Genesis 072 – Make Me A Servant

Genesis 072 – Make Me A Servant
Genesis 18:1-8 • Dr. Andy Woods • March 6, 2022 • Genesis


Genesis 072 – Make Me a Servant

By Dr. Andy Woods – 03/06/2022

Genesis 18:1-8

Alright! Well, good morning everybody. Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the book of Genesis chapter 18. The title of our message this morning is “Make Me a Servant”. I think there’s actually a Christian song isn’t there? Make me a servant? So I’m going to sing that for you at this time, no! I won’t subject you to that but if you’re visiting with us for the first time we are continuing our verse by verse study through the book of Genesis,


    1. Beginning of the Human race (Gen. 1‒11)
    2. Beginning of the Hebrew race (Gen. 12‒50)
    1. Genesis 1-11 (four events)
      1. Creation (1-2)
      2. Fall (3-5)
      3. Flood (6-9)
      4. National dispersion (10-11)
    1. Genesis 12-50 (four people)
      1. Abraham (12:1–25:11)
      2. Isaac (25:12–26:35)
      3. Jacob (27–36)
      4. Joseph (37–50)

having completed chapters 1 through 11, which deals with four events: Creation, fall, flood, national dispersion. But the most important thing is that beginning in Genesis, 3, right after man fell, God introduces a plan of redemption. Through a savior that’s coming and once you get to Genesis, 12, through the end of the book, the tension is now through what nation is the savior going to be born and the book of Genesis carefully documents the fact that it is through the nation of Israel that Jesus is coming to the earth and so Genesis, 12, begins God’s work of a new nation, how He started that nation and then later on in the Joseph story, towards the end of the book, preserved that nation, the nation of Israel, and so He started this nation through the walk of faith through a man named Abraham and he is the one that we have been carefully looking at these past several weeks and we’re now in a section of the life of Abraham dealing with the Sodom and Gomorrah story.

Genesis, 12‒16 – Abram’s Early Journeys

    1. Unconditional promises (Gen 12:1-3)
    2. From Haran to Canaan (Gen 12:4-5)
    3. In Canaan (Gen 12:6-9)
    4. In Egypt (Gen 12:10-20)
    5. Abram and Lot Separate (Gen 13:1-13)
    6. Reaffirmation of Abram’s promises (Gen 13:14-18)
    7. Abram Rescues Lot (Gen 14:1-24)
    8. Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 15:1-21)
    9. Hagar & Ishmael (Gen 16:1-16)
    10. Circumcision (Gen 17:1-27)
    11. Sodom & Gomorrah (Gen 18-19)

Genesis, 18, and 19 and so we can divide up these chapters as follows:

Genesis 18‒19 – Sodom & Gomorrah

      1. Visitation (18:1-15)
      2. Prediction (18:16-33)
      3. Destruction (19:1-38)

There’s a visitation, verses 1 through 15 (Gen 18:1-15) and then there’s a prediction concerning Sodom’s destruction, verses 16 through 33 (18:16-33) and then chapter 19 is a description of the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. So don’t panic, no fire and brimstone today. That’s coming, you won’t be disappointed. We’re going to be having a fireside chat a little later and we will supply the fire. But what you have really at the beginning of this whole fascinating historical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a divine visitation.

  1. Visitation – Genesis 18:1-15
      1. Hosting (Gen 18:1-8)
      2. Promise of Isaac (Gen 18:9-15)

There’s a hosting, verses 1 through 8 (Gen 18:1-8) which is as far as we’ll get today and then there’s the promise repeated of Isaac and how he’s coming into the world in God’s timing. 3:43

So we look here at the hosting and you’ll notice our outline.

  1. Hosting – Genesis 18:1-8
    1. The appearance (Gen 18:1)
    2. The invitation (Gen 18:2-5a)
    3. The acceptance (Gen 18:5b)
    4. The hospitality (Gen 18:6-8)

We have an appearance, an invitation, an acceptance and then some tremendous hospitality. Notice first of all Genesis, 18, verse 1 (Gen 18:1) and notice the appearance. It says: Now the LORD appeared to him… That would be Abraham… by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day… You’ll notice the geographical reference to the oaks of Mamre. I think these little geographical markers are put in here to show us that these things actually happened. This is not like reading “Jack and the Beanstalk” or some of your favorite fantasy, these are real people, real places, real events, real places of geography and in fact, the Lord himself is going to use the Sodom and Gomorrah story in Matthew, 24, to give us major, major clues or hints of what the world will be like at the end of the age. It says: Now the Lord appeared to him… That would be Abraham. This chart here or quote here shows you the seven times God appeared to Abraham and spoke to him and we are now on number six.

