Unheard, scandalous grace

The King and I a saga about mercy Good morning. Was not it wonderful to have sunshine this week? Just awesome. In fact, it put me in such a good mood that I thought I should just make you happy when you attend the service today. I thought of inviting you all to lunch later, but you can not make reservations at Del Taco. So I decided to do something different. I thought I could show some kindness and favor to at least one person who is here today. So may I ask all who came to the Saddleback Church last year to raise your hand?

A lot of you. Surely you would like to come up here and receive a present. Now those who have been coming for less than a year, would you please hold up your hand? You, my lady, would you come up here? What's your name? "Laila". How long have you been here? "Six months." They think the messages here are great, right? "Yes." Good answer. And for this answer, we have a $ 25,00 coupon for you at Claim Jumper. Did you expect that when you came to church today? "No". Well, we are very pleased to invite you to lunch. Would you accept the lunch on our account and enjoy it? "" Yes, thank you ".

We will come back to this later. I know that I could not give you all a gift certificate. But for the rest of you, I have something more valuable and priceless. This morning I have some real nuggets and wisdom beads on relationships and love for you.

In fact, this wisdom comes from a group of eight, nine and ten year olds. When Allan [10 years] was asked, "How do you decide who to marry?", He replied, "You have to find someone who likes what you like, like sports." If you love sport then you should she likes that you like sports [laughter] and they should order chips with sauce. " [Laughter] I did not say that, it was Allan. Kerstin [also 10 years] said. "No one really decides before he grows up who you will marry. God decides all that in advance and you'll need to find out who you're bound to later. "[Laughter] When Derek [8 Years] was asked," How can a stranger recognize if two people are married? " He said, "You could tell by the way they're yelling at the same kids." [laughter] When Nanette was asked, "What do most people do on a date?" she says, "You should go on a date Have fun, and the two should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to tell them if they are listened to long enough. "[Laughter] But I like the following answer: Your lad will pay attention, this will help you succeed in your marriage when Ricky asked [8 years] was: "What are you doing to make your marriage work?" he says, "Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck." [laughter] That child will become something, I'll tell you, but it gives you the idea that these children are the magic The romance somehow did not particularly discover ... They are never really captured by a love story, have never been tied up by a romance romance.

There is a love story, a romance of cosmic proportions. In fact, this is my story and the story of many people here in the room. And I like her because she is the story of each one of us. You see, the Christian life is more than anything else a story, a drama, it is a journey, a love romance. The Christian life is not a collection of principles; it is not a moral law under which one has to live.

When John Eldridge wrote about it, he said, "Modern evangelism reads itself too often like a tax return, true, all the data is in it, but it's by no means breathtaking." I hope that by the end of today's service, I hope you will Be tense, that it will shake you, stop you on your trail and take your breath away. And, like many love stories, so does this story begin with a tragedy.

Act One: The Fall That Crippled

If we go back to the Old Testament, to the book 1. Samuel, at the end of the book, discover that the people of Israel (the Israelites) are again fighting their archenemy, the Philistines.
But in this particular situation they are beaten. In fact, they are beaten harder than at the Oklahoma football stadium, in the Orange Bowl. That is bad; because on that special day, in this particular battle, her king, Saul, must die. His son, Jonathan dies with him in this fight. Our story begins several chapters later, in 2. Samuel 4,4 (GN-2000):

"Incidentally, there lived another grandson of Saul, a son of Jonathan named Merib-Baal [also known as Mefiboshet], but he was paralyzed on both legs. He was five years old when his father and grandfather were killed. When the news of it arrived from Jezreel, his nurse had taken him to flee with him. But in her haste she let him fall. Since then he has been paralyzed. "This is the drama of Mefiboshet. Because this name is difficult to pronounce, we give it a pet name this morning, we call it "shet" for short. But in this story, the first family seems to have been completely murdered. When the news reaches the capital and arrives at the palace, panic and chaos erupt - knowing that often when the king is killed, the family members are also executed to make sure there is no future uprising. So it happened that at the moment of general chaos, the nurse took Schet and fled the palace. But in the hustle and bustle that prevailed in the place, she lets him fall. As the Bible tells us, he remained paralyzed for the rest of his life. Just think, he was of the royal race, and on the previous day, like any five-year-old boy, he was completely carefree. He ran around the palace without worrying. But on this day, his whole destiny changes. His father has been killed. His grandfather has been killed. He himself is dropped and paralyzed for the rest of his days. If you continue to read the Bible, you will not find much to report about Schet in the next 20 years. All we really know about him is that he lives in a drab, isolated place with his pain.

