Albert Gunter: sermon. Sample containing about 3574 words speech recorded in public context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C803

PS1RL X m (albert gunter, age unknown, minister) unspecified
KNBPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
KNBPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 084102 recorded on 1989-06-25. LocationEssex: Harlow ( hall ) Activity: sermon Belief & Thought

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [1] It was harvest time in Bethlehem ... and Naomi was returning home.
[2] And Ruth, her daughter-in-law was coming with her.
[3] She had made that ... declaration and that commitment that she would go with her mother-in-law wherever she went ... that her God, Naomi's God would be Ruth's God, and that Naomi's people, would be Ruth's people.
[4] And so they come back to the land of Moab ... and make their way to Bethlehem.
[5] Now, I can imagine that when they started off the journey Ruth,a was full of excitement and wonder what was gonna happen, what were these people who lived in Bethlehem like?
[6] Were they all like ... Ruth?
[7] Er, er like Naomi?
[8] Were they all like her husband who had recently died?
[9] What were they like?
[10] Naomi would have been returning again, I'm sure, to start off with a sense of excitement, she was going back home!
[11] Been a long time since she had heard her language spoken freely.
[12] Been a long time since she had worshipped with God's people.
[13] And yet, I'm quite sure that as they got nearer and nearer to Bethlehem ... their feelings would have changed a little bit.
[14] The sense of excitement that Ruth would have had might have ... changed a wee bit to ... to almost a little bit of fear.
[15] Will they receive me?
[16] I'm a stranger, I'm a foreigner!
[17] How will they welcome me?
[18] And I'm sure the same sort of thinking would have going through ... Naomi's mind.
[19] Will they remember me?
[20] What will they say to me when I come back home?
[21] Will they give me the cold shoulder?
[22] Will they ostracize me?
[23] What will it be like?
[24] I left ... when there was a time of barrenness ... and I went into another country ... and now there's a time of plenty and I'm going back home ... what are they going to say to me?
[25] How are they gonna treat me?
[26] And it was, had been a long weary road for these two women as they ... travelled back to Bethlehem, with their own thoughts and their fears.
[27] What would their reception be like?
[28] Naomi, she was arriving back penniless ... she had a foreign daughter-in-law, that in itself was proof enough that she had strayed from God's will.
[29] The fact she was taking back a Moabitess as her, as a relation, as her daughter-in-law was a, would be a constant reminder, I disobeyed God!
[30] I fell from what God, from God's standard, I failed God!
[31] What would they say?
[32] Now, Ruth knew as well that the, the Israelites hated the Moabites.
[33] How would they receive her?
[34] Would she be able to work?
[35] Would she be treated as an outcast.
[36] As I say, it was the time of harvest wi , the time of barley harvest when they arrived at Bethlehem.
[37] There as they come and look over the cities, small city, and they see the fields there around the city with the grain waving in the breeze ready and ripe just waiting to be harvested.
[38] It must have looked a beautiful sight!
[39] They would hear the happy chatter of the people in the harvest field, because although it was hard work, it was happy work.
[40] Harvest is always a good time.
[41] All the year's work, the sowing, the preparing, the hard work, it's now been worthwhile ...
Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RL) [42] because there's a harvest to reap, there's plenty now.
[43] And so, there'd be the happy chatter of people as they were working, knowing there was gonna be enough and to spare.
[44] They would get through the winter without any problem.
[45] They wouldn't have to pull in their belts, they wouldn't have to eke it out and ration themselves because there wasn't enough, it was an abundant harvest!
[46] God had been good to them!
[47] He had seen them through the lean years, and here now was a good harvest.
[48] And seeing these two women ... coming down through the path towards the city ... the people of Bethlehem,yo you'll read it there in the opening of chapter two in the book of Ruth, the people of Bethlehem, they left their fields and came running to greet them!
[49] They gave a to , a beautiful greeting.
[50] In the,th the end of chapter nineteen ... it says all the city was stirred up because of them.
[51] And the women said ... is this Naomi?
[52] And she said do not call me Naomi!
[53] Cos you know,th th it was mentioned the other week, that word, that name, it means pleasantness.
[54] She said, call me Mara, for the Lord, the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
[55] She got it all wrong again!
[56] The Lord hadn't dealt bitterly with her, she had gone out of God's will, she had taken herself out of the covering of God's protection and blessing.
[57] The Lord hadn't dealt bitterly with her.
