1. We’re in Matthew 7:7-11 today. It’s a pretty familiar passage where Jesus invites us, really more challenges us, to ask, seek and knock – to get persistent in our pursuit of God, to be diligent in asking for divine intervention. And if we to do that, He gives us some promises to claim. Matthew 7:7-11.
2. Alright, what 3 things does Jesus tell us to do here? Ask, seek and knock. (lit. keep on asking…)And the words he uses are probably a lot more meaning-packed than we get at first glance. The word we translate ask, is the greek word, aieteo, which means to urgently petition, almost demand. Seek is zeteo, which means to crave something or demand something from someone. Knock is krouo which means to rap repeatedly on a door. Again, demanding attention. So Jesus uses 3 different words, each w/ escalating urgency, to call us to get serious in our pursuit of God.
3. And He promises us that if we’re willing to do that, not only will we get God’s attention, but we will get a response. That’s an awesome promise. The Bible’s full of great promises, this is one of them, but as with a lot of God’s promises, it’s conditional, contingent on something. We have a part to play. And here Jesus says in order to get God’s attention, you have to ask for it. Seems simple, but we miss this.
4. You know who gets this principle? Kids! Young kids get this. They know that if you want something, you’ve got to ask. They also know that if you ask for something and you don’t get it, that you don’t stop asking, right? My kids are really good at this. They’re always asking me if I want to do something I don’t really want to do. And I’ll usually say, “not right now”. Which to me means, that’s not something I ever want to do, to them that means check back in 5 minutes. So they come back again, Dad, do you want to play now?
5. And we’ll end up going back and forth for a while, but what’s funny is that at the end of our negotiations, quite often I find myself doing something I really didn’t want to do (dolls, playing army, making blanket forts. The neighbors drive by and there’s the pastor w/ a light saber in his hand. The kids are around back, they can’t see them, just me running around w/ a light saber. I’ve learned that you just smile, wave and act like its normal. “force be with you!” My kids know how to get my attention. They ask.
6. Almost everybody wants God’s attention and response. I talk to people all the time, don’t go to church, don’t read a Bible, don’t pray, but they have expectations of God. I talked to a server recently; “I don’t know why God’s putting me through this, if He’s real, then why doesn’t He fix my problems.” You’ve heard that from somebody, and you may have said that. B/c see, we have expectations of God. Whether spoken or unspoken, realistic or unrealistic, we have expectations that we want God to meet.
7. What Jesus says is – don’t just assume He will. Communicate with him. Jesus makes it clear that God wants to take care of us, He just wants us to want Him to. To ask him to, to seek Him out, to knock on His door with our needs. Relational rule – expectation minus communication = frustration. For some of us, the simple answer to our question WHY – why isn’t God doing this, why hasn’t God done that, why does God allow that or not change this – the simple answer to that question is what James says in James 4:3 – you have not b/c you…what? Ask not. In the NIV, you do not have b/c you do not ask God.
8. While it seems like a no-brainer, most of us are, at least at some level, expecting things from God that we’re NOT asking Him for, seeking after Him for, and knocking on His door for. And without proper communication of that expectation, we’ll likely be left with frustration.
9. And I want to clarify, b/c there are some serious misinterpretations of this passage. I’ve heard a lot of “name it and claim it” Christians use this passage as kind of a carte blanche request line to God. I want something, I just rub Matthew 7:7 real hard and out pops Genie Jesus to grant me my wish. That’s not what this verse is teaching. Just looking at it in its context – a series of commands on Christian character and dependency on God – this is a connected thought where Jesus is teaching us to seek the truth. To search for God. To seek God for what we need to follow Him.