If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:
CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
CALL TO WORSHIP
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:1-10
One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked.
“Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied.
The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.”
Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”
“Where is he?” the king asked.
“In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.”
So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home. His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”II Samuel 9:1-13
Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
“Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”
Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”
Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
Ziba replied, “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons.
Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.
Just as You Are
The Smiths were extremely proud of their family heritage. Their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower. They had become Senators as well as Wall Street wizards. Several elders of the Smith family decided it was time to compile a family history, a written legacy to pass on to their children and grandchildren. So they hired a fine family tree author/investigator.
The investigator uncovered a rather embarrassing situation in discovering a here-to-fore unknown great-uncle George, who was executed in the electric chair. Needless to say, the elder Smiths were overcome with embarrassment and began to wonder if they shouldn’t scrap the entire project. But when the family tree investigator promised he would do his best to handle the story tactfully, they told him to proceed.
When they finally received the written report of the family history, it read “Great-uncle George, who occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and his death came as a great shock.” 1
Don’t miss the fact that the story is not only cute, but also provides a picture of marvelous, matchless, infinite grace. The Bible is a book filled with pictures of God’s marvelous grace.
One of those pictures is found in the pages of Second Samuel. The setting is the palace of King David where gold/bronze fixtures gleam from the walls lofty and wooden ceilings crown each spacious room. In the banquet room, David and his children gather for the evening meal. David’s beloved son, Absalom, is there, as is his beautiful daughter, Tamar. The call to dinner is given, and the King scans the room to see if all are present, and almost immediately he realizes that one figure is absent.
About that time he hears a now familiar sound echoing down through the halls; cluuump, scraaape; cluuump, scraaape; cluuump, scraaape. Finally, a person appears at the door and slowly shuffles to his seat. It is the crippled Mephibosheth who takes his place at the King’s table. Now the feast can begin.
What a great story! Because, you see, Mephibosheth was Saul’s grandson and Saul was an enemy of David. Mephibosheth was hiding out in Lo-Debar, hoping to live off the grid. Unbeknownst to him, King David desired to shed his grace upon anyone left in the house and lineage of Saul because of his promise to Saul’s son, Jonathon, who had been before his death, David’s best friend.
When David investigates, one of Saul’s servants, Ziba, replies, “Yes, one of Jonathon’s sons is still alive, but he is crippled in both feet.” (3) Why did Ziba find it necessary to add that Mephibosheth was crippled? And why does the writer re-emphasize that as he ends this chapter with “And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the King’s table.” (13)
Because in that culture, for a King to extend grace to a cripple caused people to sit up and take notice. In that culture, cripples had three strikes against them:
- The fact that you were crippled was a sign that you were a sinner, and that you were being punished by God.
- Crippled people were scorned as non-productive members of society.
- Because of number 2, you were dependent upon others for your well-being.
Worse than that, everyone, including Mephibosheth, fully expected David would execute Mephibosheth if discovered, as he was the grandson of David’s perceived enemy, Saul. No wonder that when Mephibosheth stood face to face with David that he asked, “Why should the King show kindness to a dead dog like me?” (8)
Julie Martin has written a few lines of verse, Grace in a Barren Place that help make Mephibosheth’s story our story.
I was that Mephibosheth, crippled by my twisted pride, hiding from You in a barren place, where You could not find me, where You would not give me what I thought I deserved.” 2
Julie Martin’s admission of being crippled by her twisted pride invites us to consider how we might be crippled by our twisted pride, or by certain attitudes, or sinful behaviors that make us feel unworthy of coming to the table of the King.
Pastor Charles Stanley talks about how Mephibosheth focused on his lame feet and concluded that he was not worthy to sit at the table of the King. And he asks, “Have you been tempted to do the same? To focus on your poor lame spiritual walk and conclude you surely are not worthy to come to the table of communion; indeed, to conclude you cannot be a child of God at all!” 3
We are our own worst critics, aren’t we? How many of you sinned this past week? How many of you think about that sin and conclude you have failed Jesus? How many of you spent serious time in prayer this past week? How many of you know it’s been days? When was the last time you picked up God’s book and spent some time reading and reflecting on what God was trying to say to you?
I believe there are many of us here who have less-than-perfect past histories that cripple us and make it as difficult as it was for Miphibosheth to shuffle our way to the table of the King.
But Charles Stanley says, “You never can get peace by looking at your lame feet. Put them under the table, and focus on what God in His infinite grace has placed upon the table. He sets before us the remembrance of Christ. All that we are in our poor, wretched, lame, dead selves, has been judged and put to death on the cross.” 4
Doubtless Stanley had in mind Colossians 2:14: “God canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Perhaps, it might be prudent to start and end each day with that verse.
