Beth Moore - The Diner
Genesis 18, I'd like to read verses 1 through 8 and then we'll come back a little later in the lesson and pick up a few more verses of it. It says, "And the Lord appeared to him," that is going to be Abraham, "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 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 and they ate".
Keep that in mind, and turn with me to Revelation 3, and I'd like to read verse 20. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me". There's a lot of word in here, and one of the most beautiful things, and one of the things I love to study most in the Scripture, is something that becomes a principle, something that you see over and over again like the theme of redemption, like salvation, like faith. You could go to your concordance, and you could run one of those words, and see hundreds of times that word comes up. You could look up the word "love". You could look up the word "forgive". You could look up the word "release". You could look up the word "liberty," and find time after time that those words and concepts are used, principles in the Scriptures, things that bear weight. Among those things you would find over and over in the Scripture is food.
Can I hear anybody say amen? And what we're gonna see, if I had a subtitle, it would be, "When The Lord Eats," because one of the things we're gonna watch him do in the Scriptures is eat. And we are gonna jump into it. We are gonna pull up a chair at the table at this event, and we're gonna see what he would tell us. Now, I gotta tell you that the word "food" appears, just the word "food," I'm talking about not even adding on to it the times it says eating, or the time it would say a particular food and not use the actual word, "food". I'm talking about just this one word is used some 297 times in the ESV. The first appearance of it, I hope somebody appreciates this, guess how long it takes for food to appear on the page of Scripture?
Twenty-nine verses in. In that big, heavy Bible, 29 verses into the first chapter, God mentions food. It comes up again in the second chapter. You want to know something else? In both the first chapter and the second chapter of Genesis, the word "food" pops up almost as soon as he talks about creating man. In fact, I'm going to just suggest to you that man put the ate in create. You'll understand what I'm trying to get across to you? Because literally, in fact, I'm gonna show it to you so that you can see it for yourself.
Look back in Genesis chapter 1. Let's look at down in verse 27. It says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'" I mean, like no more has he created him. Then he goes, "I am gonna give you food". He does the exact same thing in Genesis 2, verse 7, it pops up again. And then he says it two verses later, "And he gave them food".
And I want you to see it 'cause it's particularly beautiful right there. So, if you look with me in 7, 2:7, "Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground he made spring up every tree that is pleasant". Everybody say, "pleasant". "Pleasant to the sight and good for food". What an interesting, interesting thing to be told to us immediately. In the Scriptures when he created man, he created us with the capacity to eat. That's gonna become very, very important to us in its literal sense and in its spiritual sense that in that moment when he created us, he also made provision that there would be food.
And so, what I want you to see is that it's told to us that the food was pleasant to the sight, and it was good to the taste. Have you ever wondered before why in the world God did it this way? I mean, why didn't he just make us where our bodies were self-sufficient? Why did he make us where there was something we had to consume in order to survive on this planet? Why? I want that to tick around in your head for a while, and I want us to bring that curiosity to the Scriptures. Furthermore, if he was gonna make us where we could eat, why didn't he simply make it where it was just bland and tasteless? Why did he specifically make sure it looked good and it tasted good? I'm gonna give you the answer, and then I'm gonna prove it to you over and over in Scripture, because he meant it to be a pleasure to us. We have really got some work to do this weekend where we need it, especially if you come from a little bit of the background like I do.
I was raised in church never, ever missed a service unless I was physically ill. I mean, in my day growing up, it was Sunday morning services, Sunday evening services, two completely different services, and Wednesday night. Then there was whatever gathering besides that there might have been thrown that particular week. In it constantly. But somehow, in my mind growing up, I would have associated the word "pleasure" with sin before I would have associated the word "pleasure" with God. And I asked you today when I say that word to you "pleasure," what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it God or is it sin? Have we somehow developed a skewed theology?
Because I hope to prove to you that that is a skewed doctrine when our first reaction to anybody talking about pleasure is that pleasure must be wrong, and pleasure must be sin. Because what I want to beg to differ with and what I'm proposing is that if we could get it through our head that he was meant all along to be our greatest pleasure, if we would grab hold of the theology of God as the greatest pleasure of our lives, we would be woefully and beautifully freed from so many of our appetites toward things that are pleasures of sin because here's what we're doing, when it says in the Scriptures that God created this garden and he put man in it, and it says, he had all kinds of trees in it, all kinds of fruit in it.
But if you and I grow up in the faith thinking, God is apples and bananas, that's it, he is apples and bananas. And that mangoes and papaya never even enter our mind, we're all about God is apples and banana because in our mind, we have decided that all variety belongs to the world, that pleasure is something of the world and of the flesh. And because we do that, because we were created to know a holy pleasure, then what happens when that does not get fed, and when that does not get met, we are then drawn because we are people that know something in us is called to pleasure. And so, if we don't get it from God, we're gonna get it all right, and we're gonna get it from the world.
And so, let's defy the work of the enemy in twisting and distorting what was meant by God to be pleasure to us. And it's we're using food as one example, but there are so many examples that we could use of things that God has given us to richly enjoy. And the reason why I want to bring it to the table is because we are living in difficult days. And if we check our Scripture, 2 Timothy chapter 3, 1 Timothy 4, verse 1. We could go to chapter and chapter and verse and verse to see Matthew 24 is coming to my mind. Prophecies of the increase of depravity, and deception, and tribulation, and difficulty, and persecution on the face of this earth.
Listen, if we don't go back and grab hold of our pleasures in Christ, we are going to become the most miserable people on the planet. The gospel is at stake in our joylessness. I want to say that again to somebody that would hear it. This matter is so important that literally the gospel is at stake in our joylessness because your joy is what people are picking up on. Your joy in the workplace that is different from anybody else there, your joy in your neighborhood, your joy in the part of the teachers and parents' association at your schools, all of these areas that you and I are involved in, our joy is what causes people to look up and think something's off here. Something is not normal here. As a draw to the gospel in a way that we'd say, "No, it's our faith. No, our faith is what God prioritizes between us and him". But when it comes to the world, the gospel is at stake in our joylessness because they don't know what it is that sets us apart. It's our love that comes to them with joy, not as if we're the most pained people on the earth. It's time to demand our joy back.
