Walk with Jesus

by: Ralph Hanahan

I have a question for you all. Who in the audience has been a member of, or associated with, one of the Liturgical Churches, and when I talk about the Liturgical Churches, there are basically four general categories. Of course, the largest is the Roman Catholic Church. Bringing up a strong second-place is the various flavors of the Eastern Orthodox Church. And tied for third place are the Lutherans and the Anglican Communion of which the Episcopal Church in the United States is a part.

I was one of those folks and there is probably a fair number of you in this congregation who have a background in one of the Liturgical Churches.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church, just a little more than 100 miles down the coast from this Feast Site in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, near Charleston.

I did not come into God's Church until I was baptized at the age of 18.

Before that, I was up to my eyeballs in the Episcopal Church. So I know what I'm talking about when I tell you about this.

Liturgical Churches, when they have services, are very busy, a lot of things going on, you have crucifers caring a tall pole with a crucifix up on the top, and not only that, you have to carry it with your hands placed a certain way on the pole. You have an acolyte out by the altar, lighting candles and moving the book from one side to the other at the appropriate times. You have servers, and I was a server for many years, directly functioning with the priest and helping with the communion, it even went to the point of where the priest had to rinse his fingers before he touched the wafers. There's a little silver bowl that I had to hold in my left hand, and there was little silver pitcher with some water that I had to hold in my right hand, and there was a little lapedichef on my right hand. The priest would hold his fingers over the bowl and I would pour a little bit of water over the tips of his fingers and he would then take the little cloth and dry his fingers and put it over on my left hand, then I put these things to my side. So there's a lot of things going on.

The choir would file in the procession, sit on the two sides of the aisle and they would have to stand at certain times, and at appropriate times they would have to turn and face the altar and then turned back around again, while singing and then sit down.

Even the congregation in the Episcopal Church had to stand at certain times. They had to kneel at certain times, and they had to sit at certain times.

Let me tell you, no one made a mistake. Everyone knew exactly what was expected of them and when. You stood at the right time, kneeled at the right time, and sat at the right time. It was all quite complex and involved .

Those of you who have a life in the Baptist Church, you can only imagine how that would be, but for those of you who were brought up as Baptists, you have probably had an opportunity at one time or other to visit a Roman Catholic or Lutheran Church or an Episcopal Church. You were totally confused. You probably thought "What in the world is going on in this place." But that is the way it was. The regulars knew exactly what was going on. Very complex and very very involved.

What has occurred to me is that man has figured out a very complex and intricate way of practicing religion and at least in the Liturgical Churches, and maybe to a lesser extent in the others as well.

The whole goal of all this is worshiping God and getting closer to Him and that is what they genuinely are attempting to do.

Bridging The Gap Between God and Man

But now a very natural question arises, is this what God wants? Is it really what God wants out of us? Does all the fuss, all the ceremony, really deliver the intended result of bridging this huge gap between God and man? We know there is a huge gap, how do we bridge it? Is all the complexity necessary?

Even in the Church of God, we give aid to all kinds of intent studies trying to figure out all kinds of symbolism, second meanings, type and anti-types of prophecy.

Is this really how we bridge that gap?

Simplicity In Christ

Let's open our Bibles to 2 Corinthians 11 verse 3. Normally I read from the NIV but this time I am going to be reading from the New King James. One verse, Paul is talking to the Greek Corinthian church, to a bunch of Greek Christians and he says, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

Paul is making a reference to the simplicity in Christ. The exact opposite of complexity and actually by reference the complexity is corrupting your mind. I want you to think about that.

What I want to attempt to do today, in a few minutes, we are going to go through some scriptural accounts. I'm going to attempt to paint a word picture for you and maybe take a little different perspective on some things that we all know about. There's nothing new. Sometimes we can take a little different perspective on certain scriptures to gain some new insights.

The question we are attempting to answer is, what sort of a relationship does God really want with you? And by extension with mankind in general? What is the nature of that relationship? Is is of a complex relationship or is it in a simple relationship?

The Scripture that we just read in second Corinthians actually points back to the Garden of Eden, so let's go back there.

Adam Named The Animals

Genesis 2, verses 19 and 20. I am smiling inside of myself thinking about this already.

Verse 19. Now "The LORD God formed out of the ground every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would name them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all live stock, to the birds of the air, and to all of beasts of the field."

I want you to picture this, so here is Adam, like we say down south, naked as a jaybird sitting on a rock in the middle of the garden and Almighty God brings a cow over and God said, "Adam what is this?" And the cow said "MOOooo." And Adam said, "That's a moo cow." God said to Adam, "Okay, that's what it is, a cow."

