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The Power of Forgiveness | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 9, 2024 3:00 am

The Power of Forgiveness | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 9, 2024 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a message on the power of forgiveness, a virtue every Christian should embrace. As he always reminds us, “Forgiven people should be forgiving people.” Hear all he has to say on the matter.

Notes

2 Samuel 1

Does God approve or disapprove of us?

Our Father in Heaven stands apart from all earthly fathers.

David was a warrior, a worshipper, a lover, and a fighter, but he was also wrathful, petty, vengeful, and openly sinful.

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it!

Read: 2 Samuel 1:23–27

David did not remember Saul's sins!

Grace forgives and forgets!

The people of Israel wanted peace today!

The Israelites were not colonizers because God gave them the land to begin with.

Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Judea.

David was willing to forgive his enemies and live at peace with them.

This is why David is called a man after God's own heart.

Read: 2 Samuel 9:2–13

God specializes in taking people who have been dropped in life and picking them back up again!

The word kindness could better be translated as "grace."

Justice is getting what I deserve.

Mercy is not getting what I deserve.

Grace is getting what I don't deserve.

Just as David reached out to Mephibosheth, God reaches out to us!

2 Samuel 9:5

David was persistent in not giving up on this young man.

He didn't just send for him; he brought him.

Mephibosheth was afraid when he heard David wanted to see him.

2 Samuel 9:6

David brought Mephibosheth to his table as a member of his royal family.

2 Samuel 9:11

Eating is for a time of sharing and rejoicing.

Don't let another person form your view of God.

Find out for yourself who God is.

So many are kept from a relationship with God by what others say.

Forgive your enemies … if they deserve it or not.

God took care of the enemies of David.

Leave the past in the past.

The funny thing about life is that what we think is good may turn out, in time, to be bad, and that which we think is bad now may turn out to be good.

Psalm 27:4

David, out of sheer love for Jonathan, demonstrated his grace to his handicapped son.

Mephibosheth had nothing, deserved nothing, and could repay nothing.

Mephibosheth was adopted as a son and invited to eat at the king's table.

Don't let other people form your opinion of God.

Keep up with Harvest Crusade details

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. So today the title of my message is The Power of Forgiveness. And we're in 2 Samuel chapter 1. Let's pray. Let's pray. Now Father, as we talk about forgiveness and second chances and dealing with setbacks and hardships in life, help us to look to You and hear from You. Speak to our hearts now as we open Your Word. And remember the fact that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is looking out for each and every one of us. And we thank You for that. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. So I heard the story of a little girl that got on a piece of paper in her crayons. And her mom said, honey, what are you going to draw? She said, Mom, I'm going to draw a picture of God. The mom said, sweetie, nobody knows what God looks like.

The little girl shot back, they will when I'm done. What is God like? Is God a smiling God? Is He a frowning God? Is He a God who approves of us or is He a God that does not approve of us?

We wonder. You know, it's interesting that the Bible compares God to a father. He's referred to father many times. Now, I don't know what kind of dad you have or what kind of dad you had. Maybe your father was hands-on, affectionate, affirming, encouraging, loving. Maybe your dad was a bit aloof, a bit distant, perhaps not that communicative. Even worse, maybe your dad was harsh and maybe you never had a dad at all growing up.

That would be more my situation. So we can sometimes take our earthly father and then view God our heavenly father in the same way. If we had a good dad, that's not a bad thing, but here's the deal. You have to evaluate God based on what He reveals about Himself in the Bible, okay? And one of the most beautiful pictures of God in the Bible is a story that Jesus told to show us what God is like.

It's a selfie of God, if you will. And Jesus compared God to a father who had two sons. And one of those sons went astray and drug the family name to the gutter and did all sorts of horrible, sinful things. But one day came to his senses and decided to return home and the father, as portrayed by Jesus, sees his son coming at a distance and runs to meet him and throws his arms around him. Hugs him and kisses him and says, this my son who is dead is alive again. So what is God like according to Jesus?

