The lesson this week deals with the writing of The Apostle Paul and his teaching that we who are in CHRIST JESUS are children of GOD.  Heirs of GOD and Joint Heirs with CHRIST.  What a gift The FATHER has bestowed upon those who accepts HIS invitation to be part of HIS family and HIS Kingdom.  I pray that as you read what GOD has given me to write that you are greatly blessed and that you understand that you were chosen to be part of HIS family and that HE sent HIS only begotten SON JESUS CHRIST into the world so that you and I could be HIS child if we so choose.  GOD Bless you all. 

Handout: Mephibosheth

In the book of Romans, The Apostle Paul writes this to believers in CHRIST JESUS…

Romans 8:14-16  "14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"

Adoption, what a beautiful process.  Adoption is taking a child that was not born into your family naturally, and choosing them to be part of your family, to raise that child as your own son or daughter by choice.  GOD has a heart for adoption, it is a great honor and always has been since Biblical times. 

Perhaps one of the most loving stories of adoption in The Word of GOD is Mephibosheth's story.  We know that GOD has a heart for adoption, because there are several instances in GOD'S Word where children were adopted into families that they were not naturally born into.  Moses and Esther are two examples.  I love that adoption is not a second class status to GOD, it is an honor to be chosen to be part of a family by invitation and choice.  As we look at the record of the adoption of Mephibosheth, I pray that The Holy Spirit will reveal to you just how precious this really is and how much of a gift and an honor it is to be receive the Spirit of Adoption as Paul teaches we who have placed our trust in JESUS CHRIST.

The Bible gives us a brief background of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel chapter 4.

2 Samuel 4:4  "4 And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth."

How hard it must have been for little Mephibosheth, who one day at the age of five, is suddenly crushed at the news of the death of his father, his grandfather, and then having to run from his home and also losing his ability to walk all on the same day.  That's a lot of heartbreak for anyone, especially for such a little lad.  I wonder how it was for him growing up, remembering his days in the palace and the memories of his father, the memories of when he could walk and run and play.  It had all been taken away from him, as well as his inheritance.  We will learn in the next passages of scripture that he was now living and perhaps had grown up in a place called Lodebar.  The name Lodebar means no pasture.  Many have taught that it was a wasteland.  It certainly was different than the King's Palace where he had once lived.  Perhaps he felt alone and forgotten, but this was not the end of his story…he had no idea down in Lodebar just trying to survive and his life was about to change again just as quickly as it had that day when he was five years old and it wasn't going to change in tragedy, no, just the opposite was about to happen, he was about to meet The King and that would change everything!

Do you remember the time when you met The KING…not just a king but THE KING OF KINGS?!  We had nothing to offer HIM, we were just poor and weak.  We were outcasts just trying to survive when one day The KING of KINGS passed by with an invitation that was more than a dream come true. 

2 Samuel 9 "And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? 2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.
Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. 6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!
And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. 8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.  13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet."

What a beautiful scene of love.  David by all rights could have killed Mephibosheth.  He was the grandson of Saul who had been the king before David.  In those days it was common for new kings to kill every family member of the previous king to make certain that no one would try to take the throne away from him. 

Let's place ourselves in the place of Mephibosheth for just a moment…how do you think he felt when he was taken and saw the palace.  He knew he was going before the king, and not just any king, King David who was famous for being a mighty warrior!  He was known as a man of war.  I'm sure Mephibosheth was frightened, if you notice back at verse 7 David told him, Fear not.  You don't tell someone to not be afraid unless they are…I believe Mephibosheth was terrified for his life.  What Mephibosheth didn't understand is that his father Jonathan had been as a brother to David.  They were dear friends.  GOD had knit their hearts together. The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 18 that Jonathan and David's souls were knit together and that they made a covenant.  It was a strong friendship ordained by GOD.   Many times Jonathan had encouraged David and even helped save his life when his father Saul was trying to kill David.  What Mephibosheth didn't understand at first sight was that David was motivated by that love that he had for his friend.  I believe when David saw Mephibosheth, he saw his friend Jonathan.  He was reminded of the friend that had been so kind to him and I believe his heart swelled with joy. 

