Johan Marais - Serima Zimbabwe Convention - 2006

Hymn 268

Matthew 7, we read here of three things to do:  we must ask, we must seek and we must knock.  We all can do those things.  There is no requirement to do that.  The poor and the rich, the big and the small, we can all do it.  God wants that we do it. 

I find it difficult to ask something of a person.  When our need is greater than our pride, then we ask.  It is always easy to ask a person who loves us.  When we have a need, we don’t go to a stranger.  We rather go to a brother or a friend because we are sure that they love us.  We can be very sure of the love of God.  It does not matter how small our need, we can still go to God. 

When we learn a language, we can pray in that language, pray in secret because God will never laugh at us.  When we ask God's will, never despise our request.  I am glad that we still have the liberty to ask. 

In a natural sense, we can separate asking, seeking and knocking.  In the spirit, it is almost the same thing.  When we ask, we confess that we don’t know.  When we seek, it is because we don’t have.  When we knock, we realise that we are outside and we want to get in.  Sometimes the door is not locked, we can just open it and go in.  Sometimes the door even stands open, but we don’t just walk in.  We first knock because the door is a humble place.  It depends on the other person if we can go in. 

When we come to God, we come humble.  We cannot demand of God.  We don’t give orders to God.  We can just humbly ask God.  One day, we asked one of our brothers to tell us of his experience.  He told us about how he sought.  He did not even know that he was doing that.  He was a strong man, just married with one child.  They lived in a very bad place.  There was a lot of thieving, even some murders.  He was one of the leaders.  People thought he was a strong man.  One day, he said to his wife that he did not want to live that kind of life anymore.  "If this is all there is to life, I don’t want to live anymore."  There are still people like that.  We just want to find them.  People who don’t find satisfaction in this life.  We are so glad for what we have things that go beyond this life. 

God can give us what we ask.  There was a little boy in the United States.  He said, when he was little, "One day, I want to be the President."  Some years later, he was the President.  He wanted it and he got it.  Perhaps he sacrificed to get there.  It is good to have a vision, good that we know what we want. 

Another girl knew what she wanted.  She was a little girl and she had cancer.  She did not have many days to live.  She knew she was going to die.  The Doctor also knew she was going to die.  One day, the Doctor said to her, "If you could ask for one thing, what would you ask?"  This girl knew God.  The Doctor didn’t know God.  She told the Doctor, "If I could ask one thing, then I would like to be like Jesus."  The Doctor did not understand it.  He thought he would try again, because other children would choose other things.  He said, "Apart from that, if you had a second choice, what would you ask?"  She said, "If I could be like Jesus, I would not want anything else."  That is a good goal.  We know that this is what we want to be like, also.  It is going to depend on what we ask. 

We can ask for useless things.  We heard about Herod’s wife’s daughter.  Herod told her she could have anything.  She asked her Mother.  She asked for the head of John the Baptist on a plate.  Have you ever thought what she did with it?  I would not like to receive a thing like that.  It was of no profit. 

We can ask for the wrong things, too.  Judas asked for 30 pieces of silver.  You know, he only had it for a few hours.  He threw it away.  It was useless.  He asked for the wrong thing, and then he died even before Jesus.  I would like to know how to ask for the right things. 

We hear of the prodigal son.  He asked for his portion of the inheritance.  He did not have the inheritance yet.  The inheritance is given after the father's death.  Why did that father give him that part?  It would have been one third of all that he had.  Why did the father give it to him?  It is because God treats us like that.  If we ask God for something and we keep on asking Him, He can give it to us.  God cannot force us to be in His house.  If we want to go like that prodigal son, He will let us go.  That should make us very afraid, but we want to stay in this house. 

Elisha asked something very good.  He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.  Elijah told him he asked a very difficult thing.  It is because with everything we receive, there comes a responsibility.  If someone gives you a dog, you have a responsibility.  You have to look after the dog, and you have to feed the dog.  If someone gives you a bicycle, you have a responsibility.  You have to look after it, and otherwise it will be stolen.  With everything we receive there comes a responsibility.  What we receive here there is a responsibility, too.  We heard that God gives us so many things. 

