Summary: There is a huge difference between an encounter and a Close Encounter. In this 4 part series, learn the ingredients that are necessary to have a Close Encounter with God. You will be challenged by this series.
Pt. 2 - The Terms
Review – I want to spend just a moment in review so you will remember what we discussed last Sunday since it is the foundation of where we are going this morning. I remind you of the Passion Process – our mandate is simply to Encounter, Equip, and Engage. We will do nothing more and nothing less.
So last Sunday we began dealing with the idea that our goal, purpose, and one desire is that we each have a Close Encounter with God. A simple encounter will not do because there is a huge difference between an encounter and a close encounter. We want to push into and hold on for a close encounter where everything changes. We don’t want you to be able to attend a service and leave feeling like you just left a business seminar or a self-help session. We want you to come face to face with God. You will also remember that I mentioned that we have a choice to make. We can be an Ezekiel 44 church where we do the business of God, but never come near to Him. We can do church and never really have a close encounter. Or we can refuse to settle for running errands and sweeping up and press into a 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 church, which if you will remember says this :
“11The priests then left the Holy Place. All the priests there were consecrated, regardless of rank or assignment; 12and all the Levites who were musicians were there . . . dressed in their worship robes; the choir and orchestra assembled on the east side of the Altar and were joined by 120 priests blowing trumpets. 13The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to GOD—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to GOD: Yes! God is good! His loyal love goes on forever! Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of GOD. 14The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of GOD!—that filled The Temple of God.”
I declare that is the kind of church we want to have. Where every priest experiences His glory!
So that brings us to the most important question . . . how do we have a close encounter with God? What is the process, steps, ingredients that we must combine in order to have this face-to-face daily close encounter with Him?
So this morning I want to deal with the first part of what I believe are key elements in a close encounter. . . The Terms.
I. Coming to Terms
Have you ever heard or used the phrase “Come to Terms?” Most of us have heard this phrase used in business situations where we are negotiating with another party or entity. The comment goes like this, “We met and talked and we came to terms.” The connotation is that we each bent a little, gave a little, and compromised a little, a little give and take until we reached an agreement.
I believe that the first step in moving from an encounter to a close encounter with God is that we must come to terms with Him. However, the problem is that God doesn’t negotiate. God doesn’t compromise. God doesn’t let us argue or bend a little here or there. In fact, He is very rigid when it comes to the terms or stipulations that must be met in order for us to get close to Him.
Our problem is that most of us have grown up in a Burger King Society that says we have the right and should demand to have it our way. So we carry that mentality over into our relationship with God and we try to demand that He meet us on our terms. However, I have news for you today . . . God isn’t going to agree to let you have your way! He has terms that we must come into agreement with or line up with.
God refuses to ignore or accept our unwillingness to meet on His terms and in His territory. “I’ll just give in this time cause that’s just the way so and so is” never comes out of His mouth. We have to come to God on His turf or He is not obligated to have a close encounter with us. I believe there are three terms we must meet in order to get close to God.
The very first term or condition that must be met is that we must be hungry. God is very clear in stating that those who seek Him will find Him. Those that hunger and thirst for Him will be filled. We don’t have a God problem, we have an appetite problem.