And by the way, there's no better source. What is God like according to Jesus? God is like a father who loves us and misses us when we are gone.

God is like a father who will forgive us no matter what sins we have committed if we repent and return to Him. Now we go to the Old Testament. We have another beautiful picture of God presented to us through the story and the life of King David. It's a story of how David treated another person and it shows us the love of God. David is such an interesting character, isn't he?

Very complex. Some contradictions in his character. He was a warrior. He was a worshiper. He was a fighter. He was a lover. He was brave and fearless. He could be humble and sweet. He could also be vengeful, petty, immoral, and outright disobedient. I think of the statement made by Winston Churchill about Russia and he made this to me personally.

That's how old I am. No, it's not true. But Churchill said this about Russia. It's a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. I think you could take that same description and apply it to David. David was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Hard to figure out but yet at the same time he is uniquely described as the man after God's own heart. And there are 66 chapters in the Bible dedicated to the adventures, misadventures, triumphs, and defeats of the shepherd boy who became a King David.

And he became the greatest of all kings. And it just reminds us that God uses flawed people. Why is that so hard for us to understand? God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.

And if you look at the people that God used it almost seems as though he went out of his way to find flawed people, ordinary people, people that fell short. And I think that's a very important thing for us to remember especially as we get ready to vote for the next president. Don't look for a perfect candidate. Don't look for a flawless person. I'm looking for the person that is as close as I can find to the biblical worldview and that is the person I'm going to vote for.

Right? I'll have more to say about that as we get closer to this election. But the people of Israel had David become their king. Now how this happened is very interesting because God really did not want to give them a king. He wanted to rule them through the prophets. And in this case Samuel was the man. God gave the word to Samuel.

He told him what to do. But the Israelites wanted a king. Why? Because all the other nations had a king. It reminds you of kids saying, everybody else has a cell phone. Why can't I have a cell phone? Because you're two years old? How did you even string those sentences together?

And so they're the same way. We want a king. Everybody else has a king. Why can't we have a king? Alright, the Lord says. I'll give you a king.

Careful what you wish for, you might get it. So God gave them a king right out of central casting. Saul. Saul was charismatic. He was good looking. He was a little taller than everybody else. The kind of guy that would stand out in a crowd.

That's the man. He looks like a king. And he was a good king for a period of time. But then he began to disobey. And then he began to go the wrong direction. So the Lord said, I'm going to raise up another king.

You know the story. The prophet Samuel went to the town of Bethlehem to the house of Jesse. It's instructed by the Lord. And there he anointed David to be the king. Now you would think he just went straight to the palace.

But that didn't happen at all. David spent 15 years going through a lot of trials and tribulations before he actually ascended to the throne. But he never lost his heart for God.

So fast forward now in the story. David becomes close friends with Prince Jonathan. And Pastor Jonathan told us all about his namesake in the Bible last week. And it was a great message.

The last two weeks from Pastor Jonathan on this series. And so they formed a friendship. David and Jonathan were as tight as two people could be. And so Jonathan knew what was coming. He knew that he was not going to ascend to the throne even though he was the son of the king.

Even though he was the prince. He knew David was God's man. And so he got David to make a commitment to him. And that commitment was, David when you finally become king I want you to remember my family and my kin. And David agreed to this. Tragically Saul and Jonathan were killed on the battlefield.

And so this is where our story begins. We come to 2 Samuel chapter 1. Now you're thinking, wait I thought this was a study on the Psalms of David.

Well it is. But this particular Psalm of David is not in Psalms. But it's in 2 Samuel. But it's a Psalm.

It's exactly the same structure as you find in the other Psalms of David. And this is what he wrote to commemorate Saul and Jonathan. So 2 Samuel 1.23 David writes, How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan. They were together in life and in death and they were swifter than eagles and stronger than lions. Oh women of Israel weep for Saul for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing in garments decorated with gold. Oh how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle. How I weep for you my brother Jonathan. Oh how much I loved you and your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women. Oh how the mighty heroes have fallen.

