Summary: God wants to bless you: 1. Through His promises of answered prayer (vs. 7-8). 2. Through the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father (vs. 9-11). 3. Through the goodness of His Golden Rule (vs. 12).
God Wants to Bless You!
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
(Prepared May 13, 2021)
*What kind of a God is God? There are many great ways to answer this question, but tonight know this for sure: We have a God who wants to bless His people. God wants to bless us beyond measure!
*In Numbers 6:24-26, the LORD spoke to Moses and gave this blessing for the Children of Israel: "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."
*God wanted to bless His people in the Old Testament, and Christians, He wants to bless us today! God wants to bless us beyond measure, and this Scripture helps us see how.
1. FIRST: GOD WANTS TO BLESS US THROUGH HIS PROMISES OF ANSWERED PRAYER.
*In vs. 7-8 Jesus gives us some amazing promises of answered prayer. Here the Lord said, "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." What rock-solid promises of answered prayer!
*Think about the source of these promises. It is Jesus Christ, the Almighty Son of God. In Matthew 19:26 He reminds us that "all things are possible with God." In Matthew 28:18 He is the One who said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." And in John 1:29 He is the "Lamb of God who (took) away the sin of the world" by dying on the cross for our sins!
*Rodney Buchanan explained that we can safely trust in God's promises to answer our prayers because "prayer's cornerstone is the character of God. . . The invitation to ask is based on the goodness of God and his love for us," so we can always trust Him to answer our prayers in the right way at the right time. (1)
*But also think about the strategy for these prayer promises. In 3 words God's strategy for our prayers is "DON'T GIVE UP!" Bible scholars tell us that the original language in vs. 7-8 means not to do something just once, but to do it, and keep on doing it. So, it's as if Jesus is saying, "Don't give up! Ask and keep on asking! Seek and keep on seeking! Knock and keep on knocking! (2)
*Don't stop praying, -- that is, until God tells you to stop, or He leads you to start praying in a different way. The Apostle Paul is a good example for us in 2 Corinthians 12. There Paul needed to present his credentials for being a true Apostle of Jesus Christ.
*That's why Paul started talking about the revelations he had received from the Lord. And Paul certainly had an abundance of revelations. On the road to Damascus, Paul saw Jesus shining in glory brighter than the sun! And God chose Paul as His instrument to write more New Testament books than any other person. Paul certainly wrote 13 (and possibly 14) of the 27 books in the New Testament.
*At the beginning of 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talked about being caught up to heaven. There he spoke modestly in the third person, and in vs. 3-4 Paul said, "I know such a man whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows; how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
*This abundance of revelations could have easily led Paul to be puffed up in his own mind or by other people, so God allowed him to have a "thorn in the flesh." We really don't know what it was, but Paul's thorn was probably some kind of physical problem. Some have guessed epilepsy, trouble with his eyes, or recurring fever from malaria.
*Of course, Paul prayed, and in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 he wrote, "Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
*Paul passionately prayed, and he kept on praying that his thorn would go away. But then Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you." That is a wonderful truth and a wonderful thing to hear. But at the same time, God was telling Paul, "No." And God was telling Paul to stop praying for that healing.
*There will be times in life when God tells us to stop praying for something. For us it happened in 1989, when Mary's dad was dying with lung cancer. Pap Pap lived with us most of that last year. And we started the year praying for his healing, but as the year wore on, our prayers shifted. And those last days, as he was so sick in the hospital, and we knew that he was not going to get better in this world, we stopped praying for his healing, and asked the Lord to mercifully take him home.