Sermon #38                                                 Series: Matthew


            Title:            LESSONS FROM THE CANAANITE WOMAN          
            Text:             Matthew 15:21-28

            Subject:        The Canaanite Woman’s Faith

            Readings:     Office: R. Wood Aud. Bob Poncer

            Date:            Tuesday Evening – March 28, 1995
            Tape:            R – 17




            Every word in this passage is rich in instruction, and deserves to be thoroughly studied, mediated upon, and laid up in our hearts. In these verses we see a woman with a great need, who shows great faith in our great Savior, and obtained great mercy from him. The circumstances attending this miracle are both interesting and instructive. We will look at them in order and see what they are intended to teach us. The title of my message is Lessons From The Canaanite Woman. I want you to see five things clearly revealed in this paragraph. May God the Holy Spirit, who inspired Matthew to record this event upon the pages of Holy Scripture, be our Teacher.




            This Canaanite woman is here set before us as an example of faith.


I.  The first lesson to be learned from this story is this – The Lord Jesus Christ, The Good Shepherd, Will Seek And Find His Lost Sheep, Wherever They May Be – (vv. 26-28).



These four things always go together –

  1. Election
  2. Redemption
  3. Calling
  4. Perseverance.


The natural man, reading our text with spiritually blind eyes, might say, “This is not a story about Christ seeking the woman, but about a woman seeking Christ.” I urge you to read the text more closely. I fully grant, this Canaanite woman come to Christ, earnestly seeking him. But she would never have come to him in verse 22 if he had not come to where she was in verse 21. Our Lord Jesus came into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon because, as Mark says, there was “a certain woman” there to whom he must come. God, in his eternal decree had marked out the spot where and when this needy soul would meet her all-sufficient Savior. When “the time of love “arrived, he came to the spot to perform for her and in her his great purpose of grace!



NOTE: In all his movements while upon the earth, and in all his movements now in providence and by his Spirit, the Son of God is on an errand of mercy!



Wherever you find a seeking sinner you will also find a seeking Savior – (John 6:44-45).


II.  Secondly, learn this. Mark it down. Lay it to heart. It is a lesson that must never be forgotten – God’s Elect Are Often Found Where We Least Expect Them.


            It is grace, not place, that determines who shall be saved. It is grace, not race, that determines who shall obtain faith. This was a Canaanite woman, a  Syrophenician, from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.



The Lord Jesus came to this “certain woman”, made himself known to her, and gave her faith.



Many, like Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, live in the homes of God’s prophets, and yet live and die without Christ, without grace, without life, and without faith. Others, like this Canaanite woman, rise from the darkness and debauchery of idolatry, sin, and utter paganism to faith in Christ, righteousness, peace, joy, and eternal life –



III.  The third lesson to be learned from this event is this – Providence Is The Handmaid of Mercy.


            This entire story is a commentary upon and illustration of Romans 8:28!


            Affliction is often a means of grace to God’s elect, and proves a great blessing to a person’s soul.


            Illustration: John Howsan


Adversity will never produce faith. But God often uses adversity to bring chosen sinners to the Savior.



This poor woman had been put through the wringer. Her heart had been crushed. Her darling daughter, probably her only child, was grievously vexed with a devil. She was utterly helpless there was nothing she could do to help her daughter. Yet, it was the very thing that caused her great pain, heartache, and sorrow that brought her to Christ and taught her to pray. If she could speak to us now from heaven, I know exactly what she would say regarding the whole affair.




Every trial, every providential adversity, every difficulty of life is a message from God. Our troubles in this world are sent by our heavenly Father and are intended…



As trials are used of God to bring us to Christ and cause us to trust him, so our trials are designed to keep us clinging to Christ and to improve our faith.



“Health is a good thing; but sickness if far better, if it leads us to God, Prosperity is a great mercy; but adversity is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ. Anything, anything is better than living in carelessness, and dying in sin. Better a thousand times to be afflicted, like the Canaanite mother, and like her to flee to Christ, than live in ease, like the rich ‘fool’, and die at last without Christ and without hope.” J.C. Ryle


IV.  Fourthly, there is a very sad, but very needful lesson here about believers that we all need to learn – the Best of God’s Saints In This World Sometimes Act As If They Did Not Know The Lord At All.


            Here is a woman, a poor, broken hearted woman, crying out for mercy. And here is a band of blood-washed sinners, who had themselves obtained mercy, looking down their noses upon this Canaanite, Syrophenician woman of Tyre and Sidon, as though she was not worthy of being identified with them! What a pity!


            They cried, “Send her away; for she crieth after us!” She was not crying after them. She was crying after Him! Our Master is far more gracious than we are. Let us ever beware of a guard against our natural prejudices, pride, and hardness of heart toward those who are around us.


A.  Do not try to determine who is and who is not sincere and true – You have no way of knowing!


B.  Do not be doubtful of those who profess faith in Christ.



V.  Lately, learn this – There Are Varying Degrees of Faith.


            Our Lord calls this woman’s faith “great faith.” He called the centurion’s faith great faith too. But he spoke of his disciples’ faith and even of Peter’s faith as “little faith.” He would have us to understand that even little faith, if it is fixed upon him is saving faith. Yet, he holds this woman who is newly converted before us as an example of “great faith,” so that we might seek to imitate her.


            When I read these words, “O woman, great is thy faith,” I want to know what this great faith is. Our text gives us some hints.


A.  Great faith Looks to Christ Alone (I Cor. 1:30-31).


B.  Great faith is Based upon The Naked Word of God – “O Lord, thou Son of David.” She believed Christ Jesus to be the Christ because he met the prophecy of the Old Testament and fulfilled it.



C.  Great faith Involves Repentance.


            This woman turned from her sin, her religion, and her gods, to Christ – NOTE: We should never try to speak of or understand repentance and faith separately.


D.  Great faith Bows to the Word of God.



E.  Great faith Cannot Be Driven from Christ.


            It never gives up. It never quits. Look how this poor soul hangs on to Christ. She had no where else to go.



F.  Great faith Always Gets What It Wants – Mercy!


            Importunity always prevails! “Seek, and ye shall find!”




1.       Remember this woman when you witness to men. God’s elect may be found anywhere.

2.       Remember this woman when you pray – Don’t give up! “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!”

3.       Remember this woman when you are tried and cry – “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth thee!”