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March 10, 2021 3:00 am
When you go to God and you go with boldness and you go with persistence and you rush in and you unload what's on your heart and first you ask and then you start pleading and then you start banging. Notice that God is delighted because he with his perfect love and perfect wisdom and perfect power perfect provision is able to give this Zach if God is sovereign.
How can our prayers affect how he acts.
Bottom line does prayer really make any difference. Consider that today on grace to you as John MacArthur continues a study that may give you several of those aha moments really you may come away with more love her prayer and more in all of the God you pray to John calls a series. Don't be afraid to ask. Now to show you why you can pray boldly hears John with the lesson we come now to our look at the word of God to listen to what God has said on the pages of holy Scripture Luke chapter 11 is our text and we are looking at verses five through 13. This is a very, very rich and encouraging portion of Scripture. Let me read the text for you starting in verse five, and he meeting Jesus said to them, suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight and say to him, friend, lend me three loaves for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey and I have nothing to set before him, and from inside. He shall answer and say do not bother me. The door has already been shot and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and get you anything or give you any.
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. And I say to you, ask and it shall be given to you seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for fish. He will not give him a snake instead of a fish really or if he is asked for an egg. He will not give him a scorpion. Willie if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him for a remarkable passage starts out with a very simple kind of earthy routine. Look at a little village in an incident with a man who needed some bread to feed a friend came at midnight and it ends up with profound theology in the final verse now let me just give you the broad picture of this passage and then will get back into a little bit the one true and living God. The only God, the true God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is very different from the deities and the gods fabricated by men and demons and the differences in his essential nature. He is a loving, merciful, gracious, forgiving, approachable, available and generous that is in direct contrast to all the gods of human religions throughout history was God's are not loving or merciful or gracious or forgiving or approachable or available or generous.
There sort of design along the line of typical kings and monarchs and rulers. If you know anything about ancient history and history of monarchs. You know that they are basically typically unavailable on approachable. In fact, in Esther chapter 4 and verse 11.
Give a characterization of a typical Monarch. This happened to be in the Persian Empire. But this is what is said all the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces. No, that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned he has but one law they be put to death. If the king doesn't summon you and you going to his presence will kill you unless says Esther 411, the king holds out to him a golden scepter so that he may live you walk into the presence of the king and you can lose your life. You can't just do that now that is a typical way that monarchs functioned. You approached only when you are invited you approach somewhat delicately, you may have approached going in backwards. We read in some cases are going and bowed over for certain. In some cases crawling and typically the king was elevated so that it was clear to you that he was way above you and you were somewhere under his feet. You you approach with a certain hesitancy with a certain delicacy and you certainly didn't approach with an attitude, demanding anything, but our God is just the opposite is absolutely available, absolutely approachable, gracious, merciful, compassionate, kind and you can go into his presence boldly and ask for whatever you want, you can go into his presence anytime and not interrupt him. In fact, he desires you to do that. Turn to Hebrews 416 for a moment and here's a verse that will sort of uses of launch point for our discussion of this text. Hebrews 416 Torah pulls together the principle that we learn in this passage in Luke it says this, verse 16. Let us therefore draw near drawing near to God drawing near to our great high priest, the son of God in heaven.
Let us therefore draw near with and does some translations have the word boldness and some translations have the word confidence. Let's use boldness. I think it's a truer representation of the Greek let us draw near with boldness to the throne.
And this is the real interesting twist, throne of grace throne that dispenses grace.
It's not a throne of law.
It's not a throne of justice.
It's not a throne of judgment the throne of grace, so we draw near with boldness to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need and want you to see the word boldness Aparicio in the Greek Pare see you. It means freedom in speaking. Basically it means to say whatever you want to say it means to be old in your speech it means to be open and frank as we would say to be upfront and say it like it is go to God with openness and frankness and boldness and confidence and ask for whatever you want from the one who is dispensing grace and mercy to help.
This is a promise I think often over looked the we are told to come to God with boldness for what is on our hearts. Now I assured you some prayers in the Scriptures, where people actually said God listen to me. Hear me give me your attention.
