Sermon Outline and Video: “God, the good and kind Father, is near us!”

Sermon Outline

Sermon Title: God, the good and kind Father, is near us!

Biblical Text: Matthew 7:7-11

Date:  Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ask, and It Will Be Given

“7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 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!”

Two basic questions about this text:

  1. What does Jesus want us to learn about God and his character in relation to our connection with Him in this passage?
  2. What does Jesus want to teach us about ourselves and biblical discipleship?

Big Idea (Thesis): The assurance that God will answer our prayers is grounded or lies in God’s attribute as a good, caring, and kind Father.

Basic idea about God in relation to us: God is our heavenly Father; God is a good father; God is a kind father; God is the Father who is near us.

  1. What Jesus wants us to learn about God
  •  God is near, available, and can be sought at all times (The nearness and proximity of God)
  • God rewards those who seek him (vv. 7-8).
  • God’s door is never closed to those who earnestly seek him.
  • God is good and kind.
  • God gives deliberately and universally and without discriminating against anyone (v.8) according to his will.
  • The intentionality of God summarizes in these explicit verbs: to give, to reward, to make available, and to be found.
  • Not only God’s reward is near and available to all who ask, seek, and knock, his presence is also near.
  • God is better than an earthly father (v. 9) and is not like an earthly father.
  • God, the heavenly father, is like an earthly father (vv.10-11). He is like a good and generous earthly father (v.10).
  • God watches over and cares for his children, both his sons and daughters (v.11).
  • God does not close the door on those who knock at his door—in both emergency and non-emergency times or circumstances.
  • God knows the needs of his daughters and sons (vv. 9-10)

God is predisposed himself to do all that is good and pure. He is intentional about rewarding people

  • Luke 18:18-19: “And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”
  • Mark 11:24-25: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

2. What Jesus wants us to learn about ourselves

That human needs are inevitable and universal. In other words, everyone has needs.

  • The desperation of the human heart is to search for comfort and seek for rewards.
  • Everyone is on the pursuit of something in life.
  • The human life is accompanied by a spirit of optimism and resilience.
  • Good human fathers are good and generous to their children.
  • Good earthly fathers like to please their sons and daughters
  • The underlying search of all people, no matter their origins, nationality, race, or ethnicity, gender or sex, is the longing for connection, relationship, and belonging: people ask; people seek; and people knock. The goal is belonging and relationship.

Textual Exposition: Matthew 7:7-11

The equivalents and the parallels

  • Ask = give seek= give                   knock= open
  • Ask=receive seek=find
  1. a) Two rhetorical questions: Jesus invites his disciples to consider two practical and important questions.
  2. 9 about bread (not stone): “Or which one of you, if his son ask him for bread, will give him a stone?

v.10. fish (not serpent): “or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?”

  1. b) The basic lesson: “”If you then, who are evil, know to give good gifts your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those to ask him!
  2. “Ask,” the verb is used in the imperative sense. It is the central theme of this passage and appears five times in verse 7, 8,9, 10, and 11). The verb “ask” is a common reference to prayer in the Bible. Consider the following verses:
  • Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
  • Jeremiah 29:13-14, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
  • “Give”: A second important key word is “give.” It is listed five times in the passage: vv. 7 (given), 9 (will give), 10 (will give), 11 (to give), and 11 (give). It is associated with “good gifts” or “good things” (verse 11), a reward from both “evil fathers” and “the good father,” who is God. The divine passive: “Ask and God will give you [what he deems best] (Blomberg, Gospel of Matthew, p. 130)
  • 11: “You who are evil”; Dale Allison observes

The Sermon on the Mount takes for granted a strong biblical doctrine of human corruption: all swirl about in the abyss of sin. Sinners persecute saints (5:10-12, 38-48). People kill (5:21), get angry (5:22-26), commit adultery (5:27), divorce their spouses to marry others (5:31), and take oaths because the lie is so prevalent (5:33). They use religion for their selfish glorification (6:1-18), fail in generosity (6:22-23), serve mammon (6:25), foolishly worry about secondary matters (6:25-34), and pass judgment on others (7:1-5). But implicit here is not only a strong doctrine of sin but a strong doctrine of grace.” (Allison, The Sermon on the Mount, p. 157).

  1. Verse 11: All things: includes both spiritual gifts and material gifts: food, drink, and clothing (Matthew 6:25-34) and the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

John of Karpathos observes, “The Lord promised ‘good things’ not to the righteous but to sinners, saying: ‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gift to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him?’ (Luke 11:13) (Qtd in Allison, p. 157).

