By: Jerry S. Maneker

"…I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to
deliver them.  And now come, I will send thee into Egypt." (Acts 7:34)

To one degree or another we are all called upon to live out the above verse of Scripture! God calls each and every one
of His children to give others permission to free themselves and others from the bondage of their particular Egypts.

Egypt is the mark of slavery, bondage, imprisonment, lack of hope, self-loathing, guilt, and shame.  It is a place from
which Moses delivered the children of Israel, and from which Jesus, the last Moses, delivers His children.

The Church is a hospital for the spiritually sick!  And the best-kept secret in the Church world is that we are all spiritually

We are sinners, and the closer we draw to God the more we see how far we fall short of His standards of righteousness
and holiness.  We realize how desperately we need a Savior to bring us to His Promised Land of freedom.

Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)  This is a truly
remarkable statement, showing that He is either a nut, a charlatan, or divine!  One can't merely view Him as a good and
wise teacher!  If He is who He says He is, He is God Who took on a tent of human flesh and dwelt among us; whose
Blood and Body cleanses us of all of our sins and heals us of all of our diseases.

The Church is mandated to be inclusive of everybody!  Jesus never had the equivalent of "closed communions."  He
never rejected anyone, save those self-righteous hypocrites who sought to place further yokes of bondage upon people
whom He came to deliver from those very yokes of bondage.

Everyone in this world, both in Church and out of Church, is "Mephibosheth!"   Mephibosheth means "a shameful thing!"

There is a beautiful story in the ninth chapter of 2Samuel.  King David, in this story a type of God the Father asks, "Is
there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" (v. 1) Here, Jonathan
is a type of Christ!  Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, is called to the King's attention. Mephibosheth was crippled at a very
young age, as are we all, in one way or another, to one degree or another.

Mephibosheth dwelt in Lo-debar, which means "a place of no pasture!"  Here we have a lame man dwelling in a
wilderness area, with no oasis in sight.  Then David had him brought to him out of this place of no pasture and when
Mephibosheth came to David "…he fell on his face, and did reverence." (v. 6)  

That is what happens to us: God calls us by name and we fall on our faces, giving Him reverence because we know the
sick state of our souls; He promises, and gives us, a way out of our spiritual torture.  The first thing David says to
Mephibosheth, as God tells each and every one of His children is, "Fear not…." (v. 7)

And Mephibosheth, like all Christians, responds, "…What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog
as I am?" (v. 8) The Bible puts it up front: we are all dead dogs!  We need a Savior Who takes the initiative to give us a
way out of our wilderness experiences.  And Jesus is that Savior!

Mephibosheth was crippled in his legs, yet was invited by the King to "…eat bread always at my table." (v. 10) He would
not only pull up a chair and eat as one of the King's sons, tasting the goodness provided by the King, but that very
King's table would hide his deformity.  He ate of the bounty that only the King could provide; all his good fortune was
given him for the sake of another.  

All of us are unworthy of God's grace; all of us are corrupt; all of us are in a place of no pasture; all of us are crippled in
one way or another.  Yet God, knowing our state before the worlds were formed, called us out from the world to sit at His
table and eat of the richness of Jesus' merits that brings salvation to those who trust Him.

Therefore, the Church is to embrace all people who sit at the Lord's table!  We are to recognize that Christ's Church is
made up of diverse people whom He made in His image; to reject anyone, Christian or not, because of our prejudices is
to betray the Gospel of grace, faith, peace, love and inclusiveness.

The Church is to be that place where all of us crippled people can go to be fed by God's Word, none being excluded by
the rules, regulations, prejudices, and traditions of people that make void the Word of God.

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