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September 6, 2020 7:00 pm
Like you to turn if you would your vitals tonight. Chapter 11 look at two passages of Scripture to short parables with a similar theme that will begin in Luke chapter 11 and I will begin to read it verse five down through verse 1311 verse five and he that is Jesus said to them, which of you shall have a friend and go to him at midnight and say to him, friend, lend me three loaves for a friend of mine is come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him and he will answer from within and say do not trouble me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot rise and give to you, I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will rise and give him as many as he needs so I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be open.
If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion. 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 and then later in Luke's gospel chapter 1818, you will no doubt detect the common theme that we are going to be addressing this evening. Luke chapter 18 beginning in verse one, then he again Jesus spoke a parable to them that made that man always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying there was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Another was a widow in that city and she came to him, saying get justice for me from my adversary. And he would not for a while but afterword he said within himself, though I do not fear God nor regard man yet because this widow troubles me. I will avenge her blessed by her continual coming she weary me. Then the Lord said here what the unjust judge said, and shall God not avenge his own elect, cry out day and night to him, though he bears long with them.
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.
Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth like to begin by asking your question as you come under the burden to pray in engage in the matter of prayer for whatever need and you continually bring that need. Before God and you do not receive that which you are asking for. What do you conclude where do you point as to where the problem lies. Are you quick to question yourself and your motives do. Are you more inclined to examine your own life and wonder in my praying correctly in my praying with right motives, in my praying in the will of God, or do you begin to entertain suspicions concerning God doubting God suspecting that God is being reluctant God is being tightfisted God is withholding some good from you. Are you suspicious of God or are you suspicious of yourself is an interesting question to ponder, fear sometimes we are more inclined to bring God under our suspicion than we ourselves him. Writer him that we often saying to Karen Wednesday night. Behold the throne of grace. Behold the throne of grace, the promise calls us near to seek our God and father's face who loves to answer prayer. You convinced about tonight that our God loves to answer prayer or are you will mind our God is reluctant.
He is slow to answer prayer.
Are you convinced that he loves to answer prayer think the evil one causes us to have undue suspicions of God about these matters. Perhaps you are aware of the story of George Mueller man who lived in the 19th century and founded an orphanage and live the life of prayer trusted God for on believable needs, and provisions for that orphanage in his life and his own ministry and saw God provided miraculous way the story is told that Mueller had to friends that he grew up with and coming to the burden for their salvation, and it is told that Mueller prayed for the conversion of these two friends for 60 years.
I've heard it said he prayed every day for 60 years. He may prayed every day for 60 years, but I'm in my own mind thinking every day. Sounds a little bit like maybe an embellishment.
But again I don't I don't know the facts, but Betty Hinchey was under the burden to pray for these two men for their conversion.
60's 60 years is a long time, and toward the end of his earthly ministry.
George he saw both of these men converted the story goes, one became ill and on his deathbed, professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the other, and they say that perhaps it was one of the last public ministries that George Mueller conducted was the funeral service for this first friend and then within a year, this other man was converted.
Let's story of an example of perseverance in prayer and one wonders how does someone pray for 60 years about something and not draw the conclusion after all. While year two years five years or 10 years. Perhaps God is not interested is not of a mind is does not will to save these two men and give up. Prayer is has its challenges doesn't it's a difficult subject. We do not know how our prayers relate to the sovereign eternal counsel God we often do not receive what were asking because we ask for the wrong motives. James chapter 4 verse three says on other occasions. We believe we are asking with the right motives, but still we do not receive what we are requesting are some people who have the mind that it is a lack of faith to pray for the same thing more than once God has heard it. He has promised to answer and pray again and again and again is a evidence of unbelief. That's an interesting take on things. What we say about that. I'm sure there's a good bit to say about that. The Bible says that the fervent prayer Ernest, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. That certainly seems to imply ongoing prayer. One thing comes to my mind and that is the Lord Jesus in the garden were told that he prayed. I once, not twice, but he prayed three times that this cup.
The cup of God's wrath might pass so that God the father here, God the son, the first time that why needed and so the fact that Jesus prayed three times is enough for us to say no, it wasn't a lack of faith for Jesus – three times, and neither is a lack of faith on our part newly ask and beseech the throne of grace. Tonight I want to consider two stories to parables with you about prayer. Their short and they have basically the same message.
