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The Faith and Feeding of Gentiles

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2021 8:00 am

The Faith and Feeding of Gentiles

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 24, 2021 8:00 am

Bishop J.C. Ryle once said, It is grace, not place, that makes people believers. The Jews were God’s chosen people, but the New Testament is clear that the Gospel is for Gentiles as well. Today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. Boice, we’ll learn how the persistence of one woman and the hunger of a huge crowd foreshadowed the eventual spread of the Gospel to all peoplein all places.

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Bishop JC Ryle once said, it is grace not place that makes people believers, the Jews were God's chosen people, but the New Testament is clear that the gospel is for Gentiles as well. Today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will learn how the persistence of one woman in the hunger of a huge crowd foreshadows the eventual spread of the gospel to all people in all places, welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Did you know that there are three elements of true faith. Let's open to Matthew chapter 15 and listen in as Dr. Boyce reveals what they are. Two weeks ago when we were studying the first half of Matthew 15 we were talking about the parasites on the subject was their concern to the ceremonially clean nothing troubled Pharisees more than being ceremonially unclean. Nothing made them more unclean than their contact with unclean Gentiles. Yet in the section of Matthew that were to study.

Now we find Jesus leaving Israel in order to enter Gentile territory where he helps a Gentile woman asked the question was this Gentile woman unclean. The Pharisees would've said so Jesus had already taught them a great deal about cleanness. She had explained that the disciples were not unclean because they ate with unclean hands or did one become clean before God before he went through certain ceremony. Rather, it's the sort of thing that comes out of the heart that makes a person unclean. What he actually said was this for out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander, these are what make a man unclean, but eating with unwashed hands does not make them unclean by that standard. It was the Pharisees who were unclean and not the Gentile woman because they hated Jesus and something that comes forth from the heart, and they were conspiring by words.

I have been killed and that's a heart problem as well. While on the other hand, one was clean when she demonstrates by her faith in Jesus. She calls him Lord, son of God our Savior and by the fact that she approaches him humbly and not within a sense of her own self-righteousness.

I we already noted several times in the studies and in spite of being the most Jewish of all the Gospels. Matthew is also the one that seems most open to Gentiles, noticed it right back at the beginning of the second chapter where after we have had an account of the birth of Jesus Christ we find the magi from the east, coming to worship him.

Luke's Gospel the equivalent story is the coming of the shepherds shepherds were not highly regarded, but at least they were Jewish.

These magi are Gentiles ever coming from a foreign land. When we come to the very end of Matthew's gospel that well-known statement of what we call the great commission find Jesus sending his disciples into all nations to teach all people everywhere. The things of the o'clock that with the beginning you have this emphasis upon a Gentile mission and you have it there at the end as well and I were right in the middle, in chapter 15 we find the same thing here find Jesus leaving the Jewish area of Galilee to go to Tyre and Sidon on the specific area that he visited is a mention which is the region of Tyre and Sidon, but Tyre was about 25 miles north of Galilee and Sidon is about 25 miles beyond that.

So this was a considerable distance and it would've taken a considerable amount of time trying to fit these events into the various years of Christ ministry, probably as much as two or three months were taken up with this particular journey is the only time all of his life that Jesus traveled out of Jewish territory in the Gentile lands. Now this was important for Matthew and obviously so, because not only does he mention Tyre and Sidon. He also introduces the woman involved in the story is a Canaanite I was a name for the ancient enemies of Israel. The Canaanites were the people who had occupied the land before the Jews who were to be driven out killed at the time of the Jewish conquest is the only place in the New Testament we find the word is without meaning. Berkeley is undoubtedly right when he says the supreme significance of this passage is that it foreshadows going out of the gospel to the whole world. It shows us the beginning of the end of all barriers are going to say that the same concern dominates a second story in this passage as well. The story of the feeding of the 4000 because the unique element in that the rich were going to talk about in a moment is that It Took Pl. in Gentile territory also and therefore, presumably, most of not all of these people were Gentiles have a consistent development of this expansion idea throughout the 15th chapter and yet there's a serious problem where right in seeing the story since the beginning of the going out of the gospel to the whole world the end of all barriers which is what William Barclay says why did Jesus refused to speak to the Canaanite woman initially seems contrary to the spirit of the story. It's unusual behavior for Jesus Matthew doesn't explain his silence. Well, as is usually the case, were you have an obvious question lack of an explanation. There are many possible explanations and commentators come up with suggest a few of them. First of all, Jesus wasn't sent to the Gentiles. And so we literally didn't want any dealings with the Gentile woman and something similar. By no means exact and what he said to the Samaritan woman.

He told her.

Salvation is of the Jews.

