Summary: We may miss the call of God because we are offended by what we are called to do or just are not listening or paying attention.
Mark 7: 24 – 37 / Growing Into God’s Calling
Intro: A Christian couple decided they wanted to get a dog. As they were walking down the street they noticed a sign in the pet shop advertising “Christian puppies.” --- “How do you know they are Christian puppies?” --- “Watch!” --- “Fetch the Bible.” --- The dog fan over to a desk, picked up the Bible and dropped it at the man’s feet. --- “Find Psalm 23.” The dog flipped the pages with it’s paw until it reached the correct page. --- Amazed and delighted, the couple bought the dog. --- That evening they had some friends over explaining to them about their new puppy. “Does he know ‘regular commands?’” / “Sit” and the dog sat. “Lie down” and the dog lay down. “Roll over” and he did. “Heel” and the dog ran over, jumped up on the sofa, put one paw on the owner’s forehead and bowed his head. / Delighted, the wife exclaimed, “He’s PENETECOSTAL!”
I. VSS. 24 – 30 is just as shocking. A woman comes to Jesus for help. Jesus brushes her off calling her a dog. --- Actually the translation of the word dogs should rather be “little dogs.” --- F.W. Beare, a Bible commentator, suggests that “written words cannot convey a twinkle in the eye, and it may be that Jesus was almost jokingly presenting her with the sort of language she might expect from a Jew in order to see how she would react.
A. Jesus was saying that his mission at that time was not to the Gentiles but to the Jews. --- The woman wasn’t put off by an apparent offense; yet, how many people have lost out on a great blessing because they have reacted negatively to something that has offended them.
B. Jesus knew what His Father had called him to do --- to preach the Gospel to the Children of Israel. Jesus was trying to follow God’s priority, not his own or that of someone or something else.
C. We have a finite amount of time and we need to focus on that which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us to do. There are lots of worthy causes; but, what is God calling us to do.
II. VSS. 31 – 37 – We are like the man in this story. By nature, we can’t hear the Lord calling us to do His will. him.
A. We don’t listen and obey very well. We go off and do our own thing instead of listening to what He wants us to do. We get so wrapped up in our own self-centeredness that we can’t hear him. Our ears are plugged with the “noise” of our worldliness.
B. Vs. 33 – Jesus takes the man aside as a way of letting him know that he was loved and accepted. What Jesus was doing was for the man, not for the crowd, not for the praise of the crowd.
C. Stuck his fingers in his ears and touched his tongue to confirm for the man that Jesus understood his problem and wanted to fix it. Jesus does the same for us. He knows your problems, your stumbling blocks, and what ails you. --- But does he have your undivided attention?
III. VSS. 34 – 35 – Because of Jesus, the man’s life was changed forever. He experienced God’s grace in a powerful way. Whatever our burden, Christ Jesus will meet us with this same grace.
A. Jesus understood the plight of the man; but, was concerned that people understand that Jesus was more than a man who performed miracles. He was God’s Son sent to earth to achieve salvation for the human race through the cross of calvary.
B. Jesus show us that he wants to be part of our brokenness, to bring a measure of his grace into it and wants us to accept and believe that only through him can we obtain the salvation God has planned for us.
C. In a little town in the mountains of France there is a shrine famous for its miracles of healing. One day shortly after WWII an amputee veteran appeared at the shrine. As he hobbled along, someone remarked, “That silly man! Does he think God will give him back his leg?” The young veteran overheard and said, “Of course I do not expect God to give me back my leg. I am going to pray to God to help me live without it.”
Conclu: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went away on a camping trip. After setting up their tent, they fell asleep and some hours later, Holmes woke his friend with a questions, “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” asked Homes. Watson pondered for a minute. “It tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of plants. It is evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.” After a pause, Watson said, “Well, Homes, What does it tell you?” Homes was silent for a moment and then said. “Watson, you imbecile, someone has stolen our tent!” --- How often do we miss the obvious call of God because we are waiting for something more spectacular or important?