~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, Discipleship (part 10), by clicking here.
God gets to know you through the questions that you ask. Good students ask questions. When students ask questions, it is a good thing – it means they are engaging as as student in a student teacher relationship. If there are no questions, there’s a breakdown in that student teacher relationship. I’m convinced that even person in this room has questions on their heart to ask God. The Lord today is saying “what do you want to know about?”
Matthew 7:7-8 says “ask and it will be given to you … for whoever asks receives.” There is a principle and a promise embedded in that scripture “ask (a question) and it (an answer) will be given to you … for whoever asks (a question) receives (an answer).” James 1:5-6a says the same thing: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting.” We need to go to God with our questions! The questions that you have on your heart today … you will find answers to those questions. The real issue is “who are you going to find the answers from?” When you stuff things that are in your heart that you want to ask God, you end up going to other places to find the answers. So if any of you lacks wisdom, let yourself ask God! We are supposed to ask God questions knowing – convinced of the fact – that He wants to answer our questions! Asking God questions is so exciting!!! Our experience as a student is determined by our initiative. If you sit in the back of the class, you cannot expect to have a front row experience with God! Ask Him questions. Be engaged!
If you are not asking questions, you are not a student. Disciples are students. If you are not asking questions, you are not playing the role of disciple. But today is an invitation. God is saying “what do you want to know about?” You will always know what you are studying based not the questions that you are asking. As disciples of Christ, are you asking questions about His Word and His ways? What questions are on your heart about His Word and His ways – and how that’s supposed to impact your life? If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask God! So, God’s inviting you today: “what do you want to know about?” In God’s view, everyone is invited to be a student! Everyone is invited to ask questions – even if others might think your question is obvious!
Let us be encouraged by looking at some of the questions that people were asking Jesus – you know … questions that people were asking God Himself while He was here on earth. People asked Him about doctrine, understanding scripture, why certain things worked or did not work, practical questions about where or how to do something, permission to kill others (bad), timing for events, the underlying cause of visible issues, where to start with something they didn’t understand at all, and many others … you are not the first one to have questions for God!!! Ask Him questions – it’s fun! You have a relationship with Him. He’s your Dad!
Some students are afraid to ask their teacher questions directly so they send a messenger. We often do the same with God – not confident to ask Him a question for ourselves. In the New Covenant, you can go straight to God to ask Him questions for yourself! Are believers, Jesus has made us kings and priests to our God. Now consider this: in the Old Covenant, priests ministered before God on other people’s behalf … but who’s the priest now? You! Jesus had made the way so that now you can be before God all the time – and no one needs to come before God on your behalf. In light of being a priest, read First John 2:27: “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” We have the Holy Spirit, Eternal Life, in us as believers! We don’t need anyone to teach us because the Holy Spirit will teach us concerning ALL things – not just one topic or a few topics – but concerning ALL things! If you feel like you absolutely NEED someone else to teach you about the things of God then you are not realizing that you are a priest to God yourself. Here’s the other side of that … there are some people in the body of Christ that can ONLY hear from God. That’s foolishness. AND, at the same time, Jesus said (in Jn. 16:13) that when the Holy Spirit comes He would lead us into all truth! He is the perfect teacher and He’s on the inside of you! God wants to be the instructor in every area of your life! Therefore, don’t ask Him theoretical generalities. Be specific! Phrase your questions to God in such a way that you can do something with His answers. God is not like a genie in a bottle that you only get 3 requests of. You have plenty of questions you can ask Him. You don’t need to ask just one question that answers all the questions. You can ask as many questions as you need to ask and He will show you! God can speak to you: (1) through His Word. (2) Good teaching. (3) Hearing the Lord directly. (4) Other people (5) Impressions, dreams, etc. that grow in peace over time and check out with the Word of God.
Start asking Him questions about something. So, how do you ask God questions? There is one main thing that allows you to ask God questions correctly: it’s about motivation. The motivation for asking questions of God has to be this: to be changed by His answer. Ask God a question with the expectation of being changed by His answer. Remember how the pharisees asked Jesus “by what authority do you do this (miracles, etc.)?” Were they wanting to be changed by His answer? Absolutely not! And God didn’t even give them an answer because of it! He gave them a coaching opportunity for their heart and they didn’t turn to it so He said “neither will I tell you…” Jesus is the perfect example of having the correct heart stance in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus said “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus asked this very difficult and grace question, but what was His motivation? To be changed by God’s answer! He was relationally connected with the Father. He was saying “God if there’s any other way, please! But if not, change Me.” What’s the next thing that happens, angels came to strengthen Him! I think Jesus knew that was His answer.
This is also why Nicodemus’ questions were answered so clearly in John chapter 3. Remember, Nicodemus thought that from Jesus’ initial comments to him (Jn. 3:3) that he might need to go back into his mother’s womb physically. Jesus called him dense effectively, but Nicodemus did not get offended and walk away. Why? Nicodemus stayed because he wanted to be changed by the answer. He was dense, but he wanted to be changed. So then we get Jn. 3:16-17 out of Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus. The whole world has been blessed through those verses that were answers to questions that were asked by a heart that truly wanted to be changed. Proverbs 1:23 says “Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” If you are willing to turn at the Lord’s words, He will make His words known to you. Jeremiah 33:3 says “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” Raise your hand (and your voice)! He wants to teach you! God does not want to just to puff up your heads without changing your life.
Proverbs 2:7 says that God “stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” I believe God is having to create storage facilities in Heaven for the wisdom that’s available to the saints! Why’s He having to store it up? Because we ain’t bringing it down to earth!!! “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) God has prepared special revelation, special inventions, special innovations, special insight for you – with your name on it – in Heaven. Consider this question… What are the things that you are God’s #1 choice for? Do you realize that you are God’s #1 choice to bring impact in certain areas of this world? He’s got your name on certain revelations! God wants to speak, preferentially, through the people that have that territory and responsibiltiy! So what territory do you have? We need to realize that we are not only priests before God, but we’re also kings! Proverbs 25:2 says that “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” How do you search out matters with God? By asking questions!
Some people have more access to God’s answers than others? When the Pharisees asked Jesus a question in Luke 17, Jesus gave them about 25 or 30 words worth of an answer (1.5 verses), then He turns to His disciples (who have not even asked Him a question) – and gave them 15 straight verses of information! The disciples didn’t even ask a question and they got 10 times more! Look at what Jesus said in Jn. 15:14-15 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” When you are a friend of God, He tells you more! And how are you a friend of God? You are His friend if you do whatever He commands you. If you respond to what the Holy Spirit has told you before, what the Word has told you before … if you hold fast to that and you act on it, He will give you more.
The Holy Spirit wants to teach us in every area of our life! And one of the ways that you can gain more access to His answers is by being a friend of God! When He tells you something, run with it! When He gives you a revelation from scripture, teach it to someone else. “What I give to you in secret, proclaim on the rooftops!” When He prompts you to go pray for someone with a broken leg, do it! And then the next time there is someone else to pray for, He will prompt your heart again. Or, you can callous your heart over and you become dull and insensitive to hearing the voice of God in your life. This is not about salvation or being loved more or less. We are all loved – Jesus displayed His love on the Cross! But when you want to be someone who can really access His answers in a deeper and deeper way, there is a reality that when you are obedient to what He has already given you, He will give you more. Faithful with little … given much! Engage with God, inquire in His temple. Ask Him questions!