Sermon #30                                                               Series: Mark


          Title:           “Ephphatha!”

          Text:           Mark 7:31-37

          Readings:  Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Ron wood

          Subject:     The Healing of The Deaf Mute

Date:          Sunday Evening - September 28, 1997

          Tape #       U-9



          We have before us the story of a remarkable cure wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, the cure of a man who was a deaf mute. It is a story told only by Mark.


Mark 7:31  "And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis."


          How quickly the Son of God passes by! While he is present there is hope. When he is gone there is none! He came into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. While he was there, one lone Canaanite woman ceased the opportunity. One lone woman came to the Master and obtained mercy. Now, he was gone! Mercy was gone! Grace was gone! The Son of God passed through the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, but did not stay long. What a warning! He came there to show mercy to that chosen sinner. Indeed, he showed mercy to every sinner who sought him for it. Then he left, as quickly as he had come. Well might we cry with Fanny Crosby…


“Pass me not, O gentle Savior!

Hear my humble cry,

While on others Thou art calling,

Do not pass me by!”


          Our Lord Jesus, while he walked on this earth, never stayed in one place for very long. When he had cured the Canaanite woman’s daughter, he had done what he came there to do. Then he went through the coasts of Decapolis, he came again unto the sea of Galilee, where he had so often performed miracles of mercy and taught sinners the way of life.


          As our Lord’s departure from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon is a warning, his return unto Galilee is most hopeful and encouraging. The Son of God is often found in the same place and often performs his wonders among the same people! I cannot tell you how that inspires me as I make preparations to come here Sunday after Sunday and Tuesday after Tuesday. I come here with the prayer and hope, with the reverent expectation that Christ will meet with us again, that he will show himself again, that he will speak again, that he will again stretch forth his mighty arm of grace for the saving of chosen, redeemed sinners, that he might again embrace in his arms, smother us with his love, and revive us with his Spirit! O glorious Son of God, as you came again unto the sea of Galilee, come here again today!


          Now, let’s read Mark’s account of what happened when the Lord Jesus returned unto the sea of Galilee.


Mark 7:32-37  "And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. (33) And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; (34) And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. (35) And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. (36) And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; (37) And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."


Proposition:      The healing of this deaf mute by the Son of God is a tremendous picture both of our Lord’s power and of his grace, full of spiritual instruction.


Divisions:          As we meditate together upon the things presented to us in the healing of this deaf mute, praying that God the Holy Spirit will be our Teacher, I want to direct your attention to three things in the story.


1.   A Very Sad Case (v. 32).

2.   A Very Singular Cure (vv. 33-35).

3.   A Very Satisfying Confession (vv. 36-37).


I.     First, in verse 32, we see a man in A VERY SAD CASE.


Mark 7:32  "And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him."


          We are not told who these people were who brought this poor deaf-mute to the Lord Jesus. Probably they were either his family, perhaps his parents, perhaps other family members, perhaps some friends. That is obviously insignificant. But someone had heard about Christ, perhaps they had even personally seen or experienced the Master’s miraculous healing, saving power. Whatever the case may have been, they knew who Christ was, were Christ was, what Christ could do, and how desperately this one needed Christ. So they brought him to the Lord Jesus, knowing that if he would just lay his hand on him, the deaf-mute would be healed.


          Notice how the Holy Spirit directed Mark to choose his words. “And they beseech him to put his hand upon him.” That is to be commended. They firmly believed that Christ could heal this poor man by merely laying his hands upon him. Yet, they made a big mistake, as we shall see. They dared to presume to tell the Son of God how to heal him! We must never do so. We must never presume to prescribe to God how to do his work, or even presume that he must always work his wonders the same way. Every child of God experiences the same grace, by the same means; but we all have differing experiences of grace. This man’s experience was truly singular. He experienced the grace and power of God like no one else in the world!


Illustration: Bro. Burke’s Testimony


A.  This poor man is a pretty good picture of all men by nature.


He is a representative of unregenerate sinners in their natural state and condition, who are deaf to the voice, both of law and Gospel. You who are yet without life and faith in Christ are very much like this man.


1.   You do not hear what God says to you by way of wrath and condemnation in his holy law.


You do not hear the command of the law. You will not and cannot obey the precepts of the law. And you are not moved by the menacing curse, condemnation, and terrible wrath and justice of the law. God says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” But that does not bother you. You are deaf. You are not at all affected and disturbed with such things. I might as well be talking to a stone. Indeed, I am talking to a stone when I speak to you. Until God graciously takes away your stony heart, you will not hear me.


2.   Like the deaf adder, you stop your ears to the charming voice of the Gospel.


The sweet sound of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, you utterly despise. You hold it to be a contemptuous, bothersome, irksome thing. You are totally deaf to all the instructions, directions, cautions, and exhortations of…


·God’s Word.

·His Servants.

·Your Dearest Relations.

·Your Best Friends.


3.   Not only are you, by nature, spiritually deaf, you are a deaf-mute.


Try as you might, you cannot speak the language of Canaan. It is a strange language to you. You cannot speak it yourself; and you cannot understand it when others speak it. The things of Christ sound like much meaningless babble about nothing to you. You who have no true experience of the grace of God in your souls simply cannot speak of what you do not know.


B. I think it is also proper to say that this poor deaf-mute is a picture, type, and representative of sinners newly awakened by the Spirit of God.


          When a person is first born again, we ought not expect him or her to walk and talk like an aged, experienced saint. Babes in Christ usually behave as such, though they may think they are very strong, mature, and knowledgeable. Children often think that way.


Those who are under the first workings of the Spirit of God upon their souls, are often as it were tongue tied. Through fear or bashfulness, or the temptations of Satan, fear to speak; or with great difficulty are brought to speak of what God has done for them. When they do, it is but in a lisping, stammering way.


I really liked what John Gill had to say about those who brought this man to Christ. He wrote, “As the friends and relations of this man, having a great opinion of Christ, and a persuasion of his ability to relieve and cure him, bring him unto him, that he might put his hands upon him; so do such who know Christ themselves, and have felt the power of his grace upon their own souls, bring their deaf and dumb, their relations in a state of nature, under the means of grace; being very desirous that Christ would make bare, and put forth his mighty arm of grace, and lay hold upon them, and work a good work in them, and give them ears to hear his voice, and a tongue to speak his praise.”


II.  Now, let’s look at what our Lord did with and for this man in verses 33-35. Here is A VERY SINGULAR CURE.


Mark 7:33-35  "And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; (34) And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. (35) And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain."


          This mighty miracle performed by our Savior was a clear demonstration of his sovereign power over creation and over all the elements of nature in creation. But, if all we see in this miracle is the fact that a deaf-mute was miraculously cured by the power of God, if all we see here is a picture of physical healing, we have missed the point altogether. There are precious, spiritual truths revealed here, lessons about God’s saving power, mercy, and grace in Christ toward helpless sinners.


A.  The Holy Spirit intends for us to see here that the Son of God has power to heal the spiritually deaf.


          He can give the most hard-hearted, spiritually deaf sinner a hearing ear and make him delight in hearing the very gospel he once despised.


B. As he can heal spiritually deaf sinners, he can also untie the tongue of those who are spiritually mute.


Jesus Christ can cause the most obstinate rebel to call upon him in faith. He can put a new song of grace in the heart and in the mouth of the vilest transgressor. And he can make the most base blasphemer a preacher of the gospel.


C. We the Son of God comes in saving power, nothing is impossible.


          We believe in and preach irresistible grace, grace that cannot be resisted. When God has a will to save, the sinner he comes to save has no will to resist.


Psalms 110:3  "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."


Let no sinner regard himself as being beyond the reach of God’s omnipotent arm. Let us never consider anyone beyond hope. Jesus Christ, our all glorious Savior, is that One who is Mighty to save! He that healed the deaf-mute still lives.


D. I remind you again that our all glorious Savior is not limited to any one way of doing things.


          The peculiar means employed by the Son of God in healing this man may have many hidden lessons that I do not see, but this is the most obvious thing about it. I know that God saves chosen sinners by the appointed means of grace, as he has declared in Scripture. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Still, sometimes God works one way and sometimes another. Sometimes he works through the Word preached publicly. Sometimes he works by the Word spoken privately. Sometimes he is pleased to use the oral exposition of the Word, and sometimes the written exposition. Sometimes he uses great adversities and afflictions to bring sinners to himself. Sometimes he uses the gentle, loving persuasion of a friend or relative to arrest the attention of the chosen. But of this you may be sure: God almighty will not perform his wonders of grace like a trained seal in obedience to our whims and plans! As soon as we begin to think, this is the way the Son of God works, by laying his hands on the needy, he uses something as despised by us as spit, and gives no account of his matters.


E.  Now, let’s look at the details of what the Lord Jesus did here and glean the spiritual truths set before us in this wonder of mercy.


1.   He took him aside, separating him from everyone else.


          When the Lord Jesus comes to save, he separates his people, like sheep culled out of a flock by the shepherd, from the rest of the world. He allures his chosen into the wilderness that he may speak to their hearts. He puts away everyone from the adulteress that he may speak grace to her soul. He calls his elect out of the world, out of Babylon, and brings them to himself.


2.   The Master put his fingers into the deaf man’s ears, as if to say, “I alone who made the ear can give the hearing ear to whom I will by the finger of my grace.”


3.   He spit and touched the man’s tongue, as if to say, “Only that which comes forth out of me entering into you can loosen your tongue and cause you to know and show forth my praise.” What a humbling, but necessary picture!


4.   Then the Lord Jesus looked up to heaven as One who is the Servant of God, on a mission from God, doing the will of God, teaching us that all grace and power, all good and perfect gifts, indeed, all things are of God.


5.   Then he sighed.


          No doubt this is a picture of our Savior’s compassion, pity, and mercy for needy souls. It was a sigh for this man, but for many others as well.


6.   Next, he looked at the deaf-mute himself and spoke a single word of sovereign power and authority - “EPHPHATHA!” The word means, “Be opened!”


7.   Immediately, the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was loosed, so that he spoke plainly.


          Those whose ears are opened and whose tongues are loosed by Christ speak plainly and clearly of what they have seen and heard, of what they have experienced and been taught by the grace of God. They can give a ready answer to any man who asks the reason of their hope.


Illustration: Happy Jack - “I am a poor sinner and nothing at all; but Jesus Christ s my all in all.”


III. Briefly now, let’s look at verses 36-37 and observe A VERY SATISFYING CONFESSION.


Mark 7:36-37  "And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; (37) And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."


A.  This man who was healed and those who brought him to be healed went everywhere telling what wonders Christ ad wrought for him and in him.


          The Lord charged them to tell no man what he had done. Perhaps he did so because he sought not the praise of men. Perhaps he did so that he might try these people, to see whether they were truly grateful for his grace. Whatever the case may have been, this deaf-mute was not about to keep his mouth shut! He went everywhere confessing Christ for the praise of him who had wrought such wonders in him. He who is God my Savior “maketh both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak!”


B. They also confessed, He hath done all things well.”


          No doubt these poor souls no more understood the full meaning of their words when they spoke them than I do in repeating them; but what a satisfaction I find here for my soul. He hath done all things well!”


1.   Let us remember this when we think about the past.

2.   Let us remember this as we consider the present.

3.   Let us remember this as we anticipate the future.

4.   In that great and glorious eternal day awaiting us, we will fully see and gladly confess - “HE HATH DONE ALL THINGS WELL!”


          In that great day we will understand the why and wherefore of all things. We will wonder at our past blindness and marvel that we could have even once doubted our Savior’s love and called into question his faithfulness.