Don't hide from me. I have this on my heart and I'm bringing it for you to understand that I want you to act all God and to hear and answer my prayer and while there is certainly a measure of humility there. There is also a very strong element of confidence and boldness that kind of boldness is what Jesus is teaching here in this wonderfully rich passage in Luke chapter 11, I was sent last time we know that God is holy and God is all-powerful and all wise, all-knowing. We know that God is unchangeable.
We know that God is absolutely sovereign.
The God is in complete control of every circumstance, every detail, and is working out his own plan perfectly.
We know that Annette raises the question why do I pray and God's gonna do what is going to do what why should I pray, and how would my prayer have any effect on dad and certainly I'm just going to get into get out as quickly as I can since God's going to do is going to do anyway. I don't want to bother them or interrupting with my little trivial prayers and how in the world am I to understand the role of my prayers and I told you last time that although God has ordained the ends. He is also ordained.
The mean and the end is fixed and uses the means to reach his hand in one of the means he uses to achieve his ends is our prayers for the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
God determines who he will save from before the foundation of the world. He elects some to salvation, but he though choosing to save them. That is the end of the means is there faith in their repentance. And God has determined that we would be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. That's the end, but the means is our obedience, God is determined to build his church.
But the means is our service and our preaching of the gospel, God has determined that he will unify his church, the body of Christ, the means is the exercise of our spiritual gifts God reaches his ends through his means, send one of the means that God has given us prayer and as we pray we are the means by which God achieves his ends and even our simplest prayer is not insignificant to God, just as this illustration was so simple, only men.
One was three little pieces of bread that seems like a trivial thing. Not a necessity.
Nonemergency not a great need and that's exactly why Jesus used that as an illustration. What may seem a small thing to you.
Considering the greatness of God and the vastness of his kingdom and his eternal purposes is not at all to him. A small thing, you don't need to feel embarrassed when you go to God. You don't need to feel like your trivialities don't matter to him. You don't need to consider that because God is sovereign. He doesn't need your input your information.
You don't need to consider that because his divine choice in wisdom and power already in place is going to do what is going to do that. Your prayers don't play a part they do and you need to go and you need to go boldly. What ever the issue might be because like everything else in our spiritual experience. God's ends are achieved through means that involve our will are obedience our desire or faithfulness to the keyword in Luke 11 is the word persistence. This is what he's pointing at.
In verse eight verses I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give them as much as he needs persistence. I told you is a very interesting word, not day on very unusual word. It means importunity importunity is different than opportunity opportunity is simply a circumstances favorable to you importunity is something completely different. Importunity is another word for being brash or over bold. It's a word for being shamelessly it's a word for being overly aggressive. It's a word for is reset last. I'm having a lot of nerve or a lot of gall it's it's a word to describe. No rushing in where angels fear to tread that kind of attitude and Jesus is saying here this man got what he wanted because he he was shameless. He got up in the middle of the night he went right over there and bother his neighbor and he didn't seem to concern him that the man was asleep he was in bed with his family. It was in the middle of the night and he was going to disrupt the whole family. Everybody's going to get up the man's going to have to get the bread because he is a social duty to do so, so forth and so forth. This is a bold thing to do.
This is a brash thing to do this thing takes some nerve to do to wake up this entire family in the middle of the night for something as simple as three biscuits. The Lord is teaching us here something about how we approach him.
He's calling in this passage for bold, shameless interruptions, prayer that is aggressive. That goes to God when it may seem inopportune, not rushing in and rushing out but on burdening your whole heart. Now we saw last time the parable verses five through eight and I will read it again. The Lord introduce this issue with a story that everybody would understand. And the point of the story is when you're not embarrassed to ask you get what you ask men what James said you have not because you asked not don't be hesitant to ask God at any midnight in any circumstance, however small. If you don't have it is because you didn't ask for it without embarrassment. We are invited to come invading and intruding and claiming we have the invitation and saying God, you promised you said to pray without ceasing.