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum – The Book of Genesis, 240

“This is the first of seven times that Abraham receives a direct revelation from God. In 12:1–3 is God’s initial call to Abram outside the Land of Canaan; in 12:7 is the first appearance to Abraham in the Land; in 13:14–17, Abraham encounters God after the separation of Lot; in 15:1–21, God signs and seals the Abrahamic Covenant; in 17:1–21, Abraham receives the token of the covenant; in 18:1–33, God speaks to him in conjunction with the destruction of Sodom; and in 22:1–2 and 22:11–18, God directs Abraham to offer Isaac.”

This is the sixth time God appeared to Abraham. The occasion of all of this, verse 1, is Abraham sat in the tent door in the cool of the day. Sitting in the tent door probably means that Abraham still recognized that he was a nomad a sojourner, because he had been given the promise of the land in the Abrahamic Covenant, but that promise was far from being executed, because many, many Canaanite city states and people groups still dwelt in the land and when Abraham died the only piece of real estate in that land that he owned was a cave, Machpelah in Hebron where he buried his wife Sarah and Abraham also was buried. So Abraham lived his entire life never realizing or gaining the promises that God had given him. He had to walk completely and totally by faith for him to believe that these things are true and that’s why Abraham is such a pivotal character for us. It’s a description of the development of his faith as he walked with God, which is the same trajectory that we are on. So he’s sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day and that was the time, most probably, when the main meal was eaten in the traditions of the Middle East and he’s thinking about food obviously and what follows from this appearance is an invitation. 7:23

  1. Hosting – Genesis 18:1-8
  2. The appearance (Gen 18:1)
  3. The invitation (Gen 18:2-5a)
  4. The acceptance (Gen 18:5b)
  5. The hospitality (Gen 18:6-8)

So let’s take it from verse 2 and let’s go all the way through verse 5 (Gen 18:2-5) and then come back and make a few comments. It says: When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said… So verse 2, he lifts up his eyes and also in verse 2 he sees three men. Now, two of these men we believe are angels, because when you look at Genesis, 18, verse 22 (Gen 18:22) a little later on in the chapter. It says: Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom and then when you look at the very first verse of the next chapter it tells you who these two men were. Genesis, 19, verse 1 (Gen 19:1) says: Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in Sodom in the gate of Sodom… So two of these men are obviously angels, angelic beings, Abraham, I don’t think knew they were angels, maybe he did, but there’s no indication that he knew one way or the other, immediately in the text. So two of them are angels, well who’s the third one? Well, as we go through this, I’m going to try to make the case that the third angel is someone that we call “The angel of the Lord” meaning he was a… the fancy name for this is a theophany or a Christophany, or a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. There are many times in the Bible where Jesus Christ before the manger, before the incarnation, shows up in the Old Testament and it’s a fascinating study to go through all of the passages that could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ. One of the best little books that you can read on this if you’re interested is the book by Dr. Ron Rhodes of reasoning through the scripture’s ministries and the title of his little book is “Christ Before the Manger”. So I can’t, you know, unload the dump truck exegetically, right now but as we progress through these chapters I’ll say there’s a clue and there’s another clue and there’s another clue, etc… that one of these angels is most likely Jesus Christ himself in pre-incarnate form. You’ll also notice in verse 2, that Abraham ran to meet them at the tent door. So there’s some urgency in what Abraham is doing here and it says, he bowed down. Now, it is interesting and this may not be the strongest evidence but, it is interesting that when an ordinary angel is worshiped, they have a tendency to not like it. John the apostle at the end of his little epistle in 1st John, 5, I think it’s verse 21 (1 John 5:21) says: Little children keep yourselves from idols and I always find a little bit of humor in that because John after he wrote that didn’t follow its own instructions and he became a tremendous idolater, because he received from an angel, first to the Lord to an angel to John, the book of Revelation on the island of Patmos at the end of the first century, and John was so overwhelmed by what he had received, he started to worship the angel and the angel two times tells him to knock it off. Revelation, 19, verse 10 (Rev 19:10) says: And I fell at his feet to worship him but he said to me do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren who hold to the testimony of Jesus worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy… And you would think John would have learned his lesson but he does the exact same thing a few chapters later. This is the same guy that said, little children keep yourselves from idols. It says in Revelation, 22:8-9 (Rev 22:8-9): I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he… That’s the angel… said to me, Do not do that for I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God… Very important lesson for us in all of that is not to worship an intermediary or an agent that God happens to use, because God uses all of us in different ways and many times when people receive a blessing from you, because God has used you, people will pour out onto you all of these adulations, most of which you don’t deserve and I don’t deserve and whenever people pour out on me a bunch of adulations, I always say to myself, if you knew me like I know me, you probably wouldn’t have a single kind word to say to me, because at the end of the day none of us are here to attract attention to ourselves. We are as the angels said, just fellow servants and the very best practice to get into when people want to elevate you to a level that’s inappropriate, you know, the ministry is a very peculiar place, it’s the only profession I know of where you can go from being a fourth member of the Trinity to the antichrist’s brother in law in less than twelve hours and so the very people that praise you, they’ll turn on you in a second, that’s just how it goes, but when they praise you, you know, the appropriate thing is just say, well, praise God. You know, deflect attention back to where it goes. That’s what these angels are doing with John in the book of Revelation and the fact that one of these angels doesn’t do that, may be a clue that this angel is not just an ordinary angel. Maybe this is the angel of the Lord, a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. 15:05

