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Serve Like Jesus

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The Book Of Beginnings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:06
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How can we look for ways to serve the LORD?

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INTRO

Image this with me for a moment...
There you are sitting in a local restaurant. As the waitress spins around to put in your order you see the door open and in he comes. He just came in off the road and you can tell he has been out there for some time because his camouflage jacket, flannel shirt and cream colored long underwear are ripped and his blue jeans are faded. As he shrugs his backpack off his shoulder and falls down into a chair the smell of B.O. hits you like a slap in the face. He takes off his hat running one rough weather beaten hand through his matted greasy hair as the other scratches at the stubble on his chin with thick yellowing fingernails that are in desperate need of a good trimming. As he replaces his hat he takes a slow look around the room and meets eyes with you. His piercing blue eyes bore right into yours as his thin lips stretch back to reveal a wide gangly toothed grin. Hey friend he says.
What are you thinking right now?
Here we go another charity case, I bet he is going to ask me for money?
Who is this guy and why is he talking to me?
I bet he is homeless?
I wish I had some hand sanitizer?
Please God let him go away?
What do you do?
Immediately avert your eyes and pretend he does not exist?
Answer back a friendly hello and then ignore him?
Pick up your stuff and leave immediately? You weren't really in the mood for a hamburger anyway.
Nod and smile as you reach to make sure your side arm is still there?
How do you think Jesus might think?
What might He do?
Do we desire to be like that?
Do we desire to...

TITLE & TEXT

Serve Like Jesus
Genesis 18.1-8

Biblical concept often used with the terms “guest,” “stranger,” and “sojourner.” It is useful to limit the meaning of “hospitality” to benevolence done to those outside one’s normal circle of friends, as is implied in the literal meaning of the Greek word (“love of strangers”).

THEME

Abraham's three steps for showing hospitality like Jesus.
ISRAEL
Culturally Assumed
Divinely Commanded
Leviticus 19:33–34 ESV
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
US
Culturally Odd
Divinely Commanded
PRAY

