The sermon discusses God's mercy and grace, using examples from 2 Kings where the prophet Elisha performs miracles that save and bless people. Though grace is unmerited, God often requires actions of faith for people to receive His grace and salvation. We must submit to God's will, show grace to others, and allow God's grace to change our lives and behavior.
Well, if you did not receive a handout for the lesson this morning and you would like one, if you'll raise your hand, there are a couple of gentlemen who will get one of those to you. Appreciate so much the presence of all, as has already been said. We're grateful you're here, especially those who are visiting with us, but for all who have assembled together to worship God, thank you for the encouragement you've been to me and to others by your presence and by your worship this morning.
If you have your Bible with you, would you open it up please to 2 Kings chapter 6. 2 Kings chapter 6. And we'll begin in verse 8 here in just a moment, 2 Kings chapter 6, beginning in verse 8.
Let's begin the lesson this morning with a prayer for spiritual sight. If you'll bow with me, please. Dear God, the God of our Lord Christ Jesus. Amen. Amen. The father of glory. We pray that you would give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation and the knowledge of you. May the eyes of our understanding, the spiritual eyes of our hearts be enlightened that we might see.
And know your grace. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Now that's a paraphrase of Paul's prayer in Ephesians chapter 1, verses 15 through 23, where he prayed for the Ephesian brethren, that the eyes of their understanding, the eyes of their hearts, their spiritual eyes might be enlightened, that they might see and perceive what God had done for them.
But Paul's prayer in Ephesians chapter 1 is far from the first prayer for spiritual sight that we see in the Bible. And it is two of those other prayers for spiritual sight uttered hundreds of years before Paul's prayer that I want to consider this morning. And if you'll turn in your Bible to 2 Kings chapter 6 beginning in verse 8, we're going to ask God this morning to open our eyes that we may see, that we might see what it is that He has for us, that we might see what He has done, that we might see the spiritual instead of just the physical.
And that we might see what His grace and His mercy really looks like. And this text finds the prophet Elisha. The prophet who, coincidentally, is most like Jesus in terms of the things that he did, the power that he had, the prophet that came before him being Elijah. The prophet that was most like Jesus shows us what mercy and grace really looks like in an unexpected place by saving the enemies of God's people.
If you're there in 2 Kings chapter 6, begin reading with me, if you would, in verse 8. 2 Kings chapter 6 and verse 8. We'll read this text together, we'll make some points and some applications. Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel. This was not unusual. This had happened, really, since the days of the judges.
The Syrians and the Israelites seemingly always were at war. And he consulted with his servants, saying, My camp will be in such and such a place, and the man of God, who we'll find out here in just a second is Elisha sent the King of Israel saying, beware that you do not pass this place for the Syrians are coming down there.
Then the King of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him and he was watchful there. Not just once or twice. Apparently, this was happening over and over and over again. That the Syrian commander at the command of the king, was going to such and such a place in Israel to make camp and then ultimately attack the Israelites.
But, over and over again, the man of God warns the king of Israel. And he sends people to spy out that place to make sure they, they don't go there. Verse 11, Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing. And He called His servants and said to them, Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?
He says, There's a spy in our midst. Somebody is telling the king everywhere we go. Verse 12, And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king, but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom. This guy knows everything, and there's not some spy, there's not some informant in our midst.
This prophet in Israel knows what you say when you whisper it to nobody else except yourself. So he said, verse 13, go and see where he is that I may send and get him. And it was told him saying, surely he is in Dothan. Therefore, he sent horses and chariots and a great army there and they came by night and surrounded the city.
And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out. There was an army surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, Alas, my master, what shall we do? Now, it seems like people are always coming up to Elisha saying, Alas, my master, what are we going to do in all of these different situations?
And by the power of God, Elisha was able to solve them all.
And that's exactly what he does on this occasion, verse 16. So he, Elisha, answered, Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed and said, Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see. Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire
So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, And he struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Now Elisha said to them,
But he led them to Samaria. Now, just as an aside, some people take this and say, Look, Elisha's lying there. He's lying to these people. And that proves that there's some sort of situational ethics, that it's okay to lie sometimes. I think that really totally misses the point of what's in this text. And if we're really just being honest and technical, he didn't lie to them.
