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Sermon On The Mount - Living in the Kingdom
By Pastor Delbert Young

27. Keep on Asking, Seeking, Knocking

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Keep on Asking, Seeking, Knocking

Scriptures: Matthew 7:7-8, Matthew 7:12, Genesis 32:26-28, Psalms 37:4, Matthew 7:9-11, Romans 8:28, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Luke 11:13, Romans 8:26-27, Acts 8:14-16, Luke 11:13, Jude 1:20

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.

Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

The context of this passage is interesting as we look at what Jesus had been teaching when he said to ask, seek, and knock. The Lord's context was "DON'T JUDGE OTHERS" and "AVOID CRITICAL PEOPLE AS WE WOULD AVOID WILD DOGS AND FILTHY PIGS." We know that Jesus was staying in the same context because at the end of this section of verses he said,

Matthew 7:12 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, if I do not want the person that I am about to talk about talking about and judging me to people, then I am not to do it. So, asking, seeking, and knocking is actually connected with our not judging others and avoiding and discerning judgmental people - dogs and pigs (Mat 7:6).

THE GREEK LANGUAGE IS CONTINUOUS in these verses. It's 'keep on asking.' It's 'keep on seeking.' It's 'keep on knocking.' The Lord was telling us how to avoid becoming judgmental and how to discern the people who are judgmental. It requires persistence. It requires our staying on top of it. If we drop our guard for a second, we will find ourselves judging again and talking again. Remember, when we are judgmental, the Lord ignores us and bends down and writes in the dirt as though he does not hear us (Joh 8:6).

Have you ever caught yourself talking about someone and asked, "How in the world did I fall into that so easily?" See friends, judging others and gossiping and slandering is something we should despise. Even in church leadership situations when leadership is forced to discuss someone and that person is not present, I leave away feeling dirty and feeling I did something wrong. To keep from doing it, we must stay on top of it. We must keep on asking Father to help us. We must keep on seeking Father's help. We must keep on knocking on the door of heaven asking forgiveness when we do.

It's in this context that we understand verse 12. If we don't want people talking about us then we should not do it.

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

THAT'S THE CONTEXT OF THE LESSON, BUT there are some thoughts and principles in these verses that I want to talk about. If we seriously want God's best and desire a supernatural walk in the kingdom of God, we must be persistent. There must be a tenacity about us that won't let go of God. Let's look at verses 7 and 8 again.

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.

Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

I WANT TO SHOW US THE GUARANTEE Jesus made. If we will be persistent about asking, we will receive. If we will keep on seeking, we will find. If we are tenacious about knocking, the door will open. I can't give up because things don't happen quickly.

JACOB was a tenacious and persistent person. He came out of the womb grabbing. Persistent people are always grabbing at life. He was born with tenacity. He came out grabbing the heal of his twin brother Esau. Later, he wanted his brother's birthright and because of his persistence, he got it. He wanted Laban's daughter Rebekah for his wife and because of his tenacity, he got her. He had to work fourteen years for her, but he got her. Jacob wanted wealth and because of his persistence, he got it. It took years, but he got it. Jacob wanted God to bless him. One evening, all alone, he wrestled with an angel. He wrestled all night. Jacob would not let the angel go, so the angel touched Jacob's hip and caused it to come out of joint. Still Jacob would not release the angle. When morning came, the angel said, "Let me go."

Genesis 32:26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

Genesis 32:27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.

Genesis 32:28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."

Jacob would not let go until he got his blessing. That blessing changed his entire life so much that it changed his name. He became Israel, the beginning of a nation.

IF WE WANT OUR BIRTHRIGHT, IF WE WANT THE MARRIAGE of our dreams, if we want success, if we want the blessings of God, we must be persistent. We must keep on asking and seeking and knocking. Sometimes we feel like it will never happen. We hurt and our thigh is out of joint, but we can't let go until we get our blessing. We must keep on wrestling!

I feel that way about Life Gate. I know that Life Gate is here to reach this region. That's my dream, but there have been times I felt my leg was out of joint. Nonetheless, we kept on wrestling and we will never let go!

Some of you are that way. You need God to move for you. You have been wrestling for a long time. You are tired. You feel like something is out of joint, but you can't let go. God is going to bless you. You must keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking, and keep on wrestling. Jesus promised that if we would, we would get our blessing.

THERE IS THIS STORY ABOUT A PERSISTENT LITTLE BOY NAMED LEROY who pitched a temper-tantrum about a new bicycle he wanted. His mother had said no. She told Leroy she didn't have the money. Instead, he should pray, write Jesus a letter and ask Jesus for a bicycle. Leroy was very determined to get a new bike, so he wrote: "Dear Jesus, I've been a good boy this year and would appreciate a new bicycle. Your Friend, Leroy." Well, Leroy knew he had actually been a brat which is what his mother wanted him to realize. So, he ripped up the letter and decided to give it another try. Several torn-up letters later, Leroy realized he had been a terrible child and gave up on writing a letter to Jesus. He was very upset and went running outside and later found himself in front of a Catholic Church. Leroy felt drawn to go inside. He knelt down and continued to look around. Leroy finally got up and began to walk out the door looking at all the statues. All of a sudden he grabbed a smaller statue and ran out the door. He went home, hid it under his bed and wrote this letter: "Jesus, I've got your mama. If you ever want to see her again, give me a bike! Sincerely, You Know Who."

I'm not exactly sure that is what Jesus had in mind when he told us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking, but I know he liked Leroy's persistence and tenacity.

