Table Scraps

Scripture Teaches Us That Every Blessing We Receive Comes From The Grace Of God

Dan Franklin
Nov 5, 2023    38m
Have you ever felt like God owes you something? Scripture teaches us that He owes us nothing, and we cannot earn anything. Instead, every blessing and gift we receive comes from the underserved grace of God. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Unknown: [00:00:18] So today we're going to read from Scripture, Matthew 15 verses 21 through 28, "Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment." This is God's Word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:50] Good morning. All right, so in the Bible, there are some strange passages, some of you picked up that one of those strange passages is the one that we're going to go through today. It's a passage where Jesus isn't behaving in the way that we expect him to behave. He seems reluctant to do a healing where most of the stories that we read about him, he seems overly anxious, he seems to throw caution to the wind, and even if it's going to cost him some trouble with the Pharisees, he moves right into it. But we have this strange story, Jesus is acting odd, there's an ethnic component of it, there might be a gender component of it, there might be a religious background, but we're trying to piece things together. And one of the things that I wanted to make sure that we did today is just to pause, because I don't know if you've noticed, but this is not the only strange passage in the Bible. If you read the Bible, there are a lot of verses that you read or stories that you read, and it feels very pertinent and accessible, and you feel like yeah, I understand why God would put this in his word. And then we have passages that we just can't figure out, and what do we do with those strange passages?

Dan Franklin: [00:03:03] Like, if you're a part of men's Bible study and you're reading through Exodus together, and suddenly you get to a passage where Moses is leaving Midian and he's going back to Egypt because God has called him to go there, but there's this angel blocking his way in the middle of the road, and then his wife suddenly gets out a knife and circumcises their son right there on the road. And you're like, what is happening? Like, why, why is this in the Bible? Or you continue on, and you're in Second Kings and Elisha is there, and apparently, Elisha is bald because a bunch of young men make fun of him for being bald, and then two bears come out and maul the boys. And some of you bald people are like, yeah, get him! But we're just like, what is going on? There are weird passages in the Bible. There are strange passages in the Bible. And I think sometimes we want to just sort of move on and ignore them and just say, there's a lot in the Bible that is good and that we get maybe we'll just focus on those and pass over the strange passages.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:01] In fact, a lot of, you know, in our series through Matthew, we covered everything in the first seven chapters, and then for the rest of the book, we're taking a passage per chapter just to focus in on. And one of the commitments that I had as we did this was to say, we're not going to do this just to avoid the tricky parts. We're going to take on some of the passages that are strange, like this one today. And sometimes we just want to avoid the strange stuff. Sometimes we don't avoid the strange stuff as much as we want to tame it. We feel like we kind of understand the world and we understand the right perspective here in the 21st century United States, and so we'll take the passage, and we'll make it work for us, we'll make it so that it's not strange. In fact, we'll make God's whole word so that it's not strange so that when we read the Bible, all we find out is a bunch of stuff that we already agreed with. That's no way to read the Bible. When we read the Bible, we are not reading the Bible so that we fix it, we're reading the Bible so that God, through His Word fixes us. We are not the judges of the Bible; God is our judge and His Word is one of his agents for judging us. We don't approach any passage, including the strange passages, to fix them. We approach them because we believe in every passage of God's Word, he has something for us. And in some of these odd passages, we get some of the most beautiful messages from God because they lay hidden when we ignore them. So we've got a strange passage before us this morning. Are you guys ready? Do you guys think God's going to say something to us through this? I think that he is.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:49] It's in Matthew chapter 15, verses 21 through 28, and verse 21 gives us the setting of everything that we'll read today. It says, "Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon." So if you're familiar with the Gospels, you know Jesus is almost always in Israel doing his ministry, his teaching, and healing in Israel, but here he and his disciples withdraw. Which was actually a theme, in chapter 14, last week we went through the feeding of the 5000, and that passage started with Jesus withdrawing to get some alone time with his disciples. But the Jewish crowds figured out where he was going, and they actually beat him to the spot, and he ended up feeding them. So Jesus, for a while, seemingly has been trying to get away, and it seems like the purpose of going away this time is not so much to proclaim the Gospel in a new place, as it is just to get away, to get away, to have some time away from the crowd, sometime of prayer. And so they go to a place that they think pretty likely we won't be bothered, we're going to leave Israel altogether, and we're going to go into Gentile, non-Jewish territory. We're going to go into the region of Tire and Sidon, there's not going to be a bunch of Jewish crowds following us around here, we'll finally get that time. I imagine, I don't know if they were on a mountain, I imagine them on a mountain because Jesus loved mountains. And so I imagine that it is sort of all right, Jesus has got his disciples, and we're going to hike up the mountain. And when we get up at the top of the mountain, we'll spend a little bit of time together, but then we'll all spend some time in prayer alone, and we'll finally get this time away. And so they're hiking up, you know, maybe they're tired and maybe they're dusty, but they're also like, finally, some downtime, but finally some time where we're away from the demands of all the crowds. But then they hear something in the distance, and it's not a crowd, it's one person. And they can't quite tell what's going on yet because this person is so far away, but they hear the faint calling out of something, they can't tell the words, but the words sound desperate. And even though Jesus just continues to walk, the person is gaining on them. And verse 22 introduces us to this person, "A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him."

