Before we get back to Matthew 7, last week, we talked about not worrying and trusting God and how it's very hard not to worry at times. We pray and it seems that God isn't listening and things get worse not better.
I read something that may help us that I want to share.
Delay is Not Denial
Do we recognize the delays accept God’s timing?
From an Africa Study Bible proverbs and stories note:
A father wanted to offer his two sons special gifts. He told them to come to the farm and wait for him by a tree where he had hidden his will. He climbed the tree and waited for them. But he soon fell asleep and only woke up after many hours when he heard shouting below. One of the boys had lost patience and was raining insults on his father for delaying. The other insisted that their father loved them and surely would keep his promise. But he could not convince his brother, who thereafter left. Then the father came down and handed all the property to the son who had waited patiently.
Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks. Like the patient son under the tree, Daniel did not give up. At last a messenger from God explained to Daniel the reason why the answer to his prayer had been delayed, and then he gave God’s answer to Daniel.
Daniel’s story reminds us that we have a powerful enemy trying to thwart our efforts and obstruct God’s answers. But no matter what spiritual forces are involved in our area, our God is Lord of all.
Daniel did not necessarily know these forces existed, and he did not know why the angel was delayed—but he kept on praying. This reveals to us what our attitude should be when we are fasting and praying. Our job is to remain faithful in prayer and continue to believe God while He fights for us in the heavenly realm.
In our fast-paced world of instant gratification, we often struggle when God takes longer than we expect to answer our prayers. Are there some things you have prayed about for many years without change? Have you grown tired, given up, or even become angry at God? Talk to God about them again today and trust that the answer is on the way.
Daniel 10:2-6 ESV In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
Daniel 10:11-14 ESV And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.
Matthew 7:1-2 ESV ""Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
We should not judge presumptuously, or without having all the information.
Romans 14:4 ESV Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
We should not judge another's motives.
We should not judge hypocritically
Romans 2:1 ESV Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
We should not judge hastily or rashly
John 7:21-24 ESV Jesus answered them, "I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."
We should not judge according to our own non-scriptural convictions'
Romans 14:1-3 ESV As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
We should not judge unfairly or according to prejudice.
We should not judge unmercifully.
Matthew 5:7 ESV "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Remember we too will be judged for our actions after salvation.
Romans 14:10-12 ESV Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
The av has judgment seat of Christ, but all of the best manuscripts here read God. In , Paul speaks of the "judgment seat of Christ." The shift is of little importance, since Jesus himself told us that the Father judges no one but has given "all judgment to the Son" (see Jn 5:22, 23, 27, 29). God judges men in the sense that he judges them through his Son. , . Paul quotes , from the lxx , to show that men must appear before God in judgment, then concludes: Each one of us will give an account of himself [to God]. To God ought to be supplied, but it is not a part of the original text.
2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The way we judge others sets the standard for the way we'll be judged. While we are to judge the actions not the person we're to restore those who fall into sin with meekness, knowing our own frailty.
Galatians 6:1-5 ESV Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
Luke 12:2-3 ESV Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Matthew 7:3-5 ESV Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
We should be aware of and first address our own moral conditions: there are often moral logs and obstacles in our own lives that not only make it impossible for us to see clearly and discriminate between right and wrong accurately, but also make it difficult for others to accept our corrections and exhortations.
We have a 2-by-4 in our own eyes, but judge our brother for the sliver in his eye. We're so ready to condemn others but we excuse our own sins. Only God is qualified to judge men, because He alone can see into men's hearts and knows their motivations.
Romans 2:1-3 ESV Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
Our judgment is perverted by our prejudices (the beam in our eyes) that make others' sins look so much worse than our own.
Though we're not to judge people, we're to discriminate between those who have a reverence and appreciation for spiritual things and those who do not. We're to protect the holy truths God has given to us from unnecessary exposure to ridicule and blasphemy .
Jeremiah 15:19 (ESV)19 Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.
It's also important to maintain discipline to be careful to recognize error or false teaching in the church. There are people who sit in church services and hear only what they want to hear. They reject the things that convict them of their sins and misuse the teachings of grace as an excuse to go on sinning. In our personal witnessing we should be guided by the Holy Spirit to discern between those people who are ready to hear what we have to share and those who will only reject and ridicule it. Men who are carnally-minded aren't able to understand spiritual things .
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV)14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Jesus had been talking about judging and ended by saying you have to figure out whether you were dealing with dog, or pigs, people who you are wasting your time with until the Holy Spirit convicts them.
Matthew 7:7 (ESV)7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
God still wants to see our lives come into conformity with His standards of holiness. Once we believe in Jesus, He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the godly life. We're to be persistent in our prayers. In the Greek this verse tells us to continually ask, seek, and knock. The three imperatives are in climactic order, and emphasize perseverance and frequency in prayer for any and all needs.
To continue to pray for something:
(1) tests our faith
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
(2) builds our patience
Psalm 27:14 (ESV)14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Once we believe in Jesus, He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the godly life. We're to be persistent in our prayers. In the Greek this verse tells us to continually ask, seek, and knock. To continue to pray for something:
Matthew 7:8-11 (ESV)8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?11 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!
Jesus gives us the promise that our loving heavenly Father will answer our prayers and bless us with good gifts.
Jesus in other places talks about persistence in asking.
Luke 18:1-8 (NLT)1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people.3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people,5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge.7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
There are other places in scripture where we are told to be persistent:
Romans 12:12 (NLT) Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Ephesians 6:18 (NLT) Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
While we are to pray specifically and persistently be careful that your specific persistent prayer becomes a demand because we can’t make demands on God. While we can make requests of God in prayer, we can’t make demands. God is the Creator of the universe and does not take orders from us.
Matthew 7:12 (ESV)12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The word "therefore" refers us back to the preceding verses, all the stuff about judging, to understand the context. We shouldn't be quick to judge or condemn. Instead, we should be understanding, sensitive, and quickly responsive to the needs of others. This commandment is a positive rule for our behavior, for it suggests action that we can take. The ten commandments told us to refrain from certain actions.
The first four commandments concerned our relationship with God.
Exodus 20:2-11 (ESV)2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.3 “You shall have no other gods before me.4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The other six concerned our relations with man. If our relationship with God is right, then we can get our relations with man in order.
Exodus 20:12-17 (ESV)12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.13 “You shall not murder.14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal.16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
If our relationship with God isn't right, then our other relations will not go well either. Our relationship with God always comes first. If we treat others the way we want to be treated, then we're acting the way God wants us to act toward our fellow man. This is the summary of the teachings of the law and prophets. To truly practice this injunction, we need the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Our love and devotion for God are reflected in our attitudes and actions toward others.
1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
The Holy Spirit does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He loves others through u
First is the two gates.
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Jesus is the narrow gate we must go through to enter the Kingdom
John 10:1 (ESV)1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
John 14:6 (ESV)6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
We start on the path to the Kingdom by denying ourselves
Matthew 16:24 (ESV)24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Our flesh doesn't die easily. It's a painful, continuous struggle to keep the flesh under the control of the spirit.
Luke 13:24 (ESV)24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Many people do not like the concept of a narrow path to God. They choose to believe that many roads lead to God, but Jesus says that the broad path leads to destruction
Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Romans 8:6 (ESV)6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
It isn't natural to live the life of self-denial. Crucifying our flesh is a slow, agonizing death The Holy Spirit enables us to endure the struggles with the flesh so we can walk in righteousness.
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.