Seeing God More Clearly – Mt. 7:7-12

2 03 2012

Introduction

In the previous passage Jesus tells us to see ourselves more clearly by removing the fence post from our eye, so that we can see our own sin before focusing on the sin of our brothers and sisters.  Here, he tells us to see our heavenly Father more clearly. So, he tells us to pursue him by asking, seeking, and knocking.  As we do that we become more and more convinced that he is good and he gives us good things.  When we are convinced of that we are freed to serve others, v. 12.

This is not a passage about the general fatherhood of God, 11

God is the Father of a specific people.  This specific people has been already identified in 5:3-10. God is the Father and Jesus is the Brother of the poor in spirit, of the mournful, of the meek, of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, of the merciful, of the pure in heart, of the peacemakers, of the persecuted ones for the sake of the Gospel.

At this point you might think, “I’m not any of those things in practice.  How do I become that person?  Do I need to work harder at it?”  Not necessarily. You become poor in spirit, etc., by trusting in whom Jesus is and by trusting that the way he lived his life and his dying were done on your behalf.  God declares you to be the pure in heart, and all these other things, because of Christ. At the moment you give up your life by trusting in Jesus, God adopts you.  It is this Father that we pursue by asking, seeking, and knocking.

We will only pursue him if we are convinced that he is good, 9-11.

This is an argument from the lesser to the greater.  We are sinful people by nature and by practice (notice that Jesus excludes himself from this group, 11).  When our kids are hungry and ask for food, we give them food, not something that would hurt them, 9-10.  If in our sinfulness we know to good to our children, how much more will our righteous heavenly Father do good to us.

What God gives us is good, 11.  However, the only way we are going to be convinced that God will give us all good things is if we are convinced that his gift of his Son is the highest good.  Unless we are convinced that God has given us the best in Jesus Christ, we are not going to be convinced that lesser things than Jesus Christ are good gifts.

What are the good things? 11

All that we need to glorify God, 6:33.  Also, things that are according to his will (I think this means his Word). Ultimately the Holy Spirit is the good thing that comes from our pursuing God (see Lk. 11:9-13).

The pursuit itself, 7-8.

Asking, seeking, knocking are not different actions, but repetition to emphasize tireless and relentless pursuit.  We pursue God as we worship him together, as we read his Word, as we share the Gospel with others. But according to this type of language in our passage, we primarily pursue God through prayer. We pursue God in prayer like Jacob who wrestled with the Angel of the Lord at the ford of the Jabbok. We pursue God in prayer like the widow who does not leave the unrighteous judge alone.  We pursue God in prayer like our Savior who spent countless nights, after backbreaking days, praying to his Father.

Seeing God clearly as our heavenly Father who gives us all good things frees us to serve others, 12.

When we see him clearly, our satisfaction is in him, not in self, things, or people, which releases us to live selflessly.  We are now able to love people as we love ourselves.  Notice that there is no promise here that people will be nice back to you; as matter of fact, their response is irrelevant because we are satisfied with the goodness of our Father. So, Jesus says, “If you can’t remember all the things my Word says concerning the way you should relate to others, at least remember this: be thoroughly convinced of my Father’s goodness toward you and treat others like you want them to treat you.”

Conclusion

Your Father in heaven tells you that the riches of his grace are yours in Christ Jesus.  He tells you that he has kept nothing back from you when he gave you his Son.  He tells you that he will give you all good things when you pursue him.  So, what is keeping you from pursuing him?  Accept David’s challenge, “taste and see that the Lord is good.”





“Preach the Gospel at All Times”

28 02 2012

When Aaron Rodgers, the reigning MVP of the National Football League, was asked why he didn’t speak as much as Tim Tebow did about his Christian faith, he referred to a saying generally attributed to Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”  Rodgers said that as a criticism of Tebow’s outspokenness regarding his faith.  For Rodgers, the way he conducted himself was an expression of the gospel.  Thus, he did not need to be vocal about his beliefs.

At first glance, Rodgers’s answer looks very good.  But can the gospel really be preached in the absence of words?  The biblical answer to this question is that it cannot.  The gospel is a set of historical propositions with theological implications.  Propositions cannot be communicated apart from words.

We must live lives that don’t contradict what Christ has done for us.  We behave according to holiness because the Spirit of holiness dwells in us.  But that is not the gospel.  Our lives may cause people to wonder why we act the way we do, but that is not the gospel.  The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, lived a perfect life that sinners such as ourselves could not live, thus fulfilling all the law’s demands, that he died to pay the penalty for sins committed against a holy God who will not let sin go unpunished, and that he was brought back to life, so that sinners such as ourselves could have new life in him.

So, we can’t hide behind our lives (they are not that great anyway) as if they will communicate the good news of Jesus Christ to a perishing world.  Preaching the gospel is not a game of charades where people guess they need Jesus by looking at us.  Instead, let us tell people about the God who provided salvation to his people through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.





Starting Up

18 05 2010

I am not sure if I’ll ever post anything on this blog, or even if I have anything worth sharing with anybody.  But my friend Tim Prussic started blogging and I thought I’d sign up for one as well.








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