The Receiving Man – Matthew 7:7-11

The Receiving Man 1
March 22, 2022

The Receiving Man – Matthew 7:7-11

Pastor Eric’s sermon, on March 13, 2022, focused on the key to living a fruitful Christian life. An understanding of this key is essential for men (and women) who are seeking to deepen their relationship with Jesus and to experience the presence of God in their lives. Pastor Eric is referring to the receiving and unreceiving man (or woman).

The Receiving Man 1

The unreceiving man lives his life as best he can. He is hardworking and somewhat independent. He does his best to cope with life’s difficulties and challenges. Even though he strives to the best of his ability, his efforts fall short. The receiving man, however, understands the secret. As opposed to the non-receiving individual, the receiving man, although he may display similar behaviours, has learned the secret and is able to receive. Hence, the receiving man. 

How did Jesus approach the issue?

Read Matthew 7:7-11

Matthew 7 is part of a longer sermon known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us in verse 7 that when we ask, it will be given to us. Let’s examine this statement more closely. 

The receiving man knows how to approach God with his needs. The unreceiving man does not. Why do people have difficulty expressing their desires through prayer? Jesus stated in Isaiah 56:7, “My house shall be a house of prayer for the nations.” Pastor Eric explained that someone could walk into our church, sit in a ‘worship chair’; watch the worship team lead the congregation in worship week after week, listen to a sermon like this one, and then leave without praying once during the entire service. 

Below are three main reasons why people are reluctant to ask:

1 – For some, asking is difficult.

If it is difficult for us to appeal to God for assistance, something is amiss. We must bring about change in our lives before we are able to petition God in prayer. Furthermore, the tendency to complain about our troubles is less likely when we seek the assistance of God. There is no reason for us to complain about something we brought before the Lord in faith, as we expect good to follow. In addition, when we bring our burdens to the Lord, even if we do not possess the answer to every problem, He grants us peace.

Read Matthew 26:41

At the time when Jesus spoke these words, the disciples were unable to stay awake despite being awakened more than once by Jesus. Therefore, if we feel devoted to the Lord and wish to pray, but fall asleep, Christ warns us: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation… because the flesh is weak.” Jesus confirmed that asking for guidance is a difficult task. By asking, we acknowledge that we are not in control. Hence, we are vulnerable, and it may seem daunting to rely on someone. Nevertheless, it is vital that we humble ourselves before the Lord when seeking His guidance. It is unfortunate that some Christians do things for the Lord but fail to allow Him to do the same for them. Such negligence may indicate a sense of pride on their part. Self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and independence are characteristics of pride.

2 – They don’t see a need to ask.

If we do not feel the need to ask God for anything, Pastor Eric urges us to keep ourselves in check; otherwise, it may lead to complacency. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines complacency as “self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”. Essentially, complacency is the assumption that we are in good standing with God when we are not.

Speaking to the Lord in public is not cause for concern as He hears our hearts before we even speak. Seeing Christians praying for one another is an uplifting experience. However, the responsibility of praying for one another is not restricted to the spiritually gifted or professional prayer warriors. It is for all God’s children. There are no limits to what a believer can ask for.

John Wesley stated, “It seems God is limited by our prayer life – that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him.” This is not to be misinterpreted. God is sovereign. Although He is not dependent on us, He has chosen to work through us in order to accomplish His purpose. We are commanded by the Lord to pray. Prayer is an important aspect of our relationship with God. It is therefore important that we ask. While the Bible instructs us to approach God’s throne with an attitude of gratitude, it also encourages us to pray and practice petition.

Some Christians fail to ask because they are on the verge of becoming complacent. This is a dangerous position to be in. To be complacent is to be lukewarm and indifferent. As per Revelation 3, this happened to a godly church, the church of Laodicea. Early on, the church had a good start and was filled with zeal for the Lord. However, their community became very wealthy which adversely impacted the church, leading to complacency.

Read Revelation 3:15-17 and Ezekiel 26:36

In Revelation 3:17, Jesus said, “You say, ‘I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Such is the description of a complacent person: one who has become accustomed to comfort and conveniences. Individuals who are complacent are characterized by coldness and indifference. If this applies to us, we should petition the Lord to replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh.

3 – They don’t know how to ask.

It is generally believed that only new believers have difficulties approaching God with their desires, but this is not the case. Even experienced Christians and pastors sometimes wrestle with this issue.

It may be difficult for some of us to pray, simply because we are unaware of what to pray for. As a means of overcoming this problem, a model of prayer can be used as a guide. Pastor Eric’s favourite prayer model is the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus taught us. It is important to note that the “Our Father” prayer is not a symbol of punishment and should not be viewed as such. Neither is it a script that we should recite every day. Rather, it is a privilege and a useful guide for us to follow. If we follow this guide, we can literally pray for hours. Through prayer, we can reach out to the Lord directly. We are blessed to call God “Our Father in heaven” and we should thank Him for this. We do not have to beg Him for anything, and we need not be concerned, since He has our best interest at heart. As our Father, God protects us and provides for us.

Next in the Lord’s Prayer is the phrase “Hallowed be Your name”. It means that we desire that Jesus’ name be distinguished from all the other names in the world. In prayer, we can also express our desire to help make the name of Christ known in our workplace, our home, our community, and in our church. We can also pray that people will see traces of Jesus’ goodness in us, and that they will be filled with praise for His glorious and holy name.

For instance, when we pray for “Your kingdom come”, we may say, “Lord, we pray that You will rule in this situation.” “We pray that You will come so that the kingdom of darkness will have no place in our families, within our communities, and in our workplaces. Please submit to Your authority all that is contrary to Your purpose. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We should also pray to God for our daily bread, asking Him to provide for our basic needs on this day. We should also request that He forgive our debts (our sins), as we also forgive our debtors (those who have wronged us.) As we pray for these things, it is also imperative that we set aside our grudges and forgive others.

We can then ask our Father for protection so as not to be led into temptation. Though we may be feeling confident, it is crucial that we continue to pray for God to keep us from temptation, as temptation typically strikes when we are comfortable and in control. We then conclude our prayer with “Deliver us from evil.”

By following this template, we will never again be at a loss for what to ask God in prayer.

The second model is the Concentric Circles of Prayer. In this model, we begin by praying for our own specific needs. We then proceed to the next circle, which is to pray for our family. Following that, we pray for our church, we pray that God would protect the unity of His church. We pray for our community, our nation, and the world. This is merely another model that facilitates our asking and praying.

Read Romans 8:26, Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:8, and Acts 16:24 

The Holy Spirit will assist us when we are unsure of what to ask. Jesus assures us that if we ask with faith, He will grant our request if it is in accordance with His will.

The Lord should not only be sought when we are weak. He should be sought in all seasons of our lives – continually. 

Read Psalm 34-10 and Psalm 105:4

The receiving man or woman is a person who discovered the art of asking.

Are you a receiving man or woman?

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