Recently, I was sitting in church and a family came in and as I looked up to see who was coming in the door, I was suddenly thrown into a bit of a shock and surprise.  In came a woman that I hadn't seen in years.  She and her husband used to come to this church when I was a little girl and her daughter and I were the best of friends. Her daughter's name was Elizabeth.  Elizabeth and I were very close friends.  She was a year older than I, and we spent countless hours talking and just spending time together at from the time we were very small girls to teenagers, we didn't go to the same school but we spent a lot of time together at church, at each other's houses and on the phone.  As we grew up, life happened and we didn't see each other as much and then years slipped in and time went by but I thought of her often.  One day, about 6 years ago, I heard terrible news that she had been in a car accident and later that The LORD had called her Home while she was in the hospital.  I was having health issues at the time, chronic pain and was physically unable to go visit her before she passed away.  I was always so sad about this.  That morning at church when I looked up and saw Elizabeth's mother coming in the door, right behind her was some children…her grandchildren.  I had heard that Elizabeth had a child but I had never met the little girl…when I looked up there she was…a precious little child…the daughter of my friend and I fought back the tears because she was the spitting image of her mother.  When I looked at her, I saw Elizabeth…my friend.  I wanted to run over to her and hug her up so tight but I didn't because she had never met me and I didn't want to frighten her, but my heart swelled with joy to see her…to see my friend again and it flooded my heart and mind with so many fond memories.  I just wanted to help her, to show kindness to this little lady for her mother's sake.  I believe this is what happened to David when he saw Mephibosheth for the first time.  Praise The LORD. 

How does the adoption of Mephibosheth fit into the teaching of The Apostle Paul that we who are in CHRIST JESUS have received the Spirit of Adoption?  Just like Mephibosheth, you and I were outcasts, spiritually lame and just trying to survive down in our Lodebar, which is the world.  When one day, by pure Grace we received an invitation from The KING of GLORY to come be HIS child.  Notice that Mephibosheth was not second class at David's table, The Bible says that he ate continually at the king's table {v.13} Like Mephibosheth, we received the highest honor when The KING invited us to come to HIS table as a Son or Daughter.  We must understand that when you and I become part of the family of GOD, HE becomes FATHER to us and we become HIS Sons and Daughters.  HE loves so much and HE wants to show great kindness to us because of HIS First Born and Only Begotten SON JESUS.  When we humbled ourselves down, believing in JESUS and placing our trust in HIM, asking HIM to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us and to be the LORD of our lives and we made a commitment to follow HIM, HE imputed HIS righteousness in us.  {Romans 4:24}   We accepted HIS most gracious invitation and He has begun a work in us to make us like Himself.  When GOD looks down on you and I who have placed our trust in JESUS, HE doesn't see us in our sinfulness, instead HE sees HIS SON!  HE is reminded of what JESUS did on the Cross and that we have believed and placed our trust in HIM.  HIS heart swells with love and HE longs to show us great kindness. therefore we have the honor of continually eating at HIS table as a Son.  What a SAVIOR! 

Romans 8:10-19 "10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God."

Now Paul was trying to get believers to understand what an honor this truly is, that we who are not naturally by flesh born into the family of GOD can still be a true Son or Daughter of HIS through the Spirit of Adoption.  I read a commentary about this written by John MacArthur and here is what I learned about the ancient laws of Roman adoption.  The people of Paul's day fully understood what he was writing about.  Here is what MacArthur writes. 

"Let me just give you a little background beyond this in Roman adoption. Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman law called Potrea ProtestusPotrea Protestus, that Latin phrase, meant the father's power. And in the Roman law the father had absolute power over his family. He even had power of life and death over his family. He had the absolute power of disposal and control. And as I said in the early days of the Roman Empire he could take his child's life with absolutely no recourse against him. In regard to his father a Roman son never came to age. That is to say that no matter how old he was he was still under Potrea Protestus, so were the daughters for that matter. No matter how old they were they were still under the absolute control of the father. Now obviously this made adoption into another family very difficult and very serious unless the person was an illegitimate child or an orphan. And if a man saw a son that he wanted and that son belonged to another father he had to go through a very formidable operation to get that person to pass out from under Potrea Protestus into his own control. There were two steps. The first one was called mansupoteo from which we get the word emancipation. And mansupoteo was carried out about a symbolic sort of sale. If the father would agree to let his son be adopted by another man there was this symbolic sale they went to; they had some scales and some copper and they used this symbolism to carry out sort of a transaction like I'm selling this young man to you. They did it three times. Twice the father symbolically sold the son and twice he bought him back and then the third time he didn't buy him back and the Potrea Protestus was broken.
After the sale there was ceremony called Vindacateo and the adopting father went to the Roman magistrate and presented a legal case for the actual legal transference of the person to be adopted into his own Potrea Protestus. And when all this was complete the adoption was done.