[58] In fact, he was being very gracious to her, in allowing her to return and to come back, he had drawn her back.
[59] And you know, for you and I, so often, imagine, think back to the time when you did not know Jesus Christ ... how easy it was to blame God for this and for that, if there's a God of love in heaven why doesn't he do something about it?
[60] Why doesn't he do this?
[61] Why does he allow this to happen?
[62] It's so easy to blame God isn't it?
[63] And we did our share of it, I'm quite sure.
[64] And all the time God was reaching out to us in love, drawing us to himself, yet we didn't realize it.
[65] But anything goes wrong and it's God's fault!
[66] If it goes right, well that's just great isn't it!
[67] Tha that's wonderful!
[68] You know, God doesn't get any credit for it, doesn't get any thanks for it, but anything adverse happen and God, why did you allow this to happen?
[69] But you know, the tragedy is that this doesn't just happen when we're non Christian, it ha can happen when we're Christians as well.
[70] But oh, it's it's, it can never ever be God's fault ... because he always, always deals with us in love.
[71] We don't always like what he does to us ... but it mus , we must never, ever it to make us bitter.
[72] And Naomi makes the mistake, do not call me ... pleasant, call me bitter ... for the almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
[73] I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.
[74] You see, the great thing is, not that she came back empty, but the great thing is she came back!
[75] That was what God was wanting to do, to bring her back.
[76] And even if it meant bringing her back empty, he was still bringing her back. ...
Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RL) [77] And the people receive her, they welcome her.
[78] Now, the Israelites had been taught to welcome strangers and to look after them ... and Ruth's fears must have been allayed as they receive her, there's no cross examination, there's no inquisition, she doesn't go through any third degree, she is received back at face value.
[79] They've come back ... and now they could begin to experience the blessings that God had planned for them.
[80] While we're out of God's will we cannot expect to experience God's blessing.
[81] He would not be true to himself ... if he showered us with blessings ... while we're outside of his will.
[82] But once we come back to that place, and wherever we go from him we have got to come back to where we started, where we left the road.
[83] When we come back to there ... then and only then can we expect, er to experience God's blessing for us.
[84] And as they come, as Naomi comes back to the place where she went astray ... so God starts to bless, so much so that she doesn't know whether she's standing or sitting!
[85] She is overwhelmed by God's blessing!
[86] That's the great you know, God doesn't keep an account of our failings.
[87] He doesn't mark them and say right, boy ... you went astray then ... you're gonna pay for that!
[88] You're gonna go through it until I think ... it's time to, to start blessing!
[89] God doesn't deal with us like that.
[90] If the Lord would mark inequity, who of us stand.
[91] But the moment there's that response in our heart towards him, there he is with arms open wide to receive us and to shower us with his blessing.
[92] Now I'm not quite sure whether it's because we've known, like Naomi, we've we know periods of barrenness and leanness that his blessing seems so much more, I don't know if that's what it is, or whether it is just because his blessings are so bountiful, but she is overwhelmed by God's goodness and by God's blessing to her ... they could now experience God's blessing.
[93] But the tragedy is ... she could have known those blessings all through those years, if she had never left ... if she had never gone down to Moab.
[94] The extent of those blessings then, that God pours on her, there were far greater than anything that she could have imagined!
[95] You know, you and I today are still reaping, are reaping now the result, the benefits of the blessings that God poured upon Naomi.
[96] Because, out of her daughter-in-law and so on down the line, comes David, and then comes Jesus Christ.
[97] All God's ways are beyond our ways.
[98] And whilst it was never, it could never have been God's will for Naomi to backslide with Elimelech her husband, and to go into Moab out of the mess that they make of their life, out of the mistakes that they, they perpetrate again and again, God somehow in his graciousness, in his mercy brings goodness from it!
[99] His ways are so far beyond our ways.
[100] Only we'll let him have his way.
[101] And so we see the way of blessing.
[102] Ruth and Naomi, they'd lost all their possessions ... and the most prominent member of the family was a man called Boaz ...
Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RL) [103] by skill and carefulness he had increased the family wealth and fortune and now he was a mighty man of wealth!
[104] And before Ruth and Naomi could know anything of God's provision, there was two steps they had to take.
[105] And you know, it doesn't change, God still re makes a requirement of us.
[106] The first thing they had to do, and oh this is a difficult one!
[107] They had to humble themselves.
