I. "ASK AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN YOU."
A. It is amazing to me how many times God tells us to ask.
1. To Solomon God said:
In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.
2. To Ahaz God said:
Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
3. Jesus said:
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give [it] you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
4. James had quite a bit to say about asking.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.
5. John wrote concerning asking.
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
B. Things we should note about asking.
1. These exceeding rich and precious promises made by Jesus about asking were not made to the multitudes but to His disciples.
a. To be a disciple you had to come to Jesus and take up your cross and follow Him, so the promises are limited to those who had come after Him and had taken up their crosses and were following Him.
b. The promises were made to the children. To a woman of Syrophonicia who was asking Jesus to heal her daughter Jesus said that it wasn't right to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs.
c. Special rights and privileges for children.
d. Even in the Lord's prayer, relationship is implied.
2. There were certain qualifications placed on the asking.
a. James said that they had not because they asked not, but again they asked and received not because they were asking amiss that they might consume it on their own lusts.
b. John tells us that we have this confidence that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if He hears us, we have the petition that we have desired of Him.
c. Once again John tells us that whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
3. Jesus said that we were to ask the Father in His name. That we were to ask in faith. And He made special mention of two agreeing together when they asked.
II. SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND.
A. God warned the children against turning from Him to other Gods, that it would result in the loss of the privilege of staying in the land, but if they did go into captivity He said:
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find [him], if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
B. David gave this psalm to the people:
Then on that day David delivered first [this psalm] to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
1. When David was ready to turn over the scepter of his throne to his son Solomon, he told the people,
Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God,
2. David's last charge to his son Solomon was:
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
3. The Lord promised to Solomon:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
4. King Asa commanded the people of Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers.
5. The prophet warned King Asa: Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD [is] with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
6. David said to the people:
[When thou saidst], Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good [thing].
7. Isaiah said to the people:
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
8. The Lord said to the people through Jeremiah:
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
9. The prophet Hosea said:
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
10. Lastly in Hebrews we read:
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
C. What we learn about seeking:
1. We are to seek Him with all our heart and soul.
2. That the heart of those that seek the Lord should rejoice.
3. We should set our hearts to seek the Lord.
4. If we seek Him we will find Him, when we seek for Him with all of our heart.
5. That they that seek the Lord shall not want for any good thing.
6. We must believe that He will reward those who diligently seek Him.
III. KNOCK AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU.
A. In Revelation 3
Jesus said that He was standing at the door knocking and if any man would hear His voice and open the door He would come in.
B. In seeking to find the will of God, I believe in knocking on doors and see which ones the Lord opens.
1. Many times He will open two or three doors, then the task is to discern which of the three He wants me to enter.
2. Jesus promised to the church of Philadelphia that He would set before them a door that no man could shut, and conversely we closed a door no man could open it.
C. When Paul and Barnabas returned from their first missionary venture they came back to the home church in Antioch:
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
1. Paul writing to the Corinthians about his missionary journeys said:
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and [there are] many adversaries.
Furthermore, when I came to Troas to [preach] Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
IV. FOR EVERY ONE THAT ASKETH RECEIVETH; AND HE THAT SEEKETH FINDETH; AND TO HIM THAT KNOCKETH IT SHALL BE OPENED.
A. These are just straightforward promises from Jesus.
B. He then illustrates the promises from human life experiences.
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 ye 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?
C. On another occasion recorded in Luke's gospel Jesus said very much the same thing when He was talking to His disciples about prayer.
1. As a good teacher, Jesus did not just declare a truth once, but would reiterate the truth on other occasions.
2. Jesus well knew that repetition is the key to learning, so when teaching on the subject of prayer, there are certain truths that need to be reemphsized.
3. Luke tells us that as Jesus was praying on a particular occasion when His disciples came to Him and said: Luke 11
, Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is a friend, yet
because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if [he ask] a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?