Sermon on the Mount – 10 – Ask, Seek, Knock
Sermon on the Mount – 10 – Ask, Seek, Knock
William Stout / General
Sermon on the Mount / Persistent; Prayer; Faith / Matthew 7:7–11
Goal: To help people understand the importance of persistent prayer, and praying with faith.
To Pray frequently, believing
To Seek – Seeking the objects of our prayer, and the understanding of God’s will
To knock – to act upon our faithful convictions- in accord with His will
To understand that the promises, although broad in scope and awesome in power, are not unconditional.
Matthew 7:7–11 NKJV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Ask and it shall be given
- Moving from our relationships with our fellow men, to our relationship with our Heavenly Father
- Earlier Jesus has warned us against hypocrisy in our prayers
- against making vain repetitions
- praying with wrong motives (to be seen)
- Now He actively encourages us to pray
- offering gracious promises
- regardless of our frailties, we have the full assurance that we will be heard
- So Jesus begins this section by instructing us to “ask”
1 say something in order to obtain an answer or information:
2 say to (someone) that one wants them to do or give something.
- Ask – many people don’t ask – they fail to pray
James 4:2 NKJV
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
- sometimes we ask amiss- but Jesus did say to ask
- as we learned earlier – Pray (or ask) for His Will
- This “asking” ought also to include asking “if” it is His will.
Seek and You will Find
- Jesus uses repetition to imprint the principle upon our minds
- Perhaps a deliberate scale of urgency: Ask, Seek, Knock
- Also a distinction between these three verbs
- Seek = 1: to attempt to find
2 a: to go in search of: look for
b: to try to discover
- Not only should we ask, we should seek the object of our prayers
- If, however, asking should not appear to succeed, the Lord would arouse you to a more concentrated and active longing; therefore let your desires call in the aid of knowledge, thought, consideration, meditation, and practical action, and learn to seek for the blessings you desire as men seek for hid treasures – Charles Spurgeon
Knock, and it will be opened to you
- By using this ascending scale of repetition, Jesus implies persistence also
- Ask and keep on Asking
- Seek and keep on Seeking
- Knock and keep on Knocking
1 strike a surface noisily to attract attention.
2 collide forcefully with.
3 make (a hole, dent, etc.) in something by striking it.
- Knock denotes action
- Faith without works is dead
James 2:20 NKJV
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
- Consider the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11
- Again and again, we see action in their faith
- Another way to look at it:
- Ask, Seek, Knock
- Ask = Pray, request (of God)
- Seek = Learn, discover, discern (God’s will, how to obtain)
- Knock = Act, strike, decidedly take action in faith with expectation
Everyone who asks receives
- Here we have an amazing promise
- extraordinary – “everyone”
- This promise is of universal application-
- Our God wants to Hear from us, and he desires to give
Luke 12:32 NKJV
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
- God is not angry with us for asking
- You need not worry about asking for too much (He has no limits)
Romans 8:32 NKJV
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
If your son asks bread, would you give him a stone?
- Of course we can all identify with this example
- Who could all imagine a child asking for something from a parent?
- Even unbelievers and sinners provide for their children
- If you child asks for bread (something good and needed) you would not give him a stone (something harmful, or not good for him)
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts…
- Jesus acknowledges the inherent, sinful nature of men
- Yet, He does not deny that even evil (sinful) people are capable of doing good things
- Even while doing good, they do not escape the designation of “evil” for that is what is in man. (John 2; Romans 3:10)
- The point however, is that if even wicked men can do good… How much more…
How much more
- The comparison here is not that God is better than men
- the contrast is that if even men can do good, How much better will God do?
- How much more will your Father in Heaven give good things...
- God wants to do exceeding, abundantly above all that you asked or even thought
- Salvation, and abundant Life
- He is a Good, Good Father
- God knows what gifts are good
- He will give Good things to those who ask
- Asking is necessary –
- acknowledges dependence
- acknowledges relationship
- Acknowledges authority (George Muller ex.)
Is God Your Father?
- The Pharisees would never have viewed God as Father, Abba
- The old Testament Jews would not have seen Him as Abba
- But Jesus always saw Him as Abba, Father
- And, He invites us to the same relationship
Romans 8:15–16 NKJV
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Galatians 4:6 NKJV
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
- This “sonship” is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ
- It is an “adoption”
John 8:42 NKJV
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
- Through faith, we receive this adoption and are presented to God as sons
Hebrews 2:11–13 NKJV
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
13 And again:
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
Receive this adoption right Now
- If you are not already adopted into the wonderful family
- Today is your day
Promise is not unconditional
- It is absurd to suppose that the promise ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’ is an absolute pledge with no strings attached
- The idea is ridiculous. It would turn prayer into magic, the person who prays into a magician like Aladdin, and God into our servant who appears instantly to do our bidding like Aladdin’s genie every time we rub our little prayer lamp
- Father Gives Good Gifts
- Although He would not give a snake for a fish, HE may give a fish when we ask for a snake –
- Father knows best
Romans 8:26 NKJV
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- We do not always know what we Should pray for
- So the Spirit intercedes
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- Also, there are conditions
- Seeking and knocking might also be viewed as conditions
- A teenager might want a car, but they first need to seek a license to drive
- God has no obligation to provide positive answer to prayer that are harmful, or outside His will, or below His intentions for you
- However, if we ask (in faith), and continue to do so
- while seeking, earnestly desiring to learn and discern
- And take what actions toward that end that are appropriate,
- Then we will receive, we will find, we will have things opened unto us
- If we were asking amiss, our desire and understanding will have to come into line with His
- That is faith (Up to you to believe it)