First Family Church

The Graciousness of the King

Between two war stories is a beautiful snapshot of King David’s grace towards Mephibosheth. Listen as Pastor Todd parallels the historical flow of 2 Samuel 8–10 to the spiritually stunning work of God’s grace in our lives.

Sermon Transcript

I think we would all agree that graciousness, mercy and kindness is a beautiful thing, wouldn't we? Haven't you ever experienced when there has been conflict either a verbal war or may be a situation that's tense, in the middle of that when someone has a moment of graciousness or when mercy shines through, isn't it a beautiful thing? You can nod your head and kind of talk back to me. You're like, "Yeah, everyone loves that, Todd." It kind of releases the tension, everyone kind of breathes a little easier. I mean, grace and mercy are beautiful things, aren't they?

I experience this a lot, first of all through my wife. She is very gracious and so patient with me. But I was asking her and my mom and dad this weekend, "Hey, when is a moment when grace just really seemed to kind of be in the middle of a situation and we were all thankful for it?" My dad said, we were talking about this, I mentioned it, there was a time in high school when I signed up for a health club membership. I don't know why I did it. I was wrestling and I was looking for a place to go and cut weight, maybe work out. They had a sauna. I had the old plastic suit you would put on and you would sweat away the pounds. I think that was against the rules, actually to do that during wrestling season, but I was trying to cut 32 pounds and I just was looking for anything I could do to lose weight. Somehow I got talked into a membership with a sauna and the next thing I know a few months into it, I get a letter in the mail that I owed $800+. I'm a junior in high school, I think. I'm working fast food part-time, yeah, but I don't have $800. I didn't flip that many burgers, I can tell you that, right? 

So I didn't know what to do and I thought, "How do I tell my dad this? Who is going to find that that money?" All I remember is that in the middle of that, there were probably a lot of details I don't recall, but my dad went there and he solved that problem and he didn't pay the money. He told me afterward and said, "I took care of that for you." He said, "There is no reason you should have signed that as a minor." He said, "There are things there that should have been different. But I won't go into it, just trust me and be thankful for the grace." I was thinking, man, I was expecting tons of conflict to come out of that and my dad just kind of had a really gracious moment, like, "I'll take care of this for you." And he did it well. He did it right. Who doesn't love some grace in the middle of conflict, amen?

I remember after we moved here back in 96, I don't even know all the reasons for this but I had charged up a lot of money on the credit card and most of it was for things that Julie didn't know about and I remember having to confess that to her one evening. She was in bed reading and those words just kind of tumbled out of my mouth like, "I've got something to tell you about and it involves the credit card and a bunch of money, like $2500." And I remember her response to me was very gracious. In fact, this week when I asked her, I said, "When was one of those gracious moments in our marriage?" And probably back on that night you told me about that debt that we accrued that I didn't know about. I said, "Yeah, that's for sure." It also works both ways, by the way. This week she told me, she actually texted me, "Which of these gas cans is the right gasoline for the mower?" She was going to mow the grass for me one day. I was in Awana, I worked with a pastor there and I didn't get the text, well, I couldn't answer it right away because I was in a meeting and she chose the wrong gas can. She chose the chainsaw instead of the gasoline. So I finally answered back and I said, "Oh, it's the big gas can." She goes, "Too late." Do you know what? I was gracious. I said, "It will burn out. We'll be okay. It will work out." It's not quite as big as the $2500 deal, is it, honey?

Hey, can we just all agree, man, isn't grace and mercy beautiful when you realize, "Man, I'm needing some right now," right? We're going to see that today in 2 Samuel 9 and I hope that your mind goes to situations where you think, "Wow, I didn't deserve what I was shown. I didn't deserve any of that unmerited favor, that beautiful kindness, that gracious mercy. I didn't deserve any of that and yet it was extended to me." I hope your mind goes to those situations as we look at what David did to Phibs in 2 Samuel 9. Maybe you're thinking in your mind, "Who in the world is Phibs?" Well, that's what I'm going to called Mephibosheth. It's like, okay, I'm not going to say that long name over and over this morning. Can we agree to that? I'm just going to call him Phibs. Are you good with that? Okay, great. 

