Matt Hagee - Desperate Enough To Cross The Line
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This morning's message is entitled "Desperate Enough to Cross the Line". Have you ever had a line that you just told yourself, "I'll never cross it, I mean, I'm just never going to cross that line, there's no way I'm ever going to do that". And then somehow, some way, life creates such a desperate set of circumstances that you start thinking about crossing the line? Nobody? When we read Matthew 15, what we see are a set of lines. Some of them are religious lines. Some of them are traditional lines. Some of them are geographic lines. But throughout this chapter for these verses that we're looking at today, all of these lines, in one way or another, are being crossed. We draw lines, because according to the rules, we want to be able to go back and reference something when we see something that we feel is out of order.
Ask yourself this question: what would you do if God started a major revival in this nation with a denomination that you didn't like? Would you denounce it or would you be blessed by it? What if God started doing signs and wonders and miracle works of healing at a church you didn't like to go to? What if what you're asking God to do for you, he does for somebody that you don't get along with? You might want to hold up your hand and say, "Hey! You've crossed the line! You're operating out of order. I had ticket number 28 and you went straight to 32".
Church, I can tell you with a full heart today that I am so thankful that we do not serve a God who has to work within our lines and our boundaries. Every time you look at him, he's a God who's crossing the line. He doesn't stay within a traditional line or a denominational line or a political line. He doesn't stay within geographical borders and boundaries. He's the God who sits in heavenly places and uses this earth as his footstool. He's not a God who reads mandates and is hemmed up by them, or executive orders and considers them, or listens to what the highest court in the land says and is ruled by them. He is King of kings and he is Lord of lords. And beside him, there is no other! There's not a line that man has drawn, there's not a line that religion has written that his grace and his mercy and his love and his majesty has not crossed to reach you.
So here is the question: he crossed the line for us. Are you desperate enough to cross that line for him? Whatever it was that was between you and him, he got over it. So whatever it is that's between you and him, are you willing to get over it too? Because this is where the story picks up. In verse 21, it says: then Jesus went out from there, say that with me, "Then Jesus went out from there... And departed". Now, when it says Jesus has left the building, that's a bad thing. It said: Jesus went out from there... To Tyre and Sidon. They came from Jerusalem to Capernaum where Jesus was ministering, where he was healing the sick, where he was touching the lame, where he was restoring life. And they came to discover what was the source behind these miracles, because it couldn't have been God. I mean it had to be something other than the power of God. And so they were there to discredit and to dispel, and they came to debate and to argue.
And so after they had come and spent some time there in Capernaum, they come up with a smoking gun. They call a press conference. They say, we've got a scandal and it's breaking right now. And here's what they come up with: they say, "Jesus, we were watching your disciples, and they didn't wash their hands before they ate". And if they were righteous Jews, they would have washed their hands before they ate. And because they didn't wash their hands and they just went right to eating, and they follow you, if they're unrighteous, then you're unrighteous. There. Case closed. You're out. Forget the fact this guy just told the winds and the waves to shut up. They want to tell the world that he can't be trusted, because these guys had dirty hands when they ate their sandwich. And isn't that just like religion? Religion will always want to argue the ridiculous rather than walk in the revelation.
And so here in this debate, Jesus sets them straight. He says, guys, it's not what you put in your mouth that defiles you. It's what comes out of your heart that defiles you. And there's a sermon all in that statement by itself. But all of this to say that whenever this argument and this debate is done, Jesus says, I'm through with this place for a little bit. I'm going to get up and I'm taking off. I'm leaving town. He goes to Tyre and Sidon, which means that he crossed the line of Israel's border, and he's now in Lebanon. He has left the country. And when you read this account in Mark's gospel 7, it says: he went to a home and he wanted no one to know it. He just wanted some rest. He wanted some peace. He wanted some quiet. And here comes a Canaanite woman. And she crosses the line. She crosses every kind of line. She crosses the line of culture. She's a Canaanite.
The Canaanites are despised by the Jews, because whenever Joshua went to the Promised Land, God told Joshua, "Drive them out". You read in the book of judges that they could not drive them out. And so God, being frustrated with Israel, said, "I'll never allow these people to be gone. They will be a constant reminder to you of your failure". So when this Canaanite shows up, Peter, James and John go, "Uh, one of those". She's a reminder of their disobedience. She not only crossed the cultural line: she crossed the religious line. In Mark 7, it says she's a Greek, a Syrophoenician. Now the Greeks had many Gods. Israel only had one God. But a Syrophoenician was a different kind of Greek. A Syrophoenician was of the line and the order of Jezebel. Ooh!
Now for those of you who don't know, Jezebel is somebody that God did not like. In the history of Israel, the Bible says of king Ahab that when he married Jezebel, he did more evil in the sight of God than all of the kings before him. And if you understand the history of the kings of Israel, there were some squirrels in that tree. They did some weird stuff. But Ahab marries Jezebel, and God says that's worse than anything the rest of them ever did. Why? Because as a Syrophoenician, she brought in her Syrophoenician priests and her Syrophoenician priestess, and they killed the prophets of Israel, and they put up altars to the false Gods of Baal and Ashtoreth. God is so mad at Jezebel that in revelation, when he comes back to settle the score, he says, I'm throwing her in the fire myself. So when she shows up, it's not good. She's crossed the cultural line. She's crossed the religious line. She's crossed the gender line.
