11 Mar 2018
Spurgeon said that he'd rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach. Prayer is indeed important. But why? Does God really promise to answer our prayers? How then should we pray? Or what should we pray for? Mat 7:7-12 is one of the most important passages on prayer that Jesus gave us. Here, you will receive all the answers you may have always been searching for regarding prayer. Be sure to check out this message!
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We, as a church, have been going through the book of Matthew and we have been looking actually for the past few months at the sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5 to Matthew chapter 7. Today we come to Matthew chapter 7 and verses 7 to 12. This is part of what we would call the King's Speech, the Sermon on the Mount and we read a very familiar verse in the Bible. It says, Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find knock and it will be opened to you (Matt 7:7).
A story is told of a lady who was locked outside her car. She left the key in the car and in those days you can lock your car with your keys inside. And she was getting desperate because her son was sick at home and she needed to go home immediately. So she was in, she was in a frenzy. She didn't know what to do until she remembered, her pastor had taught them about prayer. And so she closed her eyes, bowed her head and said, "Lord, I'm really desperate. I need to get home. Could you please open the door for me, send someone to help open the door for me. I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen."
And just as she opened her eyes, she saw a big, burly, strong man standing beside her. He is full of tattoos, wears a white singlet, glasses, sun glasses, with a leather pants and leather boots. She looked at, she looked at him and said, "Wow, this is quite a big guy! But I prayed so I ask, I will ask him. Sir, do you by any chance happen to be able to open car doors?" The big man says, "Of course I can" and, and he reached within his pocket, took something out. After a minute of fiddling or so, click, the door swung wide open.
The lady was ecstatic, she was so happy, so excited she gave him a hug and said, "Thank you, thank you. You're such a good man." The big burly man said, "I'm not a good man. I was just in prison for car theft and I was just released this morning." The lady with her eyes wide open, looked up to heaven and said, "Lord, you're so good. You even sent me a professional."
Well, we are talking today about prayers and answered prayers. Now, not all prayers are answered that way and certainly not all kinds of prayer like that are what we are talking about. Nevertheless, Jesus here is teaching us about prayer. He says, "Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you."
I hasten to remind you, this is the second time in the Sermon on the Mount, prayer is being taught by Jesus. It was taught first in Matthew 6 and now in Matthew 7, Jesus repeats a teaching on prayer. I suppose this reminds us of the importance and the necessity for prayer. So often we think the Christian life is about reading the Bible, it's about serving the community, sharing the Gospel. It is. It's a lot of these things, but at the very same time prayer is very important and I think we should be reminded of that.
It was Spurgeon who said, "I'd rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach." That's quite a statement, especially from what we will call the prince of preachers. He's a man God used in times past, in great ways, but he himself would say I think it's far more important for one man to learn what it means to pray than for ten men to learn what it means to preach. He's not undermining the importance of preaching but he's elevating the importance of praying.
It was also Andrew Murray, another pastor, teacher, theologian of times past who says, "Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray. He did not speak much of what was needed to preach well, but much of praying well. To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man. Not power with men, but power with God is the first thing. Jesus loves to teach us to pray."
So fascinating words. Once again, I want to remind you it is not trying to undermine the importance of preaching, declaring the Gospel. No, but it is trying to restore the pre-eminence of the importance of praying.
I think we speak, I speak to much of my shame that I don't think I pray as I should. You probably see me preach, but you probably don't see me pray and I think praying is a valuable discipline of grace we all need to have. We have so much human institutions, human plans, human strategies. I think the church today should be reminded of the need to pray. Alright, so Jesus says, Ask, it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. It's really important.
But what does it really mean to pray? What is the implication? What is the process of prayer like? So look at these three words - ask, seek and knock.
The first thing I want to remind you is that our English Bibles, our English translations, don't quite do this verse justice because if you go to the Greek, the original rendering of the words should be in the continuous tense. In other words, it should read keep asking and it shall be given you, keep seeking and you shall find, keep knocking and it will be opened to you. It's in the present tense, it's in a continuous tense.
Jesus is not saying pray one time and it will be given to you, He says, keep praying, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. That's the idea. So instead of giving up after you pray for something once, Jesus is telling us be persistent in your prayer. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking and far from letting go, far from giving up, far from being discouraged, I think these three words tell us, you should step it up, not let it go down.
