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May 14, 2017

"A MOTHER'S QUEST"

TEXT: Mark 7: 24-30
READING:  Proverbs 31: 10-31

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SUBJ: The lessons given us in the faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman in her approach to and importunity with the Lord.

AIM: In that she, in her desperation, humbled herself as she interceded for one she loved we must do likewise in approaching the Lord.

SUBJ: Because of the obstacles she faced this woman is an exemplar of faith to us and the wisdom of the Lord is seen in bringing her in this way. He had retired for a time to an unlikely place, but was found by a true seeker – a dedicated mother.
1. This is another familiar account that has been often referenced by me and many others more able than me. Its importance is thus well documented by Bible students.
2. While there are many reasons to think upon this event and this lady one of the greatest is that we should not be daunted by seeming impossibilities -- A characteristic of mothers.
3. It is easy enough to profess that we know that the Lord can do thus and so; it is often more difficult to believe that He will do what we ask of Him. She argued for acceptance with Him!

THESIS: Pure faith does not look to circumstances or obstacles; its focus is upon Christ alone and its gaze does not waver. We witness the faith and importunity of this Gentile mother.

I. Some unlikely mothers in the Christ line:
1. Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah
2. Rahab, the harlot
3. Ruth, the Moabite
4. A contrast in motherhood – Athaliah who destroyed the seed royal after her son was dead and would have killed his son Joash had he not been hidden.

II. The approach of faith (vv. 24-26)
1. He had literally moved to the borders of a heathen country probably because of the press of the Pharisees and others – He would spend time teaching the disciples.
2. She had heard and was relentless and successful in her effort to find Him. He could not be hid. From Matthew we learn that she called Him the Son of David.
3. She fell at His feet:
1) Humility felt and displayed
2) Totally given to the need that only He could supply
3) All else is abandoned – no pretense here.
4. Her situation was not easy – there was no human answer to demon possession.

III. The obstacles to faith (vv. 26-27)
1. Her nationality (perhaps lacking knowledge of both His history and purpose).
2. The affliction was one of impossibility
1) There was no healing
2) There were no drugs
3) There was no human ability against the adversary
3. She was an alien to the commonwealth of Israel and a stranger to the covenants of promise. See Ephesians 2.
4. It was not the proper time for the Gentiles.

IV. The opportunity for faith (vv. 27-28)
1. Jesus “cracks” the door for true faith
1) Children first – He did not slam the door to Gentiles being blessed.
2) It was He who first mentioned the “little dogs.” They were being fed.
3) Her faith immediately seized the opening and rushed in without shame or hesitation. (“I am your dog”).
2. Her estimation of the work of Christ was such that what she so desperately wanted for her daughter was but a crumb in comparison to what He was doing. She had heard of His mighty works! Have we heard?
3. What she saw in Him as compared to what we have seen in His victory over death, hell and the grave.
1) We have seen Satan repulsed and defeated
2) We have seen the archenemy (death) met and destroyed
3) We have seen life such as only He could obtain from the dead
4) We have seen Him ascend on High to certify His victory in all things.

V. The reward of faith (vv. 29-30)
1. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:28
2. The responsive of Christ our Lord to true faith is witnessed and we are encouraged.
1) He acknowledged that her faith had prevailed (“for this saying go thy way…”)
2) She went knowing that what He said was true – there was no hesitation then any more than there had been in coming.
3) Her daughter was at peace.
3. Should we not be praying for such faith in our day and in the face of that which seems to us to impossible – personally, nationally and spiritually?
4. Other mothers noted:
1) Peter’s mother-in-law
2) The widow at Nain who received her son from the dead.
3) An example for us all in Godly mothers: 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. Mark 3:32-35.