Ask. Believe. Receive.
There's no strings attached to the answer that God will send you when you ask.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m back again for a few moments with the Word of God. I would rather share with somebody from God’s Word than just do anything else in the world by way of religious work, or professional work, or recreation, or anything else. Boy, it’s great to look into God’s Word and have the blessed Spirit of God say something to our hearts, isn’t it?
Well, we’re looking at John 4. And our Lord Jesus is in conversation with this lady who evidently wasn’t very much of a lady, and she lived in town. Well, He asked her for a drink. He said, “Give me a drink of water.” And she said, “Hey, there’s only one reason why a Jewish man would talk to a Samaritan woman, that’s the oldest reason in the world. Is that what’s on your mind, Mister?” That’s really what she was saying. He said, “If thou knewest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, ‘Give me to drink,’ thou wouldest have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water.”
Small thought here. Anytime you’re gonna deal with God, you have to start with the fact that He’ll give you something free, you can’t work for it. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” “What hast thou?” Paul said, asking a rhetorical question. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” James talks about God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. He said every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.
We turn in our memory to Romans 12, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given unto us, whether prophecy let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith or teaching or ministering,” or whatever. What you have spiritually has been given to you by God’s grace. You didn’t deserve it, you didn’t work for it, you didn’t pay for it, you didn’t make a deal for it. God has to give it to you. Now, what do you make of that? Just this. When you and I come to God in prayer, let’s come as supplicants. Let’s come as those who know that they don’t have anything to bring to God.
“I exhort therefore first of all,” Paul says in Timothy, “That prayers, supplications, giving of thanks, and intercession be made for all men.” Prayers, worship. Supplication is coming as one who has nothing to offer, a beggar, a bankrupt, a mendicant, helpless, supplication. You’re a supplicant and God gives you His gift. “If thou knewest the gift of God.” Turn the concept around and ask a question. What could this Samaritan woman have brought to Christ to make her acceptable to the holy Son of God? Jesus says to her later on in this chapter, verse 18, “Thou hast had five husbands and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband.” So she had lived at least with six men, maybe more. What could she have brought to Jesus that would have qualified her for acceptance by the holy, spotless, sinless Son of God?
Well, you say, she couldn’t bring anything, and you’re right. “If thou knewest the gift of God.” Now, the second thing you wanna know that God waits for you to ask. “Thou wouldest have asked of Him.” James says you have not because you ask not. Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Ask and ye shall receive.” Isaiah quoting Jehovah said, “Ask me concerning my sons and concerning the works of my hands. Command ye me.” And God spoke to Solomon in a dream at night and said, “Ask what I shall do for thee.” Jesus, confronted with the two blind men just outside of Jericho, said, “What do you want?” He knew they were blind but He wanted them to say, “Lord, that we might receive our sight.” Mark details the story of the leprosy person, poor, cast out, hopeless person coming to the Lord Jesus, ran to Him, worshipped Him and said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” The unspoken question, asking for cleansing.
Now, let me ask you this then, beloved. What have you been asking God for? It must be admitted that a lot of our praying is just speech-making to God. Sounds good but, oh, there’s such a lack of real supplication, such a lack of earnestness. Coreen and I were in one pastorate, which I remember so clearly concerning circumstances at its beginning. We got there and moved into the parsonage and our first meal with any of our church members was in one of the gracious homes of a church member. We came in and were greeted and lunch was ready. We sat at the table and then the husband bowed his head and said a perfunctory prayer. It was a good enough prayer, mind you, but it was perfunctory. You could tell that it rattled off his tongue easily and he was done, because you pray short when you’re hungry, and he was hungry and he prayed short, and quite routinely.
Well, some years went by, and then one day that same man appeared at the front door of our home. There were tears in his eyes and he said, “I’m in trouble.” And he told a story of some heartbreak that had come into his life. And I said, “Well, my brother, the only thing I can do is pray with you and turn you to God. And so we got down together on our knees, kneeling beside the old sofa in the front room. And I prayed for him and then he prayed. Oh, how he poured out his heart to God. That’s different. Now, he was asking God to hear him. And now, you had the impression that God was listening. That’s one thing I remember.