We're going to see this in 2 Samuel 9 and that's surrounded by chapter 8 and chapter 10. You know that. Chapter 8 is all about David's victories and so is chapter 10, so really what you have is 8 and 10 filled with war stories and in the middle of both of these chapters about a lot of war and a lot of victories, you have this one chapter about David's beautiful gracious act of kindness toward Phibs. What I don't want you to miss is this: you may think, "Well, both of them are about his enemies in 8 and 10, and 9 is about his kindness to a friend." Actually, that's where we're wrong. Chapter 9 is about his kindness to an enemy as well because Mephibosheth or as we will call him Phibs, is actually the lone remaining survivor of the previous regime and in that culture, in that kind of historical setting, you made sure that the previous king's survivors never lasted long lest they raise up and start a coup. So the truth is historically in the flow of this context what you're seeing is David dealing with enemies in 8, 9 and 10. In 8 and 10, he deals with them in a victorious military fashion, and in 9, he deals with them in a gracious merciful fashion based on his covenant with Phibs's father, Jonathan. 

So we're going to see how this unfolds today and we're going to learn a lot from it. 2 Samuel 8, 9 and 10. I'm not going to read 8 and 10 for you, I'll just notice and highlight a couple of verses that show you the war picture. Can we do that? Look about verse 11 of chapter 8. You can read the whole chapter in your Lighthouse. You can discuss more of these locations and countries then but basically here's what happened. It says that he subdued many nations in verse 11. Do you see that? Here are some of those nations that are mentioned here in this verse that are described in the chapter: the Edomites, the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Amalekites, and of course, then, this king of Zobah, we might call them the Zobahites. Verse 13 says, "David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites." Look at the end of this verse, "And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went." So in Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Amalekites, the Zobahites, in all these places, all these nations that David subdued, God gave him victory. It's a chapter of war and victory. 

Chapter 10 is much the same thing. Look over there with me. Notice this is really a chapter of how Joab and Abishai beat the Syrians and the Ammonites so they were trying to alliance themselves together and beat Israel but it never worked out because of these two men of war. Basically at the end it says in verse, what is it 19, "the Syrians were afraid to save the Ammonites anymore." Why? Because Joab and Abishai had beaten both of them, one from the front, one from the back. You'll see that in verse 8, verse 9, 10, 13, 14. 

So what you have in 8 and 10 are David's military conquests – now watch this church – in which God is fulfilling the promise he made which was this, "I will give you rest from all your enemies." He promised them victory and so David goes and he's fighting battles in various locations and countries and regions and God is fulfilling his word and he is giving David and Israel rest. David is doing what kings do, providing for the nation, protecting the nation. Remember in the previous chapter he would be Shepherd over his people Israel? So he's doing what a good king Shepherd does: he protects the people and provides for them. 

Chapters 8 and 10 highlight that but a 9 shows us the very same thing in a different perspective, 9 shows us David providing, protecting his people, and look how he does it in 9. He asks a question to begin. In the middle of all these battles and all these victories, he asks an interesting question. He says, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul?" and I think what he's wondering is, "Hey, I've taken care of all my enemies in Moab, Edom, the Ammonites, the Amalekites, the Philistines, the Zobahites, I've got my enemies covered, I'm conquering my previous enemy. Is anybody left from his house?" But watch what he says not to annihilate them but, "that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake." What a beautiful verse in the middle of two or three chapters about war, isn't it?

Now by the way, the word "kindness" there is the Hebrew word "chesed." Can you say that with me? Chesed. So you all sound smart now and you think you know Hebrew, right? All that is the word for "steadfast love." It's the word that God uses to describe his love for Israel and when Israel would play the harlot, when Israel would commit whoredom with idols, God would say, "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have chesed you with an everlasting chesed. My covenant love will never fail you." God will be faithful to his own name and to his people. This is the kind of love David is talking about.

