But as I was thinking about all the oppressions and the bad things going on in the world it occurred to me that many of them come from 2 basic mistakes which human beings are making:
1. they behave in the wrong way, and
2. they believe the wrong things.
Whether you look in the Western World, what we have here in Britain and Europe you see that we have, for the most part, abandoned Christianity. We’ve turned to sort of all kinds of alternatives including the kind of woke, diversity agenda which puts everything on equal footing, including all kinds of behaviours which are sinful and which amount to saying that you mustn’t judge anything, you mustn’t say anything is ‘wrong’, whereas the Bible tells us we should say certain things ARE wrong.
We have a generation which is being increasingly indoctrinated with ideas which are quite anti-Christian.
When you look at Russia, you see an even worse state of affairs with a dictatorship in which people are being brainwashed or indoctrinated with the ideas of the Kremlin and of the government and kept under tremendous oppression, great poverty, and suffering.
China is even worse. The Islamic world, worse still. And you can see examples of it around the world, people rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, living the wrong way and not asking for the good gifts that God wants to give to us, all on the road Broad Road to destruction and listening to false prophets who are producing bad fruit because they’re feeding on the bad roots.
As a result, they’re building their house on the sand, which will crash when the storm comes, and will leave them ruined. That’s the negative side of things.
So, let’s look at the positive which we’ve just read in the Book of Matthew with Jesus’ teaching in The Sermon on the Mount which tells us how Jesus wants us to live, how He wants us to make a difference in the corrupt world which we see around us, and, in a few short sayings here, Jesus gives us a huge amount of Good Counsel on how to navigate our way through the troubled world we live in, in the times while we are still here. Let’s go back and see what He says. First of all, verse 7 says,
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.Matthew 7.7-8
For those who have received Jesus as Saviour and Lord, the Lord has opened up a door of communication, the door of communication which enables us who are sitting here on the earth to communicate with God who is in heaven.
Think what a tremendous privilege that is. Jesus said:
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.John 10.9
We can speak to God through prayer. He can speak to us by the Holy Spirit, through His Word. There’s a door of communication which is open to us and the barrier of sin which separates us from the holy God has been removed through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus at the cross, so that, when we repent and believe the Gospel, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead, we are born again of the Holy Spirit to eternal life, and we become the sons and daughters of the Living God.
Do you ever think what a tremendous privilege that is? That you have received it and that you have become a son or a daughter of God who made you and who has redeemed you and who has a place for you in eternity?
It’s a wonder to me that not everybody receives it but that’s how it is.
We’ve come to believe in the Lord Jesus, and have new life in him. And Jesus goes on to say that as a good father will give good gifts to his children, and therefore, God, who is the ultimate good Father, is going to give good gifts to those who believe in Him.
9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?Matthew 7.9-10
A parallel passage to this passage in Matthew 7 here can be found in Luke 11.13, where it says:
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”Luke 11.13
Implicit in the good gifts which God wants to give us is the gift of the Holy Spirit. And, if the Holy Spirit is the third person of the tri-unity, that means that God wants to give you and me the gift of the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within us. God who has made us, wants to come and dwell within us by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is God. He is God, equal with Jesus. And He wants to come and live in you and me. Can you think what a privilege that is?
Do you want to have the Holy Spirit living within you? Do you want to have new life in Jesus? I hope so!
The Bible says that He will lead us into all truth.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.John 16.12-15
One of the things which you see around us in the world today is a huge amount of deception and error, and confusion in the religious world in particular; sometimes too, in the Christian world. Therefore, you need to have the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth.
He would also come on the condition that we ask Him to come. There’s something we have to do, to ask. Ask and you shall receive. And the Holy Spirit comes as we do what, He tells us how to go; God tells us what to do.
If you turn to John Chapter 14 verse 15, Jesus, speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit, said,
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.John 14.15-18
Jesus is saying here that He wants to be in you. He wants to be in your life and you have to ask Him for that. That’s why He says here ‘ask and you shall receive’. It’s very simple. You don’t have to go to university to work out what that means. It just means you ask God to give you the Holy Spirit and He promises that He will give you the Holy Spirit, and come and dwell within you, and lead you into all truth.
Further on in John 14.26, He says,
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.John 14.26-27
Jesus says He is going to give to you the Holy Spirit, and He’s going to give you peace. He is going to also teach you all things.
Now, it’s good to have Bible teachers to teach you the Word of God, but we also have the Holy Spirit who wants to teach us all things and to lead us into all truth. And all these good things are more and more available to every believer in Jesus.
What you have to do to get them is ‘ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened unto you’.
The problem with human beings is, for the most part, we don’t ask or, we ask for the wrong things. In the book of of James chapter 4, there’s an interesting verse where James speaks about asking and receiving and verse 1 of James 4 says,
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.James 4.1-3
So, James is there rebuking the people who don’t ask and who, if they do ask, they ask for the wrong things. You can see that, in the world today, people are asking for things which are the wrong things. James speaks about lusts and pleasures and fighting, and war, and all those things are contrary to what God wants to give to us.
9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”1 Kings 3.9
God wants us to ask Him for the good things which come from the Holy Spirit, and to avoid the bad things which come from the enemy, the evil one.
That verse there in James ‘you ask and do not receive because you ask amiss’, should prompt us to ask ourselves: ‘Do we ask the right things from God? Do we ask God to help us in the right way?’
And, ‘Are we earnest in asking? Do we persist, and seek God with all our heart?’
Go to Jeremiah chapter 29.3 and he says there:
12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:12-13
The scripture implies there’s a bit of effort that needs to be taking place on our part. It doesn’t just come served up on a plate, we have to seek God earnestly and to ask Him to give us these gifts, and be persistent in prayer, keep knocking till the door is opened.
Don’t lose heart if you have some failures or things don’t go quite the way you want them to do, but continue and persist in what God wants to give to us.
The most important prayer is that that we should ask God to make us walk in His ways, to make us the kind of people He wants us to be.
You often go to a prayer meeting and people ask God to help them with their financial needs, their health needs, etc., all of which is legitimate. You can do that but not very often do people ask God to help them to become better people, to become the kind of people who God wants them to be, to deal with their spiritual problems. Yet those are the things which God really wants to hear us praying for: praying that He might change us to be the people like He wants us to be.
David Guzik commented on this passage. If you don’t know David Guzik, he’s very good Bible commentator. He’s done a commentary on the whole of the Bible so you want to have some good notes on the Bible, look up David Guzik’s notes.
So, receiving is the reward of asking, finding is the reward of seeking, and entering through the open door into the presence of God is the reward of knocking, the best reward of all.
God is turning you to do those things, to seek Him, to ask, and to knock, and to enter in. Now, as a result of this, there should be some change in the kind of people we are.