Dan Franklin: [00:08:16] Now, if you're familiar with other stories in the gospels, the Gospel of Mark, Mark tells this story also, the same story. But in Mark, he refers to her as the Syrophoenician woman, which is referring to her ethnicity and the region that she came from. And Mark is actually more accurate to what she would have been referred to in that day, they would have said, oh, that's a Syrophoenician woman. Matthew uses an outdated term to refer to her, he refers to her as a Canaanite, and almost certainly the reason for this is because he wanted to remind any Jewish readers of the history between the Israelites and the Canaanites, which was not a happy history. If you go back to the beginning, all the way into Genesis, and then even as you progress through after the Exodus, you have the Israelites having consistent run-ins with the Canaanites, who are non-Jewish people in the surrounding regions, and they were constant antagonists to Israel. And so Matthew, writing this probably says, I know she's Syrophoenician, but I'm going to remind you, it's not an inaccurate term, but he's saying, I'm going to remind you of the history of Israel and refer to her as a Canaanite woman.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:32] "A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Now this actually, it doesn't strike us as odd, but this is odd because she's not Jewish, and yet she's not only calling Jesus Lord, she's referring to him as Son of David. Which doesn't just mean a descendant of King David, this means that she was referring to him by a title, by a royal title, as the prophesied Savior of Israel. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” And just as a note, this isn't the first time in the Gospels we've run into demon possession. There is a very real spiritual realm, which is something that we largely ignore today, there is a very real spiritual realm. But I also want to make sure, you know, the Israelites in the first century, they didn't simply think, hey, if you are sick, it's a demon. They didn't just equate any sickness with demonic activity, but they recognized probably much more accurately than we do today, that there is a spiritual realm and there's a spiritual element to reality. And for this woman's daughter, she wasn't just suffering with a sickness, she was suffering from oppression, spiritually, so, "She cries out to Jesus, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:01] And it seems like, because of the way that the wording is in the Greek, this was a constant refrain, she was saying this over and over again. It starts from a distance and they're kind of hearing her but can't quite make it out, she gets closer and they're hearing part of it. Now she's close enough to them, and she's gaining on them, and over and over again she's crying out for help. But in verse 23 we read, "Jesus did not answer a word." And this is the first part where the passage just feels strange, like Jesus who's constantly healing people, Jesus, who can't seem to turn down an opportunity to pour out his healing to hurting people, he's just walking on, not responding to her, and not answering a word. And it's so strange that even the disciples intervene in this because we read, "So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:59] Now, at first glance, what this seems like is that the disciples are saying, just get rid of her. But that's actually probably not the case because of how Jesus responds in verse 24. In verse 24, "Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” And here's why this matters, Jesus isn't talking to the woman at this point, he's talking to his disciples. So his disciples say, send her away, and he's reluctant to send her away because he says, I was sent only to the Israelites, I was sent to the Jewish people. It seems like what's actually going on here is that the disciples are saying, heal her daughter, grant her request, and send her away, but Jesus is showing reluctance to give her the healing that she's asking for.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:47] He says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”, which is something very similar to what he said when he was sending out the twelve to go and proclaim the message of the Kingdom. It says, "These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel." And here's what's going on here, Jesus, the mission that he had was always one that was meant to extend eventually to all people. In fact, if you're familiar with the Gospel of Matthew, when you get to the end of the Gospel of Matthew, some of you will know this passage, Jesus tells them, go and make disciples of all nations, that was always the target. The target was always all nations, but Jesus' focus was that the Israelites would respond, and that would be the hub of the Gospel going out to all nations. So Jesus says, hey, I have a mission, my mission is to the Jewish people, and he's showing reluctance to do the miracle.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:54] But this woman is persistent. In verse 25, "The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said." This is a mama bear with a sick cub, she's not going anywhere until she gets some help. And Jesus responds in verse 26 with the strangest and most troubling verse maybe in all the book of Matthew, "He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Let's take a deep breath, and first of all, let's just realize this. In some ways, what Jesus is saying is, is pretty understandable here, it's just troubling. In this analogy, who are the children? The children of the Jews, the people of Israel. Who are the dogs? It is all the non-Jews. It's this woman, and all non-Jews, that's how this analogy works. He says I was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, they are the children, and it wouldn't be right to take the bread that's supposed to go to the children and to toss it to the dogs.