If you have a bible, I invite you to open it to Matthew Ch. 7.
The title of my sermon is, “Is Someone Knocking at the Door?”
In thinking of this title, I would like that you envision a man in his chair. He is alone but has so much to give. He is strong and sweet, but he never forces himself into the lives of others. So, he waits. He’s waiting for someone to come and take advantage of his wisdom, his reassurance. Someone he can carry. While waiting in his chair, he watches the people pass by his house through the window and wonders if he’ll hear a knock at his door. Who will knock at his door?
Today, this man represents God who’s in Heaven, sitting on his throne. He watches us live our lives and pass by him. He has so much to give. He is wise, powerful and is able to help us all. However, he doesn’t want to force himself into our lives. So, he waits. Who will come knock at his door?
Let’s read together verses 7 to 11. “…”
According to Jesus, prayer is an important thing. It is so important for our personal lives, for our family lives, for our work lives, and for the life of the church.
Prayer is a knock on the door of Heaven for seeking and finding divine help. Thus prayer shouldn’t be neglected.
I’m reminded of a short story that I’d like to share with you.
One day, a young man left for a mountain to go walking. So he leaps about on a path and comes by a meadow where he sees the prettiest rose that he’s ever seen. He decides to cut it out and give it to his girlfriend.
However, when he pulls on the flower, the ground below him begins to shake. In the cliff next to him, a door opens and inside appears a cave.
He is a little frightened, yet being an adventurer, he decides to explore it. He entered in a little ways and happens upon a large room containing jewels of sapphire, diamonds, gold pieces, silver plates, and fine armor. Crazy with happiness, he puts down the rose, and begins to fill his pockets, his shirt, and all that he could. He finally stopped for he had to return home, but at that moment he heard a small voice. It said, “Don’t forget the most important, the most important of all!” He was taken by surprise and began looking around him. He couldn’t see where the voice could have come from. So he then searched for what is most important. He sees a large ring and takes it. What could be most important or more beautiful than the rock in this ring?
He gets ready to leave again, when he hears again: “Don’t forget the most important, the most beautiful of all!” He thought about it, and then realizes he is satisfied with what is in his hand. Nothing that could be offered to him would be better. Then he left and as soon as he was out of the cave the ground trembled. The door of the cave closed itself. Walking away, he felt everything in his hands and pockets slowly turn to dust. The further he got from the cave from the cave, the more things began to transform. Why was this happening?
The rose maintained everything in a good state. The most important and beautiful was not the ring but the rose.
This story illustrates perfectly Jesus’ words. Jesus tells us that prayer is what gives us assurance of the blessings from Heaven.
So today, it would be good to ask ourselves an important question. It’s good to look beyond our spiritual appearances, and ask: Are we missing our spiritual flame? Have we forgotten what gives us true strength in life? Do we still spend time in intimate conversation with God?
Have we filled our pockets with treasure, while forgetting the key to Heaven, the thing most important?
I think that one of the greatest resources has been neglected in our time. It’s not solar or nuclear energy, but it’s prayer. We often forget that there is no substitute for prayer.
A man could lose a leg, and make a prosthetic to replace it.
A man could break his telephone, and use his computer and a headset to replace it.
A man could break his lamp, and light a candle to replace it.
All these things can be replaced and provide what is needed. However, there is no replacement for prayer.
Why at times do we not obtain certain blessings that we would like?
Why are we often beaten down when certain problems arise?
Why often times are we tarnished by sin?
There is an answer in James 4: 2, 3. “…” it’s either because our communication time with God is virtually non-existent. And so, we continue to exist with the same unsatisfied needs. Or it’s because, we ask for what is not good.
Let’s talk about praying in the right way. How do you do that?
Does God listen to some people more than others because they speak at the right times during the day or because they use the right formula?
Should I wake up at an early hour or interrupt all that I’m doing at a certain hour in order to recite perfectly formulated words? Will this attract God’s favor?
By all means, no! In Matthew 6:7 Jesus condemns the Pharisees’ prayers. They were known to recite perfectly formulated prayers. Also in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, concerning the moments when we should pray the Holy Spirit tells us, “…”
Maybe today you’re wondering: “How is it possible to pray constantly? Would it not be better to pray at appointed hours?”
What the Holy Spirit is trying to show in the bible is that we should speak to God at each important moment we face throughout our day. We should see him as a friend who at all times walks at our sides. We can turn to him when we are in doubt, if there’s a decision to make, when we’re seized by fear, or if there’s temptation. There’s no need to spend an hour reciting magic formulas. It’s enough to simply be in his presence and present him with each need as they become pertinent.
It could be the difference between those who find an answer and those who don’t: persistence!
There are some Christians who just won’t quit till they get an answer from God.
Let’s return to words of Jesus in Matthew 7. Take a look at verse 7.
Jesus uses 3 verbs for explaining what we should do when we desire something. These 3 verbs are: Ask – Search -- Knock
There is a logical progression in these 3 actions. The person, that desires a blessing, becomes more and more aggressive in their pursuit of what they want.
Jesus is speaking of persistence here. He encourages each to intensely consider what he/she desires. If we pray with little heart, only once or twice a week, we won’t attain great blessings from God.
Notice that the verbs used in verse 7 are all in the command form in Greek. This signifies that Jesus gives us a commandment. If we want a blessing, Jesus is waiting for us to make a request and be active in prayer. Prayer is not an option.
Also these verbs in Greek mark a continued action. It means that we should translate them this way, “continue to ask, continue to search, and continue to knock.” (see similar idea in Luke 18: 1)
Today do we pray like this, with persistence?
