Blessed are the Merciful
Good evening let’s jump right in were continuing our series in the beatitudes that we have been looking at over the past 5 weeks and we have been looking at how not only is this teaching from our Lord dealing with proper attitudes that should be found within the heart of every believer, they are also a road map showing us how to move forward in our Christian life. We have seen how they seem to build on one another. We have looked at the roots of a blessed Christian life, these were being poor in Spirit, mourning over our sins, and also meekness, our willingness to submit to the Lord’s will over our own.
We saw how at the outset of this blessed life these roots are found and that begins to spring forth life on the inside of you, and this life is found as you begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness, because that hunger and thirst can only be satisfied through one person and it is none other than Jesus Christ. The Beatitudes describe for us the genuine marks of a true believer. Jesus is not telling us how to become a Christian, what Jesus is teaching us is how to know someone is a Christian. What are the recognizable marks of a person who is united with Jesus Christ, you would expect to be bale to say something about a person that would prove them to be united with Jesus and here is what Jesus says, the beatitudes are the distinguishing marks.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
There are character qualities that are found in true believers that when you see them you can tell they have been with Jesus. We are use the beatitudes as sort of a mirror. We are to hold them up and asks ourselves ARE THESE THE DISTINGUISHING MARKS OF MY LIFE?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Like you I find this series really challenging. I need to warn you that the further we go, the more challenging it is going to get. We will often find ourselves falling off of one of these areas. We go back to the beginning which is what?
Oh lord I dont have what it takes! (poor in spirit)
Be merciful to me a sinner, I hate the sin that has prevailed over me, I submit myself again to You. Off you go again, right back striving once again. That is what the Christian life is all about, this is what sanctification is all about. Tonight we move from the roots to the life, and as that life is nurtured, then fruit begins to grow and tonight we are looking at the fruit that is produced out of these roots.
Let’s look at the fruit:
Mercy, Purity, Peace
Now that if there were to be a bumper crop of these fruits in your life this upcoming year?
How blessed would you be, if this year, the heart that may sometimes be angry got softened with compassion? Being filled with mercy you WERE FINALLY ABLE TO FORGIVE SOMETHINGS THAT HAVE BEEN DOGGING YOU FOR YEARS? How blessed would you be if this year, your heart that has often been divided and pulled in different directions, falling into the same sins over and over again. If that divided heart was to become one, if it was to be pure. If you were truly living for one purpose like Paul described “that I may know Him” How blessed would you be if there was a bumper crop of purity in this year and all the years to follow?
Then on top of that how blessed would you be if in your soul coming out of these roots and this life there was a bumper crop of peace, peace in your own soul, rest within yourself, and this fresh sense of freedom. That would enable you to be a peacemaker, someone who has peace within themselves to such a degree that they are able to bring peace into situations of division and conflict.
You see if your a Christian, just by hearing these fruits described just to look at them is to desire them. It causes the Christian to say “Oh Lord these are the things I want go after, and to see a bumper crop being produced within my life.
Let’s look then at the first fruit that comes as a result of these things.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
WHAT IS CHRIST CALLING US TO?
What does it mean to be merciful.
I like to think of a parable that Jesus told when I think of this fruit of the Spirit. The story of the good Samaritan. You know the story: A man is on a journey and he is attacked and he is robbed and he is beaten and he is left for dead. Another traveler comes down this dangerous road and sees the man in his need and walks by and ignores him, then someone else walks down the same road and see the man in need and then moves on, and then a third man walks down the road which Jesus called a Samaritan and he comes to where this man lying in the road was and when he sees him.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
it doesnt end there
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
Then at the end of Jesus telling this story he tells the person who was pressing him with questions, JEsus asks him. Which of these 3 was really a good neighbor to the man attacked by the robbers?
The answer that was given “the one who showed him mercy” verse 37
This parable is given to us to teach us about mercy and Jesus is clearly telling us that mercy has 2 component parts.
He had to have tenderness of heart.
He had compassion, but even though it begins with compassion it does not end there. Out of that compassion, there is action that flows, he went to the man and bound up his wounds and doctored him up. So I want us to see here what MERCY really is:
Mercy- “a tender heart that cares and acts for the good of others.”
There is a softness of heart but it also acts for the good of others.
1. Mercy is the character of God.
When God revealed Himself to Moses on mt Sinai He showed Him a 4 fold description of Himself that is so important that it is repeated more than 7 times in the OT. This gets to the core of what everyone needs to know about God everything that you need to believe about God as a believer is coming upin this one phrase repeated 7 times in the OT.
“The Lord is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
Gracious, merciful, slow to anger , and abounding in love.
Here is what you most need to know about God, that He is a tenderhearted Father He cares for you! He is the God who is always acting for your good!
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Paul says I was at the front of the line when it comes to sinners I was the foremost, but heres what happened… I recieved mercy!
When GOd reveals Himself in the person of JEsus CHrist we find that the Lord JEsus CHrist is full of mercy.
Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
What does it for Jesus to be a merciful and faithful high priest, the one who stands at the right hand of God the Father and that He is there in all of the richness of HIs mercy pleading with the Father for you in your constant sin. Making intercession for you!
Think of the mercy of Jesus toward Simon Peter… Before the rooster crows Peter you will deny me 3 times.”
