In Matthew 7:7-8 and John 15:7-8 Jesus promises that God would bless his people with answered prayers (for whatever they ask basically) while in Matthew 6:19-21 and Matthew 6:24 He advises that His followers must not accumulate wealth here on earth. How does one reconcile the two?
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I would say that that question is addressed by passages such as James 4:3 ("When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.") and 1 John 5:14 ("And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.") By His words in Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus indicated that the pursuit of wealth strictly for its own sake, or merely for one's own self-satisfaction, is not in accordance with God's will. Therefore, Christians would not be justified in expecting such requests to be granted, or in finding fault with God if they are not granted. Similarly, Jesus' words in John 15:7-8 are preceded by the conditions, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you...", which again implies requesting in accordance with God's will, and with a willingness to accept God's response. (Even Jesus, who earnestly prayed to His Father in Matthew 26:39-42 that He be spared His forthcoming cup of suffering, subsequently accepted it if, in accordance with the Father's will, there was no alternative but for Him to drink it.)
The key to unlocking the promise in John 15:7-8 is the very first phrase. "If you remain (abide) in me and my words remain (abide) in you." When this statement is true in our Christian experience, a transformation takes place. The Holy Spirit living in us reveals the truth that Christ taught. The result is that the sinful desires of our flesh gradually fade away and are replaced with the godly desires of God's will for us. As this transformation takes place, our prayers will come from the godly desires in our hearts. Then Jesus' promise will surely come true, that these prayers will be answered. The passage in Matthew 6:19-24 is a good example of this transformation. When we pursue the things of this world (ie money and material things) to gratify the desires of our flesh (ie store up treasure on earth), Jesus warns us that this treasure will not satisfy us and it will not last; on the day we die it will all be gone. In contrast to this, Jesus calls us to gratify the godly desires in our hearts, by using the material wealth that God has entrusted to us, to store up treasure in heaven. When we invest in other people, rather than ourselves, to bring the gospel to them and meet their human needs, we are storing up treasure in heaven. See Jesus example of this in Matthew 25:31-46. All our treasures stored up in heaven bring rewards from Jesus that last for eternity. In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus is telling us to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking until God in heaven gives us the good gifts that will meet the needs of other people and express God's love to them. When our focus is on caring for others, God is well pleased to care for us and meet our needs. These passages are in complete harmony with each other. They all speak the same message, to the Christian whose heart is being transformed.
Context is everything in determining the meaning of this, and the context of these texts is not simply the verses around them; it is every word of scripture, most especially those teaching the difference between the spiritual world and the physical world. It does not help that most Christians still tend to think of heaven as a physical place somewhere out there in the stars with streets of physical gold and other material riches. There are major clues within these verses themselves which reconcile them. First and foremost is the statement that we are not to lay up riches on earth where they are subject to corruption. We cannot lay up physical riches in heaven, so clearly the treasures we are to lay up must be spiritual, not physical. These riches are the riches we are to ask for and lay up. Continuing in each of these passages we find that Jesus is comparing and contrasting being worldly with being spiritual and true discipleship. Thus there is no need to reconcile these texts with each other; they are all in agreement. What must be reconciled is the actual meaning with the INTERPRETATION the prosperity gospel teachers force on one of them to support their false teaching that God wants us to seek out physical riches and earthly fame. Let's look at John 15 first. Verse 8 says, "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." What is the fruit we are to bear if we are Jesus' disciples? Would it be the fruit of the spirit? Of course it would, and what is that fruit? Gal 5 says, "22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." These things are the riches that prove us to be true disciples of Christ to the glory of the Father. Those other things are of the flesh which was supposed to be crucified in our baptism. If that is the riches we seek we prove ourselves fleshly, not spiritual, and followers of Mammon, not God. So, John says we will ask anything we desire, but those desires will reflect the fruits of the spirit and the will of God, not our own fleshly desires. It is that simple. By the asking we demonstrate whose disciples we really are. John 15 continues with Jesus telling us we must keep his commands. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love." Now, whether you believe the biblical teaching that it was Jesus in his preincarnate form who gave the law at Sinai, or if you believe the more common church teaching that it was the Father or some other entity, this verse proves that those laws still remain in effect in some form. Two of your texts came from the Sermon on the Mount and in an earlier portion of that sermon Jesus shows that the law (the entire law) remains in effect with a higher spiritual standard than the physical form of the law as given to Moses, and that it was only mans misinterpretations or additions to this law that he was "invalidating". Matt 5 says, "17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." This defines true discipleship and treasures.
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