The, the idea, the imagery here is someone who has maybe lost something. I lost my wallet. So what do you do? Hey, John, did you see my wallet? Hey James did you see my wallet? No, I didn't see your wallet. Are you sure? James, did you see my wallet? Tom did you see my wallet? No, I, I don't think so.
After you have asked, what do you do next? Oh, no one saw my wallet. Is that what you do? What do you do? You start to get up out of your seat and you go around the house. Eh, where's my wallet, ah? Where's my wallet? I can't find my wallet. Hey where is it? Oh and, and after you sought for it, what do you do? Stop, start knocking on doors. Maybe it's not in this room. Maybe it's in another room. I don't have a pulpit, tok, tok, tok alright, tok, tok, tok. Is it in this room? Is it in this room? And you can see the intensity build up. Keep asking and if it doesn't work, then go seeking and if it doesn't work, then go knocking. So instead of slacking off, instead of slowing down, Jesus is saying be so persistent and be so fervent that keep doing it in until God answers.
Now, that's very different from our own prayer life right? Most of the time when we pray, we pray, one time, we hope like tio bey pio. That's how our mindset. You know what's 'tio bey pio' or not? You buy Toto. Wah I buy today, I hope I strike the lottery, tio bey pio. If God answer good lah. If don't answer then never mind. No, no. The Bible tells us, you, you, you keep doing it because you really believe God will answer it. And that's what Jesus is saying. Why do you keep asking, seeking, knocking? Because He says, you keep asking, and it will be given to you. Now if you don't believe it, He goes on to say, seek and you will find. And if you don't believe it still, He says, knock and it will be opened to you. Three times He's affirming the response of God towards prayer.
You say alright, three times I'm still not very convinced. If you are not convinced, He says one more time for you. Verse 8...For everyone who asks receives, for..and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened. Jesus doesn't say things for redundancy sake. I mean, it's not for no reason that He would repeat these words. He's encouraging His disciples to believe God, that He is a prayer answering God. So keep asking, don't give up. Instead, instead step it up when things don't get your way.
And you say that's still not enough. You know what, He goes on to say or which one of you, which one of you guys, if your son asks you for bread, you will give him a stone (Matt 7:9). How many of you do that? Dad I'm hungry. Go and chiak chio tau (Chinese for eat stone) lah. Which father does that? No, if my son, if your son asks you for food, what you do? You try your very best. You will want to give your son bread. Alright.
If that's not convincing enough, he says if he asks for a fish will you give him a serpent? (Matt 7:10). No, you won't do that.
Elsewhere by the way in a parallel passage, in Luke 11, Jesus adds on a third illustration. If he asks for an egg, will He give him a scorpion? (Luke 11:12). You say that's so weird. Why you ask for egg then he give you a scorpion. Well, probably in those days, in that territory there are scorpions that can roll up and look very much like eggs. So, God doesn't give you something that looks like it but is harmful to you. He gives you what you need. That's, I think, the idea.
So synthesizing all this together, I hope you get the thrust, the force of the words of Jesus. Jesus is saying you keep seeking, you keep asking, you keep knocking, because it will be given to you, you will find, it will be opened to you; you will receive, you will find, it will be opened to you; and God will give you the bread, the fish, the egg. You know, these are three sets of triplets that is affirming and affirming and affirming and affirming that God will answer your prayers.
Hey, if (sic) there's nothing you learn this morning, your Father answers the prayers of His children. That is so clear in the Bible. Does prayer work? Of course! Matthew 7 verses 7 to 10 is so clear. Now we looked at this last time remember? Prayer does not change God's mind. Prayer changes things because it is God's will to use your prayer to bring into effect what He would want to give to you. Now if you forget what that is, go back to Matthew chapter 6 about real prayer, that sermon and find that out. But I think, again Jesus is reaffirming His Father's commitment to answering prayer.
And so we come to verse 11 that says, if you then who are evil... What a statement. We all are evil. We all are sinners. Yet even when we are so flawed and sinful and self-centred and so on, even self-centred fathers, bad fathers know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more... This is the fortiori argument or the how much more argument. If an evil man like you can give your son what he needs, why would you doubt your good heavenly Father when you ask Him for what you need. How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him. It is not reasonable for a Christian to pray and think maybe my God won't want to give me good things. It's just unreasonable because even a little child who has an abusive father, a bad father, would also expect the father to respond to their prayers or to their requests.
