Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, Knock

Sermon on the Mount:
Ask, Seek, Knock
Stephen "Red" Shumate
Sept 05, 2017
Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy at

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Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7:7-12
“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. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets.

What should we ask for?  
What should we seek?  
Where should we knock?

What a great promise Jesus makes us here because basically, He says if we are persistent in asking, seeking and knocking, what we ask for will be given to us.  BUT WE MUST BE CAREFUL HERE, not to take this verse out of context. Because while at first glance this may seem to indicate that we can ask for absolutely anything and it will be given to us, I do not believe this is the case.  So, the question becomes, what does this promise apply to?

Our first Hint comes from the part of Jesus’ sermon that we looked at a few weeks ago.  If we go back two weeks ago when we were talking about possessions and anxiety and in this part of his sermon, He tells us what to seek and what not to seek.  If you recall, He says, don’t store up earthly treasures but instead heavenly ones.  He says, don’t worry about what you’ll eat, drink or wear, but instead… But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 

So, when we look at this scripture in the context of the rest of the sermon, what we learn is that we should keep seeking heavenly treasures and we should keep seeking God’s kingdom and we should keep seeking His righteousness.  Basically, what we are seeing here is that Jesus is saying that if we ask for good spiritual things, they will be provided for us. 

Our second hint that this is what He is saying, comes from our text today, because right after He says keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, He then gives the example of a father and son and He says What father…“if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”

Notice here what He didn’t say.  He didn’t say what father whose child who asks for candy…gives him candy till his teeth rot out?  He didn’t say, what father, whose child asks for poison, gives him poison? He didn’t say, what father gives their child everything they want?

No, instead what the child is asking for bread and fish, things that will help him grow.  And Jesus says if a child ask for healthy things then a Father wouldn’t give them something harmful instead. 
So, what this tells us is that if we ask for, seek and knock for righteous things… for things of God’s kingdom… for spiritually healthy things… if we hunger and thirst for righteousness… then these things will be given to us.  AND It doesn’t say if we ask for a million dollars… if we ask for a great job… if we ask for a nice car… if we ask for temporary earthly things…That He will give them to us. 

That is not to say that we shouldn’t ask for physical needs and even wants.  Scripture does tell us to pray in all things, this would include both physical and spiritual things…but this promise that they will be given to us, I believe, only applies to spiritually healthy things. 

The second thing we should notice is (Depending on what translation you read)…the scripture says KEEP asking, KEEP seeking and KEEP knocking…This kind of persistence is important for 2 reasons.

The first reason is because things happen in God’s timing not ours, and when His timing is different from our timing then we shouldn’t just give up.  Remember patience is one of the primary lessons we learn in the Old Testament.  There are many examples of patience and waiting on God’s timing, for instance, Abraham and Sarah had to wait 25 years before God gave them a Child.

So, the first reason persistence…keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking… is important is because we should never give up on God’s promises.

The second reason persistence is important is that when it comes to seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness we are never finished.  The more we desire and seek spiritual growth, the more we will grow. 

But when we get complacent or when we get distracted by other things…  When we stop seeking, when we stop asking, when we stop knocking…  We stop finding, we stop growing, and we end up in a rut.  We need to continually seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness… We need to continually seek His perfect will. 

A Trinity of Seeking
Notice here that Jesus says those who ask, seek, and knock.  This is three distinct ways of looking for something.  This means there are times when each one is appropriate. 


Some People are great at asking God. but they never bother to seek… 
Some people seek…but they are too scared to knock.
Some people knock on every door they stumble upon, but never ask to be pointed to the right door.

Seeking, asking and knocking can be a huge challenge and stretches us beyond our comfort zones.  But we must keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking…

What are you seeking?

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