We’ve been looking at God encounters: Abe, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They pointed to the Messiah (Christ). We turn now to encounters in the NT; encounters with Christ. Outside of the shepherds, this is the first one.
Read Luke 2:21-38.
Verse 21 was eight days after the birth. The rest of the passage was 40 days after the birth. We’re not going to focus on the details. We are going to focus on some of the anatomy of a God encounter. There are six things we learn from this passage.
* Be in LINE with God
This is the base of a God encounter. To be out of line is throw everything else out of order. The foundation for a God encounter is be right with God.
- Simeon was RIGHTEOUS
Righteousness is outward morality. He was outwardly demonstrating his love for God.
- Simeon was DEVOUT
Being devout is inward morality. He was a man of integrity in that he was the same person inside that he was outside.
* Remember to PRAY
Prayer is communication with God. It’s hard to stay in touch with people when you don’t communicate with them. I have lost touch with all my high school friends. No letters, e-mail, phone calls, etc.
- Simeon had PRAYED for the consolation of Israel
The fact that he was waiting indicates that he was praying. He was in tune with God.
- Anna PRAYED day and night
Anna was a prayer warrior as well. We’re lucky if we spend a few minutes in prayer. She prayed constantly. 1 Thess. 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”
* Remember to WORSHIP
Worship is bringing pleasure to God. Worship is a lifestyle. Are we bringing pleasure to God through our life?
- Simeon “BLESSED God”
Worship is also a blessing to God. Part of blessing God is thanking him for his blessing on us. We often pray for rain, but do we stop and thank God when it rains?
- Anna WORSHIPPED day and night
Again, this indicates a lifestyle. There is no down time or vacation time from worshipping. Worship isn’t confined to an hour or so on Sunday morning. We are to worship God at work, at the game, at the beach, at the store.
* Remember to be in God’s HOUSE
Worship is private and public. We are to worship God everywhere in everything we do. We must also take the time to worship with others. That is why church is important. The writer to the Hebrews said (10:25, NIV), “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Are we in the habit of not coming to church?
- Where was Simeon when this happened?
The answer should be obvious. Verse 27 says, “And [Simeon] came in the Spirit into the temple,” that is church.
- Where was Anna when this happened?
Verse 37 says, “She did not depart from the temple.” She was in church.
Is that to say you can’t take a vacation? No. But you shouldn’t take a vacation from the body of believers. Do you attend church on vacation? Do you fellowship with a body of believers somewhere? When you don’t attend church, you are telling others around that church isn’t really all that important. Church is where both Simeon and Anna had their encounter with the Christ. When we neglect church, we neglect the opportunity to encounter the living Christ.