Jesus came that Jews and gentiles alike might have peace with God. We might consider ourselves to be outsiders who are not good enough for a variety of reasons but like Ruth we could be outlawed from being a part of Israel by scripture and change who we are by the grace of God to be used by Him for mighty things.
In the Book of Ephesians in Chapter 2. (Thank you dear.)
And verse 11 like Facio, I need these things. (glasses)
So Ephesians Chapter 2 Verse 11, it says; Therefore remember that you once Gentiles in the flesh who are called uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision made in the flesh by hands that at that time you were without Christ mean aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of separation having abolished in his flesh the enmity that is the law of commandments contained in ordinances so as to create in himself one new man from the two thus making peace and that he might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross thereby putting to death the enmity and he came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the father. Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the Saints and members of the household of God having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets Jesus Christ alone. Sorry Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit.
This is the word of God. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father Lord we thank you. You have come to make peace between us and yourself. You have come to. Bring us together before the Father. That we might enjoy this rich salvation that you have granted to us Lord during this period. Of time that we are now entering. Lord, I just pray that we will understand the truth of your word that regardless of what happens in the days to come that Lord, you have brought us to yourself that we can have this rich relationship. In Christ Jesus. Lord, we pray for a proper understanding of what we have just read and what we are about to study because we know we are not able to comprehend these things without your Holy Spirit. And so Lord right now we ask for a move of your Holy Spirit. In all humility Lord we call upon you to come upon this place. We voluntarily ask that you enter into our hearts anew. That you fill us up with your Holy Spirit. Because we are your temple.
Our bodies are your temple and our hearts are the holy of holies and Lord we we open our hearts and our minds to you. There you come in with us and sup with us and then we can have that relationship with you. The more we ask this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
So this morning, how many of you know where we are in the Biblical calendar? Did you know that we are still in the days between the time that Jesus ascended into heaven and the time that the Holy Spirit came upon those who committed themselves to the Lord.
You’ve heard of Pentecost right? Anybody?
Well that’s next Sunday. Next Sunday is Pentecost. And so at the end of Pentecost it will have been 50 days since we recognize the day that Jesus rose from the grave.
When we recognize that the Lord has power over life and death that he has power over sin and that he has the ability to reconcile us to God that we might have peace with the Lord that we might set aside our sin and have this relationship with him. And one of the interesting things that has always been done during this season as we approach Pentecost the Jews and those that followed Jesus will read the Book of Ruth during this time just before Pentecost the book of Ruth is one of the one of the more beautiful books to read because it doesn’t have any law. It doesn’t have any preaching in it. It’s just about a woman who makes a commitment to her mother in law and to the Lord and the Lord says even though you were of a race that we said is not allowed into Israel, at all, ever. We’re letting you in.
You as a Gentile are coming to be joined with Israel. And that’s what we just read about in Ephesians 2. Jesus made it possible for us Gentiles. Now I don’t know if there are any secret Jews here but all of us Gentiles are able to come and be grafted into Israel be a part of the promise be a part of his rich salvation.
And so this morning what I would like to do is I would like to take where we are in the Biblical calendar because there are a few other calendars that are in operation right now. There are some calendars that actually are promoting violence right now.
Right now the Islamic State says hey Ramadan is coming. I want you to. I want you to create as much destruction and death as you can create. That’s what this world is wanting to have happen.
Jesus says I’ve come to bring peace. Do you see the opposition some are coming to bring war. Some are coming to bring destruction and death. And that’s really what Satan does right? The enemy according to Scripture comes to steal, kill and to destroy. But why does Jesus come? To give us life and to give it more abundantly.
And so this morning what I want to talk about is how even though you might be an outcast, I might be an outcast. In fact, I know I’m an outcast. The fact is that without Jesus there is no community for me.
There is no place for us before the Lord. Except Jesus went to the cross that even if I am the worst of the worst I still have a place in God’s family. If I accept his grace and His mercy and I commit myself to him. That’s where the joy of hope is found, is in Jesus Christ.
The other worlds come in to steal kill and destroy. OK.
Not a whole lot I can do about that. I keep watching all the movies have the super secret and ninja stuff and how to fight the bad guys and you know they come to attack and somehow I can take them all out right. Well that’s what you think in your mind. But the fact is I can’t do anything to stop people from being evil.
