Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 7, 2012
Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 7:7-11. We have been walking through the Sermon on the Mount now since January 5th, eight months. That is a long time. Granted we have taken a couple breaks along the way, but nonetheless, this has been more of a marathon than a sprint.
As we reflect on this, I want each of you to ask this question, “What seems to feed your soul better, rushing through the Bible or soaking in it?” For me, it is hands down soaking in it. The more I push into the word of God, the more it seems to push into my heart. It is amazing.
With this in mind, I want each of you to consider this as you read your Bible daily. Don’t rush through the meal, savor it. Be willing to read a verse, close your eyes, and dwell upon the implications, the power, and the truth of these words. Think about other verses that may be connected, use a cross-reference. Many of you use the ESV translation and have study Bible. Those bibles have a cross-reference that will direct you to other verses that are similar or relevant. I encourage you to take time to do so, you will not be disappointed.
Today, we are going to examine a passage that I believe will mean a great deal more to you if you have labored through the last eight months with us. We have spent week after week at the feet of Jesus listening to how to live life as a child of God. In a way it is overwhelming. It leads us to say, how can we possibly become what Jesus requires?
This text we will look at today will be like finding a cold stream after a long journey through a thick forest. It will quench the thirst that Jesus has created throughout the Sermon on the Mount. It reminds me of Isaiah 55:1
However, in doing so, He sets the bar substantially high. In fact, some would argue that he sets the bar out of reach. Verses like Matthew 5:48 do not help.
And this is what Jesus has been leading us to throughout the Sermon on the Mount. He wants us to listen to His Words and come to one singular conclusion, I can’t do it. Jesus wants us to come to the realization that we cannot reach the bar of Holiness that is required by a Holy God. He wants us to reach the end of ourselves.
This begs the question, why can’t we achieve God’s standards? Why can’t we be good enough for God? Why can't we make ourselves not get angry, not lust, not get divorces, not get anxious, love our enemies, help to poor for the right reason, pray for the right things? Because, apart from Jesus, we are dead in our trespasses and sins. Apart from Jesus, nothing good dwells in us. Apart from Jesus, we are sinners. Apart from Jesus, we are spiritually bankrupt and have no capacity to live in accordance to His will. This is why we can't be perfect. This is why we fall short of God's way to live.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is leading us through the wilderness of our sinfulness and is creating a hunger and thirst for a righteousness that is outside ourselves. And this is when he brings us to the satisfying waters of God’s grace.
Jesus’ solution to the problem is to ask, seek and knock. Jesus tells us if ask, seek, and knock, we will receive, find, and it will be opened. So let’s start with who are we asking?
Who do we ask?
Take a look at verse 11.
Now, I want to be clear about something. God is not everyone’s Father. In fact, very few people are on this planet are God's children. And I want us to understand that sitting in these chairs today does not make God your Father. Taking communion today, does not make God your Father. Being religious does not make God your Father. There is only one way that God will be your father, and that is through adoption into his family through the blood of Jesus. Therefore to drink from the waters of God's grace, you must come to the fountain of Jesus Christ. Listen to what Jesus proclaims in John 7:37-39.
If today, you do see the treasure that is Christ and repent of your sin and place your faith in Christ alone for you salvation, you are adopted into God's family. You are his son, You are his daughter, and for the first time, these words of Mathew 7 are meant for you. So let us ask, what do we, God's children, receive if we ask, seek, and knock on our father's door?
Second, no matter what life throws at you, if God foreknew you, he predestined you; if he predestined you, he called you; if he called you, he justified you; if he justified you, he will glorify you! This is an unbreakable chain. This means that no matter what is going on in our life, it is a light momentary affliction compared the the eternal weight of glory that is waiting for us. Our darkest days are but a grain of sand on the beach of God's eternal goodness that he will lavish upon us for all eternity.
Third, God loves us. Not with a wishy washy love, but with an unbreakable love. A love that is more powerful than anything that we may be experiencing. When the world is crashing down around you, who stands by your side and whispers I love you? The Sovereign and Almighty God of the Universe. If the infinitely powerful, holy and awesome God, our Father, loves us, then we can weather any storm of life.
So what do we receive when we ask, seek and knock? We receive the good gift of the amazing riches of God's forever grace, and it flows to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fountainhead of the good things of God. And the water of God is sweeter than any water that has ever touched your lips, and if we pursue it we will be satisfied.
River of Love that Flows Through Us
But we are not done. There is still more. Is this where God's gifts end? Are we a reservoir of God's grace? Are our hearts to be a damn collecting God's love? No.
So how would I summarize what Jesus is telling us in these verse today? God is saying, when you are empty of yourself, and you come to me through my son, I will lavish you with unending rivers of my grace, so not only will you be blessed, but you will bless others. What an amazing God that we have.