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:59] Now some people, as I mentioned before, some people want to kind of tame the strange passages. Some people try to sort of lessen the offense of this because they'll say, well, there are actually two Greek words for dog, and this is sort of the less offensive of the two words. So it's like it's a little puppy, just like a little dog. Like that's nice, it's not so mean for him to say this. And it's true, that this is sort of the less aggressive word, but we love our dogs today. I mean, some of you treat your dogs like your children, which is another sermon for another time. But we love our dogs, dogs were unclean animals in Israel, they were not pets. So when Jesus is saying this, maybe it's not as offensive as it could possibly be, but if you feel like maybe what Jesus said wasn't so bad, then if your wife is at Women's Retreat, try this out when she gets back. Just be like, oh, you're such a dog. No, no, not a bad dog, just like a little dog. Just see how that works, that will not go well, and it didn't go well then. This is definitely strange; this is not a compliment when Jesus says it's not right to take the bread for the children and toss it to the dogs.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:13] And so we've got to pause here and just try to figure out, it's like we need a theory what's going on here. And at first, some people might come up with the theory of, you know what, maybe Jesus just dislikes women. Like maybe Jesus is just like, hey, this is a woman, I don't want to be bothered by her, she's just a dog, I'm not going to deal with this. But man, if you read the Gospels, you just can't possibly come to that conclusion about Jesus. I mean, this is the Jesus that spent an extended amount of time in John chapter 4 with another non-Jewish woman, a Samaritan woman, and his disciples didn't get what was going on. They were like, why are you talking to her? But he was determined to get her the living water that he had to offer. Jesus did not treat women as second-class citizens. In fact, in Luke chapter 10, Jesus is at the house of Mary and Martha, and Mary is sitting at Jesus' feet just like the men would learning from Jesus, and Jesus compliments her and says she's chosen the good way to respond. We can't possibly conclude, well, maybe Jesus didn't like women, he clearly did.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:18] So we might move on and say, well, maybe it's not a gender issue, maybe Jesus just didn't like non-Jews. Maybe Jesus was a Jewish supremacist, he was like, the Jews are good, everybody else I don't care about. But once again, even though Jesus' mission was very centered on the Jewish people, there are passages all along the way that make it impossible for us to believe this about Jesus. Some of you will remember back when we went through Matthew 8, and there's a story of Jesus healing the centurion's servant. This Roman centurion who comes to Jesus, and he exercises faith to the point that Jesus says, I haven't found anybody with faith like this in all of Israel. And then he previews the idea that in the kingdom at the end, there are going to be people coming from east and west, coming from all sorts of nations, to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But a lot of the children of the kingdom, a lot of the Jews, are going to end up left out because God shows no favoritism, ethnically or otherwise. So we can't conclude Jesus just doesn't like women or just doesn't like non-Jews.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:26] So let me throw out a third question, with what we know about Jesus, did Jesus like to test people? He really did. He really did, there's a lot of passages where he does this, and it's a test where it's like he's trying to draw them out, he's trying to see if there's a little bit of resistance to get to a deeper issue. Because even though Jesus loved to heal our physical wounds, he loves even more to heal our deeper wounds, and he wants to get to something deeper.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:58] So if you kept reading in Matthew 20, you would get to a passage where Jesus heals a couple of blind men. And actually, it's cool if you read it, they cry out to Jesus with the same words as this woman. They say, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us. And they're crying out because they hear Jesus is close, and eventually these two blind men get to Jesus, and Jesus has the audacity of asking them, what is it that you want me to do for you? This is bizarre and kind of annoying, we all know what they want him to do for them, but he's drawing them out. You get the great story at the end of Luke 24 where two of Jesus' disciples are on the road to Emmaus and Jesus has been raised, but they're not yet sure if they believe that he's been raised. And so they're walking to Emmaus, and Jesus sidles up next to them, the resurrected Jesus walking along with them. And he's like, hey, what are you guys talking about? They say, oh, we're talking about Jesus. And he's like, Jesus, tell me more. And he just spends the entire time drawing them out, Jesus loves to test. And that appears to be pretty transparently what he's doing here. We don't know the tone, and I'm not going to say for sure that I'm right, but I imagine the tone almost something like this. I'm really sorry for your daughter, but I'm not sure what we're going to do about this. I was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, and you're not one of the children, you're one of the dogs. So what are we going to do here?