The first is in Luke chapter 11 chapter 11 is five through 13 is about a man who had a friend who came to him late at night after a journey and he wanted to feed his friend something, but he had nothing in order to set before him so he went to a neighbor in his neighbor happened to be a friend and he asks friend, lend me three loaves for friend of mine is come on a journey and I have nothing to set before him, and that's verses five and six of chapter 11. His friend did not want to be bothered. He'd already gone to bed yet. Petitioner kept insisting knocking at his door and eventually the man got up and gave them bread and the parables of Jesus teaches here and there is emphasis here. He gave them bread not because he was his friend bought because of his friends. Persistence and then Jesus gives this this gives us this principle of perseverance of prayer and he legitimizes the continual ongoing repetition of prayer in verses nine and 10 of Luke chapter 11 where he says, so I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be opened to you. Not as an imperative. It's a present imperative and the sense in the verb tense is to ask and keep on asking seek and keep on seeking knock and keep on knocking persistence in prayer and then Jesus compares God the father to a human father and he says there in verse 11 if a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give them a stone RFE asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of official or if he asks for an egg.
Willie offer him a scorpion and then he says this in verse that 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. That's the parable will come back to it. I just wanted to walk you through it familiar with the then we will look at the main point the ties these two parables together that of perseverance in prayer.
The second parable there in Luke chapter 18 is the parable of the unjust judge. There was a judge who was unconcerned with giving justice, a widow in his town who had been unjustly treated and who had no husband to plead her case Coming to him with the cry give me justice against my adversary and the parable of Jesus gives here tells us that the judge refused the request for a long time, but at last he gave her what she wanted reasoning, though I neither fear God nor respect man yet because this widow keeps bothering me. I will give her justice so that she will not persist in her request, and then the Lord draws this conclusion will not. This is verse seven and eight shall not God avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to him though he bears long with them.
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth now again both the short parables teach the words of perseverance and but before we look at this a bit more. We seek to learn and understand for several important matters in the broader context that we need consider because I think failure to consider these things has led to misunderstanding of what Jesus is teaching so first there are three things here that I want to consider with you in the broader context that will help us in our in our effort to understand the word of God correctly the parable does not. The first one does not teach that God has gone to bed and is reluctant to get up and meet his children's.
He neither slumbers nor sleeps.
Now that may be true of bail. Remember first Kings 1827, where Elijah was taunting bail.
The worshipers, the prophets of bail. Perhaps he's asleep and must be awakened OR God is very much alert and awake and mindful of the needs of his children is ever watchful.
Secondly, God is not an unjust judge.
The comparison is not of lightness but of contrast that's important. The comparison is not of like is not God is like God the father is being compared with this unjust judge and when Jesus says we are evil. He says in the first parable is again the contrast not the God is evil but again comparison is one of contrast.
So if we're we who are evil will give in response to the persistence and the persistent asking for something, will not, God give good gifts to his children, how much more will God give since he is not at all evil or reluctant again. The point of the second parable is that if even an unjust judge will give justice because of a person's persistence, how much more will God who was not unjust but rather acts in perfect righteousness and in perfect just so let's be clear about two things. God is not unjust in any way the God of all the earth will do right where my God ordains is right he is just and all of his dealings. God is not absent is alert to use. Mindful he is not asleep is the omniscient God of the universe.
Secondly, these parables do not teach that the privilege of prayer is for everyone.
On the contrary. Prayer is for God's children only and that comes out in both of these parable. The first more obvious a little more subtle in the second block show to in the first parable the person to whom the petitioner goes to is his friend is not a stranger. It's his friend.
And when the Lord applies the parable speaks of God as your father in heaven. God is not the father of everyone we see the same thing in the second parable in it. There is no indication of any special relationship between the widow and the judge bought when Jesus applies the parable he makes clear what the limitation is by the term, his elect notice with me. Verse eight I tell you that he will avenge them. The VC number seven and shall God not avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to him, though he bears long with them so these two parables as well as other teachings of the Lord Jesus cut to pieces. This false doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God. They teach that God is not the father of all men. He's the creator of all. But he is uniquely the father of the Lord Jesus Christ and he becomes the father only of those persons who believe on Christ Jesus taught this very forcefully. John's Gospel recall on one occasion he had some who thought they were God's children when in fact they were actually children of the devil. Jesus is been in Jerusalem and he made this statement in John chapter 8 and verse 32 you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The Jews who heard him say that answered him, we are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone how is it that you say you will become free. Jesus responds to them.
I know that you are offspring of Abraham.
Yet you seek to kill me if you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works. Abraham did and at that point grew angry and accused Jesus of being illegitimate.
The Lord replied, if God were your father you would love me for I came from God and I am here I came, not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say and then he gives the answer. It is because you cannot bear to hear my word, you are all of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires you see Jesus put an end forever to this misleading and false doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God. All men are not children of God.
There are two families, and fatherhood's in the world there is the family of Adam into which all are born and there is the family of God, into which some are reborn by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The third consideration.
Here's were thinking about contacts that's going to set the stage for us to understand and not misunderstand two parables on prayer.
