Good Friday Service
April 2, 2021 – 7 PM (Pacific Time)
(links are in blue font)
Beneath the Cross
Hark the Voice of Love & Mercy (Trinity Hymnal #259)
As we look at case after case of evil people disguised with an appearance of godliness, I wanted to insert this refreshing case of the real thing. True godliness. It is found in the book of Ruth and there, in the person of Boaz. Boaz is an obvious type (symbol) of Christ and of course he and Ruth were in the very linage of the Messiah.
Here is true godliness. This is real Christianity. Here is how genuine people of God respond when a poor, oppressed victim of evil asks for help. Notice in particular that Ruth was a Moabite. A Moabite! From a nation that was an enemy of Israel. She was you could say, unclean. Not to be touched. What Boaz did was, if I am not mistaken, illegal! And yet not only did he rescue her and take her in as his wife, he was blessed by the Lord for doing so!
This is then also an example of how the Word of God is to be interpreted and applied. He requires mercy, not sacrifice. His Word is to be understood and followed according to the spirit in which He gave it, not coldly by “the letter.” This does not mean we make Scripture out to say what we want it to say. No, it means that we interpret it exactly as the Lord intends for it to be understood. This is the very point that Jesus so often went at it in His conflicts with the Pharisees over the Sabbath and other points of doctrine.
How then, according to Christ, is the church to deal with oppressed lambs such as victims of domestic violence? Well, essentially this short portion from Ruth answers that question. Here it is and it is a very appropriate Scripture to read on Christmas day. Christ is born!
2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. (2) For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, (4) treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (5) having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
This is the second installment in this series – which is going to have quite a few installments before we are finished. As I mentioned last time, my intent is to end up compiling these posts, including many of your comments and insights, into a book by the same title – An Appearance of Godliness.
The Apostle Paul warns us here that the last days, that is, the church age in which we live and which will terminate with the return of Christ, is not going to be an easy time for Christ’s true people to live in. There will come times of difficulty. But the difficulties Paul had in mind are not things like economic downturns, pandemics, car crashes, or broken water lines. No.