THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 9-25-05

LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: ASK, SEEK AND KNOCK"

WELCOME

Peter once encouraged the brethren to, "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble." Praise be to God that we are given the promise of eternal life, if we are willing to be diligent in His service!

Thank you for joining us this morning, let me welcome you to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?

(PRAYER)

A teaching from God that permeates the Bible is that of Redemption. Men of all ages have had the opportunity to be redeemed through the will of God, as they strove to be obedient to His requirements. This morning we want to begin with a song which teaches us about the wonderful promise of redemption. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together "Redeemed."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

In our opening text of the morning we learned about our need to be all the more diligent every day in our service for God. Why? Well, by doing so we make our calling and elections sure! Which means we accomplish God's Will as He has commanded and thus we are assured of the reward of heaven some day.

However, I like the later part of this verse, the phrase which says, "for if you do these things you will never stumble!" What is Peter talking about here? Well, if you look back in the same text to an earlier verse, you'll find in verse 5 that Peter there deals with what are often referred to as the Christian virtues! So what he is saying is that if we focus on God, live as He has commanded and let our lights shine by doing His will, then we will be virtually flawless - because our heart, desires and life are focused on God! Certainly the inspired writer here does not mean we will be completely sinless or completely perfect. However, he is suggesting that we will be considered by God as perfect and complete, because we are putting Him first, doing our best, and ever striving to accomplish His Will! When we are striving to do this, God is certainly pleased and thus the blood of Jesus Christ continues to make us pure, clean and presentable in the presence of such a might God. So, are you ready to give more diligence to your service for God so that you may be able to be blessed beyond measure, and furthermore, receive the reward of Heaven some day. On the other hand, are you ready to live a life of completeness and perfection because of your obedience and thus the cleansing power of the very blood of Jesus Christ? Why not seek God's Kingdom first, today and every day!

It just a few minutes, it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our topic, we will be continuing our series entitled, "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount." Our specific lessons of the day, "Ask, Seek, and Knock!" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, "Our God He Is Alive."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Ask, seek and knock. Certainly we are privileged as you have stayed with us this morning as we continue our study from the great "Sermon on the Mount," because today as we have just once again reconfirmed, we have an interesting discussion from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as He gave here the tools, we might say, that really not only bring us closer to Him, but giving us the opportunity to communicate and speak with Him that we might have those things that we have need of. I hope you've been enjoying our study together because it has been a good one. You know, you would first of all think that certainly there are not so many topics in the Sermon on the Mount, but you can see the wealth of information here.

And so we had already looked in chapter 6, Jesus returns to the idea of prayer in chapter 7 and verse 7 where He makes this statement, "Ask and it will be given unto you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you." Here we find some interesting passages and really encouraging verses again as I have stated that help us to know so much more about our Lord's concern for our needs and for the things that we even want in this life.

Over in the book of John we might remember as He spoke there to His apostles, that He encouraged them with similar words there beginning in chapter 14 of John and verse 12, and He said, "Most assuredly, I say unto you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, He will also do and greater works than these He will do, because I go to My Father." Hear verse 13, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do that that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." Well there doesn't seem to be a lot of confusion about what Jesus is saying here to His apostles, that if they ask, it will be done. Now certainly we've got to understand as we looked at in relationship to the Lord's Prayer and other ideas of prayer earlier in a lesson that we've already had on prayer, that we must do it according to God's Will, but what He is stating here is that if we ask, God hears, God answers, and He does what is best.

You might say, "Well, I'm not an apostle, Ray. That was written to the apostles and so that really doesn't apply to me." Well, turn over if you will with me then to the book of John because John, that is in the latter epistles when he wrote to churches there in 1 John, gave us a very similar idea. In fact, confirming the same things even to those who were after the cross and after the New Testament church had been established. There in John, 1 John again, chapter 5 read with me beginning in verse 14, "Now this is the confidence that we have that if we ask anything according to His Will, He will hear us." There's the first promise. If we ask, it has to be according to His Will. God will what? Hear us. Verse 15, "And if we know that He hears us whatever we ask, we know that we will have the petition that we have asked of Him." God will give us what we ask for... (Remember there is always an if) if it is according to His Will and certainly not forgetting the point that we've made, that it is best according to His Will. God knows things that we will never know. God has a view of what our life is all about and how a decision will affect us even further down the road and although we might ask for something and think it's the best, God's answer is the best even though at sometimes, it is "no," or it is another direction or another idea. God hears us when we ask. But here our verses in Matthew say, "Ask." We must be those who ask.

