Blessed are the merciful
Does being merciful make us blessed, or is it the other way around? Message given on March 3rd 2020
Good morning everyone
(Reminder of Sermon Series)
(Quick explanation as to why Sermon Series are important and special))
So------ The Beatitudes.
Intro - “Being blessed” means that God is active in your heart and in your thoughts, to bring you to a place of right standing before Him.
Part 1 - Being “poor in spirit” means to have an honest view of yourself, when compared to the perfection of Jesus.
Part 2 - “Blessed are those who mourn----over events, the sin in the world, and their own sin.
Part 3 - “Being meek” - means to have self controlled humility, and remember that we are second, and God is first.
Part 4 - “Hunger and thirst for righteousness” - because everything else is unfulfilling poison that will leave us starving.
So now we're at part 5. The 5th Beatitude, which can be found in:
Matthew 5:7 - “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
If you remember last week, we talked about how each of the Beatitudes can be seen as a result of the ones that came before.
As we read them, we can see that each one builds on the previous, and leads us into the next one.
So with our verse this morning, coming right after “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” we can see that when we are filled with the righteousness of God-----this, and the next two, actually, is what it will look like.
We will be merciful.
You see, if we take the Beatitudes for what they are, within a proper understanding of Scripture, we can know that this list isnt “what one must do to be a Christian” but instead, its describing what someone is like when they already are a Christian.
They are poor in spirit // meek // mournful over sin // hungry for righteousness // and now we have they will be merciful.
Alright-------so, when we repented of our sins, and asked God to forgive us------ at that very moment, the Holy Spirit intertwined Himself with our soul.
God came to reside within our heart
We were made new
And the reason that happened------is not because of anything that we have done.
God doesnt save us because we were really nice people.
God doesnt save us because we prayed the right kind of prayer, the right number of times.
He doesnt save us because we act holy, make right choices,
Never swore // never did drugs // never killed or lusted or any of that other stuff // never lie // never steal //
He didnt save us-------based on anything in our life, or in our heart.
Titus 3:5 - “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
God saved us because, of, His, mercy.
Exodus 34:6 “6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”
Understanding this about God, that He is merciful, and it was because of His mercy that He saved us------can teach us what mercy is, how it should look in our lives, and WHY its in our lives to begin with.
The verses I quoted above, teach us that God is merciful and that He saved us because of His mercy.
Ephesians 2:4 teaches us that He is “rich in mercy”
Micah 7:18 teaches us that “He delights to show mercy”
All through Scripture we see this truth about God. That He is merciful. But what does that mean? What is “mercy” ?
So if we start our search, for what MERCY IS, from the starting point of “God is merciful, and saved us BECAUSE OF HIS MERCY” then we can dig through Scripture and see some truths start to emerge:
Primarily, when it comes to God saving us because of His mercy-------we see that its like that because no one DESERVES to be saved.
God doesn't owe us salvation
In fact, we would be right to say that we have EARNED the death penalty.
Romans 3:23 says that all of us have sinned
Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death
So the reality is----- that what we DESERVE -----is punishment.
We have broken the law, and the judge knows it
We did the crime, and we should do the time
We ----- are ----- guilty
If that’s the case, if that is an unmoving, unchangeable reality, then why doesn’t God just kill us? Right?
He wouldnt be acting unjustly if He sentenced us.
It wouldnt be unfair of Him to hand down the guilty verdict.
But that’s not the final word. There is more to the story.
Theres more to the story, because God isnt ONLY just, He is MERCIFUL as well.
He is perfectly JUST - as in His justice is perfect - no sin will go unpunished
And He is perfectly MERCIFUL as well
MERCY can be defined as “compassion, put into action, towards someone who doesn’t deserve it.”
It is lacing up your boots, putting your hands to work, and actually literally DOING SOMETHING COMPASSIONATE, towards someone------ (and heres the key) ------- who doesnt deserve you being compassionate towards them.
When Adam and Eve messed up in the garden, God didn't look at them from a distance and say “oh man you're screwed. You stepped in it now. You are up a creek without a paddle.”
He did something about it
His compassion towards us, His kindness, His love, took action.
He sent his prophets to warn people of danger
He spoke, face to face with Moses
He informed us of what path would lead to life, and what path would lead to death.
He performed miracles // freed slaves // He destroyed evil nations, and raised up a holy nation // He put His compassion towards us, into action.