He's saying, "Is there anybody left of the house of Saul, the one who was before me, that hated me, that tried to kill me? Is there anyone left from his line that I may show them," watch this, not annihilation like the other enemies but, "kindness for Jonathan's sake?" If you recall in 1 Samuel 20, he had promised Jonathan and Jonathan had promised him that they would take care of each other's offspring forever. David is now making good on his promise to Jonathan.

The rest of the chapter basically unfolds the answer to David's question. How can I now deal with another one of my enemies, so to speak. Verse 2, "Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, 'Are you Ziba?' And he said, 'I am your servant." And the king said, 'Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?' Ziba said to the king, 'There is still a son of Jonathan.'" Jonathan was Saul's son. This son of Jonathan, "he is crippled in his feet." If you look back at chapter 4, verse 4, you'll see this. He was being carried out by a maid or a servant lady, the battle was raging, news had just come about Saul and Jonathan's death. She is rushing out with Mephibosheth and basically either she trips or she drops him, but this accident that occurred as she is running out cripples Phibs in both of his feet. We don't know exactly all the details there  other than he is lame.

The king says to him in verse 4, "'Where is he?' And Ziba said to the king, 'He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.' Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar." So this is probably a house of someone that he was exiled to, much like someone who is no longer in power or their line is no longer in power. They exiled them to a distant land or a different territory and say, "Just exist there for a while. You're no longer in charge." Phibs has been exiled. He's living in a servant's house. They are still connected to Saul but only by name.

David calls for him and I want you to notice the next verse, "And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage." And I believe at this point he is worried that he's going to be next in the line of annihilated enemies. I base that on verse 7 when David says, "Don't fear." But at this point he's probably thinking, "Well, he has conquered the Moabites, the Edomites, the Philistines, the Amalekites, the Zobahites. I'm probably next. He doesn't want one single survivor left of the previous regime. I'm next." 

And when he stands before David, he pays homage and David says to him, watch the next words, it's a long name, isn't it, Mephibosheth. Now listen very carefully, church, culturally we may not draw this just from English text but we would know from the Hebrew text as well as from the culture of history for a king to call someone by name would be to entreat him in a personal manner. It's way beyond what a king should have done. A king should have said, "Yeah, you're a servant. Do what I say. I don't owe you relationship." Does that make sense? But the name implies relationship, like it implies favor. That's why in this text we don't see David saying anything but the name. He was saying, "Mephibosheth, I've got good news for you, not bad news for you. I've got life for you, not death for you." Just in his ability to say to Phibs his name, Mephibosheth, it signaled, "Okay, there is a relationship here the king wants to have with me."

He answers, "Behold I am your servant." And David said to him, "Do not fear." Now he explains this relationship. He gives details now on why he could call him by name and entreat him personally. He said, "Don't fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan." Here is how he'll show him kindness, two ways, "I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father," or grandfather, "and you shall eat at my table always." So there will be a sense of land and then there will be this sense of supply and provision.

So then Phibs paid homage and said, "What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?" That's how he viewed himself and now he is being invited to the king's table.

Look how verses 9 through about 13 explain those two aspects of kindness which would be land and food, and you might even say this, land and access because the king's table refers to the king's palace. It refers to unfettered entrance to the king's presence. So he received the land, he received unfettered access. Here's how that unfolded, "Then the king called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, 'All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall always eat at my table.'" So he's providing for all of those who were connected to Phibs but he's saying  when it comes to Phibs himself, he comes into the palace, "He gets access to eat with me."

"Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, 'According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.' So Mephibosheth ate at David's table, like one of the king's sons." Oh my goodness, church, are you seeing this? Man, is your heart not welling up with joy at the graciousness of King David? 