We also are told here to seek. Seek what? To seek God. Seek and we will find. That's not a strange idea because once again on the Sermon on the Mount back in Matthew 6, in fact back in verse 33 not so long ago, told us the similar idea, "Seek first the kingdom of God." Seek God first, ask God and seek Him. Seeking God would certainly encompass the desire to know Him and to grow in His knowledge and the knowledge and the grace of the things that He has presented to us through the Word. Certainly a growth would be required in that seeking, but a seeking to know His Will and then to obey it. Just as in Jeremiah 29 and verse 13, God said to Jeremiah, "And you shall seek Me and find Me and then I will be found in your heart." In the hearts of men, as even our hearts today, if we seek God, if we're faithful, then God helps us. He is with us. So ask and seek.

Then the final idea is to knock. To knock in what? Verse 7 again says, "Knock and it will be opened to you." If we think about knocking, the first thing that pops into our mind is a door. We might go up to someone's home and we knock on the door and we expect them to open it, and then they might greet us and we greet them and then we can talk. Here what is this door? It is very interesting that the scripture again helps us to understand that Jesus was referred to as a door and so therefore when it says, "Knock," it would make good sense that we're knocking at the door of Christ, on Christ specifically.

If you'll turn there in John chapter 10, we find there the great discourse where Jesus says, "I am the good or the great shepherd," but I want you to notice what He says there in verse 9 where He clarifies that "I am the door." He's already said it once in verse 7, "I am the door of the sheep." He says it again in verse 9, "I am the door." Then as He goes on in the story, He reconfirms that if you want to come to Me, or the sheep want to come to Me, guess how they've got to come. Through the door! He says that there's no other door. There's a fence and there's but one door. You can't jump over. You can't come in from over. You've got to come through the door because there's only one way to God, the Father, and that's through Jesus Christ, His Son.

Now then as we look at Matthew, I hope we're beginning to have our eyes opened and even more clearly understood when He says, "Ask, ask what you will of God in prayer." And what will happen? "He will give it to you." And "seek" there, He says. Seek, look for God. Find Him and be able to study and grow and obey His Will. Well He says if we seek, we will find. Then finally knock. Knock on the door of God, Jesus, and He will open us the door so that we might enter therein into the fold of God where He as the Good Shepherd for the Master, that is the Father, tends for us and cares for us and does all those things that a good shepherd would do.

The next verse, verse 8, adds to our discussion. It reconfirms the same thing, but it adds a point. After we have been told to ask, seek, and also as we find to knock. Verse 8 says, "For everyone who asks, receives, and everyone who seeks, finds, and everyone of Him who knocks, the door will be opened." Well I love that because when we think about the message that Jesus brought, the message that He brought not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentile as is clearly evident in the fact of what He told His apostles in Matthew 28 as well as in Mark 16, to go where? To all the world. To go to who? To every creature. And to do what? Preach the gospel. "Preach the message to everyone so that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," Mark 16:16.

You see, we have the command to do these things. We have the ability. Why? Because God has given it to us. And so therefore, God Himself had made it available that everyone, anyone, any person, no matter who they are, what color they are, what occupation they have, what education they have, whoever you are, God has said everyone can come and ask, He will hear. God has said that everyone can come and seek Him and you will find Him. And God has said that everyone must come and knock and He will open the door and we will enter in and praise be to God that we will be a part of His family. Isn't that a wonderful idea? Isn't it a beautiful thought? I think further what is so neat about these few verses here to me is the idea that is presented in action.

You know, we talk about faith a lot. We talk about believing in God and then we look at chapters like Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter where it says, "And Abraham by faith..." did this. He proves through his actions, though his words that he loved God. He didn't just talk about loving God like so many of us are guilty of. He proved to the world. He proved to God through every effort and every word that he was a follower of God and the world could see it clearly because of his actions, his words.

Now here as we look, He goes on to give us the same idea in these active terminology's. He doesn't say, "Just find out who He is and believe and that is it." He says, "Ask." What does "ask" require? It requires that we speak to God in some way. If we go and ask someone something, our children come to us and ask us something, you see it requires that someone come and it requires generally a response if we ask something. So it's action.