If you look at verse 3 (Gen 18:3) he says: and said my Lord… Now, that’s the Hebrew word Adonai, which is used of God. So that may be another clue that one of these angels is not just an angel. Jesus Christ himself said something very interesting in John, 8. In John, 8 Jesus in verse 56 (John 8:56) said to the Pharisees: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and was glad… Verse 57 (John 8:57) says: So the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?… Who lived of course two thousand years before Jesus made that statement. Jesus said to them: Truly, truly I say to you before Abraham was born I am… And when he used that expression “I am”, he was claiming a divine title for himself, because when God dealt with Moses and Moses said who shall I say, sent me. God just said to Moses you tell everybody, you tell pharaoh that I am sent you, Exodus, 3, verse 14 (Exo 3:14) and when Jesus took that divine title and applied it to himself, he was claiming to be God. My own mother was raised in a home where she was told that Jesus was a good moral philosopher and a wonderful teacher, but He never claimed to be God and when my mother has recounted that to me, I just sorrow because that is nothing more than brainwashing. I mean, if you’re told that over and over again as a little child I guess you believe it until you read the Bible. I mean, there’s absolutely no doubt that Jesus claimed to be God in human flesh and the Pharisees themselves knew exactly what He was talking about, because verse 59 says, very last verse of John 8 (John 8:59): Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple… To them, He had committed blasphemy because the book of Leviticus chapter 24, and verse 16 (Lev 24:16) says of a mere man claims to be God, he is to be stoned to death on the spot… And they knew what He was saying and they picked up stones to kill him and it wasn’t His time to die, because He was supposed to be pierced according to prophecy. Not stoned to death and He miraculously, providentially escaped through the crowds and when Jesus makes a statement to them before Abraham was I am, I think, He might be referring to this story here in Genesis, 18. Abraham was glad to see Christ’s day in his preincarnate form because of the tremendous hospitality that Abraham in this paragraph here extends not only towards two angels but the angel of the Lord, who could be Jesus Christ. 18:42

