Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ASK

Sermon on the Mount (pt. 18)
Ask, and it shall be given you
Seek, and you shall find
Knock, and it shall be opened to you

This passage has some difficulties attached to it as far as its application goes.

I’m sure no one will quibble over the main idea, which is to ASK. But, who is allowed to ask?
Everyone?
Anyone?

There are some who would restrict this passage and its promises to believers only.

They base that thinking on the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount:
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Mat 5:1-2)
So far, so good.


One would be inclined to agree that only believers may ask and receive, because Jesus was speaking to his disciples.

Not so fast.

As we go to the end of this little sermonette, we find this:
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: (Mat 7:28)
Putting the two verses together, we are left with the conclusion that the “them” in verse 2 must include the multitude, and not be limited to only the disciples—and by extension, believers.

Therefore, any who ask, receive; all who seek, find; and those who knock, find an opening.

Maybe.

It appears, though, that there may be a condition attached to this promise, much as there is to many promises contained within scripture.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Mat 7:7-12)
Notice the sudden shift in verse 12 from speaking of you and the Father to you and your actions toward others.

Now this had been intimated at the beginning of chapter 7, which we’ve looked at in the two previous lessons. That section was all about how we are to clean up our own act if we expect to be qualified to judge others.

So, this statement in v. 12, known as the Golden Rule, could well be a summation of this whole section.

We see it attached at the end of the section under our consideration at the moment, which is that of asking and receiving.

It may be just my imagination, but I assume that many have asked and not received. Many have sought, and not found; and many have knocked only to have the door slammed in their face.

Could we possibly ascertain a reason from this passage?

Because Jesus tells us in verse 11 that it is our heavenly Father who gives us what we ask for, most of us assume, then, that we are to ask Him for what we want in prayer. And I would not deny that as a distinct possibility of the intent.

We ask the Lord in prayer for whatever it is we desire.

Is it not possible, then, that He would impress upon your mind someone that you might also ask?

The verse is actually wide open—ASK.
Someone.
It is only later that He says “…how much more will your Father…give to them that ask Him.” (Matt. 7:11)

I submit to you that it is quite possible that we have not asked in the right direction for some of the things which seem to have been denied.

I’m not making a hard and fast rule here, nor trying to build a doctrine.

I am only suggesting that it is possible that we have not followed the Lord’s guidance in some situations.

When you pray about a financial need, for instance, you are asking the Lord to provide you with money.

Where will that money come from?
It will come through the agency of man in some fashion, because money is strictly a man-made thing.
It will not come pouring down out of the next rainbow that you see.

The Lord will move on someone, in some fashion, to get that money to you.

This is how the Golden Rule fits.
“Therefore, if you want someone to be open to the Lord’s prompting their heart to get you some money, you should already be open to the Lords’ prompting your heart to give to someone’s need.”
In other words, it is inappropriate to ask for what you are not willing to give.

For instance, there is someone in my life who demands that I not demand anything.
This person also tells me that I am not to tell this person anything.

It is inappropriate for you to ask to be given to, when you are not a giver. (Lk. 6:38)

Yes, Jesus has apparently given us carte blanche to ASK—ask, seek, and knock—for just about anything that we want.

But that carte blanche carries a caveat.
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