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Blessed Are The Merciful

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Merciful are Blessed

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Blessed Are The Merciful

Matthew 5:7 KJV 1900
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Crime
Each man out for his own
Exodus 34:6–7 KJV 1900
6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Psalm 25:10 KJV 1900
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth Unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Mercy - compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.
IT is certainly apparent in our world today that one does not have to go very far to encounter a lack of mercy.
Sadly some do not even have to leave home to find an unmerciful spirit.
Our world is not so very different from the world in which our Lord spoke the Beatitudes.
In the Roman world in which Jesus spoke these words, mercy was despised and something to be ashamed of, if you expected to be a success.
Mercy was considered a weakness.
A fallen society out of control lacked mercy.....
Romans 1:28–31 KJV 1900
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
roman 8.
Listen as the Apostle Paul lists the characteristics of a thoroughly degenerate society he wrote, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, (30) backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (31) undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.” ()
The last characteristic that he names in such a society is one filled with people who lack mercy.
Today we live in a fallen world among men and women, who are by nature selfish and evil.
It is into such a world that Jesus speaks when he says, “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” In yet another paradoxical statement Jesus promises it is the person who lives and walks in mercy that will be “blessed.”
The word “blessed” means much more than happy. It is the idea of hearing the applause of Heaven or of being approved by God.
As we turn to the fifth blessing, we'll notice a subtle shift in focus. Just as the first tablet of the Ten Commandments concentrated on our relationship with God and the second on our relationship with people, so it is with the Beatitudes. In the second half of the beatitudes (the last four) we seem to turn from dealing with our attitude and relationship to God to dealing with our attitude and relationship with our fellow human beings.
Background

I. Where Does Mercy Come From?

Matthew 5:3–5 KJV 1900
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Recall from last week how we saw the first three beatitudes in
describing the emptiness of the blessed person: poverty-stricken in spirit (verse 3),
Recall from last week how we saw the first three beatitudes in –5describing the emptiness of the blessed person: poverty-stricken in spirit (verse 3), grieving over the sin and misery of his condition (verse 4), and accepting the hardships and accusations of life in meekness (verse 5).
grieving over the sin and misery of his condition (verse 4),
and accepting the hardships and accusations of life in meekness (verse 5).
This condition of blessed emptiness is followed by a hunger and thirst for the fullness of righteousness (verse 6).
The next three
The next three
Then come three descriptions of how righteousness abounds in the heart of the hungry — in mercy (verse 7), in purity (verse 8), and in peacemaking (verse 9).
Then come three descriptions of how righteousness abounds in the heart of the hungry — in mercy (verse 7),
in purity (verse 8),
and in peacemaking (verse 9).
“Mercy comes from mercy. Our mercy to each other comes from God’s mercy to us.”
So the answer to the first question is that mercy comes from a heart that has first felt its spiritual bankruptcy.
The heart has come to grieve its sin, and has learned to wait meekly for the timing of the Lord, and to cry out in hunger for the work of God’s mercy to satisfy us with the righteousness we need.
The mercy that God blesses is itself the blessing of God.
The key to becoming a merciful person is to become a broken person.
You get the power to show mercy from the real feeling in your heart that you owe everything you are and have to sheer divine mercy.
Therefore, if we want to become merciful people, it is imperative that we cultivate a view of God and ourselves that helps us to say with all our heart that every joy and virtue and distress of our lives is owing to the free and undeserved mercy of God.