If you look at verse 3 (Gen 18:3) you have the basis of the request for hospitality as Abraham seeks to exercise hospitality. He says: If I have already found favor in your sight… Verse 3, which is a very interesting question: how do you gain God’s favor? Abraham says, if I found favor in your sight, well that’s an interesting idea. How do you gain God’s favor? And you know what? There’s only one way to gain it. The only way to have God’s favor is to have applied to your life at the point of faith alone in Christ alone is the righteousness of Jesus. Philippians chapter 3, and verse 9 (Phil 3:9), Paul explains why he had favor with God. He says: and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law… Does that describe you here today? Do you think you have right standing before God because of some sort of effort on your part? That won’t ever gain you favor with God. Paul says: but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith… What gives a person a favor with God is not self-righteousness. What gives a person a favor with God is transferred righteousness, where righteousness that is foreign to you, alien to you is transferred to your account, to your position, the moment you trust Christ and if you have that, you have the favor with God. Abraham had it, because back in Genesis, 15, verse 6 (Gen 15:6), it says: Abraham believed GOD; and it was credited for him for righteousness. God took the righteousness of His Son, through His death wouldn’t be paid for two thousand years. But God gave this to Abram on credit and He transferred to him at the point of faith the righteousness of God and now God could look at Abraham as if he was just as righteous as Jesus Christ; and if you have trusted in what Jesus has done for you then God looks at you the same way. He looks at you as if you’re just as righteous as His Son and you say, well pastor, I fall short of that. Well, welcome to the club, we all do. But that’s why it’s called alien righteousness. Foreign righteousness. A righteousness that doesn’t come through the law or through any form of obedience but it is transferred to us at the point of faith, the great doctrine, this emphasizes a doctrine called imputation or transfer. I don’t know about you but in that day, I have no intention of standing before God with my own self-righteousness, which at the end of the day is probably not worth an awful lot to begin with. I plan on standing before God through the righteousness not my own that has been transferred to me at the point of faith alone in Christ alone; and so, as Abram is wondering if I found favor in your sight, the answer is you already have the favor, because of imputation and transferred righteousness and then he makes a request. 22:47

You see the requests there in verse 3 (Gen 18:3): Please do not pass your servant by… And then as you go into verse 4 (Gen 18:4) he actually offers God rest. Think about that. Offering God rest. You see that there in verse 4: Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree… That’s absolutely fascinating to me, that Abraham was so in touch with God that he is actually offering God rest. When it’s actually God that offers humanity rest, did you know that? Did you know that the great offer of Jesus Christ himself is to offer people rest? It’s right there in the gospel of Matthew, it’s in chapter 11, verses 28 through 30 (Matt 11:28-30), He says: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden… Now, that does describe anybody? And I will make your life so miserable that, you know, you’ll be unhappy the rest of your life, doesn’t say that… And I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light… And how the people in the 1st century ministry of Jesus needed to hear that, because they were laboring under Pharisaical religiosity. The Pharisees had rules and regulations beyond the 613 commandments of Moses, as if those aren’t onerous enough, they had laid upon them something called the Talmud. Eventually there’d be two, one from Babylon where they were taken into captivity and one in the land of Israel, two sets of regulations and then they had to put on top of them the Mishnah and I had to read some of these documents, as I was going through seminary, and I just have to be honest with you, reading through them was just an emotionally exhausting experience. Telling them what they had to do, what they had to stay away from, on and on and on in pages so numerous, it almost looks like the IRS tax code and the Pharisees, of course, prided themselves on having kept all of it, yeah right, and Jesus in the midst of all of that religiosity gives an offer that was no doubt revolutionary in their thinking, the offer of rest and so in our religious world where you’re always told to do this or to do that or to try harder or to be better, comes the offer of Jesus Christ Himself where he says I’ll give you rest. Learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 26:16

