November 2, 2022

November 2, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
November 02, 2022

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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:7-11

Last Sunday morning we went to the cross for the communion message and heard the third saying from our Lord where he speaks to his mother in John 19, “Woman, behold your son.” The son he is making reference to is his beloved disciple, John. Of all of the seven sayings from Christ on the cross, the first words he spoke were to his father, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The last words he speaks on the cross are to the father again, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” So on the cross Jesus speaks to his earthly mother and he speaks to his heavenly father. The great stress is on his father, front end and back end, and that was consistent with his whole life. No one talked more about the father and no one talked more to the father than the Lord Jesus Christ.

We could argue when you come to the Sermon on the Mount, that that is certainly a unifying theme, even the dominant unifying theme on the Sermon on the Mount, the fatherhood of God. You have that Lord’s prayer beginning in Matthew 6:9-, “Our Father, which art in heaven,” and Jesus knows that just like him we need to talk to our father, and we need to know our father and that explains the Lord’s Prayer.

He is really giving us a good theology to the fatherhood of God. He is a father who pardons us, “Forgive us our debts;” he is a father who protects us, “Deliver us from our enemies;” and he is a father who provides for us, “Give us our daily bread.” So he is a pardoning father, he is a protecting father, and he is a providing father.

When we come to Matthew 7 Jesus again picks up the theme, the fatherhood of God. This time he is seeking to give us incentives or motivations as to why we should pray to our father. The focus again is on the father’s loving disposition towards us in terms of caring for us, providing for us. Matthew 7:11, “Your father in heaven gives good things to those who ask.” To appreciate our heavenly father’s generosity and how much he loves to give, he zoom lenses earthly fathers in verses 9, 10, 11. So you could say there is a contrast between the two fathers, side by side to teach us about prayer. This is an argument from the lesser to the greater. The Bible assumes, as Jesus does here, that parents give good gifts to their children. Probably no one gives more gifts than a parent. Mother and father give good healthy food as most of them do, clothing, shelter and provide good education.

Jesus wants us to know that the best of earthly dads suffer from innate selfishness and sinfulness. He calls them evil. That’s a description of all of us to some degree, even the converted, we still struggle with remaining sin. But he wants us to know that the best of earthly dads suffer from innate selfishness and sinfulness, yet being evil that doesn’t negate the giving, the giving of good gifts from most fathers. Earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children.

That doesn’t mean they give everything to their children, or everything their children want or need. But the point still stands, fathers will give good gifts to their children. If you didn’t have a Christian dad I am sure your non-Christian dad gave you some good gifts. I remember at the age of sixteen, a few months before I had my car accident, my brother and I asked my father several times if he could get us a dog. We wanted a German shepherd dog. A week before our birthday he told us to get into the car, he drove us to a town called Peterborough, Ontario, about 30 miles away and we came home with a German shepherd dog. It was a pure bred German shepherd dog. In fact it was such a beautiful dog it won first prize in a dog show. But then he got into a bad habit of chasing deer and he got shot by a forest ranger, sad to say. His name was Toska, a lovely, lovely dog. But my father gave us a wonderful gift. So earthly fathers often succumb, not in a bad way, to the pressure, the tears, the pleas of their children. Jesus wants us to know that the heavenly father is the best of fathers, the most generous of fathers.

Look at what he says, “How much more,” again he is arguing from the lesser to the greater, “will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask.” He is perfectly good, he is perfectly wise, and he is never, ever stained in terms of his thinking or his motives, with selfishness, impatience, or irritability when it comes to our asking or his giving.

So what are we to do, what is the whole point? Verse 7, this is what Jesus is trying to drive home, he wants us to pray. And he knows if we are going to pray the way we should pray, we need to know the father, what he is like. He fires off three verbs here, three sharp arrow verbs, imperatives, commands. This isn’t suggesting. Three commands to put into an imperative form, but also to put into an imperfect verb form. So here is how you can translate it, “Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking and knock and keep on knocking.” Don’t stop. Here’s why Christian, this is your father, a generous father who loves to give good gifts. No one gives like him, no one loves to give like our father. So we go to the throne of grace, I trust with that fresh in our minds. That should give us incentive when we pray.

I wonder if Paul the apostle thought of this when he wrote Romans 8. Remember what he says, “if he has given us his son, surely he will give us all things.” He underscores the generosity of God. He gave us his son! If he gave us the gift of gifts, will he not give us all things.