Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ruth Part 2 - Unconditional Friendship

About a week and a half ago I posted God Sent Ruth - Friendship, which is a great message from my old pastor, Mark, from 1997. He continued on with Ruth the following week. You may think that studying an Old Testament character such as Ruth might be dull or boring, but it's amazing how much grace can be found here!

Among other things in this message, Mark talks about friendship - friendship between Christians (which of course should be rich and unconditional, but is often full of conditions and judgmentalism), and friendship between Christians and non-Christians - which Christians often sadly stay away from, or at least only view from an evangelistic standpoint. He sidetracks off of Ruth's story with his own touching story of a decision he made to relate to a certain coworker not in a "Christian" or "religious" context, and not for the purpose of evangelizing him, but rather from the perspective of unconditional friendship. The coworker knew he was a pastor and kept expecting Mark to preach at him about Christ, and in fact he even kept bringing up Christian stuff himself, but Mark simply related to him as a friend who loved him unconditionally. It's amazing what can happen if we just love people.

Mark also reiterates what he had said the previous week about God having made a LAW that said no Moabite shall be a part of the congregation of Israel, but yet here was Ruth, the Moabitess, coming into it with Naomi. The New Testament would later say that if a person broke any single law, he was guilty of all and was under the curse... and yet so many blessings would come out of this act of Ruth being a true friend - forsaking her own people and way of life - and clinging to Naomi and becoming a part of her own people. Did you know that Jesus descended from Ruth, the Moabitess?!

There's so much more here. This is the kind of stuff I was weaned on in my early days of having begun to shed legalism and embrace grace. I can't say enough how I highly recommend giving this a listen!


  1. LOVED IT!!

    I was wondering if you had ever heard anything on Luke 12:35-48?

  2. Matthew... truly was a good preach, wasn't it? :) (I don't normally use that phrase - 'good preach' - but I've seen some people from other countries use it and it's sort of clung to me... LOL).

    I don't think I've ever heard anything on the verses you mentioned, from the perspective of the New Covenant. I don't have any immediate thoughts about it, but I'll keep it in mind. Feel free to share any thoughts, if you have any.

  3. I don't. I was just wondering...I've been looking at it lately and I feel like there is something there I haven't seen yet. Thats all. But Mark is wonderful at putting things in the proper perspective. He is great at interpreting the Scriptures in light of the dispensation of grace.

  4. Yeah, I agree, there's probably something there that perhaps needs a little more light shined on it, so to speak. And yeah, I was always amazed (and still am as I listen to these old tapes) at how Mark brought out so many wonderful things from the scriptures.

  5. Hey Joel,
    That was indeed a "good preach"!! Thank you so much for sharing it, we are looking forward to the rest of them big time. I always find myself wishing that we had a church to go to and hear gracebased good news like what that pastor puts out to the people. I don't hold much hope for this area, but you never know, in the meantime, these are a wonderful salve to old wounds. Thanks again :-)

  6. Ron,

    I'm in the same place as you, wishing I had a local fellowship where I could join with people who are sharing the pure message of grace, in the same way that I had over a decade ago. And as with you, I'm not too sure it's gonna happen any time soon! Thankfully this online community is playing such a huge part in the daily refreshment of life in grace. :)

  7. I'm glad Mark mentioned he was from the south. I was wondering why you Iowans sounded like us!

  8. Yeah I believe he originally came here from Oklahoma City. I don't know where he is today, but I have a friend who I think knows one of his sons, so there's a possibility that I could find out.