You said you asked, you said to come. So sue me if I'm outta line. So we looked at the parable and it was a fascinating one to look at and the second thing we saw not only the parable, but in the application of the parable came this incredible promise. The second point is promise verses nine and 10 and I will take you to that again Jesus it again. There is speaking still and I say to you, ask and it shall be given to you seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. This is just beyond imagination. It's it's staggering.
I'm telling you comics come in the middle of night have the Knights come for what might seem small to you, and hold me to my duty just as one friend held another to his social obligation to show hospitality to give to someone who had a need hold me to my promises.
Hold me to my responsibilities you come you ask and I'll give you seek and you will find you knock and the door will be open to you. This is almost too amazing to be true so amazing that after saying it once in verse nine just to deal with our sort of incredulity.
He says it again in verse 10. This again is God inviting us come into his presence and is a progression. You start out asking and then you get more aggressive and you start seeking and finally you start knocking, banging your your appeal gets more aggressive. Does that somehow turn God away. Does that somehow irritate God. Quite the contrary US to receive you seek. Which means you plead and you find you knock which means you get more intense in the door to God's blessings will be open to you know that's us review comes with third point. Let's call this the principal, the parable made sense because of a promise. The promise makes sense because of a principal and the principal is a pretty simple principle is this principle. Fathers do good to their children. Look at verse 11.
I suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish, he will not give him a snake instead of officially Orpheus asked for an egg.
He will not give him a scorpion will he. This is a basic principle.
Fathers give good gifts to their children. Generally speaking, humanly speaking, fathers care for their children, and he said he's upping this a little bit from friendship.
The friends response Donald bother me.
The doors been shot. My children are in bed. I can't get up and give you. I'm your friend, but don't take this friendship too far. I like to be your friend in the daylight. A minute or so to be your friend in the middle of the night. Friendship is one thing in friendship goes so far. Fatherhood is something else. Is that this again is the typical common Jewish pattern of reasoning from the lesser to the greater if a friend will respond to your boldness, what will a father do my children certainly didn't hesitate to ask me for what they wanted two years. They certainly never hesitated to ask their mother what they wanted and the expectation is that if it's something they need and we know they needed the right to receive it because they understand the relationship that we have is one of love and care and responsibility and affection.
And that's the point here so Jesus is then saying this promise. You can ask and seek in knock and you will receive and you will find in the door will be open is based on the fact that you're coming to a father. This is the analogy. This is the principle here, and it's very interesting how he's lays it out. He says one of you fathers one of you of the disciples that are listening to this says back in verse one. He was speaking to his disciples, one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish, your sons hungry.
Once a fish he wants fish that was kind of the staple meat and so we got a given unit give him a snake instead of a fish if you want. Stephen is hungry and to mock his hunger and you're certainly not give him a snake.
Some suggest this is also the word for eel think it's best to see it as a snake.
You wouldn't give him an animal that could poison when he wants food and he wants to be fed and I can give him some that could kill him. An egg is another simple analogy if he asked for an egg. He will not give him a scorpion will be why that comparison because scorpions were a kind of a yellowy color.
There are different breeds are different kinds of scorpions, but historians tell us the kinds in those days were sort of yellow color not unlike color about an egg and they would curl up and when they curl up and lowball the -looking small egg so there was some kind of a similarity there to make you analogy works is if your son wants an egg because he's hungry and I can give him a deadly scorpion. Now when Jesus taught this elsewhere in the sermon on the mount Matthew 790 added 1/3 analogy said if your son asked for bread or not.
Give them what stone to mock your sons hunger you not going to mock your sons need and you're not going to give them something that he can't eat if you're not going to give him some little kill. That's the principle the principles of fathers take care of their children, and when children come in they have needs. The father meets the needs and so we see the parable which illustrates that we are to come at any time, no matter how simple the need and to be overly bold in our asking the promise that underlies our coming. Is that whatever it is that we seek.
If it's within the framework of his will, will receive it.
That is based upon the principle that God is the father that takes us to the fourth of the most important point.