You move on into verse 5 and there’s the offer of food, after all it was the meal time. He says there in verse 5 (Gen 18:5): I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves… And then it’s all concluded there in verse 5:  after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant… So here’s a tremendous invitation that Abraham gives to these three men, two of which happened to be angels, one of which is most likely the angel of the Lord and that moves into an acceptance. You have an appearance, an invitation and an acceptance and you see that at the end of verse 5 it says: They said, So do, as you have said… In other words, we accept your hospitality. We accept your invitation. It’s interesting to me that if one of these angels is the Angel of the Lord, God Himself, it’s interesting to me how God Himself does not break down the door. The Sodomites in Genesis, 19 are going to break down the door. They’re going to force their will whether people want it or not. God is not that way. God is a gentleman. If a human being closes their mind to the things of God, I think God, to a large extent will convict them, agitate them till their dying day but if people don’t want God, you know, at the end of the day, you know, God says, I respect your decision, I won’t bother you anymore. Why is that? It has to do with how God has manufactured us as image bearers. Genesis, 1, verse 27 (Gen 1:27) of humanity says: God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him male and female… Notice both genders and by the way, I only see two genders here. Both genders have equal worth before God as image bearers of God and you say, well, this was pre-fall. Didn’t the fall of man change this? The fall of man changed a lot of things. But man and woman’s image bearing status continues, because in Genesis, 9, verse 6 (Gen 9:6) just prior to the global flood, God says whoever sheds man’s blood by man his blood shall be shed for in the image of God he made man… Aha! The image bearing status continues post-fall. In fact, this image bearing status continues on into the New Testament. It’s the basis of James’ whole exhortation to tame the tongue. I wish the Bible were relevant, tame the tongue. James, 3, verse 9 (James 3:9) says: With it… That’s the tongue, that’s the two by two slab of mucous membrane between our gums… With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God… You unleash your tongue on a person, you’re unleashing your tongue on a being that bears God’s image. Now, that statement is made not just post fall, post flood, that’s in the church age now and so the fall of man has effaced perhaps our image bearing status but it has not erased it and one of the things that God has given us as image bearers of God is volition. It probably is the most potent power that you possess and it’s the capacity to choose. Why do we have that? Because we’re made in God’s image and God himself possesses volition. So God, when He saves someone, does not override their will. Many systems of theology, soteriology, most of it coming from reformed theology will completely reject and discard what I’m saying here. You’re saved and God crashes into your life whether you want it or not. I’m not seeing that in the Bible. I’m not even seeing the angel of the Lord coming into the tent until he was invited in; and so, if a person doesn’t want God and spends their life rejecting God, eventually God gives them what they want. The most potent power that you possess is choice and the smartest thing you can do with choice is to give your will right back to God. There’s nothing wiser than that. Jesus, the God man of course, role modeled this for us, when He said over and over again not my will but what? But thy will be done. Jesus, all of the time took His own will and surrendered it back to God the father and whether it’s salvation or in the life of a Christian where God is convicting us of something in our lives it needs to change via progressive sanctification, we always have a will and a choice and all of these things and the best thing a human being can do, a Christian walking through the process of progressive sanctification or a lost sinner who needs to be saved, is to take that will that they have and to give it right back to the Lord. Not my will be done Lord, thy will be done and that’s the difference between two different destinies. People that are here to execute their own will versus people that wisely take their own will and submit it and surrender it back to God, the Father. That’s the difference between the fallen and the unfallen angels. This is what Lucifer did when he said in the book of Isaiah, 14, five times he said, I will, and how foolish that is because God respects the choice and with the choice come with consequences. With Lucifer’s case, we’re dealing with eternal consequences. But God at the end of the day respected the choice and it’s the same with us and so I find it very interesting that the angel of the Lord with the two angels waits outside the tent and doesn’t come into the tent until invited in and once invited in, watch the hospitality of Abraham. 33:55

Notice if you will verse 6 (Gen 18:6): So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes… You notice the first person he runs to is his wife. You know, people ask me frequently. How do you do all this stuff in ministry? And the answer is I have a secret weapon. My secret weapon is my wife. You know, if I did not have my wife laboring alongside of me in all of these different ministries, I would be able to accomplish in my life for God very, very little. You know, marriage is a wonderful thing. I think marriage, if it’s not working well, could probably be closest to hell as you can get on earth. But if it is working well and the principles of God are exhibited in one’s marriage I do believe that marriage is probably the closest thing that you can get to heaven on earth, because in marriage there’s something called synergy, where the sum is greater than the individual parts. When the individual parts come together they form this whole, and the whole is greater than the individual parts by themselves. I think, that’s why our relationship to the Lord is analogized to bride and groom. I think that’s why there’s so much in the Bible about marriage and God’s design for marriage and instructions, you know, for husbands and wives and children within that family, marital unit and so it’s interesting to me as Abraham is exercising hospitality to the angel of the Lord to God in pre incarnate form, the husband and wife together are involved in this. Verse 6: and He said, quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour… Now, all the commentators will tell you that three measures is a very large quantity. In other words, it’s a quantity that’s far larger for the needs of three people.

  1. Hosting – Genesis 18:1-8
  2. The appearance (Gen 18:1)
  3. The invitation (Gen 18:2-5a)
  4. The acceptance (Gen 18:5b)
  5. The hospitality (Gen 18:6-8)

So the point is Abraham when he exercised hospitality to two angels and to God Himself, not knowing who they were, went far above and beyond the minimum requirements of hospitality. He went over that bar but then he went way up in terms of working overtime to see that all of their needs were met and now, we start to see the meaning of Hebrews chapter 13, verse 2 (Heb 13:2), which says: Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it… I think Hebrews, 13, verse 2, is talking about this story here that we’re reading about. You know, it’s interesting that you can be kind to somebody that’s sort of a social misfit, someone that’s irritating, someone that’s not part of the beautiful club circles and you can exercise kindness to them and basic respect to them and hospitality to them and you might even be doing that to an angel. Not even aware of what’s going on and yet God in heaven is keeping a record of those things and how we need in the body of Christ today the exercising of the gift of hospitality. It’s one of the spiritual gifts, you know. 1st Peter chapter 4, and verse 9 (1 Pet 4:9) says: Be hospitable to one another without complaint… Romans, 12, and verse 13 (Rom 12:13) says: Contributing to the needs of the saints practicing hospitality… 38:49