Now let me ask you a question: is there a name for what verse 11 says happened? When it says that Phibs ate at David's table like one of the king's sons, what is the name for that? Four letters, begins with an "h." H-e-i-r, say it with me, heir. You know what an heir is, don't you? An heir is someone who gets all the benefits without any of the work. You're in the family. You have the right name and so you get all the benefits but you didn't have to do any of the work, which is why, and I'll push Paul here and explain something that is connected – listen very carefully – which is why it's better to be an heir than an overcomer. You say, "Why do you say that?" Because Paul told us in Romans that we are more than overcomers through him who loved us. Have you ever wondered what that is? I've often wondered, I read that and I'm like, "Man, more than an overcomer?" Because, you see, I kind of like being an overcomer. I kind of like that, don't you? I mean, that's kind of mighty, powerful, like, "Hey, I'm an overcomer." That's a good title to have. But Paul says actually we are more than that, we are more than conquerors, is the word he uses. We are more than conquerors. Like, why would you want to be more than that? That's a good thing to be, right? Have you ever wondered what is more than a conqueror, it's simply an heir; it's someone who gets all the benefits but does none of the work, and that's what the verse says, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Christ did all the work, we get all the benefit. That's a good place to be. That sounds just like Phibs, doesn't it? He gets all the benefit, unfettered access, the king's table, allotment of land but, man, he didn't do any of the work. He was in the previous regime. He thought he was coming to have his neck sliced. Wow, what a beautiful picture of grace in the middle of war and conflict.

Verse 12 ends up by saying, "And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba's house became Mephibosheth's servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem." Now think about that phrase. He wasn't exiled in Lo-debar and now the crippled lone survivor of the previous king who was out to get David is living in the city of David. He is in Jerusalem and, "he ate always at the king's table," and then I love this last phrase because it's almost added to make us think, "How in the world did that happen?" Look at the last phrase, "Now he was lame in both his feet." So you may wonder how did a crippled guy get to Jerusalem and have unfettered access to the king's palace and the king's table? It's almost like it leaves you wondering, "Man, how does that happen? How does a guy go from Lo-debar in exile to Jerusalem and the palace when he is lame in both feet and his grandfather is the previous king who tried to kill the current king? How does all that happen?" Five letters: g-r-a-c-e. Isn't grace a beautiful thing?

I think two actions will help us understand this today. The first one you just did, I'll show you what you just did with these three chapters, here's the first action: let's follow the flow of the narrative, okay? In its historical context, here's what happens: war, kindness and war. It's conflict on both sides of David's gracious kindness. So in the middle of war and conflict, King David showed gracious kindness to his enemy and I inserted enemy there instead of Mephibosheth because in actuality if you follow the flow, that's actually what's happening. David is dealing with his enemies in all three chapters but here because of his covenant with Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20, he's actually extending gracious kindness, an undeserved gift, unmerited favor to the son of his best friend, the grandson of his arch enemy. This would make a great movie, wouldn't it? So just understand, we just did that, we walked through the chapters, highlighted some verses, read chapter 9, all we did there was follow the flow of the historical narrative that between two chapters about war, David shows a beautiful picture of grace and mercy, of covenant steadfast love, of kindness. 

Now understand something: this was out of the ordinary. Phibs would have been someone who was in exile; his reputation would have been beyond tarnished; he would have been culturally despised. His grandfather committed suicide, his father had been killed in war, uncles as well. Another one of his uncles was forced to be king earlier. Remember that, Ishbosheth? But he ended up being kind of a weak, spineless king so he was killed by his own men. So he's got nothing really culturally or politically to bargain with. Add to that, he is financially distraught because he's the previous regime. He's probably living in exile on borrowed land, probably on a borrowed dime, and he's also physically unable to do much. He is crippled in both feet. So can you imagine, here's Phibs in this distant territory without much going for him physically, financially, culturally, politically, militarily. He's just kind of existing and David extends this incredible gift of land and food and access to him. That's beautiful. What a gift. What a gracious act of kindness.

