This broadcaster has 205 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
September 27, 2021 8:00 am
11. Just as your request is ongoing. God's provision for this kind of spiritual growth. The spiritual change is also ongoing. He gives today he gives tomorrow. He gives repeatedly as you continually ask for grace to change God continually gives it. Matthew 77 contains wonderful words that are sadly too often misunderstood. Ask and it will be given to you, but today on the truth pulpit pastor Don Greene will embark upon a series that will take care of that misunderstanding hired Bill Wright, and Don has titled this series.
Yours for the asking. So Don, what should we be asking for full bill. I guess that's the very thing they were trying to answer. With this short series, my friend. I know that you're probably used to thinking about prayer in terms of what your earthly needs are and asking God to help you with those and he welcomes those kinds of prayers he says give us our daily bread. What were going to see in the series is is that there is a spiritual dimension, a spiritual object to our prayers. It is far more important. That's what's ahead just now, as we study God's word together on the truthful. Thanks Don and Fred have your Bible open to Matthew seven as we join our teacher now in the truthful when you come to Matthew chapter 7 verse seven Jesus laid out this righteousness in ways that you would miss. Perhaps by the time you come to Matthew seven verse seven from Matthew chapter 5 verse three to Matthew chapter 7 verse seven Jesus has done this in December and again I don't why I'm not big on laying out statistics and sermons.
But here is one time where I think it's helpful when you come to Matthew chapter 7 verse seven Jesus has done this in his teaching, he has already given us.
He's already by the time you get to Matthew chapter 7 verse seven he has already given 15 different character traits that are to mark his disciples, he is given 49 positive commands that are to mark their lives. He is given 27 negative commands. Don't be like this and he is asked 14 questions to his disciples all in this short two chapters 2 1/2 chapters if you will.
Matthew, five, six and seven and said this is the standard of God for your lives. Now that's pretty that's pretty amazing.
You do the math on that. That's a total of 105 searching standards. The Christ says this is what is required of my disciples. Before you get to this tax.
In Matthew seven verse seven. Now, beloved, think about yourself and think about your own soul and think about your own mind in light of what I just said and here's the situation that you and I find ourselves in. In response to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here's our situation that we are in we can't even recite those 105 standards, let alone keep them there is not a one of you that could that could say yes I can I can member these from 1 to 105 and I can name them imperfection truth of the matter is your mind doesn't go there. Your mind doesn't grasp the fullness of everything that Jesus is said you don't even you and I we don't even know them in a in the in this comprehensive way to have them ever present simultaneously on our mind all at once will even know Jesus says this is how you are to be character do this don't do that well I'm in no let alone keep them, let alone be them see the standard of God. The problem is not the standard of God. The problem is not that Jesus is being unfair in his teaching you go back through this tax you go you could go back and listen to this whole series we've done. It's about 50 messages.
Everything that Jesus has said in the sermon is right. It is true, it is the way that things should be.
It is the way that his disciples should be and what they should do with their lives in the way that they should trust God and not be anxious over life, everything, everything about what Jesus says is perfect and right. The problem is that you and I are finite and sinful and we fall short of everything that he says that's the problem. Think about it this way. I like this example when you and I come to the sermon on the Mount, we come to Matthew chapter 7 verse seven and there are 105 things that Jesus said what is it like spiritually well it's like this. It's like having someone come and bring about seven buckets of baseballs and setting them before you and saying I want you to hold all of these baseballs simultaneously. You can pick up maybe five or six you can put a couple in your pockets. Maybe put a few in your shirt, but sooner or later you start dropping these baseballs because you cannot hold them all in your hands it, you just do not have the physical capacity to do that the Christian finds himself even as he loves the word of God even as he loves the Christ who calls into the standard of living the Christian finds himself in a similar position you find yourself in a similar position when you see yourself rightly in light of the word of God, you realize that as lovely and is desirable and as attractive as this this entire sermon is I find that I just do not have the resources and myself to live this way to perfection and you go now. What this is lofting. This is how I this is what I desire. I want this but I'm inadequate for it.
What do I do well. It is here.
At that point the Jesus speaks these words of Matthew chapter 7 verse seven, you realize that you're inconsistent, you realize that your temper gets the best of you.
You realize that your heart betrays you, you realize that you have fallen short, and it can be crushing to recognize those things about yourself now when when Christians speaking generally just broadly speaking about the evangelical church in Western culture, and probably any other cultures well when you start to recognize that you do something you go one or two or three different ways. I would venture to say when you try to address this spiritual need that you have. You almost always go the wrong direction. You double down on yourself and on your own self effort. Some people will see that and they decide to try harder.
I can't hold all of these 105 baseballs. I can't keep all of these things that Jesus says but I want to try harder. I would have a longer quiet time. I'm going to get up earlier I'm gonna pray longer while you've gone down that path.
Haven't you self effort, self-discipline that may last for a while, but you haven't been a Christian very long until you realize that fizzles out at some point you get sick work calls you way whatever and you know you just for your back to your own inability to do to fulfill your own effort to try to do these things others become cynical and indifferent.
