Chapter 7:7-20 (ESV) - “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 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!
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
“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. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Question to consider: For what do we ask, seek, and knock?
Keeping in line with the rest of this sermon, Jesus’ encouragement to ask, seek, and knock was related to our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. Our entrance would come through the narrow gate of Christ Himself, and as citizens we continually seek to grow into the righteousness we have received in Him. As we do so, we learn to love our neighbor and sacrificially serve them as Christ has served us.
Jesus gave a definition of what He considered blessing at the beginning of His sermon. Someone who was hungry and thirsty for righteousness or poor in spirit would seek the narrow gate, knock and ask for entrance into the kingdom. The good gifts that God wishes to give us are gifts that do not perish, spoil or fade and cost the life of His Son.
The health and wealth preachers use this passage to convince Christians that God wants to bless us with worldly wealth and health. Of course, if we don’t receive these things, they preach that there is something wrong with the way we ask, seek and knock. We should beware of them as Jesus warned the people of His day to beware of false prophets. The Pharisees believed their traditions came from the mouth of God, but as John the Baptist correctly called them a brood of vipers, their traditions were indeed from the serpent himself. Thus, they were false prophets, putting words into the mouth of God in order to devour their flock like a wolf disguised as a sheep.
Jesus said they would recognize them by their fruits. By this, He meant those who were the product of their false teaching. After three years of imploring them to repent, Jesus cursed them for this in saying, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13-15) Their proselytes were fruit from a diseased tree.
Dear heavenly father, help us to ask, seek, and knock for the things that will draw us closer to You. We ask for teachers who faithfully preach Your word so that we may see our sin and cling ever more tightly to Christ. Amen.