Stripped of their weapons they lie dead. We'll stop there. Well a lot of grace in this Psalm. I'm not surprised that David honors his buddy Jonathan. Jonathan was a really heroic guy. Full of courage.

Fearless. And loyal to David and loyal to God. And even loyal to his father. And his father mistreated him as well not just David. So of course it makes sense that David would say Jonathan was a hero but he includes Saul. And I think this is an amazing thing that shows us a little insight into the character of David and why God called him a man after his own heart. Because David did not remember the sins of Saul. Saul had made David's life a living hell for many many years. David hid in caves.

He ran. He could have killed Saul easily. At least on one occasion if not more. Yet he never did that. And yet he honors Saul.

And it's a good reminder that we too should not hold people's sins and shortcomings against them. You know sometimes when you've been married a long time you might have a little disagreement. It happens right. And one of the mates may say and I won't say if the woman would do this more than the men.

But girls. Might say son I remember when you said 25 years ago to me. Wait what 25 years ago? Yes you said it. I have it written down. I have a recording of it.

Ok hold on. We are told over in 1 Corinthians 13. Love does not keep a record of wrongs that others have done.

You need to forgive and forget. So David was forgetting the shortcomings and the sins of King Saul. But now we see him take it a step further as he extends grace to a potential threat to his throne. And that grace would be extended to the rightful heir of that throne. The son of Jonathan.

The next in line to become king. But David does not want to punish him or kill him. He wants to show grace to him and that's exactly what he did. You know it's an interesting thing little twist in the story. Is there was still a battle going on between the house of David and the house of Saul. Even though David was the rightful king. There was still a conflict going because Saul had a son left whose name was Ish-bosheth. And so Abner was the general of Saul. And so Abner went to Ish-bosheth and said let's make you king instead of David. Well then they had a conflict and a disagreement. And so Abner got ticked off with Ish-bosheth and decided to revolt against him and go over to David's side. So he showed up in David's court and said hey you know what let's unite the whole kingdom behind you and you should be king. Now David could have had Abner put to death because he had been hunting David along with Saul. But he said I'm done fighting let's just have peace. And so he makes a peace agreement with Abner. And I bring this up because he just wanted to be at peace.

You know sometimes you just get tired of fighting. Do you know that in Israel today that's really what the people of Israel want? They just want peace. Why do you think there's a nation Israel? They went to that homeland because of anti-Semitism going back for centuries. And anti-Semitism is perhaps too kind of a term. We could better call it Jew hatred. The hatred of Jewish people for simply being Jewish.

These people called by God, blessed by God, these people that scripture came through, these people that brought us our very Messiah have been hated as long back as time goes. So when the Holocaust came and the so-called final solution orchestrated by Adolf Hitler where six million Jewish people lost their lives in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, they said we've got to return to our homeland and they did. And on May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation and that was a significant fulfillment of Bible prophecy. And we're going to do a little Bible prophecy series coming up in the very near future.

And we're going to look at what's going on in our world right now, especially in the Middle East in light of what the Bible said would happen in the last days. But they returned to their homeland. Now there's a narrative you see out there and people say of Israel and the Jewish people that they're colonizers. Actually they're not colonizers, it's their land. The Jewish people are indigenous to the land. It was always their land going back thousands of years you see.

So they're not taking something that did not already belong to them. And then of course we all know they were attacked on October 7th and they want peace. But they also want to stop an enemy called Hamas that is funded and backed by Iran.

I'm not telling you anything that is not common knowledge and openly stated out there by Iran themselves. And so Hamas attacks the people of Israel and they fight back. They want to stop this enemy from coming at them again. People say well there needs to be a two state solution.

That's fine. I don't think most Jewish people would oppose that. But the problem is one of the conditions of the two state solution is the other side has to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. But they refuse to do that.

