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: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter – Our home with Christ in the word “abide” – loving your brother.

RUTH-4-180523
length: 59:20 - taught on May, 23 2018
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Class Outline:

Wednesday May 23, 2018
 
 

Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Our home with Christ in the word “abide” - loving your brother.

 

God speaks through Isaiah about what He considers to be called fasting - loving your neighbor.

 

Our Lord said, MAT 6:16 "And whenever you fast [love your neighbor, as we will see], do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

 

ISA 58:1 "Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet [shofar], And declare to My people their transgression, And to the house of Jacob their sins.

 

ISA 58:2 "Yet they seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness, And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.

 

ISA 58:3 'Why have we fasted and Thou dost not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and Thou dost not notice? 'Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire [Hebrew: you stretch your hand to your occupation], And drive hard all your workers.

 

ISA 58:4 "Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.

 

ISA 58:5 "Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed, And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?

 

ISA 58:6 "Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And break every yoke?

 

ISA 58:7 "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh [Jewish brothers to whom love was required]?

 

Fasting defined by God: sympathetic, self-denying love that gives up possessions for the good of those in need.  

 

Vv. 6 and 7 affirm that the fasting which is pleasant to Jehovah consists in something very different from going without food and wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes, namely, in releasing the oppressed, and in kindness to the helpless; not in abstinence from eating as such, but in sympathetic acts of that self-denying love, which gives up bread or any other possession for the sake of doing good to the needy.

 

This is why Christ could say, “When you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do…” God’s definition of fasting is what He had in mind, which is a manifestation of His love to those in need.

 

This is not works to earn something from God, but a heart filled with God’s love, which is the source of wonderful prosperity to life and capacity for life, love, and relationships.

 

We earn nothing from God. He gives to us in grace. The promise is that if God’s love is in your heart then your life will be like the brightest light. God doesn’t give to you based on merit. The relationships are already there. The material blessings are already there. You mind and soul are already transformed and primed for good.

 

God has given you and me everything to make His love in us possible. But nothing is possible without redemption. I could want to love like God with all my heart. I could desire to keep all of His commands. And, I would remain a man governed by death and sin. God must redeem us and then we will be righteous by His doing.

 

God’s love is not possible without His redemption through the propitiation accomplished through Christ. Redemption, imputed by faith, allows God to impute righteousness, and only then can we know and love Him.

 

Redemption through Christ allows God to impute righteousness. This changes us within.

 

Christ redeemed us on the cross. God loved us and so gave us His only begotten Son. Without this redemption there is no change or regeneration. We could attempt to keep all the laws of morality and still only our outward man would change symptomatically if our human will was strong enough. A heart is not changed without redemption.

 

Once righteous we can understand God’s forgiveness, which gives us gratitude, as well as God’s love for us, which motivates the love of God within us.  

 

As those who are made righteous through the finished work of Jesus Christ, we can come to know Him and His love for us. Forgiveness removes fear from us and frees us to obey the will of God rather than reject it. When Jesus came into the world He said that He had come “To do Your will, O God.” This is out of love for the Father.

 

None of this can be known, appropriated, understood, or claimed without redemption first.

 

Even when God first spoke to Israel the Ten Commandments, He didn’t start with a command, but with redemption, “I brought you out of Egypt.”

 

EXO 20:1 Then God spoke all these words, saying,

 

EXO 20:2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

 

Redemption is spoken to them first, and then starts the commands.

 

EXO 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.

 

I, the Lord your God (Yavah Elohim) brought you out of bondage. This would bring to mind the promise to Abraham to whom God would give the land of promise and to whom was promised a seed that would bless the world.

 

God changes our hearts through the redemptive power of love in the finished work of Jesus Christ. As regenerated people, born-again of the Spirit, we now are called to live the life of Christ, and what a blessed call that is. That life is based upon the love of God and that life, way, and truth is our home.

 

ISA 58:6 "Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And break every yoke?

 

ISA 58:7 "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh [Jewish brothers to whom love was required]?

 

When our relationships, materials, and soul are overwhelmed by the love of God, then all of them become wonderful blessings, as bright as the glory of God.

 

It is one thing to see Israel failing to love their neighbor when they could only see a shadow of God, but for a Christian to not love, who has the divine seed of God abiding in him, God within Him, and a clear view of the cross of Christ, is another thing. He would have to be foolish and blind despite being reborn with an abundance of imputed gifts. Since it does happen, the deception of Satan in this age must be at its greatest height.

 

ISA 58:8 "Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

 

PRO 4:18

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,

That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

 

ISA 58:9 "Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am. 'If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

 

ISA 58:10 And if you give yourself to the hungry, And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness, And your gloom will become like midday [brightest part].

 

ISA 58:11 "And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

 

So, all I’ve got to do is give to the poor and God will bless me despite what is in my heart? Let’s look at all God required starting in vs. 6. Loosen the bonds of wickedness, undo unjust slavery, stop oppressing, break every yoke, give to the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, clothe the naked, fulfill your brother’s need, stop judging, speak encouragement and kindness, satisfy the afflicted.

 

It would be pretty hard to do all of that continuously and not love God. Yet God also flat out commands them to love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

 

Whether God commands the conduct of love or love itself, they are one in the same. God’s love acts on behalf of others to their benefit with self-sacrifice.

 

The life of God’s love and its opposite of selfish desire are also opposed in the biblical motif of light and darkness.

 

Man has tried to determine the good and the truth without God incessantly generation after generation and his results are obviously only darkness.

 

ISA 5:20

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;,

Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;,

Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

 

Light is the ability to see the truth.

 

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