25 October 2010

Where is Your Hope?

Ruth 2:17-23

Do you realize according to the worlds standards we live in a hopeless world! Let me explain

• Approximately 23 million Americans claim to suffer from anxiety disorder
• 17.5 million Struggle with clinical depression
• 530,000 actually attempt suicide
• Airline passengers worry about the safety of their flights
• Mourners grieve pessimistically at the loss of a loved one
• Patients agonize over the dangers of surgery
• Business people worry constantly about deadlines and decisions
• Countless others endure daily feelings of fear and hopelessness

It’s no wonder we have so many suicides, depression, stress and worry in our country.This list isn’t just affecting the secular world!

• In fact 62 % of evangelical Christians are concerned about the future
• 20 % are searching for meaning and purpose in life
• Sickness, suffering and doubt are affecting the Church of Jesus Christ more than ever!

Why? Many are following the worldly minded down a hopeless path. Where do you find hope in a time like this?It’s easy to get caught up in the false hopes of this world! It’s easy to get drained by a fallen generation that has no hope outside themselves. It’s even easier to look to material things as a way of drowning those hopeless blues. Where does your hope turn to? The things of this world are only temporary hopes! They have no long term value. They have no eternal values! What do I mean?............... IS CHRIST YOUR HOPE? Is your hope in the eternal promises of God? Because they are forever, while everything on this earth is temporary! The New Testament speaks of a firm and solid expectation of what we can truly hope for.........................For example:

• The promises of Christ’s return (Titus 2:13)
• The promises that we will be like Him (1 John 3:2-3)
• The promises that we will be partakers in His glory (Col 1:27)
• The promises that we will dwell with Him forever free from the curse of sin (Rev 22:3-5)

True Biblical hope is described as trusting God at His word....a Christ centered hope must be our foundation if we are ever to survive in a world filled with no hope. See true hope stems from the unwavering confidence that God is absolutely faithful to His promises and therefore all those promises are sure and certain. Hope in the Bible is described as:

Good (2 Thess 2:16) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,
Living (1 Pet 1:3) according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Blessed (Titus 2:13) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Sure and steadfast (Heb 6:19) his hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Doesn’t disappoint (Rom 5:15) But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Christ is our hope (1 Tim1:1) our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

Think about it! If the truth of God’s word gives us these eternal promises! What should be our response? We should continue in it (Ps 71:14) “But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more”. We should Rejoice because of it (Rom 5:2) “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And be ready to give an answer concerning this wonderful promise of hope (1 Pet 3:15) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” Our hope is only found in an all-sufficient Saviour.......Jesus Christ! So what keeps us focused to Christ in all this? The hope found in the Scriptures.....The hope found in the Book of Ruth........This is exactly what Ruth did when she returned home after a long day in the field gleaning the very field Boaz displayed grace a poor Moabite widow. This event in history brought about a woman who once was known for being pleasant but became bitter and empty........to find hope once again! Do you feel like Naomi sometimes? Do you have that sense of emptiness and hopeless? Naomi is about to look again with a heavenly perspective....instead of an earthly perspective. Hope is forward looking not backwards! A worldly view will erode the Christian hope....so hope is absolutely vital to Spiritual survival. John Bunyan was a great testament of this kind of hope as he was put in a prison cell for proclaiming the good news of the Gospel....John said “Hope has a thick skin, that will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as clothing, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things, if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called ‘patience of hope,’ because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and long suffering under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown.” Ruth who is full of hope brings good news to her mother in-law....and Naomi responds with a proper heaven in view perspective in the remaining verses of chapter 2. In the remaining verses we are going to see a living hope in these two women. Especially in a woman who has gone through a terrible time these past few years......This is another display of God’s providential care for His created children........this is another example of how God deals with our lack of faith and hopelessness sometimes. Look at the transformation of a broken and empty woman as she finally looks heavenwards.....HERE ARE 3 THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN HOPE!

1. HOPE BRINGS JOY TO THE HURTING (V19)

We know that Naomi is hurting from the tragedy in her life………..But can you sense the excitement in Naomi’s voice when she asked Ruth these questions? Who showed you so much grace? Who showed you so much kindness Ruth? Hope leads us to have joy despite our circumstance or situation! When you’re all alone do you seek His face through your pain or situation or do you seek the World and its fallen wisdom? David said in Ps 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness (complete) of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” As the Psalmist wrote in Ps 147:11 “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.” Naomi who was bitter and empty was now being filled with joyful hope…that’s God’s sweet bitter providence.

