Surprising Means and Imperfect People

Mark Dever is preaching through the book of Ruth for his church, Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, D.C. Here’s a few lines:

“Do you see all the blessings God wrought through that small reflection of His character? Untold blessings because Ruth was kind, in initiating that kind of care for someone else (Naomi).”

“Friend, if you are here today and you’re not a Christian, just realize there are things that you need that you are not yet aware of.”

Then, here is the kicker for me on God’s use of surprising means and imperfect people:

“In this book, an alien, childless widow is the crucial person to bring blessing to Naomi and eventually to the nation, and in, God’s plan, ultimately to the whole world. Do you see how God delights to act through surprising means? That brings God more glory! It makes it clear that something more than, something other than, human power is at work, and that’s what we see in this book of Ruth. Thank God for all the ways He does that.

Thank God for how He does that in this church. Do you realize how important you members are who are not ideal people? You are especially valuable to us as a congregation, you non-ideal members. I think at last count we had 536 of them. [536 is their entire membership.] You see, when we are full of what appear to be only ideal people, God gets no glory. We look like the civic society. We look like some secular, successful meeting on Capitol Hill. It is exactly in our pain, in our brokenness, around our sins, and where our needs are displayed, that we have, then, platforms for God to glorify Himself through His provision for our need.

So, if you want, you can hide your need, so you won’t feel personally ashamed, and so that you will not have to have difficult conversations with other people, but then, of course, you do diminish the glory of God. Or you can be open and honest about, ‘yes, I know, I do appear perfect, but in fact I do struggle with this and this and this.’ And you realize that what will happen is that God will be glorified as people see you continuing to live and live in this direction and live in joy, even as you’re trusting Him and as He is fulfilling you in Him despite this painful relationship or that problem at work or this thing you don’t understand spiritually or this physical ailment. “

I appreciate Mark’s ability to make clear, Biblical distinctions, applications, and clarifications when preaching through books of the Bible. We all would do well to listen to the Lord’s words like this.

(Originally posted at old site 9/5/2006.)

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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