Sermon for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost August 30, 2020
Text: Matthew 15:21-28 CW – 3 Year Series A 20:2211
Theme: Lord, Have Mercy!
Have you been to the hospital lately? I surely haven’t. They aren’t letting many visitors in, not even pastors. There are too many things going on there, too many dangers to be had with this Covid19 pandemic – whether you personally agree with it or not. Lots of things are going on there, intense things for people who desperately need it.
I once read of a hospital that carried an interesting inscription over the door by which patients entered. The inscription read: “Mercy is a room in our hearts for the misery of others.” Surely during this time, there is much mercy being displayed in hospitals across our country. But that inscription applies not only to hospitals. It is a good reminder to us all. “Mercy is a room in our hearts for the misery of others.” Maybe there’s not enough mercy going around at this time or anytime.
Picture what that inscription encourages you to do. In your heart set aside a special chamber. It needs to be a soft place, a warm spot. In it you pile high concern for others. But don’t keep the concerns within. Eventually, mercy goes outward to alleviate suffering. “Mercy is a room in our hearts for the misery of others.”
Surely, that applies to God. Mercy is frequently used in the Bible to describe God’s attitude towards fallen sinners. Isaiah writes (49:13), “For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.” David cried out for it in the psalm which I used in the devotions this past week: “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me for in You my soul takes refuge” (57:1). There are a lot of descriptions and a lot of requests in the Bible about God’s mercy. Why? Because God has a special chamber in His heart from which genuine concern and heartfelt care for the miseries of others go out to comfort them. He will hear and answer whenever we cry, Lord, Have Mercy!
I. I must to talk to You.
So it was that the Canaanite women in our text boldly came to Jesus crying, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! A demon is severely tormenting my daughter!” She knew that Jesus merciful and she had to talk to Him about her distress.
She came from the region of Tyre and Sidon, about 35 miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In Old Testament times the heathen Canaanite people fled to this seacoast region to escape the children of Israel. As they entered the land from their time of wandering in the wilderness, God had told them to subdue the whole region and drive the Canaanite idolaters out. But Israel never completed the task and allowed this region of heathen worship to continue.
They were always a source of trouble to God’s people; sometimes they exploited God’s people (Amos 1:9f). But the good thing was that some of them were exposed to the true God. They heard of the Messiah to come. And when Jesus’ fame spread throughout neighboring area, many thought He might be the Savior. Obviously this woman did because she came to Him, convinced that He could help her. She had to talk to Him.
I can’t imagine how miserable life must be if the devil sends one of his demons to torment someone in my house. And then to torment a little girl. How awful! No one could do anything to help. Certainly the false gods and dead idols of the Canaanite people could do anything. They don’t even exist. But in the Lord Jesus lay hope. He not only claimed to be the Son of God, He proved it by what He could do. He healed the sick and cast out demons. She had to talk to Him and get help.
Desperate faith looks for help the only way that counts – to Jesus. He is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex.34:6f). He has a chamber in His heart for you in your miseries. It’s called mercy.
When life is weary and sad; when you feel tempted by the devil, the world, and the flesh; when sickness strikes and sin smites the heart – whatever the need – let your heart cry to His: “Lord, Have Mercy. I must talk to you. Can You hear me?”
II. Can You hear me?
The woman called to Jesus. No response, not a peep. How strange of Him. He didn’t say “yes” to her, like we might expect. He didn’t even say “no.” He didn’t say anything. Why?
When the disciples asked Him, He gave the reason: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In other words, Jesus was not sent to the Gentiles, like this woman was, but to the Jews. So He didn’t reply. But perhaps there was another reason for His silence – to teach her patience and reliance, and maybe to test His own disciples. He heard, but the time wasn’t right for Him to respond. He would do it when He knew it was best.
Lord, can You hear me? Does it ever seem to you He can’t? An aged person, alone, struggling with all manner of setbacks and pains, longs to depart this life and be with the Lord, and prays. But the Lord remains silent; and the person is still here
Another prays for healing from severe sickness. But it seems the Lord is not hearing because the disease continues to worsen.
Another prays for a better job whereby they can earn a better living to take care of the family, but nothing comes.