The third thing is that the stories do not teach that we can pray for anything at all and know that God will give it a matter how long we pray, no matter how persistent we pray. Now if we take these two parables out of the context they may seem to teach that that if you just are persistent and enough you wear God down. He will give in reluctantly give you what you ask on the face.
It seems that that's what being taught. But that is not what is being taught and let me explain why I strongly believe that the first parable there in Luke chapter 11 follows immediately upon Luke's version of the Lord's prayer. Remember, the disciples wanted to be taught how to pray in Jesus instructed them when you pray, say we have this model prayer that you are very much aware and this model prayer is a guide for us to be helped and are praying toward the Lord petitioner first comes to God what as his father. Father, hallowed be thy name. So he comes acknowledging God his father. Second desires that the name of God might be honored third come seeking the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, then fourth praise for what daily daily provision, forgiveness of sin deliverance from sin and that not merely for himself but for others. Also, and then following that the parable of the friend who comes to another friend is given.
In other words, the context, the model prayer limits the kind of things for which one might be inclined to pray will not be praying anything that's contrary to God's honor anything this contrary to his kingdom at the best it will be for spiritual blessing. And even that will be for others as well and in the in the request itself. You see the echoes of this model prayer the plea to the friend, lend me three loaves clearly picks up on the earlier petition. Give us this day our what daily bread so again it's the parable isn't teaching that if we just pray long enough and hard enough and persistent enough, God will give in and give us what we want no. Our prayers have got to be consistent with this model prayer.
We need to be praying in the will of God, not selfish prayers, not praying amiss.
The second parable is the same here. The context concerns the delay of Christ's return at the end of the age. End of chapter 17. Before we read the parable in chapter 18 one through eight Luke 1720 through 37 is concerning Christ's return at the end of the age and the plea of the widow for justice is parallel to the believers prayer for Christ's return. The teaching is that he will return even though the event itself proves to be a long way off and that in the meantime, Christians are to continue to pray to persevere in prayer. Nevertheless, Lord Jesus, Maren F.
So that's the context and that helps us.
I think from misunderstanding what Jesus is teaching seven considered those three contextual issues qualifications were now turn our attention back to the matter of perseverance in prayer and ask this for what that are we to pray for, what are we to pray. What can we pray for and no that God will eventually give it even though he is granting of the request may be delayed for what things should we persevere in prayer. There's a lot you said in response to those questions, but let me give you two categories two categories.
First there is the category of things that are clearly spoken of in Scripture to be the will of God for us. No question about it. No ambiguity about it.
We know this is the will of God. Category number one category number two are things that are not explicitly stated as God's will for us as individuals or for any other particular point in history, or for nations, but nevertheless things that are generally conformed to God's desires. So let's think about these two categories.
Category number one, what things would be in this category will many of the desires of God are disclosed to us and for us in Scripture often God's will is expressed in principle John chapter 6 in verse 40 is an example that verse can be called the will of God for all unbelievers and it says my father's will is that everyone who looks to the sun and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
If you're listening to me tonight and you are not a Christian. This is priority number one. This is the will of God for you the will of God for you is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of your soul. There's no point going any going any other place until that matter settled to be asking God for this that or the other thing is irrelevant. This needs to be settled.
This is the will of God for every unbeliever.
That is, that they might believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. John chapter 6 and verse 40 and we we could. We we could have a long, long list of scriptures that give biblical principles that make clear what the will of God is for us, and to encourage us in our prayers and few things will encourage us to persevere in prayer more than knowing that that which we are praying is indeed the will of God, no question about here's one for Christians Romans chapter 12 pulses I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice wholly acceptable under God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be transformed in the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the perfect will of God.
Romans chapter 12 verses one and two. That is the expressed will of God for every Christian, every Christian can accept as an unchangeable principal. The truth that anything that contributes to holiness in the surrender or renewal of the mind is an aspect of the will of God, and anything that hinders growth in holiness and pollutes the mind is outside the will of God. That should be very clear to us. There are hundreds and hundreds of promises in the word of God and who are they meant for with her meant for the people of God for the children of God. They been secured for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wonder Paul could say as he begins that letter to the church at Ephesus. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ, every have every blessings been secured for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. So a Christian make lay claim to the promises, for they are certainly the will of God for his life. James chapter 1 verse five says if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him again these promises all have to be understood in the context asking God for wisdom is in the context of various and sundry trials.
So what are we asking for in that context were asking for wisdom, the ability to understand the will and mind of God in the midst of this trial that he is sent this difficulty this calamity. What purpose does God have we can pray and ask him for wisdom and for a Christian. One thing this absolutely crystal clear and without controversy.
