I have been preaching through Matthew’s Gospel at Rosskeen Free Church where Jesus teaches his followers how to live for the Glory of God. We spent a long time in Chapter six and discovered that Jesus sets a very high standard for his followers. Therefore, I thought I’d take a moment to answer an important question. Namely, how are we to live up to them? How do we turn the other cheek? How do we give generously? How do we love our enemies? How do we go that extra mile, how do we be discerning yet not judgmental, be critical yet not hypocritical? How do we treat others the way we want to be treated?
Ultimately, we know from the Bible that none of us have lived up to God’s standards. Therefore, we put our trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins. We put our trust in the one who lived in perfect obedience before God, who died in our place for our sins and was raised to life again, and who now intercedes for us before our Father. Yet, those who have trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins will seek to respond to God’s gift by loving God and obeying Christ’s teaching. How are we to obey His commands? How are we to live out the sermon on the mount?
Well Part of the Answer is given in 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. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your 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 implies humility, a dependency on God and an awareness of our needs. We need God’s help if we are to live the way he wants us to. We need God to work in us and through us.
Seeking however is asking, plus acting. For example, it’s not enough to simply ask for a deep knowledge of the Bible, we should also diligently search and examine the scriptures, go to church and seek with all effort to be in harmony with Gods will.
Knocking is asking, plus acting, plus persevering. Continue to ask. Continue to seek, continue to knock. Yes persevering, prayer accompanied by the activity of faith will be rewarded by God.
In Luke’s parallel account, God is revealed by Jesus to be a loving Father who gives his Holy Spirit and all his benefits to his children who persistently ask (Luke 11:13). Christ’s followers can rest assured that in answer to their prayers, the Father will provide help for the earnest attempt to follow Christ’s instructions in a world that tries to steal our affections and devotions and worship. Ask (petition) Seek (act) Knock (be persistent). The Father loves his children and cares for them, but he wants them to ask for the things they need.