Summary: It does not matter how strong we start out, if we finish badly.

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1. The year 1945 saw the emergence of three great evangelist: Billy Graham; Chuck Templeton, and Bron Clifford. All three of them packed auditoriums to capacity. Chuck Tempelton was called "the most gifted and talented young man in America today for preaching."

Clifford preached to an auditorium of thousands in Miami Florida. Graham, Tempeton, and Clifford were shooting stars for Christ in 1945.

And yet today who has even heard of Templeton or Clifford. What happened? They both failed to finish strong. Just five years later, Templeton left the ministry to pursue a career as a radio and television commentator and newspaper columnist. He said he no longer was a believer in Christ in the orthodox sense of the term.

Clifford? By 1945, he had lost his family, his ministry, his health, and then his life. Alchohol and financial irresponsibility had done him in.

It is not how we start thats important but how we finish.

2. Elimelech's name means "God is my king" started out good but he didnt finish that way.

3. Elimelech: the tragedy of finishing Wrong instead of Strong.

Ruth 1:1-5 (NKJV)

1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.

2 The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion--Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.

3 Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.

4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.

5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

I. First, the Days. 1:1a

The days of Judges were days when people did whatever they wanted to do.

Judges 17:6 (NKJV)

6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 18:1 (NKJV)

1 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in; for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them.

Judges 21:25 (NKJV)

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Elwood McQuaid, "In many respects events taking place in America paralle the condition of ancient Israel during the period of the judges. Moral and spiritual standards here deteriorated at an alarming rate over the past few decades...Being reared in America a generation ago meant experiencing life in which lines for conduct, ethics, and morals were clearly drawn...America's break with the past came with the change in attitudes about moral absolutes and the determination to make attitudes about moral absolutes the determination to make man, rather than God, the center of the universe.

Ultimately God was virtually banned from America's public institutions. Particularlly devasting has been the banishment of God from the classrooms of our public schools...The entertainment industry and media radicals began pummeling the public by flaunting the First Amendment in pursuing their "right" to debauch the nation in the interest of personal enrichment.."

The change hit in the 1960, William Bennett notes, "During this same 30 year period (60s-90s) there has been a 560% increase in violent crime; more than a 400% increase in illegitimate births, a quadrupling in divorce rates; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than a 200% increase in teenage suicide rate, and a drop of almost 80 points in the S.A.T scores."

"Here's the bottom line: There is no absolute truth, therefore everything is permitted. Moral relativism took off in this country in the sixties. But those students of sixties are no longer students. They are professors, members of Congress, judges, school board members, and presidents of the United States.

What they believe is that there is no absolute truth, therefore, everything is permitted. In the sixties, it was called "doing your own thing." In 30 years moral relativism has swept through our culture with blinding speed and pervasiveness. It's everywhere.Newspapers, magazines, on TV, on CD's, Cassettes, and taught in the majority of our public schools.

Our kids are growing up in a culture where someone will say, "Well, that may be wrong for you, but that doesnt mean it's wrong for me." That is moral relativism. We have now completely lost our moral compass in this country. In modern America, bad is good and good is bad." [Steve Farrar]

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