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Take the Crumbs

So, if knowledge isn’t enough and believing falls short, just what is the Gospel we should be preaching and taking to the ends of the earth? Also where is the guarantee that we can be certain we have eternal life if we pledge our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ?

 

 Take some time out and read the first epistle of the Apostle John that is 1John.  Particularly paying attention to Chapter5 and even more attention to Verse 13 of chapter5! For those who are content to trust me on this one (and shame on you if you do) 1John5:13 says:

“You have given your allegiance to the Son of God; this letter is to ASSURE you that you have eternal life” REB ~ caps mine ~

If ever you feel the need for assurance in your faith, I strongly urge you to read this first letter of John, it is pretty awesome!

 

How do we preach the Gospel in a way that removes the uncertainty of half-measures and false securities in Christ’s name? With most churches failing to teach, not to only acknowledge the Lordship of Christ Jesus, but to also yield to it.  The Gospel as it is being told here is the Gospel according to the Word of God. What follows then is the Gospel according to Jesus and it is written in 8 short verses. I have heard many a sermon on this passage, only the one given me by the Lord Jesus actually contains the whole message. Seems everyone is content to preach on the love aspect, Jesus took with one hand, then gave with the other kind of spiel, I’m sure you’ve also heard at least one over the years. The question here is what is it about this woman that causes our Lord to be amazed at her faith. Have you ever gob-smacked the Lord? This woman did and as we read this Scripture and come to understand its significance for us today, it should amaze us too.

 

First let’s read it as it is. As with all Scripture you find here, I hope you read it first in whatever bible you possess and if possible, look at others, it helps our understanding of the context, and ensures I’m not taking Scripture completely out of context by choosing versions of the bible which enforce what I say and yet are clearly inappropriate. I think a lot of new translations are removing some necessary words from our Scripture in order to make it more acceptable to today’s readers, and in so doing are dumbing down God’s Word. I don’t like to go off track; we will eventually get to this subject, just not right now.

 

Meanwhile, back to our Scripture:-

Matthew 15:21-28 (King James Version)

Public Domain

 21Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

 22And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

 23But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying; Send her away; for she crieth after us.

 24But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

 25Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

 26But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

 27And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

 28Then 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.

 

Now that we’ve read it, let’s read it again and see if we can reliably conclude why Jesus Christ was so gob-smacked by this woman’s faith and why this really is a very good Gospel example.

 

V21 Jesus moved on.

V22 a Gentile woman came to Him shouting Have mercy on me LORD you
Son of David, my daughter is extremely troubled with a bout of demon possession!

V23 so, our meek and mild gentle saviour said “ok…let’s go!” no of course He didn’t! Just checking if you were paying attention. Our meek and mild Saviour completely ignored her. After all she was a Canaanite woman, and we all know how much they grievously vexed Israel over the years. Anyone who knew them, knew better than to even speak to them, they were the scum of the earth and God that He was; He wasn’t going to give this woman an inch! Consider that for a moment, those of you who have your love god, and think everything is readily available by calling out a name. Note this woman knew His name, His title and His true Identity, evidenced by her introduction to Him. Kind of reminds me when Jesus said, “Not all who say Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven” Once again, Scripture is demonstrating, knowledge is not enough, here, it is completely ignored. However, the disciples have had enough of her ‘harping on’ bearing in mind she is probably still shouting, screaming or crying out, whichever you prefer, and they plead with Jesus to send her away! Ignoring her is not enough for these followers of gentle, meek and mild Jesus, they want her cast away, put aside, I guess she’s grievously vexing them;)  Now notice what our meek and mild Saviour does..

V24 He immediately turns around and rebukes His followers for their lack of faith, disbelief or lack of understanding…. No wait! He still ignores this woman! And seeks to explain His actions to His disciples stating His mission quite categorically. “I was sent to lost sheep of the House of Israel and to them alone!”  Jesus, being the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, is only doing the will of the Father who sent Him, what He sees His Father doing, is that which He does. He’s not making the rules here; as the one sent by God, He’s following them. Israel has not yet rejected their Messiah, thus invoking the second part of Jesus’ commission to the Gentiles. Right now He’s on track, seeking the Lost Sheep from the House of Israel, no one else. He doesn’t even acknowledge anyone if they are not from Israel! So now the woman is in no uncertain mind as to what Jesus’ mission is and what He thinks of her, so she takes the hint and goes away rejected…

Nah! Just checking.

No, this woman is persistent, she now throws herself at His feet, and very simply asks Him to help. Have you ever been so lost for words, the right words, and simply asked for help? God is absolutely amazing isn’t He? He knows what you need, when you need it and is listening and waiting to provide it! This is the part pastors usually use to show God’s all providing love, how He takes with one hand then provides with the other, and yet, while that is true, it is so NOT what is happening here. This is a woman outside of God’s Covenant people and grace. She is not adopted into His family, she is outside, she is of the devil, under the Prince of This World, she is not free, she is a slave. Jesus has simply reminded her of her status with regard to Him, and calling Him by His full title will not illicit any sympathy either, she is not one of His!