Dan Franklin: [00:20:27] He's presenting the problem to her, and he's looking to see how she responds, and her response staggers him, and it should stagger us. In verse 27, Jesus had already said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Now here's, as 21st-century Americans, here's what we would expect the woman to say in verse 27. We would expect her to say, I'm no dog, how dare you? That would seem very reasonable to us, like, how dare you call me a dog? I'm not better or worse than any Jew just because of my ethnicity. How dare you call me a dog? She doesn't, she accepts the analogy. She says, call me what you will, this dog needs crumbs, and even the dogs get crumbs from the table. She has zero pretension. She has zero entitlement. She says, call me what you will, my daughter is sick, my daughter is demon-possessed, and I'm desperate. This dog needs some crumbs, and I'm coming to you for them.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:44] And Jesus is amazed by this. He says in verse 28, "Woman, you have great faith." And as, by the way, if you're familiar with the Gospels, Jesus frequently was frustrated with his disciples, and he kept saying to them, where is your faith? He called them men of little faith. Where is your faith? Two times in the Gospels Jesus dramatically compliments somebody's faith, it's the Roman centurion, and it's this Canaanite woman. It's non-Jews, that he's saying you're getting something right, that the Jews aren't getting right. You're seeing something that they're not seeing." Woman, you have great faith."

Dan Franklin: [00:22:25] Now what was so great about her faith? And we could say, well, she clearly had faith that he could heal her daughter, and that's good, that's very good faith. But that's not it, that's not what staggered him about her faith, I think what really staggered him about her faith was that she was absolutely unentitled, that she recognized she was just a beggar. She was like, call me a dog, call me a beggar, whatever it is, I recognize that I am absolutely desperate and that I have no real claim on getting anything from the Jewish Messiah. But I'm desperate enough, and I believe I might be able to get in on some of these table scraps. And "Jesus says, woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." He sends her away, she goes home believing that what Jesus said was true. Gets back to her place, her daughter is sitting up looking better than she has in months, and she asks the nurses around, when did this happen? When did the change take place? And she comes to realize it was at the exact moment when Jesus had said the words, your request has been granted.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:40] This is a strange story and it's a great story. And like I said, there's something for us here, there's something for all of us in this story. And here's what I want us to see is here for us in this story, what we learn in this story is that our only claim on God's blessings is God's grace. And we learn it through this amazing Canaanite woman who came with bold faith, even though seemingly she had no right to be there. Jesus is somewhere to get away from the crowds, he's taking a break from the mission that he's on, and here this woman encounters him. She has no entitlement, she has no sense that I deserve a blessing, but she believes that she might get grace. And grace is the unearned goodness of God that's poured out by him, despite the fact that we are unworthy. She comes to Jesus and she's like, I'm not even a child at the table, I'm not even a Jew, I'm not even in on the promises that all you guys got, I'm just a dog looking for some table scraps, and her absolute standing on God's grace is what shows us the reality of the situation.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:40] You know, I think one of the things about the story is there's nobody else around, seemingly other than this woman and Jesus' disciples. And so when Jesus talks about the children and the dogs, the disciples probably didn't think that was a weird thing to say. The weird thing for them was the fact that he gave this dog some table scraps. The weird thing for them is that a woman who had absolutely no claim on Jesus ended up getting a blessing. And many of us could read this story and we could think that we're the disciples, but we're not the disciples in this story, every one of us is this woman looking for table scraps. In fact, literally, almost everybody in this room is non-Jewish, we're not in on the original promises, we are part of God's chosen people, but we are brought in by God's goodness and his grace, and we're shown his grace. Our only claim on God's blessings is his grace. In other words, our claim for God to bless us is not based on our ethnicity, and it's not based on our family heritage, and it's not based on our good behavior, it's not based on any of that, it's all based on us coming to God desperately and just praying that he'll extend to us unearned favor. This is true of every blessing from God. but man, it's true most of all of our salvation.