How do you have a relationship with someone that says you do not have the right to exist? Yeah we have a problem there. And Iran has openly stated that it is their desire to eradicate Israel, to literally wipe them off the map. So when you see college students chanting this phrase from the river to the sea Palestine will be free, do they even know what they're saying? I saw a reporter go out and interview people from the river to the sea. What river and what sea?

They didn't know. I'll tell you what river and what sea it is. It's the Mediterranean and it's the Jordan River. And what that statement really means is from the river to the sea Palestine will be free.

Loose paraphrase. No Israel. No Jews. None of these people. We want them gone, wiped out, removed, whatever it takes.

Well that obviously is not something one could really live with. The Jewish people have every right to be in that land. They should be in that land. And I pray that our country continues to back them in that endeavor. They just want to be at peace. They don't want to conquer new land.

They could have had much more land after they were attacked and they returned the land that they could have inhabited. But David wanted peace too. And he was willing to forgive his enemies. And in this way he reflects Jesus. As Jesus would forgive his enemies what did Christ say from the cross? His first words.

First statement out of seven. Father forgive them for they know not what they do. And we see David reflecting that David who is of course the one that would be in the messianic line to the son of David the Lord Jesus Christ reflects this in the way he treated his enemies. Maybe you too have been persecuted and attacked wrongfully by someone. Maybe you have an enemy that has tried to do you harm. Maybe you have been hurt or offended and you have been treated badly. And in light of all this let me ask you this question. Would you like to go to that person and help them and bless them?

Probably not. You would like them to get a taste of their own medicine. Well that is not how David felt. And he remembered his promise to Jonathan and to his descendants that he would show mercy to them. So let's go over now to 2 Samuel chapter 9 and let's see what happened next. Because as we go to 2 Samuel 9 we see David going to a man named Ziba. And Ziba was a servant of King Saul. So David wanted to find out if there is any descendants of Saul and or Jonathan left.

So we pick it up in verse 2, 2 Samuel 9. David says, Are you Ziba? Yes sir, I am. Ziba replied. And the king asked him, Is anyone still alive from Saul's family?

If so, I want to show God's goodness to them in any way I can. Ziba replied, Yes, one of Jonathan's sons is still alive, but he is crippled. Where is he? the king asked. In Lodabar, at the home of Machir, son of Amamiel. So David sent for him and brought him from Machir's home. His name was Mephibosheth. He was Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low in great fear and said, I am your servant.

David said, Don't be afraid. I have asked you to come. And I want to be kind to you because of my vow to your father Jonathan and I will give you all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul that you may live here with me in the palace.

Mephibosheth fell to the ground before the king. Should the king show such kindness to a dead dog like me? Mephibosheth ate regularly with David as though he was one of his own sons.

We'll stop there. Isn't that a great story? What grace David showed to this young man. I mean, here is David, the crowned king of Israel.

And one would normally want to eliminate any potential rivals to your rule and yet he wants to show grace to Mephibosheth. Now it is interesting because after Saul and Jonathan were killed on the battlefield the nurse who was caring for young Mephibosheth in her haste to get away and get him into hiding dropped him. And when she dropped him he was disabled.

He was crippled for life as a result. He had been dropped. And I wonder if I am talking to someone who has been dropped in life. And by dropped I just simply mean some bad things happened to you in the earlier years of your life. Maybe it was mistreatment. Maybe it was neglect. Maybe it was some circumstances that were very difficult. And it has affected you throughout your life. Or maybe you were written off by people. I feel like I was dropped in life. I was pretty neglected. I live with my grandparents.

I live with aunts and uncles. I went to military school. And I remember that one teacher actually wrote this on my report card.

Funny how I remember this still. And I didn't get very good grades. I have to tell you. My grades were very low except art. I got A's in art. That's it.

Everything else was. C was good for me. An occasional B.

Honestly a lot of D's and even some F's. But I learned a little trick. If you put one line through an F you can make it into an A.

Just use the same color ink. So they don't realize you did it yourself. But one teacher wrote these words. My report card of horrible grades. He said, Greg spends way too much time staring out the window, daydreaming, and drawing cartoons. If he continues to do this he will never amount to anything. Thank you for those encouraging words, teach.

I really appreciate that. So my cousin, my older cousin Wayne was going to become a psychologist. And so he was doing tests on random people in preparation for this.

And he said I did a test on you Greg when you were a teenager. And you were so full of anger and rebellion we were all very concerned about what course your life was going to take. It was not on a good path. I was not going in a good direction. But then Jesus stepped in and changed everything.

See. Because God specializes in taking those who have been dropped in life and picking them up. So regardless of what hand you have been dealt, regardless of what difficulties you have had, God can change the course of your life. So David asked if anyone is still alive from the house of Saul.

Verse 3, the king asked him, is anyone alive? I want to show God's kindness to them in any way I can. By the way this word kindness can be translated grace. So David is effectively saying, is there anyone left in this family that I can show grace to?

I love that he used the word grace. Grace is God's unmerited favor. There is nothing you can do to deserve the grace of God. It is undeserved. It is unearned.

It is unrepayable. That is why the Bible says, for by grace you have been saved through faith not of works lest any man should boast. Listen to this. Justice is getting what I deserve. Mercy is not getting what I deserve. Grace is getting what I don't deserve.

Let me say it again. Justice is getting what I deserve. Don't ever say to God, Lord, deal with me justly. Give me what I deserve.

Don't pray that. Because you deserve judgment as I do. You can say, Lord show mercy to me and extend your grace toward me.

Let me illustrate. Let's say that we went out on a Harley ride and I loaned you my Harley and you totaled it. Okay, if I dealt with you in justice, I would say you need to get me a new Harley. If I dealt with you in mercy, I would say, okay, you don't have to get me a new Harley. If I dealt with you in grace, I would buy you a new Harley.

Right? So God extends grace to us and David was extending this grace or unconditional love to whoever he could find from the household of Saul and Jonathan. So a man named Ziba, a servant of Saul, mentions Mephibosheth. And notice what he says.

Yes, there's someone named Mephibosheth and he is crippled. So? What's that all about? What a thing to say.

And what a creep this guy was, too. Don't ever name your kid Ziba. You know, I know there's, we like to use Bible names to name our kids fine, just some names are not good. You know, Joshua, great. Jonathan, fine.

David, really good. Ziba, no. No Delilahs. No Beelzebubs. Don't name your child Judas. No. I know their Bible names.

They're not good ones. Ziba was a creep. See, he was in control of the estate of Saul and he did nothing to help poor Mephibosheth.

He probably wanted to keep everything for himself. Where did Mephibosheth end up? The Bible says he was living in a place called Lodabar. Lodabar. That's a depressing sound of a town already. Lodabar.

Right? It was an obscure spot on the east side of the Jordan, kind of a barren desert. In fact, the name Lodabar means the place of no pasture. So here was Mephibosheth, the potential heir to the throne, living in Lodabar. Living like a low life, eating low fat food. Listening to J-Lo. I don't know.

I just stay with the low thing, right? He was unloved. He was unwanted. He was undeserving.

He was unneeded. And David reaches out to him. I just love this story. There's this guy in the middle of nowhere, no promise, no hope. David says, where is he?

I want to help him. And David finds him. And we read that David sends for him. 2 Samuel 9, 5, David sent for him and brought him from Machar's home. He sent for him. He brought him. I'm not going to give up on this.

I'm persistent about this. And this is how we must see our friends that do not yet know the Lord. We must bring them to Jesus. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about four guys who had a friend who was disabled. And they thought, if we can just get them in front of Jesus, we know he'll be healed. Well, Jesus was speaking in a house that was packed with people.

There was no way to get in there. So these guys were very clever. And they climbed up on the roof and they began to tear away at that little thatched roof and remove the clay. And they made a hole and the hole got bigger and they lowered their friend down.

So here is Jesus in this house speaking. All of a sudden a clump of straw falls down. Some dirt. A little shaft of light breaks through. Before you know it, this guy is coming down on a little cot, swinging a little bit.

All four guys are dropping him down there. The guy is right in front of Jesus and Jesus says, hey, can I help you? Yes, I would like to be healed. And Jesus healed that man. But how did that man get to Jesus? Four friends did everything they could to get him in front of the Lord.

And that is your job as we go to Angel Stadium. As we have told you so many times, the key is to bring people to the Crusade. Now look, the Crusade is not just a big Christian party, though it is that.

And we can celebrate and have a great time. It is not just a gathering of the tribes, though it is that too. It is not just a great praise and worship time. It is a venue and it is an event that is designed primarily to bring non-believers to so they can hear the gospel and give their life to Jesus Christ. That is what it is all about.

That is what it is all about. So we need to take advantage of that and just as David sought out Mephibosheth, you need to seek out your friends and bring them to the event and pray that they come to know the Lord. So here is old Mephibosheth and it is just a picture of what God is like. I don't know how he viewed David, but I imagine he had been filled with some bad information about the new king. People would say, oh David, he is bad. You should have been the King Mephibosheth, not this David.

But then when he met David, it was a whole new story. But he was afraid initially. 2 Samuel 9 says when he heard David wanted to see him, he was afraid. There are a lot of people today that are afraid of God. They don't understand that God loves us. The Bible says it is the kindness of God that brings us to repentance.

And they need to find out for themselves and discover for themselves who the Lord really is. You know I think one of the problems that we have today is people will see hypocrisy in the church and yes there is hypocrisy in the church. And you might say, well I am looking for a hypocrite free church and then I will join it.

Please don't because you will ruin it. There are hypocrites in the church, but I want you to consider something. Let's define hypocrisy for a moment, biblically. The word hypocrisy means to act.

That is a technical definition, an actor. Every one of us has moments of hypocrisy, especially you sir. All of us do. You were scowling at me and I saw that and I wanted to. No you weren't, I am just kidding. We all have moments of hypocrisy, come on we do. Oh I shouldn't have said that, I shouldn't have done that, I regret that, yes. But when you say I shouldn't have said that, I shouldn't have done that, I am sorry. You are not a hypocrite, you had a hypocritical moment. Having that is not a bad thing, that is human.

That is what we are going to do, I am not excusing it, I am just explaining it. But there is a difference between someone who has moments of hypocrisy and someone that is putting on an act from beginning to end. None of it is real. Jesus told a parable about the tares and the wheat. He talked about a farmer who planted wheat. And he had an enemy who came in the night and planted tares among the wheat.

Now a tare is a plant that initially looks just like wheat until it gets a little older and then it actually uproots the wheat. So in the same way in the world today we have real Christians and we have fake Christians. And sometimes those fake Christians are planted by the devil himself to drive people away from Christ. So they say I am a Christian and then they do something horrible and we say see they are all hypocrites. How do you know if that person is not just a fake from the beginning and a tare and never was a real believer, you see?

I think actually the presence of so many imitations is a confirmation that there is a genuine article out there as well. And the genuine article is the true follower of Jesus Christ. So don't let other people form your view of God. And we need to prepare our children to live in this real world that we are sending them out to right now. Raise our children in the way of the Lord. I love the way that Moses put it when he said you should teach your children when you are at home and when you are on the road and when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

Just integrate these truths into their lives. And so here is David now. He seeks out Mephibosheth and he brings him into his home and makes him a member of the family. Look at verse 11. Mephibosheth ate regularly with David as though he were one of his own sons.

By the way that is mentioned four times in 13 verses. He was like one of his own sons. Come and eat at my table son. You are like a part of our family now. You are welcome here. You are loved here.

