Sermon delivered by Rev. Dr. Larry Maley at Dardenne Presbyterian Church on May 7, 2017
“The Transforming Power of Grace”
Scriptures: 2 Samuel 9:1-13 and 2 Peter 3:17-18
Mephibosheth would never forget that day. The news had quickly spread throughout Judah and Israel that King Saul, Mephibosheth’s grandfather, and Prince Jonathan, his father, had been killed in battle (1 Samuel 31:1-6). David was the new king (2 Samuel 2:4 and 5:3). Among the members of Jonathan’s household, David’s coronation not only brought grief but panic as well. For in those days it was customary for a new king to kill the family of the prior king, thereby eliminating any other claimants to the throne. When the frightening news that David was king reached the household of Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s nurse, fearing for the young child’s life, hurriedly grabbed the boy and rushed towards the door. In her haste a tragic accident occurred from which Mephibosheth would never recover. The nurse dropped the boy, causing his ankles to be broken and crippling him for life (2 Sam. 4:4).
The day Mephibosheth learned of his father and grandfather’s death left him destined to live as a pauper instead of a prince – if he could manage to stay alive. But Mephibosheth would later experience a day which had a far greater impact on his life than the day his father died and his ankles crushed. It was the day he found Grace!
“Grace” can either be a dirty word, or, next to “Jesus,” the most precious word in the Bible. How you view “Grace” depends on your perspective. Grace is a dirty word for the devil because it is the Good News of God’s love to sinners (Acts 20:24; Rom. 5:15-17). Grace is the distinctive feature of the Christian faith for no other religion is based upon the concept. The devil hates “Grace.” However, “Grace” has a wonderful healing power for the believer:
- For apart from Grace you cannot know God:
- Grace encapsulates the wonder that God reaches out to underserved and unrepayable sinners like you and me.
- Grace is God’s power reaching into your life (1:6), enabling you become more like Jesus Christ.
- Grace is the love of Jesus which God sees when God looks on your failures, your faults and your flaws.
- Apart from Grace you cannot relate to God.
Satan will tell you that you must pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make it on your own strength. The world teaches that you get what you work and pay for. There is nothing wrong with those concepts. That is the American way. However, our self-sufficiency creates a spiritual problem. You were not created to relate to your work, your paycheck and your possessions the same way you relate to God. God does not relate to us on the basis of our possessions, or even our goodness. God relates to us on the basis of His Grace. God’s Grace showers undeserved favor on our life and continually fashions us into the image of Christ.
In 2 Samuel 9 we listen to King David remembering a promise he once made to Saul’s son Jonathan. David and Jonathan were so close that they vowed to care for one another’s families all the days of their lives (1 Samuel 18:3; 20:42).After Jonathan’s death, new king David sought to fulfill his promise to Jonathan by inquiring whether any of Saul’s household were alive (2 Sam. 9:1). David sought to shower “Grace” on Mephibosheth when he asked, “Is there no one alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” (2 Samuel 9:3).
David learned that Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, was alive. He immediately ordered that Mephibosheth be brought to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 9:5). The story of the grace David would bestow on Mephibosheth also reveals the deeper story of how God showers Grace on us. From Mephibosheth’s story there are four brief points I want to make about God’s Grace in your life:
- Grace Pursues You;
- Grace Enables You to Abandon Your Crippled Past;
- Grace Is Where You Discover Your Real Destiny, and;
- Grace Is Where You Embrace God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Grace Pursues You
Just like Mephibosheth, before you were ever aware of God’s Grace, it already was seeking after you. Grace began searching for you in the throne room of God. There was no benefit for King David to remember Mephibosheth. The name of the place where Mephibosheth lived was called Lo Debar (9:5), meaning “desolate place.” The town’s name disclosed Mephibosheth’s desperate status. The crippled, destitute Mephibosheth could not help himself; he couldn’t reach David if he wanted to; but out of Grace David sent men to carry him to Jerusalem.