I think secondarily this should cause us to realize that there is power when we act in gracious ways in the middle of difficult circumstances. Now, I want to take a risk here and show you some ways you can apply this text before I show you the ultimate application. I hope I make Travis appropriately uncomfortable here with this. I'm doing this on purpose to see if I can catch him offguard here a little bit. But I say this word secondarily because this has some secondary applications. For instance, when we help those who are victims and in disaster areas like the different hurricanes, Maria, Harvey, they hit Puerto Rico, parts of Texas and Florida, and we go and help them, we help them with food, we give them shelter, we help clean their house out, I think there are four of our own people going here in the next couple weeks. They are going to Liberty, Texas to be a part of the disaster relief. They'll ask for nothing. They'll charge nothing. They'll take care of their own expenses. They'll go in and they will feed people, people they don't know, and to some degree you may say, "Well, I bet they don't deserve that because they should have evacuated." You can have all the lines of reason you want but the truth is they're going to go in there in a terrible situation and just show a lot of grace, amen? For some people, they will clean their homes out. They'll take the mud out. They'll remove all the sheet rock that's wet and moldy. They won't charge a dime. They won't ask for a thing. They'll just do what they're told. That's a gracious act of blessing and that's what Christians do. We act graciously in difficult times, amen? 

This is one of those examples. It can motivate us to live that way. Maybe it's how we are going to be giving not only at our harvest offering at the end of November but at that same time, friend, we're going to get a trailer or a pod and we're going to set it up out here and during the week of Thanksgiving, I'd like to ask you to fill that trailer, fill that pod with clothes for those who are just leaving prison or supplies for the Alpha Women's Center. That's a great option for those who are considering abortion. We always direct folks to Alpha Women's Center or Informed Choices in Ames. We are pro life, 100%. We do all we can to help families and young moms who are thinking about that. We want to say there is a better option, amen?

So we're going to have a trailer out here and I'm going to ask you to bring coats, clothes, shoes that those who are leaving prison, because when they leave, all they get is what they came in with, and you can say again, "Well, they deserve that." But grace comes in the middle of difficult times and just is a blessing. So let's fill the trailer with clothes and coats and shoes and let's take it down to Polk County jail. They've got a chaplain that we know real well, Jerry, and let's just give as much as we can to help men and women who are leaving prison and needing a hand to kind of get restarted. Does that make sense? A week of giving would be good for our church beyond just money, as well as diapers and wipes for the Alpha Women's Center. It would be a great way to be a blessing to them.

Speaking of families and children, I think about those in our church who are such a huge blessing to foster children, children who are in need of foster care. Or even before that. There is a group called Safe Families that Ben is a part of. I think they have some influence there and it is those who stepped in even before the foster care system of our state can jump in. I know Nate and Lindsay are really involved with our foster care situation. Many of you are involved in that. I think if I'm not mistaken, there is a class that meets here on a weekly basis. I'm looking for a nod, Lindsay, in case I'm getting this wrong or right. Not currently but I know we've had some classes in the past where we could get either trained or certified in that whole system. I know I've been praying and still do along with the Prichard's that God would just lead our church to really be a primary solution to Polk County's foster care situation. We've got enough families in the church, we could answer the need in our county. You may say, "Well, hey, that's what they get. That's what they deserve." But the truth is grace comes in situations that are difficult and we are a blessing. We try to help when it is not deserved, when it is not merited. Does that make sense? I'm just naming situations in which this shows us the power of grace in a difficult moment to help children who are desperately needed, victims of disasters, those leaving prison, those who are pregnant and alive, a baby in the womb just not visible. What can we do to be a blessing to help in those situations? 

I think this passage secondarily helps us find motivation to be gracious. Are you with me? But I don't think that's the primary purpose of it. Are you listening, Travis? You'll like this, I know. Because if I left you there, if I said, "Hey, so let's go be King David's. Let's go and show grace in times of war and conflict. Let's go and be merciful when it's really difficult." You would leave here still trapped in moralism. You would leave here with a blanket of betterism all around you. You'd go and you'd work hard this week but you wouldn't do it perfectly. You would have moments where you didn't, you know, really meet up to the standards and you'd come back and say, "Man, Todd, I didn't do very well last week." And so I would say, I wouldn't say it but in that scenario I would say, "Well, you need to do better next week." And we'd have this treadmill of everyone trying to do better, not sure how we are ever going to get there. I want to get off that treadmill, amen?

