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September 2, 2007 PM

MK 7:24-30

INTRO: Jesus has now left the shores of the Sea of Galilee and traveled northwest to the "borders of Tyre and Sidon". He has come to the land of the Phoenicians ... a land which borders the Mediterranean Sea . When I read some of the history of the Phoenicians, I discovered that they were probably the first seafarers to use the stars to navigate on the open water. So adept were they at such navigation that they had been able to sail to Britain! Tyre and Sidon were both important port cities with natural harbors. Both of the cities are mentioned in the Old Testament and are the subject of prophecy. Jesus also refers to these cities in His scathing rebuke of Chorazin and Bethsaida. So, from a Biblical perspective these were well known places.

    1. A hint? He wanted no one to know He was there
      1. I am supposing He is in the house of a disciple
      2. His wanting not to be known suggests He is seeking rest - or, the need to be away from enemies and/or Messianic fervor
    2. But "he could not be hid"
      1. it is very difficult for famous people to travel "incognito"
      2. and with crowds of people following Jesus everywhere He went it would be especially difficult ... and "secrets" have a way of becoming known
    1. A woman of Canaan - A Greek - A Phoenician of Syria
      1. this woman was a pagan person, a Greek, a Gentile
      2. yet, somehow she had heard of Jesus and His miracles
      3. this gives us some idea of the importance of "reputation"!
    2. The woman is also a mother with a serious problem
      1. at Mt 15:22 the woman says, "Have mercy on me..."
      2. a mother is so identified with her children that a child's malady is her own
      3. she explains further, "my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil"
    3. I notice in Matthew's account she calls Jesus "son of David"
      1. could Messianic hopes have spread beyond Judea?
      2. I have strong suspicion these "hopes" had indeed spread into regions surrounding countries (remember the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well)
      3. but her interest now is that the unclean spirit be expelled from her child
    1. Mt 15:23 - "But He answered her not a word"
      1. at first glance we might suppose this to be a rude response from Him
      2. but could His silence be a true test of her faith?
      3. are there times when our prayers seem to be unanswered that our own faith is being tested? I think probably so ... but Lk 18:1
    2. Mk 7:27 - "Let the children first be filled..."
      1. Matthew's account explains what this means - Mt 15:23,24
      2. although God's plan for redemption did not exclude Gentiles, it did have the nation of Israel first in view - Acts 1:8
      3. in this response of Jesus is the word "first" - I see in this the great hope for the world beyond the Jews!
    3. Jesus notes it's inappropriate to feed the dogs the children's food
      1. I'm not at all sure Jesus is using "dogs" in the typical Jewish way
      2. among Israelites "dog" was a term of contempt (cf. Mt 7:6)
      3. some say He used the "diminutive" form of the word ... suggesting the little house pets and not the wild dogs of the streets ... a "softer" word perhaps suggesting only a subordinate position and not contempt
    1. Her argument? True, but the dogs eat the children's crumbs!
      1. I expect many would simply have stopped with Jesus' first response
      2. combine His silence with His words to the disciples ... and to her
      3. it did not sound like He was going to let her be an exception
    2. But mothers whose children are in dire need do not stop imploring!
      1. simultaneously with the children's eating the dogs are eating the crumbs
      2. so, her logic makes perfect sense
      3. it would not be inappropriate, then, for Him to grant her request
    1. Mt 15:28 - "O woman, great is thy faith"
      1. her confidence was unshakeable - she knew Jesus could do this
      2. her persistence was a vital "key" to faith - real faith just does not stop
    2. Mk 7:29,30 - "...she found the devil gone out..."
      1. faith will always have its blessing in our lives
      2. as many illustrations as one might find of this in scripture, have we learned the lesson?

CLOSE: Could one of the great lessons here be the need for us to leave our "comfort zones" to render service to others?

Cecil A. Hutson

02 September 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)