This was not the city where they needed to be. And he was going to take them to the man that they sought. He was going to show them the prophet of the Lord, but he was going to do it in a way that they could not imagine, they did not expect, and with blessings beyond their wildest dreams. So it was, verse 20, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, he prays again, open the eyes of these men.
And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw, and they were inside Samaria, which is the capital of Israel, where the army was normally found. Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them? But he answered, You shall not kill them. 'Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow?
Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master. Then he prepared a great feast for them. And after they ate and drank, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So those bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel. That's a pretty cool story, isn't it?
And it's one, perhaps, that we're familiar with, maybe not in the details, but with this image, the image that's on the screen behind me, of Elisha opening the eyes of his servant, where he sees behind the veil of the physical into the spiritual realm, and he sees these horses and chariots of fire. And he sees that, that the power of God and the servants of God are greater than those who come to harm God's servants.
But may I suggest that what we are intended to see in this text, that the eyesight that God wants us to have is, is not just to see that God is there, though that's part of it. What God really wants us to see are some lessons on what His mercy, and His grace really looks like, if we are willing to open our eyes to see.
So consider with me some lessons on mercy and grace that are taken from this passage. And I want us to begin by looking there in verse 22. Mercy and grace are well defined by that verse, the 22nd verse. And before we read that verse again, let me ask you this. What was it that the Syrians strictly deserved?
What did they deserve? And think in terms of the old law. Think an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, recompense, justice. What did these Syrian raiders deserve? And maybe we say, well, if it's an eye for an eye, what had they come to do? They had come to kill. They had come to kill God's prophets. So what did they deserve?
They deserved to be killed. But what did they receive? Well, they received mercy and grace. Notice what he says in verse 22. But he answered, You shall not kill them. In other words, they're not going to get what it is they deserve. And in my judgment, I believe that that is a really good definition of what mercy is.
Mercy is not receiving the just punishment that you deserve. They deserve to be killed, but he says, you shall not kill them. That's mercy. And really, they would have had no argument if the king of Israel said, kill them. No, that's, that is what they came to do. And so now they're going to live by the sword and die by the sword.
But God's prophet says, do not kill them. And he asked a question to the king of Israel. We're not told what king this is, but apparently he had some sort of conscience, because he says, would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Are you in the business of just killing prisoners?
Is that what you do? And the implication is, no, that's not what he would have done. And so he says, instead, set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master. So it is not just that the king of Israel doesn't kill these people. That would have been just, but he shows mercy.
Instead, what he does is he gives them a great blessing in addition to the mercy that was shown. And I would suggest that's a pretty good definition for what grace is. Grace is getting a blessing or a favor In addition to the mercy that was shown to you. Now I understand, sometimes these two words are used synonymously in the Bible.
There are some other things that we could get into in defining the terms. But this text does a great job in defining these two things for us. And isn't this exactly what God has shown to everyone who has come to Him in humble submission? To those of us who have become Christians, God has shown mercy.
And not giving us what we deserve because of our sins. And He has shown great grace in giving us great blessings and favors far beyond the things we deserve. So I'm going to leave those two definitions up on the board. And whenever I say mercy and grace through the rest of this lesson, this is what I want you to think about and consider.
With those definitions in place, Let's see how they play out in this passage. The second thing that we need to see, that I would like for us to see, that I believe God wants us to see from this passage, is that God is working. God is working behind the scenes in ways that we cannot see. At least we cannot see them until they are revealed to us.
Twice in this passage. Elisha prays for eyes to be opened. And when those eyes are opened, first the eyes of his servant, then the eyes of these Syrian raiders, they see what? They see the power and the working of God. And God is working. Whether we see it or not, God is working. And God is more powerful than we can imagine whether we see it or not.
It is only because God allowed it to be so that I am where I am. It is only because God is working that I have made it thus far. And all of us have the opportunity to be saved because God's working to bring it about. From before the foundation of the world. You ever thought about that? For ages, God has been working.
Since, since Adam and Eve fell in the garden. Before that, God had a plan. But since then, God made promises that through the seed of woman that the head of the serpent was going to be crushed. And He has been fulfilling that plan and those promises. Working it out through the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through all of our Old Testament.
To bring about this promised Messiah. This promised Christ. Who would die on a cross for our sins. And then Jesus came. And God by His grace and mercy sent His only begotten son to be born in a manger and placed in a manger to be raised the son of common people to become a rabbi and live without sin and make that ultimate sacrifice.
