• Print

How Much More

Scripture - Luke 11:1-13

 

Overview

This week, we learned about prayer through a lesson and a parable taught to us by Jesus himself.  The disciples wanted to learn more about prayer because they had witnessed Jesus pray on multiple occasions, yet it was still mysterious to them.  Through his teaching of a model prayer (the Lord's Prayer) and a parable, Jesus showed the disciples and us more about the character of God and why we can approach him in prayer with confidence. He is holy yet present in our daily lives.  He is the provider of all of our needs.  He fulfills all of his promises.  Therefore, when we pray, we worship and obey him. We ask him to supply our needs. We confess our sins. We thank him for his faithfulness. We rejoice in his promises being fulfilled.  Because he is our Heavenly Father, how much more will he give us what we ask according to his will when we call upon his good name. 

 

Sermon Outline

1. Jesus Modeled Prayer as a Priority (11:1)
2. The Character of God Shapes the Content of Prayer
    A. He is Holy, yet Personal (11:2)
    B. He is the Provider
        1. Needs (11:3)
        2. Forgiveness (11:4a)
        3. Protection (11:4b)
3. God’s Promises are Realized through Persistence (11:5-13)

 

Discussion Questions

1.  In Luke 11:1, We learned that Jesus modeled prayer as a priority.  How does knowing that motivate you to make prayer a priority in your life? 

2.  In Luke 11:2, we learned that God is holy (set apart), yet personal (present in our lives), and he wants his will to be done in our lives.  What are some ways that your life needs to align with the will of the Father?

Additional Quote:  "If I cast a hook from a boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God." -E. Stanley Jones, A Song of Ascents 

3.  In Luke 11:3-4, we learned that God is the provider of our needs, forgiveness, and protection.  How have you seen God provide for you in these ways?  

4.  In Luke 11:5-8, we learned that God's promises are realized (recognized) through persistence. What are some prayers that you have, or need to continually bring to God in prayer?

 

Full Sermon Notes

Good morning. My name is Andrew Ogea and I am the Community Groups Pastor here at Northshore Church. I’m honored and humbled to share God’s Word with you today.

Right now, we are in the middle of a sermon series on the Parables of the Kingdom. Today we are going to be studying a parable in Luke 11. In week one of our series, we learned from Pastor Larry that parables are truth bearing stories. A definition of parables that I like and is fitting for ours today is this:

Parables make known mysteries by comparison with
things already known

People who are good at using parables take stories that are known or situations that would be known and use them to help people understand difficult concepts, ideas, truths or mysteries.

Jesus was the best at doing this. He spoke in parables all of the time. And the parable that we will study today is one that he used to help his disciples understand something mysterious to them.

Through this parable and His teaching we are going to learn more on the subject of prayer. I don’t know about you, but I have often wanted to gain a better understanding of prayer. As pastors, we are often asked questions about the subject. Such as:

How do I pray? When should I pray? If God already knows everything, then why do I have to pray? Do my prayers really matter to God? Do they make a difference? Other people tell me that God has answered their prayers, but why hasn’t he answered mine?

There are many questions to be answered, and today we won't be able to answer all of them, but my hope is that through these verses, the words of Jesus Christ will help us gain a better understanding of prayer. So let’s begin by reading Luke Chapter 11, starting in verse 1.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Today we are going to see three main truths that come from Jesus' teaching that will affirm, clarify, or even transform our understanding of prayer. The first truth comes straight from the first verse:

1. Jesus Modeled Prayer as a Priority

It says that on this day Jesus was praying in a certain place, and the disciples were witnesses. And this wasn’t the first time they heard of, or witnessed him praying. In Luke 3:21-22,

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. Luke 3:21-22a (NIV)

Jesus also went on a mountainside to pray before he called his disciples to follow him (Luke 6:12). Other times the disciples witnessed him leaving to go to an isolated place to pray. In Luke 9, Jesus prayed before he asked them the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Their response was their confession of faith: “You are the Messiah!”

And his disciples ask him: “teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” This is John the Baptist, the man who Jesus called the greatest of the Prophets (Lk 7:28), the one who prepared the way for the Him by preaching that he was soon coming. Even John the Baptist knew prayer as a priority.

But now, the disciples are asking Jesus, who is much more than just a prophet. They are asking the Messiah to teach them to pray because they see it is a priority for him as well.

This should encourage those of you who question prayer. Those who ask, “Why bother praying? If God knows everything, what I am going to ask, and what the answer will be, then why bother?” We are going to learn more about that in a few moments, but the first truth that helps us understand prayer is that Jesus modeled prayer as a priority.

