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September 29, 2021 8:00 am
What do you believe about God's willingness to bless you do you believe that God is on your side to help you along this Christian path to which he calls you receive reluctant to bless you. Is he hard and difficult and harsh to respond to what kind of God do we serve. The Bible provides definitive answers.
He is a loving father and a greater one.
Then any of us can be on this edition of the truth. Pulpit pastor Don Greene will look closely at the father of grace as we continue our series.
Yours for the asking. High on bill right and will once again be turning to our Lord's sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7, so turn there in your Bible as we join Pastor Don Greene now in the truth of in the sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ is setting forth a lofty standard of life of righteousness for his disciples to pursue and I want to remind you of some of the things that he he said in some respects, I'd like to just read the whole sermon, but that would kind of dilute the point if you did that. Let's look at, for example, Matthew chapter 6 verses 19 and 20. Jesus calls us to a life that sets are hearts on things that are higher than this world. That's an easy way to put it to be a Christian is to have your heart irreversibly set on things that transcend this world that are better than this world. Things that are unseen. Paul speaks of of looking to the things that are unseen, rather than the things that are seen in second Corinthians 4 I believe it is because the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal and beloved that is one of the the intrinsic things about being a Christian is. You realize that you are you are pursuing a life that is devoted to unseen realities as the greatest priority in your life that makes things of passing prosperity or the things of a passing relationship, surpassing joys or sorrows. All are secondary to something greater and that's what I want you to see in these verses that were going to look at Matthew chapter 6 verse 19. For example, Jesus said do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in her steel for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. You see the contrast there. You set your heart on things of this earth. The treasures of this earth and in their all subject to loss so there's always this pervading sense of anxiety that the things I treasure the most are going to be gone, but he says, by contrast, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. In this place where man cannot reach where the effects of the fall cannot diminish them and so he says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also in the idea of just being consciously aware of what you most want out of life and cons and processing that in your mind that it's not a particular relationship I want. It's not a particular job I want.
It's not a particular level of prosperity. None of that stuff is the ultimate affection of a true Christian. And Jesus says these things to bless us and to give us a clarity of mind about the way that we think about life and and it calls us to a a deep-seated reflection that causes us to set priorities that are nonnegotiable to set priorities that become the defining force in the way that we view life and respond to it. Verse 24 of chapter 6 he says no one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth and then in verse 31 of chapter 6, he says do not worry than saying what will we eat or what will we drink, or what we wear for clothing for the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things, so don't be so preoccupied with what you're going to eat today. What you need tomorrow. The whole idea of this great fear of the future is just so contrary to the spirit of the true Christian. He says in verse 33 but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. So it's it's very clear where we set our priorities and what are our focus and attention is supposed to be. Jesus makes that very clear and obvious to us.
Here's the thing for today Scripture and experience teach us that that is not an easy path of life. Take it is not an easy path of life. To maintain and to keep that focus consistently clearing your mind to follow it faithfully in your heart and faithfully in your relationships and faithfully in your in your involvement with other believers illness sidetracks us right.
The world entices us friends fail us.
Those assailants Satan confuses us our own sinful desires. Betray us and lead us into paths centered inconsistent with that priority. The Valley of death cast its shadow over us, either personally, as we enter into that valley, knowing that it's approaching or death comes to someone close that we love and we feel the weight of the grief of that and it it just makes it very difficult to keep these things clear in mind because we are creatures of flesh.
After all, and so on the one hand we we embrace this lofty view of life. We embrace the words of Christ as those who follow him. We we love him and we want to be like that. And yet there is a there is like a spiritual gravity that pulls us down from ascending up into the heights we would want to go and there are multiple photos to our soul along the way. Well, sooner or later the earnest soul like many of you the earnest soul eventually realizes that it's it's inadequate for the task for as high as the lofty goal is that the lofty life that Christ is called Stu. We realize that we were inadequate for we fall short of it, that there are just so many ways. As James says, I keep going back to this passage, James chapter 3 verse two we all stumble in many ways. So the question the question becomes, what about that then what about this what about this gap between between where I Manhattan and the nature of life and the way that Christ calls us to live. Matthew seven verse seven. In light of all of these things we said introduce today's message Jesus says in Matthew seven verse seven. Ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be open to for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be open or what man is there among you who when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake will he. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him. Here's the point of this passage in light of everything that was said Jesus is teaching us here in this passage that grace is available to help you live the life that God has called you to. Jesus is teaching you that you need grace to live as he calls you to do.
See you needed grace to come to Christ in the first instance for salvation you in your spiritual dad state you needed God to breathe life into you so that you could awaken and come to him for salvation you needed grace to save you in the first instance well where a lot of Christians go wrong is forgetting that principle of grace as they move into the into the realm of spiritual growth and and try to do it on their own and_to be really self-discipline on minute and on what to do this and that into into just try to generate spiritual growth on their own. The whole thing of today's message is this is that you need grace. On the other side of salvation as well.