By grace He was buried and by grace He rose. And by grace, these things have been revealed to the inspired apostles and prophets. By grace, they were written down so that we might see them and hear them for ourselves. And over and over and over, we see God's working behind the scenes. Take, for example, the promise found in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 13.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man. But God is faithful. Another way of saying that is, God's working to make sure this happens. He will fulfill His promise. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond that which you are able to bear, but with the temptation, Well, make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it.
I think I've quoted from a couple of different translations, but you see, you see the scripture up on the screen. You know, this promise, this promise brings me so much hope and comfort. It brings me hope and comfort, not because I trust in myself to always have the perfect answers and live without sin, but because God has promised that He is working to never put me in a position where I am unable to escape sin and bear it.
Now, sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I, sometimes I find myself in situations where I do fall prey to sin. But it is not because God wasn't working to give me a way of escape. He has promised and He is faithful to do just that. How does God do that? I don't know. But I believe that He does. And sometimes it is only after I am blindly led where I need to be.
That I can see God's working for reasons that will become more clear here in just a few minutes when Harold makes some announcements I've been thinking a lot about When Stephanie and I came to Timberland Drive It was the most blind I had ever been in my entire life to my future You know, as you grow up, you kind of have an idea and maybe there's some divergent paths, but you kind of have an idea of how you think your life's going to go, what you expect from your life.
And, and up to that point in my life, my life had gone about how I expected, you know, high school was fine. It was good, played sports, dominated, you know, that's what I expected.
Then I went off to Florida College and it was a great experience. Maybe a little different than what I expected, but I got to be around all these faithful Christian young people. And I knew, you know, law school or becoming a preacher, I knew those were kind of the paths. And I decided I wanted to preach.
This is what I want to do. And I did. And I preached the gospel, and it was incredible. It was amazing. It was hard work, but it was great. And here I found myself at a point. Stephanie and I did. We found ourselves at a point where we just didn't know what the future held and everything was on the table including leaving preaching.
And we went to the Metroplex to try and figure out what our next step was. And we were at some, even back then I was looking for hotel deals. We found some great deal on this hotel and at this abandoned swimming pool where just Stephanie and I were there. My phone goes off and I have to run across the deck and thankfully I didn't trip and fall.
And I opened my phone. Yes, it was a flip phone back then. I opened my phone, and it was John Adams, Big John Adams calling me, inviting us to talk to the elders here about coming to Timberland.
I don't know how God works. And unless it's revealed, we can't point to it and say, this is what God has done. But I believe that was providential. And as blind as I was, He opened my eyes to where we were supposed to be. Where were these Syrian raiders supposed to be? They weren't supposed to be in Dothan.
They were supposed to be right there in Samaria. Where they could see the power and the mercy and grace of God. And if we are willing to submit ourselves to God's will, we can see that mercy and grace and working, too. How did God work? I don't know. I just know that He did. And He is working to bring you where you need to be, too, if you're willing to submit to Him.
The third thing. God's mercy and grace is given. And we know it is given in many ways before we are saved by it. I think a lot of times we kind of run through this point. I know I have in times past. We want to get to God's saving grace, right? What has God done by His grace in order to save us? And sometimes we run right past all of the other things that God has done before we are saved that are also by His mercy and by His grace.
If you want to think about it and just really terms, justice would require that we just die because of our sins. That God strike us dead because of what we have done. And yet in His mercy, He is longsuffering and He waits. As Peter says, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
That's what God desires. That's what God wants. But He is working in other ways. His grace is given in other ways. Even before we are saved. And we know that God doesn't have to require anything for His mercy and grace. It is God's to give and He is the one that gives it. And we know that He gives grace in different ways to both those who are faithful and those who are unfaithful.
Both those who are righteous and those who are sinful. Matthew chapter 5 and verse 45 perhaps is the best example that Jesus gives us. Jesus says God makes His Son rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Evil and good, just and unjust, we all are participants in God's mercy and grace.
And it is only because of His mercy and grace that any of us have any good thing in this life. James says every good and every perfect gift comes from God. And even the grace of God's working and having a plan, all of those things that we talked about a moment before, all of the things that God has done for thousands of years to bring about the opportunity of our salvation, before we do anything.
All of that is by mercy and grace that He has done that, long before we could do anything in response. Turn to Titus chapter 2, if you would, Titus chapter 2, to make this point.
