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Dec 03, 2018

With in our Without

With in our Without

Passage: Ruth 1:1-18

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: 2018 Advent: "Strong Female Lead—Led by God: An Advent Series in the Book of Ruth"

Category: Advent

The Book of Ruth both connects us to the storyline of Jesus (they’re related!) but also to the beauty and blessing of Jesus--in particular His appearing in the flesh, His Incarnation. The struggle found in the story is in fact the struggle of all our stories. Let’s see how the way God works in that struggle explains why hearing this story makes perfect sense during Advent--the season when we practice waiting in earnest for His arrival.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Psalm 146:9a
Call To Worship: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Luke 1:26-33
Sermon Title: With in our Without
Central Text: Ruth 1:1-18
Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Post-Service Text: Ruth 1:16


Calvary - Lost Faith

Readings & Scripture

Call To Worship: (Advent readings…)
Reader #1 - “Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The word ‘advent’ means to look forward, expectantly, for the arrival of something or someone of great importance. And there is none more important and more special than Jesus the son of God, who became flesh and lived among us - and who will, one day, come again. So during this Advent season - a season of waiting - let us listen to the prophets as they announce the coming of the King. And let’s also hear Luke’s telling of the birth of Jesus, as we remember what God has done by sending his Son Jesus into the world so many years ago, but also as we look ahead to what God will do in the future, when Jesus returns in glory.

Each Sunday we will light a candle to remind us of Jesus, the light of the world. This first candle is called the Hope Candle. And it specifically invites us to a hopeful anticipation of the Coming King.”

Reader #2 - Our Old Testament reading is from the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 33, verses 14-16. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’)

Reader #3 - Our New Testament reading is from Luke chapter 1, verses 26-33.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Prayer - “Let’s pray together. --- Lord God. Thank you that you are perfectly faithful. You have promised to come and rescue your people by sending your own Son to be one of us, live among us and die for us. The world waited in anticipation for thousands of years, and you showed yourself faithful. While we look back in faith to the very same Jesus that they were looking forward to, cultivate without our hearts a deep longing for you to come again. As we enter this season, please let John the Baptist’s words ring true in our lives when he said: “‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Central Text: Ruth 1:1-18
In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5 and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Ruth 1:6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

Ruth 1:15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 3:16
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Post-Service Text: Ruth 1:16
16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Discussion Questions & Applications:


  1. Advent is the one season in the Christian calendar that corresponds, not to something that’s already happened (like Christmas or Resurrection Sunday), but to something that will in time happen--namely the arrival of Jesus for a 2nd time. So Advent teaches us to wait upon the Lord. What might it mean to wait in earnest upon the Lord?
  2. Why do people often go into debt during the Christmas shopping season? What’s being promised that leads people to spend more than they have?
    1. The Book of Ruth is one family’s story of trying to find fullness and rest amid their experience of emptiness and weariness. What are ways we typically seek fullness and rest that in the end prove futile?
  3. What from the Old Testament do you know of Moab, and why would both this family’s journey to there, and the marriage of its sons to women from there make the story ironic?
  4. What all has left Naomi empty and full of sorrow?How does Naomi interpret her sorrows? Why might she interpret it that way? How might most people today interpret a similar tragedy in their own lives?
  5. What is remarkable about Ruth’s choice on Naomi’s behalf? Name the several reasons. What lesson might there be for the Israelites who first heard this account?
  6. How might Ruth remind us most of Jesus in this first chapter? How is Jesus an even greater example of what she embodies?
  7. How is Ruth’s consolation to Naomi a picture of how Jesus is a consolation for us?


  • The celebration of Advent is possible only to those troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • . . .the best solution involves loss as well as gain. - W.H. Auden
  • I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened with men . . . . - Ivan in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov


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