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 LUKE 11:9-13

"And I say unto you, 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. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 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?"

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Yesterday we finished a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 10. So today we are "in between" that Study and whatever new Series the Holy Spirit suggests.

And in that "gap" I would like to briefly comment on a short verse of Scripture. Jesus asked three short questions in Luke 11:11-12. "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion"

Wow!

Of course a loving Father will not give his child a worthless "rock" when the child is hungry! Or a "snake" instead of a piece of fish! Or a stinging "scorpion" instead of a fried egg!

Who would do that?

And God in Heaven, our spiritual Father, will not give such deceitful gifts either, to his begging children!

"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?" Jesus ends his discussion this way, from Luke 11:13 now.

I want to discuss with you that person who gives inappropriate gifts! Who gives poison instead of nourishment.

A person in a place of responsibility, giving bad things to needy people!

How cruel!

How tragic!

Perhaps even, how criminal!

Yet that's exactly what happened in Churches across the Land yesterday, the Lord's Day!

Preachers, well maybe not, "so-called" Preachers ... men who are supposed to be dispensing the precious Word of God ... instead giving out false information!

Lie after lie after lie!

Hungry church-members filing into our countless Auditoriums and Sanctuaries, wanting to hear "Thus saith the Lord!"

Instead being told bunches of psychology or history or philosophy or political theory!

God's people needing to be warned against sin!

Instead being told that everything is all right these days. That sin is no longer an issue!

Real Christians, many of them, wanting foundation for their lives, real direction, being told that the Bible is not a dependable Book, unreliable in its facts and reports!

Such "Preachers" are giving out "rocks" instead of "bread!"

"Serpents" instead of fish!

And "scorpions" instead of eggs!

Such men in the pulpits, and nowadays women too, are mean!

Deceptive!

Truthfully, spiritual criminals!

And to be avoided at all costs!

If your Church is now infested with one of these, get out!

Get out now!

For Jesus' Sake!

For your family's sake!

Especially for your teenager's sake!

Your children's sake too!

Find a place, no matter how far you must drive, where someone is delivering what God's Word requires!

Spiritual, but nonetheless real food ... bread and fish and eggs! Healthy eating for the soul!

Tell me what I need to hear, not simply what is easy to hear!

Preach to me things that will enhance my relationship with God the Holy Spirit, not Sigmund Freud. Or Karl Marx. Or the latest theological Reprobate!

To give whipped cream to starving men and women, when bread, meat and potatoes are readily available is not only mean, but wicked too!

No matter how good that whipped cream may taste!

The Truth please!

"Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2nd Timothy 4:2

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, THOSE THREE VERBS:

It's one of the greatest prayer promises Jesus ever gave! Both Matthew and Luke quote Jesus' exact words.

"And I say unto you, 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." Luke 11:9-10

Three verbs that invite us to do essentially the same thing. Ask and seek and knock! All of them are imperatives, too! They are commands!

And each verb has a result attached to it.

"Ask, and it shall be given you."

"Seek, and ye shall find."

"Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

Can anything be any plainer?

But do notice this. Probably each one of the verbs gets a little more intense as time passes.

Ask, but if no answer comes, seek!

And in seeking if nothing happens, knock!

Things get progressively more dramatic, more involved!

Asking concerns my mouth. Maybe my heart and my mouth, my mind in other words.

Seeking requires even more of me! Now my eyes and perhaps even legs are involved.

Knocking more yet! All of the foregoing plus now my hands or knuckles as well!

If at first the answer from Heaven does not arrive, don't quit!

With more faith than ever, let your asking become seeking! This might mean what the old-timers once called "putting legs on your prayers!"

Get involved, you yourself!

And knocking even more so!

Mercy!

Then ... let's look at the answers.

"Ask, and it shall be given you." The promise is expressed in the passive voice. If I ask, God will grant the petition. I merely receive it, accept it, from God's Hands.

"Seek, and ye shall find." Now the promise verb has become active voice! If I get up and start looking, I will find what I need! No help implied, although we know God is still the Giver. But still this says, "No seeking, no finding!" It requires something on my part. This is equal to helping God answer your own prayers.

Then: "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." We are back to passive voice again! I can't open the door myself, too big and heavy likely. I can only knock, the Lord must open the thing!

In real prayer, I do what I can. Then God does the rest, the things beyond human possibility!

Wow!

And these possibilities are sure!

"For every one that asketh receiveth." Period!

"And he that seeketh findeth." No doubt!

"And to him that knocketh it shall be opened." That's for sure!

But the verbal voice structure remains mixed! Active voice, "receiveth." Another active voice, "findeth." Followed by the passive voice, "shall be opened!"

Jesus mixes these verbs beautifully!

They portray prayer as a, dare I say it, "team effort."