Now the question, then is, if God wants to answer prayers, why does He make us wait so long, have you asked that, why wait so long, why can't I just ask one time, God I want a wife and poop, the wife comes, why, why, can't, why can't it be like this? Well, there are certainly many reasons I think we can suggest. Most of all, we, we, we understand that God's ways are not our ways, His timing is not our timing but supposed what Thomas Watson would say in his book, In the Body of Divinity, he would say, maybe it's to humble us, maybe it's to teach us patience, maybe it's not the right time as yet, maybe, God loves prayer, maybe we will appreciate it more when the answers come but we trust that God has His reasons in not giving us instantly what we ask, lest we think that He is our servant and forget that He is our Lord, there are good reasons why, but the passage affirms that God answers prayer of, or be it, it's not in our own expectation of timing.
Now does this mean that the question you may have, does this is mean I will get all I want? Pastor, this is so encouraging, your sermon. Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find. You know what, I've always been dreaming of the Ferrari. Ask and it shall be given, Yay! And if I don't get it, I just need to ask more, and if I don't get it, I just need to seek, I just need to knock and if I keep doing that, one day God will give me Ferrari. Is that true? Is that true? Hah, why no? Ask and it shall be given what. I preach so long already you say no.
Now we, we know from elsewhere in the Scriptures that one of the reasons God does not answer your prayer is because you ask it to consume upon your own lusts. Remember James 4, you ask and receive not because you ask to consume upon your own lusts, it is for a self centered reason. But I suppose in this text, it gives us a hint, a good father gives good things and this is the critical difference, good in your definition is different from good in God's definition. What is good to you is not what God thinks is good for you. So, God doesn't give you all that you want, because not all that you want is good, but He gives you all that you need.
Now we, we know from elsewhere in the Scriptures that one of the reasons God does not answer your prayer is because you ask it to consume upon your own lusts. Remember James 4? You ask and receive not because you ask to consume upon your own lusts. It is for a self-centred reason. But I suppose in this text, it gives us a hint. A good father gives good things and this is the critical difference. Good in your definition is different from good in God's definition. What is good to you is not what God thinks is good for you. So, God doesn't give you all that you want, because not all that you want is good, but He gives you all that you need.
Now my son wants many things, dad, can I have more sweets, dad, can I have more crackers, dad, can I have more toys, dad, can I have more playtime, I don't want to study. God, not god, dad, dad, can I have more TV and computer, they ask me all kinds of things, but a good father doesn't give him all he wants. I give him all that he needs, I give him all that is good, so your Father will give you what is good, He won't give you a serpent, He won't give you a scorpion. So you say God, I want this, I want the things of this world I want to be a rich man. Well, that may not be good for you, it might be good for some, it might not be good for you and so He doesn't always give you the scorpion you ask for. I, I guess that's found in the word, the phrase, good things.
Now my son wants many things. Dad, can I have more sweets? Dad, can I have more crackers? Dad, can I have more toys? Dad, can I have more playtime, I don't want to study. God, not god, dad, dad, can I have more TV and computer? They ask me all kinds of things, but a good father doesn't give him all he wants. I give him all that he needs, I give him all that is good. So your Father will give you what is good. He won't give you a serpent. He won't give you a scorpion. So you say God, I want this, I want the things of this world I want to be a rich man. Well, that may not be good for you. It might be good for some, it might not be good for you and so He doesn't always give you the scorpion you ask for. I, I guess that's found in the word, the phrase, good things.
Now, I think so far, it's been quite simple, right? Nothing difficult, not complex theology and we come now to the very last verse in our segment today verse 12 that says so whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them for this is the law and the prophets. Now you think about this, it's rather weird because verses 7 to 11 clearly is about praying. Alright? Very obvious.
Then Jesus suddenly sort of switched topic, change gears and says whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them for this is the law and the prophets (Matt 7:12). Does Jesus have a, have a problem with flight of ideas? You know, just jump from one place to another. What does he say this? What's the point? Not a bad statement it's a one of the most famous statements in the Bible but why now? Why here?
When we read the Bible, it's important not just to take verses and read them in isolation, but it's very important to read them in the context. So why? I think the reason is as such. It takes some time to develop, so be patient with me. I think after that, you'll come back and realize what it is.
I think what is key here in this verse, what, what do you think is key in this verse ? But I, I want to highlight this phrase, which already someone has mentioned, Edward has mentioned, and it is the law and the prophets. Because we have been studying the sermon on the Mount for the past few months, you don't quite get it, because it's after so long, but if you were to read the sermon on the Mount again and read it quite quickly, you would maybe pick up that this is a phrase that is very similar to how the sermon on the Mount began. By the way Matthew 7 verse 12 is coming to the end of the sermon on the Mount.
