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Odd Methods of God (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2021 6:00 am

Odd Methods of God (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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You say, listen, this is all sci-fi.

No, it's not. It's spiritual. And the Bible doesn't hide it from us. It tells us right out. And if you don't believe it, then you have a lot of explaining to do about human behavior. Because there are things that humans can do that are outside human thought.

Somebody is manipulating the machine. Paul said it this way, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, power, spiritual wickedness in high places. You hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Mark chapter 7, as he continues his message, Odd Methods of God. Verse 26 is where we are. It tells us the woman was a Greek Syrophoenician by birth. In other words, she's really Gentile.

And that's significant to the story. And, you know, she's under the Syrian rule, she's from the cities of Tyre and Sidon, Phoenician cities, she's Greek. She kept asking him, it tells us here in verse 26.

She's persistent because her need is urgent. Matthew notes that she first addressed him as Lord, Son of David. She's a Greek. That's not for her.

That's for the Jews. But then as she continued to address him, she addressed him as Lord. And I think that what that brings out to us is she's sort of clumsy. She knows he's going to help. She's heard about what he has done. She knows this Messiah, this Jewish Messiah is her hope.

And that the great principle of life is not race, it is faith. She's got that much. And she knows that he's healed all these people. This sort of reminds us of Rahab. Rahab, she figured it out. Look, these Jews are conquering everybody they come in touch with and now they're here at Jericho.

I'm siding with them. Why didn't everybody else figure it out? Well, that's why their judgment is just and upon them. Why didn't the Pharisees figure it out?

Why couldn't they see his miracles and understand that he was everything he said he was? Well, she did, taking away their excuse. And so she starts off with Lord, Son of David. And then as she dialogues, it's Lord, it's Lord, it's this term that recognized his superior status in society.

It's a term of respect. She's desperate. The tone is not casual. Mark makes it sound a little casual. Matthew turns up the heat a little bit in his presentation of the story. But she is very desperate at this point.

And that's why she keeps asking him. And it says here in verse 26, to cast the demon out of her daughter. In the New Testament, an unclean spirit, a demon or demon possession, they're used interchangeably.

They're the same. We believe they're elements of the fallen angels, the third of the angels that Satan swayed to go with him. The Bible doesn't give us too much detail about them, just enough on a need-to-know kind of basis. These evil spirits, and they are spirits. They're disembodied until they enter someone.

They hate us all. And the Bible teaches that, especially in the New Testament. Acts chapter 5, also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people to those who were tormented by unclean spirits. And they were healed. And that's what those unclean spirits do.

They torment us. And these evil spiritual forces and influences are very real, and often they are difficult to discern. Not all the time.

Sometimes very easy. Because the flesh can do wicked things without any help from the devil. For example, in the flesh, a man can kill. But in the flesh alone, a man will not cannibalize what he has killed. That requires satanic activity. And we've seen this at work in the world. I mean, we constantly point back to the Second World War, the demonic activity in not only Nazi Germany, but Imperial Japan. I mean the chopping off of heads of the Chinese and then putting them in cages like trophies. That's demonic.

It's not war. It's wickedness. Unclean spirits. They take the flesh to more extreme levels of irreverence directly aimed, since Christ on his cross and his resurrection, directly aimed at him. Now, those in the abortion business, you can't tell me they don't have an unclean spirit. I mean the things, how can, I don't care how oblivious they may be, this is more than just carnal activity.

This is something that goes to another level. Child abuses, serial killers, others, more noticeably unclean spiritually, and some not so obvious. Paul says this to let us know that there are spiritual forces hard at work against us. 1 Corinthians 10. He says, rather the things which Gentiles sacrifice is sacrifice to demons and not to God. And I do not want you to have fellowship with demons because it's possible.

It is possible to be in cahoots with demons and not even know it. Now the Christian has nothing to worry about this. The body is a temple. The house is the Holy Spirit.

Greater is he who is in you than he is in the world. We're not susceptible to this as long as we are in Christ. We are protected by Christ. But the world, which scoffs and therefore mishandles the subject entirely. It defies explanation to spiritual war from human standpoint. God has to reveal these things to us. It defies explanation from science and psychology and philosophy and medicine.

They cannot handle this. This is a spiritual condition. You cannot take an x-ray of someone who has an unclean spirit and see it on the x-ray. And there it is. Look at that.

He's got the horns and everything. Not true. It is spirit. It is unseen.

It is invisible. And human power cannot defeat it. Some in the book of Acts, we are told, tried to take on a man who was demon possessed. Acts chapter 19. And so they tried to throw him out. They call him to come out in someone else's name. And so the demon responds through the man. The evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know and Paul I know.

But who are you? And it continues, then the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, overpowered them and prevailed against them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Well, I don't remember in ministry.

I know in life I have seen people who were demon possessed. But in ministry I've not confronted them. But I have said to myself, if I do and they get up in my face, I'm going to knock all their teeth out. I mean, I'm not going to pull up with it.

