Keep Asking, Keep Knocking, Keep Seeking

Keep Asking, Keep Knocking, Keep Seeking
An Instruction in Prayer
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
March 13th, 2016
Image courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Keep Asking, Keep Knocking, Keep Seeking
We have been doing a series in Luke that started in chapter 9 and today we find ourselves in chapter 11…

Luke 11:1-13
He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “Whenever you pray, say:
Father,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves also forgive everyone
in debt to us.
And do not bring us into temptation.”
5 He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ 7 Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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 to those who ask Him?”

Our Scripture today, includes two very well-known passages of scripture…well, technically, one well-known scripture and one scripture that repeats a well-known scripture.

The first part starts out with the Lord’s prayer, however, this is not the one we are most familiar with.  The one that we are familiar with is in Matthew 6:9-13 and comes at the end of the sermon on the mount.  In both instances Jesus is giving them instruction on how to pray to God…or teaching them how to pray…

1. God as Father vs. God as Friend

Now the first thing that I think we should notice in this scripture is that it both begins (vs. 2) and ends (vs 13) with Jesus referring to God as father.

Now here is a curious fact…
In terms of God being referred to as father vs friend, most of the time in scripture, God is referred to as father…instead of friend.

So, why the distinction between father and friend?

Here is thing, God is our father first and foremost.  This implies our respect and fear (fatherly fear) of God as a father.  And it implies God’s love, protection and provision to us as a father.

Even in the Lord’s prayer we see these qualities being indirectly referred to.  So when we pray this prayer we are acknowledging those fatherly qualities.

So if God is our father, then why is He sometimes referred to as friend?  

Well, the truth is, sometimes, we need to be able to think of Jesus as our friend as opposed to our father…There are sometimes when that parent/child mentality needs to be dropped so that we can have real conversations with God. Because let’s be honest, sometimes there are some things you can tell a friend that you can’t so much tell a parent.

What we must be careful of is taking this too far.  There are some who see God strictly as their friend and never as their father.  And this can lead to so many problems…

For instance, when we see God as a friend, and not as a father, then we see God as just our buddy. And when we have this mentality we give Him no authority in our lives.  We just hang out with Him, cause He’s cool, and occasionally He answers prayer.  But we never give Him authority over our lives, which is what confessing that He is Lord is all about.

Another problem we run into when we see God as just a friend is that we don’t fully realize our dependence on Him.  Don’t get me wrong, we realize He helps us out from time to time (as a friend would), but we really don’t have a concept of our dependence on Him (as a child is dependent upon a parent).

And the danger in this approach is that when bad things happen, instead of putting our reliance in Him, we try to fix it ourselves.

Another problem we encounter when we see God as just a friend, is that we think He will excuse (overlook) our sins.  A friend will overlook your mistakes and maybe even join in, but a parent will correct and punish. And when we see God as our a friend, we think He’s our buddy He will understand, I was just having a little fun, or I am justified in what I am doing and we never repent or turn from our sin.

But when we do this, we are not seeing sin for what sin is. it’s like being an addict and thinking, “Hey, my family and parents don’t really mind that I do drugs.  It’s just who I am, I’m having a little fun.”  But what we don’t understand in this situation is just how much it hurts us (just how deadly our sin is) and how much it hurts our father.

And so, while seeing Jesus as our friend can be a useful to approach, we must be careful not to take it too far.

2. Keep Asking, Keep Seeking, Keep knocking…
Now the next part of our scripture, talks about asking for things from God and here Jesus is continuing in His instruction on prayer.

Vs 5-10
5 He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ 7 Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

What Jesus tells us here is to keep asking, keep searching and keep knocking. And I think when we hear this scripture, sometimes all we hear is keep asking.  But Jesus’ command implies three aspects of prayer and persistence…Asking, Seeking and Knocking.

By asking God for something, we are admitting our dependence on Him (as opposed to trying to figure it out on our own).  By Seeking, we are looking for His answers (as opposed to just waiting for them to be dropped into our lap). And by knocking, we are putting action into our search (as opposed to waiting for God to do it for us).

And this leads us to our last point.

3. How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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 to those who ask Him?”

There are a couple of things to notice in this part of our scripture.

Number one, Jesus says, if even our grumpy friend will answer us, how much more will our God… our Father, who loves us and is not subject to grumpiness…how much more will he be willing to answer our prayers?

Secondly, when we ask, seek and knock, He will not answer us with poisonous things.  A father would not give a son something that will hurt them.  If a child asked for ice cream, his dad wouldn’t give him poison.  He might not give him ice cream, instead he might give him cake, or he might not give it to him right away, but regardless God will not answer our prayers with something that will poison us.

This scripture does, however, hint at what gift He will give us. This scripture indicates he will answer our prayers by “giving us the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit Is what we really want.  The Holy Spirit can correct incorrect desires; The Holy Spirit can free us from addiction; The Holy Spirit can give us help, when help is what we need.

The questions I leave you with today…

Do you see God as your Buddy, or do you Him as your father?  

Have you been seeking and knocking or just asking?  

What are your expectations of his answer?  


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