What does seeking require? If I've lost something... Now certainly we all lose things from time to time. Maybe it's our keys or something or our wallet, things which we wish we hadn't, but then we seek and we search and we look everywhere. Seeking. Well, seeking takes action. It takes time. We've spent no doubt minutes and hours seeking for things.

And then finally, knocking. It takes physical action to knock, and then a door might be opened. We would have again had to have taken the initiative to go out and to ask to seek and to knock so that we might be able to receive what we've asked, to find there those things that we are seeking, and then to have the door opened that we might enter.

Again, the next few verses after 7 and 8 beginning in verse 9 give us again a better picture as far as what we've already seen back in chapter 6, the loving God that we serve. In fact, it uses an example here just as in chapter 6 where he says, "You know if God is going to care for the birds and the grass of the field and all these other things, how much more is He going to care for you as a child, oh you of little faith?" Here it gives the same idea. He says, verse 9, "Or what man is there among you who if a son asks for bread, gives him a stone?" If my son comes up and says, "I'm hungry," I don't say, "Get out of my face," or I don't say, "Here, eat this stone," or "Suck on this piece of wood." I give him something to eat. Why? Because a father loves a child. Furthermore, verse 10, "If he asks for a fish, I don't give him a serpent." If he's hungry and he asks for a specific food, I don't try to shove things down his throat that he doesn't like or doesn't really want because he has made the request to me. I don't do things that are going to be bad against him or really bringing about a provoking against him as certainly the Bible condemns. But then even in verse 11 He says, "And if then being evil, know how to give good gifts to their children." In other words, "Fathers of this earth even know how to give good gifts to their children. How much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask of Him?" In other words, if Ray, being a father, has the common sense to do good to his children when they ask of him, then how much more would a God who is perfect want to do good to a child who is striving to do His best if you have asked God of such things that are according to His Will. You see, if we ask, God hears and He is going to answer, and He is going to give us those things. And not only that, but when we seek, we're going to find Him. And furthermore, when we knock, He's going to open that door because we are His children.

The final verse we will look at there in this section is verse 12. Seven through twelve was our study today. A verse that is so familiar is "The Golden Rule," because the Golden Rule is the precedent that is now being set in our discussion for God doing good for us and us doing good unto others. It simply states, "Therefore whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them for this is the law and the prophets." Do good unto others as you would have them do what? Do good unto you. How simple. Just as you want others to... Just as God has done good to me, I must do good to Him. And just as I want my neighbor to treat me good, I must do what first? Treat them good. That makes common sense. It makes common sense from a God who is perfect. It should make common sense from a child of God who studies and obeys and loves His Will and certainly knows not only does God want the best, but that that individual is asking, that he is seeking and finding the information and the knowledge of God and then knocking, opening and entering in within the presence of God so that we might be those who exemplify Him. You see, that's what it is all about. In the family of God, we not only have the Father with us, we have our brethren. We not only have the opportunity to have the Father and our brethren, but we have the opportunity and the privilege as we have seen back in chapter 5 to be lights in this world, to be able to do those things everyday that glorify God through our actions and our words that exemplify in Him all things that are pure and right and holy that show the world not only who we are but God in us so that they might want to know Him and then in turn as they want to know Him, they will turn around just as we have to have the privilege of what? Asking. And as we are asking to God according to His Will, knowing that He will answer, and then seeking, seeking His Word just as we have to grow and mature and become all that God wants. And knocking so that we might ever be in His presence, in the fold of God, in the home, the family, that He has prepared for us today which is the church, the church which has been bought and paid for with the very blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28.)

Oh what a privilege it is to be a child of God. Oh what a privilege it is to be a servant of the King, to be one who knows that our God is ever there. He is ever there for us to hear us and to know that when we ask, that it will be given unto us, to know that when we seek, we will find those things that we need. And finally as we have learned this day, to know that when we are those who knock, the door will be opened until we have that final reward someday of Heaven for all eternity.

(SONG # 3 - "When All Of God's Singers")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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Brethren and friends, may we believe, practice and obey what the Bible teaches us in relationship to God's work through us, for He has said, that if we "ask, seek and knock," all things will be ours!

(Program closing)