A student prays for help in school, in grades and in relationships, but he continues to do poorly and has many problems with others.
Parents pray for children who have fallen away from the church, but their pleas seem to go unanswered.
Lord, can You hear us?
He is hearing our prayers – all of them as they are offered in His name and left to His will. The problem is not His hearing; the problem is ours, that we’re not listening to the answer.
He answers at His own time in the way that is best for us. Sometimes the things for which we pray would be harmful for us and we have to learn that He knows what is best for our lives so that we reach eternal life. Sometimes He delays the answer to teach us patience so that through “endurance we might have hope”. But we desire instant results and satisfaction in everything. And so we cry, “Lord, can’t You hear? Won’t You help me?”
III. Will You help me?
Patiently, the woman in our text cried: “Lord, help me!” But instead of answering, He tested her patience a little more when He said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their little dogs.” “True,” she replied. “But even the little dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall off the owner’s table.”
She knew what He meant: “I know that you were sent to Israel, to take away the sins of God’s people. And I don’t want to take anything away from them, who are God’s special children. But You are so merciful, kind, gracious and faithful to all You have made that You provide more than enough, and the crumbs that fall from Your hand are good enough to help me.”
Now that’s said with humility and persistence. It impressed the Savior. Would He help her? You bet He would for mercy is a room in His heart for the misery of others. He will reach out to help those who come to Him in faith.
I wonder how often He’s heard people say the opposite of what this woman said – things like, “I quit,” or “I give up,” or “It’s no use. He doesn’t seem to hear, so what’s the use?” As if we poor sinners have a right to demand things of the good and holy God! If the help is not immediate, some give up.
But He is able to do exceedingly more than we ask. He invites us to come. And we have the examples of those who persevered.
Will He Help? Yes, in His time and way and for our good. In His mercy He can do nothing less. He has promised, “Whoever comes to me, I will in no way cast out.” God grant it to us in faith, for Jesus sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com You can also find us on Facebook
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost August 30, 2020
“A Canaanite woman came to Him, crying out. ‘Lord, Son of David,
have mercy on me…Help me!’ she said.” Mathew 15:21,25
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Happy the people the LORD has chosen to be His own. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! For there the LORD bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion” (Psalms 133; 134).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Lord, Have Mercy. God shows no favoritism. His gospel He extends to all. Neither color, race, nor ethnic background makes one group of people more worthy than another in His eyes. Sin makes all unworthy alike. Therefore, in His mercy He reached out to help us in Christ.
True, Jesus was sent to Israel and its lost sheep because the promise was given to Abraham. But it is also true that the Lord has other sheep to bring into His fold. Jesus died for them too because God loved the whole world, not just part of it. So it is that we cry alike, “Lord, have mercy on us.” And through our faith in the Savior God answers us in our need.
To that end we pray: Almighty and merciful God, it is only by Your gift of grace that we come into your presence and offer true and faithful service. Grant that our worship on earth may always be pleasing to You, and in the life to come give us the fulfillment of what You have promised through Christ our Lord. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 56:1,6-8
The Lord’s New Testament Church will be “a house of prayer for all nations.” By the grace of God those who had formerly been excluded from the people of God would bring acceptable sacrifices to His altar.
Epistle Lesson: Romans 11:13-15,28-32
At one time in history, God gave all the promises of salvation to Israel. But their rejection became an opportunity for the Gentiles. Still, Paul hopes that his ministry will somehow touch the Jews and lead them to faith again.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus tests the faith of a Gentile woman who comes to Him for help for her demon-possessed daughter. Humbly begging for mercy, she trusts that the Savior will hear and answer her prayer.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Organist: Jane Rips
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “The blessings of salvation are not dependent upon the greatness of faith as humans measure it. Rather, salvation is dependent upon the greatness of the God in whom we believe….He is great and strong enough to save to the uttermost, even those of weakest faith. May we then rid ourselves of all doubts, misgivings, and questions regarding the greatness of our faith to save us. Greatness of faith is not the determining mark. God’s mercy and grace in Christ are.” — Herman Gockel on Are You Afraid Your Faith Is too Weak
Today Your mercy calls us To wash away our sin,
However great our trespass, Whatever we have been,
However long from mercy Our hearts have gone away,
Your precious blood can wash us And make us clean today.
