Summary: Jesus is instructing us to be persistent in prayer. We should keep on asking, keeping seeking, and keep on knocking. Do we really ask? Are we really seekers?
Knock, knock. Who’s There?
Series on the Mount
September 30, 2007
I’m going to start off with an apology. A couple of months ago I preached a sermon entitled, “Clothing is optional.” Well, apparently I was wrong. Check this out: A survey of 1,000 American women found that most valued their favorite clothes more than sex, and would gladly abstain for 15 months in exchange for an entirely new wardrobe. So I guess for many of us clothing is NOT optional.
Finish these pairs of words. Ask. ________________. (Receive). Seek. _______________ (Find). This one is not quite as obvious because you could respond in at least a couple of different ways. Knock. _______________ (Open).
We are going to talk about asking. Specifically Jesus is talking about asking in prayer. Luke uses these same verses in a chapter that includes his version of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus seems to be saying in chapter seven these things. Don’t judge others. If you judge them be prepared to be judged yourself in the same way with the same standards. Instead judge yourselves and then you might have what you need to truly help others. But also remember not to butt in where you are not wanted. Don’t give sacred truth and insight to dogs that don’t deserve it nor want it. Use discernment here. Be wise. And if there is any doubt about all this including all that I have just taught you about living in the Kingdom then ask. Because if you seek out the Kingdom and my Kingdom-ways, then you will find God’s favor. You will be blessed so that you can continue to bless others. Live out my Shema of loving God and loving others and in doing so, you will find that God provides just what you need even when you pray for your enemies as they persecute you.
If you fail, ask. Ask for forgiveness as you forgive others. If you aren’t where to go or who to turn to, seek out God and his ways. Seek the narrow way. You will find God there. If the doors of life are slammed in your face by those lie about, ridicule you and even try to harm you, then forgive them as you pray for them and the most important door, the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, will open to you. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. God is too good to fail you or forsake you despite all that you may have done to deserve it.
Keep knocking on God’s door. There is never a need to small or insignificant for his attention.
Knock, knock. “Who’s there?” Nobody. “Nobody who?” (Wait for several seconds and then go on).
Let’s look at this passage. Beginning at verse 6.
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
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, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?
"Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
"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 what is good to those who ask Him!”
This passage is about prayer. When we have a need, pray. When something bad happens, pray. When something good happens, pray. Keep praying. Keep asking. Keep knocking. This passage is about being Persistent in Prayer. Notice I did not say “Praying a Persistent Prayer.” There is a difference. I sometimes have heard this passage taught and preached that we should persistently pray for things even when the answer or the answer that we are praying for is slow in coming. I believe there is a better way of understanding verse 7 and 8.
The point of the passage is this: God is All-Good. The point is about God and how God can be depended on. The point is not that if we keep on asking and keep on seeking and keep on knocking that we will eventually wear God down and he’ll give us what we want. This cheapens God. The tense indicates more about ones character as a person who seeks God rather than a description about how long or how often one has asked. After all Jesus already said that our Father knows what we need before we ask him.
One might translate this to mean “keep on asking” but in this context it does not mean keep on asking for the same thing but keep on being a person who asks and prays for God to provide. In other words don’t give up on faith even if you are persecuted and feel abandoned because you are storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven.