Sermon on January 13 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 7:24-30
How do we approach and connect with God? Jesus goes to a Gentile city to engage with a desperate woman.
When life seems to throw its worst:
1. BE PREPARED – JESUS WILL STRETCH YOU! (v24-27)
- Wherever Jesus is, He will be found
No matter where Jesus goes (even to a dark place), people find him.
All we need as a church is not gimmicks or slick programs but a people who are lifting Jesus up
- Whenever Jesus works, He will shake you up
First the woman is met with silence – then obstacles as she seeks Jesus’ help.
The Lord is teaching you as much in the ‘silences’ of life as he is when He seems to answer directly and quickly.
This lady is not offended by what Jesus says. When we accept we have no rights, we are ready for the Lord to work.
‘In Western culture, we do not know how to contend unless we’re standing up for our rights, standing on our dignity, and our goodness and saying ‘This is what I’m owed!’ (Timothy Keller)
2. BE PERSISTENT – JESUS WARMS TO STUBBORN FAITH! (v28-30)
- Jesus warms to submissive, not arrogant faith
Be careful of pride in two ways. Pride that makes you think you are too superior to need Jesus, or too inferior to be loved.
‘You complain about sin – but when I look at your complaints, they are so full of self-righteousness, unbelief, pride and impatience that they are little better than the worst evils you complain of’.
(John Newton: letter to a friend who was depressed)
Every trial is a lesson in submission. Don’t fight the Lord for the way He is maturing you.
- Jesus welcomes pushy, not timid faith
This woman will not let Jesus go.
When you are burdened about a matter, put your foot in the door – and keep it there.
Through persevering prayer, we find not just crumbs but a fresh, warm loaf of bread.
‘Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
- None of us have any rights on Jesus, but His grace is greater than all our sin. Ask for great things from a gracious God!
- When life throws its worst at you, God will use that to grow you, surprise you and make you strong. Jesus is ready to do this, are you ready for it?
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. Why would Jesus’ ministry in Gentile lands have shocked his disciples? How should this affect our attitudes in a world of many prejudices and pre-conceived ideas about others?
2. Why was the Syrophoenician woman happy with mere ‘crumbs’? What can we learn from her attitude?
3. Can both humility and boldness be expressed in our prayers at the same time? Why do we need both
4. Have you been praying for a situation where God is not moving as fast as you would like? What do you think needs to change so you can persist in faith and expectation for the Lord to work?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Cathy Kaplan