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When the Lord Makes You Wonder

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Sometimes the Lord is going to make us wonder, so... 1. Expect some mysteries. 2. Expect some miracles. 3. Exalt our Master.

Notes & Transcripts

When the Lord Makes You Wonder

Mark 7:24-37

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 10, 2016

*One of the most memorable things Jesus said on the cross is found in Matthew 27:46: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'' Well, we know and Jesus knew that He was suffering and dying on the cross for our sins. But our wonderful Savior was so willing to identify with us that He subjected Himself to the same kind of confusion we go through.

*"Why?" -- Why is this terrible thing happening to me?

-Why did I lose my job?

-Why did I get sick?

-Why is my family member sick?

-Why did that wreck happen?

-Why did they die so soon?

-Why is my family so messed up?

*Once I got an email from a young Christian wife who was going through a tough family problem. She was frustrated with God, and wondering why things were going wrong. One thing I told her is that it is okay to ask why? We know this is true, because Jesus asked why on the cross, and He never did anything wrong.

*The problem with asking why is that many times we won't get an answer in this world. That's why a wise man once said that a better question is, "What now?" -- "What should I do now, Lord?" I told the young lady that over time, God will surely show her the answer to this question.

*God will show us what to do. He will lead us through even the darkest valleys. And it helps to know that He has been there too. But sometimes the Lord is going to make us wonder.

1. So expect some mysteries.

*We will encounter some mysteries in life. As we live our lives, and as we look into God's Word, there will be some things that make us wonder. Questions about God will arise in our hearts, and two of the most important questions come up here.

[1] The first one is: "Does God care about me?"

*"Does God really care about me?" I can see the Greek woman in vs. 24-27 wondering about that:

24. And from there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.

25. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet.

26. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

27. But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs (or puppies).''

*Matthew 15:23 tells us that at first, Jesus wouldn't even answer her at all. So it's easy to see how that mother could have wondered: "Does the Lord care at all about me?"

*She may have wondered, but her faith found the right answer in vs. 28, where she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs.'' Then in vs. 29, Jesus told her, "For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.''

*Matthew 15:28 tells us that Jesus also said: "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.'' And then, here in vs. 30: "When she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed."

*That woman found out that God really did care for her, and we should know it more! We know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead! And we know that Jesus will save anyone who turns to Him and receives Him as their Lord and Savior.

*Does God really care about you and me? -- The answer is absolutely yes. We can see this truth even in the little things of the Lord. We can see God's care in little things like the sigh down in vs. 34. There Jesus was about to heal the deaf man, and vs. 34 says: "Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, 'Ephphatha,' that is, 'Be opened.'"

*I never really noticed that sigh before, but Janis did this week, and she sent me something Max Lucado wrote about the Lord's sigh. Here's a little of what Max said:

*"Jesus sighed. The word seems out of place. No doubt you've done your share of sighing. If you have teenagers, you've probably sighed. If you've tried to resist temptation, you've probably sighed. If you've had your motives questioned or your best acts of love rejected, you have been forced to take a deep breath and let escape a painful sigh. . .

*And when Jesus looked into the eyes of Satan's deaf victim, -- the only appropriate thing to do was sigh. The sadness of it all brought pain to our Master's heart. But in an indirect way, God's pain is our comfort, because His pain for us reminds us that He cares for us." (1)

*Does God really care about you and me? -- The answer is absolutely yes.

[2] But a harder question is: "Why does God do the things He does?"

*A great place to raise the "why" question is vs. 31-35:

31. And again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.

32. Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him.

33. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue.

34. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha,'' that is, "Be opened.''

35. Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

*This touching story of the Lord's compassion is found only here in Mark's Gospel. And it's worth noting that this poor, deaf man had the right kind of friends. He had the kind of friends all of us need to be. I say that, because in vs. 32, he had friends who brought him to Jesus. He had friends who pleaded to Jesus on his behalf. And that's the best kind of friend anyone can ever have, except for Jesus Himself, of course.

*So in vs. 33-35, we see our best Friend of all work a great miracle for that deaf man:

33. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue.

34. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha,'' that is, "Be opened.''

35. Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

*That was a wonderful miracle! -- But why did the Lord do it like that? Why did Jesus put His fingers in the man's ears? And why did the Lord apparently spit on His finger and touch the man's tongue? Some say the Lord was using sign-language to show what He was going to do. But did Jesus have to do that to heal the man? The answer is definitely no.

*The daughter with the demon wasn't even there when Jesus delivered her. Verse 30 tells us she was back at home. She may have been miles away, and that's not the only long-distance miracle Jesus ever worked.

*So the Lord didn't have to put His fingers in the man's ears. And what about that spit? I usually go to Jorie for my medical care, and if I have an infection, they'll give me a shot or two. That doesn't bother me so much. But if Jorie ever starts spitting on her fingers, I'm heading for the door!

*Nobody is spitting on their finger, and touching my tongue! -- Nobody but Jesus, that is. "Lord, I don't understand it. But I trust in You."

*Then, there are the other "why" questions. This happened late in the Lord's ministry. Why didn't Jesus heal the man earlier? For that matter, why did that man have to be deaf in the first place? Here, we've just got to say, "We don't know why." But do we really want a God we can always understand? If God was that small, there is no way He could run the universe, or save our souls.

*God surely does care about you and me. We know this because of the cross! But questions will come up, and some of them cannot be answered in this world.

