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Audio 08 05 2018.mp3
this is a Lamborghini Veneno. It has a V12 engine, 740 horsepower. I checked, my Ford Focus is 120 horsepower [laughter]. Only five were made. One was their test vehicle. It was a 50th anniversary occasion and one was given to Mr. Lamborghini, the founder of the company, and three were sold. The price was $4 million. On the internet now apparently on of those three owners has decided to sell his Lamborghini Veneno. The asking price is $9.5 million. It has never been driven after it was delivered. This makes very little sense to me. But it could just be that someone here in this room would pray for something like that. I’ll be frank with you. The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Wayne Gretzky said something like this. He said, “You miss every shot that you don’t take.” You do not have because you do not ask but James goes on just a little further because there are people who might ask for such a thing. But the very next verse, James says this, “You ask and do not receive because you asked wrongly to spend to waste something on your passions and lust and desire.”
The 9th and 10th commandments, the ones that very few people can remember are, “Though shalt not covet.” Friends, the commandment means you shall not covet your neighbors Lamborghini Veneno. But the idea behind coveting and asking wrongly is it’s not so much that you pray that you have a car like this but that you pray that you have your neighbor’s car and he has to walk. Because a lot of times, this envy that is around selfish prayers is a desire not only to feel superior but a lot of times it’s a desire to be superior to a specific person. As far as I’m concerned, all of us can have one of those. I’m just looking forward to the day when they make one that I can fit in [laughter] because that’s the big challenge. I remember when I was in high school getting in a Ford Pinto. Does anybody remember a Ford Pinto? Pull my foot of the gas, hit the back of the break. Had big feet. My dad didn’t think that was a wise choice for me. Lamborghini Veneno. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on selfish reasons. Jesus waits to be asked. In Matthew chapter 20 and several other places in the gospel as you can see the reference on the back page of the bulletin if you want to look them up. Jesus is walking down the road. And in this particular pace there’s two blind men and they hear the stir and the commotion and they begin to cry out, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on us,” because they hear that Jesus is passing by. Jesus apparently hears them through the noise of the crowd because the crowd is telling them to shut up. But they keep asking Jesus to have mercy on them. And Jesus calls them, and they come to Him. And Jesus stopped and called them, and then He says to them when they get there, these two blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?” Could anything be more obvious? [inaudible]. “What do you want me to do for you?” But this shows the extraordinary courtesy of Jesus Christ, the extraordinary willingness to let them make their prayer. He already knows what they want because He knows everything, but Jesus waits to be asked. And what do they ask? “Lord, let us receive our sight.” And they are made whole, and they are able to see. You see, they asked, and they received. But Jesus waits for us to ask. And in fact, the New Testament powerfully encourages us to ask. And what we ask– if you’ve ever been a teacher in a classroom, you know this is true. What you ask reveals your level of understanding. What you ask for reveals what you understand about what God is willing to give and how God works. What you ask in a classroom reveals your level of understanding of the subject matter. But nonetheless, Jesus waits to be asked, and Jesus wants to be asked which brings us to our Scripture for this morning.
Matthew 7:7. Ask; these words in red are commands. They are in the imperative mood of the Greek. Ask; this is an order. Ask, and it will be given. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. Verse 8, for everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. And him who knocks, it will be open. It’s no accident that these three are together because they go together. They work together. The command has three parts. Jesus says, “I want you to be someone who asks. I want you to be someone who seeks. And I want you to be someone who knocks.” Now, the tense of the verb in Greek implies the continuous action. You’re not just asking. You’re asking and continuing to ask. The command is to ask and keep on asking, not just once or twice, but keep on asking. Why? Because everyone who asks receives. Now, here is the truth. You don’t always receive what you ask for. But everyone who asks, if they keep on asking, will receive an answer to their request. What you see here is a man asking for directions. That in itself may even be a miracle.
But the reality is that the first person you ask may not know where you need to go. But if you keep asking, you will find someone. The word in Greek literally means to ask and request, to even beg, to petition. Jesus says, “Ask and keep on asking.” Jesus says, “Seek and keep on seeking.” The way little children get into your kitchen cabinets, that’s how we’re to seek, to be relentlessly curious. The word in Greek literally means to seek, to search for, to desire, to inquire, to investigate. My grandchildren are not there anymore, but we had to watch them every second because we had no idea what they were looking for but they were sure looking everywhere. Jesus wants you to seek and keep on seeking because everyone who seeks, finds. You may not find the thing you thought you were looking for, but everyone who seeks, finds.
Now with regard to knocking, the Greek word means to knock, but it also means to beat on a door with a stick. Please do not do that. But it means to knock insistently. And what exactly is a door? When you think about it, you want to gain admittance to someplace you’ve not been before. Not only that, by knocking, you’re asking for a person, maybe someone you’ve never met before, to come and open the door and let you in. Sometimes when we seek, we’re going someplace we’ve never been before. We’re going to talk to people we’ve never met before. But you knock, and you keep on knocking. And if one door’s locked, maybe the next door is the right one, and if that door– no one comes to it, maybe the next one is the right one. But you knock and you keep on knocking because this is what a follower of Jesus will do. Ask, and seek, and knock.