If we have embraced him as our Lord then we should seek to make our priorities match his. He had to depend on prayer during his life here on earth. And he was perfect! How much more then do we need prayer? It was important to him, therefore it should be of value to us well. Let’s read on. Verse 2,

He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Luke 11:2 (NIV)

So Jesus modeled prayer as a priority. And he also gave us a model prayer (what many of us know as the Lord’s Prayer) as a guide for us in our praying. Through these verses, we learn the second truth that transforms our understanding of prayer. It is this:

2. The Character of God Shapes the Content of Prayer

Jesus is actually showing us the character of God because of the content we can pray. If that doesn’t make sense then hopefully this will help. Let’s say you recently started a new job, and you make a mistake that needs to be brought to the attention of your boss. So, you begin to make your way to his office and your coworker stops you.

He tells you that it will not be good to go in there with your problem because you will get chewed out and may even get fired because you are new. The better way to approach him is to email him and briefly share the problem and that you have it figured out and are working to fix it. Then you need to go to one of the other coworkers and let them help you.

In that scenario, you quickly learned a whole lot about the character of your boss based upon the content of what you can or cannot share with him. Jesus shows us the character of God based upon what we can bring to him in prayer. Let’s look at it again:

Verse 2 says Hallowed be your name. The word hallow means holy. Holy means set apart. There is no other being like God. He is above all. He was not created. He is the Creator. He has no beginning and no end. He is all powerful. He is all together perfect. Hallowed be his name. This is our God!

But it is amazing to me how the Holy, Creator God also desires a relationship with us. Jesus says, “Father” at the beginning of the prayer. God desires to be our Heavenly Father. Therefore, what we learn about God’s character in the content of this prayer is that he is Holy yet personal.

2. The Character of God Shapes the Content of Prayer
    A. He is Holy, yet Personal

You see, prayer is communication with God. It’s a conversation with Him. However, God does not intend for it to be just surface-level conversation like you would have with an acquaintance. We all have acquaintances, and the conversation with them never really goes beyond greetings or small talk.

God gave us the privilege of prayer with the forethought that it would go beyond an acquaintance. Through prayer we have the opportunity to experience a deeper intimacy with God. Even our closest relationships (best friends, family, our mother, father) do not compare with the closeness that God wants us to experience with him as our Heavenly Father.

The model prayer goes on to request that God’s kingdom come. This is a petition for the King of kings to have rule in our lives; to have full reign in us. This is not just a plea for us, but for all humans in the world. And God is incredibly personal in doing this. He doesn't just want to be present, he desires to be our top priority.

Because we know this about his character, that he is Holy yet Personal, then the content of our prayers in response is worship and obedience.

Jesus shows us that we are to worship God for who he is when we pray. Praise him for his characteristics. Praise him for his deeds. Praise him for his availability. Praise him for his promises. Hallowed be his name.

But it doesn’t end there, because he is also personal and present in the sense that his kingdom has come now, then the content of our prayers becomes obedience. Obedience to the will of God. You see, God is not interested in rubber stamping our plans. Instead, he wants us to be obedient to his plans and will. I love this little parable:

If I cast a hook from a boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God. -E. Stanley Jones, A Song of Ascents

Aligning our will to God’s is where we become mature in our faith. We start to see our lives and our world through God’s viewpoint. But how is this accomplished in our lives? Verses 3-4 gives us our answer.

Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.And lead us not into temptation.’”

God’s character is holy yet personal. But He is also the provider. It is in his character to provide for us. We learn in this prayer that he is a provider for our needs.

2. The Character of God Shapes the Content of Prayer
    A. He is Holy, yet Personal
    B. He is the Provider
        1. Needs

We can ask him to give us each day exactly what we need for that day. That request includes more than just a need for food or bread. This includes our physical, spiritual, emotional, material, and relational needs. God has taken upon himself the responsibility to care for us in all of these ways as we are obedient to him. Philippians 4:19 says,

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Since this is true of his character, we can ask God for the provision of our daily needs, and in doing so, we are showing that we trust him to sustain us in everything: the wisdom and means to overcome a financial situation, hope for reconciliation in a relationship, for joy in the midst of depression, for love to be evident in times of loneliness.

Talk to him about it your needs. Ask him. Now, you need to understand that he may not answer you in the way that you thought he would. He may lead you in a different direction. He may show you that he has already met your financial need, but that you haven’t managed it well.

He may give you an overwhelming sense of comfort to endure your struggle. But, he blesses us according to his will because it is in his character to provide for our needs. Secondly, he is a provider of forgiveness.

2. The Character of God Shapes the Content of Prayer
    A. He is Holy, yet Personal
    B. He is the Provider
        1. Needs
        2. Forgiveness

In verse 4, Jesus says that we can ask him to forgive us our sins, and God is capable and willing to do forgive us when we ask. Our sin eternally separates us from the Father, but through faith in Jesus Christ, he has provided us with the ultimate forgiveness of our sin. And, nothing can separate us from the Father once that transaction is complete.