Just read verse 11 of Titus chapter 2 with me. For
the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to some people, to the ones that He likes, to ones that He has chosen beforehand. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, all people, all anthropos. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to everyone. Now, not all accept it.
But that grace of having the opportunity to be saved has appeared to everyone. And so let's make the point this way. God doesn't have to require anything to receive His grace, but sometimes God doesn't require something like the sun and the rain. However, but God has the right to require whatever He chooses.
God has the right to require whatever He chooses for His grace. And God almost always has conditions for our faith and works to accept the gifts that He gives by His grace. Put it another way, God's mercy and grace is given in many ways before we are saved by it. But, salvation by grace is still conditional.
Are you still there in Titus chapter 2 and verse 11? This grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. But what does he say in verse 12? Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself His own special people.
Zealous for good works. God's grace has appeared to all men. And this is a concept that is foreign to so many, even in the religious world. This grace isn't just something that we're made aware of. This grace teaches us something. It teaches us what? It teaches us what we must do. It teaches us the way we're supposed to live.
And the question that's just begging to be asked is, if God's grace has appeared to everyone, why isn't everyone saved? We already quoted from Peter in 2 Peter chapter 3, 1 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 4, God desires all people to be saved. Why aren't all people saved if that's God's desire and His grace has appeared to everyone?
Well, because the conditions of salvation must be met in response to the Lord's invitation, His grace. And we do so by faith. Faith is found in obedience to the conditions of grace. Faith is what we must produce in order to be saved by grace. And a good way to think about it is, grace is that word that says, This is everything that God has done.
To bring about our salvation. And faith is that word that, that defines everything that we must do in response to His grace. If we are going to be saved. I'm gonna hammer this point. How many times have I said this point? I don't know, but I'm gonna say it again. Unmerited. That's what we call grace sometimes.
Unmerited favor. Unmerited. We don't deserve it. We didn't earn it. Unmerited does not mean unconditional. And just because God puts a condition On his saving grace does not mean that we've earned it or deserved it. But it does mean we've got to do it if we're going to be saved by that. What is it that God requires for us to accept His grace?
Well, God always requires something to accept His saving grace. We see that throughout the Bible, but we see that especially in our text here in 2 Kings, in the miracles of Elisha. If you'd like to turn back to 2 Kings you can also flip your handout over. A more full chart. I'm going to give you the SparkNotes version up on the screen.
The full version is there on the back of your handout. But I want us to just walk through, and we're not going to read these passages. I encourage you to read them on your own at home. But we're just going to walk through these passages, all about grace and mercy that we see in the book of 2 Kings. And the working of His prophet, Elisha.
In 2 Kings 2, 19 22, there is this bad water. And God shows grace. Grace is given. How? The water is healed. There's no death. There's no barrenness in this water. But I want you to see, for every single one of these, there is an action. That was required by God, by these people who desired His grace, in order to receive that grace.
And we see that this is found over and over in the text. What did they have to do here? Elisha says, bring me a new bowl and put salt in it. So my question is, if they didn't bring him a new bowl, they didn't put salt in it, would the water have been healed? Give me a thumbs up, yes it would have been, even without those things.
Thumbs down, no it wouldn't have, unless they did it. All right, we'll run through these quickly. Same thing, over and over and over. Elisha and the widow's oil. She has payment for her debt and money to live on. But what does she have to do? Go borrow some empty vessels. Do not gather just a few. Shut the door behind you and your sons.
Pour it into the vessels and set aside the full ones. Go sell the oil. What if she said, that's ridiculous. That's not the way I want to be saved. Would she have received this mighty miracle and blessing from God in her salvation? No, she wouldn't have. 2 Kings 4, 8 37, Elisha raises the Shunammite son. Well, obviously, the grace is, her son is raised from the dead.
But what does she have to do? In faith, she departed and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. She went and got the only one who she knew could save her son. She did so by faith. 2 Kings 4, 38, should be 38 a pot of deadly stew. And at the end, there was nothing harmful in the pot, and they were able to eat it.
But what did they have to do? Bring me some flour. Nah, I'm not gonna do that. That's a work. I'm not gonna do that. I want you to save me by grace. No, of course. They just did what it was the prophet asked them to do. And there's no some magical power in the flour. It was by the power of God that ultimately the stew was made right.