Now I think it’s important that we notice that Mephibosheth didn’t do anything to merit the kindness shown by His King. The King, in his grace, sent an emissary to find him and bring him to the King.
That’s what God in Christ has done for us! We, for our part, have done nothing to deserve the kindness of the King, but Jesus came to us and offered a chance to feast at His table anyway.
Just as Mephibosheth didn’t do anything to earn the kindness shown by His King, we can’t either. When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award, yet receives such a gift anyway, that is a good picture of God’s grace.
Two pastors were on their way from Columbus, Ohio to Atlanta to attend a large Christian men’s gathering. One of them had never been to the South before. After staying in a motel overnight in Charlotte, N.C., they stopped at a nearby restaurant for breakfast. When their meal was delivered, the pastor who had never been south before saw this white, mushy-looking stuff on his plate. When the waitress came by again he asked her what it was. “Grits”, she replied.
“Ma’am I didn’t order it and I’m not paying for it.”
“Sir, I don’t know where y’all are from but down here you don’t order it, and you don’t pay for it. You just get it; it’s up to you whether you eat it.”
How like the grace of God! We didn’t order it, God did; we didn’t pay for it, Jesus did. The Holy Spirit at work through the church collectively or individually offers it, and it’s up to us whether we will receive it into our lives.
And once we do, we are debtors to grace. That is, how could we not be, out of an attitude of appreciation and love and loyalty and commitment and thanksgiving serve the One who set us free from having to pay the penalty for our sins by paying it Himself?
In the days of the American revolutionary war there lived at Ephrata, Pennsylvania, a Baptist pastor, Peter Miller, who happened to be a friend of Gen. George Washington. There also lived in that town one Michael Wittman, an evil-minded man who did all in his power to abuse and oppose that pastor. But Wittman was involved in treason, was arrested, and sentenced to death. The old preacher started out on foot and walked 70 miles to Philadelphia so that he might plead for that man’s life. He was admitted into Washington’s presence and begged for the life of the traitor. “No, Peter,” said Washington, “I cannot grant you the life of your friend.”
“Friend,” exclaimed the preacher, “he is the bitterest enemy I have!”
Washington replied, “You have walked 70 miles to save the life of an enemy?
That puts the matter in a different light; I will grant the pardon.” And he did.
Rev. Miller not only rescued Michael Wittman from the very shadow of death but also took him back to his own home. From that day until his life ended Michael Wittman was wholly devoted to Pastor as he was a debtor to the grace showered upon him.
I was that Mephibosheth, crippled by my twisted pride, hiding from You in a barren place, where You could not find me, where You would not give me what I thought I deserved.
But somehow You found me, and I don’t understand why, but You give me what I do not deserve. You not only spared my desolate life, but You made it bountiful. And here at Your table, I will thank You my King. 5
The story of Mephibosheth reminds us that regardless of who we are what kind of a past we have or what we think we have to offer Christ, He invites us to come to Him by faith, receive the grace He so generously offers, and then, come to His table to celebrate.
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies for Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy asked “How much are you going to sell those puppies for?”
The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”
The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said; “Can I please take a look at them?”
The store owner first smiled, then whistled, and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of the store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy lagged considerably behind. Immediately, the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?”
The store owner explained that the vet had examined the little puppy and discovered that he was missing a hip socket. It would always limp, it would always be lame. Upon hearing this, the little boy became excited; “That’s the one I want to buy.”
The store owner said, “No son, you don’t want that little dog. If you really want that one, I’ll just give him to you.”
The little boy seemed perturbed; looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as the others and I’ll pay full price. I’ll give you my $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.”
The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog; He is never going to be able to run and play with you like the other puppies.”
To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant legs to reveal a badly twisted, crippled leg supported by a metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “I don’t run so well myself, and that little puppy will need someone who understands.” 6
We have someone who understands. So with Mephibosheth, let us put our feet under the table and feast on the riches of divine grace spread before us.
But somehow You found me and I don’t understand why, but You give me what I do not deserve. You not only spared my desolate life but You made it bountiful. And here at Your table, I will thank You, my King.
1 https://www.reddit.com/r/Jokes/comments/nvap0b/the_smiths_were _proud
2 Parson’s Porch, Grace in a Barren Place
September 06, 2017 by David Russell Tullock
3 Charles Stanley, Mephibosheth, Lame On Both Feet, or The Kindness Of God, [London, England: Chapter Two Publishers, © 2004] Page 10.
5 Ibid, Parson’s Porch, Grace in a Barren Place
6 Victor Mark Hansen and, Chicken Soup for the Soul,
7 Ibid, Parson’s Porch, Grace in a Barren Place