Not only did He send His messengers to teach us and warn us------
Not only did He hand down rules from on high-------
Not only did He interact with us, while remaining in heaven-------
He came down.
He came down here.
He put on flesh ------- became a human ------- literally ----- physically -------- the God of all the universe, became a human:
A human who felt pain
A human who felt heartache
A human who felt abandoned
A human who felt like their life didnt matter to the ones they love
A human who felt the soul retching, heartbreaking rejection of someone they love deny them
He became a human who suffered
Who was hurt // tortured // mocked and made fun of // ridiculed // bullied Him // spoke about Him behind His back // spread rumors about Him
(A little side note)
You see this is one of the defining realities that distinguishes Christianity from every other religion on the planet. All other religions teach humans what they must do to get to heaven------but the Bible teaches us that we can’t save ourselves ------ so God came down here.
Other religions teach what humans can do to go up
The Bible teaches the God came down
He came down here. Not to hang out and have a good time. Not because He missed us and was lonely.
No------He came down here----- to die.
To be whipped // to be beaten // to stripped naked // nailed to a cross, spit on // laughed at // ……..and die.
He came down here--------suffered all of those things --------- because He was putting His compassion into action.
His love didnt remain some obscure feeling that He talked about with priests and prophets -----No ------ He put on flesh, and walked it out
His love, His kindness, His compassion------became real to us, when they were manifested in His actions.
He did this, because He is merciful
and ------ MERCY is compassion, put to action, towards someone who doesnt deserve it.
We didnt deserve for Him to save us------but He did nonetheless
In fact, Mercy is such a part of who He is, that He wove it into His plan for humanity before He even created us
Revelation 13:8 says that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
As in------God had mercy built into His plan, from the very beginning
Jesus dying wasn't “Plan b”.
Mercy was part of His plan, because mercy is part of who He is.
Which is exactly why He calls us to be merciful.
Colossians 3:12-13 - “12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
We must let everything we do, be so filled with mercy, be so filled with compassion put into action, towards people who dont deserve it-----we must be so filled with mercy, that people will be astounded as to why were acting in such a way
Our compassion put into action, should make people think things like:
“Why are you being so nice to THOSE kind of people?”
“Why did you help that person? You know they arent going to change their behavior?”
“Why are you being so compassionate to someone whose so mean and disrespectful?”
“If you help that person, arent they going to end up relying on your help?”
When non believers, see the way we act towards people in physical need AND spiritual need, we have---in that moment----the ability to let our actions say something God.
Our behavior------can show people the kind of God we worship.
Being merciful towards someone in physical need, means, that when we encounter:
the homeless // the diseased // the prostitute // the addict // the man or the woman who can’t provide for their family // the person whose own actions have left them in trouble or in despair // the person who broke the law and has been arrested or incarcerated // ----when we encounter people in physical need----we are commanded to be MERCIFUL
We should never be looking down our noses at them
Lifting ourselves up on some pedestal of false holiness --- telling them “oh if you were like me---then maybe your life would be better.”
We are called, we are commanded, to be merciful. To be kind, loving, meek, humble, compassionate -------- merciful ----------- to people in physical need.
James 2:16 says “If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
We are called to put our compassion, into action, and help people in need.
Help them // feed them // donate to them // lift them up // give of yourself // put yourself on the backburner and help a person in need
If and when we see someone in physical need, and the strings of our heart aren’t pulled upon because of what we think about that person, or what we think about their situation-----then we need to examine the contents of our heart.
Now that’s the easy part.
No one ---except some really cruel people--- would say that we shouldnt be merciful towards a homeless person who wants a sandwich
Its a clear cut argument, when it comes to being merciful towards people in physical need
Yeah we may have some discussions about enabling and where we can draw that line-----but no one denies that mercy should be present towards someone's physical needs.
But with SPIRITUAL NEEDS things start to get a little blurry, right?
When we encounter someone of a different religion----they are in spiritual need of mercy
who adamantly, whole heartedly, and honestly believes their fictitious god is real----------how do we respond?
When people who outright say that the Bible is a fairy tale-------they are in spiritual need of mercy -------- how do we respond?
When we see people who say they believe ----but live like the world ------they are in spiritual need of mercy -----------how do we respond?
