Summary: One personal encounter with the Living God is better than all the revival stories ever told.
Back in the seventies there was a movie that maybe you remember. It was a big hit because at the time there were reports from all around the world concerning UFO sightings. It was a phenomenon that continues today though we don’t hear as much about it. The movie was “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. In the movie it spoke of the different kinds of encounters one can have with UFO’s. A close encounter of the first kind is coming within close proximity to a UFO, within 500 feet. The second kind is when a UFO leaves markings on the ground, causes burns to humans, scares animals, interferes with car engines or TV/radio waves. The third kind is sighting of occupants in a UFO. Hence the title of the movie. But it goes beyond that. Encounters of the forth kind are those in which people are abducted. And the fifth kind is personal communication with an alien. For people who believe in these things the best encounter is a personal experience with an alien.
As Christians we too have levels of encounter with God that range from casual to intense personal worship and communication with the maker of the universe. But unlike the encounters with aliens, which apparently are at their discretion, your encounter is yours to be had any time you want.
One of the ways that we as believers can encounter God is through worship. Our worship of God literally “ascribes worth” to the only one who is worthy of our praise and worship. Let’s look today at a story of one who had a close encounter of the best kind.
I. FOCUSSED ON YOUR PROBLEM.
Verse 26, “she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” She had suffered a great deal. Year after year - from bad to worse. For twelve years. Don’t know if she suffered because of the condition or because of the doctors. Spent all her time and money relying on self. Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Amplified Bible, Proverbs 3:5, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight your paths.” She had been attacking the problem from a human perspective. Now it looks as though she will just have to live with it. When she had used up all her resources she wasn’t better but worse. There are some similarities between the woman’s problem and some Christians who find it difficult to really enter into God’s presence. People struggle to feel God’s presence in a church service. They do everything in their power to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples to go and wait and the promise of the Father will be given to you. And He has been given. It is ours to receive. Many people will jump from church to church to find that exhilarating emotional experience. They spend all their time and effort just wanting to feel good. And when their time is spent, they walk away no better than they were before, and even worse. Matt 13:18-23 Jesus’ parable of the sower explained mentions people who do not have a complete experience with God. One hears the message and doesn’t understand it and the evil one comes and snatches it away. Tries to experience God with just his mind. One receives it with joy, (emotional response) but it has no root. He lasts for only a short time and when trouble comes he bails out. One receives and doubts and lets the worries of life and the lies about wealth choke it out. He remains unfruitful. When they have done everything they know how to do they are responding from a human perspective. Look what happens when one receives with his whole being and not just part. “But the one who receives the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”