We want to receive the doctrine of joy, and gladness, and pleasures forevermore. That's what Psalm 16 says. "In your presence is fullness of joy, their pleasures evermore at your right hand". We want to get our theology straight so that primarily, the first thing that comes to our mind when we think pleasure is, "My God, he is the greatest pleasure of my life, and every great pleasure that I have comes from him". Secondarily, pleasures of the flesh, but primarily, first and foremost, pleasures in God because if we could grab that doctrine and let it be implanted deeply into our souls, it would profoundly impact our taste for the pleasures of sin. It is a good thing that we have a desire to know pleasure, and it was meant to be met in God and through his goodness and his grace to us if we would only believe it and receive it.
I want to read something to you. This is, of course, if I'm gonna talk about this subject, then you know somewhere along the way if you have any kind of background in the great literature, especially of our last century, then you would know good and well if we're gonna talk about this subject, C.S. Lewis is gonna come up. I want to read you a quote by him and persevere through it because it's like a paragraph. Persevere through it because where it's going, I kept thinking I need to cut it back. I need to cut it back. But the more I looked at it I thought, no, it needs every sentence to get to that one word. So, stay with me here and think about what he's saying. C.S. Lewis:
Pleasures are shafts of glory as it strikes our sensibility. But aren't there bad, unlawful pleasures? Certainly there are. But in calling them, "bad pleasures" I take it we are using a kind of shorthand. We mean "pleasures snatched by unlawful acts". It is the stealing of the apples that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory. I have tried since to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration. I don't mean simply by giving thanks for it. One must of course give thanks, but I meant something different. Gratitude exclaims, very properly, "How good of God to give me this". Adoration says, "What must be the quality of that Being whose far off and momentary coruscations are like this"!
When was the last time it occurred to you that if he would do that here among sinful man in our flawed and broken flesh, who is this God and what is the limit of his kindness and grace? This is the sentence I want you to hear. "One's mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun". In other words, whatever it is that causes us that kind of an outburst of joy in our hearts, that we would take that something and we'd chase it right back to the sun from whom it came. Is that making sense to anyone? Let me throw out a couple of examples and see if this helps, all right?
In the morning, the very first thing I do I get up, my alarm goes off really, really early. I get up, I go around blindly, you know, get put my glasses on that are like this thick. I wear contacts so you can't tell. Glasses this thick. I go into the kitchen. First thing I do is, turn on the coffeepot. First thing I do. Then I go, I begin my prayer time so that I'm not beginning it with coffee. I begin my prayer time. I do about three or four minutes of it. I get up, I pour me some coffee, I take a sip of it, and a whole lot of times I look straight up at him and go, "Man, that's so good". Sometimes I just out loud, "Thank you, God. Thank you, God, for coffee. How can I thank you enough for coffee"?
Somebody's gonna write me, you're gonna write me all about caffeine while you're doing your thing you ought not to be doing. And so, we're just gonna do this back and forth, but I'mma thank him for it. I'mma thank him for it because, you know what that is? That chasing the sunbeam back to the sun. It's time for us to turn our theology of, "Pleasure is sin. Pleasure is always sin. Pleasure is always sin". We must get rid of that. That is poor doctrine. I might go as far as to say it's heresy. There are pleasures of sin, no doubt about it, but the Word of God is a constant revelation to man, "I am the delight of all existence. To know me, to enter in with me, to know what I can do in your heart, what I can do to give you purpose in your life, to know that every good thing is a gift straight from me, start chasing that sunbeam back to the sun".
That is what we're talking about. Do you know that right now in your mouth you are housing anywhere from 6.000 to 10.000 taste buds, depending upon how big and thick your tongue is? Do you know that those taste buds have these little taste hairs in them? You may have thought to yourself, "I feel like there is a hair in my mouth". No, there are thousands of them. You can look this up for yourself. And for years and years, it was conveyed scientifically that different parts of the tongue responded to different tastes. So, this would be the sour place. This would be the sweet place. Scientific evidence, you can still find some of that, but overwhelmingly, there has come the conclusion that every single one of those taste buds can assimilate any one of those five tastes.
Now, go with me here for a moment 'cause there's sweet, there's sour, there's salty, there's bitter, and there's savory. Any one of the taste buds can receive any one of those sensors. You all want to know something else? I found this so intriguing. The back of the tongue is most sensitive to bitter, do you know why? Because God made our tongues where if we were going to eat something poison, that the last place it would go before it went down our throats and into our stomachs, that it would try to reject it because if you put a really bitter pill on your tongue, you know how you kind of want to have a gag reflex with it? That's because the back of your tongue is going, "Don't eat that"! Because it was a way that God gave us it.
We ought to be wondering, "Why in the world am I ingesting something that tastes like that"? The next time you gag, thank God. Chase that sunbeam right back, right back, right back to the sun. There's no telling how many times that has saved your life and mine. Here's the thing. We're gonna see this in a number of ways. We were created with appetite. You and I, if we're gonna find our joys in Jesus where they belong, we have got to get over thinking that appetite is always negative, appetite is always sinful.
Imagine if a baby did not have the appetite to eat. That's when you start taking the baby to the pediatrician and go, "I can't get this baby to eat". You talk about something that worries a mother when they can't get their baby to eat. Look it up for yourself. If you google, "loss of appetite," there are only a couple of situations in which that can be a positive sign. One of them can be early pregnancy, that's a beautiful thing. But ordinarily, a loss of appetite is the signal to say something is awry. There is this need, there is this thing that goes, "I'm looking for something. I don't know what, but I'm looking for something". Even though the search for meaning, the striving after meaning, trying to find some purpose in the pain, all of that is an appetite for God that may not have been named yet.
Among the definitions for appetite in your Webster's Dictionary, the first one, "Any of the instinctive desires necessary to keep up organic life especially, the desire to eat", is one example of it. The human body was created by God, somebody stay with me here, with a hollow place. And wouldn't it be odd if it also is something that is true of us spiritually that we got this thing in us that is hollow, that is just looking, and looking, and looking, to get filled. And if we misunderstand it, Lord have mercy, the mess we can get ourselves into. But what if we identified it, and started thirsting and hungering at the right source? What of the earth could happen then?
Guess what I learned? I did a search on the origin of why we call a place a diner. Do you know? And are you getting a look? There's a certain look you're imagining when I say the word. I say "restaurant" to you, you think all sorts of things. I say "diner" to you, and you start thinking something specific that looks a lot like this. Do you want to know why, because it began with a dining car in a train that it would have that kind of a look. If it is, really, an authentic diner look, it's going to be rectangular, it's gonna be long and thin. So that is where diner comes from. But here's the beautiful part of it.