So perfect. And the Bible so often uses the picture of eating as a symbol of communion and fellowship with God. Jesus said behold I stand at the door and knock. If any men hear my voice and open the door I will come in and eat with him, have a meal with him. I don't know about you but I don't like to eat with people that I don't like to hang out with. Some people say hey you want to go get dinner?

No. I will get coffee. A very small coffee.

I know a place that serves it in little thimbles right. Because I will be with you but I don't want to hang out with you. I don't want to have a meal with someone who gives me indigestion. Because it is going to be a debate or it is going to be some other problem and that is ok. We want to have a meal with people we are comfortable with.

With family and with friends. And this is the very picture here in scripture of Mephibosheth having access to the king's table. So Mephibosheth meets David.

He realizes that he had it all wrong as David welcomes him into his home. So what are the take away truths from this beautiful story? Number one if you are taking notes don't let another person form your view of God. Don't let another person form your view of God. Find out for yourself who God is.

Mephibosheth could have been influenced by others who told him who David really was but he found out for himself and discovered the real David. So get your own relationship with God. Number two forgive your enemies if they deserve it or not. Forgive your enemies if they deserve it or not.

David could have got a lot of people. Paid them back. And in many ways they deserved it. But he did not do that. He instead extended forgiveness. Abraham Lincoln was once criticized by an associate regarding his attitude toward his enemies. President Lincoln was asked why do you always make friends of your enemies?

You should destroy them. And Lincoln replied am I not destroying my enemies when I make them my friends? Is that a great statement? God took care of the enemies of David.

God will take care of our enemies. But one day an enemy may turn into a friend. Things change with the passing of time. Thirdly leave the past in the past.

Leave the past in the past. David could have been forever haunted by his treatment that came from others. I mean he had a hard life. You know rejected largely by his father and mother.

Not appreciated by his brothers. Hunted down like a wild dog by King Saul. But yet he put it all in the past and he forgave his enemies. And here's the thing that happens.

He understood that God was in control of his life. It takes time to turn a shepherd boy into a mighty king. The funny thing about life is that what you may think is good right now may in time turn out to be not so good. And that what you think is bad may actually turn out to be good. Does that make any sense? You might have something happening.

Oh this is the best thing that ever happened to me. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. And then again there might be something happening to you that you perceive as bad.

But in reality with the passing of time it will be good because of what it produced. See that difficulty, that hardship molded you into the man or woman God wants you to be. And you needed to go through that first. And the same is true of David.

He's a good kid. But he's got a lot of training to go through before he's going to be a great king. Time is a way of causing us to see things differently. Ecclesiastes 3.11 says God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

But even so people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. But here's the thing that really helped David. He had focus. From his earliest days to his final days he had focus and he said, One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after.

And I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Now in closing the story of David and Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth. You try saying that. Mephibosheth. Go.

Yeah you didn't do that well. So in closing, this is a beautiful story of us and God. God is like David.

We're like Mephibosheth. Out of sheer love for Jonathan, David demonstrated grace to his handicapped son. And in the same way out of love for us and because of what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary, God extended his grace to each one of us. The Bible says while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. It doesn't say while we were yet Christians. While we were yet sinners. When we were opposed to God. When we were the enemies of God. That's when Christ died for us. Secondly Mephibosheth had nothing. He deserved nothing and he could repay nothing.

And he was hiding but in the same way we have nothing we brought to the table that made us deserving of what God gave to us but he did it anyway. Thirdly Mephibosheth was adopted as a son and invited to eat at the king's table. And in the same way you when you put your faith in Jesus are adopted into God's family. I don't know if any of you were adopted. I was adopted by a man named Oscar Laurie and he gave me his name Oscar. You didn't know my name was Oscar did you? No.

Laurie of course. So he adopted me and maybe some of you were adopted. But we've all been adopted into God's family. The Bible says for as many as received him to them he gave the power to become children of God.

