Summary: A face to face meeting with God is not only once-in-a- lifetime experience, but is to be part of our daily life. Key parts of a meeting with God include welcome, worship, pouring out your heart, and listening to Gd.
In the 70’s and early 80’s there was an obsession with UFO’s and making connections with alien life forms. One of the key films that was at the heart of this craze was Close Encounters of a 3rd Kind. There is a desperate search in mankind to find life outside of earth. That’s one of the main aims of our space program – to find life. Just this week there was a news report of a star which has nine planets around it giving scientists hope of finding life.
We can search and search and we will find life and that life is the Lord God Almighty who fills all and is in all. You don’t have to travel to the far ends of the universe to find him – you merely have to open your eyes, open your heart, open the Bible and you will meet the ONE who exists on the far reaches of the universe and also exists right here. The very word “Encounter” means ‘to come upon face to face.’ He is wanting to meet with you – to have an encounter with YOU not just once but every day. What is that encounter normally called? Prayer!
This morning we turn to Abraham, the man of faith. He was given great promises by God that he would be the father of a great nation, a great land, and a blessing to all the nations. None of those promises had come true at that time but God had repeatedly promised that Abraham would have a child with Sarah.
And now, some time later, God makes a surprise visit to Abraham and Sarah at their tent home. He comes in the form of a man along with two angels by his side who also appear as men. Please read with me Genesis 18:1-5…
1. Welcome Him (1-5)
The first crucial part of an encounter with God is welcoming Him just like Abraham did. Somehow Abraham realized this was no ordinary visitor – he discerned it was the Lord himself. How he knew that is not certain. But his first reaction was bowing down and inviting for a meal. It’s a typical reaction in the middle east to this day – hospitality is expected for a visitor. And what a great visitor this is!
Does prayer matter? Absolutely! Does it change things? Certainly! It’s the key to life and death. Our spirit connects with God. And prayer begins with welcoming God into your home just as Abraham did. Without a welcome, you might as well put up a “keep out!” sign.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” Rev. 3:20. Is the Lord Christ welcome in your home? Is he welcome in your most private of places. I remember when Peter was going around trying to sell popcorn for boy scouts. He went door to door in our neighborhood and at many of the houses, he was simply ignored. They were inside watching TV. You could hear people talking and they ignored the doorbell.
Prayer has no meaning for our lives if we don’t first welcome the Lord. He can come with his blessings of forgiveness, of spiritual fruit, of guidance and protection. But if we simply don’t answer the door, how will he do anything?
Not too many weeks ago, our worship team led us in a new song and the lyrics go like this:
This is Your house, Your home
We welcome You, Lord, we welcome You
This is Your house, Your home
We welcome You today
As we offer up our hearts and lives
Let them be a living sacrifice
Have Your way!
Be glorified in everything we do
Be glorified in everything we say
Have Your way!
Do you honestly welcome the Lord into your house? Into your life to change what he wants to change? If not, we might as well just quit right now and go home because worship and prayer is useless. Welcome Him! He wants in to your heart – into your personal life and what you do the rest of the day outside of this worship service.
2. Serve Him (6-8)
Then after welcoming Him, the next crucial part of an encounter with God is serving Him.
Notice what Abraham does next as we read verses 6-8… Abraham very quickly mobilizes his wife to bake some cake or bread. He slaughters a calf and roasts it. He serves them milk and cheese. (was this the first version of fast food?)
In Hebrew we find the common word “ebed.” It means to serve but also to worship and to obey. Serving the Lord means to agree to his rules. Serving the Lord means to be under his authority. But serving also means to worship his name, to honor him and bless him.