I want you to take down three points together with me and this is the first one. A diner is a place. Number two, a diner is also a person. And number three is this, a diner was God's idea. There was this person who created man to dine who literally in places in the Scripture dines in his presence which we are about to see and then other places invites man to dine in his presence. In the Jewish customs of eating, in antiquity, there were just two meals a day. Two meals a day. They weren't really three meal a day kinds of people. That's more us. That was not them. And so what they would do is that they would eat something smaller in the late part of the morning, something to break that fast.
That's what we would call it. But it would almost always be some kind of bread and maybe the bread was just given exactly like that or maybe it was wrapped around a piece of fruit, something that they had easy access to, but bread was such a custom, such a staple to them, that literally to eat meant bread. These were not people that were against their carbs. I think that it is easy to look at the Scriptures and determine that Jesus did not eat a low-carb diet. Bread was so big to them, it was such a staple to them, it's why when he prayed, "Give us this day our daily bread," it wasn't just talking about that which is rises with yeast or flatbread. It meant any kind of food because it was like everything fell under the category of bread. So just two meals.
And then there was gonna be the big one later on. And so what they would do is to say, they would fix something large, something that had very often a kind of gravy to it, some kind of meat, some kind of stew, or some kind of vegetables that would really make a thick broth. They'd have their bread, and they would set down the big pot in the middle of that family. It would be on some kind of what we would call a piece of carpet and they would lay it down, put the pot on it. They would all sit down. They would get their piece of bread and they would all start scooping in. They ate out of exactly the same pot. Now, you may be thinking, "That does not appeal to me," and it does not have to appeal to you but it is the way they did it.
In fact, do you know what I learned? I learned that one reason the ritual law of handwashing became so meticulous is because they were thinking the same thing you are thinking right now. Did you wash your hands? I think it's an interesting thing when God gave them the manna in the wilderness. Do you know that the children of Israel, that they called it manna because the word "manna" in Hebrew meant "What is it"? And so I want to really affirm you if you're a mom and you cook this elaborate thing and your kids sit down and they go, "What is it"? It's biblical. Just go, "Bless you, bless you. Bless you, it's manna, that's what it is". I mean, they honestly, like, "What is it and what are we supposed to do with it"? Even when God cooked for people, they were all, like, "What is it"?
Now, turn with me back to Genesis chapter 18 and let's pick back up on this storyline. I'm gonna start it back at verse 1 because I wanna recapture where we are with the theophany. Now, I wanna tell you what a theophany is. It's a manifestation of God that is tangible to human senses. And it might not have been tangible to every human who was there in the presence but to someone there and please go with me here. Jesus, when he came as man, the God man, I mean, the fullness of the God head bodily, as Colossians calls him, that was not a theophany. That was God wrapped in human flesh and with blood running through his veins.
That is perfect fullness of deity. But before that, in the Old Testament where we see these moments where there is either what is called just outrightly the Lord, where we're gonna see it here, or God or it might be called the angel of the Lord, sometimes when the Bible uses the phrase "the angel of the Lord," it really is just an angel. But when in the context the angel is taking on roles that are only for God, you see in Revelation when John got tempted to fall and worship the angel, the angel said, "Don't you even think of worshiping me. Worship God alone". Angels don't take on the role of God.
So in a context when, I mean, a sacrifice is placed before them or whatever, that is a theophany. That is God somehow revealing himself in a way that is tangible to the human senses in that picture. Genesis 18. Now, enjoy this and picture every bit of it. And this time, I am going to throw in a little bit of commentary. "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 lifts up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. And when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and he bowed down to the earth and said, 'O Lord, if I've found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.'"
Now, look at, in most of your major translations, you're going to notice that "Lord" is capital "L" and little "o", little "r", little "d". That is the word that is translated from Hebrew "Adonai" and it can mean a superior of any kind. It can be a title of respect for someone you're saying, "You're master, I'm servant". It's deference to that person. So, it is often used for God but it can also be used for someone, from man to man, someone showing that the person he's speaking to is superior over him in perhaps position, perhaps a king, perhaps a commander of an army, something of that nature. So this doesn't give it away yet. One thing that is sort of suspicious is that he's talking to one here. You're gonna notice one is: we don't know how. Because we're not getting any details here.
I often think to myself, if God had determined, one reason why I think maybe God did not inspire any women to write Scripture is because it would have been six times as long as what you're holding in your lap. Because we'd have gone, "And listen. The one, and his hair was like this and, like, one was in more, like, muted tones, the other one, really, it was almost like an ocean. No, not quite an ocean blue. You know, more of a sky blue. No, that's not really a sky blue. Turquoise. It was more like turquoise". Imagine! Imagine. So we just got the men just going basic facts.
There are three of 'em there. For some reason, he reacts to this one. We have no idea why, why? Because a man's telling it to us and at least he throws in this part: "'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, since you've come to your servant.' And so they said, 'Do as you have said.' And Abraham went quickly," now I love this because we've just been told in 17, verse 1, that he is 99 years old. I mean, no wonder he needed a nap at the door of his tent. So he's snoozing like this. He looks up. It's still hotter than blazes outside.
All the sudden, the 99-plus-year-old man starts hauling and he runs into Sarah and goes, one of my commentaries said that "there is not even a verb there". That when it says, "Quick! Three seahs of fine flour"! I mean, he's just saying that. In other words, what am I to do with it? Well, she would just know. I mean, get the flour out. So all of the sudden, I want you to picture, because dust is just flying, flour is just flying, Abraham is running out to the field. He's grabbing a calf and let's not even think from there. Talk about farm to table. I don't even wanna, I have no desire whatsoever when I go into a seafood restaurant and the lobsters are alive, I don't get lobster 'cause I want to think that lobster was never alive. I don't ever wanna think about whether my meat could moo. I don't want to know. I don't want to know.
So I mean, dust is flying. Flour is flying. He runs and he throws the calf. Well, I am adding on to that, but I feel like there's some, "He gave it to the young man who prepared it quickly". Well, how quick could it have been? I'm just asking. How quick could it have been? He's gotta do whatever terrible thing and then they've got to fix it and then it's gotta get tender enough to make a good savory gravy. How fast could it have gone and what I love here, remember when he said "a little morsel of bread"? Watch what he does here because what I want you to understand, three seahs of fine flour was way, way, way more than those three visitors and even Abraham and Sarah and servants could have eaten.
