Old Testament Encounters with Christ
Part 9: Lunch with the Lord
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 18, 2012
*Jesus loves to sit down and eat with people. Luke’s Gospel shows the Lord sharing meals with people ten different times. (1)
*Luke 5:27-31, for example, tells us about a feast in the home of Matthew the tax collector, who was also called Levi:
27. After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me.''
28. And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.
29. Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.
30. But their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?''
31. And Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick.
*That’s the kind of Savior we have, a Savior who is willing to meet sinners right where they are. Jesus is willing to sit down to supper with sinners like us:
-So that He might heal us spiritually forever...
-And so that He might transform us like He transformed the corrupt tax collector, Matthew into the disciple who wrote the first book of the New Testament.
*Jesus likes to eat with people. And in tonight’s Scripture, the pre-incarnate Christ sat down to eat with Abraham.
-This is very relevant to us, because the Lord wants to break bread with you, too.
-He wants to sit down and meet with you.
*Think of the Lord’s Supper we will share Sunday morning, Jan. 29th. The Lord will be right here with us. Think of the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb we believers will share in Heaven one day. And listen to Jesus in Rev 3: 20, where He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
*The Lord wants to break bread with you. And Abraham can help us tonight, because he teaches us how to handle lunch with the Lord.
1. First: Give the Lord your hospitality. -- Give Jesus your generous hospitality.
*This is what Abraham did starting in vs. 1-4:
1. Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth (or oak) trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day.
2. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,
3. and said, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.
4. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.
*The other two men were the angels that God would send to rescue Lot from Sodom. Somehow Abraham immediately recognized that the other man was the LORD God.
*Notice how eager Abraham was to welcome the Lord:
-In vs. 2, this 99-year-old man ran to the Lord.
-Then he bowed all the way to the ground in humble worship
-In vs. 3, Abraham pleaded with the Lord to stay a while, and confessed that he was the Lord’s servant.
-In vs. 4 he wanted to make sure his guests were rested and refreshed.
*Then in vs. 5, Abraham began to offer them food: “And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” And they said, “Do as you have said.”
*Notice again in vs. 6-8 how eager Abraham was to be hospitable to the Lord:
6. So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, "Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.''
7. And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it.
8. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
*In all of these things we see that Abraham was eager to give God the best he could, as quickly as he could.
*Now God wants to break bread with you. What are you preparing for Jesus?
-Give Him your best.
-Give the Lord your hospitality.
2. And give Him your hope. -- Put all your hope in the Lord. Trust Him with all your heart.
*This is what God wants for every one of us. And this is what He wanted for Abraham and Sarah in vs. 9-12:
9. Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?'' And he said, "Here, in the tent.''
10. And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.'' And Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.
11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.
12. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?''
*Up to this point, Sarah’s faith was weak to say the least. Back in Genesis 16, Sarah gave up on the Lord’s delayed promise of a son. There, it was Sarah who came up with the train-wreck of an idea for Abram to take her servant Hagar as wife and surrogate mother.
*Now, 13 years later, she laughed in her heart with disbelief that she and her 99-year-old husband could have a baby. And this was crucial, because it didn’t just concern her own son. It concerned the promise of the coming Messiah, who would die on the cross for our sins.
*How does the Lord overcome our unbelief? -- He does two things that will help, -- IF we will listen to Him.
 First, God calls-out our unbelief. He calls us out to correct us. In vs. 13: And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’” The Lord calls-out our unbelief.
 Then He confirms both who He is and what He can do. This is what the Lord did in vs. 14, where He asked that great question: “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
*Is anything too hard for the Lord? -- No! -- Never! -- And the sooner we figure this out, the better.
The Lord wanted to give Sarah more than she could imagine. It seemed too good to be true, so she laughed in disbelief. It’s no wonder that back in Genesis 17:19, God said, “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.” That name means “God made me laugh.”
*God made Sarah laugh at first, because the promise seemed too good to be true. Then God made her laugh again, when the promise came true, as it surely would. -- And why? -- Because nothing is too hard for God!
*God wanted to give Sarah more than she could imagine. Now Jesus wants to give us more than we can sometimes imagine. Sometimes His promises may seem too good to be true.
-In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
-In Matt 21:22, Jesus said, “All things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
-And in John 14:14, Jesus said, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
*God’s promises may seem too good to be true. But you believe them anyway! God wants us to have hope, and He goes out of His way to give it to us. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
*Sam Cathey became a Southern Baptist evangelist in 1967. That first year, he had to rush back from a revival, because his daughter Nola had gone in the hospital with acute appendicitis. They thought it might be ruptured.
*Sam got on a plane in Los Angeles about 2:30 in the morning and headed home to Detroit. He was overwhelmed with doubts and fears. Sam’s seat was right behind first class, and he could see through the curtain that no one was up there. So, he asked the stewardess if he could go up there to get some rest.
*She turned him down, because it was against the rules and because they didn’t have a stewardess up there. But just as she walked away, another stewardess walked through those curtains.