So that's why I say to you secondarily this shows us how to be gracious, yes, but primarily it shows us how we have been shown graciousness. You see, I don't think in this passage you should see yourself as David. In this passage, you are the dead dog. You are Phibs and so am I. We are the crippled. We are the lame. Watch this, church, listen very carefully: you are the exiled enemy and it is to you that God in keeping a covenant that he made with the son of David, it's to you that he extends all the benefits of his grace though you have done none of the work. 

You see, I don't want you just to follow the flow of this, I want you to focus on the 'phor of this. Now notice how I spelled "'phor" there. I didn't spell it f-o-u-r, or f-o-r, I spelled it '-p-h-o-r, which stands for what? You might be a little slow there but you got it: metaphor. You see, I've got issues with words, okay? I do and as I was thinking through this text and just reading and meditating, I realized that the metaphor of this is really the major point but I didn't like the idea of follow the flow, focus on the metaphor, but I did like follow the flow and focus on the 'phor. So I thought, you know, I do have issues, they know it, let's just have fun with it, right? It's a little cheesy, a little lame, granted, but you'll remember it, won't you?

You see, this is really the point of this chapter. It's not about the flow of the narrative even though the author uses these three chapters to kind of bring home the point. The real focus is the metaphor that's behind it all: that there is a king, a later greater king than David, it's the son of David, it's Jesus Christ, who extends to you incredible grace even though you were his enemy. That's what this points to and so this chapter as we taught  you a few weeks ago, is really a typological chapter of what God has done for his people through Jesus Christ. Now watch this, church, listen very carefully: King David showed kindness to Phibs not because of anything Phibs did but because of his love, David's love for whom? Jonathan. It was because of a covenant with another person that the king showed kindness to Phibs. I mean, you're there already mentally, theologically. You're there. God has shown kindness to you because of a covenant he has made with another person. Who is that person? It's his Son, the son of David. Remember Psalm 89 from last week? Remember all that God had promised to bring to pass through the Messiah? He will keep that promise. He will keep that covenant and guess who the recipients, who gets the benefits of God keeping his promise to his Son? You do. Wow, that's grace. That's mercy. That's chesed. That's God keeping his covenant and you get all the benefit.

Let me show you how this is worded in the New Testament, how this metaphor, I'll say how this 'phor about Phibs comes to play in the New Testament. Look at some similar language in Romans 5:6-10. Let me just read these to you, can I? You'll begin to see that in the middle of war and conflict, God shows his kindness to his enemies. You'll begin to see this, how King Jesus took us when we were crippled, lame and weak, and he brought us into his family, gave us access, provision, protection. 

Here is Romans 5:6 to 10, "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Now he didn't die for the godly, he died for the ungodly. 

"For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." You see, that's what's amazing. God's love is amazing because it came to you not when you were his friend, you weren't his ally, you were at war with him. You were an enemy of God. You were a sinner and God showed you love. You were of the previous regime, church, and yet God, "Is there someone to whom I can show kindness, chesed, steadfast love?" 

He says in verse 9, "Since, therefore, we  now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." What God did for us, he did for us through his Son, Jesus. Praise the Lord for grace, the grace of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

Look how Titus words it, it's chapter 3. Here you get some of the financial terms about riches and poverty, how God has blessed us with his riches even in the middle of our poverty. In Romans you had more the military aspect: we were weak, we were at odds, we were at war, we are enemies, but God reconciled us. Here's how Titus words it, look what he says in verse 3 of chapter 3, "we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared," by the way, that's a person named Jesus,  "he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness," yeah, we brought nothing to the table, we're crippled, we're lame, we're a dead dog, not because of our works, "but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us," how church? "Richly through," whom?  "Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Wow. Praise God for his rich grace in making us heirs when we were dead dogs and beggars.

