“Freedom & Obedience”
Sermon: “Freedom & Obedience”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from November 7, 2021
Sermon is transcribed using an automated program. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
Sometimes when you're planning a few weeks ahead and you're looking at the scriptures, you, I read through all of the scriptures for the lectionary for the Sunday, and then go from there. I had a problem picking today. Not because there's a problem with any of them, but because I really wanted to use all of them.
But I chose to put in our bulletin and the lesson from mark, because, well, that was a good lead in for the Sunday school. And I wanted to use Ruth because we often don't, don't get to preach on Ruth. But the one I didn't use was Hebrews and the Hebrews is passage is where the writer of Hebrews is talking about the freedom
for freedom Christ has made us free. Does that sound like a familiar phrase at all? Talking about now we are free because of Christ and what Christ did for us. And that seemed to be a little bit of a contrast between what is in the scriptures from Hebrew and what is going on in the book of Ruth, Ruth, for all intents and purposes.
Yes, she was free. She was not a servant. She was not enslaved, but Ruth, if you remember, had followed Naomi back into the land of Israel and Moab. And was dependent upon Naomi finding her family and reuniting with them so that the two of them would have some kind of support in life since they were widowed.
So she had followed her to Moab. In today's passage finds herself having to follow her mother-in-law's instructions so that they would have a way of surviving.
She had to be obedient to the person she had chosen to follow. Now, remember, last week I said something about the fact that. Ruth was very much like Peter and that Peter had followed Jesus and followed his instructions. Ruth had to follow up Naomi and follow hers. And in this case, we have Naomi giving Ruth instructions to go to this distant relative and basically to give her body to him.
Now, I don't know, without going real deeply into a history and background and everything else, the phrase to uncover his feet was a phrase that was synonymous with go lay with him.
And this is what Naomi followed instructions to do. She literally went and gave herself, to Boaz. Now in this day and age, we would say, oh, that's not, that's not a good thing to do, but we have to remember that this was the only way for a widow to provide any kind of a future for themselves. And in this case, not only is Ruth unable to provide a future for herself, but also for her mother in law Naomi.
Now this is something that comes out of following instructions. Now we frequently tell our children that, you know, you need to follow instructions right. You need to follow guys. I know this is a tough lesson, but we need to follow instructions.
it's not quite the same as buying a piece of furniture from IKEA and trying to follow the instructions. These are pretty clear instructions, you know, Jesus gave Peter pretty clear instructions. Naomi gives Ruth very clear instructions as to what she needs to do. And as a result of this obeying, these very clear instructions, what happens for Naomi.
But my gosh Boaz takes her as his wife and provides for her and provides her with a son. Which the importance there is it not just as she provided it for now, but she's provided for long term because the son would take care of her as long as she or he were alive. That is her social security. That is her Medicare.
So by being obedient, Her future is assured, but we say, oh, all right, that's wonderful. There's a lot of times we're obedient. We can see the results of it. Short term. Maybe, maybe we followed our parents' advice, worked hard on our education. And we then, as an adult, we saw the result of that. Or maybe. we didn't follow our parents advice or instruction, and we might've struggled a little bit, or maybe we were somewhere in the middle, which probably most of us were.
I know I was in the middle. I mean, I loved it. I love learning new things.
But I didn't necessarily want to do the work in school.
And I know that later in life, like when I was 30 I was handed, a letter that my middle school principal had given to my parents saying I was capable of so much more. And he just couldn't figure out how to challenge me. So I was one of those people that was right in the middle, you know? Yeah. I want to follow the rules and your advice and your encouragement to an extent.
Well, can you imagine what would have happened if Ruth had only followed the advice to an extent, maybe she only, you know, bathed and put on her good clothes. and that was as far as she went.
So, if that's, as far as she went, she still wouldn't have had any future. If she had only gone and found where Boaz was sleeping and stopped there She wouldn't have had a future.
if Ruth had only gone as far as going into Boaz's tent. They're still wouldn't have been a future. She had to follow all the way through on those instructions. She had to be totally obedient. Now, as Christians, we have to be totally obedient to Christ to really see the benefit. You know, Presbyterians are kind of lukewarm, Christians were in the middle. We want to follow Jesus instructions until it costs us too much.
We want to follow what Jesus teaching until it conflicts with something we'd rather be doing.
And I know in this respect, I'm kind of preaching to the choir, but. Well, it's not just the choir,
you know, unfortunately the folks that are in the pews on Sunday morning, aren't always the ones that really need to hear the sermon, or even the ones listening or tuning in online because you and I have all seen. That person with a fish emblem on the back of their car, cutting in and out of traffic driving, rather impatiently.
We know that there are people that claim to be Christians that aren't willing to follow what Christ teaches. people that claim to be Christian. But don't want to help the foreigner, the foreigner, or the alien living among them. If you claim to be Christian, but don't want to help the poor or the widow with the orphan where the incarcerated they're lukewarm, but they're not fully obedient.
And just by comparison. Think about what this world would be like. If everybody that claimed to be Christian was fully obedient, 100% to the word of Christ and the teachings of Christ
Ruth was fully obedient and if you didn't catch the last couple of verses that I read this morning. The results went way beyond just her own security.
Ruth's son was named Obid,
the father, Jesse the father David. And if you keep going through the generations, You get to Jesus.
It was through Ruth's obedience that Jesus came into this world.
What kind of ripple effect down the road long-term does each of our obedience to Christ have as possible effect. You see, it's not just what we're doing right now, but it's what we're doing. It's going to would affect the long term future of this world and all the people in it.
Now I want to go back to the Mark passage.
Debbie was telling me this morning about how she read about someone who had developed solar powered refrigeration units and have put them in one of the larger cities in Africa.
And the whole thing behind these solar powered refrigeration units is that the people that would bring their produce in from the farms when you're talking about 95-100 degree heat, that produce doesn't keep very well. So you have very limited marketing window. And for the equivalent of 25 cents, they could rent a tray in this refrigeration unit, and it would extend their marketability time for their produce to a week.
Well, as an end result, the farmers were able to better provide for their own families because they could sell more of their produce.
Now where that ties into the mark passage,
what would it cost to put one of those refrigerators, solar powered refrigeration units in some of the poorer villages in Africa.
Think about that and the billions of dollars. That are spent online betting
or space tourism,
and think about whether we're talking about two copper coins, or the excess change from some wealthy person's pocket.
There are things that can be done. The Presbyterian given catalog for 2022
for this year, for the holiday season. And then next year there are many things in there where you can take. what for us is copper coins and make a long-term difference by simply being obedient to what Jesus taught us to do. The question is, is will we do. Things like that. or are we going to be? Lukewarm. Are we going to say, well, yes,
I can choose to do that, but I have my freedom of choice. or are we going to say? Yes, my freedom comes from my obedience to Christ.
Let us pray.