There's something Abraham knows. He knows something. There is something that so attracted him, does he yet know who is standing before him? We don't know for certain. We're not told that. But man, he is flying. He is getting it done. And he is doing it in such a way that they're still gonna have to stay, to sit, refresh yourself, stay right there under that tree. And it says: "They prepared it quickly". Verse 8: "Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and he set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate". He does not eat with them because why? Well, because he's playing the part as both host and waiter. So he's sent, 'cause this is gonna become significant to us because in this scene, the three are eating and Abraham is standing by, watching them eat.
Whatever happened to hospitality? I don't know if you have a welcome mat in your doorway at your front door but I do and I also know that I don't really mean it. Someone admit that you don't either. You don't really want every passerby to go, "Oh, I see that I'm welcome here". Why would you think that? And you're just all stepping on it like this. Because what we really mean is, "Leave pound cake and go. Leave pound cake and leave. Leave". And some of you may go, "That's not how I feel". Well, bless you. But sometimes we're all, like, like, we come running in from work and we go flying in the front door and then we just lock it real fast, like, all these bolts, and I go, "Everybody, stay away".
What happened to hospitality? What happened to a welcome mat really meaning "Welcome"? What happened to fellowship because I'm gonna suggest to you that we are so lonely for it we don't know what to do. Bible hospitality, Bible fellowship with God, with one another. Now, I'm gonna branch out there. I got so tickled yesterday, coming up with this, not because it's funny but because I'm the corniest person you have ever met and I'm gonna tell you why. Because I have been called to be a teacher and, fellow teachers, I'm gonna say something for all of us. Teachers have one goal and that is that their listeners learn. That's all I care about. That's all I care about is that it sinks in enough that when you leave this place, you remember it. You remember it.
And I'm sorry that corny works, but it does. I'm sorry that cheesy works, but it does. Because these things lock in. If it's memorable, I will twist myself into a pretzel if that's what it would do to make something stick out of the Scriptures through a work of the Spirit. So I'm about to make up a word that somebody's probably made up. I didn't google it 'cause I was too afraid that a million people had already made it up and I wanted to come to you with a pure heart and tell you that this just occurred to blonder than she pays to be. I'm gonna make up a word with you this weekend and we're gonna call it gospetality. Gospetality is hospitality with a gospel mentality. We are losing a whole lot of the power of the gospel with our lost friends and neighbors because we no longer practice hospitality.
Now, those of you who do it all the time, I'm not talking to you and you should be teaching this lesson instead of me. But I'm gonna tell you something that what's at stake here is that what, and I'm not talking about getting in our neighbors and then cornering them so that we can preach to them the gospel. I am talking that we serve to them the gospel, we serve to them the gospel, until we speak to them the gospel. Do they know that as Christ was in the Gospels, that everyone is welcome at your table? Listen, if you only have people at your table that already believe what you believe, that is not gospel hospitality.
Gospel hospitality, Jesus-style, says, "I will eat with anyone". If I don't have to compromise, I will eat and serve anyone for the sake of the gospel. I will love, I will not compromise my values, I will live out my values. I will show joy and I will show kindness and I will show mercy because it is that welcome, that is one of the most powerful expressions of witness that we have, is our very table. Listen, people will put up with a lot if you'll fix some good food. Hardly any neighbor will forgo an opportunity to just eat something they didn't fix.
Isn't it interesting that God came in this theophany with these two angels in the heat of the day when it says that when he walked in the garden in Genesis chapter 3, among all of those trees, he walked among them in the cool of the day. Most scholars believe that the cool of the day was in the evening. Seems to me, I wanna think morning they believe because it's a word that means breezy, they believe that it's in the evening. So picture that. But what I love here is because one commentator brought out, "Please don't miss the trees". Because we've got them kicked out of the garden, God comes in this theophany to Abraham and Sarah, sits under the tree, and he eats. In the heat of the day he visited them. Because I need you to know and I need to know God can take the heat of fellowship with man outside the garden.
I wanna take your attention to God's words to Abraham about Sarah. Verse 9: "They said to him, 'Where is Sarah your wife?' And he said, 'She's in the tent.' And the Lord said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.'" Did you notice in verse 10, Sarah is behind him. Listen, she might not have been welcome in that little circle, so to speak, but she could overhear a good thing. And he said, "In just about a year, Sarah's gonna have that child, a son. And I'll be back at that time". And Sarah laughed 'cause it was so ridiculous. "After I'm this old and look at him". And then here comes this whole exchange. "She laughed". "No, I didn't laugh". "Oh, yes, you did laugh".
What is that about? Because notice with me that she doesn't end up with leprosy, he doesn't drop her half dead into the doorway, she's not punished in any way. He just makes the point, "You laughed". It's a beautiful thing because in Genesis chapter 21, it's recorded that that promise is kept. And listen to the words. I've got chill bumps all over me, just about to read it. "The Lord visited Sarah as he said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac," a name that means "he laughed".
I just wonder if God kept pushing the point of the laughter so that when the time came, that he had already told Abraham in Genesis 17, when Abraham laughed, "You will name this boy Isaac". "Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, 'God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son,'" this is one of my favorite parts, "'in his old age.'" All of a sudden, she's feeling spry. Woman's given birth and that which was long dead has had milk come in. All of a sudden she's feeling good and that old man, he's got himself a son.
Everybody say "Hallelujah" and "Amen". You may be seated. I need to hear three review points. Number one is what? A diner is a place. But what is number two? A diner is also a person. And number three? We are proving in Scripture that a diner was God's idea. That only 29 verses into the entire Word of God he brings up food and it just happens to be right after, I mean immediately after, he creates man because we are suggesting that man put the "ate" in the word "create". So I want you to just see with me that Revelation 3:20, would you say it with me please: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me".
I wanna talk to you this morning about the privilege of being invited to dine with Jesus. That what that means to us, what's happening in the spiritual realm when we are invited to the table with Jesus. I want you to turn with me, we are gonna be landing and staying on Revelation 3:20, in that passage, in just a moment but I want you to go just for a second over to Exodus chapter 24 and I wanna show you something. Exodus chapter 24. This is when God is establishing the covenant confirming it with Moses and the people of Israel.
Exodus 24, verse 1: "Then he," of course, this is the Lord, "said to Moses, 'Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.' And Moses came and told the people all the words that the Lord had said and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, 'All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.' And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and 12 pillars, according to the 12 tribes of Israel. He sent the young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord".
Watch this, verse 6: "And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.' And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, 'Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.'" Let's just go back for a second. What on earth is happening here? So he tells the people what God has been telling him.