Christian Worship #339 st.1
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #339
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15
The Ministry of the Word
Psalm of the Day: Psalm 133-134 Hymnal pg. #115
Romans 11:13-15, 28-32
Hymn Response: #569
Gospel Responses: pg,18
Apostles’ Creed: pg.19
Sermon Hymn: #403
Sermon: Matthew 15:21-28 Lord, Have Mercy!
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory: Hymnal pg.20
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Prayer: Hymnal pg.25
The Closing Hymn: #332
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 3-Year Lectionary, Year A Evangelical Heritage Version®
First Lesson Isaiah 56:1,6-8
This is what the Lord says. Protect justice, and carry out righteousness, because my salvation is coming very soon.
My righteousness is ready to be revealed. 6Then the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him and to love the name of the Lord
and to become his servants, every one of them who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, those who take hold of my covenant—
7I will bring them to my holy mountain, and I will make them glad in my house of prayer.
Their whole burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar.
For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples of the world.
8This is the declaration of God the Lord, who gathers Israel’s dispersed people:
“I will gather still more people to my house besides the ones already gathered.”
Romans 11:13–15, 28-32
13I am speaking to you Gentiles. For as long as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I am going to speak highly of my ministry. 14Perhaps I may make my own people jealous, and so save some of them. 15For if their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, what does their acceptance mean other than the dead coming to life?
28In regard to the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But, in regard to election, they are especially dear for the sake of the patriarchs, 29because God’s gracious gifts and call are not regretted. 30For just as you were once disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy due to their disobedience, 31so also now they have become disobedient, so that by the mercy shown to you they may be shown mercy too. 32For God imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may show mercy to all.
Gospel Matthew 15:21–28
21Jesus left that place and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22There a Canaanite woman from that territory came and kept crying out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! A demon is severely tormenting my daughter!”
23But he did not answer her a word.
His disciples came and pleaded, “Send her away, because she keeps crying out after us.”
24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25But she came and knelt in front of him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
26He answered her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to their little dogs.”
27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet their little dogs also eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, your faith is great! It will be done for you, just as you desire.” And her daughter was healed at that very hour.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
| Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Holy Communion afterwards
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Today is a celebration of our mission work! All people are sinful and face God’s condemnation. Christ died for all people and paid the penalty for the sins of the world. Shortly before His ascension into heaven, Jesus also commissioned us to preach the Gospel to all creation. For God would have no one to be lost; He seeks the composition of His heavenly kingdom to include people of every nation, tribe, language, and people. Let us be about our Father’s business.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 11:13-15, 28-32 (answers are found on the back side)
- How was Israel’s rejection of the Gospel a blessing for the world?
- What hope still exists for the Jewish people?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; the Lisenbys’ granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, at home; Laurie Moon’s father; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family; Felicia Nichols’ brother’s family and father with the virus; Bill Buchanan; Lois Wiese; the family of Chris Bruck; Megan & Zach Sloan and infant daughter Maizey; Norine Richardson recovering at home from a fall; Barbara Long undergoing surgery at Cox South Tuesday.
Meditations’ next set of daily devotions begins today. Copies will be found in the narthex.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know.
Chris Bruck’s Memorial Service at Zion will be held this afternoon at 4 pm. A visitation will be held an hour before the service with a meal served afterwards. We will seek to provide appropriate distancing as best we can.
Face Masks Since Springfield/Greene County passed ordinances requiring face masks in public settings, we have been wearing masks in the worship service. There are masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, watch your physical distancing in the service today, not only side to side but also front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 13; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: no class this week; Offering: $730.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 14 Series A: Exodus 6:2-8; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- The rejection by the people of Israel finally caused the apostles to direct their preaching instead to the Gentiles. While we do not rejoice in the loss of souls among the Jews, this new focus did bring unprecedented numbers of Gentiles into the family of God.
- It is still God’s desire that all should be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. The amazing condition is that their very life of disobedience is an opportunity for God to extend his mercy. The same call God gave them in the Old Testament He gives them today—God’s promises are irrevocable.
This week I am praying for……