TEXT EXPOSITION

Genesis 18:1–8 ESV
And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
This chapter begins in the same way as the previous stating that the LORD comes in the flesh called a theophany. This is the final Theophany in Abrahams life but not the final interaction with the LORD. This one in particular is especially interesting because it involves three individuals this time and this is the only place in scripture where such a heavenly trio is mentioned in such a way. The LORD and two angels, the magnitude of the events to follow then are evident. This reference to Mamre is a throw back to the first interesting exchange that Abraham and Lot had years earlier when Abraham went to war for him in chapter 14. Chapter 18 as we go through it over the next couple of weeks is a kind of hinge for chapters 17 & 19.
It does not say if Abraham recognized him immediately or not, we should try not to read our perspective into the text, but at some point he catches on. Abraham was just going about his own normal day at this time he was taking a break because it was hot out. Perhaps he was resting because he was just recently circumcised, all the more reason to be focused on ones self rather then others. When we are tired and ornery it is most likely that we be self focused and miss opportunities to serve others. Notice what the text says, he was obviously not really paying attention to anything in particular for in those days surely you would have noticed three men approaching. "when he saw them" is interesting these men were standing right in front of him but he had not really seen them yet. How often are we like this? how often do we miss opportunities to serve the Lord because we are not looking for them. How often do we miss opportunities when they are right there in our face. I guess we wouldn't know would we, it is a question no-one can answer, how many opportunities have I missed because I have not been looking, I don't know! I would venture to say there are some for all of us. I know there must have had to have been some because I am a sinner and therefore I am sure I have not perfectly kept God's will in this area. When I am hot and tired and on a break the last thing I am thinking is 'how can I serve someone else today' but what is my excuse for when I am not hot, tired, hurt, and ornery and still I do not look and watch and see the opportunities God has given me to be His servant.
Beloved we must keep our eyes open, and be on the lookout to bless others! This brings us to our first point this morning...
Open Your Eyes
Matthew 9:36 ESV
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
When he saw them what was his response? He stayed right there and watched them go by? He sat still and tried to avoid eye contact? He waved them away and then tried to look busy? He turned and went inside his tent and then pretended not to be home? Did he chase them away? No, he ran from where he was to them, the word here for ran is more like sprinted to them, which is all the more impressive since we know that he is 99 years old. the word means to move at such a pace as to not have more then one foot on the ground at a time and I cannot picture Abraham as much of a skipper. He ran to meet them where they were, he came to them not the other way around. When he reached them he placed himself in a position of humility before them. Look back at the text, I have every reason to believe that to Abraham they were mere men to him and nothing more. Not only does he place himself physically in a position of humility before them but his speech matches his posture. Have you ever talked to someone who was saying the right words but the tone was off? Just think of how children apologize to one another when they are told to do so. "Sorry". Abraham is not seeking to pretend to be humble here he is seeking to communicate true humility he refers to them as Lord or master and himself as servant. He asks them to stay and eat if he has found favor in their eyes. Who is the one doing the blessing and who is the one being blessed here? Who should be the one who is thankful and humble? Who is the one who should be the master and the servant?
Humility... is the corrective lens necessary to see people the way Christ did.
Luke 7.36-50
Pharisee & Sinful Woman
John 13.1-20
Jesus Washes Feet
Matthew 18:4 ESV
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Before we move on we can tease out our second point from the text.
Meet Real Needs
Jesus Feeds 5,000
Mark 6
Mark 6:30–37 ESV
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”
Look at verse 5. What do you think of when you hear the word morsel? I would imagine you do not think of a full loaf would you? The Hebrew here has been translated other places as (bit, fragment, piece, and even crumb). Is a morsel of bread going to be enough for three grown man who are on a journey on foot? Are you kidding? We go through almost a whole loaf of bread with our four kids and all they do is run back and forth inside our house. Abraham is telling them in essence, "let me bring you a little something to eat before you go". His intention is simply to bless them as they are passing through, he is seeking to be as hospitable as he can be in the time that he has. Notice what he promises them and what he delivers! But before we go on to verse 6 notice their response. Did they argue? Did they complain about the promised morsel? No, rather they graciously conceded to their hosts generosity. Generosity is exactly what it was!
Read with me this morsel Abraham brought out to them, and listen I just want to tell you if this was his idea of a morsel then can you imagine what he might call a feast!
READ V6-8
Three seahs of flour into cakes, the text does not say but we could imagine that this meant one cake for each man. Well this might be good but might not, I guess it depends on what a seah is right. Well a single seah is about 7.3 liters of flour, so imagine nine two liter bottles full of flour, three per cake. Now I'm no baker but I am assuming that would make quick the loaf of bread for each of these guys. But he does not stop there does he. He took a calf, "tender and good" and prepared it for them. They had veal parmesan for lunch! Seriously though this calf would have been anywhere from 60-200 lbs, so lets split the difference and say that it was 100lbs just for a good round number. Our whole family loves steak but we don't eat it much because it can be expensive. Have you ever eaten a 12oz steak? For most people that is enough to fill us up. If the calf was 100lbs all dressed out and prepared it would be the equivalent to 133 twelve ounce steaks! Three guys are supposed to eat 133 steaks and a huge loaf of bread each? Oh and just in case they needed some dairy they had curds and milk also! Listen if any of you want to invite us over for a "morsel" just let me know ok!
Don't just seek to meet real needs, seek to outdo yourself. Seek to bless them lavishly, for has not the LORD lavishly blessed you?
Second half of 5,000
Mark 6.38-44
5 loaves / 2 Fish
"All ate and were satisfied"
12 Baskets full of leftovers
Mark 6:38–44 ESV
And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Jesus makes Water into wine
John 2:1–10 ESV
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
We will never get to the place in our faith in the LORD to outdo ourselves in serving others if we are not even being faithful in offering up morsels!
Lastly then I want to direct your attention to several grammatical indicators in the text that have been repeated, perhaps you caught them. If not let me take you through them again and see how we do. V2 Abraham ran to them, V6 Abraham went quickly to Sarah, and told her to quickly make cakes. In V7 Abraham ran again this time to the cattle and gave a man a calf to prepare quickly. He then stood on hand and waited as they ate.
This brings us to our final point from Abraham...
Act Now
How easy is it for us to procrastinate? How tempting it is for us to put off till tomorrow what we can do today. How often do we neglect hospitality to others because of its inconvenience to ourselves? When we ourselves are hungry we do not hesitate to feed our bodies. When we are cold we do not hesitate to seek out warmth. When we are sick we seek care. But what does the scripture say "Love your neighbor as yourself" yet we groan and complain when God has so obviously asked us to act! Have we forgotten the advice to the Hebrews...
Hebrews 13:1–2 ESV
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
How will our souls respond on that great day? With joy or fear when we hear these words wringing in our ears.
Matthew 25:34–36 ESV
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
No, my beloved let us not hesitate, let us not procrastinate let us not,
Hebrews 13:16 ESV
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
No, rather let us act now! seizing the moment to be the hands and feet of Christ! That is why like Christ, like Abraham

GOAL

We must be continually vigilant to quickly meet the real needs of those that the LORD has placed in our lives.

CLOSE

Pray through...
Hebrews 3:15 ESV
As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
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