You need grace to grow and that's expected and God calls you and God offers you the grace that you need needed grace to come to Christ for salvation. And now, beloved, you need grace to grow in Christ and the life that follows and and this is this is this passage is telling us how willing your father is how willing your heavenly father is to bestow that grace upon you to to assist you to help you to live out what the life that is called you to live. This is a wonderful wonderful passage that should encourage you greatly about the love of God toward your eternal soul more than a look at this in two ways will look at. First of all, the human illustration the human illustration that Jesus uses. Last time we looked at the first two verses.
Verses seven and eight. Asking it will be given to you seek, knock it will be open to the whole idea was is that Jesus here is dealing with a spiritual request. We said that the entire sermon on the Mount is dealing with a nature of spiritual life and so the promises given here about asking and receiving, or pertain to the spiritual round of your life. Sooner or later people turn people figure out no matter what prosperity teachers tell them sooner or later you find out that God doesn't answer all of your request for things pertain to earthly existence right you find that that's true, you don't always get what you ask in the physical realm. That's not a contradiction of the path of what Jesus says here because this is not a blanket open-ended promised that for every hedonistic selfish desire that anyone could ever conjure up in their mind to ask God for and is obligated to give it. That's not the purpose of that passage at all. The whole context of the sermon on the mount contradicts that Jesus said you can't serve God and wealth and so you can't have a prayer life that's devoted to wealth and think that you're going to have the going to have the blessing. The Jesus promises later on in the same sermon. Now the focus. The focus is a spiritual one here and we also said last time that the Jesus is talking about a sustained request that this is a request that is an ongoing part of your prayer life that this prayer for this kind of grace is something that is a feature of the way that you consider prayer.
The whole idea that Jesus is giving us here is notice in verse seven it will be given to you. You will find it will be open to and so Jesus is promising the blessing of God in response to a spiritual request for your spiritual growth and as you pray for others for their spiritual growth for their spiritual needs. And now here in verses nine, 10 and 11. He's going to illustrate and bring to bear the response of God to that to help you see God's perspective on that type of praying so that you would be confident to pray this way and that you would be encouraged to pray this way to seek this kind of blessing to seek this kind of grace we have to understand that these blessings are waiting to be given to us if we will only ask if we will only ask is of Jesus uses a human illustration that's her first point he uses a human illustration here in verses nine and 10. As an example to show God's willingness to bless us. Let me just step back and try to crystallize in your mind a thought about your own spiritual life and the way that you think about God and and in the way that you think about your heavenly father.
The way that you think about the Lord Jesus Christ because having gone through some of these battles, and in my own heart in years gone by. I realize how difficult it can be fundamentally beloved. What do you believe about God's willingness to bless you fundamentally do you believe that God is on your side to help you along this Christian path to which he calls you or is he like a a grumpy referee, waiting to see how you do and if you fail along the way he's going to throw the flag on you and call the penalty out is God a resource of grace is God someone that you are still trying to please in a way that he may or may not accept is he reluctant to bless you. Is he hard and difficult and harsh to respond to you. Does he welcome you with open arms.
When you come to him in prayer, resorts, arms folded across his chest and say what you have to say for yourself this time.
I mean, were talking about this and kinda crass terms but I'm confident you know what I'm talking about.
How are you conceiving of God. When you go to him in prayer. Jesus is trying to get to the point that you would understand that he's a father of grace is a father waiting to bless you. That is the whole point in this is what is going to go on and show us here in verses nine and 10.
Look at verses nine and 10 with me again he says or what man is there among you who when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake will he now think with me with what just happened here in this in this passage Jesus is just given multiple promises in verses seven and eight that if you ask for these things they will be given to you the sheer promise of the Lord Jesus Christ guarantees to you the answer of God. When you come to him seeking your spiritual growth seeking your sanctification. To put it more theologically, that Christ is not content to leave it there. Christ is not content to leave it at just the promise he goes further and lays another way of thinking about it before you, so that it would reinforce your understanding of the nature and the character of God so that you would pray rightly and as you go to verse nine.
Notice that weren't there or you know he's he's laying an alternative before you. He says I've given you these promises okay or you can think about it from another perspective to strengthen your faith to engender your confidence in the God to whom you pray is six promises from the mouth of the son of God are not enough to convince you to pursue praying this way will look at it another way, then any pictures he pictures a trusting son going to his father.