As "cooperation" with God!

As "part God," even "mostly God," or just go all the way up to "99% God" if you choose, but still that leaves "part" man! Maybe a very small portion, but still a little bit God expects us to do!

Here goes, in summary.

God says "ask." He then says He will give it to us, the request. But even then we must receive it! See the "back and forth" here? The "give and take?" The "sharing" of duties?

God says "seek." If we do, He will make sure we find! God is more "behind the scenes" here. If I look, He will show!

Then God wants us to "knock." If we do, He will open! In the future, but no question about it! My "knocking" puts God into action! He will unlock the gate! Something I can't possibly do on my own.

Wow!

What promises!

Has someone reading here today asked and asked and asked, still with no results?

Then stop asking and do some seeking, on your own. Under God's Eye, with God's Permission, but on your own. Yes, you go seeking!

Or if by now, you have sought and sought and sought, yet no "finding" has occurred, the next step is clear, very clear!

Start knocking! Knock and knock and knock! In all probability, a door will open! Eventually so.

Seems to me that Jesus here is teaching something called "importunity" in prayer. Praying about a matter without ceasing!

Look at the Parable He just uttered before giving these prayer promises. You will instantly see what I mean. "And Jesus said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves. For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth." Luke 11:5-8, where "importunity" means "shamelessness!" It's "anaideia," literally "no aidos," or by definition "no modesty, no regard for others," hence "no shame!"

Wow!

What boldness concerning prayer this teaches!

What persistence!

What tenacity!

What faith!

Ask and seek and knock!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, THE HOLY SPIRIT:

The final clause of our short Text is amazing!

"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?" Luke 11:13

For the sake of familiarity, "evil" translates "poneros," the most active of the "wickedness" words in the New Testament. And "good" gifts employs the adjective "agathos," parallel to "poneros," but on the opposite side of the morality scale! Active good, spreading and impacting and influencing wherever it goes!

"How much more," an adverbial phrase, certainly applies to anything Almighty God does! He is the most lavish Giver Who ever lived!

But what is the supreme "Gift?" Or Who is the Highest Good?

Luke's answer, the Holy Spirit!  "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

Here we have a conundrum. That means a puzzle, more to the point, a disputed area of doctrine.

Some theologians teach that at the very moment of salvation we receive all the Holy Spirit we can hold, all we will ever need.

Others say that He comes to us incrementally, the Holy Spirit. Some today, more tomorrow. And on and on as needed.

I do not wish to argue the point today. There is truth on both sides of the issue, certainly we begin a relationship with God the Third Person when we are saved. He is the very One who "baptizes" us into the Family of God, into the Body of Christ! He are indwelt by Him from the instant of salvation.

Yet there is also the matter of the "filling" of the Holy Spirit. Of His overflowing me and saturating me and imbuing me with all of Himself.

Maybe one Preacher said it best when he proclaimed, "It's not really a matter of whether you have all the Holy Spirit. It's rather a matter of whether the Holy Spirit has all of you!"

Sounds pretty good.

But still, what Jesus says in Luke 11:13 cannot be overlooked. "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

God can give the Holy Spirit, more of Him!

Is this just semantics at play?

Is the issue here my total submission to Him?

Or really more of Him for me?

I don't know.

Not completely.

But this I do know.

I need Him, the Holy Spirit.

And if by asking for Him I give Him permission to absolutely overflow me, that's all right!

On the other hand, if that asking for Him merely frees me to bow to more of His already existent Presence in my life, so be it!

I want Him!

I need Him!

I beg for Him!

I crave him!

He empowers me!

He uplifts me!

He points me to Jesus!

He is the Highest good! He is Heaven's Greatest Gift!

And that's what Jesus is telling us here.

Some days, and I know I'll be criticized here, I probably ask for that Presence, that Fullness, a hundred times!

And plan to keep doing so!

Because, looks to me like, that's what Jesus just taught us in Luke 11:13. And if I err here, I do so trying to follow the Greatest Person, the Son of God, the Darling of Heaven, Who ever lived!

Period!

"How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

So all I know to advise you is this, "Ask away!"

Have at It!

Seek Him with all your heart!

Whether you're getting Him or He's getting you, does it really matter?

You are being helped and enriched and energized all the same!

The old song written by Isaac Watts says ...

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With Your life giving powers;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.


In vain we tune our formal songs,
In vain we strive to rise;
Hosannas languish on our tongues,
And our devotion dies.


Dear Lord, and shall we ever live
At this poor dying rate?
Our love so faint, so cold to You,
And Yours to us so great!


Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With Your life giving powers;
Come, shed abroad the Savior's love
And that shall kindle ours.
 

And all I can say is "Wow!"

What a prayer!

"How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Luke 11:13

Pray it often!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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