About the age 22, as I graduated from college, of course, at that age I thought I knew everything. I thought I knew Christianity and God says, okay! Now we’re going to teach you about true Christianity and I became a short term missionary in the Philippines for about four weeks. It fit me perfectly because it was a basketball ministry. The Filipinos love basketball and how Michael Jordan is treated over here I was treated over there and they hadn’t quite seen someone my size and we would attract to basketball games probably about two thousand people in these little tiny villages and we would give the gospel at halftime and it was wonderful seeing so many people through that medium come to Christ. But what was more of a lesson for me, was the churches that we stayed in, as we played these different basketball games, sometimes three times a day and to watch the churches labor alongside of us, taking our jerseys, taking our underwear, taking everything that goes into athletics and washing them by hand and doing it in venue after venue after venue after venue, feeding us. You start to see a level of Christianity in other parts of the world that I’m embarrassed to say really don’t exist here in the United States. I thought I knew a little bit about the gift of hospitality until I started to experience some of this for about a month or so over, I think it would be summer of 1989. I do remember one thing very clearly. I remember that for a lot of different circumstances, myself and a few others were late to a basketball game. The transportation had left and I remember this little Filipino man in his very rickety mode of transportation driving us for what seemed to be two and a half hours to get us where we needed to be and the terrain, you know, the dilapidated roads and him driving and sacrificing his time and I remember saying to him when it was all said and done and we had arrived at our destination I, you know, I said, I just want to thank you for sacrificing and going so far out of your way to help us, and his response was something I’ve never forgotten. He said no! I want to thank you for giving me the chance to serve the Lord today. I was looking at it from an American perspective. Look at the inconvenience, look at the irritation, you know, that we had caused this gentleman and he didn’t look at it as irritation or inconvenience at all. He looked at it as an opportunity for hospitality. He looked at it as a privilege and that’s the type of thing that you see here emulating, oozing from Abram’s, now Abraham’s, life. He gives some instructions, knead the cakes, etc… and then you get to verse 7 and you see Abraham becoming involved. It says in verse 7 (Gen 18:7): Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf… Abraham himself chose and slaughtered the best calf. Abraham gave unto the Lord the very best, without even realizing it was the Lord. 43:29

Malachi chapter 1, and verse 8 (Mal 1:8) condemns the priests of Malachi’s day who are doing the opposite. Malachi, 1, verse 8 (Mal 1:8) says: But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? Or when you present a lame or sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor… I mean, God says you’re going to treat me this way, you might as well give it to your politicians. Would He be pleased with you? Or would He receive you kindly? Says the Lord of hosts. I mean, you’re treating me unlike you would treat your own governor. Your own governor wouldn’t accept this and this is how you treat me. You know, being at Sugar Land Bible Church for a number of years, you get a lot of phone calls from people and basically what they want to do is they want to use the church sort of as an antiquing situation, where they want to get rid of something, get rid of the table get rid of a bookcase, get rid of a lamp. You know, what are we going to do with it? Let’s call the church up and see if they want it and they kind of act like they’re doing us a favor by giving us stuff they don’t want. Wouldn’t it be interesting if people came to us and said you know we just bought the very, very best of something and the Lord has convicted us that it’s not to be for us but we’re going to donate that to the church. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a phone call like that and if you know somebody like that maybe you could give me their phone number, because it’s just sort of a mindset we have in the United States that God kind of gets the extras. You know, a lot of people are like that with church attendance, yeah! I’ll show up as long as there’s nothing else major going on, I’ve got sports, I’ve got entertainment, I’ve got relatives, I’ve got this and I’ve got that, and assuming there’s a break in my schedule yeah, I’ll show up to the church and so you start to see people you know once a month, once every two weeks and I’m not looking at anybody as I’m saying it, speaking out loud and I’ve been like that myself at times, but the difference now is I get paid to show up to church and so… People say are you going to church Sunday? And I said yeah! I get paid to be good. Everyone else is good for nothing, right? But wouldn’t be interesting if we completely changed our vantage point in all of this and just gave God the very, very best. No matter what area and that’s what you see Abraham manifesting here. He is taking the role of a servant and as you look at the second part there of verse 7 (Gen 18:7) it says: He gave it to the servants and he hurried to prepare it… You see the servant’s role. 46:52

