Friday, May 20, 2016

“Ask, and Ye shall receive”

Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

            How often we tend to over think the simplicity of just asking the Lord. Jesus taught the simplicity of receiving salvation—ask, and ye shall receive. As Christians, we sometimes get sidetracked and confused about the question of whether or not God hears and answers our prayers. Some become doubtful and begin to feel that the Lord cannot hear their prayers, nor can He forgive them. These feelings are deceptions of Satan. Christ would have us look back to the simplicity of salvation. Salvation is provided so that even a child can understand and receive it. John 3:16 gave a concise explanation of Salvation saying, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Salvation is not impossible to obtain by a Sinner, or else we would all be lost, but Jesus says, “Ask, and ye shall receive… (Mat 7:7).” “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Mat 21:22).” If we come before the Lord in true repentance and faith, then what we ask for—and believe God hears—we can receive His answer.

Proper manner of asking:

Mat 6:7, 8
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

This, however, does not mean we should not ask, for are we not told by Christ to ask in order to receive? Yea, even so when we ask of our Father in heaven, though He know our plea, we must ask in order to receive. For, without asking how can we receive? If we expect to receive from God without asking, then that is presumption—not faith. We must ask in humble faithfulness.

Mat 21:22
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

            Too often with our most humble pleas, doubts come and arise in our minds and hearts. It is easy, once recognizing the true nature of sin, to see how separated we are from the Lord, and how wretched, and poor, and needy we are. It is in these times when we are in the greatest need of the Lord’s providence that Satan sends his deadliest attacks and deceptions. Is the Lord indeed unable to deliver us from our worst and greatest sins, and able to change us from within into harmony to His will? Indeed He is. He is the author and finisher of our faith, the Creator, the supreme authority—and yet, He hath mercy sufficient enough for us. Thus saith the Lord, “
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul continues saying, “…Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).”

            Doubts are from the devil; if we entertain doubts in our minds we will lose sight of the purity of Christ, and His capability to redeem us. As we resist temptation, and shun sin, we should likewise resist doubts and shun them to avoid letting them become stumbling blocks upon ourselves, or even to others.

Note: Sometimes, we may have certain kinds of doubt, such as about certain subjects, or doctrines, or of what some ministers or teachers speak. Should we resist these doubts and believe what is the subject? Or should we listen to the doubts and make decisions based on them? The answer is neither. The bible councils us on what we must do if we come across individuals that speak, teach, or involve questionable subjects. Scripture says that “…by their fruits ye shall know them (Mat 7:20),” and to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thess 5:21).” We must establish and test all doctrines and teachings by the word of God, and if there be any error in them, then they are “not in the doctrine of Christ,” and “hath not God (2 John 1:9).”

Therefore, concerning the doubts of Christ’ mercy and forgiveness, let us not become depressed, doubtful, or discouraged from our predicament, or from our wretchedness, but let us like Paul glory in our infirmities, “that the power of Christ may rest upon [us] (2 Corinthians 12:9).” Instead of entertaining doubts in our minds, let us instead rejoice, and give thanks unto the Lord for our trials and afflictions, remembering that God sent His Son to be crucified to redeem us from the world, and that Christ’s grace is sufficient enough for us. Let us ask with faith, believing, so that we can receive.

            But those who continue in sin knowingly, are in danger. If they choose to sin, they are walking in rebellion unto God. If they ask forgiveness without repentance (a resolve and decision to turn from sin and forsake it), then they ask in vain. The first steps in Christ are understanding our wretched sinfulness and need for Christ. Then we are driven to repentance to receive forgiveness and restitution, but if we do not desire—do not choose—to turn away from our sinfulness, then God cannot receive us to Him. The sinner must make a choice between following the world or following Christ. Once the decision for Christ is made, then the request can be made in faith, and received in believing.

Mat 7:7-12
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Luke 11:13 
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

            The gift of the Holy Spirit, the comforter, the companion that is the third of the Godhead. Can one think of a gift any greater than this? To have the Spirit of God accompany us always, and residing in our hearts wherever we go—that is an amazing privilege. And how can we receive the Holy Spirit? Just as simply as was spoken before—Ask, and ye shall receive. As Christians in the walk with the Lord, we are in great need of the Holy Spirit. It is by the Holy Spirit that we are “converted and become as little children (Matt 18:3),” it is by the Holy Spirit that we are led to the truth, and by the Holy Spirit we are brought into righteousness in Christ, and our characters are made into His likeness—that work is enabled by the Holy Spirit within us. If we desire of those things before mentioned, then we need the Holy Spirit which we can receive by asking faithfully.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit {COL 327}

“The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised. {COL 327.1}
Before He left His disciples, Christ “breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” John 20:22. Again He said, “Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you.” Luke 24:49. But not until after the ascension was the gift received in its fullness. Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working was the outpouring of the Spirit received. Then in a special sense the goods of heaven were committed to the followers of Christ. “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Ephesians 4:8. “Unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” the Spirit “dividing to every man severally as He will.” Ephesians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 12:11. The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God. {COL 327.2}
The promise of the Spirit is not appreciated as it should be. Its fulfillment is not realized as it might be. It is the absence of the Spirit that makes the gospel ministry so powerless. Learning, talents, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner be won to Christ. On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them the channel for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe. {COL 328.1}

Eze 36:26
 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
A new heart—do we need a new heart? Thus saith the Lord, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” If we have all been victims to sin and sinfulness, then at some point, in order to be brought into righteousness with Christ, we would need to have a change of heart. Any time in life when a person decides to make a decision that entails making a complete change or turn around, it involves—it requires a change of heart.
When Christ calls us to Him, to turn away from our sins and from the world, we have to make a complete turnaround from the world—to Christ. We have to have a change of heart. Our old hearts of stone—hearts of stubbornness and rebellion, hearts that are inclined to sin, that are carnal and subject to the ways of the world—would need to be given up for a new heart that is pure and full of Grace. That is the Heart that Christ can give us, so long as we are willing to ask of it from Him, and give up our old ways.

Faith and Acceptance—from steps to Christ
            “You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this because He has promised. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours. Jesus healed the people of their diseases when they had faith in His power; He helped them in the things which they could see, thus inspiring them with confidence in Him concerning things which they could not see—leading them to believe in His power to forgive sins. This He plainly stated in the healing of the man sick with palsy: “That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” Matthew 9:6. So also John the evangelist says, speaking of the miracles of Christ, “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31. {SC 49.3}


Joh 14:12-27
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

            Therefore, as we ask and receive these gifts, promises, truths, and redemption in faithfulness, we have also a work to do. The work does not end when we ask, but that is only the beginning. There is a continual work that must take place in our hearts—a work of faith, of character development, of faith, and of perseverance to be overcomers and steadfastness. As it said in John 14, if we believe in the heavenly Father, then we will do the works which He does, and if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments. So, if we do these things in faithfulness, and believing on His name, and resisting doubts, the Holy Spirit will teach us, and bring things to remembrance, and enable us to do God’s will.

            As the Lord has loved us, let us Love the Lord with all our hearts, and minds, and souls. Though, even if we give all, we cannot give unto God what He has given us, but we can give as much as we can in gratitude anyway. So, as we go about the Sabbath and the new week ahead, I pray that we would each turn our worries, and troubles, and requests, and our whole selves unto the Lord in faithfulness. Then, progress to live in faithfulness, and sincerity, sobriety, and vigilance. Let us raise the Standard of truth High, and encourage one another into the Ways of Christ.