11th February 2023
11th February 2023
Read (Matthew 7v7-14)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
It is sure evidence of Satan's work when a Christian's view of God gets twisted beyond all recognition. What do I mean? There are Christians who view God as a King who is sitting waiting for them to mess up before pouring down vengeance upon them. Equally there are Christians who think that God gives them lots of chances but His patience will finally run out and He'll remove their name from the Lamb's book of life. Furthermore I have met Believers who think that God needs to be "buttered up" before the floodgates of blessing are opened.
The reality is that our God is a kind, gracious and loving God who we can truly call Father without any buttering up. Instead of hiding under the bed from a nasty pretend god we can approach the true God with confidence in prayer. Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock. In each case we will receive, find and have a door opened to us (v7-8). We would never give our son a stone instead of bread or a serpent instead of a fish (v9-10). Even though we are sinful we still know how to give good things to our children (v11a) and so in the same way our heavenly Father who is truly good gives us only good things when we ask.
Some have made these verses mean that we should be rich and happy and healthy but Jesus was no prosperity preacher driving around in a new BMW. What good things does the Lord give us as we ask, seek and knock? Nothing is specified in Matthew's account although Luke 11v13 records Jesus as saying that the good thing is the Holy Spirit. We can be sure that the Lord only gives us what is good and by faith in Christ we have already received every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1v3). Therefore we draw near and ask in full confidence and assurance of faith for all the blessings of a child of God. What is of more value than a strengthened assurance, a passion for the lost, a zeal in prayer, a hunger for God's Word and innumerable other blessings which often seem to escape us as Christians?
In response to this good news, the Father's love for us should overflow into how we treat others. Christ summarises the entire law and prophets by saying "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them" (v12) This has been called the "golden rule" and collates God's law into one simple point. The Christian is to love their God and their neighbour. What does our love for others look like? Do to others what you wish would be done to you. Immediately we will then seek our neighbour's good. We will refuse to gossip about or slander our neighbour. We will do all we can to help our neighbour and promote his welfare. Christ compels us to love our neighbour.
The road laid down by Jesus runs contrary to the wisdom of the world. Christ's road is narrow and it is difficult but it leads to everlasting life (v13-14). It is a road of blessing as the Father gives to those who ask and it is a road of response as followers of Christ seek to love those around them. The other road is broad and easy and for a brief moment sounds incredibly tempting - who wouldn't want a simple, hassle free life? But it is a road that leads to destruction and an eternity in hell.
The Lord isn't waiting for you to trip up so He can finally destroy you, instead we know that God is good and just in all His ways. Brothers and sisters, whatever spiritual good you currently lack seek the Lord who gives generously to all who ask and when you realise the extraordinary love of God to sinners like us, go and love your neighbour in response. This is the narrow road of faith and truth be told, it is the only road that matters.
Q74 What is required in the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
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