What is the will of God. The will of God is for you to respond in such a way that it produces and incentivizes your growth in Christ Jesus surrender and submit to God, and those purposes. Here is another. Do not be anxious about anything, focus chapter 4 verse six and seven be anxious about nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your last be made known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
God wills that you have peace even in the midst of calamity any promises to give it to you if you lay your request before promise from God again. Nurse many many more. We could point to pulses over and Thessalonians.
This is the will of God. Even your sanctification in that context is talking about moral uprightness, moral purity. Now we come to that second category.
What about things that are in general conformity with God's desires, but for which we have no explicit promise that they will be true for us. What about George Mueller's friends, for example, there was no explicit promise in Scripture that those two friends of Mueller's, or anyone else's for that matter are necessarily going to be save what about this 15 or 20 year exercise and persevering prayer for Stuart Law and this liver transplant did we know that this indeed was the will of God for him. I mentioned Wednesday night that I really doubted whether this was going to come to fruition and I wasn't doubting God I was doubting the people who were in places of authority who were making the decisions whether he was going to have it or whether he was in and it seemed like they were running out the clock on but it was indeed the will of God for him to have a liver transplant because he's received and we have persevered in prayer about that matter for years so again was Mueller right to pursue two persistent prayer for his friends. Was he going beyond Scripture. Was he presuming to change the mind of the all wise God who perhaps would not have saved those two friends of Mueller's. Had Mueller not prayed for them. Well, here we would must be careful on the one hand, we know that James says you do not have because you do not ask, you do not have because you do not ask James chapter 2 that seems to say that we ought to ask and keep on asking on the other hand, we know that the very next verse says when you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so is a challenging matter so this is a bit subjective, but it's help me if you find yourself under the burden to pray wanting to pray for something, but again that's not explicitly promised in the Scriptures, but God is burdening you to pray and the burden persists and you continue to pray I find encouragement that God is in that we should continue to obey the spirits prompting and continue to pray believing God, trusting that he has wise and gracious purposes and his delays and as would do if I think will find that our confidence in God grows and again there's more that could be said perhaps on Wednesday night prayer service will delve into this a bit more but I wanted his work considering this series on the parables here were to parables that had the same thing. They were short and I wanted to address. I didn't feel comfortable having a series on the parables and ignoring these two short parables that Jesus gave the teaches the importance of perseverance in prayer.
Thus were treating them tonight, but what is it that we can engage our hearts in what I would like to challenge us about is the matter of praying, persevering in prayer for the matter of revival revival. Jesus said in the Gospels look under the fields for their rights on the harvest.
Pray that the God pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into his harvest field.
So there's two things that if were going to pray about anything we need to be praying about God's will to raise up, send workers into the harvest field and the pray for revival in our land in our churches and our own communities in our own lives. The great awakening under Jonathan Edwards began his famous call to prayer and was carried forth by prayer. The work of God among the North American Indians.
Ministry of David Brainerd began in the nights Brainerd spent in prayer for God to move in the hearts and lives of the American Indians in the 17th century revival began in Ulster Ireland that eventually spread throughout the whole country. How did it begin history tells us, it began with seven undistinguished investors who committed themselves to pray regularly fervently and persistently for revival. The same was true of the Wesley revival time. Wesley and Whitfield in their ministries. England was in a state of spiritual darkness but a small group of believers began to pray and God heard their prayer and send revival that transformed England and even spilled over into the new country. Can we not have that today. I don't know the mind of God. But if God moved in the past. In this way, in response to prayer persistent prayer prevailing prayer and again we can twist the arm of God. We can't force God. We can't command God, but it seems to me the conditions of our country warrant seriousness in prayer that we ought to be beseeching the throne of grace and asking God to have mercy to visit us with true Holy Ghost holy spirit wrought revival so I would nothing to pray about who can tell what God may do as a result of our prayers and the prayers of others whom he calls to this work. James chapter 5 verse 16 tells us that the fervent and effectual prayer. What of a righteous man avails much. Spring father. We thank you for the truth that we've considered tonight that you do exercise us in this manner, but not giving us our request immediately but moving upon our spirits that we might persevering prayer continue to believe you continue to ask you to have our prayer shaped by an informed by the word of God and motivated and moved by the Spirit of God lives within the Lord move upon us, bring renewal, bring revival in our land and encourage us in this most sacred and important discipline of the Christian life.
The matter of prayer. Thank you that your eyes are indeed upon the righteous, and that your ears are open under our cry. Thank you for the in innumerable answers to prayer in the past that encourage us to keep on praying and the reminder that you can spare not your own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall you not freely with him give us all things. So, may we not be guilty of failing to ask and believing prayer, move us in that our God honor our requests stir our hearts in this holy endeavor. Pray not to you who dwell securely under the shadow of God's throne and who know the sufficiency of God's arm.
May you be active in sharing your faith so that you have a full understanding of every good thing you have in Christ. We pray in Jesus name, amen