However, now she is at His feet, He cannot move forward, He can ignore her no longer. Now she is looking into His eyes, those gentle, meek and mild eyes belonging to the Saviour. Now that she has His attention, she will get what she wants; after all she has acknowledged His Lordship, right? She’s at His feet, pleading for mercy. Here is a broken woman, her heart poured out to her loving Saviour, pleading, begging and worshipping Him.

Moved to pity for this woman, our meek and mild Saviour picks her up and gives her a cuddle! …. Erm.. Not quite… Clearly she has not understood what Jesus tried so hard to convey to His disciples, so He states the case a lot more clearly.

V26 as He looks into her eyes, He lets her know her place! He tells her, she’s not one of His Children, and most importantly, she’s a dog!!!!! What He’s saying to her is this, you are outside of the Covenant of grace, not one of my sheep, not a child of God, you are a Gentile, a dog, low-life, scum and it would be so wrong to give you, the dog, what rightfully belongs to the children of God and all the rights and privileges that go with being Israel.  (Theirs is the glory of the Divine presence , theirs the covenants, the law the temple worship and the promises. The Patriarchs are theirs, and from them by natural descent came the messiah. Romans 11) There she is, at His feet, looking into His eyes and being put very firmly in her place and being called a dog!

Well that’s it, she immediately rises to her feet and threatens Him with legal action, she knows her rights, and she’s going to take Him to the Court of Human Rights, that’ll teach Him!

No! That’s so far from what she says. Here she is, completely broken, pleading for help, worshiping the Lord, recognising His authority, if anyone can help her daughter, it is Jesus, she’s put her whole trust in Him, she knows who He is, but most importantly, she knows who SHE is and instead of attempting to defend herself and her position, she makes the most amazing declaration of all.

V27 TRUE or truth sir! Everything you just said Lord Jesus is true! I am not part of the covenant of grace, I am outside of God’s family, I do not deserve one ounce of anything, I am not worthy of recognition. That is so true not just of this woman, but of everyone outside of the nation of Israel. It’s a fact, that we do not deserve one ounce of Christ’s righteousness, forgiveness of our sins, much less His taking upon Himself what we so richly DO deserve. It is what she says next that opens the door to the covenant of grace and it is no different for us. Right up to this point in the encounter, she has been ignored, degraded and rebuked and she says "yes, that’s right and true! And yet, even so, but!" I really don’t like the word but at all, it simply negates all that goes before, However, that said, this is perhaps my favourite ‘but’ in the whole world! For this particular ‘but’ is eternal salvation.

V27cont. But, even the dogs eat the crumbs (scraps) that fall from their masters’ table. I may be a dog, beneath contempt, low-life, scum of the earth, but I will still acknowledge you as Lord of my life, still pledge my life to you and if crumbs is all you have for me, then crumbs is what I’ll take, just know this, that YOU are my master and I will stay under your table and accept whatever you will provide.

 

That’s it! That’s what gob-smacked our Lord, this woman, who isn’t of Israel, isn’t of the covenant, not only recognises the messiah, but throws herself completely on His mercy at His feet and takes the crumbs. Jesus says in effect, “ That IS faith” that’s what it’s all about. That is the Gospel. Recognising who you are in Christ, falling at His feet, acknowledging your worth or lack thereof, and accepting His Lordship over all your life and taking the crumbs. That’s when He raises us, that’s when He clothes us in His righteousness, that’s when He washes us clean in His blood, that’s when we get adopted, that’s when he makes us Sons and daughters, co-heirs, that’s when we enter into the very throne room of God, because of who HE is, because of what He did, HE picks us up, sits us AT His table. Only when you know who you are in Christ Jesus and who He is, will you truly know the love of God. How much He loves you, when you confess your sins and own His Lordship! That’s when you are assured of your eternal destination, that’s when Christ ‘knows’ you.

 

If you have never come to Him with full humility and a sense of your own worthlessness and your sole dependence on Him, now is the time. He gave everything He had for you! He chose the nails, the lash, the crown, the rejection to take your place, but you don’t get it given you by knowledge, you get it when you put Him first, acknowledge who He is and give Him ALL of you, after all He gave ALL of Himself to set you free.
You cannot ask, nor expect, the Lord of Glory to settle for crumbs, He’s worth far more than that. Don’t you think so? And here, in these few verses, He makes it clear what He thinks! If you won’t give Him the glory, what on earth makes you think He will even acknowledge you? Do you have a right to this, does your love god say it’s okay for you to sit at the table and put Him under it!! You as master? What does that make Him? Think about it, it makes Him the dog!! Never let it be so! Sadly, that’s what we do, we come to the cross, recognise all He did for us, but never yield to His Lordship, we are in control of our lives, we are in charge. He can wash us clean, but we’re not done with the world yet, we’re not ready to give Him access to all areas. Here’s the sad truth that hurts and scares so many people, you are not in control of your life, you never have been and you never will be. Shock Horror!!! What about free will and all that? Good question, glad you asked, let’s look at that for a little moment.