They say to him, "Listen, we'll do all of it. No problem. Done, done". Well, then he goes and you can read it again for yourself. He goes and he writes it all down. Well, the more he looks at it, the more he's thinking, "They're just out there, going, 'Done. We can do it, absolutely. Tell us what to do, we'll do it. You go be with him, we'll just do what you say. Tell us what the Lord said. We're gonna do it, we'll be obedient.'" And so he writes it all down. So then he goes and these sacrifices are made. The blood is in the basin and then he goes back to them. He tells it to them and makes sure, "Do you understand this is the covenant God is making with you"? "Absolutely. We're gonna do it. We will be obedient".
So then he just takes the blood and just starts sprinkling it all over them because he knows they cannot do it. And that the only way, the only way, that covenant is gonna be able to be confirmed, the only way they are going to stay the covenant people of God, is for God to have made that covenant with blood. With blood. Now watch what happens next because this is astonishing. 9 says: "Then Moses and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu, and the 70 of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and they ate and drank".
I want you to just try to wrap your mind around this with me. That here they say down at the bottom, "No, we can do it. We can do it. Whatever, we can do it". "No, you can't". And I mean, they're just splattered with blood, just splattered with blood. Once that happens, here these elders go and Aaron and his sons and Moses, up this mountain, high enough up where they see this glimpse of the glory of God, see the floor upon which, I love it because we're told earlier in Exodus that God descended to the top of the mountain. There's something gorgeous about that, that we, as high as we can go, God still has to descend to us. No matter how high we climb, God's still having to come down to where we are and then it just says, almost seems random to you and me, "they ate and drank".
Well, I mean, like, did they bring their lunch? What in the world is up with the eating and drinking? I mean, imagine that you're getting a glimpse of the glory and holiness of God and then somebody's just gonna go, "Does anybody have anything? I mean, I've been hungry all morning long". What's happening here is a covenant meal. To ancient Israel, to sit down at the table and eat was to come into fellowship. It was to come into covenant. There was even a salt covenant that you could have with a friend that would say if you shared your salt with them, that meant you are my friend, I will treat you like family. "Here, this is the salt I use. You use this salt too".
The table was of extreme significance and they sat before God and they ate and drank and, I mean, we must suppose that he himself somehow had that prepared for them. So I want you to get this glimpse because based on what we learned in Genesis chapter 18, do you remember? The Lord, through this theophany, an angel on his right and an angel on his left, come as three visitors to Abraham and Abraham fixes them the meal, then those three sit down under the tree and eat it while Abraham stands over to the side. Everybody tracking with me? Exodus chapter 24: Moses, Aaron, Aaron's sons, and the elders of Israel go up the mountain this time. They are served by God himself. They eat and drink but there's nothing that tells us that God is eating and drinking with them.
So they're in God's presence, whereas in Genesis 18 God was the one who ate, they watched. Then in Exodus 24, they ate while God watched and then suddenly something enormous begins to happen when the Gospels break open with Matthew. Would you turn with me please back to Revelation chapter 3 and let me remind you of a couple of things before we read it. I want you to her a quote I found over and over again. There was no name even put with it because it's been said so many times. I say, "Scholars often say that Jesus ate his way through the Gospels". Just go and check it out for yourself. Just run the words "ate," "dinner," "food," "feasted".
Look at that in the New Testament and see how often it will come up, that Jesus is at some kind of a table or he's serving or being part of some kind of a meal. There's the feeding of 5000. If that is not food, I don't know where you're gonna get it. They're sitting down with Levi the tax collector and his shady friends. This is the one of which the Pharisees and those so caught up in their legalism said, "He eats with tax collectors and sinners". And then we see that he ate with Zacchaeus. He told him, "Get down from that tree. I'm going to your house today," and he had a meal with him. The Last Supper. All four of the Gospels there, Jesus said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you". "Eagerly desired".
I want that to stick with you because I wanna suggest to you that Jesus eagerly desires to dine with us, that it's something he longs for. It's something he looks forward to. Eager desire of God himself. After his Resurrection in almost every single scene where he shows up, he eats something. He's showing them, listen, I can still, this side of the grave, eat. I don't know if that is encouragement to you. I am so glad there is food in heaven. I don't know what to do. Anybody else? I mean, I can't imagine it not being there. There's just something, it's just gotta be there. I'm so thankful after we got our resurrection bodies that we can still eat. And we're told then, you remember the scene at the very end of John's Gospel in John chapter 21 where, literally, Jesus, they're out on the water, on the boat, and Jesus is on the shore and he is grilling fish and has bread. He's made them breakfast.
One of my favorites is John 12:1 through 3. I want you to listen to this because this is so fascinating because this is just after Jesus has raised Lazarus from the stone-cold dead. Listen to what this says: "Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus's honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus's feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume".
I don't know what kind of memories and what kind of affections you have for the table, whether at your house where you were raised or your home now or the home of a friend, a place where you fellowshiped often, but I want you to think about that for a minute. I'm not really a big interior design person. I don't get it. I don't have any interest in it. My husband does all of that kind of thing. There's one piece of furniture I picked out in our home and the reason I picked it out is because Keith sent me to get a new dining room table. I could not have been less interested in it.
The woman takes me around and shows me all the tables. I look over at my friend that's trying to help me with it that Keith has sent to help me with it. And I said, "Pick one. I don't care. I don't care". Well, I had gone to church for years with the woman who owns the furniture shop and she said, "Beth, get in the car with me". And so I hopped in with her and she said, "I'm just gonna ask you if you like this table". Takes me to her house and it is a big oblong painted distressed table with flowers, muted colors of flowers, painted on it. And I looked at it and my eyes opened just like this. She said, "Do you like my table"? I said, "Oh, I like your table". And she said, "I'm gonna order you this table".
My table is the most important thing to me in my house because that table I associate with a whole lot of talk, I associate, listen, not a single Moore is free of an opinion at any given time. Dinner at the Moore house is a free-for-all. We all feel completely free to share our opinion and completely free to disagree. This is one reason why I have never been able to comprehend why a lot of people think that to not agree and to not line up means the end. In my family that just means, "Man, didn't we have fun today. Everybody's blood's flowing. Everybody's alive and awake".