I can imagine that some of you are already starting to ask yourself a question that I often ask myself when I hear messages: "Alright, so what?" Well, what does that have to do with me? In four ways today I want to give the answer to the "so what?" Here is the first answer.

We are broken as we think

Your feet may not be paralyzed, but maybe your mind. Your legs may not be broken, but, as the Bible says, your soul. And that's the situation of every single one in this room. It is our common situation. When Paul talks about our desolate condition, he even goes a step further.

See Ephesians 2,1:
"You too are part of this life. In the past you were dead; for you disobeyed God and sinned ". He goes beyond being broken to being paralyzed. He says that your situation of separation from Christ can be described as 'spiritually dead'.

Then he says in Romans 5 verse 6:
"This love is shown in the fact that Christ gave his life for us. In time, when we were still in the power of sin, he died for us godless people. "

Do you understand? We are helpless and, whether you like it or not, whether you can confirm it or not, believe it or not, the Bible says that your situation (unless you are in a relationship with Christ) is that of a spiritually dead person. And here's the rest of the bad news: You can not do anything to fix the problem. It does not help to work harder or to improve. We are broken as we think.

Act II: The King's Plan

This act begins with a new king on the throne of Jerusalem. His name is David. You probably heard about him. He was a shepherd boy who kept sheep. Now he is king of the country. He had been the best friend, a good buddy of Schet's father. The name of Schet's father was Jonatan. But David not only took the throne and became king, he also conquered the hearts of the people. In fact, he has extended the kingdom of 15.500 qkm to 155.000 qkm. You live in peacetime. The economy is doing well, the tax revenue is high. If it had been a democracy, she would have been sure of a second term. Life could not have been better. I imagine David getting up earlier this morning than anyone else in the palace. He walks leisurely out into the yard, letting his thoughts wander in the cool morning air before the pressure of the day takes his mind. His thoughts move back, he begins to recall the tapes from his past. On that day, however, the tape does not stop at a specific event, but stops at a person. It is Jonatan his old friend, whom he has not seen in a long time; he had been killed in combat. David remembers him, his close friend. He remembers common times. Then David remembers talking to him from blue sky. At that moment, David was overwhelmed by God's goodness and grace. Because without Jonatan all this would not have been possible. David had been a shepherd boy and now he is king and lives in a palace and his thoughts wander back to his old friend Jonatan. He remembers a conversation they had when they made a deal. In it, they promised each other that each one of them should pay attention to the other's family, no matter where they would lead the further life journey. At that moment, David turns around, goes back to his palace and says (2Sam 9,1): "Is there anybody alive in Saul's family? I want to favor the person - for the sake of my late friend Jonatan? "He finds a servant named Ziba, who answers him (v. 3b): "There is another son of Jonathan. He is paralyzed on both feet. "What I find interesting is that David does not ask," is there anyone worthy? " or "is there a politically savvy one who could serve in the Cabinet of my government?" or "is there anyone with military experience who could help me lead an army?" He simply asks, "Is there anyone?" This question is an expression of goodness. And Ziba answers: "There is someone who is paralyzed". From Ziba's answer, one can almost hear, "You know, David, I'm not sure you really want him near you. He really is not like us. He does not suit us. I'm not sure he has royal qualities. "But David will not be dissuaded and says," Tell me where he is. "This is the first time that the Bible speaks of Schet without mentioning his disability.

I thought about it, and you know, I think that in a group of this size there are many among us who carry a stigma around with them. There is something in our past that sticks to us like an anklet with a ball. And there are people, they always accuse us; they never let them die. Then you hear conversations like, "Have you heard of Susan again? Susan, you know, that's the one who left her husband." Or: "I talked to Jo the other day. You know who I mean, well, the alcoholic." And some of you ask yourself, "Is there anyone who sees me separately from my past and failures in the past?"

Ziba says, "I know where he is, he lives in Lo Debar." The best way to describe Lo Debar would be as "Barstow" (a remote location in Southern California) in ancient Palestine. [Laughter]. In fact, the name literally means "a barren place". He lives there. David locates Schet. Imagine that: The King runs after the cripple. Here is the second answer to the "Well, and?"

They are going down more intense than you think

That's incredible. I want you to pause for a moment and think about it. The perfect, the holy, the righteous, the almighty, the infinitely intelligent God of the Creator of the whole universe, runs after me and runs after you. We speak of searching people, people on a spiritual journey to discover spiritual realities.