I remember another thing. I had some meetings up in Toronto years ago when I was President of Youth for Christ. And I was greatly under pressure in those days for a number of reasons, not only the responsibility of being President of Youth for Christ, which was precariously balanced financially and every other way. It was like trying to steer an aggregation of racehorses. All these vigorous, eager, young entrepreneurs, each one wanted to go his own way, and you were trying to get them all to go in the same direction, and you were trying to tie the thing together across the world. And I was under pressure about that and there were some other things as well.
I surely needed somebody to pray with me and I remarked to my friend, evangelist Jim Mercer, a man whom I haven’t seen in many years, but we were close then, I saw him often. And I remarked to him, I said, “Oh, boy, I wish I had somebody I could pray with. I’m so burdened.” “Well,” he said, “I don’t have meetings on Monday night, I’m in meetings over here in Owen Sound and I don’t have a meeting on Monday night. It’s an off night, I’ll come over and I’ll pray with you.” “Oh,” I said, “That’d be great. As soon as I’m done with my meetings in the exhibition hall in Toronto, I’ll come back to my hotel, and we’ll pray.”
So we did. There he was. We got down and prayed and I laid out before him and before the Lord then some of the things that were on my heart, and then he began to pray for me. And the earnestness of that man as he asked God to anoint me, and to deliver me from fear, and to keep the devil off of me, and to guide me in the will of God, the earnestness with which that man asked God to do this was tremendous. And I was aware of the fact that his body was shaking and trembling as he prayed, pouring out his soul for his friend, Bob Cook. I was grateful for that. I felt like I could just go anywhere and do anything for God when we got through praying. Ask. Gift of God. Thou wouldest have asked of Him.
So I come back again to the little question that I proposed a moment ago. What is it that you’re really asking God for? Well, you have to answer that, beloved. I can’t answer it for you, but I’ll tell you this: When you make a list of the things the things that you just have to have from God or you’ll die, and you ask for them, and you keep asking for them, you’re gonna get an answer.
It’s John Knox, kneeling there in his house there on the corner of a street in Edinburgh, I went past it years ago and they pointed it out to me where he prayed that famous prayer, “Oh, God, give me Scotland or I’ll die.” That’s the kind of earnestness that God waits for. “Ye shall seek me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart,” says God. “These people honoreth me with their lips,” Isaiah complained, “But their heart is far from me.”
The historical writer says Israel feared the Lord but served their own gods. You can’t do it that way, beloved. You can’t have a dual relationship. You have to be real with God if you’re gonna get anywhere. Thou wouldest have asked. And then it says, “He would have given thee living water.” There’s no strings attached to the answer that God will send you when you ask Him for what you need. It’s a great truth, isn’t it?
Well, the conversation goes on here at Jacob’s ancient well in the town of Sychar. The woman said unto him, “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: From whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank there of himself, as well as his children and cattle?” Instinctively, she seemed to know that there was a connection between the water in the well and the traditions that they held concerning Jacob on one hand and this stranger who was speaking with her.
“Art thou greater than our father Jacob?” Well, there, you see, is the question that you’ll have to settle for yourself, and the question that is asked, I’m afraid, by every person who comes face-to-face with the demands of Christ. Is He greater than what I know about? I know about my religion in which I’ve been reared. I know about my customs and my traditions. I know about the things that stimulate my interest and that seemed to satisfy me. I know what makes me happy. I know what I’ve been living for. I know all that. I know what will bring money and comfort, not to say luxury or fame. I know that. Is He greater than that?
Well, I say you’ll have to settle that. Paul the Apostle settled it, didn’t he? He said, “I’ve got whereof I could boast. I was born of the right tribe, out of the right nation and I was brought up with a strict religious heritage and I became a Pharisee of the Pharisees. I prospered in my own religion above others, above others of my own time. I was a success.” But he says, “What things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency.” “I got something so much better,” that’s what he means, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. You settle that question for yourself. Is He better? If He is, take Him. Yield to him, obey Him, live for him. Amen. [chuckle] It’s a great truth.
Dear Father today, may we be folk who really ask God, who really believe God, and who really obey God. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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