What is the use of this if it's impossible I'll just confess my sins and all not worry about it and I'm just going to go on and live my own way.
What some people do is they will change their theology to accommodate their inability to live a righteous life.
Most able righteousness then doesn't matter all find perverse teacher to teach what I want, so that I can do what I want here. What's the use of this is impossible, and God's forgiveness simply becomes an excuse for spiritual mediocrity and people set aside the law of God in the teaching of Christ as so they can live in a way that they want to.
I can't possibly be right. Did Jesus teach us. These things just so that they could be set aside the eternal son of God speaking eternal truth do it so that sinful poverty-stricken man could set it aside to swim. That can't be right and still others, including some of you I know fall into a sense of despair of morbid in introspection.
You desperately want to take to have this righteousness be a mark of the way that you live in yet you find that you fall short, and it discourages you and it crushes you and leaves you, not knowing where to go next. While that sounds pretty plate, doesn't it is kind of bleak when were looking at it from those perspectives. Very few people will actually take seriously what Jesus says here at Matthew seven verse seven and realize that that it even as he is laid forth this lofty standard for us. He has laid before us the means of provision that God has given us few Christians will do what will actually help them to grow.
Few Christians even know what the key to spiritual growth is nisi ultimately where all of this is designed to bring you what the teaching of the sermon on the Mount does what we been doing for the whole year. Here is designed to bring us to precisely this point that I am about to lay out before you, your spiritual poverty which is undeniable in light of what we said here today.
You don't even know you can't even begin to recite 105 character traits commands both positive and negative beginning begin to recite that and if you can even recite it. How can you know that you're living it right. How can we know if getting recited. This is only three chapters out of 260 in the New Testament. Your spiritual poverty. Beloved is this your spiritual poverty as you start to recognize it and it starts to explode on your conscience like that your spiritual poverty is designed to be a lesson in grace.
It is not designed to be a lesson in grace and a lesson in humility that brings you to a point where you humble yourself in your heart as you think about yourself, you realize I am not what I ought to be you humble yourself vertically before God.
God you are high and lofty, and I'm unworthy of your presence. Ian Murray, that great Christian biographer said this and I quote the mature Christian is the one who knows more dependence on Christ alone Christ in him is his only strength they that have most grace are those who are conscious that they in and of themselves are nothing have nothing can do nothing and see daily cause for pouring themselves." You see see you as you recognize your spiritual poverty, you realize that there there cannot be anything good in me that convinced me to God, you realize that there cannot be any source of spiritual power that I possess, in and of myself that would enable me to fulfill these things on the longer you call the more you see it and you say I've been a Christian, five years 10 years 20 3050 years and after all that time. Here I am that beloved that my friend is where Matthew chapter 7 verses seven through 11 come in to the picture.
That is why Jesus speaks these words at this time. In this particular sermon. God knows your poverty, Christ knew your poverty and inability when he said these things, and he has brought you to the point where you despair of your own strength you despair of your own ability and you look for grace to supply that which you cannot do on your own. That is the point of these words here that Jesus says let's look at the first two verses which is where were going to spend all of our remaining time today and then will pick up verses nine through 11 next time. Look at verse seven with me again in light of what we said.
Jesus says, 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.
Who is Jesus speaking these words to who who who is who are who are these promises addressed to. This is not addressed to the world in general. This is not addressed to any unbelieving, any unbelieving mate in honor of our Australian friends. This is not for any for any any bloke going down the hill and down the street has no regard for God, Christ or his holiness is it's not about that.
That's not who Jesus is been talking to Jesus is still talking here in Matthew seven to the same people he's been addressing all along. Those who are who recognize that they are poor in spirit who mourn over sin, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who does and who seek who are seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. That's who he's talking to and he's talking to them here in Matthew seven verse seven about the same theme that has been animating the sermon all along this call to personal righteousness that is the mark of the disciple of Christ that is the mark of the one who truly belongs to the kingdom of God. And so the theme is where does this righteousness come from, where do I find the power to live in a way that I know I don't have the power to do. That's what is addressing here and it is there that Jesus says, ask, and it will be given to seek and you'll find knock and the door will be open.
How do you bridge the gap you as a Christian between what God calls you to as as he calls you to live a righteous life in response to the grace it's been given to you and you find your own inability causing you to stumble and and being an obstacle at every step of the way where you bridge that gap.
You ask. You ask for help from the storehouse of God's grace I want to show you in these two verses three aspects of the of the kind of prayer that Jesus is calling us to hear and it's convicting to me to lay these things out before you. It's convicting to hear these and yet this is done in grace. These are words of grace from our Lord showing us where the concentration of our prayer should be where the desires of our heart should be an and Jesus is shaping us into being dependent disciples of our Lord. Now what's Jesus talking about here in verses seven and eight will first of all I want you to see that it is a spiritual request.
It is a spiritual request and I want to repeat myself a little bit from what I've already said Jesus says ask and it shall be given to you will beloved the most.
