Friday, August 20, 2021

Ruth 2                                                                                             210815

Our God always has a plan. Unlike us, Our Father does not wake up in the morning thinking, “I wonder what is going to happen today.” In fact he does not wake up because he does not sleep. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  (Psalm 121:3-4)

The story of Ruth teaches us that God knows where we are and what we are doing every moment of our lives. God did not look around one day and say, “Where did Elimelech get off to now?” God did not discover that, to his surprise, Elimelech had died and was buried in Moab, or that he had left Naomi with two sons and two daughters-in-law.

From the beginning of the universe our God has a perfect plan. We can listen to (Isaiah 45:4-6) “I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

Our God not only has a plan He has a process and a purpose. Ruth was chosen by God to be the only Gentile woman in the genealogy of Jesus, his son and our Saviour. If he can put Ruth in place so she can end up in the grain fields of Boaz and become the great-grandmother of David the King -- our God will meet all our needs.

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the first chapter of Ruth. Let’s review that first chapter. I believe it is a biographic account looking back during the early days of King David’s reign.

The writer, who is unknown to us (God is ultimately the author), wants us to understand the location and point in time when the story was set. The characters in the beginning of the story are limited to Elimelech, Naomi (his wife) and their two sons.

There is a famine in the region of Bethlehem and Elimelech took his small family and traveled about 10 days away where the food situation was better. Today, that distance would not be a problem because your family car would reduce the time traveled to about 2 or 3 hours.

The period of time was extremely hard. The record of Judges tells us, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). Political chaos was the social atmosphere and may have contributed to the willingness to immigrate. The nation of Moab was made up of the descendants of incest between Abraham’s nephew, Lot, and his oldest daughter. That was after the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The Moabites were enemies of the Israelites and tried to destroy them while they were travelling through the wilderness. During the time of the judges Moab were one of the nations who ruled over Israel. The situation must have been very bad for Elimelech to take his family to Moab. It must have been hard to allow their two sons to marry Moabite women. After the family settled in Moab Elimelech died. The two sons had married and also died leaving Naomi with two young widows. The three widows had little to look forward to. If they had been Israelites the Law of Moses would have required the nearest male relative to take the widow as a wife and protect her and raise up children in the name of the deceased. (Deuteronomy 25:5). Since the young widows were Moabites they were not required to follow the Law of Moses.

Naomi was in no mood to trust God in her situation. Ruth and Orpah had a very loving relationship with Naomi. At the same time, she urged them to return to their family because staying in Moab seemed to be the only way they would find new husbands. Orpah choose to go back to her family but Ruth would not. Instead Ruth gave an eloquent oration of loyalty to Naomi. “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Generosity and loyalty are themes shown throughout this wonderful little story.

When the two women got to Bethlehem the women of the town were amazed. They were the talk of the town! In reply to the question, “Is this Naomi?” She answered, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (Ruth 1:21).

“Naomi” means “Pleasant” and “Mara” means “Bitter”. In Ruth’s confession of faith was a rejection of the Moabite god, Chemosh! Ruth surrendered her life to Naomi and the true God, “Yahweh”.

She was in so much pain that she could not imagine Ruth as an asset. We will see about that.

The writer gives us a hint of what to expect with the last sentence in chapter one, “And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.”

There were two things Naomi and Ruth had to have: food and family. I believe they had gleaned for food in the fields of Moab. I am sure it was hard work. Even dangerous work. When we look at the words of Boaz he refers to Ruth needing protection. So they knew how to “get by” but there was certainly no future in that.

Chapter two begins with, “Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. (Ruth 2:1) Ruth and Naomi may have discussed the closest relatives but we are not told that. This information may have been added by the person who wrote the account. Naomi’s comment, “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty,” certainly indicates she had no assets. That should have included Ruth. In reality Ruth was her only asset. But Naomi did not give Ruth any consideration. So Ruth takes it upon herself. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

It just so happens that she was looking for a man in whose sight she would find favor. Coincidence would have it, or, many would say, “As luck would have it.” I don’t believe in chance or luck. I believe in providence!

God had provided for gleaning in the Law of Moses. One of the laws of compassion allowed for the poor to glean after the harvesters. “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Deuteronomy 24:19.

This is a practice still recognized in many countries where crops are harvested by hand.

So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. (Ruth 2:3) Apparently, Ruth was not looking for Boaz’s field she was just looking for food for her and her beloved Naomi. She happened to come to a field belonging to Boaz. It just happened! I don’t think so. Neither do I think Ruth planned to arrive in Boaz’s field. I believe God guided her there.