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:28] When think of the audacity of us coming to God and saying, God, here's what I want you to do for me, I want you to forgive all my sins, I want you to treat me as if every bad thing that I ever did didn't really happen. And do you know what else I want you to do? I want you to adopt me into your family as if I was your own child. And then I'd really like it if you sent me the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of me so that he can be with me all the time. I also want you to answer all of my prayers. And after all of this, I want you to bring me into glory in a new, resurrected body, to live on a new, resurrected earth forever. God, that's what I want you to do for me. Who in the world do we think we are? These are crazy requests. We have the audacity to ask this from God, and our only claim on God's blessings is God's grace. There is not a person in this room that is part of the family of God. Because you did something good and caught God's eye. Every one of us who is adopted into God's family is purely adopted into God's family because God, in his great grace through Jesus, poured out the forgiveness of sins and resurrected Jesus for our hope of eternal life. Our only claim on God's blessings is God's grace. That's true also of every prayer that we pray to God. We're talking about prayer a lot, we're coming to him, God give me wisdom, God give me strength, God give me patience, give me growth, give me guidance in this situation, every prayer that we pray, our only hope that it gets answered is that we are standing on the grace of God. Our only claim to God's blessings is God's grace. And so I want to share with you now three ways that I think are really significant ways that we get to respond to this reality.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:22] The first one is this, we respond to the fact that our only claim on God's blessings is God's grace by deciding that we're going to stop looking down on other people. One of the powerful things about this passage is that it does bring up the idea of looking down on other people. When Jesus refers to this woman as a dog, it's probably because all the disciples just kind of nodded their heads and said, that's what she is. As long as human beings are on the planet, we won't be past ethnic and racial discrimination, it's always going to be a part of our story, it's always going to be a part of something that we battle with. But you can't read this story and come away with that being anything but horrifically evil. The idea that we would look at anyone, and because of their ethnicity, saying you are the wrong ethnicity, therefore I get to look down on you is just wild. But you know, we despise people for all kinds of reasons, we don't even need it to be racial or ethnic. It could be because of age, it could be that some of you are looking at millennials or Gen Z and you're like, oh my goodness. And it could be that for some of you, your favorite phrase in the world is, okay, boomer. It doesn't have to be ethnic; it can be any group of people. It can be that there are people around you that because of where they work or because of how much money they have, you look at them and you say, if they would have worked hard like me, they wouldn't be in the squalor that they are right now. Or maybe I think for many of us, the biggest way that we look down on people is not because of class or race, but it's because of the way that they sin. And we look at their sinful lifestyles and we're just like, gosh, I despise that. And maybe we think we're on solid ground because, you know, we could read Paul in First Corinthians chapter 6, verses 9 and 10, and Paul says, "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men a 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." And some of us are like, get em! Like somebody finally said it, or you're in Southern California, might as well be Sodom and Gomorrah, somebody finally said it. Somebody finally said, what's going on? Look at verse 11, "And that is what some of you were." Paul isn't talking about this so that we can all despise the people that are still living in sin; he's telling us about us, to remind us that that's what we were saved out of. And he says, "But you were washed." Does he say you washed yourself? "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." How dare we ever look at another beggar who hasn't yet got the bread that we got when we were once a beggar? We stop looking down on other people because we're all just beggars, looking for table scraps from the king, and the king turns us from beggars into children at the table. We stop looking down on other people.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:47] Number two, we trade entitlement for gratitude. The most staggering thing about this Canaanite woman is the absolute lack of pretense that she has any claim to get something from Jesus. She's just a dog looking for some crumbs, she's just coming there for some table scraps, and it's refreshing because we live in the absolutely most entitled culture in the history of mankind. We think our lives should be absolutely smooth and easy, if we're driving around and we hit a red light and we're like, God, where are you? I mean, we have no perseverance, we have no sense of perspective, especially, as we enter into the time of a holiday where we as a nation celebrate Thanksgiving. What an appropriate time for us to say, how about we trade some of that entitlement for gratitude? How about we recognize the idea that not only have we been saved from hell and forgiven of all of our sins, but most of us have a fridge full of food and we have hot water every day. We have clean water to drink, and we have friends and family who care about us. We have so much to be grateful for, and when we realize we're just dogs looking for table scraps, that entitlement goes away, and that gratitude comes in. We trade entitlement for gratitude.