ďASK, BUT NOT RECEIVE.Ē††††††††††††††††††††††† Pastor Kenny Yau
INTRODUCTION:† Many Christians are very familiar with the promise Jesus made in Matt. 7:7, ďAsk and you shall receive,Ē when He was teaching His people to be steadfast in prayer.† These same Christians wondered and sometimes were dismayed when their prayers went unanswered.† Some may either doubt if God does care, others may think that their problems or needs may be too much for God.† But from the passage here in Matt. 16, we know that there are other reasons that cause God not to grant what we ask in prayers.
GOD IS NOT BOUND TO ANSWER ALL PRAYERS: (Psalm 66:18)
†††††† These are the words of King David that God will not answer prayers of those who cherries sin in their hearts. People who willfully and continually sin against God will not receive answers of God to their prayers.† Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees were condemned by the Lord as hypocrites or sinners who will not repent. Repeatedly Jesus offered these people to repent and be honest of their sins, and yet they refused. These were the people who finally put Jesus to death on the cross.
†††††† God will always answer prayers of those who repent and ask for forgiveness. To those who live their lives worldly and sinful, God is not bound to grant them answers. People of God suppose to live their lives separated from the evil, the wicked. (Ps. 1:1) Anyone who befriends with the world will be seen as hater of God. (James 4:4) No one may live a sinful life and still expect God to be on His side when he needs Him.
GOD WILL NOT ANSWER PRAYERS OF EVIL INTENT.
†††††† While there are those who see miracles and give glory to God and believe in the Lord as those at the wedding party in Cana of Galilee, (John 2:1-11), these Pharisees and Sadducees came to ask for a miracles to TEMPT the Lord. They ask for a miracle not because wanting to believe in the Lord, but to place a temptation before His face. The Lord cannot be tempted as He knows the hearts of all men. (Mark 2:8; ) No one may hide his heart from the Lord. When people pray with evil intent, they can be sure NOT to receive any answer form Him.
†††††† Too often today, people pray ridiculous prayers.† In one of the worship services, someone came to ask me to pray for him that his wife will agree to his plan to divorce her.
WHAT THEY NEED IS NOT ANOTHER MIRACLE. THEY NEED TO BELIEVE:
†††††† In the chapters before Chapter 16, Jesus performed so many miracles in all kinds: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, restored life to a young girl, etc. (Matt. 12-15) If these people want to believe in Jesus from seeing miracles, they would have believed in him long time ago. Jesus condemned those in the cities where He had performed so many miracles but still wonít repent of their sins. (Matt. 11:20)
†††††† While some will repent and believe, most people use the need of seeing miracles as excuses for their not believing. Many have received miracles on themselves and yet still not believe. What a tragedy to happen. What people need, today as well as those in the Bible time, is not the need to see miracles, but to have a humble heart of repentance.
THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF SPIRITUAL UNDERESTANDING: (16:2-4)
†††††† Instead of granting them a miracle as they had asked, Jesus strongly rebuked their evil intent and their lack of spiritual capacity.† These people are so good in knowing the worldly things, but are all blind to see the real miracle of the death, the burial and the resurrection of the Messiah as demonstrated in the miracle of Jonah.† We still see this kind of people today. Many worldly people are so good in their worldly things: making good grades, building good business, doing well in their career, making lots of money, etc. But they are all blind to see spiritual things.
†††††† Whenever God does a miracle, He has a purpose in it.† He wants to teach His people spiritual lesson. People need to have the capacity to understand the underlining meaning and purpose of a miracle in order to receive the benefits of it. God is never in business to do things to meet our sense of curiosity. Whatever He will do is to bring people to HIM.
†††††† If you have prayed and not receive answers, donít start to blame God. Examine your own life, your intention, your real needs and your spiritual capacity. When you are at fault or have your own corrections to make, make correction to yourself before you blame God for not receiving His answers.† The shortest way to receive answers for your prayers is to repent and believe.