We have this tradition on Christmas Day that we did not mean to develop but it's no big deal. You probably do it too. I just wanted you to know how special it is to us. We do the big thing for Christmas noon. We usually eat about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and our house is packed. We have pulled every table from every conceivable part of the house right into the main living area and all of it is set with Christmas Spode, cloth napkins, everything gorgeous, candles, everything you can imagine, and we have a formal meal with the entire Moore family. All of Keith's sisters and his nephews and their wives and all of us come together at the big table, the kids, the babies, the whole thing.
And then we have most of the afternoon together. We have pie and we do the whole thing that you usually do as well. But something happens after that. Just my little family hangs around after about 3:30 or 4 o'clock and we've cleaned it up. The dishwasher is full. We've unloaded the dishwasher, and come about 5:30 we pull every bit of it out again. But this time, at that table, on paper plates, is just my sweeties, the people I love most in the entire world, sitting right there at my table. And it's just informal and it is laughter and I can taste the food because anybody that's the main cook for a huge meal knows you cannot taste any of the food. I sit there and eat with everybody, but I'm going, "Is everything okay? Is everything okay"? Not at supper.
Oh no, I can taste every bite of it because that, to us, is fellowship. That, to us, I look across at my daughters and my heart overflows with love. That is communion. That is fellowship. My grandchildren, my son-in-law, my man, dining. "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". We've got a fourth point to make together and it's probably as important as it gets in what we're doing together with our theme.
Number four is this: Sitting at the table doesn't make me a diner. Dining does. Listen, you know it because I don't care whether you are single or you have a huge family, you have been at a table where there was such a brat that you could hardly see. You thought, "You know what? If you don't take hold of your kid, I can do it for you". Anybody know what I'm talking about? When there is a kid sitting with their headphones on at the table and you're going, "You know, here's what I need you to do. Get out of my sight". You know, I don't know any other way to tell you but I was that kind of mother that occasionally would go like this and my daughter Melissa's here, she'll be able to attest to it. I would say, just as calmly as I knew how, "Listen, here's what I need you to do. I need you to go to your room and I need you to lock the door because I am coming for you in 30 seconds". Anybody?
You know, and you know the one pouting at the meal? Like, you've made this beautiful meal especially, oh, it's especially effective if you've had over company and you've got the one that's pouting at the meal, that won't talk, that is bored stiff, that is just waiting for you to excuse them from the table. I wonder, are you the one sitting at the table, oh, man, you're at the table every single Sunday. You're at this table, you're at that table, but you're so pouted up, so pouted up, that you're not saying a word to anybody of any true meaning, of any true fellowship, so distracted, sitting at the table. Oh, this is beautiful, this is perfect.
How many times have you been in a restaurant and you looked across at the tables and everyone at the table is on their phone and you think, "You know what? Your person is right in front of you and you're, like, all this and there they are". I'll never forget this. One time I was on a airplane across from a couple and the woman was sitting nearest me. So the aisle was right here, she was sitting nearest me, a married couple, and he was sitting to the other side. And she was reading one of those steamy romance novels and the only reason I know that is because, well, I could see the cover and then, of course, when I got up to go to the restroom I didn't even need to go, but I'm obsessed with knowing what people are reading.
And so, obsessed. Absolutely obsessed with it, obsessed with it. When I go to the restroom in the plane I like to go to the very back and then walk up and I look at what everybody is reading. And I mean, I was, like, "Ah"! Oh, I mean, it was, like, that kind of a whoa, whoa. Well, I mean, she all but crawled in that book. I mean, I'm telling you, and I'm thinking, like, "Woman, your husband's sitting right next to you. Where are you"? Just to have our behind seated at the table of faith does not make us a diner. It's dining that makes us a diner. We can have every distraction, the silent treatment going, or we've got the narcissist that really didn't realize that it was about Jesus and not about them.
You know what I'm talking about? It's a beautiful thing in Revelation 3:20. The Greek word that is used, that's translated by the NAS as dine, really does mean dine. There are several Greek words that talk about having a meal of some kind and just eating. Those are very often other words. This is a word that means dinner. It means to eat the main meal of the day, the supper, or the dinner, in the gathering of people. It is a word that means and I'm reading now out of my Greek dictionary: "The chief meal of the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, taken at or towards evening, and often prolonged into the night. Usually an evening banquet or a feast in general".
So just like a real live meal. When it comes to dining with Jesus, there is no carry-out. There's no drive-thru. Those things are fine, those things are fine. We wanna do that, we wanna have that with Jesus. But do we dine with him? Do we make a practice of just pausing and taking the time at a table of fellowship with him and dining with him? Because that is where our joy is going to come, in the dining. Because what's happening to us is, I mean, all of us, if you open up most of our freezers, we've got us some frozen dinners going. But what Jesus has got is some frozen diners going. Anybody see what I'm saying to 'em? Where he's going, like, "Right, focus. Beth, focus. Focus".
Some of us are going, you know, "He's just not really doing a lot in my life. I mean, I don't really sense him really speaking into anything in my life". That's because we're not present in his presence. And we're just distracted with everything under the sun, everything under the sun. He's going, like, "Focus, focus. I'm right here". The happiest diners frequently eat at tables for many and tables for two. You and I and the church at large on the globe at this hour, we were called and are called to impact this world for the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we're not gonna be able to do it effectively if we're miserable. And because the world is so miserable, we're just miserable with it.
And our expectation has totally changed of what we truly can derive from a vivacious walk and vivacious dining with Jesus and the people of Jesus. Two different kinds of table. Do you often enough put yourself in a situation where you are dining with a group of people, and I'm talking about in spiritual terms. Do you have a church? Do you have a group of people that you can love him with? That you can laugh with? That you know that kind of fellowship? That you have that together in Christ? Do you have that? And most importantly for what we're talking about today, do you know what it's like, do I know what it's like, to sit at a table for two?
When I first got to know Keith, I can tell you where he had me. He had me the moment of our first date when it was time for him to take me back to my dorm and instead of letting me out of the car, he said to me, "Hey, would you want to go get a cup of coffee"? And we went and got coffee at a little diner that stayed open 24 hours, and we talked and talked late into the night. I fell in love with that man over a cup of coffee. I'm gonna tell you why. Because I knew anybody that would ask you to go get a cup of coffee after dinner is gonna be a good conversationalist.
I'm gonna tell you something, I'm into a good conversationalist. Words are my love language, and to just talk, for somebody be interested, to ask questions, to let you ask them questions, to talk across that table. I fell in love with that man right there. That's us at the table. Here's what happens with Jesus 'cause I asked him I said, "Lord, I need you to help me get something across that is very hard to explain until you have tasted it for yourself". Because I'm gonna try to explain to you, okay, what is it like to enjoy Jesus, that he can give you a joy in your heart and pleasure in your heart beyond what anybody with flesh and blood can do.