But when we go to the Bible, we see that in reality, God is originally the seeker [we see that in all the Scriptures]. Go back to the beginning of the Bible The story of Adam and Eve begins the scene where they hid from God. It means that God comes in the evening cool and seeks Adam and Eve. He asks, "Where are you?" After Moses made the tragic mistake of killing an Egyptian, he had to worry about his life for 40 years and fled to the desert, where God seeks him out in the guise of a burning bush and initiates one Meeting with him.
When Jonah was called to preach in the city of Nineveh in the name of the LORD, Jonah runs off in the opposite direction and God runs after him. If we go to the New Testament, we see Jesus meet twelve men, pat them on the back and say, "Would you like to join my cause"? When I think of Peter after he denied Christ three times and left his discipleship and turned back to fishing, Jesus comes and seeks him on the beach. Even in his failure, God is following him. You are being followed, you are looking for ...

Let's look at the next verse (Ephesians 1,4-5): "Even before he created the world, he had us in mind as people who belong to Christ; in him he has chosen us to be holy and flawless in front of him. Out of love he has us in mind ...: literally he has chosen us in him (Christ). He has destined us to become his sons and daughters - through Jesus Christ and in view of Him. That was his will and that's what he liked. "I hope you understand that our relationship with Jesus Christ, the salvation, is given to us by God. She is controlled by God. It is initiated by God. It was created by God. He is following us.

Back to our story. David has now sent out a group of men to search for Shet, and they discover him in Lo Debar. There Schet lives in isolation and anonymity. He did not want to be found. In fact, he did not want to be found so he could live the rest of his life. But he was discovered, and these fellows take Schet and lead him to the car, and they put him in the car and drive him back to the capital, to the palace. The Bible tells us little or nothing about this chariot ride. But I'm sure we can all imagine what it would be like sitting down on the floor of the car. What emotions Schet must have felt on this trip, fear, panic, uncertainty. To feel like this could be the last day of his earthly life. Then he starts to make a plan. His plan was this: If I appear before the king and he looks at me, then he realizes that I am not a threat to him. I fall down before him and ask his mercy, and maybe he will let me live. And so the car drives in front of the palace. The soldiers carry him in and place him in the middle of the room. And he somehow fights with his feet, and David comes in.

Third Act: The encounter with grace

Notice what happens in 2. Samuel 9,6-8: "When Merib-Baal, the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul, arrived, he prostrated himself before David, face to earth, and gave him the due honor. "So you are Merib-Baal!" David spoke to him, and he answered, "Yes, your obedient servant!" "Do not be afraid," said David, "I want to favor you for your father, Jonathan. I will give you back all land ownership that once belonged to your grandfather Saul. And you can always eat at my table. "" And, watching David, he asks the following question to compelled masses. "Merib-Baal threw herself to the ground again and said," I am not worthy to turn your grace over to me. I'm no more than a dead dog! "

What a question! This unexpected demonstration of grace ... He understands that he is a cripple. He is a nobody. He has nothing to offer David. But that's what grace is all about. The character, the nature of God, is the inclination and predisposition to give kind and good things to unworthy people. That, my friend, is grace. But let's be honest. This is not the world most of us live in. We live in a world that says, "I demand my right." We want to give people what they deserve. Once I had to serve as a juror, and the judge told us, "As a jury, your job is to find the facts and apply the law to them, no more, no less, to discover the facts and apply the law to them." The Judge was not interested in mercy at all, and certainly not in mercy, she wanted justice, and justice is necessary in court so things do not get out of hand, but when it comes to God, I do not know what you are saying - but I do not want justice, I know what I deserve, I know how I am, I want mercy and I want mercy, David showed mercy simply by sparing his life, most kings would have executed a potential aspirant he spared his life, showed David mercy, but David goes far beyond mercy, and showed him mercy by saying to him, "I have brought you here, because I am your Barmherzi wants to prove it. "Here comes the third answer to the" Well, and? "

We are LOVED more than we think

Yes, we are broken, and you follow us. And that's because God loves us.
Roman 5,1-2: "Now that we have been accepted by God for faith, we have peace with God. We owe this to Jesus Christ, our Lord. He opened the way of trust for us and thus the access to the grace of God, in which we have now gained a firm footing. "

And in Ephesians 1,6-7: "... so that the praise of his glory may be heard: the praise of the mercy he has shown to us through Jesus Christ, his beloved Son. Through his blood we are redeemed:
All our guilt is forgiven. [Please read the following aloud with me] So God showed us the riches of His grace. "How great and rich is the grace of God.

