On December 13th, 2017, I preached to the high school students of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. PV students are one of my favorite groups to preach to as I know and love them well (I was one for my entire childhood and teen years). I don’t usually post sermon links online, but as I’ve sent the audio link to several people who have requested it, they have said that this sermon was particularly encouraging to them. Because of that, I’ve posted the link to the audio here. May it be a blessing and encouragement to you! Two final notes: 1.) If the audio sounds like it ends abruptly, it should. The audio recording device cut off just before the conclusion of the sermon, so about 4 minutes of the sermon are missing. Because of that, 2.) I’ve included my sermon notes (in all their roughly assembled nature) below so you can track with the sermon and see what content is in the missing audio. God bless!
- Turn with me in your Bible to 2 Samuel 9. While you’re doing that, I’m going to read a single verse from just a few chapters before this in 2 Samuel 4 to give us a little bit of context.
- David’s best friend was Jonathan, who was Saul’s son. Both Saul and Jonathan died in battle one day. Upon their death an announcement went out proclaiming their death. That leads us into 2 Samuel 4:4.
- 2 Samuel 4:4- “Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.”
- So when the nurse watching over Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, hears the announcement about the death of Saul and Jonathan she recognizes that people could come after Mephibosheth so she tries to protect him by fleeing with him. In her hurry she drops him and he is crippled. Time passes and David is fully established as king. This leads us into 2 Samuel 9.
- 2 Samuel 9:1-13 (whole chapter)- “And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 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; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “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. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”
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.” 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. 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, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.”
- Mephibosheth is an enemy of the king.
- Being lame in the ancient world was like a death sentence.
- David didn’t just pardon Mephibosheth. He could have pardoned Him and sent him away into the wilderness to fend for Himself. Even that would have been an incredible display of forgiveness and mercy. Of course Mephibosheth would have died. He was lame and couldn’t fend for himself. He couldn’t provide for Himself. Instead David brings Mephibosheth in and gives him a seat at his table. Do you realize how immense of a privilege this is? Few people ever got to eat dinner at the king’s table even once. And David doesn’t give Mephibosheth a seat at his table once or twice, but for the rest of his life.
- And David didn’t just give Mephibosheth a seat at the kids’ table, he gave Mephibosheth a seat at his table. That’s up close and personal. That’s the kind of seat that family would have. Essentially, David transferred Mephibosheth from the previous kingdom to his kingdom and made him like his own son, forgiving him of any wrongdoing against David and his kingdom.
- It was an immense privilege
- This all came at a great cost to David and no cost to Mephiosheth
- David gives Mephibosheth everything he could ever need. Physically speaking, Mephibosheth had everything he needed in David. David gave him more than he could ever ask or imagine. All of Mephibosheth’s physical needs were satisfied in David.
- Even though the last verse of the chapter highlights that Mephibosheth is still crippled, he has everything he needs.
- What does this have to do with Jesus?
- In Luke 22, Jesus invited people to his table and they were never the same.
- Luke 22:14-22– “And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
- Jesus is preparing the disciples for what will come in the next few days. Jesus will soon die on the cross and take on the punishment we deserve for our sins and rise from the dead to defeat death so we can be in relationship with God.
- If you’ve been in or around church for any period of time you know that this is the core of the Gospel.
- But I want us to view this story from another perspective: as the ultimate David and Mephibosheth story.
We Are Lame and Crippled in Our Sin
- We are all like Mephibosheth.
- Our allegiance is to another king… the devil.
- We are children of another king
- Ephesians 2:3 tells us this exactly: “We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
- But this King and his Kingdom have been overthrown.
- We are lame and crippled in our sin. But I don’t think we often realize just how helpless we are in our sin.
- But maybe you’re someone who doesn’t really believe in sin. Maybe, like our secular culture you believe that morality is relative and that this sin thing is a sham to make people feel bad.
- The deep outcry against the sexual misconduct cases shows is that people really do believe in objective morality. No thinks the sickening cases of sexual assault are subjectively wrong. No one is telling society to quit forcing their morals on the sexual abusers. Why? Because we all know that sexual abuse is really, truly, and objectively wrong. No one truly believes there isn’t a true right and wrong. Not if you present them with a truly evil action. You can’t hide behind moral relativism.
- We can get a hint about just how lost we are by taking a look at the Garden of Eden.
- All of it took was one sin to separate Adam and Eve from God. And that’s hugely revealing.
- All other religions are centered around works based systems. Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, and Islam. If your good deeds outweigh your bad you can be saved. In Christianity, it is totally different. It only took one, single sin to separate Adam and Eve from God
- Surely their good deeds outweighed their bad deeds.
- Even if we keep from committing a physical act, we start to open up a web browser to look at something we shouldn’t and then close it, start typing a gossipy or conceited post or text and then delete it, are tempted to fall back into drug or alcohol abuse and yet stand firm, even if we have victory over sin in that regard which we should celebrate, if in the moments leading up to that we enjoyed the thought of the sin, even for just a second, we have still sinned. See how utterly helpless we are?
- We can even sin by desiring to go to Heaven if we just desire the benefits of Heaven more than Jesus.
- Every single time you sin, you are essentially trusting something else to give you pleasure, sustenance, and satisfaction more than Jesus. That is a disgrace of infinite magnitude.
