October 2017  
Bible Search
Sermon 8/20/17

What do you do-- when life-- does not seem to agree with the Word of God?  

God’s Word says that He will provide for all your needs (Matt 6:25-33), but you’ve been in need for so long?

 God’s Word proclaims that baptized into Christ, (Gal 4:4-7), you are His child, that He will be with you always (Matt 28:2God), and yet He feels so far away?

God’s Word trumpets that you are forgiven (Acts 1God:43), yet inside you feel miserable, guilt ridden, and unworthy and unclean? 

How do you reconcile God’s Word, which says He will always hear and answer every prayer (John 16:23), yet your prayers seem to be met only with silence or rejection like the Canaanite woman? 

What do you do when God’s Word and the world conflict?   

This Canaanite woman was in the very presence of Jesus, because her daughter, who was oppressed by a demon, needed help. More than that we don’t know. But demons entice, and tempt us, too, only to cause pain and suffering.  Our strength alone is not enough to do battle with them--so we go back to our old ways, which lead to sin and despair.  

But more importantly, this woman was there, because first Jesus had come to her as He has come to us. The Son of God came down from heaven—almighty God invaded the enemy’s territory to rescue and save us.  Our God comes to us in flesh and blood, so that we can come to Him. 

And this Canaanite woman was there because someone told her about Jesus. Someone told her there’s hope for the hopeless, help for the helpless, and freedom for the possessed. 

And so with great hope, she comes to Jesus, only to be insulted and rejected. The Word she had heard and her experience now seemed to be at odds. 

But she doesn’t back down. She clings to the Word that Jesus is the LORD--the promised Son of David. She believed Jesus had come to have mercy on all people-- including Gentiles. Including Canaanite women. 

Faith clings to the Word and promises of God, even when our emotions and experiences and other people in this world - tell us otherwise.                                                                

Nothing else is reliable.                                                                                                                                                

Everything else in this world has been tainted with sin. Sin isn’t just the bad things we do, it’s the disease that infects our minds and our emotions to deceive and mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins (Sm. Catechism, explanation to the 6th Petition). Which means our thinking and emotions—which change frequently, cannot be trusted.                                                                                  

She gripped the Word of God and would not let go—even the words that sounded so harsh, gave her hope. For when Jesus says, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” the woman responds: “Then give me the crumbs and I will be content with that”—which is far more than she had before. And that’s the reason Jesus holds her up as an example of great faith. 

That’s not what we hear in our world today – people demand privileges from God, somehow thinking we are deserving.  Folks, the LORD our God doesn’t owe us anything.  We are children of God by His choice.  Our faith is a response to what He has already done. 

So the Canaanite woman receives the mercy Jesus has come to give. Was it only a crumb? It didn’t matter! Faith doesn’t measure the gift, but receives what God gives with thanksgiving.  

It is our sinful condition that measures gifts--comparing what God has given to others and what He has given to us; judging what God has given to me compared to what I asked for.  What we think are mere crumbs are more than enough.                                                    

Like children on Christmas morning, one child receiving a small box and one receiving a large box, and immediately the jealousy begins - not even knowing what the boxes contain! Is that the way we judge God, His love, His works, His gifts? 

Believe the Word of God.   Treasure the Church, the means of grace, Christian friends.  These treasures are far greater than mere crumbs. They contain the death and resurrection of Jesus for you. They give you gifts that will never end - His forgiveness, His life, His salvation. We have His Word and promise.

For no matter what the devil, the world, or your emotions and experiences wants you to believe, your Father in heaven, Jesus your Savior, and His Spirit will never let you down.  So the Christian life, at the foot of the master, will never be a life envied by the world. The struggles will continue. The hours of great need, darkness, and hurt are a part of this sinful life in this world.  In times of weakness, draw upon the strength of the LORD. Trust only in Him - not your emotions or experiences.                       

Eating the crumbs that fall from the master’s table, which is far more than this world can offer, will strengthen us with His grace and mercy. Amen