IN LUKE'S GOSPEL, Jesus told the story of a person coming to a friend's house at midnight wanting some food to feed a late arriving visitor (Luk 11:5-10). The householder did not want to get up and answer the door because it is late and the children are asleep, but because the man continued to knock, continued to seek, and continued to ask, the householder finally gave him what he wanted.

The point of the story is that we are to keep on. Don't give up. As long as it is a desire of your heart, believe that God put it there and will give it to you.

Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Father wants to bless us. He sent Jesus so we could have the abundant life. He will give us the desires of our hearts. God has placed dreams in each of our hearts. Don't give up on your dream. Keep on.

IS IT THAT WE MUST BEG and pitch temper-tantrums to get God to move for us? No, not at all. Let's look at Matthew 7:9-11.

Matthew 7:9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Matthew 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

Matthew 7:11 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!

Father wants to give us good gifts. He is always working on our behalf.

SOMETIMES THE ANSWER TAKES TIME because God has to work things out. Sometimes what we want is complex and involves a lot of people and things. Sometimes it takes years to work it all out, but we can't stop asking.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

It's not that we must beg God or that he doesn't hear us. It's that he is working it out. We don't know what all may be involved in the answer to one prayer. Sometimes a mountain must be moved. We don't know how many people will be affected in some way by Father answering one prayer for me. So I can't stop asking, seeking, and knocking.

DAVID, AS A YOUNG BOY, HAD A DREAM to be king of all of Israel, but Saul was then king and Saul had sons who would take Saul's place one day. One of those sons was David's best friend. It was complex. It seemed impossible for David to ever be king, but yet the dream lived on in David's heart. God had to work out a lot of details and it took many years, but David became the greatest king to ever rule Israel. David persisted and was tenacious about his dream.

We all have dreams in our hearts. I have a dream in my heart. We can't allow our dreams die. We can't stop wrestling. We can't stop asking, and seeking, and knocking. We must give God time to work it out for us. Jesus promised that if we would, we would be given what we asked, find what we were seeking, and the door would be opened.

THE BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGIST NAMED HOWARD CARTER was convinced there remained one last Egyptian tomb that had not been robbed or discovered. It was the tomb of the Egyptian teenage pharaoh named King Tutankhamen (Tut). He searched for that tomb for six years. It was his dream. He gave everything he owned to finance the search. Twice he came within a few feet of the entrance, but didn't see it. Finally, one day, because of his persistence, he found it. As the entrance opened to him and he peered into the sealed darkness, his assistant asked, "Can you see anything?" His eyes adjusted and he began to see treasures unspeakable that no man had seen in millennia. Though he was seeing that great discovery, there were no words to adequately describe those treasures beyond description. There were gold, silver, daggers, a throne, a coffin. It was the world's greatest archaeological discovery ever.

How close have some of us come to our dream? Don't stop asking, seeking, knocking. I want us to know that our eyes have not seen all that God has laid up for us. I want us to know that our ears have not heard all that God wants to say to us. I want us to know that our minds have but a glimmer of what God has prepared for us who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"

Jesus said, ". . . how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" There are things in his kingdom to see and treasures to experience that modern man has not seen or experienced. There is life and that more abundantly. There are gifts and fruits beyond anything we can ask or think.

Jesus said that our Father in heaven will give us "GOOD GIFTS." Luke gospel says it this way.

Luke 11:13 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

The Holy Spirit is critical in our experiencing God's best. We must be born again to see the kingdom (Joh 3:3) and born of the Spirit and water to enter (Joh 3:5). The Spirit of God leads us to the treasures of the kingdom. The Spirit of God is the necessary link to the blessings of God.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

I want to say this as we end today's lesson. This dimension of the Spirit is more than for salvation. It is for groanings deep within that connect with the will of God. Many of us have experienced this groaning deep within. We were praying and something deep down began groaning. That was the Spirit connecting with the will of God. That was God saying, "Come up a little higher so I can show you more of my supernatural kingdom." That was God saying, "I want to answer your prayers, but I need to be able to communicate with your spirit."

MANY OF US HERE TODAY WANT MORE of God's Spirit. You are saved and love the Lord, but you need to do some seriously wrestling to get your blessings. You want to see your dream happen, but you have nearly given up on it. Don't give up. Ask and seek and knock and wrestle.

THE BIBLE TELLS ABOUT PEOPLE IN A CITY CALLED SAMARIA to whom Philip the evangelist was ministering (Act 8:4-24). He had preached the kingdom to them. They had gladly received the word of God. Philip had baptized them in water in the name of Jesus, but something was still missing in their having God's best. There was more. The church in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to Samaria.

Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

Acts 8:15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

Acts 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Peter and John prayed for them and they received the Holy Spirit in a way they had never experienced the Spirit before. Those people had already believed in Jesus and were water baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, but God wanted them to have a higher level of experience with his Spirit.

THERE IS AN ENCOUNTER with the Holy Spirit that is higher than initial salvation. It's a place where our spirit can pray and intercede. It's a place where we can wrestle.

Jesus said if we ask for a fish, Father is not going to give us a snake. He is going to give us what we asked. If we ask for a loaf of bread, Father is not going to give us a rock. He is going to give us what we asked. If we want the Spirit of God in a higher way, that is exactly what he will give us. Jesus said,

Luke 11:13 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Jesus said that successful asking, seeking, and knocking was connected with our being given the Holy Spirit. Some of us need to get built up so we can do some serious wrestling, asking, seeking, and knocking.

Jude 1:20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

Let's get built up today.

 

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