But, we are not perfect after we are reconciled to God. We continue to sin and that strains our relationship him. So, asking God for forgiveness on an ongoing basis helps our relationship to remain pure. It removes barriers that we have set up between us and the Lord.

By confessing our sins, we are acknowledging that we desire to have an unhindered relationship with our Heavenly Father and continue to trust him as the Lord of our lives. 1 John 1:9 says,

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus also shows us in this model prayer that it is not only our ongoing sins that strain our relationship with God, but also our inability to forgive others. So, we are not only to confess our sins, but also extend forgiveness to others which will deepen our fellowship with the Father.

We can’t have one without the other. As we experience forgiveness from God, he wants us to release bitterness and animosity toward others that have wronged us. For as we grow in bitterness toward other people, we become blind to the forgiveness that God has given and continues to give to us.

Now we don’t have the time today to discuss more about forgiveness. But, if you are struggling with forgiving others and want to read some great teaching on the subject, then I invite you to go to the resources tab on our website and go to our sermon notes archive.

As you scroll back a few weeks, you will be able to read a message that Pastor Larry preached entitled, Forgiveness: A Reflection of God’s Character. I know you will be blessed and challenged by what you read. But, for now, we need to move on. In the model prayer, God shows us that he is a provider for our needs, for forgiveness, and also for protection.

2. The Character of God Shapes the Content of Prayer
    A. He is Holy, yet Personal
    B. He is the Provider
        1. Needs
        2. Forgiveness
        3. Protection

The prayer says lead us not into temptation. This doesn’t mean God will tempt us to sin, because James Chapter 1 rules out that option. But the scripture does say that God will test us by allowing us to go through various trials. Let’s look at it, James 1:12-14,

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

I don’t know about you, but when I go through trials, my faith is tested. Yet, Jesus encourages us to ask for God’s protection, and rely on it during these times so that we will not yield to temptation during the tests and the trials of this life.

Jesus modeled prayer like this as a priority. And he gave us this model prayer which shows us the character of God. He is Holy, Yet Personal. He is also the provider of our needs, forgiveness, and protection.

And at this time, I imagine that Jesus saw a look on his disciples faces; like it hadn't settled into their minds yet. So, he shared a parable with them to help ease their confusion. Verses 5-8 says,

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’

So let’s make sure we understand what is going on here. A friend of mine has just arrived unexpectedly at night after traveling, and he is need of some food. But, I don’t have any. However, I know another friend that has some food. So, I have gone to his house and knocked on his door. Let’s continue,

And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

You see, the culture during this time in Jesus’ day considered hospitality to be of utmost importance. Most people would travel on foot at night to avoid the heat, and therefore it wasn’t uncommon for someone to come asking for help at midnight. This was common practice for everyone.

Therefore everyone helped each other because they might be in the same predicament later on when they travel. So if you don’t have what your friend needs, then you go and wake up someone who does.

This other friend and his whole family had already gone to sleep for the night so he was resistant to get up and help his friend, but the friend persisted. I can see it. Knock, knock, knock. “John get up. My buddy just got here and needs some food.” John says, “Dude, its late, we are all asleep, I don’t want to wake up my kids.”

“John, come on man, help me out. I don’t want to look bad in front of my friend.” “He’ll be fine. He’ll survive one night. But I won’t survive tomorrow if my baby is up all night. Okay.” “John, I helped you last week, and your gonna treat me like that. I tell you what, tomorrow I’m gonna tell everybody how treated me tonight and we’ll see then.”

“Fine, I’ll help you!” So he wakes up his whole family and opens the door. Jesus is saying friendship was not enough for this guy to get up. But his friend kept insisting, and in the culture back then, you didn’t want to be labeled as unreliable with your hospitality.

In fact, in the footnotes of my Bible it says, “Yet to preserve his good name” he will surely get up and get you what you need. His friend’s persistence coupled with his desire to preserve his good name was what this man needed to get out of bed and answer the door. In verses 9-10, Jesus continues:

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

This parable coupled with this command by Jesus leads us to our our last truth about prayer for today.

3. God’s Promises are Realized through Persistence

In the original Greek language, these verbs “Ask,” “Seek,” and “Knock” are written in the present tense. So this Scripture could also be read, keep on asking and it will be given to you, keep on seeking and you will find, keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. Jesus is saying that you need to be persistent. 1 Thes. 5:16-18 affirms this,

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Don’t give up. Don’t just pray during emergencies. Don’t just pray during the crisis. Don’t just pray when you are unsure about tomorrow. Don’t just rejoice when times are good. Don’t just be thankful whenever you have excess. But be persistent in prayer in all times. For as we just read, “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

As we are persistent, we will realize the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives. And, it’s not that his promises haven’t been fulfilled all along, but realize them, or recognize them when we persist.