Alexander McLaren a good commentator and preacher from the earlier part of the century around the turn-of-the-century adopts this explanation. He says that Jesus refusal was a real refusal founded on the divine decree which he was bound to obey only problem with this is that in the case of the Samaritan woman. He did speak to her and in this case, he would've had to change his mind because although he didn't speak to her the beginning he did later on, although he appeared to be unwilling to answer her prayer in the end he didn't answer it and he healed her daughter running that's not the best of answers serves the second explanation. Jesus wanted to test the woman's faith was David Dixon's answer was a Puritan Puritans were very good at examining the stories for what they tell about personal religious experience and Dixon writes of four means that Jesus used for the trial of your faith in Christ, keeping silent when she prays small assistance she has of the disciples prayers are Lord telling her that his commission reached only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and forth by seeming to exclude her as a heathen or unclean dog outside the covenant for all the benefits of the Messiah. That's a good explanation because it is an emphasis of the story itself story emphasizes how strong and perceptive, her faith wants. That's what Jesus says at the end.

Ends might telling her woman. You have great faith, your request is granted. Jesus didn't speak that way to many people is 1/3 explanation. Jesus acted as he did in order to strengthen her faith was viewable feels the William Hendrickson is somebody closer to our own time is what he says Jesus came to strengthen it by means of the very answer he had given her.

In verses 24 and 26.

She would now begin to realize are better and if he had immediately healed her daughter. What an extraordinary blessing she was receiving what he means is that the woman addressed Jesus as the son of David, that's a messianic title question would be, did she understand the full meaning of those words really was the Messiah of Israel that he was sent to Israel that really get through so I kind of teaching he would've strengthened her now. I think there's 1/4 explanation that's better, although I don't discount all the others and it's this Jesus acted as he did in order to highlight what he was about to do, namely answer the prayer of a Gentile and several reasons why that appeals to me. One of course is that that's what is developing in this particular section of Matthew's gospel. Moreover, this is a section in which Jesus is teaching the disciples understand very much about what he's doing and come to a great climax in the next chapter. When it finally gets through to Peter by the work of the Holy Spirit that he's the son of God of the Messiah and after that he begins to teach them some more. Now that's a universal gospel that's the gospel for Gentiles as well as Jews. I was a very difficult thing for Jews and that date over, so here in these chapters. She's teaching his disciples that kind of thing. That's why Matthew this opening the Gentile woman leads to the story of the feeding of the 4000 which follows because as I pointed out earlier that takes part in Gentile territory now and obviously impressed Matthew and so he included all of these incidents is gospel. I was, not only Jesus silence.

It seems to be a problem. However, it's also the words he used when he addressed the Gentile woman first words were these I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.

Then he followed that politically incorrect statement by these words. It's not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs. That certainly sounds harsh and cruel and parochial those days, the Jews, of course did speak of Gentile dogs spoke of infidel dogs. A little later on I spoke with Christian dogs. But why did Jesus use language well again.

William Barclay makes two suggestions might think they have some value. First of all, he says the tone and look with which a thing you said makes all the difference in the thing which seemed smart can be said with a disarming smile can be quite sure that the smile on Jesus face the compassion in his eyes.

Rob words of all insults and bitterness. While perhaps. Secondly, he suggests points out, rightly, that when Jesus used that word dogs even use the word for the wild dogs of the street. Wild curses, we might say, but the word canaria, which was usually used to refer to household pets was a clever play on the idea of dog. Of course woman picked it up right away because she said well yes, but even the pants household dogs are there to eat the crumbs that fall from the children's table. So there's some truth in that as well. And yeah, you know, I look at Nana and I say will Jesus did indeed use the word dogs and not terribly nice to be called a dog, even if what you're being called as a household pet. The only reason I can say for Jesus. Harsh language is exactly what I've been talking about all only wanted to emphasize the woman's Gentile status was with the words Jews would abuse it was a Gentile dog.

It's exactly what the apostle Paul later wrote to the Ephesians, or were Gentiles. He said you were excluded from citizenship in Israel foreigners to the covenants of the promise without hope and without God in the world and that is exactly true. That was her status in spite of action did have things she did believe in Jesus and she did receive an answer to her prayers.

Story tells her she found grace in the eyes of the Lord plaintiff that is very simple. I Gentile dog found grace in did in those days you can find it to matter who you are or what you've done or where you come from matter what your expectations are. Instead of turning away from Jesus. So many people do turn to him find them to be a very gracious Savior.

Now, the story says that he helped the woman a response to her faith healed her daughter and so want to ask next what made her face so great. Matthew uses that were great quite often on the gospel. This is the only place where he joins the word faith great faith since Jesus only.

This woman Canaanites and the centurion is mentioned in Matthew eight or praise publicly for her faith by Jesus. So what is special about the woman. Well first of all her faith was in Jesus seems almost too simple. Decide what is very important. People put faith in all sorts of things don't merit the faith of the woman put her faith in Jesus and he did merit call him Lord, son of David in verse 22. In fact, that word Lord introduces each of her three recorded statements and find it in verse 22 verse 25 in verse 27.