Then you go down into verse 8 (Gen 18:8) it says: He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate… Abraham is preparing the very best. He’s functioning as a servant. I guess Abraham could have pulled rank and said, don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know that God has spoken to me personally six times? Don’t you know that I am the recipient of the Abrahamic Covenant? Don’t you know that God a few chapters earlier has declared me righteous? See, it’s very easy to develop that mindset as you kind of work your way up the ecclesiastical hierarchy. It’s very easy to forget that the only reason that you’re in that position is to serve other people. All a promotion is, is a greater opportunity for service and you say, well, do we have any role models in that? And do we ever. One is the person of Jesus Christ. The ultimate role model. Jesus said, calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them you know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles, lord it over them and the great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you. Whoever wishes to become great among you, shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first, should be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served. But to serve… How? And to give His life as a ransom for many… I mean, if there is anything that patterns and characterizes and describes the life of Jesus Christ, it’s a servant’s role, it’s not a haughty spirit, it’s not pulling rank. It’s the capacity to give oneself away. Paul the apostle talks about the exact same thing in that famous Philippians, 2, verses 4, through 8 (Phil 2:4-8) passage, the kenosis passage, meaning the emptying of God and it says there: Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others… Every time I read that it knocks me square in the eyes. Slaps me upside the head, because it’s the exact opposite of how I am. I mean, I am very, very good at looking out for my own interests. I’m very good at getting enough food, as you can see. I’m very good at getting enough rest. I’m very good at scheduling vacations. I’m very good at looking out for number one. I’m very good at planning for my future. I’m not so good at looking out for the interests of others above my own. In fact, the world system will give you no role model for this with very few exceptions and yet the Bible gives you Jesus as an example. Having this attitude… See? It’s an attitude issue… In yourselves which also was in Christ Jesus who although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself… That’s where Kenosis comes from, the emptying of God… taking the form of a bond servant being made in human likeness, being found in the appearance of a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross… That’s why I’ve entitled this “Lord, make me a servant”. Change the way I think about things. Help me to get myself off the throne and be more focused on God, be more focused on the needs of others. 51:46

You notice the position of Abraham? It’s at the very end of verse 8 (Gen 18:8), it says: he was standing by them under the tree… So, he looks like outside the tent under the tree and the commentators will tell you that’s a sign of respect. I mean, you don’t see a man here pulling rank, ordering people around and how does all of this conclude? Right there in verse 8 (Gen 18:8). It just says: as they ate… God ate. Angels, if I’m understanding this correctly, ate. Angels are consuming food, which means they have a digestive tract, which means they have a capacity to eliminate waste, which means for men they have the gland, this is not a sex ed. course, necessary to eliminate waste. Well, Gee pastor, what in the world are you talking about? Why would you go into that? Well, the reason I’m going into it, is you might recall from Genesis, 6, verses 1 through 4 (Gen 6:1-4), when we were in that passage about a hundred years ago, there is a big debate about the sons of God and the daughters of men, remember that? I mean, who are these sons of God? At the time, I tried to argue that they were angels.

They’re angels procreating with human women to stop the lineage leading to Jesus. There’s an intentional manipulation of the genetics of the human race happening in Genesis, 6, and it’s a controversial view, because on one side of the screen, you see all of the very reputable commentators that say this passage has nothing to do with angels and on the other side of the screen you see some very reputable commentators that say this passage has everything to do with angels and one of the arguments that people use is angels are spirits. What are you talking about? An angel procreating with a human woman? A fallen angel procreating with a human woman? Haven’t you read Hebrews, 1, verse 14 (Heb 1:14)? Which says, are they not all ministering spirits of angels? Sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? Angels are spirits, you can’t have a fallen angel procreating with a human woman in Genesis, 6, and it’s so interesting how people choose to approach the Bible. They want to go off to Hebrews, they want to go off to Matthew, 22, verse 30, and I don’t think that’s how to approach God’s word. 54:51