At the same time, “And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.”

Not, it just happened that Boaz arrived while Ruth was gleaning in his field. Again I believe God’s unseen hand guided her.

Bill Gaither told it this way: “There is an unseen hand to me. That leads through ways I cannot see. While going through this world of woe this hand still leads me as I go.”

Note the greetings “The Lord be with you” and “The Lord bless you.”

What a great place to work! Owner and crew looking to God for direction. After the greetings Boaz and his foreman got to the important management issues. Instead, Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” (Ruth 2:5-7). Not, “Who is the young woman?” but “Whose young woman is this?” The difference is subtle. Boaz did not want to know who she was he wanted to know who she belonged to. 

Boaz checked with his crew and gave them instructions then he approached her. “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” (Ruth 2:8-10).

Boaz instructed his crew, male and female, to keep Ruth from harm and to make sure she had all she needed. She knew that this was not common practice. She was bold enough to ask, “Why”.

Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” (Ruth 2:11-13). Ruth’s loyalty paid off in real dividends. She could see that she was being treated like one of his servants and not like a poor foreigner.

Boaz went a step further. And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.” (Ruth 2:14-16)

At the end of the day Boaz and his crew ate together. He invited Ruth to join in the meal. He even served her with his own hands. At the end of the day Ruth beat out the grain she had gathered. It came to about an ephah of barley. That would be about eleven 2 liter bottles full.

Naomi was excited about Ruth’s harvest. Obviously, someone had blessed her. Naomi said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’ ” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Barley harvest usually began about mid-April and wheat harvest extended to mid-June—a period of intense labor for about two months. This generally coincided with the seven weeks between Passover and Pentecost.

For seven weeks, or so, Ruth was working in the fields of Boaz alongside his young women. During that time her reputation was growing. Later Boaz would call her a worthy woman. That same phrase is used to describe the excellent wife of Proverbs 31. No doubt he was taken by her and did not know exactly what to do about it. This may have been one explanation of why he was not married already. Of course he was not married because God was holding him in reserve to become the great-grandfather of David the King.

Boaz pictures Jesus who, “had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17), Jesus redeemed those who (1) were slaves to sin What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:15–18), (2) had lost all earthly privilege in the Fall, and (3) had been alienated by sin from God All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18–21).

Boaz stands in the direct line of Christ. This turn of events marks the point where Naomi’s human emptiness (Ruth 1:21) begins to be refilled by the Lord. Her night of earthly doubt has been broken by the dawning of new hope.

Have you recognized your need for a redeemer? One who can buy you back from the fields of this age and allow you to work alongside those who are servants of the King of the Universe? See how a citizen of a foreign nation can become a member of the people of God? Have you trusted Jesus as your Lord?

All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2016. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

 210718 In Him  

I have often thought of John, the only surviving apostle of Jesus Christ, on the Isle of Patmos. The traditional understanding of his situation is that he was exiled by the Romans because of his work in the province of Asia. Which is located on the western shore of what is today Turkey. All of the historical accounts from the early years agree to that. John was responsible for supervising the churches and he had hundreds, perhaps thousands of followers who would protect him in the case of his arrest. So, I don’t believe he was arrested. Exiled is kind of house arrest. But a man in his 80s or even 90s would not have been posted to hard labor. We do need to remember that when a Christian is in prison, or exiled, it is allowed by God. I don’t believe God allows us to suffer without a purpose. So I believe God parked John on Patmos to catch up on his writing. There is no indication in the Bible as to when John wrote the three little letters that are designated as: first John, second John, and third John. There is not even a direct link between John’s Gospel and the book of Revelation. We do know that John was definitely on the island of Patmos when he saw the visions that became the book of Revelation. If you travel today to the island of Patmos you will be shown a cave where, it is believed, John wrote Revelation. I believe the gospel of John happened about the same time.

If John were not in exile he would have been traveling from church to church keeping them focused on what is most important. In Revelation John was identified as one, “who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” (Revelation 1:2). He must’ve had many thoughts about the need for another gospel. But he didn’t have time to write it down. Now, he is in exile. He can’t travel from church to church training their pastors. So he can write! I believe he had access to the Old Testament writings and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He may have also had the writings of Peter, James and Luke’s history that we call The Acts, or the Acts of the Apostles. Let’s use our imagination. John is isolated from his work as an Apostle. He might have even thought, “Why can’t I do what I am called to do.”  As I said I can see him in my mind’s eye sitting at his table, remembering and writing. You see, God has sent him there for this very purpose. I believe he wrote the Gospel first. He did not use verse and chapter numbers. Those tools were added centuries later.