He promises that he will answer. He promises to open door for us. He promises that we will find him there. It may not be what we expect. He may answer us in a different way than we had hoped. But he will answer. It may be yes, no, or wait, but he will respond.

And he is not like that friend in the parable that gets bothered and frustrated when we knock on the door. It would be very easy for us to misunderstand that story and think that if we just bother God enough then he’ll answer. It is not saying that all. The last verses of the story shows us why we cannot read it like that. Verses 11-13,

“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? 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!”

These words “How Much More” are so amazing. If you skim over them, you will completely miss the point of the parable. If a man, to preserve his good name will get up out his bed at night to help a friend in need, how much more will God lovingly answering our prayers.

If your son asks for a fish, you wouldn’t give him a snake. If he asked for an egg, you wouldn’t wouldn’t give him a scorpion. And we as fathers are imperfect sinners. A good earthly father wouldn’t give something destructive to his child. How much more then, will our heavenly Father give to his children what is best for them.

He loves us so much and wants to give us all that is good. It says, “How much more will he give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.” He is promising the Holy Spirit to us. His Spirit is in us at all times that speaks to us and affirms in us his very presence. How much more he gives us when he gives us his very Spirit. Through persistence, we realize more and more the promises of God in our lives.

I want to close today by telling you about one my favorite childhood stories. Show of hands, how many of you have ever seen the movie The Sandlot?

The Sandlot is one my favorite childhood movies. If you haven’t seen it, and really want to, then I apologize for what is about to happen. Spoiler Alert! The Sandlot is the story of a boy named Scotty Smalls who had recently moved to a brand new city and neighborhood.

In his attempt to make friends with other kids in the neighborhood, Scotty tried to play baseball with some boys at a local sandlot that had been made into a poor looking baseball field. After playing for a while, one of the kids hit the cover off of the only baseball they had. It was ruined.

So, Scotty, trying to fit in more, runs home and steals an autographed baseball that his stepdad kept in a trophy case in his bedroom. The boys, being grateful, allow Scotty to be the first to hit with the new ball. To his own surprise, Scotty hits ball over the fence.

Now, the local legend shared by the boys, was that a terrible beast was on the other side of the fence and devoured anything that came across it. After hearing this, Scotty reveals the devastating news that the ball was autographed by a man named Babe Ruth.

The boys then knew how awful the situation was and so they tried to retrieve the ball while avoiding beast, but after 5 failed attempts they realized it was impossible to retrieve the ball.

Later that night, one of the other boys worked up an elaborate plan to get the ball from the beast. So, the next day the boys use various diversions, while this other boy jumps the fence and gets the ball.

And as he is running away with the ball, the beast chases after him. When it is all said and done, the boys and the beast, not only destroy much of the backyard, but also the fence between them and the sandlot. And then they realized that even the ball had been destroyed too.

After the ordeal, the boys are surprised that the giant beast is actually a big dog who begins licking them face. And they also realize that they have to go and tell the unknown homeowner what happened to his fence. So they reluctantly go and knock on the door, and an old man named Mr. Mertle answered.

After sharing the story, Mr. Mertle assures the boys that he would have gotten the ball for them if they had come to him first and asked. He also finds out that the ball was signed by Babe Ruth and had been ruined by his dog. But what the boys don’t know, is that Mr. Mertle played professional baseball in the 1920s with Babe Ruth.

So he offers Scotty and the other boys a deal. He gave them a ball signed not only by Babe Ruth, but also by several other great hitters of the late 1920s. In exchange, Mr. Mertle, who was now an older man, asked that the boys come over once a week to talk with him about baseball. I love that movie.

So he offers Scotty and the other boys a deal. He gave them a ball signed not only by Babe Ruth, but also by several other great hitters on the Yankees team in the late 1920s. In exchange, Mr. Mertle, asked that the boys would simply come over once a week to talk with him about baseball. I love that movie.

You see, this story relates in many ways to our communion with God in prayer. So often we make our own plans in life. Some of them are plans to solve our problems our own way. And it is destructive to us. It leads to chaos in our lives just like those boys trying to recover the ball on their own.

What we often fail or refuse to realize is that God awaits on the other side of the door. He has given a promise that when we knock on the door he is there to help us in our time of need. But it goes much further than that. He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to continue coming back to talk with him.

And when we are persistent in prayer we come to realize that his house is full of wonders that we will continue to uncover every time we visit. So, keep on asking and you will receive. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened.

Because of his good name. Because he is our heavenly Father, how much more he will give to his children. Please join me in prayer.