This chart comes from one of our professors at Chafer Theological Seminary and as you know, we’re having our conference this week and he says look, when you identify a word or a concept in the Bible, look first at that inner circle, the immediate context and then stay with the same book as you move outward in the circles and only if you’ve exhausted that, can you go to outside books and outside authors in the Bible and if people with Genesis, 6, would just stay patient enough with the Bible to get to Genesis, 18, they would have their answer to this contention that an angel cannot have a sexual relationship with a human woman, because angels are spirits, of course angels are spirits, we all agree with that. But as you’re seeing right here in the passage, angels have an ability to take on human form. Some of you have entertained angels unaware. They have a capacity to eat, they have a capacity to digest food, they have a capacity to eliminate waste. So why doubt that a fallen angel or angels procreated with human women in Genesis, 6? You know, there’s so much bad Bible interpretation going on today where people don’t follow this simple chart. They run everywhere else in the Bible to define what something means in the Bible when God is saying follow proper Bible study methodology, stay with the chapter, stay with the book, stay with the same author and as you’re working your way through problems in the Bible, you’ll come out on the correct side of so many issues, just by following the fundamentals. I love how this ends with Abram and Sarah eating with God. You know, when you study this out and this could turn into a five year sermon series right here. Fellowship with God around food, research it. You wouldn’t believe how frequently the Bible mentions this topic. It will be done at Mount Sinai with the Mosaic Covenant. Exodus, 24, verse 11 following the giving of the covenant at Sinai.

What does it say? It says they ate and drank. I mean, God discloses Himself, gives to Moses the Mosaic Covenant and they just fellowship around a meal. The same thing is going to happen in Genesis, 26, verses 28 through 30 (Gen 26:28-30) in one of the other patriarchs reconfirming the Abrahamic Covenant and it will say in Genesis, 26, verse 30 (Gen 26:30) then he made them a feast and they ate and drank and isn’t that what we just celebrated at the Lord’s table? I mean, didn’t Jesus himself in the upper room inaugurate a meal or a feast? Fellowship with God is identified with sitting and dining with God. I don’t mean to be too down on western Christianity, but my goodness how we have lost this idea in North America, because it’s fast food, throw it down, get it done, move on with your schedule and that’s not the way the ancient Near East worked. You ate with someone, that was fellowship. 59:14

This is why Jesus, to the church at Laodicea, the worst of the worst, said in Revelation, 3, verse 20 (Rev 3:20): 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… Most evangelists take this out of context and make it a passage about how the lost gets saved. If God brings a lost person to salvation through this passage then praise the Lord but that’s not what the passage is talking about. The passage is talking about the desire that God has for fellowship with his own people. The problem with Laodicea is not a bunch of unsaved people, it’s people doing Christianity without Christ. People doing church without Jesus and this was a very prosperous church, money was coming in apparently, they were wealthy to the point where they felt that they could run things without him. In fact, did you know what the name Laodicea means? Laos people. Compound word with diceo, meaning ruling. It literally means the people ruling; and so what I’m wondering today, as we conclude here, has your life become so hectic and so busy that it’s almost as if you really don’t have time for God anymore? Where God is actually standing outside the door, wanting fellowship with you? Let’s have a meal together. Don’t you remember how it used to be when you walked with me and so our invitation today is for Christians that are out of fellowship with God, get back in fellowship with Him. You’re not going to be fulfilled in life walking out of fellowship with God and then our invitation today for those that maybe don’t know Christ personally. People in the room, people listening online, people listening to the archive after the fact is our exhortation is the same as it is every Sunday here, today is the day of salvation. Don’t gamble with your eternity. Jesus did everything possible to bridge the gap between fallen humanity and a holy God through his death, burial, resurrection and ascension, what we just celebrated at the Lord’s table earlier and He simply asks lost people to do one thing, which is to exercise their faith in what He has accomplished and what He’s accomplished is finished, it is finished. Trust in what I’ve done for you and so if the Lord is convicting anyone of their need to do this our invitation is to do it now, even as I speak. You don’t have to raise a hand, walk an aisle, join the church, give money to do this. It’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord and for those of us that are saved maybe we’ve become a bit too professional in our approach to Christianity, where professionalism has eclipsed intimacy. Abraham and Sarah ate with God and so we invite people today to reorganize their lives and enjoy the same intimacy with God that Abraham and Sarah had.

Shall we pray. Father, we’re grateful for this passage. It’s sort of way, way back in time, sort of archaic, yet it’s living and alive and it speaks directly to us. Help us Father to take these truths and apply them to our lives this week. We will be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen.