Ruth 1 – Love in Action

After reading Ruth 1, how do we adjust our lives? What do we do?

Just think,

Who are you loving?

How are you loving them? In word, or in deed?

Are you loving them in positive affirmations, or positive actions? When the going gets tough for them, what do you do? 

Is that where we end with Ruth then? Is it just a good old moral motivation, or are you the true hero of this text when you love someone in action?

Where is Jesus in this? He Himself said that Scripture points to the Saviour.

You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me,  but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. 

John 5.39-40

Studying Scripture is good, taking moral lessons is good, taking do’s and don’ts is good, but, on their own, they don’t bring eternal life. Lessons like that make YOU, ME, US, the centre of the story, but, Scripture shows the Saviour, we read of the Redeemer, so, in Ruth 1, where is that?

We can all say the right words, can’t we…

Some are content with feeling Christian feelings – with feeling a love for God, with feeling a love for His Word, with feeling a love for His people. But is that good enough for you?

What if God did that?

What if He saw you, loved you, felt like He wanted to be in right relationship with you, knew where you were heading, and left it there? Just think – where would you be?

Aren’t we glad that God didn’t just feel His love for us.

Just think, what did He do to show it?

John 3.16 is a verse many know, but only really know the second half, ‘believe in Him and you won’t perish but have eternal life‘ but, the first two clauses, the first few words, are AMAZING!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

For God So loved the world‘ is often skipped over to get to the second half, isn’t it, but you can translate this as 

This is how God showed that He loved the world…

If God had felt love for you but not actually done anything about it we would have perished. 

But, because He acted on what He felt, as Ruth did here, we have the opportunity to have sins covered, have souls saved, to be forgiven, restored, born again, adopted into His family, raised to newness of life, and to inherit eternal life. 

So, yes, work hard to love in deed and not only word, take the resolve of Ruth and come good on what you are promising, claiming, and saying. Work hard to love people in what you DO not only what you SAY, but, friends, never take your eyes off the truth that God has already DONE that for you. 

He loved you and He gave His only son for you, so that if you believe in Him, you will never perish, but have eternal life. 

You don’t need to become a better Ruth, the ultimate true Ruth already came and showed us the ultimate example of love in action.

That was, and always will be, the ultimate example of love in action.

Titus 3.4-7 – He Did So That You Can Have

If we’re honest, we were all the kind of people detailed in 3.3, and when we were living in that state, the state of our natural human fleshly self, none of us thought totally of our own volition ‘Do you know what, I am such a sinner and I need to repent of this and put myself right‘. Today, Paul platforms his exhortation for Titus to teach the people (3.1-2) on a steadfastly-sure foundation. So, simply, teach the people these things Titus because God has done all of this for them.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3.4-7

So, having been living a life that was severely lacking in Godliness (v.3), Paul now says, butbut when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us…Notice with me that the first action, the impetus, the beginning of this wasn’t with you or with me, but with Him; the goodness and loving kindness of God…He saved us

This pattern of God being the initiator in our salvation is repeated throughout this mini-poem, did you see it? He saved us…not because of works…according to His own mercy…of the Holy Spirit…He poured out…through Jesus Christ our Saviour…justified by His grace…

With all of this done for us by Him, what are we to do? Simply, we become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

He does everything so that we can have everything.

This wholehearted, whole-life, wholly others-focused offer can only be made by an entirely loving person for the object of their love. This is not the natural way of interacting with people, is it? The good news for you and for me is that God who made heaven and earth is that entirely loving person, and that you are the object of His love. That’s why He did everything so that you can have everything. 

 

Titus 2.7-8 – Walking the Walk

Earlier in his letter, Paul encouraged Titus to both talk and walk in a manner worthy of the name we bear, and in 2.7-8, this theme comes up again.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Titus 2.7-8

Titus is called to be the example (show yourself) as well as to be the teacher (and in your teaching). Simply, he needs to both talk the talk, and walk the walk. Titus was not going to be taken seriously if he simply gave instruction in sound doctrine (1.9) but then lived a life that contradicted this.

It would be impossible for Titus to lead (1.5) if he was not sure, steady, and consistent in his understanding and teaching of Scripture (in your teaching show integrity, dignity…). Those called to lead and teach God’s people must have a firm grasp of a true and orthodox interpretation of God’s Word. 

Given that we are all to be working towards the character of Titus and the elders already detailed, we really all ought to be taking seriously the exhortation Paul gave to talk and walk in such a manner that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

How we all behave individually reflects on us all, the Christian collective. 

Today then – are we both talking the talk and walking the walk? What does my conduct and character say about my Christianity?

Amos 5.16-20 – Live the life we claim we do

Yesterday we saw that due to our own sinful, human nature and how it is manifest in the world (cause), this puts distance in the relationship between God and ourselves (curse), but that there is One way to be reconciled to God; Jesus (cure).

Today Amos turns his attention to those who claim to be wanting the cure, but in actual fact seeing as they never turn away from their cause, they actually still have their curse.

16 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:

“In all the squares there shall be wailing,

   and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! Alas!’

They shall call the farmers to mourning

   and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation,

17 and in all vineyards there shall be wailing,

   for I will pass through your midst,”

says the Lord.

18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!

   Why would you have the day of the Lord?

It is darkness, and not light,

19     as if a man fled from a lion,

   and a bear met him,

or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,

   and a serpent bit him.

20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,

   and gloom with no brightness in it?

Basically, then, people of the day were claiming to want the Lord to come and judge the nations, they wanted the Day of the Lord, they wanted Him to come…now! On the surface, not a bad thing to want, right?

How often nowadays do we come across people who say things like

“Oh, thank God!”,

“Praise the Lord!”,

“Oh my God!”,

“Jesus Christ!”,

“Only God can judge me!”…

Again, on the surface, these are Christian-sounding words and phrases, aren’t they? But, when spoken by someone whose life clearly does not match the words they are saying, they lose all credibility and you begin to wonder if they really have any grasp on what they are saying…if they truly understand what they are saying.

If I started going on and on about PhD level physics, you would know that I had no grasp of things like how in Newtonian physics, the circular orbit of two gravitationally bound mass objects is a stable configuration…

In the same way, when people are claiming Christ but not living the life, when here we read of people desiring the day of the Lord, we are confused; why would you want that when your life shows you should not really want that?

Amos writes – for those who are not living in the will, way, and Word of our Lord

Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

The point for us is this; if we claim Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour, our lives should attest to this, our conduct should show this, our character should say this for us. Then, when we call on His name, when we hasten His coming, and when we look ahead to His return, we are assured through the promise of His Word that this is something to look forward to. 

Point to ponder today – do my claims and calls match my words and ways? Or am I saying and doing things that are in opposition to the upward call of God in Christ?