A Mother’s Faith
May 10, 2016

Mother’s Day Sermon

A Mother’s Faith

Matthew 15:21-28

When Robert Ingersoll, also known as “The Great Agnostic” came into a town giving a series of lectures. Two college students attended his lectures, and one of them said, “I guess he knocked the props out from under Christianity, didn’t he?”

The other said, “No, I don’t think he did. Ingersoll did not explain my mother’s life, and until he can explain my mother’s life, I will stand by my mother’s God.”

There will always be those who doubt what the Bible has to say and Christianity, but the one thing they cannot doubt nor can they argue against is a changed and renewed life.

A poem by Luke Easter explains the difference between a strong woman and a woman of strength.

  • A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape,
    • but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.
  • A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything,
    • but a woman of strength shows her courage in the midst of fear.
  • A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her,
    • but a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone.
  • A strong woman walks sure-footedly,
    • but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.
  • A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face,
    • but a woman of strength wears grace.
  • A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey,
    • but a woman of strength has the faith that in the journey she will become strong.

What separates the two, that is, what separates a strong woman from a woman of strength, is Faith

Today I’d like to share with you such a woman of strength, a mother, and there’s something about her story that applies to all our lives, both men and women.

Her name is unknown, and I like that because this can be anyone of us, and there are plenty of stories of faith from the Bible where we’re introduced to such people, like the Samaritan woman at the well, the widow who gave her mite at the temple, or the Publican who entered the temple with the Pharisee, but stood in the back pounding his chest realizing how unworthy He was before a holy and righteous God. And the stories continue, like the Good Samaritan, or the Prodigal Son.

I guess what I’m getting at is that people don’t need to know our names for us to make a difference in the lives of others or in the community. Our problem is that we want people to know who we are, but really all they really need to know is that we’re a follower of Jesus and that by our godly example and speech we’re pointing them to Jesus.

But speaking of influence, there’s really no one more influential than a mother.

Throughout the ages most of our spiritual leaders have been greatly influenced by their mothers.

Consider Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist denomination. Their names and the Methodist denomination may never have graced history if not for this godly woman. Her witness guided them as they were growing up.

She was a great woman of faith and prayer, and with 17 kids she had to be. Not only did she pray daily for each of her children, but she also would take an hour every week with each one to discuss spiritual matters. Is it any wonder that John and Charles Wesley were used by God to bring revival to England and America?

Solomon, whose wisdom spans the ages said not to forsake a mother’s teaching, Proverbs 1:8.

Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother.”

What a treasure a godly mother is, and how effective are her prayers.

The mother we’re going to be looking at today isn’t some great woman of faith, nor is she one that sermons have been named after. She was just a mother who loved her daughter. And finding nothing and no one who could help she came to Jesus.

Read Matthew 15:21-28

Her faith is seen in how she came. Let’s take a look at her approach of faith.

  1. By Faith She Overcame Barriers

This woman was desperate. I can imagine she had contacted almost anybody and everybody to see about helping her daughter. She probably went to the Jewish healers, priests, and rabbis wouldn’t have anything to do with her because of who she was, because of her barriers, but not Jesus, that wasn’t his way, but he made sure she knew of them to reveal her faith.

A woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.’ But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries out after us.’ But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”(Matthew 15:22-24 NKJV)

But what we’ve just read, what were these barriers, what were those barriers by faith she had to overcome?

  1. Being a Woman

During this time period, and even in our own, women weren’t considered equal to men, in fact, they were thought of in that culture, as well in many cultures today, as no more than property. In Judaism women weren’t allowed on the main floor of the synagogue but had to reside either outside or in balconies looking through lattice to see what was going on. Further, they couldn’t hold any sort of religious office.

But it was Jesus Christ that changed all that. His teaching transcended culture and brought women out of the dark and out of their servitude and gave them both a hope and a future.

In that day women weren’t even allowed to be taught the things of God, and if they were it was considered a sin. Yet when Jesus taught, both men and women were there to hear His words, and some women were considered disciples, not a part of the twelve, but disciples, that is, followers.

In his teaching on divorce, Jesus upheld a woman’s dignity teaching that they were not just property that could be cast aside, but that they were on equal footing with men. We also see that women played prominent roles within the New Testament, from Anna the prophetess who blessed Jesus, to Mary and Martha, the Samaritan woman, Mary Magdalene, along with Lois and Eunice, mother and grandmother of Timothy.

