Saturday, July 23, 2016

Proper 12

Proper 12
July 24, 2016
Luke 11:11-13
A God who loves to Give

Jesus has given us the Lord’s Prayer. He teaches persistence in prayer. It is common practice for many to ask once and soon forget. How long should we pray for something? How do you respond to unanswered prayer?  Can you take “no” as an answer?

Jesus teaches there is no limit to the number of times we should pray. A neighbor wanting bread comes at midnight. When his friend is in bed. He keeps pestering and pounding. Until in desperation for needed sleep, he gets out of bed and gave the food. It wasn’t because of friendship. But because his friend would not quit bothering him. He would not take “No” for an answer. Jesus teaches that we should ask, seek, and finally, knock.  Never quit.  Never, ever give up! Persistence in prayer is necessary.

Grant us Lord, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are pleasing in Your sight that we, who without You cannot do anything that is good, may by You be enabled to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

We may be tempted. To think of Christ’s unwillingness to hear us. So, we use prayer. Especially persistent prayer. To eke out of Him some favor. Or, to find an answer to our needs. To receive an answer to prayer. We might become concerned about the quality of our prayer. Or, the moral standing of the one who prays. This is unnecessary according to Jesus. The Father is more willing to give than we are to ask. Your heavenly Father lives to give. He exists to hear. He dwells to answer. Ask. Seek. Knock. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” –Luke 11:9

What has your heavenly Father promised to give?

1. He promises to give good gifts. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” Vv. 11, 12

A. God your heavenly Father, like any good earthly father, gives only good gifts. The point is, ‘you just can’t imagine a father who would do this!’ “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:18 He is not reluctant to give gifts. He does not have to be persuaded to help. As a father gives only good gifts. God, your heavenly Father gives even more to His children. “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.”[1]  

B. If one asks for a fish. He does not give a serpent. Here the Savior teaches us how to pray the right way. We pray as a child to a magnificent Father. We pray confidently as Abraham prayed. We pray as the persistent and unrelenting friend kept knocking. The writer to the Hebrews encourages us with these words, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” –Hebrews 4:16

C. The Father’s gifts are only and always good. They are forever helpful for us. Even when the Father is silent.

The Father’s timing is always perfect. When the Father is silent it may be that it is not the right time for Him to answer. At the time we ask, we may not be ready for the gift. If we do not keep asking, when the time is right, we may not be receptive. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” – Psalm 103:13

2. He promises the best gift. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" V. 13

A. The best gift is the Holy Spirit. Of all the gifts, the Holy Spirit is the best. The Father’s kingdom comes to us, “…when our heavenly Father give us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.” [2]

B. How many pray for the Spirit? How many realize the Spirit is the best gift God could ever give us?  We do not pray that God’s kingdom of power would come. Because that is already present everywhere. Instead, we ask God to give us His Holy Spirit so that we believe His Word and lead godly lives as members of His kingdom of grace.[3]    Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.–Mark 1:15 

It is easy to become distracted during these difficult days. We need to have a single solitary focus – bringing many others into the Father’s kingdom. Being used of Him to extend His kingdom of grace. Our petitions must include that our Lord would hasten the coming of His kingdom of glory. “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! – Revelation 22:20

C. Why is the Spirit the best gift? The Spirit is God. To Have the Holy Spirit is to have God in you, with you, for you. The Lord assures us. He promises. He guarantees that His means of grace will establish and sustain His kingdom. “My word…shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the things for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

Can there ever be anything better than God your heavenly Father and His gracious will for you?  We know that the will of God will always be done in our lives. The psalmist reminds us, “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” – Psalm 115:3…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13

As His name must be hallowed and His kingdom come whether we pray or not, so also His will must be done and succeed. This is true even though the devil with all his followers raise a great riot, are angry and rage against it, and tries to exterminate the Gospel completely. But for our own sakes, we must pray that, even against their fury. His will be done without hindrance among us also. We pray so that they may not be able to accomplish anything and that we may remain firm against all violence and persecution and submit to God’s will.”[4]

Words – 1,215
Passive Sentences –3%
Readability –83.6%
Reading Level –4.3

[1] Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, Luther’s Small Catechism
[2] Explanation to the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Luther’s Small Catechism
[3] For what do we pray in the Second Petition? Luther’s Small Catechism
[4] Luther’s Large Catechism, III 68

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