A few days ago I posted about Questions we have in our life and there are times when we are NOT given the answers. If we are ever to be given answers to our questions, there is a proper way of approaching the questions process so as to receive answers. There is a surprise to this that you will find at the bottom of this post.
(Mat 7:7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
The words of Christ come around the conclusion of what has been commonly called “The Sermon on the Mount.” Contained within the chapters of Matthew (5-7) are these words, perhaps a compilation of a multitude of teaching points, or even one fateful day of utterances. Regardless, we can see the plan of the words of Jesus in this structure.
Jesus lays the foundation of what we are supposed to be like with something we’ve titled “be-attitudes.”
- Jesus teaches on character (Mat 5:3, Mat 5:4, Mat 5:6, Mat_5:8)
- Jesus teaches on conduct (Mat 5:5, Mat 5:7, Mat 5:9)
- Jesus teaches on influence (Mat 5:10-16)
Then Jesus gives some New Kingdom laws. (Mat 5:17—7:27)
- Demonstration of the beatitudes (Mat 5:17-20)
- The law of anger (Mat 5:21-26)
- The law of purity (Mat 5:27-30)
- The law of fidelity (Mat 5:31-37)
- The law of flexibility (Mat 5:38-42)
- The law of impartiality (Mat 5:43-48)
- The law of pure motives (Mat 6:1-18)
- The law of liberality (Mat 6:19-22)
- The law of reduced interests (Mat 6:24-34)
- The law of tolerance (Mat 7:1-5)
- The law of spiritual truth (Mat 7:6)
- The law of the Father’s wisdom (Mat 7:7-12)
- The law of re-relating (Mat 7:13-14)
- The law of roots and fruits (Mat 7:15-20)
- The law of obedience (Mat 7:21-23)
- The law of building codes (Mat 7:24-27)
So, the Sermon on the Mount is essentially a new set of Kingdom laws that build upon the foundation of the Old Testament world.
In the The Twelfth Law – Law Of Seeking God: The Father’s Wisdom (Mat 7:7-12), we find Jesus telling His listeners to Ask, Seek and Knock.
Ask (Use it as an acronym A=Ask, S=Seek, K=Knock)
Asking is something we are all capable of doing. An infant begins to learn how to get something by a few grunts and a motion of hands and movements of eyes. A toddler learns to ask, often by taking something because they can! A pre-schooler and new student begins to ask questions, and even when you tire of trying to answer, they keep asking. Teens questions parents, College kids question the system. Parents question their kids, older parents question the grand-kids, and the rest of us just question the sanity of all… And the cycle begins all over again.
Perhaps the best thought of how we ask, is looking at the “way” we act when we ask – the younger we are, or the more informed we are, our mode of questioning changes. James stated it like this: James 4:2-4 – You have not because you ask not. You ask and receive not because you ask amiss. We must realize, first, that we MUST ask, then ask properly , and finally to ask for things that are appropriate.
Let’s define “seek” according too the meaning of the Greek word. “Go in search for, look for, pursue, aim at, entreat.” Actually, this word as used by Hebrews also means to “Worship” when focused upon God, or to “plot against” when focused upon negative motives.
Both testaments have examples of seeking. Here are a couple.
- Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the Kingdom.
- Psalms 27:8 When you said seek ye my face, my heart said, Thy face, Oh Lord will I seek.
Knocking has something to do with Doors! Knocking also has to do with the right use of truth that we have been given. We are required to confer with God on what to do with what He has given us. We can pray, “Lord open a door” but we have to be ready for that “door” to never open. God never opens the door to situations you are too immature to handle, because He never puts anything on us that we are not able to bear.
There are two dangers:
- Not knocking at all (become stale), and
- Tearing the door off its hinges (too soon).
Where Asking is simplicity, Knocking is importunity
- Timid knock ‑‑ lacking faith (Jam 1:6)
- Runaway knock ‑‑ no patience (Psa 40:1)
- Late knock ‑‑ lacking time (Luk 13:25)
How to knock properly
- Early while still young (Psa 5:3)
- Earnestly with all your heart (Jam 5:17-18)
- Repeatedly (1Th 5:17)
- Distinctly (Mat 7:7)
- Expectantly (Psa 27:4)
Finally, we cannot just stop with the A-S-K…
(Mat 7:8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Remember that this is not a one time asking, seeking, or knocking. There is a continual action expressed in the Greek. Those who keep on asking will keep on receiving.
Mat 7:9-10 Bread, a stone, a fish, a serpent.
Why mention these? Because what you receive may appear more like a stone or a serpent than the bread and fish that you are asking for. When you ask for one thing from Him you are not going to immediately get that but something else may come in its stead. Just like Israel cried for deliverance and the first thing that happened when a deliverer [Moses] came was more cruelty under the taskmaster. But God was getting Pharaoh’s heart ready to release them and in order to do so he would first have to make it harder on them. The same will happen with you. When you pray for something there may come some adverse circumstances first for faith has to be tried.
- But keep waiting for when you ask for bread He is not going to give you a stone.
- If you ask for a fish and suddenly you see a serpent, you are to keep on asking, seeking and knocking, for He has promised you that this is not your answer, though it may be a forerunner to it.
Do not stop your quest for an answer until you receive it.
- Be like the widow in His parable on prayer (Luk 18:1-8).
- Be like Elijah who prayed for rain until a cloud formed like a man’s hand.
The stone, or serpent, is only a trial of your faith, so keep praying.
- Ask: Knowing He hears and delights in supplying needs.
- Seek: Knowing He is waiting to reveal Himself to us.
- Knock: Knowing He will open the door, saving us from the stagnation which would result if apathy should set in, as well as from the fiasco that would result from our stubborn aggression.
So….Here’s the surprise!
If we are expecting to receive answers from God, it is predicated on our relationship with our fellow man, woman and child… Verse 12 is the last verse in the Law of Asking God… It’s a very important completion to the law.
(Mat 7:12) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Here’s the bottom line… All things that you want men to do to you… then you must do all things unto them the same way – and this comes from the law and the prophets… This is who we are, and if you are not this way, this is the way you MUST be. You CANNOT ask from God and expect God to treat you different than you are treating everyone around you. One MUST keep the Horizontal relationship in tune with the way you want the vertical relationship to be… Just as Jesus tells Peter (Matt 16:18-19), “…and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Our vertical relationship is patterned by our horizontal relationship.