Now there were four main consequences in a Roman adoption. The adopted person lost all rights in his own family and gained all rights in his new family. He gained all the rights of a fully legitimate son in his new family. secondly he became full heir to his new father's estate even if other sons, if there were no sons, if other sons were afterward born into the family who were real blood relations it did not affect his right of progenerate, his right to be the primary one. He was an inalienably identified heir. Thirdly, according to Roman law, the old life of the adopted person, this is interesting, was completely wiped out. If he had any debts they were cancelled, if he had any record of crime it was abolished. They wiped out all the records as if that person had never existed, as if they had never been born. And the adopted person was regarded as a new person entering a new life with no past. And fourthly in the eyes of the Roman law the adopted person was literally and absolutely the son of his new father in every sense.

Now when you think of our adoption like that it's a pretty wonderful thing isn't it. We have lost all the rights and all the claims of our past and we've gained all the rights and privileges of our new family. We have become heir to our Father's estate. Our past life is obliterated, blotted out and we are literally and absolutely the sons of God. Throughout the New Testament you see this imagery over and over again that when you become a Christian you enter into the very family of God. You did nothing to earn it, you did nothing to deserve it, you did nothing to choose it, God the great Father and His amazing love and mercy has taken the initiative to reach out to you and to draw you into His family and wipe out your past and give you a new life." {John MacArthur}

I am so thankful that GOD has extended this great honor to us.  It just shows HIS Great Love and how amazing HE really is.  I am so honored to be HIS child.  To those of you who may be reading who have not accepted HIS gracious invitation yet, please do not wait.  You will never regret seeking The LORD and becoming HIS child.  By all rights we all deserve hell, but in HIS great Mercy HE has instead made a way that we can be free and righteous and part of HIS vast family.  I'm so thankful for JESUS CHRIST.  Thank GOD for HIS Grace.  Don't wait, please don't turn down this amazing invitation.  There is no way that Mephibosheth would have turned down David's invitation and remained in Lodebar.  The Bible tells us in 2 Samuel 9:13 that Mephibosheth remained in Jerusalem, he never returned to live in Lodebar, and neither should you and I who have been brought out from there.  Remember Lodebar represents the world and sin, we should never return to that horrible pit.  Burn that bridge behind you so that you can never leave the Father's Table.  Stay continually there and worship HIM because HE is worthy. 

Know today that no matter who you are, where you came from, what you have done, or what you have been through, you are loved by JESUS and HE came to this old world and took our punishment and died and rose again so that we could have abundant life and so that we could share in the Kingdom as children of GOD.  We all are sinful with nothing to offer, but still HE loves and invites us to come.  Don't let your circumstances keep you from accepting this most gracious offer to be a child of GOD.  Call out to HIM, seek HIM while HE may be found, HE will not cast you away.  HE is worthy of all Praise. 

Romans 10:9-13 "9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

John 6:37 "
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

Dear Righteous Heavenly FATHER…

I come before You today with a heart of thankfulness.  Thanking You for who You are.  Thankful that You are most Holy, most Gracious, Most worthy.  Thankful that You are Most Merciful.  I am thankful to You that You want to be FATHER to me.  Thankful that You chose me.  LORD I Praise You for everything You have done and for everything that You do, even the things that I am not aware of.  FATHER, I come to you boldly because You have invited me to do so in Your Word.  I come to You knowing that I am unworthy but that You have made me worthy through what You have done on the Cross and in the Resurrection.  I know that on my own I am nothing, but I am so thankful that You still love me and that I am yours forever and that no one can pluck me from Your Almighty, All Powerful hands.  LORD I ask that You bless all those who are reading and that You draw those who have not yet accepted Your invitation closer to You that they will see the truth and seek You and trust You with all their hearts.  I ask that you be with those who have accepted You and who are trusting in Your name alone.  Be with us, help is to be strong, and to live and walk by faith according to Your Word as it pleases You.  Thank You for all that have done, All that You do and All that you will do.  Let it all be done according to Your will…and it is the name of JESUS I pray…Amen. 

                                                                                     September 27, 2020