Jesus makes a simple human illustration here in what he saying as he is helping people understand is he's helping his disciples understand the. The willingness of God to bless them in this in the spiritual realm and compares it to a son, going to a father at a human son going to a human father asking for food look at it in verse nine he says what man is there among you who when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone riff. He asked for, for she will not give him a snake will he is a decent human father going to trick him and give them something bad give him evil in response to a legitimately good request. Would he give his son something that looked like bread but would break his teeth when he bit into it. We give a snake is fish while the Greek construction of the question expects the answer no says apps, absolutely not. It's like it's like this fact you. Jesus says that he will not give them a snake will he will he give him a stone. You can see that the expected answer. This is no says of course not, of course not in any decent human family relationship when a son goes to his father and says I have a need here. Can you can you give this to me.
They AAA human father is going to answer that in a righteous way to give him anything else would be contrary to the trust that is in simplicity in a father-son relationship. No human father would mock his son in that way presupposing a decent human relationship right the human relationship calls forth that kind of response. What Jesus is saying is just look at it on a horizontal level. This is what fathers do for their children, they they give to them.
They bless them, they gladly respond to their requests. This is this is what fathers do. Jesus says this is the human illustration that is using and he's using that human relationship. To illustrate now beloved a greater spiritual reality and that brings us to our second point will spend most of our time here today. The divine reality we seen the human illustration number one the human illustration point number two the divine reality.
Look at verse 11 with me. Jesus says if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him now. What Jesus says here is encouraging and it is humbling at the same time. Notice what he says in there at the start of verse 11. He says if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children. He's he's recognizing the fallenness of humanity. He's addressing us as those who are not holy. Those who are not perfect.
Those who have sinned within us and as he addresses his audience he speaks and says it says your sinners, and even you as a center know that this is how a father deals with his children.
You know that a father would give a good gift to his children, even when in in response to a request like that he's making a a lesser to a greater argument here and what he says. He says learn something about the nature of God. From that first of all, what are you supposed to learn about the divine reality here and in this illustration that is giving to things about God, your father two things about God, the father of grace that you need to understand these are so basic but they are they are designed to frame the entire way that you pursue your life with Christ. First of all, God is a greater father God is a greater father, look at what he says there in verse 11.
He says if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him. God is greater. Father Jesus says how much more follow the logic glove.
This is so simple. He is not making a complicated argument here. This is not this is not an intricate assertion that he's making.
He says he says you're a sinful being you. You have a fallen mind and even in that condition. You can understand that an earthly father will give a good gift to his son because that's what a father does for the son that he loves.
He says if that lesser thing is true, how much more you in the words the words just pick you up on a on a on a spiritual wind if you will pick you up and take you up into heaven and say how much more do you think a holy, sinless, God will be good to his children, whom he loves. How much more if an earthly father will be good and give good gifts to his son, how much more an infinitely better. God will do for his children. That's the argument if the lesser thing is true, the greater thing is true. Also, you understand that a an earthly father will do this and understand a greater father will do even better. And that's the point. And that's the way that you were supposed to think about your God. That's the way that you are supposed to think about the nature and the character of God. If lesser sinful men can give good gifts. How much more will a greater holy God bless us when we ask for what is good. That's the argument in its undeniable see this is designed to to drive out your unworthy thoughts of God, your unworthy thoughts that that somehow he is hostile to you. Jesus compares a child's trusting request for food to the disciples trusting request for spiritual growth and says and settles it. He says the father is ready, willing and able to bless that request and so stepping back and remembering what we saw last time. When you make a a spiritual request to God, and you make it a sustained request over time. God I want to grow in righteousness. I want to become more of what the sermon on the Mount describes as being the life of a true disciple God. I want to I want I want to be someone who's poor in spirit, and the Mormons over sin. God I want to be someone hungering and thirsting after righteousness. God I want to be a proper man of prayer, proper woman, a prayer. God I want to have right priorities. When you pray that way when you respond to the sermon on the mount. That way the question is what does God think about that request. What is the disposition of God toward that well the disposition of God is to say yes the disposition of God is to say, of course, let me give you what you need.
Let me give you what you've asked for. Let me give you that which transcends your ability to do on your own.
As I got a storehouse I got a great storehouse of blessing. I'm not diminished in my ability to give to you. I'm glad you asked me to supply that's done green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio with part one of a message titled the father of grace. Don will have part two for you on our next broadcast as he wraps up our series.
Yours for the asking.
So join us then here on the truth pulpit right now though Don's back in studio with some closing thoughts print one of the things that I'm always mindful of when I'm here in studio is a mindful that there are people out in the audience that are like I used to be thinking that they were Christians, but not really having the life of God in their soul you perhaps read the Bible or gone to church, but you never really turned your life to Christ in repentance and saving faith. I was like that. I know what it's like to be self deceived. I just encourage you if you've just viewed Christianity as something kinda casual.
Not all that important. My friend examine yourself.
See if you're truly born again and let that work of God in your heart lead you to truth lead you to the Scriptures so that you would enter into the profound life that belongs only to those who are true Christians. Thanks Don and Fred. Be sure to visit our website at the truth. Pulpit.com for important resources and to learn more about this ministry I build right will see you next time. For more from the truthful