[108] It would not be easy to acknowledge themselves as the poor relation.
[109] They were the ones in the family now who had nothing.
[110] She said, I went out full ... th , presumably she and Elimelech had a nice little nest egg, they had a comfortable bank balance, they had plenty, we went out full but now she comes back empty.
[111] Certainly, they would not go and beg from wealthy relatives!
[112] But there was a way provided for them in God's word.
[113] So you see ee ... God doesn't leave things for chance, he doesn't leave people on the scrap heap ... he reaches out to them all the time.
[114] And so, er, when th the reapers were gathering in the harvest they were not allowed to go right to the edge of the field, they had to leave a border, they were not to go right into the corners, they were to leave those areas, so that the poorer members, so that those who did not have could come and could gather what was left behind.
[115] ... To go out and glean then, would be an acknowledgement for everybody to see that they had nothing.
[116] They had no land of their own, they had nothing to harvest of their own, they could only go and harvest, and glean what the harvesters left behind.
[117] Now, such a humbling would not be easy for Ruth and Naomi ... but it was the only way for them.
[118] And they were willing to humble themself .
[119] You know, the first step in getting God's blessing is to humble ourselves.
[120] If we humble ourselves then he exults, and we exult ourself , he then has to humble us, and to be humbled by God is a fearful thing!
[121] The bible never tells us to pray to God to humble us ... that's a dangerous prayer!
[122] But it says humble yourself under the hand, under the mighty hand of God, then in that day he will lift you up, he will exult you!
[123] And so to get God's blessing there's gotta be a, we've gotta humble ourself.
[124] And then the second thing was, they had to be willing to work.
[125] Gleaning was hard work.
[126] Now, harvesting is not easy, that's a back breaking job!
[127] But when you've got a full field to harvest at least you're getting something ... but when you're just going around the edges and picking the bits that are left behind that is a hard job ... you're spending as long but you're not getting as much.
[128] They had to work hard.
[129] It was tedious!
[130] It was boring!
[131] It meant starting early in the morning and continuing till late in the evening.
[132] But Ruth goes out and she diligently applies herself to it.
[133] So much so, that the foreman ... he sees it and and he commends her to, to Boaz his boss ...
Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RL) [134] as a good worker.
[135] He marvels at her diligence an and the way she continues there.
[136] And God's blessings came to Ruth only as she was willing to get out and do something.
[137] You know, as we sit back ... and just wait for God to bless us we'll wait an awful long time.
[138] He requires that we do something, that we get on, that we become involved.
[139] And as we are, as we are active, as we are active in his service and his work, then he is able to bless us.
[140] It says it's the devil who finds work for idle hands.
[141] God doesn't [laughing] give anything [] to the idle!
[142] But the devil gives them work to do.
[143] Notice also, we'll hurry along now, the source of blessing.
[144] As a gleaner, Ruth could have gone to any part of the field, but she happened to come a fo , part of the field that belonged to Boaz.
[145] You know, to the christian, to the believer there is no such thing as luck, things don't just happen.
[146] As soon as Ruth acknowledged her poverty and her willingness to work God stepped in and guided her life ... in a way that would bring great blessing.
[147] She could have gone anywhere, but God directed her.
[148] She'd committed herself to God's ways, and to God's people, and God directs her, and she comes to the field of Boaz And there was none more able to meet her need.
[149] He was a mighty many of wealth.
[150] You know, if you're gonna get help from anybody, get it from a [laughing] rich person [] !
[151] They can give you more for a start.
[152] And so he wa , he was a good person to go to.
[153] He was one who was concerned for the welfare of his, of his employee.
[154] He was obviously a good boss to work for.
[155] He was a kindly man.
[156] He was a man who feared God.
[157] And perhaps, I won't say most important, but very, very importantly, he was a near relative of Elimelech, Ruth's father-in-law ... and that would play a big part in redeeming the property.
[158] We're not gonna go into that today, don't worry!
[159] But it was a vital thing!
[160] Of all the people ... of all the land owners there, of all those who had fields, or bits of a field to harvest, God directs Ruth to Boaz ... and you can see the abundance of the blessing there.
[161] Seeing this stranger among the gleaners Boaz asks his foreman about Ruth, and she is as we've mentioned, she, he talks about her diligence, about her respectful ways, about her, her consideration for other ... and Boaz offers to her, three things, he offers to her guidance ... he says, don't go anywhere else, you stay here.