This is the 1st century. She's a woman. She's in a room with men without a husband or a father. I know it ain't woke, but it wasn't appropriate. She's not supposed to address them or be in their presence without consent or permission. She crossed the lines of etiquette. Jesus didn't want anybody to know where he was. She disrupted him. Jesus wanted peace and quiet. She interrupted him. Why? She doesn't care about what lines she's crossing. Why? She's the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong religion and the wrong tradition. But here's the situation: she's desperate enough that it doesn't matter who she's offending and how she's acting. She's got to get to Jesus, because she's got a problem that she believes only Jesus can solve. And what you need to know is that sooner or later, life will make you so desperate in one way or another that you will do whatever it takes in order for you to get to Jesus, because that problem is going to be something that only Jesus can solve.
You're not going to care what they say about you at church. If it requires coming into church already singing the songs of praise, that's what you'll do. You're not going to care who approves of it and who disapproves of it, what they think about it and what they don't think about it, because when you're a desperate person, you do desperate things. And when desperate people find their way to Jesus, they get the answer to the prayer that they need. People are quick to judge desperate people. They see desperate people cross a line, and they say, "Well I wouldn't never do that". Be careful what you say until you've been as desperate as they are. We see desperate people cross lines every day, desperate people in search of peace of mind. Instead of crossing the line to the Prince of Peace, they cross the line to a bottle.
Desperate people, looking for acceptance, trying to overcome rejection, instead of cross the line into the open arms of Jesus Christ, they cross the line into a perverted relationship, trying to find what they're missing in that hole in their heart. When life makes you desperate, don't cross the line looking for love in all the wrong places. When life makes you desperate, cross the line into the open and loving arms of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because he has the power to deliver you. He has the power to restore you. He has the power to drive every principality that darkness throws at you, out of your life. Here in verse 22, we meet a woman who crosses the line. And it sounds pretty good when she walks in. She says, "Have mercy on me, o Lord". But here we have this Syrophoenician Canaanite woman, and she says, "Have mercy on me, o Lord, thou son of David". She's got all the right words. "My daughter is severely demon-possessed".
And the Bible says in verse 23: but he answered her not a word. Say that with me. "But he answered her not a word". Now you have to pay attention to this verse because immediately you'd say, "How rude". Here she is crossing the line. She's desperate. She needs him and he ignores her? No, he didn't ignore her. Read it carefully. "He answered her," right? He just didn't say anything. She cried out to him, and he answered her. He just didn't say what she wanted to hear. And what you need to know is that there are times in your life when you're going to cry out to Jesus, and he's not going to say what you want to hear. You see, we think when we get desperate, it makes God desperate too. But that's not the kind of God that we serve. The Bible says that my God is not a man, that he should lie. In another verse, it says, "Call upon me and I will answer thee".
So Jesus answered her. He just didn't say anything. We may want to argue. "Hey, that's not fair". But you have to understand that when we get desperate enough to finally cross the line and reach out to Jesus, what Jesus wants to know is not are we trying to get him to do our will, but are we willing to do his will? Because sometimes our profession doesn't match up with our relationship. What do I mean? She's a Canaanite woman who's a Syrophoenician. Her culture and her tradition say that she is a pagan with many Gods. And here she suddenly says something, "Jesus, thou son of David". Now that's a Messianic profession. What she's saying is, I believe you are the Son of God, you are the prophesied one, you are who Isaiah said, you are what David wrote, you are all of that and then some, which sounds good.
But what if what she's saying and what she's doing don't line up? I mean have you ever heard somebody say something in prayer that you knew didn't line up with their character? Well, don't act like I'm the only one. People close their eyes and bow their head, and say, "Lord, we just come before you. And we love everyone". I just heard you trash talking like half the world. Sometimes what we say and what we do doesn't line up. And sometimes the response that Jesus gives us is based on what he knows about us. Sometimes we may go before him and say, "Lord, help me get out of debt". And he says, "No. Your behavior got you into debt. And if I get you out of debt, you're just going to get in more debt". "Lord, bring me the spouse that I deserve. Bring me the husband that acts like Boaz". Let me tell you something. If you ain't Ruth, don't ask for Boaz.
You see, when you're desperate enough to call upon the Lord, it does not obligate nor require him to do what you ask. Because he's not interested in whether or not you're desperate enough to get him to do your will. What he wants to know is are you desperate enough to say, "Not my will, but thine, be done"? Whatever you need me to do, Lord, that's what I'm going to do. Whatever you want, that's who I'll be. You are the potter. I am the clay. You are the shepherd. I am the sheep. You are the master, so I forsake who I am. I forsake what I've done. I forsake where I've been. And I'm going to follow your path, because the power that I need is in your promise. And the promise is in your word. And your word is your will. So today, I'm willing to do whatever you ask me to do, so that I can receive what I need! She called upon him desperately.
