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The Jesus Genome Project

Notes & Transcripts

Sermon on Ruth 4:13-22

Title:  Jesus Genome Project

Theme:  God completes the restoration of the bitter through the gift of the redeemer child.

Goal:  to encourage those dealing with bitterness of the restoration through the redeemer

Need:  Bitterness often consumes us leading us to not even consider that God might be planning restoration.

Outline:

1.     The Genome Project

2.     The Scripture Passage

3.     The Child Redeemer from Bethlehem

4.     The Genealogy of David

5.     Story is a reminder of who God really is.

6.     Its a reminder that we have been grafted into the line of the redeemer.

7.     Its a reminder to deal with the bitterness we feel by remembering the nature of God.

8.     Its a reminder to deal with the bitterness we feel by accepting the change of Christ.

a.     Naomi could only expience emotional blessing and physical blessing.

b.     We are given a change right down to our very make up.

One of the greatest new discoveries of our time is the Human Genome Project.  We know that much of who we are is based on genetics, genes that are passed down from our parents and grandparents and way back.  One of the amazing developments in the last 30 years is the way we understand our personal make up.  Now we know that our cells and what they do is determined by little microscopic strands of DNA and that DNA is made up of genes.  In only the last 10 years they have mapped out the entire human genome.  Now they are beginning to be able to tell you different things like the probability that you will contract certain diseases.  If you have a genetic mutation inherited from both your mom’s genes and your dad’s genes you can know that you have a good chance of developing that disease at some point in your life. 

          But this is so new.  But the importance of genes has been something that’s been around for ages.  But before it became a big deal for scientists whole groups of people depended on genealogy.

           Prince William is getting married.  And the only reason anyone cares is because of his genes.  He happens to be part of the British royal bloodline.

          To the Jewish people your genes are very important.  The most important aspect to the Jewish faith in Bible times was that your family line came from the right place.  In order to be a true Jew, you had to trace your heritage back to Abraham.  So the genome project to the Jews was what you find throughout the Bible. Those lists that seem so meaningless to us.  The Genealogies.  But the progression of these lines showed to the people the ongoing faithfulness of God.  He didn`t go back on his promise to Abraham.  Abraham`s children would become a great nation.  And God would bless the earth through them.

          The continuation of the genes.  Actually, its not about the genes at all.  Its about God and the continuation of his promise.

          What we hear in the last part of the book of Ruth is the final scene in the redemption of Namoi.  It’s the last step in the way God brings Naomi back from the bitterness of her life and restores sweetness again.  It reminds us again that the nature of God is one to transform bitterness to sweetness.  Death to life.  Despair to hope beyond compare.

          Look with me at the passage that wraps up this act of God`s unconditional love and kindness.  Boaz promised to marry Ruth and fulfill the duties of the kinsman redeemer of continuing on the family name of Naomi and her late husband Elimelech.  The closer relative turns down that responsibility.  So Boaz married Ruth and becomes the redeemer for her and her mother-in-law Naomi. 

Ruth 4:13-22

          In the quiet little town of Bethlehem, a tiny little baby cries.  The unlikely mother looks down at her child and can only think of the love that God has shown to her.  This tender little child crying in his cradle in Bethlehem is a redeemer.  The babies name is... no, I’m not talking about Jesus.  I was talking about Ruth’s baby Obed.  But I can see why you would think this is talking about Jesus.  The parallels are too stark to ignore.  The life of Naomi and Ruth had so many amazing parts that were pointing us to the greatest thing God would do.  The book of Ruth is full of Jesus.  It is packed with pictures that show us from way back God had in infinite wisdom and understanding the plan to send a redeemer and savior to cure the bitterness of sin and the despair of death.  He was going to do it through Jesus. 

          Let’s not get to far ahead of the story though.  Even before we can start thinking about the application as we start getting geared up for the Advent and Christmas season we have to think about what it meant to the people that were reading this for a thousand years before Jesus was born.