I do not know what's going on in your heart. I do not know what kind of stigma you are wearing. I do not know which label sticks to you. I do not know where you failed in the past. I do not know what outrages hide you inside. But I can tell you that you no longer have to wear them. On the 18. December 1865 became the 13. Supplement signed in the US. In this 13. Change has abolished slavery in the US forever. This was a significant day for our nation. So there was the 19. December 1865, technically, no more slaves. Yet many continued to remain in slavery - some still for years for two reasons:

  • Some had never heard of it.
  • Some refused to believe that they were free.

And I have the suspicion, spiritually speaking, that there are a number of us today, in this room, who are in the same situation.
The price has already been paid. The way has already been prepared. It's about the following: Either you have not heard the word or you just refuse to believe it could be true.
But it is true. Because you are loved and God followed you.
A few moments ago, I gave Laila a coupon. Laila did not deserve him. She did not work for it. She did not deserve it. She did not fill out an application form for it. She came and was simply surprised with this unexpected gift. A gift someone else paid for. But now their only job - and there are no secret tricks - is to accept it and begin to enjoy the gift.

In the same way, God has already paid the price for you. You only need to accept the gift that he offers you. As believers, we had a mercy encounter. Our lives changed with the love of Christ and we fell in love with Jesus. We did not deserve it. We were not worth it. But Christ offered us this most wonderful gift of our lives. That's why our life is different now.
Our life was broken we made mistakes. But the king went after us because he loves us. The king is not angry with us. The story of Schet could end right here, and it would be a great story. But there's another part - I do not want you to miss it, it's the 4. Scene.

Fourth ACT: A place at the blackboard

The last part in 2. Samuel 9,7 states, "I will give you back all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul. And you can always eat at my table. "Twenty years earlier, the same boy, aged five, had to live a terrible tragedy. He not only lost his entire family, but was paralyzed and injured, to then live as a refugee for the last 15 to 20 years in exile. And now he hears the king say :: "I want you to come here." And four more verses, David tells him, "I want you to eat with me at my table like one of my sons." I love this verse. Schet was now part of the family. David did not say, "You know, Schet. I want to give you access to the palace and let you visit now and then. " Or, "If we have a national holiday, I'll let you sit in the royal box with the royal family." No, do you know what he said? "Schet, we will book you a place at the table every night, because you are now part of my family". The last verse in the story says, "He dwelt in Jerusalem, for he was a constant guest at the table of the king. He was paralyzed on both feet. "(2Sam 9,13). I like the way the story ends, because it seems that the author has placed a small postscript at the end of the story. There is talk of how Schet experienced this grace and is now to live with the king, and that he may eat at the table of the king. He does not want us to forget what he has to overcome. And the same applies to us. What it cost us was, we had an urgent need and had a mercy encounter. Several years ago Chuck Swindol wrote about this story in eloquent fashion. I just want to read you a paragraph. He said, "Imagine the following scene several years later. The doorbell rings in the king's palace, and David comes to the main board and sits down. Shortly thereafter, Amnon, the cunning, crafty Amnon, settles on the left side of David. Then Tamar, a beautiful and friendly young woman, appears and settles down next to Amnon. On the other hand, Solomon comes slowly from his study - the precocious, brilliant, thoughtless Solomon. Absalom with flowing, beautiful, shoulder-length hair takes a seat. That evening, Joab, the brave warrior and troop commander, has been invited to dinner. However, one place is still vacant, and so everyone is waiting. They hear shuffling feet and the rhythmic hump, hump, hump of crutches. It is Schet, who slowly makes his way to the blackboard. He slips into his seat, the tablecloth covers his feet. " Do you think that Schet understood what grace is? You know, this describes a future scene when the whole family of God will gather around a large banquet table in the heavens. And on that day, the tablecloth of the grace of God covers our needs, covering our sheer soul. See, the way we enter the family is by grace, and we continue it in the family by grace. Every day is a gift of his grace.

Our next verse is in Colossians 2,6 "You have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord; therefore now also live in communion with him and in his own way! "They have received Christ by grace. Now that you are in the family, you are also in grace through grace. Some of us think that as soon as we become a Christian through grace, we will have to work extra hard and make sure that God has to do everything right to make sure he continues to like us and loves us. But, nothing could be further from the truth. As a dad, my love for my children does not depend on what kind of profession or how successful they are or if they are doing everything right. All my love belongs to them, simply because they are my children. And the same applies to you. They continue to experience God's love, simply because they are one of His children. Let me answer the last "Well, and?"