I sometimes said when I talk about faith that I mentioned it earlier in the series of the full biblical understanding of faith involves three elements of involves content which is often described by the classical theologians with the Latin word no PCI is what we mean by a notice or notification involves information that it involves agreement with active word they used was a census that is not only picking up the information. Understanding the teaching, I guess I agree that that is true then thirdly it involves trust or commitment to the one who was the center of the communication and the word was used for that is that I do she and I you see all three of those in this woman's response to Jesus Christ, woman knew we was leased to a certain extent shape expressed by those titles. She believed that he could help our why she kept after him and she placed her confidence in him you be held by Jesus. You have to place your faith in nobody else is going to help you in spiritual things. Jesus Christ will do what we can do it because he is the son of God and the Savior is white came on.

The second thing is that this woman and her faith appealed to Jesus on the basis of his mercy cried out for some of David had mercy on me, and later when Jesus spoke about Gentiles being dogs gave an even stronger proof of our awareness of her lack of any claim upon him by agreeing with the statement now, so everyone must come to Jesus asking for mercy. Laying aside all self-righteousness, making no claim to entitlement, making no demands question is are you willing to come on that basis as long as you, insisting that somehow God recognize your righteousness, you're never going to get anywhere because in the sight of a holy God.

Even the best of the things we do. Him only as filthy rags as woman came not completing our righteousness, but actually appealing to his grace. That's also what Paul told the Ephesians remembered. He said they had no claim upon God and all were lost hope was not God in the world. But he said it is by grace you been saved through faith is not of yourselves, so work of God, not by works is that anyone should boast. The woman not only came to Jesus you came appealing on the basis of his mercy and then there's 1/3 thing, she was persistent and she wouldn't allow herself to be turned away. Story said that she kept trying out after him and she came and knelt before him, and even after Jesus had spoken about Gentile dog.

She said yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs of all their masters table about persistence in prayer, was an important theme and concern of Jesus as he spoke about it often, maybe member the story of the persistent widow who kept coming of the unjust judge would hear her case case was Jost but he didn't care about justice. He said he didn't care about God or man. She didn't have any money to bribe him but she kept coming again and again and that last. She said well even though I don't fear God or care about men that because this widow keeps bothering the LC that she gets justice so that she will eventually wear me out with her coming.

Jesus applied it this way said, and will lock God bring about justice for his chosen ones are cry out to them day and night. Jesus wasn't teaching there that God is reluctant to hear her answer is making a contrast is not suggesting that somehow we get God to change his mind by being persistent, but what he says is this when we pray rightly God will answer our prayers in his own appointed time to learn something about persistent prayer because we tend not to be persistent about anything really much in the Western world today, unless perhaps it's making money.

I don't think there's much of the strong, persistent prayer in our day, at least not in the West too busy pray to self-confident we think we can work out the results for ourselves wasn't always this way is different.

In past years the great awakening of Jonathan Edwards began with his famous call to prayer and was carried forward by prayer work of God among the North American Indians under David Brainerd was Edwards friend began in the nights Brainerd spent in prayer, asking God to affect the great work the 18th century revival began in a small town in Ireland of the north of Belfast eventually spread throughout the entire country and it started with just seven ministers who committed themselves to pray regularly, fervently and persistently for revival. John Wesley and George Whitfield began their work in England was in a spiritual stupor, moral morass little group of believers began to pray and God sent a revival transform England and spillover even to the New World reason we don't have a great blessing today is that there's not much of that dogged prayer and persistent faith that we see here in this Gentile Canaanite woman there's a way our VG Tasker sums up her faith does not state or argue that her claims are as good as anyone else's does not discuss whether Jew is better than Gentile or Gentile is good as you doesn't dispute the justice of the mysterious ways by which God works out his divine purpose. Choosing one race and rejecting another. All she knows is that her daughter is previously tormented but you need supernatural help, and that here in the person of the Lord, son of David, is one I was able to give her that help and she's confident that even if she is not entitled to sit down as a guest of the Messiah's table Gentile dog which he is. Yet we she may be allowed to receive from of the uncommented mercies of God. That's the nature of all true faith. I was the faith of the man who came upon the pearl of great price or the other manner, discover the treasure buried in the field when they found it. They recognize its value and they were determined to have updated everything in their power to possess.

This is the faith of those forcible man mentioned in Matthew 11 lay hold of the kingdom and will not be turned aside. Now in this chapter the story of Jesus response to the Canaanite woman is followed by the accounts of his feeding 4000 people near the Sea of Galilee, much as he had said somewhat larger group.