2. Sometimes the Lord is going to make us wonder, so expect some mysteries, but also expect some miracles.

*As Bible-believing Christians, we should definitely expect some miracles in our lives. Our God is and always has been a miracle working God!

*I believe God is performing miracles somehow, somewhere, every single day in our world. I am sure of this, because people we know have personally experienced different kinds of miracles. There are also many other testimonies of God working miracles in people's lives. And we know that God works miracles, because every time someone gets saved that is the greatest miracle of all!

*God is certainly able to work miracles. In Jeremiah 32:17, the prophet said this to the Lord: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You."

*Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." So we know that yesterday, today, and forever, our God is a miracle working God! And we see two of His miracles in today's Scripture.

-The miracle of Jesus casting out a demon.

-And the miracle of Jesus instantly healing a man's hearing and speech.

*Two great miracles! They remind us of what the Lord said in Matthew 7:7. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." These miracles also remind us that faith always makes a difference. Our faith may not always give us a miracle. But it will always make a difference.

*Here God's Word shows us two great miracles, but Jesus performed countless miracles during His 3-year ministry on Earth. We know this is true, because in John 21:24-25, the Apostle closed his Gospel by saying:

24. This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

25. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

*Think about all of the miracles in the Bible. Whenever you open your Bible, you are never far away from a miracle. That's true in the Old Testament, as well as the New. It's also true because the Bible itself is one of God's miracles.

*One of the Old Testament miracles on my mind this week is recorded in Joshua 10. There our Almighty God stopped time for a day. Please listen starting in Joshua 10:12:

12. Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon."

13. So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

14. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

*Now that may be hard for you to believe. But if God couldn't stop time, then time would be bigger than God. But time's not bigger than God. God is bigger than time! God created time.

*Most of us have timers on our phones. We can hit the pause button and time will stop. But God can stop the real thing easier than that. And one day about 3,000 years ago, that's exactly what God did.

*How did the Lord do that? -- I have no idea. But here's something I do know: The same miracle-working God who stopped the sun for Joshua is our God! And all things are possible with Him!

3. Sometimes the Lord is going to make us wonder, but we should expect some miracles. And we should exalt our Master.

*We should always exalt our Master! And that's what happened in vs. 37: "They were astonished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.'''

*They were exalting the Master. They were praising the Lord! They were giving glory to God. And so should we!

*I don't remember ever seeing any place in God's Word where He says, "Now, hold on; wait a minute. You're praising me too much. You need to lay off that praise a little bit." No! -- It's just the opposite. Our problem is that we don't praise Him enough. So over and over God calls on us to praise the Lord, and we could find dozens of examples.

*Just for one, listen to Hebrews 13:15. Here the Bible says to all Christians: "Therefore by Him (i.e. by Jesus) let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." We should always be exalting our Master, And here are two great reasons why.

[1] First: Because praise is profitable for us.

*Psalm 92:1 says: "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High." Praising the Lord is good for us. It eases our worries. It lifts our spirits. It strengthens our souls.

*Praising the Lord turns our hearts to the good and the best things in life. So God want us to praise Him for our own good. I guarantee it will be worth your while. We will be much more happy in life if we will consistently and intentionally praise the Lord. And why not, because Jesus does all things well! He is worthy of our worship.

[2] That's the second reason to praise the Lord: Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship!

*He is worthy of our worship because of who He is: The Almighty God, Creator of all, King of kings and Lord of Lords.

*Jesus is also worthy of our worship because of what He has done. He came to earth for us, suffered on the cross for us, took the guilt for our sin, died for us, and rose again from the dead! Now He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who will trust in Him. So Jesus is worthy of our worship! He does all things well!

*One of my favorite modern-day miracle stories was from my mentor pastor, Herman Savoie. It happened when he was a little boy living in south Louisiana. There was a big storage container for rice not too far from their house. It was a huge metal box with a hole on top.

*One hot summer day Bro. Savoie got curious about it, and he dropped into the hole. It only took a few seconds to realize there was no way out. The hole was too high to reach and he was trapped. No one knew where he was.

*Young Herman was scared to death and tried to jump up, but it was no use. And it was unbearably hot. It was probably 140 degrees in there as the sun beat down on that oven.

*Bro. Savoie began to grow weak and faint, and he most likely would have died in that container. But just as he was about to pass out, something or someone mysteriously, miraculously lifted him out of that box. He had no idea how it happened. He only knew that God had saved him.

*All of his life he could look back and remember the Hand of God at work that day. In every challenge or trial or tribulation, Bro. Savoie had an extra reminder that he could always trust in the Lord. And the blessings of that miracle have been multiplied in many other lives, as Bro. Savoie faithfully served the Lord for 50 years. And today, his childhood miracle can help us, because it reminds us that we can trust God too.

*Do you think young Herman Savoie praised the Lord, when God rescued him from that rice container? Do you think his parents praised the Lord when they heard about it? -- Of course they did.

*But that rescue is nothing compared to what Jesus did for us on the cross! The best thing Jesus ever did for us was to die on the cross for our sins. And the best thing we can do to exalt Him is to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Then, we can praise Him for all of the other wonderful things He has done down through the ages.

CONCLUSION:

*Jesus does all things well. So put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! And keep trusting in the Lord, even when you don't understand. Expect some miracles along the way. And always exalt our Master.

*We can do that right now, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) Adapted from "When God Sighed" - "God Came Near: Chronicles of the Christ" Max Lucado Copyright Thomas Nelson, 1999 - http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/upwords/upwords-week-of-august-6-12-11635962.html

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