II. What Is a Merciful Person Like?

Matthew 9:10–13 KJV 1900
10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Sometimes it helps to get something clear if we can view it over against its opposite.
So I have tried to find where mercy is contrasted with its opposite. Matthew and Luke give some very helpful illustrations. First, let’s look at .
And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?
” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mercy Versus Sacrifice
In this illustration, the opposite of mercy is sacrifice. Verse 13: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” This is a quote from , where God accuses the people that their love is like the dew on the grass. It is there for a brief morning hour, and then is gone, and all that is left is the empty form of burnt offerings.
The point is that God wants his people to be alive in their hearts. He wants them to have feelings of affection toward him and mercy toward each other. He does not want a people who do their religious duties in a perfunctory or merely formal way.
But all that the Pharisees see is a ceremonial problem with becoming contaminated by eating with sinners.
Their life seems to be a mechanical implementation of rules. Something huge was at stake here, but they could not see it or feel it.
They were enslaved to the trivial issues of ceremonial cleanness when eternal sickness was about to be healed. Thus, the opposite of mercy is bondage to religious triviality.
Note with me three things about mercy!

III.The Meaning Of Mercy

Luke 10:36–37 KJV 1900
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
luke 10
So if we are to find the approval of God in being merciful the first thing that we need to do is to under-stand the meaning of mercy. We use the term “forgive-ness” almost interchangeable with the term “mercy.” But there is a slight difference, mercy is the source of forgiveness, and forgiveness is the expression of mercy.
So if we are to find the approval of God in being merciful the first thing that we need to do is to under-stand the meaning of mercy. We use the term “forgive-ness” almost interchangeable with the term “mercy.” But there is a slight difference, mercy is the source of forgiveness, and forgiveness is the expression of mercy.
We often think of mercy in terms of sympathy, kindness, or compassion.
But mercy is more than just feeling compassion for someone in need. Mercy only exists when we do something to help. Jesus made this abundantly clear when He told “The Parable of the Good Samaritan.” As he told the story several men passed by the man who had been set upon by robbers and left beside the road, until the most unlikely Samaritan came by and actually help the poor man. Jesus then asked, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” (37)
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” ()
So we are not to feel that we are merciful just because we feel compassion to someone who is in distress.
Mercy is not mere sympathy, it is the deliberate act of feeling someone else’s need and seeking to relieve it.
But we are not asked to be merciful out of the blue. What Jesus actually was saying was that we are to show mercy because we realize that have received mercy at the hands of God.
In we learn that God has saved us “being rich in mercy.” It is God’s mercy not our worthiness that allows God to reach down in the middle of our sin and save us. The merciful person is the one who remembers their own sin, and how God forgave them, and understands the weakness of others and forgives them.
• Extended From Man To Man.
There can be no doubt that we are given plenty of opportunities to extend mercy to those around us.
It has been said that into every life some nuts must fall. Everyone has to deal with people who are just down-right peculiar. There are those whose elevator does not make it to the top floor, whose who do not seem to have both oars in the water, or just a few bricks shy of a load.
But being merciful means dealing with those who really tax your patience. Perhaps the best way to understand mercy is to see it in action!

IV The Models of Mercy

As we examine the biblical models of mercy what we note is how mercy works itself out - somebody hurts us unjustly and we must respond to this hurt.
• Abraham Was Merciful To Lot
The first example that I want to use is Abraham’s courageous rescue of his nephew Lot (). Lot had decided to move into the city of Sodom. It should go without saying that since Sodom was a wicked city, that Lot had no business being in Sodom in the first place. But the city was attacked by enemy kings and Lot and his family was taken captive and all their possessions were confiscated. Abraham could have said, “You got yourself into this buddy and you can get yourself out.” But Abraham chose mercy. He gathered his servants and went after and secured the freedom of Lot and his family.
• Joseph Was Merciful To His Brothers
How would you have responded if your brothers had treated you as badly as Joseph’s treated him and then suddenly you had the power to repay them? Joseph chose mercy. It was mercy that Joseph showed after being so badly treated by his brothers that caused him to accept them and meet their needs. When years later Joseph literally had his brother’s at his mercy as they appealed to him for grain – he demonstrated exactly that – mercy.
• David Was Merciful To Saul
David had been anointed as the next king of Israel. The problem was the current king Saul would not just step aside gracefully. In fact he made it the mission of what remained of his life to kill David. On two occasions the power was given into David’s hands to kill Saul (, ). But it was mercy that motivated David to spare the life of Saul, not once but twice.
It was mercy that Moses showed, after his own sister, Miriam had not only questioned his leadership but rebelled against him. It was mercy that caused him to plea for her healing from the leprosy that the Lord had given her ().
• Jesus Was The Most Merciful Of All
Jesus came to offer forgiveness to men for their sins, and instead of gratitude he found hostility and hatred. The hostility of his enemies only increased as his ministry moved forward, in fact the closer He got to Calvary the more His enemies opposed Him. Yet to the very end His mercy only increased to match the intensity of His enemies’ hatred. He even extended mercy to those who drove the spikes through His wrist and feet.