Without the numbers he began to write, John 1:1-5, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

These verses, along with 1 John 1:1, and Revelation 19:13 are the only instances where the Bible refers to God the Son as “the Word” or “the Word of God,” so this usage is not common. But it does indicate that among the members of the Trinity it is especially God the Son who in his person, as well as in his words, has the role of communicating the character of God to us and of expressing the will of God for us.

So John, sitting at his table, does not begin with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as Mark did. He did not begin with Jesus’ genealogy as Matthew did. Nor did he explain how he gathered the information contained in his gospel as Luke did. Instead, he began with “In the beginning” as Moses did when he began the Torah (Genesis) with, “In the beginning, God.”

John understood his purpose in writing. He put that purpose into words near the end of his gospel, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31).

John’s life had been invested in introducing people to the living Lord Jesus and assisting those who believed in their spiritual growth. He was given the opportunity of presenting the gospel of life in the name of Jesus because he was an eyewitness. John confirms his status as a witness in the beginning of the little letter called First John. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

When I began prepare for the sermon, I intended to talk to you about what we have in Christ Jesus. John got in the way. I do admire John. The disciple whom Jesus loved. What an honor! Similar to being called a friend of God. Abraham and Moses are in that fellowship. (2 Chronicles 20:7 and Exodus 33:11). To be especially loved by Jesus would be one of the most humbling experiences I believe a person could have.

Now, let’s move back to my original plan and begin with, Ephesians 1:3-14, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

This passage is one long flowing sentence! In the original Greek is a single sentence.

Now let’s walk through the passage and see what it has to offer us as far as being in Christ counts.

In verse three we find we are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Paul is definitely talking about more than the “stuff” we accumulate around us. Taking verse three out by itself could leave us confused. God definitely does not want us to be confused about spiritual blessings. After all, a little later in the Ephesian letter Paul tells us God not only saves us but he has raised us up with Jesus and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! This is past tense meaning that it has already happened in the mind of God. Praise God! We do not serve a God who has to wait see what we will do. He knows the end from the beginning and always has. Ephesians 2 verse six tells us that we have been raised up with him and are seated with him in the heavenlies. We do not have to wait around and wonder whether or not we will “make it”! God’s promise is that he has already met our spiritual needs.

We need to remember constantly that our spiritual reality is believers in Christ have received everything we need in him.

In verse four we are chosen before the foundation of the world. Peter tells us that we are living stones and “you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5) This is wonderful and should cause us to rejoice! As living stones we are bonded to the building which is the body of Christ. We can’t be taken out of it because it would then fall apart. Every believer in Jesus Christ has been chosen to be holy and blameless before him.

Verse seven tells us in him we have redemption through his death on the cross. As for deliverance from bondage to sin, Paul says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus … For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:11, 14). We have been delivered from bondage to the guilt of sin and from bondage to its ruling power in our lives. In him we are rescued from bondage to sin. God determine our destiny before time began because he loves us and wants to pour his blessings on us as his children. In verse 10 we see that all things are united in him.

In verse 11 in him we have an inheritance. And it is secure. It cannot be taken away from us. It is the best investment we have ever made. We go back to Peter who tells us that we have an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled and unfading. Not only do we have this inheritance but it is kept for us in heaven and secured by God’s power. If that doesn’t make you rejoice you have no joy in you. We must remember that in him we have hope and that hope is in Christ.

As I look at the last promise here I’m reminded of sealed railroad cars. There was a railroad spur near our home and I often played in that area. I saw on each freight car had a piece of metal sealed with lead, or some soft metal. When the freight car was dropped off the seal told the buyer that his shipment had made it to its destination. There are now no railroad lines in the area but I observed that many of the semi-trucks have a very similar seal on the handle and it serves the same purpose.

In verse 13 when we heard the word of truth, the gospel and believed in him we are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Nothing can be more secure than our inheritance that is kept in heaven for us.

I hope every one of you have recognized your need of salvation and have responded to the Spirit’s call by confessing that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.




All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2016. Wheaton: StanPdard Bible Society.