Do we raise our voice, puff out our chest, and barf out the words that everyone is wrong except us?
Are we short and curt and unloving towards them?
Do we cut them out of our lives?
Do we engage in endless debates that go nowhere?
Do we metaphorically hit them over the head with the Bible? And shove it down their throats?
I want to tell you this morning, and it’s something I’ve said before----- No one has ever been argued into heaven.
Jude 1:19-23 says - “19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
-------We are called to be merciful towards doubters
-------To be merciful towards people who don’t realize that they are in the fire
-------We are called to show mercy ---- mixed with fear ---- towards people who are in SPIRITUAL NEED OF MERCY
When that verse tells us to be merciful and snatch people from the fire, but “hate the clothing that is stained by corrupted flesh” its making an analogy about leprosy.
You see, when someone had that disease, even their clothing was contaminated, and could spread it to someone else. Their flesh corrupted the clothing.
And Christians cared about the person, they wanted the person saved, cleaned, made new, changed, helped
We want the person to have mercy, but we hate the disease, we hate the clothing that has been stained by it
So we have here, God using someone’s PHYSICAL NEEDS, as an analogy for someone’s SPIRITUAL NEEDS
We want others to be saved // the followers of a false religion to be saved // the doubters and the lost
We want them to be made new--- while hating that which holds them prisoners
We want them to be clean, to be changed, for God to soften their heart, open their eyes // to breath life into their dead souls
We want God to show them MERCY
Which motivates US to show them MERCY, all the while hating and rejecting the sin that has hurt them
Loving them // caring for them // helping them
Being gentle in our words---even when we engage in debate
It is our love for them ---- it is our desire that they are made free and saved from an eternity of flames ----- that motivates us to never back down from what the Bible teaches------------
But if it is not manifested in our life through OUR MERCY, then they will never know of GOD’S MERCY
You see, the only way we can show mercy to others, is if we remember that God was merciful to us
Every time I sinned----He should have turned His back on me
Every time I held anger in my heart
Every time I lusted
Every time I hurt someone // lied // stole //
Every time I thought or acted in ways that were contrary to Scripture, God should have turned His back on me-----but He heard my cry!
I cried out to Him, have mercy on me God -----
And he saved me
I told Him my faults, I confessed to Him my sins, I fell apart and screamed and cried and wailed over the wrong I had done and begged for His mercy
I cried out to Him “why me God? Why did you save me? Why do you love me? Why do you have plans for me? Why do you have work for me? I have sinned lord, im undeserving, ive failed, ive messed up God, I deserve your wrath ---- but you saved me
It is because of His mercy
Because He delights to show Mercy
Jesus Christ died to make us new, to save us, to clean us
He came to earth, and died the death that we deserve, because God is Merciful
If that reality isnt constantly flowing through everything in our life, then the people in our life will be starting off with a flawed view of God’s mercy.
It should be prevelent in how we spend our money
How we live
How we dress
How we speak
How we behave
How we work
The mercy of God should be prevalent in our distress
In our comfort
In the good times and the bad times
The mercy of God should flow through our language and behavior when we meet someone in physical need
Help them, donate to them, feed them, clothe them, provide for them, love them, show them the same mercy that God has shown you
And it should be there when we meet someone in spiritual need too
Love them - and hate their sin
Listen to them
Cry with them
Be there for them
Be there for them in every way you can ----- all the while hating that which holds them captive
Show them the same mercy that God has shown you
( → → Call up Worship Team) ← ← )
When Jesus said “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” He was saying that the people who are merciful towards others, are those in whom God is working. I am moving through their hearts and minds, showing them mercy, day by day, moment by moment, and their mercy towards others, is proof I have been merciful towards them to begin with.”
Be merciful towards others. No matter who they, no matter what theyve done, how they live, or what they believe.
Putting compassion into action can be as simple as lending a hand
Or as complicated as standing up for what the bible teaches, in a calm polite way
Let the love that God has shown you, flow through every aspect of your life.
Let it steer your thoughts
Guide your feelings
Let every behavior you engage or dont engage in, be an extension of the mercy that God has poured out on your life.
If we arent being merciful towards others------ if we arent putting our compassion into action towards people in need of PHYSICAL mercy and people in need of SPIRITUAL mercy------it can only be because we have forgotten that He has been merciful to us.
( → → Closing prayer ← ← )