Thursday, December 15, 2016

Matthew 15 Sermon Notes

Matthew 15:1-39
Faith Like a Caananite
Sermon Notes
Listen HERE
December 11, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The Kingdom has come in Jesus. The Pharisees reject their king, finding offense in Him. So, Jesus heals all those who come to Him in humble faith.
         Who represents you? The Pharisees or the Canaanite?


Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,  2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 
Some forms of religion are concerned about the wrong things. There is nothing wrong with traditions but sometimes they develop the authority of manmade scripture. This way has to be the way even when this way cannot be defended by the Bible.
But that is not the only thing Jesus condemns here. He condemns a particular sort of blindness that would strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. The men asking this question are continuing to teach and live in a sinful way. There persnicketyness is laughable given the circumstances.
This is not unique to Pharisees. I have known men drawn to Covenant Renewal Worship or Reformed Theology that are at the same time cheating on their wives. What good is Reformed Theology to an adulterer? It is a devastating lack of priorities.

3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Jesus does not answer their question directly. He turns on them. You, who seem so spiritual that you must even wash your hands before a meal, lest you become unholy, are you really unholy? How about your stealing? Is that holy?

4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
The Pharisees developed a work around for honoring parents. Learn here that Jesus makes the point that children should honor their parents by taking care of them financially when needed.
The meaning seems to be that a child who neglects to honor his parents with financial help can then offer a free will offering and be acquitted. The Pharisees would rather have the money than for the people to be obedient.
Which seems the greater duty? Washing hands before a meal or honoring one’s parents? Jesus condemns the Pharisees of tossing the Bible on its head.

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Jesus points out the hypocrisy of the thing. Why even be a Christian if you are not going to obey the Bible? Your words and actions are pretense. The love of  God and of His people should flow from your heart. To worship God in such hypocrisy is vanity. That is it will not result in any benefit whatsoever. In fact, the hypocrisy increases the curse.

Matt. 15:10   And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
This is a very simple yet profound truth. The washing of the outside does not keep on from defilement. It is only the washing of the heart, mind and soul that cleans a man. A man cleansed from within will begin to think God’s thoughts after him. His speech and whole way of life will be transformed.

12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 
Of course they were offended. Jesus put His finger in their eye. He touched the center of their religion and it didn’t feel like God.

13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Jesus says not to worry about the offense. Don’t try to appease them or explain away the offense. If they belong to God they will understand and return with repentance. If they do not belong to God, then they will nurse the wound, it will fester, and they will suffer the consequences. God, Himself, will destroy them.
Furthermore, the blind are leading the blind. The Pharisees deceive those who are also willfully blind. Jesus speaks the truth but He leaves the consequences up to God.

15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.  16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
We understand most of Jesus’s parables now because they were explained either by Jesus or by two thousand years of pastors and theologians. But many of His sayings were obscure and difficult. It is a bit odd that Peter asks Jesus to explain this one. The one that is most directly literal. Jesus takes the opportunity to expand on the meaning.

17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
That’s the easy part. There is no food or drink that will defile a man in an of itself. No food is unclean. Not sugar. Not gluten. Not carbs. Not alcohol. All are clean.

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
At first glance, this teaching is encouraging. We are glad that we do no have to be so uptight about what we eat or drink. If we are thankful, then the food is spiritually clean.
But the hard truth crashes down on us. It is the things that proceed out of the heart that defile a man. Then we see that we say, think and do things that are ungodly. Where do these things come from? Our environment? Our food? Our school? Our parents? Our siblings? Our church? No, they come from our hearts!
Then we are lost! What can we do? The Pharisees respond by washing their hands, or declaring a small offering sufficient to washing away a capital offense. But that will not do. When we wash the outside of the cup, the inside is still dirty. Nothing for it but to get on one’s knees in repentance. Only then, is a new heart in store.

Matt. 15:21   Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  22 And, 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. 
The Canaanite woman came to Jesus for the sake of her daughter but she had a need, too. Mark says she was a Syrophoencian. She was from the area of Syria.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Jesus makes a statement that is true at one level and untrue at another. Jesus came to save Israel. We know that after the Resurrection at Pentecost, the definition of Israel gets expanded. The Church becomes the New Israel and it fills up the whole earth. Jesus is hinting at it here.
I believe this statement is said with a twinkle in His eye and a wink to the Apostle John. Watch this.
Why would I heal this woman and her daughter? If I did that, I might have to heal the whole world.
The Pharisees were offended when Jesus accuses them of mixing up their priorities. This woman is essentially told to go away and she is not offended. She desires Jesus even more.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 
She perseveres. She knows from when her help comes. She pursues Jesus as her Savior.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Jesus turns the Pharisees teaching on its head. Shall we give our inheritance to our parents? No, we will give a portion of it to God  and call it good.
Jesus says, “Shall I help this poor woman, of whom I have no obligation to do so?” “No, the inheritance belongs to the children.”

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 
She won’t give up. She acknowledges her position and that she doesn’t even have a place at the table. She does not deserve a place, because she is a dog, a pagan, an outsider, unclean, unworthy. She appeals only to the mercy and grace of Jesus.

28 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.
Jesus saw her great faith when she approached Him. It was the perfect opportunity to teach the disciples how wicked the Pharisees were and how merciful and gracious He was.

Matt. 15:29   And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.  30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:  31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
The Canaanite woman represented the crowd, those who are lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many other maladies. They come to the feet of Jesus and He heals them. But the proud Pharisees, who are also lame, blind, dumb, maimed and demon possessed, refuse the feet of Jesus and remain in their sin.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. 33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?  34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.  35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.  36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.  38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.  39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

Jesus has compassion on the multitude and He heals them every one.

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