210704 Choosing

God is sovereign! He has complete authority over our choices. However, we seem to be left with many everyday choices. Don’t worry, our God knows how we will choose. There is a process of the Holy Spirit working with our spirit to keep us from being overwhelmed. The Holy Spirit teaches us what to pray for, works in us to calm our fears and helps us to overcome all discouragements. With the Spirit of God advocating for us the enemy will never completely defeat us. At the same time we will never mature spiritually, or emotionally, if we do not carry forward the consequences of our decisions. Remember, Romans 8:26-28, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

From the day man was placed on earth he was faced with choices. He had to choose names for all the animals. He was privileged to name his wife, Eve. (I was tempted to call her his partner in crime.) Soon after the couple were on the earth together they had to choose to obey God, or not. As their descendants we are confronted with choices. No matter how badly we perform God remains faithful. For those that love God all things work together for good.

The word of God assures us that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,”

(1 Corinthians 10:13) Every day we make hundreds of choices. We choose to get up in the morning, or not. We choose to begin our day in a variety of ways. We may choose to eat breakfast, or not. We may choose to read the Bible and pray, or not. Within each one of these choices there are many other choices we might make. Many of those choices have spiritual consequences for good or for evil. Peter told us that there were many choices. And they all lead to consequences. After Israel occupied the land the choices became worse and worse. After several years their choices led to the worst possible conditions. Read the book of Judges and see how bad it became. In order to escape the consequences they began to demand a king and then they made a bad choice. The consequences of that bad choice were bad as well.

How are you making out with your choices? Praise God!? Or woe is me?

There are decisions we must make they are mostly pertaining to our everyday lives that have an effect on our relationships. God does care what we decide, but, in order to learn and grow we must make decisions and those decisions are used by God to mature us. Peter encouraged his people to strengthen their ability to choose right. We need to remember that making good decisions is a positive character trait that is usually learned by making bad decisions.

Let’s consider Peter’s plan found in 2 Peter 1:3-11, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The list of choices and decisions go on and on. God teaches us to grow in grace and the knowledge our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The glory goes to Him. While he works in us to will and to work his good pleasure. He teaches us to choose right. Even though many of our choices were wrong in the beginning. Adam and Eve made some bad choices.

Rebellion against God is a choice. A very bad choice. Let’s look at the account of their choice. Genesis 3:1-7, Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Eve did not think what was happening. Satan offered an opportunity to be like God. Wait! They were created in the image of God. Eve correctly pointed out that they could eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. Oh but not the one in the middle. Then she added “neither shall you touch it”!  Now, it is not a good thing to add to, or take away from God’s word. 

We might make every effort to cover our bad choices but Praise God! There is a way out. Rebellion is a choice and when we make a bad choice then repentance is a choice. Colossians 3:5-10, Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

We are not to assume we can ignore our sin in hope of God fixing us. Holy Spirit will certainly do the work in our spiritual life but we have a responsibility to be obedient.

Jesus and John the Baptist began their ministry with a simple sermon, “Repent, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:4 & 9) Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and obey Jesus. There is a false repentance that is sorry to be caught. We must be certain we want to lay aside our sin.

Don’t sit around waiting on God to fix you. Take action! You can’t save yourself but it is never wrong to “”Put to death therefore what is earthly in you”. We have responsibility to actively seek growth and holy lives. We need to remember Jesus was beaten and crucified to pay the price of our sin. We need to apply ourselves to growth in grace.

Spiritual growth is a choice. 1 Peter 2:1-3, So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Obeying God in difficult circumstances is a choice. You remember the account of the three young Jews who were taken to Babylon. The king had an image of gold 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. He proclaimed that everyone was required to worship that image when they heard the band play. When those 3 Hebrews were not obeying the worship command he ordered them thrown in a furnace heated to the point the soldiers were killed when they threw them in the fire. This is the account of their choice. Daniel 3:16-18, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

When the king came to watch the fire consume these men he said he saw 4 men in the fire. I can’t promise you God will always honor obedience in that way but I can tell you God will honor those who honor him’

Godly living is a choice. Romans 6:1-4, What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.


Loving others is a choice. John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


I hope that sometime in the past you have recognized the need to surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That is the most important choice you will ever make! The fact that God knows what choice we will make does not take away from us the responsibility to make a choice. In fact, not making a choice is a choice and one we are personally responsible for. To not choose Christ, to not repent, to not grow spiritually, to not obeying  God, to not living in a godly manner, to not dealing with our anger issues or to not love others are all choices that are made every day to our harm. My prayer for you is that you will make good choices and grow up in the Lord. Do you need to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you need to obey him in baptism? Do you need to share a testimony of God’s goodness in your life? Now is the time. Today is the day. Do it!


All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2016. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.