And now it's a privileged relationship. The Bible says God has not given us the spirit of fear but one of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father. If you go to Israel today and you see a little boy or a little girl calling out to their father don't be surprised if you hear them say Abba.

Or to their mother Ima. Abba means daddy or papa. My sons call me dad. My grandkids call me papa. You can call me Reverend Laurie. No don't call me that I won't even respond. Please call me Greg. Pastor Greg if you like.

Hey you will do. But only my children can call me those other names and only the child of God can call God Abba Father. It's a privilege of relationship.

It is offered to each one of us. Does God seem distant to you? Far off?

Disinterested? What is God like? Let's go back to what we learned from the story of the prodigal son. God is like a father who loves us. A father who longs for relationship and communication and fellowship with us.

A father whose heart is broken when we run from him but at the same time a father who will welcome us with open arms if we will return to him. Maybe I'm talking to somebody right now that's been running from God. Oh God's against me. God's angry at me. I'm afraid of God.

Well you don't know who he is. He loves you. And he'll forgive you. And he'll give you another chance. Well I've had hard times in life.

Yes I'm sure that's true. But God specializes as we pointed out in taking those who were dropped in life and picking them up again. He can change the narrative of your story if you let him. But you have to come to him and say Lord forgive me of my sin. I want Jesus to come into my life.

Two thousand years ago the son of David as he called himself Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for our sin. And then he rose again from the dead three days later and now he stands at the door of our life and he knocks. And as I pointed out he says behold I stand at the door of your life and knock. And if you'll hear my voice and open the door I will come in and we'll have an In-N-Out Burger together. He doesn't say that but it's implied in the original language.

No it isn't. But what is implied is a meal. A friendship.

A relationship. This is what God wants with you but he can't force it on you. You see Mephibosheth had to respond. He could have said no way I don't want to come into your palace. I don't want to eat at your table.

I want to go back to Lotavar. He could have done that. He didn't do it. He accepted the invitation and you and I must do the same. If you've never asked Jesus to come into your life why don't you do it right here right now.

And if you're a prodigal son or daughter why don't you return to the Lord today. Let's pray. Father I pray for everyone here. Everyone watching on every campus.

Those watching online. If there's someone watching and I'm sure there are that that don't know you yet or they've known you but fallen away from you. Let this be the moment they return to you and receive forgiveness and come into this beautiful relationship that you offer to each of us. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying. Maybe there's somebody here that would say I need Jesus. I want this relationship with God you've been talking about. I want my sin forgiven. I want to know that I will go to heaven when I die.

I want to know God in a personal way. Pray for me. If that's your desire if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life wherever you are would you just lift your hand up. Let me pray for you today. Lift your hand up and I'll pray for you. God bless you. Lift it up high where I can see it please. God bless you and you.

Yeah I see you. God bless you. Anybody else raise your hand up saying I need Jesus today pray for me. God bless you. God bless you and you and you and you.

Yes. Anybody else. Let me pray for you. God bless you and you. While our heads are still bowed maybe there's someone here that knew the Lord at one time. Maybe you were raised in a Christian home.

You've wandered off. But God wants to forgive you and receive you back as his son or daughter. If you need to come back to the Lord again today would you raise your hand up and let me pray for you right now. God bless you. God bless you.

God bless every one of you. Now I'm going to ask if you raise your hand during that last moment of prayer. Would you stand to your feet and let me lead you in a prayer right now. Just stand up.

If you raise your hand even if you did not but you want to make this commitment or recommitment to Jesus. Stand up. God bless you that are standing.

You won't be alone. Others are standing. Stand up. Alright God bless all of you standing. Now I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Again as I pray, pray this out loud after me right now.

Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I want a relationship with you. I want a friendship with you.

I want to know you. I come to you now and I believe and I turn from my sin. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. God bless all of you that pray. God bless you. Hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org and to find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-09 04:17:29 / 2024-06-09 04:34:56 / 17

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