I really can’t. Jesus can and you know what. If more of us will accept the Lord we bring the peace that he gives us into this world that wants to kill us. We bring that peace and regardless of what they want to do we can bring the joy of salvation to others. If they’re just willing to listen. That’s what I want to look at this morning is the fact that the Lord is calling even the most rejected of us to come to him and to be grafted in to be a part of his family and have real peace. So look at that more here in just a few minutes.
The story of Ruth. Is really a pretty fascinating story to read and I would recommend that you read it yourself. That might take you 30 minutes 40 minutes to make it through.
If you’re really slow and take your time and go over each word it’s it’s a fascinating story that really brings out what a commitment can do to change your heart to change your life because she was from Moab, a people that was rejected by God.
Why? Well you remember Balaam and his donkey. Balaam and his donkey. Balam was hired to curse Israel, right? They were hired to come out and bring this massive curse upon Israel to get God to reject Israel even though he had promised to take care of Israel to adopt Israel and the Moabites joined in that they hired Balaam and they were the ones that followed Balaam’s advice to draw Israel away to follow after false gods to engage in sexual immorality and the sacrifice to idols and God cursed Israel because of what the Moabites did. You find the Amorites are lumped in with them too. And in fact. The Scripture says that the Moabites are to be a part of Israel they are to be brought in as strangers into Israel because while they were rejected by God and yet we have the story of Ruth now Ruth’s mother in law Naomi and her husband and the two boys they went into Moab because the business opportunities were there.
They went to where the money was. The boys married local girls and everybody died. All the guys died. Probably because they were disobeying God and marrying Moabite women and basically losing themselves to the World. And so Naomi says I can’t take this anymore, you know, I’ve lost my husband I’ve lost my boys I’m done I’m going back home. It’s over.
And she releases her daughters in law. And says you guys can go back to your families go get remarried to some good local guys. I’m headed out of here.
Yet, Ruth decided to commit to her mother in law. She saw herself as being a part of her people. And so she went back and she rejected the false gods of her people. She rejected the ways of her people. And she made a commitment to walk in the ways of the Lord to Join to the God of Israel to the people of Israel and to follow her mother in law back home.
Now where we come in as Gentiles, as people who were lost in our sin. I know many of you have made a commitment to Jesus but we need to remember where we came from because it’s important, that, we have all sorts of family backgrounds right. I mean there’s a myriad of backgrounds here represented in everybody that’s seated in this church. You have all sorts of family heritages that are different from each other.
And the fact is that you are all. None of you are Jews. You were all Gentiles and therefore you were outside of Israel. And yet Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly that we might no longer be among the rejected.
Because if you read Romans chapter one there’s this whole description of how our ancestors rejected God. They rejected the knowledge of God and chased after false gods worshiped inanimate objects worshiped wood that was carved into a certain shape or stones that were carved into a certain shape worshiped things that well shouldn’t be worshiped because they are the creation not the creator.
And so, God turned many of us over to a debased mind. God said, all right fine. You reject me. Well you also reject the knowledge and the wisdom that comes with me. And so we go chasing after crazy things just look around the world today you’ll you’ll see what I’m talking about. People are doing all sorts of terrible things I mean what possesses a man to strap on a bomb and go to a concert and blow himself up like happened earlier this week. You have to be turned over to a debased mind right. Your mind can’t be right to go do that kind of evil and yet God still loves even that person God still wants to bring that person into the family.
And we’re like wait a minute do we really want them in our family once Jesus is done with them. Yes we do. We don’t want them as they are. Guess what we don’t want you as you are either. You don’t want me as I am without Jesus either. You really don’t. You want me to be washed by the blood. You want me to make a commitment to the Lord. And you should want the same thing for yourself. That we reject what was our family heritage, the idol worship. The self-worship the worship of creation instead of the Creator.
We need to reject our heritage and say No I’m no longer a Moabite just as Ruth made the commandment that she was no longer Moabite. You see, a lot of people argue well how is it that God let Ruth into Israel.
And then it was OK.
Was that OK because he said specifically in his scripture no Moabite will be joined to Israel.
They will not marry in, not to happen. It’s illegal. It’s in the word. Well how does it work.