I hope you see the beautiful truth unfolding in this chapter. Yeah, we're looking at three this morning but really chapter 9 is our focus and I hope you see the beautiful truth unfolding that in the middle of war and conflict, right in the middle of our most difficult situation, God's grace comes to our souls and it's in the middle of his wrath upon our sin and so his grace and wrath are both seen in our beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ. Now I want you to notice something about this statement because the historical narrative does point to the later greater picture of Christ but I want to say to you this: the metaphor far surpasses the actual event. That's what's so humbling about the work of God in Christ for us because in Christ's kingship and in him making us heirs, he actually took all the wrath that we deserved and then he bestowed all the grace that we needed. So he became sin for us and yet he bestowed grace on us. Only Jesus could do that. Not even King David could do that for Phibs. 

So the metaphor far surpasses the historical event in that Jesus Christ is actually the offering for sin. He filled up all of God's wrath at the cross in his body and in shedding his blood, he satisfied God completely, and yet in doing that, he then also bestowed upon us all the grace that we need to be heirs. So every answer is found – watch this, church, listen very carefully, systematic theology 101, fundamental doctrine 101 – all the grace that we need is found in Jesus Christ, not in anything we do. We are crippled. We are dead dogs. But King Jesus calls for us, calls us by name and brings us into his presence and gives us everything we need to be an heir. Grace is a beautiful thing, amen?

Now, I want you to hear something clearly as we wrap this up: stand for that grace. That grace is continually under attack. It's exactly why Martin Luther 500 years ago this month nailed his 95th thesis to the door of the chapel, to stand for grace. And just as then 500 years ago, those false teachers propagated the thought that you could buy your forgiveness, you could purchase your pardon. They called them indulgences. It was one of the main beefs he had with the false teachers of that church. He said you don't buy anything. We don't bring to the table, we don't purchase pardon. It's all because of Christ. 

Can I say to you that's still taught today that you can purchase your way out of sin to God. There's a word for that, it's called heresy and the Bible is very clear that it's not by works of our righteousness but by his mercy he saved us. To believe the dogma that we can buy a pardon, that we can purchase forgiveness, that we can work our way to God by bringing something of our effort to the table would be like rewriting 2 Samuel 9 and saying, "Well, do you know what? Phibs, if you could get to Jerusalem on those bad feet you have, if you could find some way to bring whatever savings you've collected over the past few years, maybe that will help David in his mercy, help David in his grace, that will help David to be kind to you. Hey, bring what you can. We'll make it work together." That's ludicrous. The point of 2 Samuel 9 is this: when Mephibosheth could do nothing, David did everything. 

But the metaphor surpasses the event. When you and I could do nothing, Jesus did everything and so you stand for that kind of grace. Grace alone, in faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. That's what the word of God alone teaches. That's the grace we stand on. That's the grace as Paul was saying, we fall on, because, man, I've got nothing to fall on if it's just my name at play here. I've got mistakes like I told you about earlier. I've got a list of those that would probably beat yours. We've all got a list, don't we? But God in Christ has shown grace at the cross. 

So I just want to say to you this morning: stand for that kind of grace, the kind of grace that Ephesians talks about when it says so clearly that we were dead in our trespasses. Here are verses in Ephesians 2: we were dead in our trespasses; we were the sons of disobedience; we lived in the passions of our flesh; we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. It's a bleak picture. Verse 4, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us." It's all about God, isn't it? "Even when we were dead in our trespasses," we were dead dogs like 2 Samuel 9, right? "He made us alive together with Christ," watch this phrase, "by grace you have been saved." Man, thank you, Lord, for grace. It's a beautiful thing in the middle of disastrous situations. He says he has "raised us up with him, seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." It's like what David did for Phibs. As long as he was in Jerusalem, he showed the riches of his own kindness to all those who were watching by giving Phibs complete access, land and provision. And when people look at you and say, "How did all of that occur? How do you get access to God? How are your needs met? What's going on?" It's because of God's grace and kindness toward you in Christ Jesus. 

So he says again in verse 8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing," you didn't crawl to the table, you didn't limp your way to the altar, you were dead and God made you alive, "it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." So how about we just have no boasting today? How about we see Phibs and David and we realize, "Wow, this is really all about God's work for us," and we give him all the glory? I thought of this song all week, "Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God's grace," this last phrase, "grace that is greater than all our sin." Isn't grace a beautiful thing?

Let's pray.


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