2 Kings 4, 42 44. Elisha, similar to Jesus, feeds a hundred men with twenty loaves of barley bread. They ate, had some left over according to the word of the Lord. They had to give it to the people that they may eat. There's not enough bread here. How are we going to do that? Just give it to the people by faith.
And there's gonna be enough, and that's what they had to do. Naaman is healed of his leprosy. That account in verses 1 through 15 of chapter 5. And what does the text say? His flesh is restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. But what do you have to do? You have a longer list there in your handout.
Notice just these three things. At the word of Elisha's servant, he had to wash in the Jordan River, he had to dip seven times. He even asked the question, could I not wash in the rivers of Syria and be clean? The answer is no, no you couldn't! You've got to do what God told you to do in order to receive the grace.
And then bringing us all the way up to the story right before the one we've just read, the floating axe head. I've preached on that one before. I love that story. The iron floated so that he could retrieve it. He had to call out to Elisha. He had to show him the place where it went. And he had to pick it up for himself.
Y'all, this is just from 2 Kings 2 through 2 Kings 6. There are dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of other examples, Old and New Testament, that show us the same thing. God saves us by His mercy and His grace. And we don't deserve it and we didn't earn it. But He has every right to demand whatever it is He requires in order for us to accept that grace.
So what is required? What is required in every instance? You know, we see this chart and all of these examples and you say, but what about this one? Doesn't this account 8 of 2 Kings 6, Isn't this count just a little bit different? Like what was it that they had to do in order to receive this grace and mercy?
I mean, God struck them blind, Elisha led them into Samaria, and there they were, all surrounded. I don't see them having to do anything. And at first glance, maybe that's what we would assume, but may I suggest that there are, there are two things that these Syrian raiders had to do that every person... Who receives God's salvation has to do two things that they had to do in this text that every other person has to do They had to submit and they had to surrender.
I must be willing to stop fighting God and submit myself to God's will, whatever that is.
You know, you look back, you get these Facebook memories. Raise, we got people on Facebook, raise your hand if you get those Facebook memories. Oh man, as a parent, those are some peer jerkers sometimes, aren't they? And one thing that the girls and I used to do, it's not just a, a guy, a boy dad thing.
Like, girl dads wrestle with their girls, too, and we used to have these great wrestling matches in the living room with my girls, and we would wrestle, right? We would wrestle, but, I mean, let's be honest, who's gonna win this wrestling match? And so we would wrestle, and we'd wrestle, and finally I'd get my arms around both of them, and they would fight, and they would claw sometimes, say, no scratching, no scratching, right?
And the only way, ultimately, that I was gonna let them go, and things would be over, is if they surrendered. If they submitted, I think is even what they call it in wrestling, right? If they were willing to stop fighting, I was willing to let go. And I think so often what we want to do is we just want to fight and fight and fight and fight against God.
Fight against His Word and what it tells us. Fight against the requirements that He has for our life. But the only way we're going to receive God's salvation is if we're willing to submit to His will and surrender ourselves to Him. That's the only way it's going to happen. And until we reach that point, we are not ready to be saved, until we are willing to, to stop fighting.
And, and this should be so obvious, isn't it? Submit to the will of, I don't know, the one who knows everything! Shouldn't that be easy, to submit to His will? The one who knows all things? The one who knows the end from the beginning? The one who knows how many hairs are on every single one of our heads?
Should be easy to submit to Him. It should be easy to surrender to the all powerful One, to the One who made Heaven and Earth. and everything in it, through whom we have life and breath and our very being, the one by whose word all things are sustained even to this day. It should be easy to submit to him,
but it comes down to a matter of trust, that we trust the one who loved us so much that he gave his son. Yes, I can submit. Yes, I can surrender. Are you willing to do that? Whatever it is, then you are ready to be saved. And yet, this text tells us that there are a couple of other things that still will be demanded of us.
God's grace toward me demands that I show it to others. The eagerness of the king in seeking to kill his enemies that are delivered to him by God stands out so strongly to me. It sounds almost like a kid, you know, who's just so excited about something they just can't help but asking about it over and over again.
in the text in verse 21. He says, My father, Shall I kill them? Shall I kill them? Twice he asks that. He's like, oh boy, I've got them. I've got them now. And yet what was demanded of him was the same thing that is demanded of us. No, Elisha says These ones have been delivered to you. You didn't do anything in order to receive this gift of these Syrian raiders.