2. HOPE LEADS YOU TO A GREATER CONFIDENCE IN HIS PROVIDENTIAL PLAN (V20)

Naomi says “he has not forsaken His mercy and grace to the living (her and Ruth) and the dead (Elimelech and their two sons)” Naomi began to understand God’s sovereign working……His covenant promise…His grace and mercy to her and Ruth…….despite the terrible past they just came from. Naomi was pleasant and filled once again with the hope of confidence! Why? Look what she says at the end of (verse 20)……….she finds out it was Boaz’s field Ruth gleaned. And that he is able or has the right to preserve the name of the dead by redeeming them and marrying Ruth according to Levitical Law. A close relative…..“our redeemer” it’s the Hebrew word ‘goel’ used for the first time here in the book of Ruth. SEE ACCORDING TO MOSES LAW THIS KINSMEN REDEEMER COULD REDEEM:
• A family member sold into slavery (Lev 25:47-49)
• Land that was sold under economic hardship (Lev 25:23-28)
• A family name by virtue of a Levitical marriage (Deut 25:5-10)
ISN’T THIS WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR US?

• He has redeemed us from the penalty and bondage of sin
• He has purchased….ransomed us from the slave market
• He has taken my place at the seat of God’s wrath
• He has filled us with His hope that will last for eternity

That what a redeemer does! Someone who come to the rescue to pick you from the fire and carries you into His glory and presence! The Lord Jesus Christ or redeemer! As Job said “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,” Job 19:25-26

3. HOPE LEADS TO SATISFACTION (V22)

When Jesus is over your life….you are always perfectly satisfied whether you have much or nothing. There was a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked. “Because I’ve caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman. “Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?’ the rich man asked. “What would I do with them?” “You could earn more money,” came the impatient reply, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.” The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?” “You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist. “What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied as he looked placidly out to sea. YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND COMPLETE SATISFACTION IN THE LIVING GOD OF THE BIBLE. Look at society.......read the billboards or watch the commercials on TV or the internet! Most advertisers are telling you to try their products because you won’t find satisfaction with anyone else other than them. "You only go around once, so reach for all the gusto you can." "It doesn't get any better than this!" If I am completely satisfied from having one why are they so addictive! They are lying to you because you need more and more of their product in order to get satisfied. That’s the opposite of what it means to be satisfied as these two women are! THINK ABOUT THAT STATEMENT FOR A MOMENT IN THE LIGHT OF SHOWBIZ! Take for example! Modern entertainers have achieved "the high life" to the ultimate,....................... but are they happy? If so, why are so many of them plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, mental breakdowns, early deaths, and suicide? Is that really a satisfying life? We hold the key to complete satisfaction....a hope that has eternal meanings not temporal. When we have hope in a Risen Saviour we can without a shadow of doubt find complete satisfaction in God. As Moses wrote in Psalm 90:14 “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” Moses knew that God was to be the first. Moses knew that in order to have true satisfaction it starts with God. Naomi reminded Ruth that we have been blessed by this gift of grace........they were satisfied! IN OUR POST MODERN SOCIETY

• Hope is all relative...it’s what you make or get out of it that counts.
• There is no such things as absolute hope...it’s a dream.....or by chance (luck)
• Hope is like a lotto ticket........wishing it’s the one that will have the big pay out
• Hope is like a lucky rabbits foot......falling star.........or tossing a penny carelessly in a fountain
• Hope guarantees nothing and leaves a person empty like horoscopes and fortune cookies

But that’s not the Christian hope..........That’s not true biblical hope! Our hope is living....powerful......that generates peace and leaves the believer praising God each and every day....despite the situation that we may be in. 2Cor 4:17- 18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Paul is speaking of something future. Our eternal glory and happiness is the object of the hope of every believer.....not us or what this world declares to be hope. Nathan Busenitz said “authentic Christianity is all about hope. The whole of the Christian life is infused with hope, empowered by hope, and buoyed up by hope.....no matter how fiercely the tempests of this life may assault us. That is why the character and the outlook of every Christian always ought to display hope. This is a powerful testimony to a hopeless world” This is a hope that can be only found in one person! The Redeemer............Jesus Christ! As Spurgeon said "Without Christ there is no hope." This is Naomi’s hope.......this is Ruth’s hope..........this is my hope....the question is..........is it yours?

2 comments:

Gregg said...

Great message!

JT said...

What a wonderful message. May God Bless You.