          The last part of the book shows us why the life story of Ruth and Naomi was preserved for us.  It’s probably the most mundane sounding to our ears.  Verse Ruth 4:18-22 (NIV)
18 This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, 19 Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, 20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 21 Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, 22 Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.[1]

God is doing amazing things all through time and all around the world.  The reason why this story is preserved and survived for the Jewish people is because it was part of the genome project of their most important godliest kings. King David.  In verse The genealogy at the end traces for the Jewish people of the Old Testament the amazing faithfulness of God in making sure that Israel would have this good king.  David.

          Back in verse 11 from a couple of weeks ago the blessing was given that Ruth would become famous in Bethlehem.  Well, I would say she has become famous in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem was called by the name of her great grandson.  Joseph and Mary went up from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David because he was from the house and line of David.  Famous in Bethlehem.

          Naomi is no longer bitter.  Verse 14 is the testimony of the neighbours of Namoi.  The God hope working in her life is evident all around Naomi.  14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” 16 Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

[2]As she holds the little child, she knows that God has blessed her by bringing her back from the brink of despair to hope again.  Even the women see it.  God has blessed her and brought her back from bitterness.         

What sort of despair rocked your world lately?  What is it?  Isn’t there something that has deflated you?  Is there something that has broken you down?  What is it that makes it so you can hardly hold it together when you are out in public?  Is it mental illness?  Is it abuse?  Is it growing older and saying goodbye to so many friends?  Is it just the grip of temptation or addiction?

          The assurance of this passage might not turn us into an optimist about everything in life.  But it offers us hope.  It proclaims to us the message of hope.  

          There four items that his calls us to remember.  The story of Ruth above all else reminds us that God is famous for his destruction of despair.

          Do you believe in God.  Yeah I believe in a God.  Do you believe in God?  Believe in him, I see no point in living except for the fact that he is good.  He is loving.  He has shown himself over and over and over again to not just be the God to believe in, but the God of real life.  The God that builds you back up after the great collapse.  The God that promises that after death, their is eternal life.  We can live every day knowing that we have no idea what the day will bring.  Be we can live each new day with HOPE because we know that God oozes hope.

          This then leads us to the second reminder.  Because God is the God of HOPE, we are reminded to live life with hope.  We could all use an injection of hope into our life from time to time.  What about that bad day where you find yourself sitting at the side of the road after the car accident.  Perhaps you can arrest your thoughts from how everything seems to be going wrong and remember, there is nothing to really worry about.  God’s nature is one that converts bitterness into joy.

          You can live out your hope also in the way we treat the youth of our society and our church. 

A teacher was asked one time why he bowed like a servant to his students.  He said because as they entered his classroom, he knew he was teaching generals, presidents, foremen, and the hope for the future depends on how he serves them now as their teacher.

          A newbaby.  Is there anything like sitting with that new child and realizing that we have no idea what’s in store for them, but God has shown that from the children he raises up people that will continue to make his name great in the world.  So we can have hope.

          The story of Ruth reminds us thridly that ingrained in the world is the story of redemption, the salvation from sin and bitterness.  Redeemer, savior.  From the moment sin entered into the world, God had know he was not just going to be a creator, but a redeemer.  So if we really want life to give us a nice clean cut, we go with the grain of the world.  We look to Jesus Christ as our redemption.

          You know, Naomi experienced amazing blessings from God.  But she could only experience physical blessings and emotional blessings.  As she held her new little grandchild close to her she could feel right there in her hands that God had saved her from a life with no one.  Emotionally she was set free from the feeling of bitterness and pain.  Physically this child would redeemer her as well. As she grew older and had no way to provide for herself, her grandson would grow and be the provider for her and Ruth and the family.  Physically and emotionally Naomi had a redeemer.

          But we remember through this passage that our redemption through Jesus Christ covers every aspect of our being. Most of all we have a spiritual redeption.  Through Jesus Christ he changes us to the very core.  You might be able to map our entire genome and discover every disease and personality trait and how it is determined by our family history and the genes that have been passed on to us.  But what you won’t find in that genome is that we have been spiritual grafted into a new family tree.  Our genes might determine the natural side of who we are. But the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is giving us transformation.  We are redeemed.  The sinful flesh that we have inherited can be defeated by the power of the spirit of Christ with in us. Through the story of Ruth we remember all these things.  But people, don’t just remember.  Go out there and be a redeemed people.  You have hope in a hopeless world.


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[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

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