Summary: asking and receiving
"Finding What You’re Looking For"
Intro: Jerry Clower - firehouse on fire - truck into fire, put fire out - new brakes
Let’s suppose I had a magic lamp today. If I told you it had a magic genie inside that would grant you any three wishes, what would you wish for? How much would you give for a magic lamp like that?
This morning I can’t give you a magical lamp, but I can offer to you something far greater: a relationship with the God of the universe, the God who can grant any wish you might have. Let’s look at the final verses of the sermon on the mount this morning, starting at Matthew 7:7.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Do you really believe these verses? Can we take them at face value?
I. Asking and receiving
A. We receive in response to asking
We are told here that if we want to receive, we must ask. God is moved to action by our petitions.
James 4:2 - You do not have, because you do not ask God.
*many times we try to bring about things on our own strength
Luke 11:5 - Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ "Then the one inside answers, `Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
*God is moved by persistence in asking. Don’t just ask one time. Yet no vain repetitions.
B. We receive in response to asking in His name.
John 14:13 - And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
*many times we ask for ourselves, our selfish desires
James 4:3 - When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God?
C. We receive in response in asking in faith
Mark 11:22 - "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
D. We receive in response to pure lives.
Mark 11:25 - And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
E. We receive in response to praying according to his will.
Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Kingdom righteousness is theirs to be had by prayer.
Jesus is not telling them how they can have anything they want, rather how they can achieve the righteous life he has been teaching about. We see three concepts here.
1. Humility - We must admit our need for God to work
#Pharisee & publican - Luke 18:10
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."