Here Jesus praises the Canaanite woman for her great faith.

So not only was she a woman, which was a barrier for her to overcome by faith, but she also had a double whammy, she was Gentile.

  1. Being a Gentile

For someone to receive the blessings they were to be a child of God, which at that time meant they were to be Jewish. Salvation was only available through converting to Judaism. But here she was, a Gentile woman. Why on earth did she think Jesus would see her, no less bless her and heal her daughter?

It was her great faith. Just like the Roman centurion who came to Jesus asking Him to heal his servant, this woman came to Jesus seeking the same, and by their answers, Jesus commends their faith, over the faith of the Jews who should have known better.

This was something that the disciples didn’t get either. They told Jesus to send her away, but Jesus doesn’t see through lenses of gender or racism, but rather through the lenses of faith.

And so whatever barrier you may be encountering, know that faith in Jesus overcomes that barrier and will bring you answers to prayers and deliverance.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)

And so it’s by faith in Jesus that we can be overcomers as well and overcome these barriers.

  1. By Faith She Persisted

When Jesus said He had only come to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles, that would have ended most conversations. But she didn’t leave. Instead of hanging her head in dejection and walking away, she stood her ground and by faith continue to seek His help, and even when he again rejected her request with an apparent slight, she continued to press in.

Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me! But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’” (Matthew 15:25-27 NKJV)

Persistent means to refuse to give up or to give in. It means to continue no matter what may be hindering or interfering with the intended goal. And we need this persistence when it comes to our faith, because Satan will thrown everything he can at us to stop us from achieving the those goals given to us by God.

Jesus tells a parable about persistent faith. It’s called, “The Parable of the Persistent Widow.”

In a town there was a judge whose position went to his head. He thought that he was all of that and there was nothing anyone could say. He considered himself right, his judgments were right, and the people just had to kowtow to his verdicts.

Well it would seem that most did except for this one widow. She kept coming back to him day after day for justice. It says, “And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’” (Luke 18:3 NIV)

This was something that was the judge’s responsibility according to God’s word, and something that God is quite adamant about. The Lord said, “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” (Deuteronomy 27:19 NIV) God also says, “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless.” (Zechariah 7:10a NIV)

And so I think it’s safe to say that the widow had God’s word to stand upon and stand she did, by faith in God and in His word she persisted and in the end rewarded. The judge said, “Because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” (Luke 18:5 NKJV)

It’s this same persistent faith that Jesus tells us that we need.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV)

And this is the faith we see with this Canaanite woman. She persisted. After what seemed like no, she cried, “Lord, help me.” And then when it seemed like a rebuke and slight, she still persisted.

You see, Jesus wasn’t being mean or racist, rather He was testing her faith, much the same way He tests our faith. He wanted to see if she had the faith to believe in spite of all that was lined up against her.

And because of her faith, she was commended and rewarded.

“Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.’” (Matthew 15:28 NKJV)

Not only did she have the faith to overcome the barriers lined up against her, but she also persisted. Finally we see the last aspect of her faith

  1. By Faith She Worshiped

“Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’” (Matthew 15:25 NKJV)

The word picture is that she literally prostrated herself by faith as one would prostrate themselves before a ruler or king.

Not notice her prayer, “Lord help me!”

Truthfully there isn’t a more powerful prayer because we’ve come to the realization that we nor the world or any program or methodology can help, only the Lord. And so like this mother we need to come and bow down and worship Jesus, because nothing or anyone else will do.

She worshiped Jesus, not only in her approach, but also in her cry. She called Him Lord, which means more than someone who’s in charge, but someone who’s of supreme authority, which meant that Jesus no one less than the Lord God Himself.

Further, by calling Jesus, Lord, she acknowledges that she no longer wants to run her own life or do life on her own terms any longer. That sort of life has led to nothing but disaster, and her daughter’s condition is proof. She now desires to give Jesus complete control.

So this mother’s faith not only saved her but healed and saved her daughter as well, and it’s the same faith that can make a difference in your life, and in the life of your family, because as the Bible says,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)

And so this woman gives us a pathway of faith, which we can live our lives by. So today, by faith come worship Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

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