Earlier we asked the question, what are we to make of this story. While we begin by noticing of similarity to the story of the feeding of the 5000 in chapter 14 his accounts of been favorite stories of the liberal scholars don't have a very high regard for Scripture and find support for many of their views here they think of these as examples of what they call a long historical doubling pattern in Matthew's gospel what they mean by that is that Matthew wants to make his gospel sound more important. So he doubles everything I give some examples two times. Jesus said to calm the storm on Galloway. He mentions two demon possessed man from among the Gadarenes, rather than just one is in market Luke's account speaks of two blind men in chapter 20, rather than blind Bart Emmaus alone which is what marketable, doing so on a very significant list of doubling second be explained in other ways. Of course, but whatever may be the case in those other incidents. It's clear that there's no mere doubling of the stories here in Matthew's account. He is a very clear purpose and what he's doing and what's more, both of these stories are also called in market. No one accuses Mark doubling what's it all about realm. First of all, he recognizes that these are two different stories on Morris points out that you've got different numbers of people your got different quantities of food in the amounts left over words were basket or different people in this incident been with Jesus for three days late earlier incident they were just there. One day as it went around the lake.

The times appear to be different, and so on. Now, what's important thing was when I mentioned all along the reason.

Matthew includes the story of the feeding of the 4000 is all or most of these people were Gentiles, which makes it a sequel to the story of the Canaanite woman was true. Matthew doesn't say explicitly that they are Gentiles, but he does say that he went down to the area of the Sea of Galilee after having been entire inside and and Mark points out explicitly that it was an area called the Decapolis I was on the far side of the Sea of Galilee, at least, or Decapolis is a Greek name and it refers to 10 cities because there were 10 Gentile cities they are and Matthew fits into this when he reports the people is saying after they were fed that they praise the God of Israel, that was a natural thing for Gentiles to said having received the blessing of the Jewish Messiah, but it would not of been a natural thing for Jews to said well Gentile dogs and is what they were. In spite of there being Gentiles number one. These people were healed just as the Jews had been.

Secondly they were fed just as the Jews had been inferred. The disciples were used to serve them just as they had been used to serve the Jewish gathering that awaited Matthew have the teaching the Gentiles are as important to God's Jews to Christianity is a worldwide religion. Now let me sum up these things with a few important applications number one faith may be found in unlikely places.

JC, while British Bishop said it is grace not place which makes people believers that's true, it would've expected to find strong faith among the people of Israel because they had all the benefits that long to them for being Jews among them, and the greatest of all, the fact that the Scriptures, but you didn't find it there. The last place you would've expected faith was in an utterly Gentile territory.

And yet it's the Canaanite Gentile woman who believed strongly the same today faith is found in unlikely places to find yourself saying you're thinking about an individual. That person will never come to faith in Christ or that once too far gone to believe you don't know that and it's usually with people like that that God works would've expected. Saul was great persecutor of the church to become Saul later was named Paul a great Christian missionary John Newton converted slave trader who became a preacher set on one occasion I have never despaired of any man. Since God saved me.

They can be found in unlikely places. Number two, we encouraged to come to Jesus.

You may think that you're too sinful to come to Jesus. Jesus could never care for you, but that's completely wrong. Gentile dogs can come you can come you never turn from your sin, to trust Jesus as your Savior never thrown off all your cares come to them with your cares. Do it now. Jesus said come to me all you will labor and are heavy laden, and I give you rest.

He taught in John six whoever comes to me I will never drive away as 1/3 application come to Jesus, especially if you're in trouble or hurting things are going well for us.

We often don't think much of God or think of our name because we don't really think much about our spiritual date as long as everything else is all right.

But when we're in trouble.

Sometimes we do.

Jesus cares for people, whatever their problems might be the stories, the multitudes were hungry. Many were sick Canaanite woman had an afflicted daughter.

But Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick, and he healed the daughter do any less for you is the same today as he ever was the same Jesus, whom you must come here. Finally, for needy people will often find more compassion and Jesus that in Jesus people disciples were much help here either with a woman or with the crowds either on a one-to-one basis of the masses but that was only to be expected. They were just poor sinful people themselves. The answer to these problems not the answer to your problems. Other Christians are not the answer to your problems and you been disappointed by Christ.

People don't despair about what they're trying insist that their sinners on the Jesus is the Savior. That's what all true Christian people tell you to do anyway that's prior father.

We are thankful for the stories and what they have to teach us about your grace grace which has extended beyond the boundaries of Israel through every tribe and nation to all people to Gentiles like ourselves and we thank you that Jesus is not only there to extend grace but also empower the heel and say that you would speak the hearts of this hour for any you haven't trusted Christ as Savior. They might buy your grace. Like everything else aside and cling to him and him only trusting to his mercy and his power because of his death on the cross to save them from their sins by increases in you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888.

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