A Life Defined by Love

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: I Corinthians 16:13-14


I.         The story of Ruth is a popular love story from the Bible

            A.        It isn’t how most people see as a typical love story.

                        1.         She doesn’t go out searching for love but she eventually finds it anyway

            B.        Rather, we see the story of a woman whose life is defined by love

                        1.         Everything she does is a result of her love for others

            C.        Love is an important concept for us to understand - I Corinthians 13:1-3

                        1.         It is what defines Christianity - John 13:34-35

                        2.         It is required by our religion - I John 4:21

II.        Ruth’s example

            A.        Devotion

                        1.         When we are introduced to Ruth, we are told simply that she is the wife of one of Naomi’s sons - Ruth 1:4

                                    a.         It is not until the end of the story that we learn which one - Ruth 4:10

                        2.         Misfortune strikes the family

                                    a.         Naomi loses her husband - Ruth 1:3

                                    b.         And then her two sons - Ruth 1:5

                        3.         Naomi decides to return to her homeland - Ruth 1:6

                        4.         She expected to leave her daughter-in-laws, but Ruth refused - Ruth 1:15-17

                        5.         The Greek word for love is agape and it refers to a devoted love that is given even if it is not returned

                        6.         Ruth is an example of a love that

                                    a.         Does not seek its own way - I Corinthians 13:5

                                    b.         Does not fail - I Corinthians 13:8

                                    c.         She does not leave Naomi because her husband died.

                                    d.         She doesn’t abandon her because she moves to another country

                                    e.         Naomi seeks to dissuade her, but Ruth persists

            B.        Diligence

                        1.         Because of Ruth’s love for Naomi, she goes to work to provide for herself and Naomi - Ruth 2:2

                        2.         She wasn’t slack about it - Ruth 2:5-7

                        3.         We also are to show this type of love - Galatians 6:9-10

            C.        Sacrifice

                        1.         Ruth gave up her family and country to move to a foreign land - Ruth 2:11

                        2.         When she was offered food, she only ate until she was satisfied and then brought the rest to her mother-in-law - Ruth 2:14,18

                        3.         This is what is demanded of us as well - Philippians 2:3-4

                        4.         We help our brethren - I John 3:17-18

            D.        Humility

                        1.         She asked permission to glean - Ruth 2:2,7

                        2.         The request was an admission of being poor - Leviticus 19:9-10

                        3.         Normally it is the man who proposes to the woman, but Ruth requested that Boaz take her in as a concubine - Ruth 3:7-9

                        4.         Humility is what God wants of His people - Colossians 3:12

                        5.         Humility and fearing God are rewarded - Proverbs 22:4

            E.        Rewarded

                        1.         Ruth wasn’t doing these things to be honored. She genuinely loved Naomi and sought to care for her

                        2.         It was her love that Boaz noticed - Ruth 2:11; 3:10

                        3.         And eventually she became his wife (not concubine) - Ruth 4:13

                        4.         We too should work to glorify God and not ourselves - Matthew 5:16

III.       Jacob illustrates a similar love

            A.        He showed devotion and diligence by working seven years to marry Rachel - Genesis 29:20

            B.        When Laban tricks him into marrying her sister, he agrees to work another seven years to marry the woman he loved - Genesis 29:27-29

            C.        Jacob was basically a servant in Laban’s household, but he was willing to do so for Rachel - Genesis 30:25-26

            D.        He was ill-treated - Genesis 31:2, 5-7

            E.        But in the end he was rewarded - Genesis 31:9, 14-16

IV.      All that we do should be from love - I Corinthians 16:14

            A.        God loved us - I John 4:19

            B.        So we ought to love each other - I John 4:11

            C.        Love ought to define the type of life we live

Based on an article by Stephen Harper

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