Well, maybe you've got a different approach. But I'm going in with guns. Anyway, the fallen angels that likely these characters come from, they followed Satan in their rebellion against God Almighty after having seen him on the throne, lived in heaven, what we call heaven. And their condition is irrevocable. They are unredeemable. Satan, the antichrist, the beast, the unclean spirits, the fallen angels, Apollyon, all those characters are doomed. They are not going to get saved.

There is a lake of fire for them. And there in Matthew 25, 41, God even tells us it was prepared for them, but the loss will go there too. And their number one deception is about a relationship, a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 4, Now the Spirit, that is the Holy Spirit, expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. How do these demons teach their doctrine?

Through people. So we come away from such a verse or section as this inscription, we say, yep, that is a reminder of God that we are in spiritual war. And human beings, as we read in chapter 5, one human being can house more demons than 2,000 pigs. God is saying this is serious. And I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind and a good right hook.

If, you know, unless you maybe used pepper spray or something, I don't know. Anyway, they need humans to host Matthew chapter 12. This speaks of a demon that is cast out of someone. Then he says, I will return to my house, that is the person that hosted him, from which I came. And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. So there you have a man that was demon-possessed, then he is dispossessed. And he is sort of in his right mind, he's organized in his thinking, but he is empty. There is no Lord there to protect him.

And so he is refilled seven times worse because that particular demon brings seven more with him. And you say, listen, this is all sci-fi. No, it's not. It's spiritual. And the Bible doesn't hide it from us. It tells us right out. And if you don't believe it, then you have a lot of explaining to do about human behavior because there are things that humans can do that are outside human thought.

Somebody is manipulating the machine. Paul said it this way, We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places. And on the scripture goes, revealing to us, one, I think, reason why we don't get a lot about them is because we would be, you know, oh, the devil made me do it. And God is saying, no, your sin made you do it.

This one's on you. And even if the devil did, you've opened yourself up to him. So the warnings in scripture forbidding God's people from tampering with witchcraft and astrology and necromancy and, you know, contacting the dead, having a seance. That's messing with Satan. And we are not to do, there's no other spiritual power we're interested in contacting except the Holy Spirit, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit.

And that's it. We don't talk to angels. We don't talk to loved ones that have died and gone.

We don't pray to Mary. We don't do that stuff. It is forbidden. And it comes with a high consequence, if it can, because it opens the door to demonic activity. And if you want to learn from experience in this area, you may be a fool. Well, I'm not sure. Let me have a seance to find out. It may be the last sensible thing you ever do.

Well, not the last opportunity to do something sensible. Well, that's what I'm saying about unclean spirits because I believe that is much of what the Bible teaches about them. Verse 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.

What an odd reply. She didn't see that coming. My daughter is demon-possessed, and he says, Yeah, well, we are not going to give what goes to the children to puppies.

Metaphorically, the children are the Jews, and the puppies are the Gentiles. She is not going to back down, and he loves it. He is extracting from her, her faith. And here is an opportunity for her light to shine, for faith to come forward. Again, he's about 70 miles round-trip out of Israel in Gentile land. Why? When we have no record of any other activities from him at this time.

It is for her. That's why he's there. So if you come as a skeptic to the scriptures, Oh, that's harsh. That's mean. I can't follow Jesus.

He's stupid. Because you're not even open to truth. You've condemned a situation, yourself in a situation that you knew nothing of. Israel was the recipient of visions and revelations to share with the world. From the onset, God said to Abraham, I'm going to bless the world through you. The whole world is going to be blessed through you. In other words, God's intention was to reach everyone he could.

Long suffering, willing none should perish. Isaiah 49, Isaiah brings this back up. He says, indeed he says, speaking about Messiah, it is too small a thing that you should be my servant, that is Messiah, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore and preserve ones of Israel. I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth. This is being fulfilled in one of many places in the ministry of Christ, but it's being fulfilled right here because Isaiah is saying that when Messiah comes, it is not enough that he ministers to Israel and to the Jewish people. He is here for all who will come. That's what the prophecy is about. Jesus began his resurrected ministry, you could say, in Jerusalem, the place of the empty tomb.

Opportunity for the skeptics. They walk down to the empty tomb, if he is there, go get him. I mean, it's ridiculous to suggest that a platoon of Roman soldiers was overcome by the apostles. Have you seen those guys? They can't fish.

Every time we see them fishing, they catch nothing. So we're supposed to believe they just took out this Roman platoon. I don't think so. So he said to begin in Jerusalem, Luke 24 verse 47, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem, because they had the oracles, the scriptures, the prophecies, they were the link, the tie-in to the Gentiles being reached. This was organized, and it was not to be disorganized. They were to start in Jerusalem because the Jews come first in that sense. Romans chapter 1, Paul said, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Then he says to the Jew first and also the Gentile. Not that there's a lesser brand of salvation because they don't get first as a people, but because there is order.

There is a system. It comes through the scriptures. Somebody had to hold these scriptures, and they were the ones.

Verse 28, And she answered and said to him, Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs. Her faith gave birth to brilliance. This is what he was after. This is what he was pulling out of her. She knew he would not refuse her.