So at the beginning in Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, do not think that I've come to abolish the law or the prophets, I've not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. There are people who say, you don't have to bother about the Old Testament, about the law and the prophets anymore, no, Jesus came not to debunk the Old Testament, He didn't come to destroy them, He came to live it out and to fulfill it.
So you have this phrase, the law and the prophets in Matthew 5:17 and then we have a long series of sermons, but now we come to Matthew 7 verse 12 again the law and the prophets. These are the book ends of the body or the major content of the Sermon on the Mount. You know, when you write an essay, you have an introduction, then the body and then the conclusion. These two verses mark the beginning and the end of the body of the Sermon on the Mount. This is what they would call a literary device of inclusio. Wah lao, what is this? OK, inclusio just means include lah. This tells you that what is here and what is here, you include everything within, alright inclusio, that's a writing device, literary device.
So we have actually been spending time looking at the body of the Sermon on the Mount. What did we look at? We looked at what it means to interpret you shall not kill. Remember that? The Jews have always interpreted the sixth commandment as cannot murder physically. Jesus says, let Me tell you what is real righteousness. What is the intent of the law and the prophets? It is not only that you cannot kill physically but you must not be angry in your heart. Whoa! And not only that, a real fulfilment of righteousness in the sixth commandment is that you must be careful, even not to cause your brother to be angry with you in his heart. That's what real righteousness looks like. That's the law and the prophets.
Then Jesus went on to say, you shall not commit adultery. He explained this commandment. Many people think adultery is when you're caught in the bed. Jesus says adultery is when you're caught in your head. That's real righteousness, purity of thought and life.
The Jews have always taken advantage of the law of Moses in the certificate of divorce to anyhow divorce their wives. I don't like her, divorce. I don't like her, divorce. Jesus reinstates, as it were, the importance and the sacredness of marriage in explaining this issue in the Sermon on the Mount. True righteousness is when you are absolutely committed to your spouse as given in the book of Genesis.
Jesus went on to talk about oaths. The Jewish leaders, Jewish people used oaths as an excuse for lying Jesus says no, oaths are to keep you from lying. Jesus explained what it means to read an eye for an eye. The Jews used this as a justification for revenge in every personal issue, but Jesus says no, you don't do that. You love your enemies, right, and that's what we looked at. Love your enemies because that's what your Father does. He gives rain and sunshine to the just and also to the unjust. So we are to love our enemies in an unconditional way as well.
Jesus went on to teach us what true piety is. When you pray, when you give alms, when you fast, what it really means. For the past two weeks, we have been looking at the proper value of money and possessions, how we are not to be worldly and we are also not to worry.
Real righteousness is not bound or enslaved by riches and the last week we looked at what it means to judge one another. You're not trying to judge one another to make yourself look good, but you judge one another because you want them to look good, you want to help them. And so all that is what it means to fulfil the law and the prophets.
Jesus says except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven. In other words, a true follower of God, of Jesus Christ, has a whole different standard of righteousness as the religious leaders of those days. That is what kingdom living looks like. This is the proper perspective to kingdom values, to the law and the prophets.
So when you come now to Matthew 7 verse 12, you realize Jesus has ended His teaching in the kingdom of heaven, the body of teaching in the kingdom of heaven.
Okay, so that's the end. And in this verse, Jesus actually summarizes all that He's been preaching. He summarizes the Sermon on the Mount, He summarizes the law and the prophets into what? Into this one simple statement. What do you mean I cannot kill, I cannot commit adultery, I cannot anyhow divorce my wife, I cannot lie? What does it mean, not to treat my enemies the way they treated me? What does it mean to have true piety? What does it all boil down to? This line.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them (Matt 7:12). What do people call this verse? Excellent! It's called the Golden Rule or some people call this the Mount Everest of Ethics. Ethics is the way you treat people right. So this is the pinnacle of what it means to live life as a human being, treating people.
This is the Golden Rule. You say what's so golden about this rule. What's so special? Can anyone tell me what so special about this? I mean, the words are so simple, but what's so unique? There are a few things that are remarkable about the Golden rule or the Mount of Ethics. Being accurately pointed out, Confucius, he said, okay
the Indian translation is ..don't have, don't have, I don't know how to. Or the Filipino translation I don't know. But a famous Chinese philosopher er, he said this, I think he lived before Jesus if I'm not wrong right. And so, in English it means do not do to others what you do not want done to you, right.