Peter you are going to fall in spectacular fashion, some of us know what that’s like, you say… that’s me. The mother of all mess ups, and it will leave you wondering how in the world could I possibly have done that foolish thing, knowing full well what God expects and deserves from me!
Jesus told Peter before he denied Him, “Satan desires to sift you like weak, but I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail.” Peter’s faith did not fail, because Jesus gets what He asks for. Wait but didn’t he deny Jesus?
Yes his testimony failed, he denied Christ, but his faith could not live with his denial! His faith produced repentance as he ran out of the city and wept while they crucified His Lord He was broken over what his sin had cost and he had been given a chance to stand with him, and he was a coward. Have you been there?
Now see him standing by the risen Lord and Jesus asks him Peter do you love me?
Peter says oh Lord you know everything you know that I love you and JEsus says… go feed my sheep.THATS A MERCIFUL HIGH PRIEST
HE says my people shall come to me and in my mercy I will remember there sins NO MORE!
You see once you see the mercy and Grace of the Lord Jesus you will come to Him, if your always afraid of condemnation yuo will always be at a distancce from Him but once you get a taste of His loving mercy and Grace you will come to Him knowing
THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE CHRIST JESUS!
That’s why Hebrews says
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Think of the mercy Christ shows towards Thomas let’s put this in real life situations, how would we describe Thomas… well this man is in Spiritual leadership and some of you are. Heres this man and his own faith is not in good shape and he knows it. Not a comfortable place be.
Even in our unbelief the Lord JEsus Christ never let’s a single child of His go, He never let’s one of His children go, so what does he do?
Mercy is God’s calling to us.
Mercy is God’s calling to us.
The whole point of the Christian life, the whole point of history, of creation is what? That God would multiply the image that He loves, the image of His Son His one and only Son, that image would be multiplied where? in a whole community called the church. People from every nation, tribe and tongue, will serve HIm and grow into His image and likeness. What wil that look like, well above all else it should be a group of people with tender hearts that care, and acts for the good of others. This is our calling to hand out mercy and love in the same way it was handed out to us!
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Not just to do it but to love mercy. Yall ought to get excited when you get to show mercy because in that moment you have a chance to be like God. Or as Jesus said to one of the leaders in His day who had not really understood what spiritual leadership was all about He said:
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
I am not simply interested in the religious actions you are taking I am looking at your heart and whats flowing out of your heart, and I want to see if it is a reflection of the heart of God. So God calls us to mercy. God desires people who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness and wanting to immulate God to people wanting to return the same love adoration and grace their Heavenly Father has bestowed upon them.
Think with me about the impact of 1 teacher inside of a school who really has a tender heart who cares about kids, and really cares about the administration. Think about the influence of 1 person in a business, of 1 member of a church, of 1 parent who really has a tender heartand acts for the good of others.
I want us to tune in to how we can practice mercy.
7 opportunities to show Mercy:
PRACTICE MERCY IN MATERIAL NEEDS
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Sinclair Fergeson: Mercy is getting down on your hands and your knees and doing something to restore dignity to someone whose life has been broken by sin.
There will be ways for each of us to practice mercy in material needs for each one of us this week.
2. PRACTICE MERCY IN SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES
And have mercy on those who doubt;
We are commanded to extend mercy in relation to this. God calls us to have tender hearts towards brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling in their faith.
Make me tender toward others, help me to be soft and tender to tohers as you have been to me Lord.
3. PRACTICE MERCY IN EMBARASSING FAILURES
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
This is something that should be happening over and over again by CHristians just loving and covering over a myriad of sins. There are some things that should never be covered over like crimes.
Spurgeon: “I recommend to you dear brothers and sisters that you always have 1 blind eye and 1 deaf ear.”
“My blind eye is the best eye that I have and my deaf ear is the best ear that I have.” in other words what he is saying is: a hard hearted person is always making a big deal of little failures, while a tender heart is going the other way and covers over little failures with a blind eye and deaf ear.
GOD DOES NOT TREAT US AS OUR SINS DESERVE NOR DOES HE REPAY US IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR INIQUITIES, HE IS MERCIFUL and His love poured out at calvary covers a multitude of sins.
look this week to cover soime friends embarassing failure in encouragement and love.
4. PRACTICE MERCY IN SLANDEROUS GOSSIP
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
You know Satan is the father of lies… he does his best work in the dark shadows and in secret
*** IT IS AS BAD TO BELIEVE A LIE AS IT IS TO SPEAK ONE***
*** IT IS AS BAD TO REPEAT A LIE AS IT IS TO INVENT ONE***
NO GOSSIP THIS WEEK
“A man’s name is more valuable than his goods… he who takes away the good name of another SINS MORE THAN IF HE HAD TAKEN THE CORN OUT OF HIS FEILD OR THE GOODS OUT OF HIS SHOP.”
5. PRACTICE MERCY IN UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
I am so grateful God remembers we are dust. I need to remember this in relation to others, and what this means is that I must not set unreasonable expectations of my spouseof my children or my spouse, I must learn not to be surprised.
6. PRACTICE MERCY IN PERSONAL INJURIES
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
7. PRACTICE MERCY WITH LOST SOULS
save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.