- Sermon Notes
Know Where to Run
Intro: Which way should I go?
Throughout the sermon on the mount, Jesus has been giving a road map toward the lives He would have His followers live on this earth. In pursuit of the Kingdom characteristics Jesus gives, we as His disciples begin to look less and less like who we have been, and more and more like Him. The attitudes (Beatitudes), essential distinctions (salt and light), characteristics, actions, values and what we value on earth, have all been addressed.
Jesus continued, talking about the worry we carry regarding our very needs, assuring us that God would not only provide, but directing us towards seeking first His kingdom, knowing that we will be provided for (6:33). With this in view, even our approach towards others changes as we take on His heart of restoration.
Without question, each truth given requires greater understanding and commitment to His way, each day. Without question, we face situations and circumstances that are beyond our ability or expertise. Without question, in the situations we face, we need to know where to run. With it all in view, Jesus points us back to prayer.
Read: Matthew 7:7-12
In response to what we face in our lives, it is more important than ever that we continually run to the Lord rather than the various people, places, or things one can often run to. In Matthew 6, Jesus gave us a way to pray that was directed to the Father, giving His will priority, one day at a time. As we pursue Him, Jesus gives an invitation.
I. Persist in Prayer
Matthew 7:7-8, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
- As Jesus gives the assurance that God welcomes our prayers, it is also important to recognize the way His invitation to “ask, seek, and knock” reads in the literal translation: “keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.”
- He is calling us to continually ask, seek and knock. When you don’t know what to do, how to get there or which way to turn; keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.
- Jesus is pointing us towards persistence in prayer and our opportunity to come before the Father and make our requests known.
- As we have studied in His sermon thus far and throughout God’s Word, we ask, seek, and knock with several things in mind:
1. He will provide, we are to seek first His kingdom and serve Him alone. (Mt. 6:24-33).
2. That our requests must be in harmony with His will (Mt. 6:10, Your will be done), accepting His will above our own.
3. We understand that our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways (Is. 55:8).
1 John 3:22, And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
- Prayer is how we communicate our needs and desires to God. Surely, He knows what we need even before we ask, but prayer is the way in which God has chosen to bring about answers and our opportunity to spend time in communion with God.
- Not to simply let Him know what my requests are, but to understand His will
Romans 12:2, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.
- The word “transformed,” is the word for “metamorphosis.” The same term is used in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which describes what happens to us when we see the Lord.
- This means that we are transformed when we look at Jesus, when we spend time with Him in prayer. When we pursue His invitation to keep asking, seeking and knocking.
- We are changed more and more as we look beyond the pattern of the world, and the solutions we can come up with to our prayers.
- When we look to Him, transformed, with renewed mind and we are able to understand what the will of God is, and the way he would have us go.
Illus. I’ve got that right here!
- The Lord will have a specific solution to your specific situation, search out His will. Seek Him and you will find Him.
James 4:2, You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.
Illus. I’m asking for favor, Lord go before me.
Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
App. In Luke 5, we see some men carrying on a bed, a man who was paralyzed. They were trying to bring the man in front of Jesus and they were not able to because of the crowd. As they attempted this, there was no way to get through the crowd, so they went up on the roof and lowered him through the tiles.
- Don’t stop when you feel like you can’t get to Jesus, keep knocking.
Illus. I know you’re in there!
Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
- Not only is He there, He wants you to ask, seek and knock!
- As we persist in prayer our eyes are opened to the understanding that His will is good, pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12:2).
James 1:17, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
A. Trust that the Giver is good
- Here Jesus asks three rhetorical questions that illustrate the Father’s eagerness to answer the prayers of His people.
Matthew 7:9-10, Or what man is there among you who, when he his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
- In referencing a stone, He is likely referencing a stone that looks like a loaf of bread…What father among you would trick your son by giving him a stone to chew on? Answer: none of them.
- Or what father would give his son a poisonous and unclean snake to eat when he asked for a fish? Again, none of them.
Illus. Yellow motorcycle.
- Jesus is referring to a trustworthy and faithful parent receiving a legitimate request from their child and the desire to provide for their child’s need.
- Jesus continues, if you desire to give good things, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give what is good!”
1 John 5:14, This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
- He hears your every prayer, and is working in your waiting. Wait in faith, knowing that God is the giver, and the Giver is good.
- It may not happen in the time, or way you prefer, but He is at work and will bring about His perfect will.
Illus. In 1 Kings 18, the Lord answered Elijah by consuming the sacrifice by fire, showing that He is Lord. What happened next was the prophets recognized who the Lord was, but did not acknowledge Him as their God. Not only that, in chapter 19, a woman named Jezebel issues a death warrant out for Elijah. As things didn’t go the way Elijah thought they would, Elijah ran into the wilderness and asked the Lord to take his life.
- Elijah came to learn that God was not going to respond at the time, in the way, or in the manner he recommended. But surely God had a better plan for Elijah than answering His request and taking Elijah’s life. He pointed Elijah toward a greater purpose.
- When I continue asking, seeking and knocking, I am determined to hear His voice in the midst of what I request.
- His answer will be better than your prayer. Are you willing to trust that the giver is good?
- Certainly, there are prayers I have prayed, like Elijah, that I am glad were not answered.
- There are other prayers I have prayed that where I need to dig deeper than I would like, and trust that the Giver is good.
- No matter the timing, I must be continually reminded of the invitation to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.
Hebrews 4:16, Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Illus. Luke 18:1-8, Persistent widow, unjust judge.
- If an unjust judge will give justice because of persistence, how much more will our just and gracious Father.
- The judge in this story was unfair, God is fair; the judge had no interest in the widow, God loves and cares for those who petition Him; the judge wanted the widow to go away, God beckons us to relationship with Him, invites us to seek Him in prayer, and points us toward our faith and His return.
B. Remember where you’re headed
Matthew 7:12, In everything therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
- When we know that God will supply all our needs (Phil 4:9). When we understand that we have been given a grace that we did not deserve, when we take to heart and pursue all that Jesus has called us to. We recognize that He is pointing us beyond the things of this earth, and towards a kingdom perspective.
- Toward Him who has made a way where there is no way and away from the way of today.
- When we know that even though we make mistakes:
1 John 2:1, We have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ, the Righteous one and that He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not only ours, but the sins of the whole world.
- It will ensure that how we treat others is not determined by anything other than the way we want to be treated and there is room for both of us.
If you know how you want to be treated, are you willing to treat others that same way? How life giving it will be, let others see your life devoted to Jesus’ teachings, your persistence in seeking Him first, and when they realize where you’re headed, they too will know where to run!