*This one invited him to come up front and sit with her. She brought him a sandwich, olives, chips and a coke. Then they sat facing each other, as she began to talk.
*She went on and on about the Lord and Scripture and grace. She talked to Sam about God’s sovereignty, His love, His care and protection. Sam just listened, never even mentioning the problem with his sick daughter, Nola.
*When they passed over Chicago, she stood and said, “See all of those lights down there? -- Put your hands like so.” Sam cupped his hands. Then she held them out and said, “See, from way up here, it looks like you cover up the whole city of Chicago, doesn’t it?” -- Sam agreed.
*“Now cup them like so.” Sam did, and she said, “From up here, it looks like you’ve got the whole city of Chicago in your hands, doesn’t it?” -- Again he agreed. Then she put her hand on his shoulder and said, “Man of God, Nola will be all right.”
*Then she turned and went through the curtains into coach. Sam never saw her again. And the first stewardess thought he had been dreaming until he showed her the left-over food in first class. When Sam got off the plane, his wife was grinning from ear to ear. The hospital had just called. Nola’s fever had broken and she was perfectly well. (2)
*God wanted Sam (and us ) to see that He’s got the whole world in His Hands.
*“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” -- We should never give up on the promises of God, even when they seem too good to be true.
-Put your hope in the Lord.
*Listen to these encouraging words that Peter speaks to believers in his first letter:
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4. to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5. who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
*Put your hope in the Lord. He wants to break bread with you. He makes great promises to you. And sometimes they may seem too good to be true.
-But give the Lord your hope.
3. Also give Him your honesty.
*You might as well be honest with the Lord. He knows all about you anyway.
-Vs. 12-15 make this clear to us:
12. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?''
13. And the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, `Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?'
14. Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.''
15. But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh,'' for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh!''
*Vs. 12 tells us that Sarah didn’t even laugh out loud. She laughed “within herself.” But there was no hiding it from God. He knew.
*There is no point in lying to the Lord. But notice how patiently God deals with our faults, doubts and fears. We can’t even imagine all that God could have done to Sarah, especially after she told Him a bald-faced lie. But all God did was say, "No, but you did laugh!''
*The Lord is patient with His people. There are many references to God’s patience in the Bible.
*Dr. Donald Potts was one of my professors at seminary, and he was a wonderful teacher. I will always remember Dr. Potts telling us that the Old Testament word picture for longsuffering was “long nose or nostril.” And it seems silly to think of God walking around with this big, long nose. But the idea is that it takes a long, long time for the stench of our sin to go all the way up.
*In Psalm 86:15, David said: “You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”
*The Apostle Paul tells us that God’s longsuffering leads us to turn to Him. In Rom 2:4, Paul asks: “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
*Paul also stressed how the longsuffering of Jesus was seen in his own life. In 1 Tim 1:16, Paul said: “For this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
*God is longsuffering with us. So it is always best to be honest with the Lord. As David said in Psalm 32:1-5:
1. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
2. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile.
3. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.
4. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,'' And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
*Be honest with God. In one of the old Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, Calvin told his tiger friend, "I feel bad that I called Susie names and hurt her feelings. I’m sorry I did it."
-The tiger replied, "Maybe you should apologize to her."
-Calvin thought about it for a moment and said, "I keep hoping there’s a less obvious solution." (3)
*There’s not. The best thing to do is be honest with God about your faults and your fears. Pastor Eric Snyder put it this way: “The first thing I’ve learned about prayer is that God wants us to be honest with him. I used to feel guilty about going to God with all my problems. I pictured him as a Father who grew tired of my complaints, who wished I would be quiet for just 2 or 3 minutes.
*But then I read through the book of Psalms in the Old Testament, and I realized that God wants us to be honest with Him. If you ever want to read some honest prayers read through the book of Psalms.
*Don’t ever feel like you can’t be honest with God.
-If you have sinned, confess it.
-If you’re ticked off at the world, let God know it in prayer.
-If you’re depressed He wants to hear about it.
-If you’re happy lift up a prayer of joy.
-But always be honest with Him.
*1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on God, because he cares for you.” You can always be honest with God. (4)
*Lunch with the Lord, seems mind-boggling to us. But God sat down to eat lunch with Abraham. And He wants to fellowship with you.
*How should I handle that? -- What should I do?
-Give the Lord your hospitality. (He deserves nothing but the best from us.
-Give the Lord your hope. -- Because all things are possible with God.
-And give the Lord your honesty. -- You can do that right now, as we go to God in prayer.
1. Noted by Robert F. Scott in “Come Dine With Jesus - Ten Sermons And Litanies” - CSS Publishing -- http://www.csspub.com/prod-078800333X.htm
2. Edited from the story told by Sam Cathy in “SBC Life” Monthly Magazine - (Source: Cross & Crown Sermons - “TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL” by James McCullen - Dan 8:16-19)
3. “The Essential Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson (Source: SermonCentral sermon “Honest to God” by Maynard Pittendreigh - 1 John 1:5-9)
4. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Real Followers Are Completely Honest With God” by Eric Snyder - Luke 18:9-14 - Jan 20, 2002