And at first, he didn't answer her. And then the disciples, bless their hearts. They say, "Lord, send her away. She calls after us". No, she didn't. She didn't say anything to you. She said, "Lord," not Peter, James or John. "Son of David," not Matthew, Mark or Luke, "Have mercy on me". Where did she call on them? She didn't. They're crossing the line. They think that they've got the market cornered on who Jesus can hang with. Somebody shows up that they don't like, that they don't approve of, and they say, "Get rid of them. They don't belong here".
Believe me, Jesus loves the world just as much as he loves you and me. So Jesus turns and he looks at this woman, and he says, "I was not sent but to the lost sheep of Israel". He's come from a place where they were arguing about the rules. And she starts to ask for his power, and he brings up the rule. Hey, according to the rules, I wasn't sent to you. And in this moment, we ask ourselves the question: what do you do when what you ask of God and what he answers is not what you want to hear, and then when he answers, it's not what you wanted him to say? This woman gives us a beautiful picture of how to handle the situation. Jesus has just gotten done with an argument with the pharisees. And does she argue with him? No. The Bible says she worships him.
Instead of getting farther away from him with an argument, she got closer to him with praise. She didn't say, "Lord, I'm asking you to rewrite the rules on my behalf". She just simply got down on her knees, because the Bible says in Mark 7 that she fell at his feet. And she said, "Lord, help me"! "Help me". I know I showed up and I wasn't invited. I know I was loud when we got started. I know I'm irritating those guys back over there. And I know I'm asking for my daughter who's severely demon-possessed, but the truth is: I need help. Because if you touch her, you're going to deliver me. And if you lift that burden off of her, I'll get a good night's sleep. And if this devil gets out of my house, I'm not going to worry when I walk down the street anymore. I'm not going to feel so bad whenever I see my friends, and they ask me "How ya doing"? And I've got to make an excuse.
God, if you'll just touch her, you're going to touch me. She gets honest. And what you need to know is you can't be close with someone you won't be honest with. The book of James says, "Draw near to God and he'll draw near to you". And most of the time when we come into the presence of the Lord, we want to act like we're sitting for our annual exam with the doctor. We lie about everything. The problem is he knows everything. So just be honest with him. And then he comes back with a response that you wouldn't expect to hear. He says, you know, "It's not good to take the children's bread".
Now understand that in this context, the children were the house of Israel. He's sent to the house of Israel. Those are his children. "It's not good to take the children's bread and throw it to a little dog". Why would I take from the table and feed to those beneath the table? In this time of history, the Jews considered anyone, who was not inside the covenant, to be a dog. So he's saying, you have no covenant. You have no claim. There is no reason why I should. And again, she doesn't argue. She's worshiping him. She's asking him honestly. And he says, "It's not good that I take this bread and feed it to the dogs". And do you know how she responds? She doesn't say, "Wait. What? Call me a who"? She says, "Yes, Lord". Say that with me. "Yes, Lord".
Two most powerful words you'll ever learn to say in all of your life, "Yes, Lord". I am who you say I am. Everything that you know about me is true. Everything that makes me unworthy is valid. Every charge, and every rule, and every regulation, and every line, and every letter of every law, I broke it. "Yes, Lord". But even if I just got a crumb, even if I just got a little touch, even if I just got the pieces that your children threw away, that would be enough to get this problem solved in my life. If I could just go home with a little bit of you today, that devil would leave my house. If I could just get a little touch from heaven today, that joy would come back in my heart.
If I could just get a little crumb, then all of a sudden, this sickness and this disease would be conquered, and it would be defeated. What your children don't want, I'll take whatever falls on the floor, because no matter where it comes from, and no matter how I get it, if I can just get a little bit of it, then I'm going to have everything I need to receive everything that I want. And in this, she was proving to Jesus: there's not a line that you draw that I won't cross. I'm not here for me. I'm here for you. And it was her humility and her honesty that pulled Jesus across the line to her. Child of God, when life makes you desperate, reach out for Jesus. And in your desperate reaching, humble yourself. Don't offer him an explanation about how you got where you got. He knows. He watched it. And in your humility, be honest with him. Tell him what you need, because our God is an all-sufficient provider. And he can meet your need if you'll ask him in faith believing today.
I'm going to ask you to stand right where you are. I believe that there's people in this room today, I believe that there's people who are watching today, you're desperate enough in your situation that you want to cross the line. You don't want to go home the same way that you came. You want to cross the line from sorrow to joy. You want to cross the line from fear to peace. You want to cross the line from sickness to health.
Whatever it is that you're asking God to do, he knows exactly where that need is, and he already has the answer for you. What he's wanting to know is: do you have enough faith to cross that line and ask humbly and honestly in faith believing? Do what the Bible says, "Pray in agreement one with the other". And I believe that that prayer in faith and agreement has power today to move that mountain in your life. I believe that God wants to move in your life today if you're willing to let him. But you're going to have to cross the line to get to him, because he's already crossed the line to get to you. Would you give the Lord a handclap of praise in the house this morning?