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:11] And finally, number three, we don't despair when we realize we're unworthy. If we're going to be honest, most of us who are living as believers live a little bit like this, you have good days and bad days. And maybe a good day is a day that you're like, I'm sure I sinned today, but I didn't sort of fall into any of the major temptations that I faced, I resisted those, so that was good. Maybe I was generous and helped somebody out that I didn't really need to help out today. Maybe I had my quiet time and I read my Bible and I prayed. Today was a good day. So if at the end of the day, I'm going to God, I feel pretty good about this, like, I feel like I have some standing here. I can go to God, and I can say, hey, I was good today, I didn't fall into any major sins, I prayed, I read my Bible, I was nice to people, you should listen to me because I had a pretty good day. And then we have bad days, we have days where we fall on our face, we slip into temptations that we promised we would never say yes to again. We yell at our kids, or we yell at our parents, we have all kinds of failures, we just feel dirty and grimy and unworthy. And at the end of the day, the idea of going to God, we're like, I'm not going to him, I'm totally unworthy to go to him. And I've got bad news and good news, the bad news is, you're right, you're totally unworthy to go to him. The worst news is, even on your good day, you are totally unworthy to go to him. Our behavior changes day to day, you know it doesn't change day to day, the grace of God. On your good day, the only reason why God would listen to you is because of God's grace; and on your bad day, it is no different. So yeah, you're unworthy, welcome to the club. Every day we bring our unworthy selves before God and our only standing, our only basis for him listening to us, is his grace. And that means when we're having those bad days, we don't have to despair. God knows everything about us, and he still welcomes us by his grace, because our only claim on God's blessings is God's grace.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:29] Here's what I want to do for the last part of our service. I want to invite the prayer ministry team to go ahead and come up to the sides of the stage now to prepare us for afterward. We do this every week, if you're new here, this is something that we do every week. And we do this because we believe that even though the majority of the way that we're going to put God's word into practice is going to be outside of this building, we also believe that when we're gathered together, God is frequently at work in our hearts and there are some ways that he wants us to respond right in the moment. So these folks are up here on either side of the stage so that after our service is formally ended, you can come up and you can say, hey, you know what? I realized that I have some junk in my heart, I have some people that I'm looking down on, and I've felt like I'm in the right and I need to repent of this, and I need to ask for God to change me, because I'm deep into this, and I need God to bring me healing on the outside and within. Some of you are going to need to come forward, because you're going to realize I am a really entitled person and I am not grateful, and man, I want to be grateful. I want to be humbly grateful for all that God has done for me, and to put to death this sense of entitlement. And some of you are going to need to come forward, because right now you're in despair, because your failures are front and center and, you know, you're unworthiness, and so you have given up in moving toward God. And today is the day to take that step toward him again and to realize that he receives you by his grace. All of us are going to look to respond to this, some of us are going to respond to this in obedience today because God is moving us to move toward others so that we're not in this alone.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:15] So I want to invite you to stand right now. I'm going to pray over us and then read a word of benediction. But I just want to say again, let's not rush out if God has business for us to deal with right here. Let me pray. Father, thank you that when we come to you as outsiders, when we come to you as unworthy, when we come to you with no claim or right or basis, that you should listen to us, that you receive us with your grace. Thank you for the grace of our Lord Jesus, and thank you that he invites us in. Father, I pray that you renew our hearts, I pray that you lead us to repentance and healing. I pray that you do fresh work among us, and I pray that you will receive all the glory and we will receive all the help. In Jesus name, Amen. Amen. God bless you the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848