Then God brings over a turkey and the turkey said, "Gobble gobble gobble." God said to Adam, "Hey Adam what's this?" Adam said, "That's a turkey." God said, "Okay, Adam, turkey it is."

And here is Adam sitting on the rock naked as a jaybird naming the animals.

Now imagine that relationship. How simple is that? It is almost comical, it really is when you think about it. It's incredible, and I would bet you, if I was a betting man and I'm not because I would lose all my money if I tried it, but if I was a betting man, I would say that God was enjoying every minute of that, because why would God have done it otherwise. Why would the Almighty God Himself say, "I'm going to let man name all these creatures." I think God really enjoyed it and He wanted to enjoy that relationship with Adam.

Unfortunately this did not last.

God Was Walking In The Garden

Let's go to Genesis 3 verse eight. This is after Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit. What do we see here? "The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden."

I want you to ask yourself a question: God is Almighty and He is in the third heaven with all the glory of the third heaven. All of the fantastic things that we can barely imagine up there where He dwells. Why did God choose of all things to come down for a walk in the garden? I don't think He intended to walk by Himself. I think what He actually wanted to do was simply say, "Adam and Eve, Let's walk. It's cool and pleasant. Let's go for a walk and spend some time with each other."

How simple is that, brethren. There is no complexity here, it is not hard. God wants a very simple, close relationship with us. I think we really overthink this thing in a lot of cases. There are reasons, of course, there are things to wonder about, to contemplate. But here we have a picture of God simply wanting to come down in the cool evening and say, "Come on folks, let’s go for a walk." Isn't that a marvelous picture.

Jesus Dined With His Disciples

We understand, moving forward in time, that the nature of the relationship between the man Jesus of Nazareth with his disciples, when He was here in the flesh, was also a very simple natural relationship. They walked together, talked together, they camped out, they cooked out, they slept together, they were very close friends. They were like a close knit family but do you know what's interesting, it even continued after the resurrection.

John 21. Let's get this picture in our mind. This is after the resurrection.

John 21 verse one, "Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: {2} Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. {3} "I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "Okay, we’ll go with you."

Remember these guys were essentially commercial fishermen. They were just going out to do what they normally would do. They would catch some fish, take them to the market, sell them and make some money.

"So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. {4} Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. {5} He called out to them, "Friends, do you have any fish?" "No," they answered. {6} He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." (Boy did they find some.) "And When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. {7} Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. {8} The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. {9} When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. {10} Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." {11} So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. {12} And Jesus said to them, "Come and have some breakfast."

The risen Messiah fixed breakfast for his disciples on the shore. How simple. These guys had been working all night and they were hungry and Jesus said, "Come on guys, let's have some breakfast, bring some of your fish here. I have a fire going and we have some fish on the fire, bring your fish we will have them later. This is the risen, glorified, Jesus Christ fixing breakfast on the shore. How simple and how natural is that? There's nothing at all hard about this brethren. The disciples were hungry and Jesus fixed them breakfast.

Wow, wrap your mind around that.

Jesus Walked With His Disciples

I am not going to take the time here, but I will recommend that you take some time and read the account of the resurrected Jesus Christ walking with two of his lesser known disciples. These disciples were not in the top echelon, these are just two lesser disciples and only one of them is named walking on the road to Emmaus and all the things that happened there. Again, a very simple natural thing, walking on the road, talking and discussing things. Here's the resurrected glorified Jesus Christ shedding his glory temporarily to have a walk with two of his disciples and talk about things. See Luke 24 verses 13 through 35.

The LORD Ate A Meal With Abraham

Now I'm going to turn to what I consider one of the most, if not the most, remarkable and yet simple interactions of God with man.

Back to Genesis. When you look at this for what it is, it is astounding.

Genesis 18 verse 1, in the NIV the chapter heading is 'The Three Visitors'.

{1} "The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. {2} Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground."

Of course he would, he knew who these three individuals were. He knew that one of them was the Almighty and he knew the two servants with him.

{3} Abraham said, "If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. {4} Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree."

Abraham said, "Let's wash your feet and you can rest under the tree." He is speaking to the LORD himself.

{5} "Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say."

The LORD went along with this. Abraham was extending hospitality but in a very normal natural mode. He would probably have done the same thing for any other three visitors that come to his tent. That Is how people operated in that time and place. Very hospitable, very open, very giving.

Abraham told Sarah to make some bread while he ran to the herd and selected a tender calf and prepared it as a meal for his visitors. They are having a simple meal here.