Joshua 18:3, "How long are you slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?"  At that time, the children of Israel were already in the Promised Land.  They had already conquered the enemies, theirs was the land to use.  They did not go to take it.  As I read that verse, I wonder if I am like that. God gives us so many things and we just look at it.  We don’t make it our own.  Perhaps we talk about it, but it is not our own. 

Jesus said, "My peace I give unto you.  Not as the world gives."  Do we have peace?  If we don’t have peace, it is because we don’t take it, for all the means to have peace are there. 

Isaiah 53 we read something, the chastisement or punishment of our peace was on Him.  Jesus suffered so that we can have peace.  We don’t have to suffer again for that.  Jesus paid the price. 

Sometimes we walk around with big burdens.  We walk around with the burden of our sin, and it could be sin that God has forgiven us of.  I heard of a man who was carrying a bag on his shoulder.  He was walking along the road.  Another man with a cart came.  He invited him to ride in the cart.  He was very glad to be on the cart because he was tired, but he still held on to his sack.  The man said, "Why don’t you put your bag down?"  "No, you were so kind to pick me up that I cannot make your cart heavier by putting my bag down."  Sometimes we do that.  We keep remembering the sins that God has forgiven us, and it takes away our peace and liberty. 

We heard about Adam and Eve.  God gave them the garden with so many things to eat of.  There was the tree of life there in the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of that one they were not to eat.  Of the tree of life they could eat, but they did just the opposite.  They partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  We have so much in this kingdom. 

Romans 8, God who gave us His Son.  Will He not freely give us all things?  God gives us so much but there are certain things that are not ours.  There was a very great king on the earth.  His name was Nebuchadnezzar.  God gave him power.  God gave him riches.  God gave him everything he wanted.  One day, he took something that wasn’t his.  I don’t think anybody knew.  Only God knew, and because of that he lost everything.  You know what he took?  He took the glory for himself.  Isn’t this all because of me, and it was because of God.  God says, "I do not give My glory to anyone."  The glory always belongs to God.  

So many have mentioned thankfulness to God, because it was God who found us and saved us.  It is God who keeps us, the glory goes to Him. 

Another thing that does not belong to us.  God says, "Vengeance belongs to Me."  We can never take vengeance, because it belongs to God and God will deal with matters.  We don’t have to lift our hands, and we don’t want to be thieves. 

You know the story about Solomon.  He asked for wisdom, and God gave him wisdom, honour, and riches.  It is because those things are companions.  Because God gave him wisdom, he also got honour and riches.  Long before this, God told him things that he could not have.  When he had everything, he did exactly those things that God told him not to have.  He took wives of strange nations.  It changed his heart.  He could have had so much, and he had so much.  It is the human in him that wanted what was not his.  Later it did not go well with him.  I want to be content with what God gives me, for Godliness with contentment is great gain.  It brings wonderful peace when we are content in our place, when we are content with what God gives us. 

We must not be negligent to take what God gives us.  If someone gives you a present and you don’t want it, it is not good to tell him, "No, I don’t want it."  You may offend that person.  It is better just to take it and do something with the present.  Sometimes God extends something to us and we don’t want to take it.  We are slow to take it, even forgiveness God extends to us. 

When we repent and when we forgive others, then we can be so very free.  We are the freest people on the earth when God sets us free.  Where I labour, I sometimes walk in the city.  I was so glad that I wasn’t the President of the country, and that I wasn’t one of the rich men of the country.  They can’t walk where I walk.  It is too dangerous for them but I have the liberty. 

There are things that can just keep us down, things that we carry with us that takes away our liberty.  We want to be free.  Even as we go from this convention, we want to go free, and we want to stay free.  May the Lord help us to know of this liberty.