THE SERMONS OF JESUS

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Areas of Vital Concern for the Citizen of Heaven
The Citizen of Heaven and Prayer
Matt. 7:7-12

. INTRODUCTION

The next area of vital concern for the Christian is prayer. Prayer is one feature common to all those Christians who impacted their generation greatly. Luther claimed: "I am so busy that I need to spend three hours in prayer in order to accomplish all I need to do." George Mueller who opened an orphanage in England during the 1800's would sit down with the orphans and thank God for the food they were about to receive even though there was no food in the cupboard. Right after he prayed, there was an accident outside the orphanage in which a milk truck crashed into a bread truck. The children ended up having milk and bread that morning for breakfast. Charles Spurgeon claimed that prayer moves the arm which moves the world. Bill Bright, late founder and former president of Campus Crusade for Christ, devoted himself to 40 days of prayer and fasting in the latter years of his ministry.

Prayer was not only an essential feature of these modern Christians and of the early church. It was a major feature of Jesus' life. Luke more than any other Gospel writer highlights this feature of Jesus' life. According to the passages below what was happening when Jesus was praying?

Verses
Occasions
Luke 3:21-22 .
Luke 6:12-16 .
Luke 9:18-20 .
Luke 11:1-4 .
Luke 22:31-32 .
Luke 22:39-46 .


I believe that most of us can agree that if God the Son spent intensive time in prayer, how much more should we?

Just how important was prayer to Jesus. According to Jesus God's house is to be called a house of ________________________" (21:13), not a house of preaching or a house of fellowship or a house of eating but a house of _______________. In other words, prayer is to be such a prominent feature of the church that for all practical purposes you can call God's house the house of prayer.


PROMISES JESUS GIVES TO PRAYER (7:7-8)

"Ask and it will be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened." What does Jesus promise the person who asks for something in prayer?

According to James why don't we have the things we desire (James 4:2)?

We need to remember that Jesus does place some qualifications on this promise. According to James 4:3 why is it that sometimes we don't receive even when we have asked for something?

According to 1 John 5:14 what must be true about our prayers if God is going to answer them positively?

What are 2 more conditions Jesus places on our prayers (Matt. 18:18 and John 14:14)?


What does it mean to pray "in Jesus' name"? How do you pray in Jesus' name, and how does that guarantee that your prayers will be answered?


"To come in somebody's name" has behind it the idea of ambassadorship. The ambassador is never to give his own opinions. The American ambassador to the Court of St. James is to convey to Tony Blairs the wishes and sentiments of the American president, not his own wishes and sentiments. The same should be operating in our prayers as we pray in Jesus' name. Seek out what Jesus wants in a specific instance and pray for it. In that instance your prayer will be answered positively.

A more literal translation of these Matt. 7:7-8 though would be: "Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you shall find; keep on knocking and it shall be given you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it shall be opened." How does this literal translation change your understanding of these 2 verses?


Persistence is a major element in prayer. Jesus gives us an illustration of the persistence in prayer in Luke 11:5-8. What happens in this story? How does it relate to our prayers?


How does Luke 18:1-5 also illustrate the need for persistence in prayer?


How does the unrighteous judge helping the widow guarantee for us that God will answer our prayers?



REASON TO BE CONFIDENT IN PRAYER (7:9-11)

In verses 9 and 10 Jesus asks 2 rhetorical questions? What are those 2 questions?



What is the relationship between the man and the boy in these 2 verses?


Why does Jesus use the illustration of a son asking his father for bread and fish when He speaks about our prayers to God?


If we don't view our relationship with God as that being between father and son, we are going to miss out on so many of the rich blessings God has for us. If a child has a healthy relationship with his father, he is not going to cower before his father. He is going to be confident in his relationship with his dad. According to the author of Hebrews, how are we to approach the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16)?


Only a man who views God as his Father can approach God's throne that way.

In verse 11 what conclusion does Jesus draw from verses 9 and 10?



CONCLUSION TO THE APPLICATION SECTION OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (7:12)

The word "therefore" starting out verse 12 is a little confusing because it implies that verse 12 relates to what just preceded. What just preceded though was the discussion on prayer. I didn't see how verse 12 relates to prayer. Yet more than just a discussion on prayer preceded verse 12. In fact everything Jesus has said about the way we are to treat people in the Sermon on the Mount preceded verse 12 (Matt. 5:21-7:11). Verse 12 then sums up and simplifies in one sentence all the ethical teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. How are you and I to treat each other according to verse 12?