The next verse, verse 9, Jesus says, “What man of you, if the son asks him for bread, will answer that prayer,” or as it says here, “will give him a stone?” Big difference between a stone and bread. Verse 10, and if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake, a serpent. Big difference between a fish and a snake. I’ve never had snake. They probably taste like chicken. But God doesn’t work this way. God loves us and is kind to us. Verse 11, if you then who are evil, who are not as good as God, who are far from perfect, if you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father, who is in Heaven, give good things to those who ask him? So I ask and keep on asking because you don’t need to be afraid that God is going to give you something harmful and hurtful. God is going to answer your request with love. But you want to keep on asking. Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to put it out there, “Lord, this is what I want. This is what I need.” Every morning I get up, and the very first thing I do is the sand on the scale. As you know, I was in the hospital for a couple days. For a couple weeks I was very ill. I really had no appetite. I really ate nothing. I lost 25 pounds. All of a sudden, my diabetes got much better. All of a sudden, all these clothes started to fit a lot more looser. I’ve tripled the size of my wardrobe instantly, not only that, it’s all the old styles that I really like. I stood on the scale this morning and, from the lowest weight, I’ve regained 8 pounds. This is the thing we worry about. If you’re sick, you lose weight, you have a tendency to get it back. Thank you for joining me in asking that I not only not gain it back but that I lose some more because I am a type 2 diabetic, and if I lose enough weight, it’s very likely that I will change the nature of my diabetes that I will not need to take insulin. And so I’m praying, “Lord, help my blood sugar levels to be in the normal range, which is 130 or less.” Some of you know this because you take your blood sugar every morning just like I do. Have you noticed there’s a tendency– it’s actually called the dawn phenomenon. Around 4 o’clock in the morning your body goes, “Hey, he’s going to be getting up soon. We need more sugar in the blood.” So frequently, when you take your blood sugar in the morning, it’s higher than the rest of the day no matter how well behaved you are.
Last night, went to a birthday party. Oh, it was a good birthday party. Two pulled pork sandwiches, slaw and potato salad, and a vast quantity of banana pudding. Oh, birthday cake. Ice-cream cake next to the birthday cake. It was delicious. Ate around 7 o’clock at night. That’s another mistake. Came home, just before I went to be, 10:30, took my blood sugar, 245. Not good. Took the insulin pen out. You know you get down to the end of the pen, there’s just a little bit left. I normally take 40 units. My doctor said when my blood sugar’s high, like over 200, I should take 50 units. There were only 34 units in the pen and I was too lazy to go get another one. So last night I took 34 units. Got up this morning. Got ready to take my blood sugar, and I was thinking, “Well, I can always take the rest, build it up to 50.” Took my blood sugar this morning. Dawn phenomenon, you remember that? Higher than it was the night before. This morning it was 115. Now, here’s the point, I have no answer as to why that is happening to me, but I am thankful that God answers prayer. Even when I don’t understand why it can work, God answers prayer. And the Jesus Christ that said to the blind men, “What do you want? Is same Jesus Christ who’s here this morning and that you and I speak with. And as we pray and keep on praying, as we ask and keep on asking, as we seek and keep on seeking, as we knock on the door of less blood sugar, a way appears that we may not understand because God still answers prayer. Now, tomorrow night, if I overeat tonight– ice cream cake, [Kim?]? And she says no. Birthday cake? No birthday cake. Well, if I overeat tonight, God may decide to remind me tomorrow not to take advantage. But nonetheless, the God we worship, the Jesus Christ who was with us today is the same one who helped the people in the New Testament.
And Jesus still waits for us to ask. Do not be afraid to ask. One of the realities that I know to be true for myself and most of us, if you sat down on Santa Claus’s lap, you would be able to rattle off a list of 100 things you want. But if Jesus came up to you and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” it would likely be something that most of us would never have thought to make a list. There’s something that causes us to be afraid to ask for what we really need when we’re asking God, maybe because it feels so real. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your loving Heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask it.
Oh, when you receive what you ask, don’t be afraid to share it. If God answers prayer, what that means is we don’t have to hoard whatever God might give us. We can be generous with others just as God has been generous with us. Don’t be afraid to share. And so you have this first. It comes right next to receiving what you’ve asked. Whatever you wish that others would do to you, so do to them. This, by the way, again, it’s in the [inaudible] to move. It’s a command. Now, with that, Jesus says – this is the whole teaching of the Old Testament, the law of the prophets – don’t be afraid to share when God is generous with you.
Ask, but you know something? If you don’t know what to ask for, you could ask for wisdom. You could ask what to ask for. You could ask, “Lord, where would I seek to find that?” You might be encouraged to look for it in the Bible. If you don’t have a New Testament in your glove compartment, in your purse, next to your bed, I invite you to help yourself to one of ours. We have them here. Because if you seek in the pages of the Bible, I believe that God is going to communicate with you. And also, as it says it there, you can also ask the pastor. I love answering questions at great length. Please ask me. I would love to answer. But we need to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Jesus is knocking on the door of our lives and wants to spend time with us. Knocking is a good thing. And as it says in Philippians 4:6-7, have no anxiety about anything, but don’t forget to do this. In everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving for what we’ve already received, in everything, let your request be made known to God. Put it into God’s hands, and let God work. And if this is your choice, here’s the promise. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, we yearn for a better life. We look around us, and we see how the world seems broken, how people we care about– often, Lord, their lives are broken. Lord, we look at ourselves, and we realize we’re broken too. There are so many things, so many needs, so many places where we need to ask You to mend us and help us to become whole. Please remind us, Lord, that we have not because we ask not. And Lord, as we begin to ask and keep on asking, give us wisdom to learn how to ask more wisely and with greater faith so that we might live in a world that God is mending and in a world that is going and growing closer and closer to wholeness. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
We just sang Sweet Hour of Prayer
The photo …
This post is based on the sermon “___” from the sermon series “___”
*date*, at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_2018.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.