SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION
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! (Matthew 7:7-11)
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)
The Gospel of Matthew proclaims that Jesus came to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth. Within this context, we can understand Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as a sort of handbook to being a citizen of God’s kingdom. Chapter five began with the Beatitudes, which are the characteristics for how Christians are to live. He then proceeded to define His followers purpose and their relation to the Old Testament commandments, which He demanded must now be met at the heart-level.
Chapter six focused upon godly religious behavior. Using the examples of giving to the poor, praying, and fasting, Jesus revealed that we could do such activities with the intent to be seen by others and render them void as godly works. Christ then urged His followers to store up for themselves treasures in heaven. This type of eternal investment could only come from a heart that served God before money or any other false gods. The chapter then closed with a command for us not to be anxious about our lives, which of course can only be followed when our heart’s treasure is eternally secure.
After discussing Facebook’s most cited verse last week, we now move into Jesus diving back into the topic of prayer. Here Jesus encourages us to bring our needs before Father, knowing that He will be faithful to give us good things. Of course, this is not a blanket promise that God will always give us what we want; rather, Jesus is affirming that we can pray knowing that the Father will provide what we need when we ask according to His will. We also close with Jesus’ succinct summary of the entire Old Testament: The Golden Rule. In light of God’s good gifts to us, we ought also to do good to others.
Read verses 7-11 and discuss the following.
- Jesus gives us three versions of the same principle: if you ask, you will receive. Does Jesus mean that God will give Christians anything they ask for?
- How do Jesus’ words here relate to James 4:1-4?
- How are we able to have confidence that however the Father answers our prayers is always the best?
Read verse 12 and discuss the following.
- Jesus calls the Golden Rule a summary of the Law and Prophets. How is this statement a summary of all of God’s laws and commandments?
ACTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Obey. Prayerfully evaluate how well you live out the Golden Rule. Do you truly do to others as you would have them do to you? Resolve to love others with Christ-like love.
- Pray. Follow the commands of Jesus regarding prayer. Ask God to meet your needs, but ask in accordance with His will, seeking first His kingdom.