**God’s care for us and goodness toward us is the basis for prayer.  See for example, the parable of the unrighteous judge and the persistent woman, Luke 18:1-7

How to Compare God

  • God’s Body/Creation of Man: Genesis 1:26-27, says, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground
  • Hands and Feet: There a many instances in scripture that portrays God as having both hands and feet. Exodus 24:9-11 portrays God as having both hands and feet, it says, “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank (NIV).”
  • God as Warrior: Psalms 18:1-18

This passage in Matthew 7:7-11, is based on three basic assumptions about God:

  1. The fatherhood of God: God is a Father:

A.W. Tozer who said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  Interestingly, God wants us to see and understand him as our heavenly father.

  • “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13).
  • Acts 17:24-28, “24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our beings even some of your own poets have said,“‘ For we are indeed his offspring.’“ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”
  • “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” ( Psalm 103:13-14)
  • Ephesians 3:14-19, (Prayer for Spiritual Strength), 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
  • Hebrews 12:7–10, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.”
  • Douglas Wilson, in a book entitled, “Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families” (2012) summarizes the underlying characteristics of God as a Father who is near and good to all of us:

 The most obvious feature of the Father of Jesus Christ is His generosity. He is generous with His glory (John 1:14), with His tasks (John 5:18), with His protection (John 10:28–32), with His home (John 14:1–2), and with His joy (John 16:23–24). The Father gives (John 3:34–36). The Father gives His Son (John 3:16; 18:11); the Father gives His Spirit (John 14:16–17); the Father gives Himself (John 14:22–24).

Learning this about the Father who is a Spirit, who is intangible, should stir us deeply. He is seeking worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth — in short, who will become like He is. And what is He like? He is generous with everything. Is there anything He has that he has held back? And what should we — tangible fathers — be like? The question is terribly hard to answer, but not because it is difficult to understand. (Father Hunger, 204–205)

(Qtd in “Learning Fatherhood From the Father of Fatherhood” by Tony Reinke, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/learning-fatherhood-from-the-father-of-fatherhood

  1. God is near: The nearness of God
  • Psalm 73:28, “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.”
  • Psalm 145:18, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.”
  • Jeremiah 23:23, “”Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?”
  • Acts 17:27, “that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us”
  • Hebrews 10:22, “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
  • James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
  1. The goodness/kindness of God: God is good and kind
  • The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6
  • Psalm 145: God reveals his goodness through natural blessings
  • The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. Psalm 145:9
  • Psalm 107: God has kind intentions towards us
  • 119:6
  • 31:19-20 says, “How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You, and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. You hide them in the protection of Your presence; You conceal them in a shelter from the schemes of men, from quarrelsome tongues.”
  • God is good through giving his most precious gift, namely his Son, as an offering for our sins: Romans 5:8 says, “God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!”; Romans 8:32 says this of God: “He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?”; Cor. 1:20 tells us that “every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in [Christ].”
  • Mark 10:18

Seven Practical Lessons

  1. Rest in God peacefully and worrielessly because of his goodness: Ps. 31:19-20 states, “How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You, and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. You hide them in the protection of Your presence; You conceal them in a shelter from the schemes of men, from quarrelsome tongues.”
  2. Trust in God’s promises for you and your family: Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God’s good intent and disposition toward you and your family: “For I know the plans I have for you” – [this is] the Lord’s declaration – “plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
  3. Trust in his good guidance through prayer: Psalm 84:11 declares, “For the Lord God is a sun” (He provides guidance and good directions to where we should go) “and shield” (he protects us); “the Lord gives grace and glory. “He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.”
  4. Trust in God’s faithfulness and integrity: “Good and upright is the Lord” (Psalm 25:8). In Nahum 1:7, it is declared, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
  5. He cares for those who trust in him” ; Psalm 31:19-20 affirms,Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”
  6. Begin to thank him even before you receive what you ask in prayer: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34); it is also observed in Psalm 107:8-9, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
  7. Don’t stress out when you through hardships and difficulties in life: Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be taken.”; Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

***Isaiah 49; 15, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

Amen!

Appendices

Chris Tomlin Lyrics

Play “Good Good Father”

on Amazon Music

“Good Good Father”
(Written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown)

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

‘Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a Good, Good Father
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It’s who I am, it’s who I am it’s who I am

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/christomlin/goodgoodfather.html