A few questions:-

 

1: Did you choose to be born?

2: Did you choose what sex you would be?

3: Did you choose your name?

4: Did you choose your nationality

5: Did you choose your skin colour?

6: Did you choose to be born in sin?

7: Did you choose not to sin and were you successful in that endeavour?

8: Did you choose Christ? (Oooh! Getting harder now)

9: Did you choose to be forgiven?

10: Did you choose the method of forgiveness?

11: Did you choose Hell?

 

Of course the answer to every single question is no! You did not choose any of it. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 7 that that I want to do, I can’t and that which I do not want to do is all I can manage, wretch that I am (rough translation of AP)  Man’s natural way is to sin, he is completely helpless in this matter, he is a slave to sin and death! Sin pays a wage and that wage is death! We did have a choice, waaaaaaaaaay back in the Garden of Eden, in fact man had authority over all creation, unfortunately for you and I, Adam gave all that authority over to Satan, Jesus says that even today, Satan is King of this world, Satan has blinded the eyes and ears of this worlds lost. Why? Lest they should be saved and set free. What else would Jesus mean when He says He came to set the prisoner free?  We are set free from the power of sin and death, i.e. the power of Satan has no hold over us. Back to 1John again 5:18 we know that no child of God commits sin; he is kept safe by the Son of God, (Jesus) and the evil one cannot touch him. Wow! See what happens when you pledge your allegiance to Christ? Satan can not touch you because??? JESUS keeps you safe!

So where is this free will? It’s a great lie of Satan’s, the reality is quite simple. There are two kingdoms, this world and the Next. This world is destined to destruction 2Peter3 it stands condemned. The Next is the new Kingdom where Christ Jesus rules forever. You have a lifetime, to choose who your master will be, who you will serve. Serve Satan (sin) and the wage is death and destruction or serve Christ and gain eternal life and freedom.

Oh wow! How simple, why complicate it? Because man always struggles with control of his life, he fails to realise that he never had it to begin with. The cry to God is always “oh that’s not fair” “if it’s not my fault I sin, why must I get judged for it?” On the surface it seems reasonable yet people forget that is exactly what God Himself freed them from. He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. It was and is Gods gift of love. A restoration of a right relationship with Him. Man gave up that freedom, man chose sin and rebellion and because man is now in the sorry state of being in the Kingdom of this world, incapable of getting himself out of it, He, God, did all that His righteousness required. I never hear anyone complain, that God should have let them carry their own cross!! However, the fact that He rescues us from our own failures is considered by some to be unfair and unjust. Here’s the rub… You of your own free will choose obedience to God or slavery to Satan! YOU choose which master you will serve. The difference is that God will NEVER remove His God-given freedom to choose, whereas Satan NEVER offers that choice, he just takes control and you accept it, believing you are the one making the choices. Are you? Satan is your master whether you choose it or not, you NEVER get to choose to put yourself in control, and that is something Satan is very good at concealing, the unfairness is always aimed at God, who gave all He had to win your freedom for you. Satan wants to keep you under his control, and what better way than allowing you to believe you are free to do as you please. Freedom only comes from God. Slavery only comes from Satan. In simple English, God gives you the freedom to choose who gets your obedience, Satan does not. God gives, Satan takes. The question is will he take you with him all the way to hell? God gives eternal life, Satan gives eternal damnation. Oh it feels good for a season, making money, doing whatever you want, serving Satan is fun, it feels good and boy is it rewarding, lets face it, you pretty much get to do whatever you want to. However, God’s righteousness still needs to be met, in other words, your work merits payment, and the wages that come with sin are, and always will be, death! Whereas obedience to God is hard in the flesh, it’s challenging, as we need much changing, we are so fallen from what God created us to be, is it any wonder we need a lot of work? This work too requires a wage, that wage is eternal life. Here’s the most amazing thing, the work is already done! “It is FINISHED” Jesus has already accomplished EVERYTHING necessary and what is more, as we are so incapable of anything good, He even provides us with the Holy Spirit, changes our heart, our mind and teaches us all we need to know, HE, Lord Jesus, does everything necessary for us to have that amazing gift of grace and mercy All we have to do is choose His Lordship.

Grace: - getting that which we do not deserve

Mercy: - not getting that which we do deserve

 

This is huge, learning who you are in Christ Jesus and who He is, and most if not all struggle with it, that’s why there will only be a few. Many do not wish to relinquish the power they think they possess for their lives and so refuse to be set free from the bondage they are under and Satan, working so cleverly, manages to deflect all blame from himself and put it all on God, never on man and certainly not on himself. Satan is playing on the long suffering of God (2Peter3:9).

 

When we can understand who we are in Christ then we get to enter into the Sabbath Rest.

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