Sermon #29 Series: Mark
Title: Mercy Needed, Mercy Sought, Mercy Given
Text: Mark 7:24-30
Readings: Office: Auditorium:
Subject: Lessons From the Canaanite Woman
Date: Sunday Evening - September 6, 1997
Tape # U-3
Bro. David Coleman and I played a round of golf late Wednesday afternoon. As we were finishing the round, he made several statements which stuck with me. He compared preaching, as the Scriptures do, to serving a feast. He said, “Some preachers talk a lot about the feast, but never get around to serving it. They talk a lot about preaching the gospel, but never seem to get around to preaching it. Others spread a huge table of salads, but never serve the main course or the desserts. They spend all their time laying the foundation and giving the introduction to the message, telling you what they want to tell you, but never tell it.” Then he said, “I sure like it when a preacher serves a small salad, or leaves it off altogether, and gets to the main course. I like the meat and potatoes and lots of good desserts.”
Tonight, I am going to follow his advice. There will be no salads at all, just meat, potatoes, and lots of good desserts. The title of my message is Mercy Needed, Mercy Sought, Mercy Given. You will find my text in Mark 7:24-30.
Put you book mark here and turn over to Matthew’s account of this same event (Matt.15:21-28). I want us to read that as well. Matthew gives us details that Mark leaves out; and Mark gives us details omitted by Matthew. So I want us to read both accounts.
Putting these two passages of Scripture together, I want to give you Ten Gospel Lessons From The Story Of The Syrophenician Woman.
I. Man’s unbelief never thwarts or even hinders the purpose of God.
The Pharisees would not hear him or receive his Word. Their pride, self-righteousness, and religious traditions kept them out of the kingdom of God. Therefore, in judicial reprobation, our Lord left them; but his leaving them was that he might enter into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon and there bestow his grace upon a chosen Gentile woman.
II. Before ever a sinner will come to Christ seeking mercy, the Lord Jesus Christ must come to that sinner in mercy.
We do not read this story aright if all we see is a needy soul coming to Christ. We must not neglect that. I will talk about it in a minute. But this Syrophenician woman could never have come to Christ for mercy if Christ had not come to her in mercy. She sought the Lord; but he came to seek her first. It is not the lost sheep who seeks and finds the Shepherd, but the Shepherd who seeks and finds his one lost sheep.
Notice: Our Lord passed by the multitudes, the congested cities, and the people of renown and came to the outskirts of nowhere to show mercy to a nobody. That brings me to our third lesson…
III. Grace always comes to the most unlikely.
I always get a little uneasy when I hear men talk about being able to tell who is going to be saved. Anyone would have thought, “If the Lord is going to do any great work or perform any great miracle, he will pick someone important, someone respected, someone other people will look up to.” But that simply is not the case. The Son of God comes to a Greek, a Canaanite, a Syrophenician woman, a woman with no promise from God, no covenant rights with God, no relationship to God, and nothing to offer God; but she was “a certain woman” loved and chosen by God as the special object of his special grace.
IV. When the Lord God intends to be gracious to a sinner, he always causes that sinner, like this poor woman, to “hear of him,” to hear the gospel of his free and sovereign grace in Christ.
V. True prayer arises from a heartfelt need of mercy, grace, and divine intervention.
Such is the pride, self-sufficiency, and arrogance of our hearts that we will never come down until God brings us down. We will never beg for mercy until we need mercy. We will not seek grace until we need grace. We will not come to Christ until we have to have him.
VI. The place of mercy is at his feet.
Look at Mark’s description of this woman’s behavior (Mk 7:25-26).
· She was in trouble and had a desperate need.
· She heard about Christ.
· She came to the Son of God.
· She fell at his feet.
1. The Pace of Mercy.
2. The Place of Humility.
3. The Place of Reverence.
4. The Place of Worship.
5. The Place of Love.
6. The Place of Obedience.
7. The Place of Blessing.
8. The Place of Honor.
9. The Place of Peace.
10. The Place of Contentment.
VII. True faith always bows to Christ.
Faith does not rebel against Christ’s words or his deeds. Faith bows, because faith acknowledges Christ’s place, dominion, and right as Lord.
A. The Lord Jesus ignored her; but she considered that his right and waited for him to acknowledge her.
B. The Master spoke to her plainly about the purpose of God in election and the distinguishing character of his grace; and she worshipped him (Matt. 15:24-25).
C. The Lord described her in the most humbling terms, calling her a dog; but she took the ground he gave her, and begged his mercy and help, even if it were just the crumbs others despised.
VIII. Faith honors Christ and Christ honors faith.
IX. When Christ enters into the house of man’s soul and takes possession of it, he drives the devil out by the power of his grace.
We are told that when this woman came into her house, “she found the devil gone out.” What a blessing!
Let me show you one more thing. I readily admit that I’m stretching the text, using it now in a strictly allegorical, spiritual way; but I am not stretching the Scriptures. What I have to say in the last place is the teaching of Scripture, and a blessed teaching of Scripture. This is the dessert I promised you. In Mark 7:30 we read, “And her daughter laid upon the bed.” Here is our tenth lesson…
X. When Christ saves sinners he always puts them to bed.
Isaiah tells us of those who lay in a bed of religious deceit, a bed of free will, works religion, in which no rest is to be found. The bed of your works is too short to stretch out on; and the covering of your self-righteousness is too narrow to wrap up in (Isa. 28:20).
A. Here is a bed you can stretch out on - Christ’s Blood Atonement!
B. Here is a covering you can wrap up in - Christ’s perfect Righteousness!
C. But the only way you will ever stretch out on this bed and wrap up in this cover is if Christ himself gives you rest.
Therefore, he graciously bids weary, helpless, guilty sinners to come to him.