Paul says that it’s important to make known our needs in everything to God.
Did you know that a lot of Christians today misunderstand this principle? They separate in their mind what is of the spiritual realm and what is of the physical realm, and then they think that they can only pray for things that have a spiritual impact. They almost never pray for what is of the physical realm because they believe it’s not right. They believe God is not interested in this part of our lives.
Yet Paul says, make known our needs in all things, small or big, spiritual or not. God is interested in the small things, so much that he even knows the number of hairs on our head, so much that he knows when a tiny bird dies. There’s nothing too insignificant for him.
So we pray even when you have small worries, when you are looking for a parking space, when you lose patience with a child, when if you are traveling and would like to see an animal. In the States, our guest always laughed when they found out that we prayed while on a trip that God would allow us to see a moose.
No matter what, remember that God is good. He can answer each need and he is generous.
We should ask when we have desires no matter what they may be.
Seeking can be understood in two different ways in Jesus’ words.
First, seeking implies searching what the will of God is for the thing we desire. I wouldn’t know that unless I ask him, same with my children when they want things.
But seeking is also forcing yourself into action, like for instance when we want to buy a car.
There are moments in life when we should take an active role in finding an answer to our prayers. God doesn’t ask us to just sit in our churches and pray without doing anything to help ourselves.
I like what Luther said on this subject. He explained it like this: “Pray as if it all depends on God, and put yourself to work as if it all depends on you.”
Today, do we blame God when our wishes have not come true, and yet we haven’t done anything to get the desired blessings?
Jesus says pray, and in addition, seek and you will find.
Efficient prayer requires knocking.
To knock, is to adopt a certain attitude. It implies being persistent in our heart.
A man knocks at the door when he is outside and when he absolutely needs to get in.
A man knocks when he doesn’t have the key, and knows someone on the other side holds it.
When I think of the attitude of the one who knocks, the story of the blind man in Luke 18 comes to mind. Let’s read in Luke 18: 37-43. “…”
This man wasn’t ready to leave, for he knew that Jesus held the answer to his problem. He cried one time, then two, then three, and then four. That’s what I call knocking. Finally, Jesus finishes by noticing him and saying: “Your faith saved you!”
Paul is also a good example for underlining the significance of knocking on the door. In 2 Corinthians 12: 8, he mentions 3 times he prayed intensely to find a cure. After he found his answer. Don’t think he didn’t obtain a response. Paul found his answer, even if that one was a “no, my grace is sufficient”. However, his persistence earned him an answer.
Jesus says: “Ask and you will receive, Seek and you will find, knock and it will be open unto you.”
We can still attain even more benefits. Persistent prayer will teach us four things:
Have you wondered why God desires us to pray to him? After all, doesn’t he read our thoughts, and know already our desires without us even verbalizing them? Yes!
Then why pray?
Obviously not for informing God, but much more for inviting him. God doesn’t impose unless we ask him for help. He respects our freedom to choose.
Prayer is then an apprenticeship where we learn to depend further on God.
This means that persistence in prayer creates a relationship with God and we learn to know how to communicate with Him.
You know that more than anything, God wants an intimate relationship with us. So, He calls us in the Word to pray. He tells me: “Speak with me of your life.” Ladies with whom do you feel closest to? To guys who speak incessantly of themselves or to guys who want to hear all the details of your life? God likewise wants to listen to us. He wants us to have good communication with Him.
Sometimes the fact of not receiving answers helps us put things into question, and help us improve.
To what should I compare this? A young man who desires to go out with a girl that he’s crazy about.
He’s going to ask her if she’ll accept to go out with him. She tells him. “No!” So, he returns home and wonders why. His best friend comes over and he asks his friend this question. “Adelle doesn’t want to go out me, do you know why?”
“Honestly?” “Yes!” “Well, look at yourself, your clothes are dirty and you don’t smell good! Maybe if you take care of your appearance, it would be different.”
So the young man begins to take better care of himself. He buys some deodorant, he uses dental floss, every night he takes a shower and he washes his clothes regularly.” After some time, he notices that the young girl looks at him more often.
So he goes again to ask her if she’ll go out with him. She tells him again, no. He is curt with others and is often mean in his remarks.
Now he begins to work on his personality. He starts by being more sweet and gentle. He forgives more easily and helps those who have difficulties. This time he really changes. Now, it’s the young girl who comes one day to ask him this: “Do you like me still? If so, I will eat with you this evening!”
This principle is sometimes applicable in our spiritual life. We pray and we say to God, “Please Father, do this for me!” Then God responds, “Take first the time to get back on the right path and make some necessary changes.” Look in 1 John 3: 22. “…”
Prayer is a means of developing our spirituality.
If he answers, “no” to a request, then it’s for our own good. The thing wanted wasn’t good to begin with.
If he answers by saying, “wait” then it means it’s not the right time for what we want.
If he answers with, “Here it is!” then I can rejoice.
In conclusion, remember that God is good. Jesus in Matthew 7 compares Him to a father.
I am a father and I can tell you that I would never intentionally hurt one of my two daughters. In all my decisions, I try to see what would best benefit them. In my weakness, I love like this, so how much more does God love?
Would I give a rock to my daughters if they were hungry? Would I give a snake, if they were hungry? Even if they asked me, I wouldn’t do it. In the same way , even if I ask for something bad, God will not give it to me.
I would give everything to my girls. However, I am infinitely smaller and more poor than God who is greater and rich. God loves all, he knows all, and he can do all. We would be crazy to neglect prayer and communication with him.
Well today, is he like this man from the beginning of my sermon who waits your knock at his door ? In other words, “Do you allow him to be your Father?”