Let's call it the premise and by premise I mean, the bottom line the foundation on which this whole discussion is built in. Here it is. Verse 13 if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who asking you can go to God because he's a loving father but is a loving father, far beyond the most loving father in this world who is by nature evil, and who does his best to give good gifts out of a corrupt and fallen heart. How much more will your heavenly father love you with a perfect love. How much more with perfect wisdom and perfect compassion and perfect mercy and grace and perfect understanding of your situation and perfect goodness give to you so when you go to God and you go with boldness and you go with persistence in your rush in and you unload what's on your heart and first you ask and then you start pleading and then you start banging know this, that God is delighted with that delighted with that because he with his perfect love and perfect wisdom and perfect power and perfect provision is able to give the best to his children. In fact, Psalm 8411 says he withholds no good thing from those who walk up rightly this children. He holds nothing back.
This is also overwhelming to us. Father, we are so undeserving and so utterly unworthy and yet you have just given us way beyond we could ever comprehend.
We asked for a gift and you gave us the giver. We can only say thank you and we will come and we will plead and we will pray, we will ask.
We will seek we will knock because you've told us that that's how we will receive and find in the floodgates will be open to us. We love you and we thank you for being the generous one that you are so magnanimous we could never be so bold as to ask you to live in us and yet that's what you've done. We thank you for that we thank you that the spirit is there to strengthen us to teach us to guide us to comfort us to help us to intercede for us to keep us sealless until eternal glory. For this we thank you in Christ. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. Our current series on prayer is titled don't be afraid to ask Jon, I want to come back to something we talked about a couple of days ago. It's this concept of coming to God boldly. We tend to be naturally more timid because were not supposed to treat God flippantly or presumptuously. So talk about the tension there.
What do you tell people who may struggle to see how can we be both bold and reverent at the same time. Well I think you tell them what you always tell them and that is to follow what Scripture says I think about this is often where James writes the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person produces much you have not because you ask not. And then what were learning in Luke 11 be bold before the Lord at the same time we come to him in reverence. That's why when the Lord taught us how to pray. He said start this way our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done in other words we start with deferring to God, his holiness, his purposes, his kingdom, and then we say.
Oh by the way, forgive us and so forth. So we don't get to the personal side, until deferring the divine side that is the pattern that our Lord taught us in praying you start out with worship and honoring God. And that's full hearted honor. Do your will build your kingdom, glorify your name and here are the requests that I'm bringing before you that I believe would bring honor to your name and so I'm boldly asking you for these things so I don't think trusting in the sovereignty of God and his divine purpose hinders us from that boldness and I think that is why the Lord after seeing the first part of the disciples prayer also said it best for forgiveness asked that the Lord will not lead you into temptation.
Be bold about your prayer so that that's attention that we have to live in. We want to come before God, humbly submissive, willing to receive anything he would give us.
And yet, he says, come boldly and pour out your heart if that were not the case filled then why would there be fasting with prayer and why would there be prolonged prayer, what, when there's a problem in our lives of really severe character. The most normal thing for a Christian to do is to pray sort of relentlessly and fasting comes along with that. I know that's that's occurred in my life and that is driven by the fact that you trust that God hears and answers in a way that makes those prayers part of the plan. So I think we have to see it that way. We give honor to God and then we pour out our heart and in confident trust believe that he will do what is best, but he will also fit our prayers into the doing of it and friend after what John said you may be wondering how can I know for sure. My prayers honor the Lord to help you answer that question. Pick up John's book called Lord, teach me to pray. It's filled with practical biblical teaching on how to pray fervently and with boldness.
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Lord, teach me to pray looks at what Jesus told his disciples about prayer. It's practical insight that you can apply every time you talk to God. This book is affordably priced in hardcover and shipping is free again. You can place your order online at GT Y.or call us toll-free at 855 grace and as you listen to today's lesson. Perhaps it raised the question about prayer or some other biblical topic, let me remind you about our Q&A line just call and you can leave your question and you might hear John answer it on a future broadcast the number for our Q&A line is 661-295-6288 again that 661-295-6288.
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