And people say well says to the tenth generation. some people say no, it says including the tenth generation and it can be interpreted to say from then on I mean from the beginning on out and saying you know because what it’s doing what the word of God is doing is referencing another part of the Word of God that says I will hate those that hate me to the tenth generation. Right. And so now he’s saying not just that we’re going to keep going Moabites No. No
Moabites some people would argue OK if we count the generations she’s actually okay to come in. No that’s not how works. No it doesn’t work. Well maybe it’s because she’s a woman because it says Moabite and that’s a guy. No that’s not how that works either. He’s talking about all citizens of Moab are not to be brought in and married into the family. So how does it work well here’s the fun thing. And maybe it’s not fun. To me it’s fun because I’m a geek.
But when you look at it how do how does our identity change.
Ever wonder what Jesus meant by a new creature, a new birth to be born again. What did he mean by that?
Well to be born again means that we reject who we were without Jesus. We say I am no longer who I was because I put my trust in Jesus that He will make me who I shall be. That makes sense?
If we reject sin what we’re doing is we’re saying is, Paul the mutt whatever I am because my lineage is muddled. You know you can’t really figure you tried. I’ve got ancestry going everywhere and I am a mutt, you know I can’t say I’m this or that or the other.
I’m a mutt and you know the fact is that Paul might still needs to reject Paul the mutt, Paul the flesh and say you know what I’m a human being I have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I need to reject that that is not who I should be. The Lord tells me that if I put my trust in him that I am born again that means I’m no longer who I was.
You ever wonder why we say these things during baptism that you know the old man is buried in the new life begins from this day forward. It’s because what we’re doing is we’re no longer who we were. And. Ruth was no longer a Moabite as soon as she put her trust in the Lord and rejected her lineage and said I am now an Israelite.
Guess what? She is now legally able to marry because she is no longer a Moabite. Wait. You can’t just change who you are. Yeah actually you can. You know I know it goes against everything everybody says these days. But here’s the thing. Look whatever my heritage is and you know like I say I’m a mutt but you may identify yourself as being as belonging to a certain people group or to a certain family or even a certain nationality. But you know what we have to reject that we now belong and our citizens with Christ Jesus we’re now Israelites. Don’t don’t believe me look in the book of Romans it says that we are grafted into Israel how we did it the same way Ruth did.
We rejected who we were in favor of who we will be.
And so by making that choice even the worst of us. And you know we can all put ourselves at the bottom of the barrel because we can have a competition and say well no I’m the worst person ever right. You know and we would all think we won.
The fact is that whatever you think of yourself and you know we all have this picture in our brains of who we believe ourselves to be and some of us let’s be honest think we’re pretty awesome. We think that we just are amazing. But we got to reject that. You’re not amazing. You’re going to belong to Jesus now. You may think I’m the worst person ever i don’t deserve anything. Reject that. That is now rejected that is now no longer who you are. You are now a new creature in Christ you now identify with him. You were dead in your sins and now it’s time to be raised up. This period of waiting that we do before.
Before Pentecost or Shavuot or whatever you want to call it this holiday. Biblical holiday.
Is all about preparing your heart preparing who you are. And saying you know what my identity is no longer what it was. I reject that former man woman whatever you want identify as rejected.
It’s over now I am a new creature in Christ so I look forward to being filled with the Holy Ghost. You know this at the end of that scripture that read in Ephesians 2 it talked about us being fitted together to be the temple.
What is so great about the temple.
Well, I’ll tell you, it’s where God hangs out. OK. Now look. God is God and He can hang out anywhere. But the reason for the temple is God saying no I want you to come and meet me. I want you to come and meet me and I will come and meet you. We both have made an agreement to meet each other.
Here’s the thing you may think that you’re a terrible terrible person you’ve done awful awful things or you may think you’re the most wonderful person that’s ever walked the planet Earth and you’re just about, that far from being able to walk on water. Whatever end of the spectrum you find yourself what we need to do is say, no I come humbly to meet God.
What Ruth did is she with all humility presented herself to become a member of God’s family. She rejected who she was but she also came with humility saying I don’t have anything to give you. When she came before Boaz she had nothing. She was out picking grain.
You know you know how in the Commandments it talks about the corners of the field leaving the corners of the field for the poor. She was the poor out there picking the corners of the field. She was out there getting whatever grain she could whatever leftovers were there for her to gather for her and her mother in law.
