Pastor Edgar Mayer;
For more sermons and other writings check out pastors homepage: http://www.geocities.com/mayeredgar
A member of our church was driving to a certain town. He was crossing a bridge when he felt an inner urging an unexplainable burden to turn back, make time and visit someone on an outlying farm. He came just in time to prevent a suicide. Another member of our church a young woman drove up the range to Toowoomba when the gearbox of her car broke down which left her stranded on the highway just around a dangerous bend. Not knowing what to do she got out of the car. Confused and upset she didnt quite realize how big trucks were braking and swerving to avoid hitting her. Just then still another member of our church our evangelist David Challenor and a friend also came up the range, recognized the trouble she was in, stopped and came to her rescue. They saved her from the oncoming traffice and because they were strong men they were able to push the car uphill out of the way. Was this just a coincidence? Was it just lucky that the right people came at the right time? Was the inner urging or unexplainable burden which made the other man turn his car and rescue a farmer from self-harm was this also simply good fortune or could it be that someone else God himself had a hand in setting up these meetings?
In the same way could it be that you yourself are not here in this building listening to this message by accident? Could it be that God is setting up a meeting with you? On the surface you may be here because your parents made you come or you could not refuse a friend or maybe you are curious about church or whatever reason. Yet, could it be that the real reason that you are here is because God loves you and he made the circumstances conspire to get you here because he wants to meet you set you up for an encounter with him.
According to the Bible this is how God
works. A man he was called Philip
told his brother Nathaniel that they
found the promised Saviour John 1:45 I read from the Bible:
We have found the one
Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Yet,
the brother was skeptical, saying John 1:46:
At another time a short man was desperate to see Jesus and therefore he climbed up a tree to see over the heads of other people and see Jesus walking by. Then this happened Luke 19:5: When Jesus reached the spot [where the desperate man was], he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay in your house today. Jesus behaviour leaves us in no doubt. The meeting was arranged. Jesus knew beforehand when to stop and look up. He knew the mans name even though they had not been introduced and he knew that he needed to stay in his house for the night. God had set up an encounter which ended with Jesus saying to Zacchaeus Luke 19:9: Today salvation has come to this house For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Therefore, I encourage you: Pay attention to what may look like a coincidence. It may be God setting up a meeting with you.
A most radical version of what God is doing here is found in the Bible chapter of Acts 10. For the next six messages we will stay with this one Bible chapter because it records the conversion of Cornelius the first believer outside of Gods nation Israel and therefore this Bible account is foundational in character (the good news had to be explained to him from scratch) well suited to be foundational for us. We will learn a lot about what it means to become and be a Christian. But for now as an introduction notice how once again the meeting was arranged. God is calling you.
I read from the Bible Acts 10:1-6: At
Angels and demons are real and in this instance God made an angel appear to Cornelius in a vision and had this angel convey instructions to Cornelius which set him up to meet a man by the name of Peter and hear the preaching of this man Peter. However, this was not all. I read a few more verses Acts 10:9-23: About the following day Peter [in Joppa] went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance [and I skip now what he saw precisely except to say that the punchline was this:] The voice [from heaven] spoke to him a second time, Do not call anything impure that God has made clean. This happened three times While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simons house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.
Not only did Cornelius see an angel and
get instructions from an angel, Peter
while fasting and praying fell into a
trance, saw a vision and heard a voice from heaven. Then, the Spirit impressed
on him (maybe this time it was an inner voice) that three men were looking for him and he should go with them. Even
Christians today have these experiences of trances, seeing visions, hearing God
audibly (for instance, one our members and even a Lutheran pastor
colleague) and receiving impressions by
the Holy Spirit. And the Bible encourages all of us 1 Corinthians 14:1:
eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy [in
all of its various manifestations]. Therefore,
you can also have these experiences. In fact, God wants to communicate with you
through these channels. However, in the account of Cornelius God was pulling
out all stops compounded the prophetic experiences to ensure that everyone knew that he was behind this encounter which
would break new ground. Even people outside Gods nation
God did not save Cornelius by accident and he is not offering you salvation in some sort of chance encounter a fluke meeting. God knows you and he is making an effort in arranging a meeting with you that you may hear the good news of his Son Jesus Christ. Anticipate something worthy of God for you. Amen.