V. The Motivation For Mercy

So what is the Lord promising when He says, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy?" Perhaps no other Beatitude is misunderstood as frequently as this one. Let’s look at two misconceptions and then two truths about extending mercy.
• Misconceptions
Ø Acts Of Mercy Do Not Earn God’s Mercy
Perhaps predictably some have misunderstood this verse to teach that one can merit God’s mercy by performing acts of mercy. Because the verse says,
What I do believe Jesus is saying is that forgiveness or mercy is not a condition of being forgiven but an evidence of it.
In Jesus seems to express the same idea, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” But does it mean only those who forgive will be forgiven?
But the end result is just as serious, if I am not forgiving or merciful to others there seems to be only one explanation, “I have never really understood and accepted the mercy of God in my life – therefore I am yet in my sins and I am unforgiven.”
If you and I are to be judged strictly on those terms none of us would be forgiven and none of us would ever see Heaven. What I do believe Jesus is saying is that forgiveness or mercy is not a condition of being forgiven but an evidence of it. But the end result is just as serious, if I am not forgiving or merciful to others there seems to be only one explanation, “I have never really understood and accepted the mercy of God in my life – therefore I am yet in my sins and I am unforgiven.”
John Stott puts it this way, it is “…not because we can merit mercy by mercy or forgiveness by forgiveness, but because we cannot receive the mercy and forgiveness of God unless we repent, and we cannot claim to have repented of our sins if we are unmerciful towards the sins of others.” [John Stott. “Essential Living: The Sermon on the Mount.” Leicester, England: IVP, 1988) p. 47]
Ø Mercy Shown Is Not Always Reciprocated.
Some have also drawn the conclusion that this is some kind of promise of an earthly reward for the merciful. The shocking truth is that we can be merciful to others and they may or may not be merciful to us in return. Jesus is not trying to get us to be merciful so that they will be merciful to you – He is saying you are to merciful to others regardless of the outcome.
The ultimate example of this truth of course is Jesus Himself, if mercy carried its own reward, they would have never have cursed Him, spit upon Him and nailed Him to a cross. From the people He extended mercy to He received none at all. In His dying moments He prayed for God to forgive His executioners. He died anyway!
• Two Truths.
Ø You Can Only Extend Mercy After You Have Received It.
The starting point must be, that we first exper-ience the mercy of God ourselves. You cannot offer to anyone something you have not received.
Ø Failure To Extend Mercy Leads To Misery.
Proverbs 11:17 KJV 1900
17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: But he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
Do you want to be really miserable? Then just be without mercy! Do you what to be really happy?
In it says "The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm." Do you want to be really miserable? Then just be without mercy! Do you what to be really happy? Be merciful! An example of this truth can be seen in the story of “The Unmerciful Servant”(. The unmerci-ful servant put himself and his family in prison because he could not forgive a friend. The most miserable prison in the world is the prison of our own making, when we refuse to show mercy. Such people find themselves; tortured by anger, choked by bitterness, and consumed by revenge. Such is the punishment for one who tastes of God's grace but refuses to share it!
Be merciful! An example of this truth can be seen in the story of “The Unmerciful Servant”
Matthew 18:33–35 KJV 1900
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Such people find themselves; tortured by anger, choked by bitterness, and consumed by revenge. Such is the punishment for one who tastes of God's grace but refuses to share it!
Conclusion
Why will only merciful people find mercy from God in the judgment day, if salvation is by grace through faith?
says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” In other words, in the age to come when we meet God face to face, the people who will receive mercy from him are people who have been merciful.