How do you explain that to somebody because you only know it after you've gotten a taste of it. So, sit here with me at the table. This is you, this is Jesus over here, and let's just walk through this together, is that fair? So, think in terms of this is early in the morning perhaps. This is when I like to do it. You do it when it's best for you but some time that you can actually tarry for a little while, not just hurry through everything, but try to just like sit down for a little while so you can soak it up.
So, we're gonna sit down with him and we're gonna remember he really is there. That is strategic because here's what we're doing. So often, and I love this. I mean, there is Bible study. We can leave God completely out of Bible study. I mean, we're still in his Word. It doesn't mean we're not getting anything, but we're just all studying it like this, studying it. He's going like, "Whoo-hoo, whoo-hoo". Reattach the Word of God to the mouth of God. It's one of the most important things we could ever learn to do in whetting our appetite.
What you and I are doing for the next few minutes is, how can we whet our appetite for dining with Jesus? One way is that we're not gonna separate the Word of God from the mouth of God. In other words, it's his, it's his. So, do you realize that he said to us at the very end of the gospel of Matthew, "And I am with you always. I will never leave you". He said, "I will never, ever forsake you. I will be with you". His Spirit dwells inside of us and he is with us. So, when I tried, listen, I've learned everything the hard way, everything the hard way. So, not one bit of this is said with any superiority because it all came hard to me, and I'll tell you some ways it came in a moment. But what I try to do, what my goal is, is that I'm aware every minute that I'm sitting there, that I'm sitting with him. I'm not just doing my discipline, there's a place for that, but that I'm dining, I have someone sitting on the other side of that table.
When I pray and talk out loud, I look up and I talk. No, I've never seen him. No, I've never heard him. I've never levitated off of my chair. My hair has never gone like straight up like this. Never done any of that, but I have been sure of his presence at times, not every day. I wish it was every day. I've tasted some things that I so live for, the things I want most in this world. I have tasted something I cannot get enough of, and that's what I'm after, over and over and over and over again. Sometimes I enter into that, and I am that aware of his presence and it seems like the veil has somehow thinned. Other times, you know, not a lot moves, except that I have just, I've been in his presence and I've been obedient to getting into his Word that morning. So, it's not always fireworks, but the awareness that he is there.
Now, I just want you to think in terms for a moment of the menu you have got in front of you because here just a few things, think in terms of genre with the Word of God that when you're gonna get in the Scriptures 'cause here's what you want. You want and I want a dialogue with Jesus, a dialogue. So, he's gonna speak to me through his Word and you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna talk back. I'm gonna discuss it with him. If I we're talking back to him about Exodus 24, I'd be all like, what'd they eat? And, you know, I asked a lot of questions. Not one time as he ever answered me out loud, but I think he loves for me to ask him. And sometimes I'll find out some answer down the road in my studies, but just talking, just talking.
So, think in terms of genres. Listen, what you have here. You got your history. You got your history narratives. I love narrative so much. You got law here, you've got the wisdom genre of Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and Job. You've got poetry out the ears. If you just want to read something like, "Jesus, listen, I know you've heard this before, Lord, but I'm just gonna read this. Listen, I know you want to hear this again". I mean, so I think he thrills and as reading back to him what's in his own Word. You got your psalms. You got your Song of Solomon if you're over 40. You've got your Lamentations, all right, and I want to talk to you about it because Lamentations, I'm not talking about the book. I'm talking about the practice of lamenting. I'm telling you that these are the things on the menu.
Sit with me on that. I'm gonna circle back to that in a moment. You've got prophecy on the menu. You've got apocalyptic literature on the menu. You've got the gospels, you've got the epistles. You've got so much color here. If you need more color than the Book of Acts, I don't even know what to do for you. I mean, so sometimes we get to order it up. Sometimes I just get in there and I just think, what do I want to read out of today? I think I'm gonna start, I think I'm just gonna read that first chapter of the gospel of Mark. Sometimes I'm ordering it up, other times Jesus is ordering it up. I really just feel very compelled that I want to read this particular portion. Sometimes it's preordered and by that I mean I might be in a Bible study. I might be in something where I've made a preorder in my menu.
Kelly Mentor's mom is here, and I love Kelly so much. And if you've done Ruth or any of her studies, you know what I'm talking about because you preordered the menu. Beautiful Thing. It's a beautiful thing. I think we think it's just flat, no dimension to it. Whatever you're going through, if it's all new to you, find someone who is seasoned in the Scriptures. Ask them, "How do I find this kind of thing"?
I want to talk about lament. One of our team members said something this morning that I felt so profound. He's had a very, very, very deep loss, someone extremely dear to our team that served with us for many years. And he said somebody very godly, very wise said to him recently as he was just checking in with him to see, "Am I grieving in a healthy way"? It's not that we do not grieve, it's that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. That's what the Scripture says. So, we just want to, "Do I see him on target to you"? And he said something to him that I think all of us need to hear and I don't think he would mind me saying it. A very godly man, very wise man said, "Just don't feel like you need to close that door quickly. Let it be open. Don't rush it. Let Jesus do the work. When you want to weep, weep. When you don't feel like weeping right then, don't feel guilty that you don't, don't".
Anybody getting this with me? Do you know that you can come, you can come to the table with Jesus and you can say out loud, "I don't know exactly where to look in this room, Lord, but I know you're here with me. And here's what I want to say to you, I don't have any idea what's going on. I am beside myself. I'm brokenhearted. I'm so disappointed, I don't know". Do you feel like you can lament? Because here's what I want to say to you, at the table open the door. He said, "I'm knocking, but I will not force my way in". What is it that's going on with you? Are you letting him into that?
For example, our sexuality, do you know one reason why we are so messed up sexually? Because we keep that door shut to Jesus. Like, "Man, I'm not letting him into that. Who, I'm not ever gonna talk. There's no way to talk to him about it". Are you kidding me? Open the door, "Lord, this is the mess I am in". Open the door to him in that medicine cabinet where you are so addicted to prescription drugs, you barely sober up long enough to read your Bible. Open it up. Jesus is knocking at the door, open it, open it. Are you being verbally abused by someone in your home? It is time you opened up that door and let some healing in, and got some wisdom from the Lord about who you are supposed to see and talk to begin to put an end to that kind of abuse in your home. Open the door. He's knocking, and he's knocking. Open up the door and let him in. Be present in his presence.