We are more privileged than we think

Not only did God spare our lives, but he has now showered us with his life of grace. Listen to these words from Romans 8, Paul says:
"What else is left to say? God Himself is for us [and that's him], who wants to oppose us? He did not spare his own son, but gave him to death for all of us. But if he has given us the son, will he withhold anything from us? "(Rom 8,31-32).

Not only did he give up Christ so we could enter his family, but he now gives you everything you need to live a life of grace once you are in the family.
But I love that phrase, "God is for us." Let me repeat, "God is for YOU." Once again, there is no doubt that some of us who are here today do not really believe that - it never crossed our minds that anyone in our Fankurve des Stadions is located to inspire us.

In high school I played basketball. Usually we do not have spectators when we play. One day, however, the gym was full. I later learned that they had planned a fund-raising campaign that would allow them to buy an exit from the class for a quarter of a dollar. But before that you had to come to the baseball game. At the end of the 3. There was a loud buzzing, the school was dismissed, and the gym was emptying as fast as it had previously filled. But over there, in the middle of the audience benches, sat two people who stayed until the end of the game. It was my mom and my grandma. You know what? They were for me, and I did not even know they were there.
Sometimes it takes you a while after everyone else finds out - until you realize that God is on your side in every way. Yes, really, and he is watching you.
The story of Schet is just great, but I want to answer another question before we go, it's: Well, and?

Let's start with 1. Corinthians 15,10: "But by the Grace of God, I have become it yet, and his gracious intervention has not been in vain." This passage seems to say, "When you have a mercy encounter, changes make a difference." When I was a child and I was pretty good at school, and I did most of the things I tried, then went to college and seminary and got my first job as a pastor at the age of 22 years, I knew nothing but me I was in the seminary and flew back and forth every weekend to a more rural town in the central west of Arkansas, and it would have been a lesser cultural shock to go abroad than to the central west of Arkansas.
It's a different world, and the people there were just nice. We loved them, and they loved us. But I went there with the goal of building a church and being an effective pastor. I wanted to put into practice everything that I had studied in the seminary. But, honestly, after reading about 2 & frac12; Years was there, I was done. I did not know what to do anymore.
The church has hardly grown. I remember asking God: Please, send me somewhere else. I just want to get away from here. And I remember sitting alone in my office at the desk and nobody else was in the whole church. The whole staff was just me, and I started crying and was worried and feeling like a failure and felt forgotten and prayed with the feeling that nobody was listening anyway.

Although this is more than 20 years ago, I still remember it very vividly. And though it was a painful experience, it was very useful because God used it in my life to break my self-confidence and pride and helped me understand that whatever he would do in my life would do Everything happened because of his grace - not because I was good or because I was gifted or because I was clever. And, when I think about my trip in recent years and see that I was allowed to get a job like this [and I'm the least qualified for what I do here], I often feel inadequate. I know one thing, that wherever I am, whatever God wants to do in my life, in me or through me, everything happens because of His grace.
And when you've grasped that, when that really sinks in, you can not be the same anymore.

The question I began to ask is, "Do we who know the Lord lead a life that reflects grace?" What are some of the attributes that indicate that "I lead a life of grace? "

Let's close with the following verse. Paul says:
"But what's up to my life? The only important thing is that I fulfill to the end the mission that Jesus, the Lord, has given me [what?]: To proclaim the Good News [the message of his grace] that God has taken pity on the people "( Act 20,24). Paul says: this is my life's mission.

Like Shet, you and I are spiritually broken, spiritually dead. But like Shet, so were we, because the King of the Universe loves us and wants us to be in his family. He wants us to have a mercy encounter. Maybe that's why you're here this morning and you're not even sure why you came here today. But internally you will notice that jolt or that pull in your heart. That's the Holy Spirit talking to you, "I want you in my family." And, if you have not taken the step to begin a personal relationship with Christ, we would like to offer you this opportunity this morning. Just say the following: "Here I am, I have nothing to offer, I'm not perfect, If you really knew my past life, you would not like me." But God would answer you, "I like you, and all you have to do is accept my gift." So I would like to ask you to bow down for a moment, and if you have never taken that step, I would ask you to simply pray with me. I say one sentence, you just have to say it, but tell the Lord.

"Dear Jesus, how Schet I know that I am broken, and I know that I need you, and I do not fully understand it, but I believe that you love me and that you have followed me and that you, Jesus, died on the cross and the price of my sin has already been paid. And that's why I'm asking you to come into my life now. I want to know and experience your grace, so that I can lead a life of grace and always be with you.

by Lance Witt

pdfUnheard, scandalous grace