She came out with all humility. Now I have no idea if she had money back home if the family could have provided for her well. We have no idea it doesn’t tell us that. But here’s the thing she came empty handed. To become a member of God’s family she did the same thing when she came to Boaz came empty handed. And she became the wife of Boaz. Now anybody know who her great grandson is?
King David. King David. let me ask you something, how much has your life changed when you are the great grandmother of a king?
And not just the great grandmother of a king but Messiah came from her. Think about that. Jesus is in the lineage of David. Right. So here we have a Moabite becoming an Israelite and giving birth to not just the king but to the Savior of the world the king of kings.
God can turn your life totally around.
God comes to bring peace where there is turmoil. God comes to bring joy. Where there is sorrow Jesus comes to give us salvation to change our lives.
And one of the reasons I want to preach this this Sunday as we come up on Shav’ot or Pentecost is because this summer is most likely going to be a very eventful summer. Now next Sunday I turn 50 which I don’t say that just to announce it but I was born at the beginning of the six days war in Israel. June 4th 1967.
This is the 50th anniversary of that event. At the same time we have ISIS, the Islamic state, declaring destroy the West during Ramadan. That’s why that’s coming in the same period of time what’s going to happen. I have no idea.
I’m not a prophet. I’m not here to prophesy to you. But I do know that the Lord is going to do something this summer because this is a year of jubilee when the Lord is at work in Israel. What happens in a year of jubilee? God gives the land back to Israel. Do you think that might upset some folks? If God gives more land to Israel they’re still going on about 1967 right. Well at peace if we go back to the 67 borders you think they’re a little upset about it.
Look I don’t know what’s really coming. I really don’t. But I do know there’s some turmoil on the horizon. I do know that there’s some things about to happen but you need to understand that as followers of Jesus Christ yes we need to be aware of it but we shouldn’t worry about it. Because the Bible plainly says things are going to get really rough and the last days right. But what does it say about the believer in Jesus Christ. We will not give up our testimony for Jesus and we will not give up following the Lord. We will continue to walk in his ways. We will continue to believe in him and tell others that we believe in him.
So it’s important that we get our identities straight now. While the times are still peaceful relatively so because what’s coming. Could be quite upsetting. We need to know what we believe before the storm hits.
So we’re waiting.
We don’t know what’s next. We don’t know what’s coming for sure. God knows exactly what’s coming. So we put our trust in him because he brings peace. But remember peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace is the ending of chaos.
Let me say that again.
Peace is not the absence of conflict. It’s ending the chaos. Sin is chaos in your life. If God is going to move upon this earth and remove sin from this earth there will be conflict. But ultimately there will be peace because the conflict will end because that chaos will come to an end and where there was once chaos. Now there will be order. That order is established by God. It’s established in his word. It’s how we are supposed to live.
We’re not supposed to be like this world. Look in my flesh. I think we ought to go after all the bad guys and do bad things to them. You know for blowing up little girls. I don’t know about you but I’m pretty upset about that. In the flash, Let’s go.
But I also know that the Lord is at work. We need to be praying for the peace of this world and that means that they need to be convicted of their sin. They need to see the truth of their ways and they need to see the light of Jesus Christ. They will have the opportunity to accept him or reject Him. There is no middle ground. Just like for us we either accept him or reject Him.
And so I want us to prepare ourselves during this period of waiting just like the disciples who were waiting for the Holy Spirit to come down upon the temple and for them to receive the Holy Spirit and for great things to happen.
Just like on that same day thousands of years ago the Spirit of God came upon Mount Sinai and there were thundering and lightning there by heard God in their own language just like they did on the day of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. Both things are true. They were waiting for God they were preparing themselves they were getting themselves clean.
They were challenging themselves to be more of what God wanted them to be.
Look we’re sinners. We messed it up. We fall short of the glory of God but we don’t reduce the standard. God wants us to live for Him to be the best that we can be and to be ready for what’s coming what ever that might be. That’s the challenge that I give you this Sunday preparing this week for what is to come. I don’t know what’s on the horizon. Only the Lord does. Just like the disciples had no clue that Pentecost was going to fall the way that it did.
They had no clue. They didn’t know.
They kind of suspected but they didn’t know how it was going to manifest until it happened. The same thing’s true for us. We should prepare our hearts for what the Lord will do next.
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