己所不欲 what I don't want, 勿施于人 don't do it to others. But of course the major cultures of the world, not Chinese, you, the famous culture is that of the Jewish culture. So they have a Rabbi Hillel, who said what is hateful to yourself, do not do to someone else. Sounds very similar, maybe they had a coffee and they talked together I do not know. But maybe the Jewish culture is not familiar to you, you might be familiar with, with Greek philosophers. And Socrates, he said, what stirs your anger when done to you by others, that do not do to others.
What is common amongst these three philosophers? Don't, don't, don't. What about Jesus? Do. In other words, the Mount Everest of Ethics is not just saying don't cheat, don't steal, don't lie, don't bully, don't hate, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't. No, no, it's more than that. Do good, give, serve, pray, help and I say that's probably far more difficult than just not doing anything. Agree?
So human philosophers can only go out to restrain. Don't do, control. Christian ethics say not only do I not retaliate evil for evil, I'm going to go a step further and say I'm going to positively bless you and do good to you. That's why it's the Mount Everest of Ethics. It's so subtle, but it's so obvious, once you see it. You get that?
What else is remarkable about this statement, do also to others? Well, it is this phrase, whatever you wish that others would do to you. What do you wish people to do to you? A lot of good stuff right, tio bo, correct?
So the Mount Everest of Ethics is saying whatever you wish people do to you and not whatever they have done to you. The way we operate without the Bible, without God, without the Holy Spirit, without Scripture, is that we treat you the way you have treated me. Tit-for-tat, that's how we work. Eh, you blanjar me dinner, eh, what's blanjar. OK, you treat me to dinner, I treat you to dinner. That's how life works. We want reciprocity, we want to treat people the way they have treated me but you know that's not how Jesus taught us. Even if they had spat on your face, you do to them what you wish they will do to you.
Isn't that what Jesus did on the cross? If Jesus did to them what they have done to Him, they would have died but Jesus didn't. He went to the cross and said Father forgive them for they know not what they do. I'm going to do to them what they (sic I) wish is done to me.
So it is not conditional, neither is this done with the hope that they will do nice things to you. So, this is not just how they have treated you or how you hope they will treat you, because you're doing something that you hope will get some points with them and that they will reciprocate you in the future. No doesn't need to be, simply unconditional.
So maybe my point is clearer here, we treat others well regardless of how they have treated us or will treat us. That's the Golden Rule. It's an unconditional rule.
We are to love unconditionally. And therefore, if you put this all together...I told you it would be a bit long but I think at the end of the day, it's quite simple. What does it mean to fulfil the law and the prophets? It means love - unconditional love is the fulfilling of the law. You get that?
That's why when someone asked Jesus, what is the greatest commandment? Jesus says, the first and great commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and second one, to love your neighbor as yourself. Love is the fulfilling of the law that is the law and the prophets. Jesus came to fulfil the real essence and manifestation of love.
What is the Sermon on the Mount? Er, the Koreans, love, righteousness, that's what it's all about. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets. So Jesus wraps up the Sermon on the Mount, He wraps up the teaching on the law and the prophets, what real righteousness is and I think that's why it is right here. But there's still one more word I am not so clear about and which is important and the word is? That's right, so.
So what you say. It's very important, therefore, so, thus, but, however,... these words are very important. I think the word so here connects with what is said before verse 11. My suggestion, my thinking is when you finish the Sermon on the Mount, you say wah, this is amazing, so chim, chim means so profound, but at the same time, it is so, for me to do it's so difficult. How to do?
If you really listen to Jesus and you say I want to be a kingdom of, I want to be a real citizen in the kingdom of heaven, it's so difficult to follow Jesus and live like Jesus. Absolutely and that's why Jesus gave us at the very end, a reminder of the importance of prayer. You pray, you keep asking, you keep seeking, you keep knocking, it will be given to you, grace to obey will be given to you, your Father will give those who ask Him. So, now you can fulfill the law and the prophets. So, because of His enabling grace, you can do to others what you wish they would do to you.
So this is I think the connection and it's really fascinating, that this is I think what the good things are all about. So just now I say good things are probably not sweets and candies and TVs and computers and playtime. What are the good things? Good things are the enabling grace, enabling power of God to help you live life as described in the Sermon on the Mount. That's what's really good - that we would be free from bondage of sin, that we would live life as God wants us to live. Real righteousness, real love.