In some ways the most important thing that you could do as you hear these verses taught as you read them in the Scriptures.
In the days to come is to is to drop your earthly baggage at the door before you enter it to realize that this is not inviting you to simply say what what I really like in an earthly sense I'd like I'd like more prosperity.
I would like better health. I would like you know my loved ones to have a happy life or whatever understand that Jesus has conditioned us through the prior 2 1/2 chapters to be thinking in a spiritual way and to be thinking about righteousness that is his focus, and that is the substance which is promising to us here.
It's not a promise of prosperity. It's not a promise of hell, physically speaking, this has been this promise is defined by everything that is gone before it, to give us a sense of where the righteous living that we need comes from. So this is not an invitation to seek every materialistic desire not inviting you to use this verse as a promise.
I want a new job God. I'm asking you for a new job. I'm asking you for a spouse I'm asking you for other earthly things, and this is not that has nothing to do with what Jesus is talking here in the context makes that undeniably clear he is teaching you hear beloved to seek growth in your personal righteousness through prayer and the spirit of the prayer something like this. God beloved hear me hear me the spirit of prayer is this God I want what Jesus describes in the sermon on the Mount to be true of me. I want to be someone who is marked by mourning over my sin.
I want to be someone who hungers and thirst for righteousness, I want to be someone who's righteousness exceeds the external trappings of the scribes and Pharisees, I want my inner man to be pure of anger and lust, not simply being somebody who avoids the external sense that those things lead to God.
I want to be someone who does not store up treasures on earth, but I so want to be someone he stores up my treasures in heaven. God I want to be somebody who does not live going through life filled with anxiety but know something about what it means to trust you to care for my every need God. That's what I want. I want to be like that because that inner quality of life is high and lofty and desirable and that is the kind of man I would be. That's the kind of woman I would want to be. Even though no one around me is like it. Lord I find that attractive and that's what I want I want that to be true of me. I want that kind of righteousness.
Lord I want I want to be like that to be somewhat different from the sinful kind of person that I was before you saved me. I want to be something other than this person that that is animated by fleshly and carnal things in my life hello I want to I want to transcend this world. I know I will be in a bit. Lord I don't want to be on. I want the philosophies of this world marked the way I think I don't want the aspirations of the sinful materialistic world to be that which I seek after and yet Lord, here I am in my fallen flesh, and I realize that what I want is completely beyond my human power to achieve. See, sooner or later, beloved, you should come to this point in your Christian life where you get you get tired of being like what you've been you get tired of the spiritual failure and spiritual indifference spiritual mediocrity get tired of confessing sin again and again and again and again and again and again and all of that all of that spiritual fatigue humbles you to the point of seeking grace saying God I need outside help. I need help from you because I'm incapable of this on my own.
What Jesus is saying is, is it when you come to that point ask for the grace that will change you ask for the help that will transform you.
Here's the simplicity of the point here if you want to do something more in your spiritual life and just have an attainment chart read my Bible today. I read through the Bible this past year I've prayed 15 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever it is that you think is the standard. If you want something more than that. You want something more than just another external list the lead you to pride in posting I did it and you throw your arm out of socket patting yourself on the back over spiritual attainments want something more than that and you want the reality in the substance of what Christ speaks about the sermon on the Mount living in a trusting way living in a humble way.
Living in a living with a heart oriented toward righteousness.
If you want that kind of spiritual growth. The real kind. Jesus says you have to ask for it. We've already established that you can't do it on your own if you want that kind of spiritual growth.
You have to ask.
That means that you have to humble yourself. That means that when you fall on your knees is no longer ask God fill this void in my earthly life God fill this void in my in my heart fill this void in my spiritual life got out. I want to be a godly person I want to live righteously come to faith in Christ.
I know that you accept me through the righteousness in the shed blood of Christ the Lord, Lord, there is so much more.
There is a gap in the who I am, between what you have declared me to be and what I actually am bored. I'm asking you to change me to conform me more and more to the righteousness of yourself call to me.
You set the standard Lord supply what's necessary for me to meet it. It's a spiritual request. Next time a material request you've made in prayer goes unanswered. Remember what you've learned today on the truth pulpit. Jesus was not referring to material things in his sermon on the mount but pray for growth in your sanctification process and you won't be disappointed.
Pastor Don Greene will continue our series.
Yours for the asking. On our next broadcast, so be sure to join us then. Right now though Don's back your in studio with some closing words no friend. We realize that you may not be close enough to our church to be able to join us as you would like to.
On any given Sunday. So let me invite you to join us on our live stream that you can find our website Sundays at 9 AM Eastern time and also we have a midweek service on Tuesdays at 7 PM.
We would love to have you join us in that way. A lot of people do. You might as well be one more than join us for those special studies of God's word in our church services on Sundays and Tuesday.
There's built some final information to help find just visit the truth. Pulpit.com for the live stream. That's the truth. Pulpit.com I feel right and will see you next time on the truth