[162] He offers protection, he says nobody's gonna molest you, he says I'll look after you.
[163] Nobody'll hurt you, nobody'll harm you.
[164] He offers her provision, far more than she ever expected.
[165] He offered an as yo as you read it there in the opening of chapter two, he offered her drink, at meal times she was to eat the food provided for Boaz servants ... he gave to her the extra portion of parched corn ... and also he provided extra gleaning for her.
[166] And we see a beautiful picture here of God's provision for us, as we come into his family.
[167] As our heavenly Boaz, as the Lord Jesus Christ, as we come under his control.
[168] He offers guidance, he says, don't go to any other field, where else can you go?
[169] He said to his disciples ...
Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RL) [170] when some started leaving, he says, will you go away?
[171] And they said, who can we go?
[172] You've got the words of eternal life, there's nowhere else to go.
[173] He offers protection, no one will molest you.
[174] He says, I will never leave or forsake you.
[175] There is power in heaven, in earth, or hell that can touch you when you're under my protection, when you're in my care!
[176] He said, none shall pluck you from my hand!
[177] And he offers provision ... far more than we can ever expect.
[178] Provision, materials, spiritual provision.
[179] Able to satisfy us and meet our need, day after day, year after year, as the decades even, and go, we still er find sufficient and ample provision at his table.
[180] David says, doesn't he, there in that beautiful twenty third psalm!
[181] He said, you anoint my head with all, my cup runs over!
[182] I've, and he, again he, the the psalm says, I come into your banqueting house, and er er,So Solomon rather, and your, and your banner over me as well, there is sufficient provision for every one of us!
[183] And so what happens?
[184] Ruth comes home with thanksgiving.
[185] She hasn't been one of the harvesters, she's been but a gleaner, but God has provided for her.
[186] And that night Ruth arrives home to tell Naomi of all the wonderful things that has happened to her ... and she hands over the result of her day's labour.
[187] Farm more than Naomi could ever have expected.
[188] And you know, as we come and submit ourselves to God, and as we look back, whether it's back on a day, on a week, on a month, on year, on a lifetime, he has given to us far, far more than we could ever have asked or expected from him! [...] , as the apostle said, he is able to do abundantly above all that we can ask or think!
[189] And this is it, this was Ruth's experience, and it can be yours and mine, as we allow him to lead us and to direct us ... as we come, become part of his harvest.
[190] ... Can I just change the picture in closing ... thinking of harvest ... is not just the harvest that we reap for ourselves, the benefits that we get, but Jesus said also, he said, you look on the fields, they're white all ready to harvest.
[191] The only thing was they weren't white to harvest, they weren't even ready, the crop had not fully grown, and yet Jesus says it's white, all ready to harvest, what is he speaking of?
[192] He's speaking of this time now and this age when ... it is now harvest time.
[193] And you don't have to wait, we can't wait ... until the end, he said but now is the harvest time, get on with the job now!
[194] And he says, pray the father, the father, pray the husband man that he will send labourers into his harvest field.
[195] See the harvest field, you and I get the benefit from, but Jesus said you pray for labourers to go into the harvest field.
[196] If praying to God to humble ourselves is dangerous, praying the father to send labourers into the harvest field is equally dangerous.
[197] Because when you pray that he doesn't send the person beside you, he doesn't send the other person ... he says, right boy ... up and at it!
[198] [laugh] ... He says it to you and he says it to me.
[199] You start answering your own prayer.
[200] You want labourers, you pray for labourers, well you're the first one! [laugh] ...
Unknown speaker (KNBPSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RL) [201] And he calls each one of us to be labourers together with him ... in his great harvest field.
[202] We're gonna sing a song now in in closing that puts this challenge to us, it's number one sixty one in the, Songs of Fellowship, it reminds us that ... we're the ones, not the other person ... not the young person that shows so much promise that we think, not somebody else who is so much more gifted than we are, but here, it says, here I am available.
[203] [piano introduction] I'm the one that can answer that prayer.
[204] You are the one that can answer that prayer.
[205] One sixty one then, let's sing it through.
[206] Not just as a, not just a song that we're singing at the end of a sermon but as a prayer, yes, here I am Lord!
[207] For this harvest time.
[208] Thanking you for the great benefits of your goodness to me ... tokened in these natural provisions here.
[209] But Lord, as I see your harvest field I wanna be part of it.
[210] I wanna be involved in it. [clears throat]