And by the same measure what you should show is grace. Too often we are eager for God to strike down others rather than show them the grace that was shown to us. And may grace and mercy and forgiveness always excite us more than God's justice. Now don't misunderstand me, God is just and His justice is just as part, as much a part of His character and who He is as His grace and His mercy.
Both of those things are true about God, they are equally true, they are equally good in that sense. But think about God Himself. God is just and He will be just and there is comfort in knowing that God will be just. But what is it that makes God excited? What is it that gives God joy? What causes the angels in heaven to rejoice?
Well, we studied about that even this morning in Luke chapter 15, didn't we? Look at just two verses. Luke chapter 15. I'm sure Jesse covered this in great detail, so I'm not gonna belabor, be, be, I'm not gonna beat a dead horse. Luke chapter 15 and verse 7. Belabor the point. Verse 7, I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.
Verse 10, likewise I say to you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. And the amazing thing is that is contrasted with Jesus sorrowful cry. In reaction to the sins of the people of Jerusalem in chapter 13 and verse 34, Jesus justice demanded that Jerusalem was going to be judged.
But what does Jesus say about that? Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her, I am looking forward to the day that I will rain down my wrath. Know how often I wanted to gather your children together. As a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you are not willing.
God is just and will be just, but it breaks his heart. And so too for us. May God's mercy and grace and forgiveness always excite us more than his justice. And we need to remember what God has done for us. Like this king, we don't deserve the victory. We didn't earn it. For the king, it was by mercy in revealing where these attacks were going to come, and by grace and giving the enemy into his hand.
And so, like the king, we must show the same mercy and grace toward others. And there are so many passages, like Ephesians chapter 4, 31 and 32, that tell us that. But finally, number six, God's grace demands a change in our future behavior. The Bible always has grace for grace. The very nature of grace is that it is reciprocal, not transactional, not something that's earned, but something is demanded of us if we accept God's grace.
God's unmerited favor merits a response from us, and anything less than a full hearted response would be ungrateful. for what God has done for us. And if we go back one more time to 2 Kings chapter 6, go back one more time to 2 Kings chapter 6, read with me again verse 23. What was it? These Syrians are not killed.
Instead, they throw a big party for them. They eat and make merry and they're sent on their way. And what does the text say in verse 23? Then he prepared a great feast for them. And after they ate and drank, he sent them away to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.
Now, other Syrians did. Verse 24 talks about another war with Syria that took place. But what I think the text is saying in verse 23 is, other Syrians might have, but these Syrian raiders never came again. They understood that the mercy and grace that was shown to them demanded something of them. It demanded a change in their behavior.
It demanded that they not come and fight against Israel or the God of Israel ever again. And in gratitude, their lives and behavior were forever changed. And if they didn't, if they didn't change their lives, well, I mean, they need not think that they would be spared or shown such blessings again. And this is not just a matter of some story from...
3, 000 years ago, 2, 900 years ago.
The same things apply to us today. And God's mercy and grace toward us today. One more passage, 1 Timothy chapter 1 and verse 12. The Apostle Paul saw this all too clearly that the mercy and grace given him by God demanded, demanded a change in his behavior. Read with me beginning in verse 12. And I thank Christ Jesus.
That word, thank, there, that's just the word for grace. I grace Christ Jesus, our Lord, who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man. But I obtained what? Mercy. Because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
But not just mercy. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundantly with faith, exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of whom, Paul says, I am the foremost.
However, for this reason, I obtained mercy. That in me first, Christ Jesus might show all longsuffering, As a pattern for those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Paul's life was totally changed because of the mercy and grace of God. And he says, I'm supposed to be a pattern. If I can be saved, you can be saved.
If I can change my life, by the grace of God, you can change your life as well. And what an example Paul is to us. No wonder he prayed. That the Ephesians eyes of their understanding would be enlightened that they could see God's grace like He did. And so my question this morning is, have you surrendered and submitted to the will of God to receive His grace?
What must you do? Whatever God requires. Amen? Whether that is coming in submission and surrender to be saved by the blood of Jesus in baptism. Or being willing to forgive someone who has sinned against you. We're being willing to change your behavior and gratitude for your salvation. We're here to help you if we can.
May you see God's mercy and grace. And we invite you to come while together we stand and while we sing.