Is this a salvation by works? Do we earn his mercy by our mercy? No, because an “earned mercy” would be a contradiction in terms. If mercy is earned, it is not mercy; it’s a wage. Be assured, if we get anything good at the judgment, it will be mercy — one hundred percent mercy!
When God asks for a record of your mercy at the judgment day, he will not be asking for a punched time card. You won’t say, “Here it is, eight hours of mercy. Now where’s my wage?”
Instead, God will be asking for your medical charts. You will hand them to him in all lowliness and meekness, and there he will read the evidences of how you trusted him as your divine Physician, and how the medicine of his word and the therapy of his Spirit took effect in your life, because you relied on them to heal you of your unmerciful disposition.
And when he sees the evidence of your faith and his healing, he will complete your healing and welcome you into the kingdom forever. Therefore, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Conclusion
There are three responses that we hear when we talk to others of the need to show mercy
1. I can’t
He did not tell the disciples that they could pray, “Lord, forgive me my trespasses and I will try to forgive those who have wronged me.”
Sometimes we excuse our lack of forgiveness on the grounds that the one who has wronged us does not deserve our forgive-ness.
But the truth is; No one ever wrong you as you have wronged God. In , Jesus told the parable of Unforgiving Servant to illustrate this point.
When God’s grace comes into our heart it makes us forgiving. We demonstrate whether we have been forgiven by whether or not we will forgive. The bottom line is, if you refuse to forgive, there can be only one reason, that is that I have never received the grace of Christ. I am unforgiven.
2. I won’t
When John Wesley served as a missionary to the American colonies, he had a difficult time with General James Oglethorpe. The general was known for his pride and harshness. One time Oglethorpe declared, “I never forgive.” Wesley replied, “Then, Sir, I hope you never sin.” [R. Kent Hughes. Abba Father: The Lord’s Pattern for Prayer. (Wheaton IL: Crossway Books, 1991) p. 79]
Ray Stedman tells the story of one man’s explan-ation for his lack of forgiveness. He said, “A man once said to me, ‘I know I’m a Christian, but someone once did an awful thing to me – something I just can’t forget or forgive.’ I replied, ‘Are you sure you can’t forgive him?’ He maintained that he had really tried to forgive this man, but was unable to do so. As we continued talking, I said, ‘I know, I have found that we often use the word can’t what we really mean is won’t. Isn’t possible that what you are saying is not, “I can’t forgive him,’ but ‘I won’t forgive him?’ If it is really true that you cannot forgive this man, then it indicates that you yourself have never been forgiven and you are only kidding yourself about being a Christian.’ This shook him a bit. He thought it through and then, with a rather sheepish grin, he said, ‘I guess you’re right. I guess I won’t.’ It wasn’t long before he came to me and reported with joy that he had finally forgiven the man who had injured him.” [Ray Stedman. Talking With My Father. ( Grand Rapids; Discovery House, 1997) p. 73]
3. I am willing
Corrie Ten Boom shares about her experience in extending forgiveness in her book, “The Hiding Place.” She tells of a post WWII meeting of a guard from the Ravensbrook Concentration Camp where she and her sister has suffered many atrocities at the hands of German SS soldiers and where her sister had died. She wrote, “It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravens-bruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there- the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, the pain on my sister’s face.
He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing, “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said, ‘To think that, as you say, He has was washed my sins away!”
His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people…of the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.’
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost over-whelmed me.
And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.
When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.” [Corrie Ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill. “The Hiding Place.” (Washington Depot, Conn; Chosen Books, 1971) p. 215]
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