I want you to go back with me now to Revelation 3, and I want you to look with me at the context of the verse that is our theme verse for our series. Revelation chapter 3:14 through 22, this is a message to the seven churches. They were seven churches that were in existence. It was in real time for them then in that era, but, of course, we believe also it speaks prophetically that any one of these messages to the churches need to be heard by our churches today. One of the most stirring things that it says at the very beginning of the Book of Revelation is that Jesus is walking among the lampstands, that literally in our era of time in the era of the church, that he literally is like walking, walking in among the lampstands looking at the quality of the Jesus followers that make up the church.
Revelation 3:14, "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant with him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"
What Christ is zeroing in on, what he is calling them to account over is their self sufficiency. And let me tell you something, this is not, I'm right with you in this. I'm sitting right beside you. I cannot tell you how convicted I have been this week underneath this Word because I can't think of anything that would speak to us more in our prosperous part of the world than just pure self-sufficiency. And he's calling that out in the Laodiceans. And do you know that these people were so arrogant that after there was a huge earthquake in A.D. 60 and all these cities, so much of the city's surrounding Laodicea and so much of Laodicea was turned upside down that when the emperor proposed to help rebuild Laodicea, Laodicea would not receive what they would have considered in our terms today any kind of federal disaster relief aid, refused it.
"We're rich. We don't need you". That the the reference to them being naked probably has to do with the fact that they were a huge textile industry. Clothes and garments were huge to them. The reason why it talks about putting on white probably is because for the Laodiceans, one of their great markets was a very, very dark wool, a black wool, that they made tons and tons of money off of in their sales around the region, all of these. Do you know it's so interesting to me, ancient sources report a 1st century medical school located in Laodicea and an ear and an eye ointment that were made there, and a famous eye doctor that practiced there. All of this. Jesus is speaking straight into self-sufficiency, self-sufficiency, self-sufficiency.
Somebody's saying today, and I get this. Listen, I have rolled around in these passages all week long. Maybe you'll say to me, "I have not shut him out. I don't even, I don't even where he is. I haven't really sensed the nearness and closeness of Christ in years. I have not shut him out". We don't have to slam that door on purpose. All we have to do to shut the doors is, "We're just self-sufficient, doing fine without him". We don't have any idea that in our riches, we are the poorest of poor because we have lost our sense of need. "I need nothing".
I don't know that there's anything in the gospels that is more familiar to us in the teachings of Christ and the Beatitudes. I'll just throw out a couple to you that will be familiar to many. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". And we look at the end of that go, "How can they be blessed"? They're not blessed. How can they be blessed? I mean, as much as we could in one sentence to try to sum up what Jesus is saying in the Beatitudes because what he's all about is this, "Blessed are you if you need me". I want to say that again. "Blessed are you if you need me, because you know what? If you need me and want me, you can have me, you can have me. Blessed are the ones who need me".
There's nothing, we don't feel blessed being in our state of mourning. We don't feel blessed being in our state of need. But what it did for us is it put us in a position to know the reality of Jesus Christ. I'm gonna tell you, some of you who have been delivered, anybody just been delivered dramatically from something besides me? I mean, delivered dramatically. All our lives long we're kind of breaking free from something else. If you're like me, then I'll get I'll get rid of one thing and then I'm just like, how did this happen over here? Anybody like what? Well, I wasn't looking. I got all attached to this over here, I'm gonna have to deal with that. And but the big one, the big one that kept me in a lot of defeat, that one, praise God, has been broken.
And I'm gonna tell you something. I realized one time this is gonna sound, please, please don't hear arrogance in this. I cannot tell you what humiliation went into this process. Couldn't be anything further from arrogance, but I'll never forget when I was trying to just have a conversation with somebody I love so much about his belief system who had rejected Jesus. And he was telling me all of this of what, and I said, "Well, just try to tell me what you believe". And he would say, "Well, we believe, and we believe, and we believe, and we believe". And all the sudden it came to me that I knew what the difference was. I don't just believe, I don't. Listen, I know that's gonna fly in some of your faces. I need you to understand what I'm saying. No imaginary friend could have transformed my life the way Jesus has done.
There it is. I don't have a creative enough imagination for my imaginary friend to break me free of the bondage that was on my life. I don't just think, I don't just believe in Jesus, I know whom I've believed and then persuaded that he is able to keep what he has entrusted unto me until that day. The difference is, I know him. I know him personally. I know him personally. He was in my hotel room this morning. He was with you this morning. I know this personally. Here's what he knows, and I believe with all my heart this is what he's after. He's after you going to him and me going to him for what we need so that there we will discover that he is what we want. I need someone to go here with me today.
The reason why he says, "Come to me with your need, come to me with your need," first wave of it before you text or call anyone, "Come to me with your need. Bring it to me". Because no matter how prosperous we may be in this room, you know you have devastations, you know you have disappointments. You know, some of you in this room, I have been there, are so secretly miserable you do not know what to do. You would rather go anywhere then home to your marriage. Let's be honest before the Lord today 'cause he says, "You bring to me your need because when you get there and you learn bring it to me, and you learn to fellowship with me, you will find I am not just what you need. I am what you want more than anything in the entire world".
I want you to hear these words out of Matthew 13:44 through 46, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it". Do you know what he's saying over and over again? Kingdom of heaven is like finding a treasure over and over, finding a treasure.
The Book of Colossians says that in Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. There's no end to it. There's no end to it, the treasures. Because we get these moments, these just moments, these hidden treasures that just are these little glimpses of what we have waiting for us, not to the past, but to the future, something that says to you that feeling right there that is momentary and gone in an instant, I think maybe that is eternity set in my heart. This is the one with whom we dine. Jesus, who said, "Let there be light," and there was, who ordered the universe into existence out of nothing. "All present fellowship with God is a foretaste of eternal felicity".
Is anybody but me think felicity is just about the finest word ever? I'm gonna ask God to come and minister to us a little felicity in our misery. Life's hard enough, girls, it's hard enough. Lot of problems out there and we've got so much access to information that it's nearly killing us. I'm all about being informed. I want to be informed, but I'm gonna tell you something, there's gotta be a break somewhere, there's gotta be a break somewhere and it is time, it's time for us to say, "I want to know the pleasure of your presence. I want to know gladness. I'll even take a little bit of glee," Anybody?