She knew he was capable of taking a miserable life and restoring it. And again, if she understood this, what was the excuse of the rabbis? She addressed him as commander of the universe when she called him Lord. We'll take it from Matthew chapter 15. And behold, a woman of Cain and Cain from that region and cried out to him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, son of David.

My daughter is severely demon-possessed. And then she came and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me. You see the desperation in Matthew's account? She came and worshiped him. There was a lot of faith flowing from this woman.

She said, Yes, Lord, even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the master's table. There is enough of you and your power and your blessing and your love and your sovereignty to spread without anyone suffering. Jesus said that one human being has enough self-love to love everyone else and not lose any of their own self-love. You should love your neighbor as you love yourself. Problem is, when someone has too much self-love and no other love, that kind of esteemed self becomes very problematic.

Well, the dogs were allowed to have what the children did not eat because there was enough, and that is the idea. There was enough of his mercy to go around, even outside of Israel. And at this time in history, when we read these stories in the Bible, when we come to Christ in a similar situation, we say, Lord, help my daughter, she's severely demon-possessed. And he said, No, she's just lazy. Oh, whatever, right?

Even if she is, we don't see him always act so quickly. He drags his feet. And mothers have gone to their graves, not getting their prayers answered. But they've also gone to the throne of heaven, trusting him, believing in him, because that's what it's about. And when we get there, it will all come together. I have a list of questions when I get to heaven that I'm not going to ask.

Because it is going to all be satisfied. And we know that by faith. And that faith comes from enough exposure to things he's revealed and made solid to us. And this again is the crime that lays upon those who reject and thumb their nose at him. Verse 29, Then he said to her, For this saying, Go your way, the demon has gone out of your daughter. In Scripture, the desperate parents come to him in the New Testament.

They're in Mark chapter 5 and Luke 7 and Luke 9 and John 4 and here in Mark 7. And he does not ignore them. The Gentiles also came.

He did not ignore them either. Jesus honored her Gentile faith in him in front of Jewish witnesses because it wasn't all about her. It was not all about her and her daughter, though they were very important, as important, but it was also to the bystanders. These odd methods, they had to see this.

Not only did he draw a confession from her, he was eroding Jewish exclusivism that was in them so that they could then be used to reach Gentiles too. And we are the fruit of such exhibitions of truth from our Lord. God's methods may appear odd, but they are sound.

They are spiritually invincible. And she did not have to become a Jew to benefit from the care of the Jewish Messiah. That is one of the great lessons further developing the theme that God's kingdom reaches all that will submit to it. This is the story of Nebuchadnezzar. It's the story of Job.

It's the story of Jethro. There are others that heard the truth and surrendered to it without becoming Jewish. He had already given a glimpse to his apostles of the church to come without Judaism. Matthew 7, verse 15, There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him. That flew in the face of Jewish dietary law, and he just laid it out there and left it to be developed later on through a series of miracles and teachings from himself and men like the apostle Paul. So ingrained was Judaism, clouding their understanding of reaching lost souls, that when God began to deal with Peter to send him to Gentiles, he gave him a vision three times. That's what it took, and it still didn't register. And in that vision, he said, What God has called cleanse, you must not call common.

Three times he had to repeat that. And again, Peter struggled to understand. I think even in America, we have Christians who, they have a sense of family and what is good and who Jesus is, but they really don't have a burden for lost souls. They have a burden that maybe goes as far as the kitchen table, and that's about it. But they're really not into reaching lost souls. They're not into reaching, unless it just comes to them. And this is what Christ was faced with his apostles.

They had no burden for Gentiles. The Gentiles would never have been reached had Jesus not started with things like this. Do you think that Paul ever forgot this lesson? Do you think it never came up again with Peter? Well, Peter's telling the story to Mark decades later. To find out what God wants and then to go try to do it should consume our lives without making us what would be called fanatics, disconnected from reality.

We're supposed to be more connected with reality than anyone else, especially spiritual reality. Verse 30, and when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out and her daughter lying on the bed. She had no record of her questioning him. Off she went. How beneficial to this mother and the daughter to not only be freed from the demon, but to also have Christ preached and ministered to her the way he did.

She's going to tell this story to her daughter. I went and I sought him. I called him the son of David.

It just didn't work. I kept asking him. I kept asking him, Lord, Lord. Then he told me, that am I going to give what goes to the children of the little puppies? And I then responded, and those two are going to talk about that a long time, not only educating the mother and the witnesses, but the subsequent readers of this story such as ourselves. And as it will be with the next miracle he's going to that we come to when we get to verse 31 in just one moment. Another odd miracle. I don't think any of the disciples, when he said this to her, wanted to interfere and say, what is going on? What's up with that, the puppies and dogs? Why didn't you just heal the demon?

They had to just stand there with these goofy looks on their faces that we get when we're powerless. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the Book of Mark. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the Book of Mark, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-12 22:13:15 / 2023-11-12 22:22:34 / 9

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