- We are so crippled by sin and lost in sin that we can’t even fully understand how helpless we are. Our vision is so clouded by sin.
- We can always make excuses for our sin, but I’ve heard it said that on judgement day the punishment for sin will be so perfect that even the damned will agree with their punishment.
- Want to know what the most pointless battle to fight in the universe is? The battle of deeds. If you are daily struggling, deed by deed to try and have your bad deeds outweigh your good, Satan is laughing. You can never win.
- We all do this. Maybe you go to powerful church service or hear a sermon and realize you need to clean your life up. You start going to church more, maybe even doing a quiet time, and so on. But unless Jesus is your ultimate treasure, your all in all, you’re just trying to work out your salvation in a pious way. You’re just trying to make sure you don’t go to Hell and all that means is that you’re desiring Heaven more than Jesus and that itself is a sin of infinite magnitude.
- The game of deeds, where we try to work out our salvation and have our good deeds outweigh our bad, is completely hopeless.
- Even if you lived a perfect life from here on out, you would still fall infinitely short of God’s standard.
- We deserve death even more than Mephibosheth did and God has every right to bring it right now but yet every moment we have is infinite grace.
Continued Explanation of Jesus-David Parallel
- If we are Mephibosheth, Jesus is King David.
- David was one of the most powerful men in the world in his day. But Jesus is infinitely more powerful. David was king over one nation. Jesus is not just king over one nation, but every nation. And not just every nation but all of creation. And he’s not just king of creation, he created creation. And Jesus isn’t just king over creation, he’s king of time and space, and all matter, and the metaphysical dimensions of reality beyond our comprehension.
- Jesus is king over every moment of reality. He controls and upholds everything to a microscopic and spiritual level that we can’t even fathom. Even on the cross, nailed to that tree, Jesus was completely in control. The Pharisees thought they could keep Jesus from accomplishing his plan by arresting him and flogging him and crucifying him and yet Jesus was so in control, so king over every moment that they played right into his plan. Their deviation was the means by which Jesus was to accomplish his plan.
- Even from the grave Jesus was totally in control, upholding the universe by the word of his power. If even death cannot overtake one’s throne then nothing can.
- We are fools if we seriously think we our lord over our lives. It is Jesus who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- And yet that same King, sovereign over all, comes to us and offers us a seat at his table. I can’t help but think of Mephibosheth’s words when I’m reminded that Jesus cares about you and me. Mephibosheth said in 2 Samuel 9:8, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” which mirrors the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 8:4 when he says, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”
- We are not just totally hopeless and crippled in our sins, but we are totally unworthy of having any contact with Jesus. Infinitely unworthy. Yet he offers us a seat at his table. Jesus changes everything.
- He offers us forgiveness at a price we could never fathom.
- He could have just offered us a pardon. He could have just forgiven the sins we’ve committed up to this point. But just as Mephibosheth would have been helpless if he had been pardoned and sent away, so we would be helpless. Even if all of our sins up to this point were pardoned, we would assuredly sin again, and most of us probably before we left this room. We’re as good as dead on our own.
- The forgiveness Jesus offers is not just temporary, but it is forever.
- It’s as if we are in an unfathomable debt and that debt is increasing at every single moment. We could never possibly pay the debt back and any works based effort we attempt is penny’s on the dollar compared to the infinite debt before us. Jesus not only pays for our infinite debt on the cross, he imputes his righteousness onto us , which is like him giving us an infinite amount of money ever go into debt again.
- That same King, of infinite worth, and value, and power and goodness, who rules over all of the universe, and all of reality beyond our comprehension willingly gave up his own life and took on the punishment we deserve for our sin so that he could offer us forgiveness and a seat at his table. He did what we could never could do to give us a gift that we could never fathom.
- Not only does Jesus forgive us, but He offers us a seat at his table. The King of the universe, sovereign over all, offers us a seat at his table.
- And Jesus doesn’t just offer us a seat at the kids’ table, He offers us a seat at His table. That’s up close and personal. That’s the kind of seat that family would have, the most cherished members of the kingdom.
- Colossians 1 sums up what God does perfectly. Colossians 1:13-14- “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
God is the True Gift of the Gospel
- When Jesus offers us a seat at his table he is giving us the greatest gift of all, even greater than the gift of his forgiveness: He is giving us Himself.
- God is the greatest gift of the Gospel. The gift of Jesus forgiveness is just a means to the greatest gift of all.
- Didn’t die just for our forgiveness, but so that we could be in relationship with God.
- 1 Peter 3:18- For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God”
- We have everything we need in Jesus.
- For all of eternity, we will be perfectly satisfied in Him. If we try and satisfy ourselves with anything else more than Jesus, we are asking for something greater than God. No wonder our idols always let us down.
- We are never alone.
- When we come to Christ and are given a seat at his table, we are not immediately healed.
- But we have everything we need in Jesus.
- But Jesus offers us something that David could never offer Mephibosheth. In the end, Jesus promises to completely heal us, and not just us but the whole world so that there will be no more tears and no more pain and no more death forever.
- Don’t remain as an enemy to God.
- Come and take the seat at the table. Jesus is offering it to you.
- You don’t have to clean yourself up to come to the table. Mephibosheth certainly couldn’t. he was helpless.