God’s Grace is always pursuing you. Just ask the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32): Grace found him in a pigpen and brought him home. Just ask the Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-26): Grace found her alone at a well in the middle of the day. When you can’t walk any further, Grace will carry you. When you’re too weak to go on, Grace will strengthen you. When you can’t believe anymore, Grace will fill you. For the Lord tells you the same thing He told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Grace Enables You to Abandon Your Crippled Past
Mephibosheth had plenty of reasons to be angry at life. Not only were his feet crippled, but his entire life had been crippled. Instead of a splendid royal palace, He lived in a barren, desolate town named Lo Debar. In Lo Debar Mephibosheth lost his prestige, his respectability, and his self-will. In Lo Debar, Mephibosheth went from living in a palace to hiding out with a family friend. He went from living in luxury to dwelling in fear and poverty. He could have let bitterness rule his life and blame David for his horrid circumstances.
King David searched for the now orphaned Mephibosheth and had him brought to his palace. Undoubtedly, Mephibosheth feared for his life for kings were notorious for eliminating the families of their predecessor. But David intent was in fulfilling a promise to his best friend Jonathan. So he brought Mephibosheth to Jerusalem to restore to him all that had been taken from him. After David told him that “I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan” (9:7), Mephibosheth expressed his unworthiness by referring to himself as “a dead dog.” Mephibosheth had both a crippled body and a crippled mentality!
Imagine how transformative it was for Mephibosheth to realize that he had value in the eyes of the king. When you awaken to the reality that God finds you precious and valuable, your crippled mentality and defeated spirit is driven away. Through Grace you become a new person in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Ephesians 4:23-24).
Grace Is Where You Discover Your Real Destiny
Before he experienced his boyhood infirmity, Mephibosheth must have dreamed about his exciting years ahead as a prince. But time had shattered those dreams. Now David looked to restore his place in the palace. Mephibosheth not only received a position of royalty, he was given the status of family for verse 11 tells us, “Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one if the king’s sons.”
You and I were born to be royalty in the Kingdom of God – but sin dethroned us. Before God’s Grace filled our life, we were slaves to our sin (Romans 6:6). Then God’s Grace captured us, not to make us God’s servants, but that we might be the sons and daughters of God (Rom. 8:15, 23). We now have a place at the King’s table; we always have the King’s ear; we receive the King’s blessings; and we are assured of an inheritance from the King (Eph. 1:14; Col. 3:24; Heb. 9:15).
Our place at God’s table is not just for an evening, or for a season. Our place is perpetual. For just as David told Mephibosheth, “You will always eat at my table” (9:7), so our Lord Jesus Christ assures us that no one or anything in all of creation can take away our seat at His eternal table (John 10:28, 17:2; Rom. 8:35-39).
(Proceed to Communion Table)
Grace Is Where You Embrace God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
Mephibosheth did not receive Grace on the basis of what he had done, but on the basis of his father’s relationship to David. David told him that he was showing kindness “for the sake of your father Jonathan” (9:7). Likewise, you and I don’t receive God’s Grace on the basis of our goodness or works. Rather, Grace is given to us on the basis of Christ’s work on the Cross. Grace has been called “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.”
Mephibosheth received a new life because of the grace for which his father paid the price. You can live in the Grace for which Jesus paid the price. A new life filled with the favor of your Heavenly Father and His only begotten Son. Grace lavished on you not because of your merits, but on the merits of your Savior Jesus Christ.
I can think of no word that more describes Christ’s Church than GRACE. For without Grace, we are all eternally lost. We are underserving, but God’s Grace keeps loving us. We are undeserving, but God’s Grace keeps forgiving us. We are underserving, but God’s Grace keeps blessing us. We have “fallen” and are crippled like Mephibosheth, but we don’t have to stay that way. God’s Grace is available to you through Jesus Christ. Come to Jesus Christ today – this could be your Day of Grace!