Verse 9, "Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him. "There, in the tent," he said. {10} "Then one of them said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son." Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. {11} Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. (And obviously this was not going to happen). {12} So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my husband is old, will I now have this pleasure?"

{13} Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ {14} Is there anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son."

{15} Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, "I did not laugh." But the LORD said, "Yes, you did laugh."

So here we have the LORD and Sarah going at it, Sarah saying, "I didn't laugh." And the LORD saying "Oh yes you did." "No no no, I didn't laugh." "Yes you did." "No no no, I didn't laugh." "Yes you did. You did not make a sound but you were laughing."

No wonder Sarah named her son Isaac because his name means 'laughter'.

Here's Sarah and the LORD getting into a little back and forth about her laughing and Sarah telling a little fib.

This encounter continues on and gets more remarkable.

The LORD Walked With Abraham

Continuing in verse 16 of Genesis 18, 'When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. {17} Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? {18} Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on earth will be blessed through him. {19} For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

What I am giving you today ties in wonderfully with the sermon given earlier in the feast on 'Family'. This is about a natural normal relationship. God set this family model up so we would understand it, so it would be normal for us. Something that is not far off. Something very normal.

Verse 20, "Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous {21} that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." {22} The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD."

Okay, four guys walking toward Sodom and Gomorrah and two of them peel off, Abraham turns around and stands before the LORD, and says, "Look, we're going to have to talk about this." By Abraham standing before the LORD, he is actually blocking the path of the LORD. The LORD is manifested in the flesh and he is daring to get into a negotiation session with the LORD. This is remarkable, and yet Abraham's relationship with God was of such a caliber and character that he felt that he could do this. Of course, we know how it went.

Continuing in verse 23, "Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? {24} What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? {25} Far be it from you to do such a thing."

Abraham is calling God out. I have to shake my head at the audacity of this. There was quite a quality to this relationship where Abraham felt that he could actually do this and not be turned into a grease spot.

Verse 25, "Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

Abraham is calling God out on this saying , "Don't you know that this is not right to do this." Wow, what 'chutzpah' as our Jewish brethren would say. (Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that means arrogance, impudence, gall or audacity. Example: It took real chutzpah for him to ask for a raise when he keeps showing up late.)

The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."

Verse 27, "Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, {28} what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?"

Abraham was humble, not elevating himself in any way. He said, "I'm just dust, you know it and I know it, but I'll be bold." This negotiation is non-ending.

Verse 29, "Once again Abraham spoke to Lord, "What if only forty are found there?" He said, "Okay, for the sake of forty, I will not do it."

{30} Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?"

Abraham is not letting this go.

The LORD answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."

Just imagine, Abraham standing in front of God, having this discussion

{31} Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?"

You can imagine the LORD saying, "Oh, well, okay, for the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it."

{32} Then Abraham said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?"

He answered, "AH, Okay, For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."

{33} When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham." Basically, just imagine, the LORD said to Abraham, "All right, fine, that's enough, I'm leaving." "The LORD left and Abraham returned home."

Now this discussion was totally contrived, totally natural, and we can relate to that.

Is this the kind of relationship that God wants with each of us. You know, when we are brought to existence on the spiritual level, we understand, that is then, but I'm talking about physical people now. I'm talking about God walking in the garden in the cool of the evening with the man and the woman.

What Lesson Can We Learn From This?

Now, after looking at these little vignettes here, what lesson can we take from it. Can you stretch your thinking to the point that you might see that the commonly used phrase, "walking with God," which has been spiritualized, if you will, that is not just merely a spiritual concept or just another way of saying, obeying God, but could it actually include, literally, walking with God and Jesus.

You know, we don't have a whole lot more time, but what better time and place than here and now. I have a suggestion for you, we have miles and miles of smooth nice beaches out there, here at this Myrtle Beach Feast site, which is a marvelous natural setting and really wonderful and we all are very grateful to be here. Do you think that God would enjoy a walk with you early tomorrow morning or maybe late tonight by the moonlight. Just you and God, walking on the beach, having a little conversation in your mind, with the Almighty. Do you think God would enjoy that? You know, I think He just might.

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This article was transcribed with minor editing from a
Sermon by Ralph Hanahan
given at the
Church of God Big Sandy Feast of Tabernacles
North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Date: 10-20-19
Transcribed by: bb 11/4/19

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Editorial Note: Another interesting point to consider. Notice that Jesus would also like to dine and eat with us. 
Revelation 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 dine with him, and he with Me."

One of the most intimate things that friends can do is to enjoy and share a meal together. 
The point that Jesus is making is that we should share some time with Him and we can do this in our 
Prayer, Bible Study and Meditation.


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