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Journey Through Matthew: Ask, Seek, & Knock

Journey Through Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Prayers are answered when we honestly and persistently seek after God with all our heart, mind, and soul.

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Introduction

Good evening and welcome back!
Tonight, as we have been doing we are going to continue with our Journey Through Matthew and we are going to be moving forward just a few verses.
If you would like to start turning in your Bibles, turn to .
Tonight we will be looking at verses 7-12 primarily and what it means to Ask, Seek, and Knock.
Like the previous section, this is one of my favorites in all of the New Testament.
And I think the reason I like it so much is because Jesus is getting down to the nitty gritty, really giving the people what they need here.
We have already looked today at how Jesus instructed them on how they should be dealing with the sin in their lives.
And now he is going to somewhat change direction and get them to start looking at what it really means to seek out God’s righteousness and God’s plan for their lives.
Remember, this morning we looked very briefly on the subject of worry and Jesus’ words that we are to . . .
Matthew 6:33
Matthew 6:33–34 NIV - Anglicised
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
But, the question is how do we do that?
What does that look like?
Well, here tonight we are going to see what Jesus says about this and how Jesus says we are to go about approaching this.
So, again we are in , starting in verse 7.
Matthew writes . . .

Scripture Focus

Matthew 7:7–12 NIV - Anglicised
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 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! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Asking, Seeking, & Knocking

So, Jesus starts out here with just a very basic concept.
Again, Jesus tells them here to . . .
Matthew 7:7 NIV - Anglicised
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Ask and what you are asking for will be given to you.
Seek and you will find what you are looking for.
Knock and the door you are knocking on will be opened.
Simple enough right?
Not really. There are couple of key things that come into play here.
First, what are you asking for?
Second, how persistent are you in the asking?
Remember that we have already established from this morning that God already knows what we need.
Also, from last week . . .
Matthew 6:8 NIV - Anglicised
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Also . . .
Psalm 37:4 NIV - Anglicised
4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 3
However, Paul tells us that . . .
Philippians 4:19 NIV - Anglicised
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
And . . .
Romans 8:28 NIV - Anglicised
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
And all of these verses have a very common theme.
That being those things we ask for we will receive so long as they are according to God’s will.
Here is the thing.
God grants what we want so long as it is not contrary to His will and so long as it is something that in the end is not going to harm us.
God told Jeremiah that . . .
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV - Anglicised
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11-
I think about our life as one big movie and as we are living it we are watching it for the very first time.
We don’t know what will happen next, but God does.
God has already seen the future and already knows how things play out.
And while we can make any choice we want to make, I believe that God sees each choice we are going to make and puts things in our paths to try and lead us down the right path.
Sometimes we do good, sometimes we do not.
But it is all part of God’s master plan.
And when we are praying God knows the ultimate outcome and even what may be good in the short term could turn out to be a disaster in the long run.
But there is a way to be more in tune with God and what God’s will for us is.
That way is the Holy Spirit.
Jesus also tells us that . . .
John 14:26 NIV - Anglicised
26 But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26-
In addition to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, also . . .
Romans 8:26–27 NIV - Anglicised
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Romans 8:26-2
So that is what Jesus can confidently say ask and it will be given to you , seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
However, there is a second part of this.
When we are asking, seeking, and knocking it is not a one and done deal.
We don’t just pray once and quit.
We don’t just seek out God’s will once and quit.
We don’t just knock on the door of God’s calling once and just quit.
No! We ask and KEEP asking. We seek and KEEP seeking. We knock and KEEP knocking.
It is called persistence and perseverance.
The Psalmist writes . . .
Psalm 63:1 NIV - Anglicised
1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1
Do you see that? We are to earnestly pursue God.
Psalm 119:10 NIV - Anglicised
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
Also, James . . .
James 1:2–4 NIV - Anglicised
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-
It is coming to that determination that absolutely nothing is going to keep you from getting in touch with God.
It is answering the question . . .
Romans 8:35 NIV - Anglicised
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Romans 8:35-
And when we are pursuing God with all our heart, soul and mind then . . .
Romans 8:38–39 NIV - Anglicised
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
romans 8:38-39
The question is though, do you believe that?
Are you convinced?
If you are, then rest assured in Jesus’ promise that . . .
Matthew 7:8 NIV - Anglicised
8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Snakes and Stones

And again, being very practical and realistic with the people he gives them an example that they can understand.
In verse 9, Jesus says . . .
Matthew 7:9–10 NIV - Anglicised
9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
Matthew 7:9-10
Now, the sad thing about the world we live in today, we actually have people who would do these types of things.
There are people who are so overcome by evil and sin that they have absolutely no natural affection for their own children whatsoever.
In fact, Paul warns us about this very thing in . . . .
Verse 26 says . . .
Romans 1:26 NIV - Anglicised
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
And part of this definition here is the natural maternal instinct and love for their own children.
Want to know why we have abortion in this country?
Here is the answer.
They have a reprobate mind that has been clouded and darkened by sin.
They have lost the basic human quality of love.
However, as bad as it is, it does not reflect the majority of society.
Those who favor much of this are the minority.
They are vocal, but they do not represent the whole of society.
And the same thing was true in Jesus’ day.
Most people, regardless of how messed up they are because of the sin in their lives have a basic human instinct to love and care for at least their own.
This is why Jesus gives them the example here that he does.
Again he asks . . .
Matthew 7:9–10 NIV - Anglicised
9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
Matthew 7:
And their response would have been like ours as well.
“None of us.”
In fact, most of us if we saw a hungry child, regardless of who’s child it was, we would feed them.
It is basic human decency.
And Jesus uses this as a teaching moment.
He tells them . . .
Matthew 7:11 NIV - Anglicised
11 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!
And we also need to think about this for a minute.
Here we are all messed up by sin ourselves.
The only thing we’ve got going for us is Jesus.
And we have the vast majority of the rest of the world, who has at least some decency and some love for others left.
If we would not turn away a child who was in need, what makes us think that God would not be willing to give us all of the good things we desire?
Our perfect and loving Father, who’s very nature is love, why would he withhold anything from us?
The answer to that is, he wouldn’t unless it would harm us.
What we need to implant in our hearts, that I believe would help us more than anything is God knows what is best for us and God is willing to give us anything we ask for, so long as it is not harmful.
However, there is another side of this too.
We learn in 2 Peter that . . .
2 Peter 3:9 NIV - Anglicised
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
And this not wanting anyone to perish, means that God is also willing to let us endure some very hard trials, if need be for the salvation of our souls.
1 Peter 1:6 NIV - Anglicised
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
The KJV says if need be, meaning that we will suffer if we have to.
Also, remember the man caught up in sin that Paul addresses in his first letter to the Corinthians . . .
1 Corinthians 5:5 NIV - Anglicised
5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
As harsh as it may sound, our eternity is far more important than anything that will ever happen here.
So, with all of that in mind, Jesus finishes up here with the Golden Rule . . .
Matthew 7:12 NIV - Anglicised
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
In other words, treat other people like you want to be treated.
Love God and love others.
Be kind to others, help others.
Realize that God has nothing but our best in mind.

Altar Call

Do we realize that tonight?
Do we really realize that God has our best in mind?
Do we trust God for all things?
Do we love others as we are supposed to?
Do we earnestly seek God and God’s will?
Lots of questions and lots of things to consider tonight.
You have an opportunity to reflect, I would encourage you to spend some time with the Lord.
How will you respond tonight?
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