who wait upon the Lord will inherit the land wait and see. But I gotta say waiting upon the Lord, does not mean sitting around on your laurels and doing nothing, we as Presbyterians have a particular reform Presbyterians can be blamed for being fatalist bleeding so much in the sovereignty of God that were discussed. Sit back and watch and see what he does. Rather than realizing that what Paul said to the Romans as of the how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. The people are not to get saved… Someone brings them to preach is them the good news that the kingdom is going to be filled through the proclamation, the preaching of good news which is the great commission of the church today we show our trust in the Lord by putting our faith in action, rolling up our sleeves and seeing that the harvest is ripe and God has called us to be the ones to work in the labor in the harvest. We have a calling. So this is my conclusion, we need to put our faith into action James to ensure preach on it here pretty soon, so show me your faith without deeds, and I'll show you my faith by what I do.

We been so condemned by sitting around doing nothing. Churches are empty.

Today I preach a lot a little ARP churches filled with old people. People just been sitting around they have right theology, but I hate to say in a majority of the churches are empty because there hasn't been a vision for outreach. There hasn't been a vision order. A desire to share the good news that people who are walking in darkness would see a great light is not welling up within their soul and for overflowing out of their hearts want to share the good news with the people who are in darkness in the broad way that leads to destruction. They just don't give a flip well into the church.

Man sent last week well into the church.

I feel like as Keith Green said. We been asleep in the light, we need to put our faith and action. I'd say that God is brought about this seeming frowning providences we view it. What's happening in America today in our lives and potentially in the near future. God is allowing this to come about unnecessarily as a punishment, but for his glory. I'm not looking at the glass half empty but half-full. God is allowing these events because we who are confident in our salvation that took to die is gain were going to heaven, but we been purchased with the precious blood of Christ, our lives are not our own. We had that confidence that overcomes fear that peace that transcends all understanding that we know what the future holds for us. So what is our purpose here, God is allowed this so that we would recognize with confidence. He's opening the doors for the church to get off of our pews, so to speak and get to work there a lot of people out there whose hopes in our country and Pres. Tromp and and many things the IRAs their final securities, their health, everything could be crumbling in a drastic fashion. Wilson wanted door to open up and to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Do you want to tell people about the love you have in your heart is been revealed to you by his grace.

Do you want to tell people about the one of the love of Jesus that fill up your darkness. Once the Nalgene wells up with Ingersoll. The units were appraising praising this morning and's second Samuel chapter 7 verse 12 Doug referred to it. I will raise up for your offspring to succeed, you who come from your own body and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my name and I will establish his throne, and kingdom forever. I will be his father and he will be my son. Then after Samuel King David and the exile, and David told everybody he said that there is good. Come one when he was interpreting on Nebuchadnezzar's dream. He said that there is one who their common establish a kingdom forever. That was Jesus and his kingdom. That last forever is big establish because he's the second Adam, the first Adam failed. He sinned and sin entered into the world. We are all born outside of the garden, but now God has made a way for us to be brought back into the garden.

We brought back into fellowship with him through Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the gospel is what is going to usher people in and fill up the kingdom for filling what the first Adam failed to do. Remember the cultural mandate in chapter 1 verse 27, 28, was the fill the earth, will, and that was the kingdom of God, then, in Jesus's compass establish a spiritual kingdom.

The manner in which you establish or fulfill the spiritual kingdom is through the proclamation of the gospel so that people are saved and enter into a kingdom that will never end and that is our job.

What a more perfect opportunity we have less not be selfish people and be so concerned about losing everything that we have time if that's what's going to glorify God didn't bring it on. Let's wait and see God's handiwork and orchestrating of it is not just to take care of us because we are really concerned with that.

We want to see God orchestrate the events of the people to come to Jesus. The kingdom is filled through the great commission and that's the mission here at Grace Presbyterian Church.

That is our mission. The harvest is ripe let out, let us put our faith into action. Let's pray dearly father open her eyes to see this great need in America that you were designing and bringing about so that Jesus might be lifted up, and draw all men to himself.

Father you have, or are you possibly going to bring us to our knees here in the future, but we trust you and we know that you love us and adjust as you worked through Naomi's tragedy so that Ruth could meet Boaz that ultimately they could be the great-grandparents of King David who ultimately his throne. Jesus would reign forever and ever, of which we are the children of the King. You've done all this for us all. Hallelujah, thank you, help us not to sit and do nothing but show his father that harvest as we walk out our doors as we walk out of this building, inspire us, empower us and guide us, O thou great Jehovah and Jesus precious name.

Amen


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