And it is even more fascinating when you compare this with a parallel text in, in Luke 11. Remember we talked about Luke 11 just now, about a scorpion and an egg? And if you look further in Luke 11, it says, if you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit.
In other words, the ability to live out God's Word, the ability to live as God wants us to live, is given in the person of the Holy Spirit who lives in you. If you today are struggling with bitterness, with impurity of mind, with vengefulness, with hypocrisy, with worldliness, with worry, with judgmentalism, you know what you should do? Ask God to enable you to live a life of love and that ability is given in the Spirit because the fruit of the Spirit is love joy, peace. It all ties in. You see that?
So this prayer is not a license to pray for your Ferraris or your Sentosa Coves. This is a prayer that says, Lord, I want to live like how you have desired us in the law and the prophets. I want to live a life of love. I want to do that not because I want to be saved, I want to do that not because I want you to love me, but I know you already love me, I know I'm already saved and so I want to please you. I want to live a righteous life, I don't want to live in the bondage of sin, but I have no ability, so Lord I plead with you, give me the grace to do so. And I know you will give me the good things, through Your Holy Spirit to enable me to live like that. And if I don't get it when I pray one time, what do you do, I pray again.
And if I don't get it the second time, I'm still struggling with bitterness, what do you do? Pray again. You keep asking, you keep asking, you keep asking, and then you keep seeking and you keep seeking, you keep seeking, and then you keep knocking and then you get knocking and knocking and it will be given you, and you shall receive and it shall be opened unto you. You will receive you, you, you have this door opened unto you, you get your bread, your eggs, whatever you need. My child, herein is the grace of God.
So John Broadus said, "One may be a truly industrious man, and yet poor in temporal things; but one cannot be a truly praying man, and yet poor in spiritual things because he says, ask and it shall be given."
My friend, this is your Father. Your Father loves you. Do you know what the Gospel is about? Do you know what grace is about? The Gospel, grace is not about you being good so that God will love you. The Gospel grace is that God loves you, so He wants to enable you to be good. Very, very, very different.
Let me say that again. The Gospel is not you trying to be good so that God loves you. The Gospel is God loves you, so He enables you to be good through the provision of His blessed Spirit. This is Your Father's love. He really desires you to live a life free from sin. If you are God's child, you know how destructive and damaging sin is and you say Lord, enable me to be free and I think this passage unlocks what it means or what it takes for you to live in purity, righteousness, love and joy.
I encourage you today whatever sin you are struggling with and if you're desiring to be more and more like Jesus, to grow in godliness, ask and it shall be given.
Let's close with the word of prayer.
The love of God is not just given to set you free from the punishment of sin. The love of God is also given to set you free from the power and the bondage of sin. God is not just here to give you a ticket to heaven, but is here to help you, day by day in your life, to wage war and be victorious over the bondage and power of sin. And He tells you today, as a good Father, He gives His Spirit to everyone who asks.
Today, you see your life struggling with worries, in fears, in worldliness, in adulterous thoughts, in murderous intent, in a bitter heart. I say you need not be stuck there because your Father wants to give you a good things, to set you free.
This morning, the love of God calls out to you, my child, why don't you come ask Me, keep trusting, keep believing in Me, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking and it will be given to you. My friends, we all today have the same Spirit in our hearts. We all today can aspire to greater heights of spirituality. Won't you want that? Herein is the love of God.
If you are here today for the first time and you said wow, Christianity sounds so difficult, I have to obey so many laws. Let me say this. No, you don't obey these laws to be a Christian because you simply can't. If the law of God governs not just what we do on the outside but what we think on the inside, then we are doomed. There is no way any man can obey these laws perfectly to gain favor with God and so I say to you, it's not about obedience to the law that gets you saved, it is all about the grace of God, in sending Jesus to die for all your sins that sets you free. And He says to you, whosoever repents and believes in Jesus will be saved.
So herein is the great invitation of the world, God invites you to repent and believe in His Son. Indeed, God commands you to repent and believe in His Son. I pray you will receive the grace of God into your life today. Be saved because of God's grace.
So Father this morning, we are thankful for Your Word. It's a short little passage but just so much packed in within. And I pray that we will always remember, that when we are struggling in life, in sin, we can recall these precious words, ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. May we all daily, live in such a blessed dynamic of praying and receiving and obeying to glorify You. Bless all our friends who are here that they would receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ also into their hearts. We thank You. We pray all this in Jesus Name. Amen.
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