Faithlife Sermons

Radical Mercy

LW we talked about Radical Presence. We have to live in the radical presence of God each and every day.
Tonight we will look at something we all need and must give…

Radical Mercy

Actually mercy in and of itself is radical… genuine mercy is radical. It’s the radical thing that only God can do i our lives.
Radical mercy has the power to put a marriage back together when everyone says it’s over… no chance of survival.
Radical mercy can put friendships back together after years. Someone takes time to show mercy and friendship is restored.
Radical Mercy in our lives has the power to give you and I second, third and fourth chances.
Let me ask you…
How many of you would say that you need that?
You need it… you would like to have it… NOW
How many of you would like to express it to other people?
Usually not as many. Most uf us want it, but find it difficult to give.
We live in a culture that is extremely divided right now. You have those who claim to be tolerant and those who are judgemental. Tolerance never changes anything. It just says go ahead … do your thing. Personally, I want people to challenge me to grow and make a difference.
Judgemental people judge you for who you are and what you are doing just to make themselves feel better. In their minds it puts them on a higher moral ground that you. Judgemental people don’t change anything either… people just stay away from them.
Both of these attitudes keep us where we are… The only thing that will bring change in your lives, your relationship with God and others , the direction you are going in life is mercy.

The thing that will bring change is mercy

God shares His mercy with us and he wants us to share it with others. Look what Jesus said…
Matthew 5:7 NLT
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Here it is… God shows us mercy and wants us to show mercy.

What is mercy?

Mercy is giving someone what they need instead of what they deserve.

I might deserve punishment. I might deserve rejection. But instead you give me love. You give me mercy. I might deserve to be rejected in a friendship because of what I did to you or what I said to you. But you show me mercy and you say I’ll forgive you. And the friendship is restored. He gave me what I needed not what I deserved. We deserved to be separated from God because we’d ignored him. We’ve gone our own way. We’ve trusted in ourselves. We can’t live up to his standards of who he is. But instead God shows us mercy. He sent Christ into this world to give us forgiveness, to give us a new life.
All of us want mercy… we pray for it all the time. If you don’t believe me. You are speeding along and come over the HP and there is Bridge Police … you pray please… please… please. You pray for mercy because you really deserve a ticket. We all want mercy in our lives.
Here is the good news.

God wants to give you mercy.

He wants to give you what you need NOT what you deserve. AND God wants you and I to share that with other people. So tonight we will learn how to practice radical mercy.
All of us need to work on this.
Here are a couple of things we need to know…

1. If I want to practice mercy, I have to know mercy

You can’t give what you don’t have. The good news is that you can experience it right her tonight. We can all experience God’s mercy because it’s a gift.
1 Peter 1:3 NLT
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,
The power behind God’s gift of mercy is the resurrection of Jesus. That same power is available for all of us but he will not force it on us… it’s a gift. We have to accept it, but ti’s a gift.
Psalm 103:10–12 The Living Bible
10 He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, 11 for his mercy toward those who fear and honor him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.
His mercy is immeasurable.
That’s the kind of mercy God wants to give you and I. He wants to mercifully forgive… mercifully restore. He doesn’t want to give you what you deserve, but wants to give you what you need.

How do you get this mercy?

Jesus told a story about it one day… One man prayed and said, Thank you God that I am not like these sinners…
Luke 18:13 NLT
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’
Which prayer do you think God heard? he of course heard the guy who prayed sincerely.
So, How do we accept God’s mercy? We just come and say, God be merciful to me, I am a sinner. God answers that prayer every time.
Lamentations talks about this.
Lamentations 3:22–23 NCV
22 The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. 23 They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.
Let me give you a test. If God’s mercies are new every morning, how often do I need mercy? Every morning. Every day we need God’s mercy.

2. Then I will show mercy

Once I know it, I can show it.
Luke 6:36 NCV
36 Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy.
God has shown you mercy and then we begin to show mercy to others. When you experience God’s mercy towards you, you will begin to show it to others… it will just happen.
If you think you have received God’s mercy in your life, but will not show it to others, you are fooling yourself.
Look at this… James
James 2:13 GNB
13 For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgement.
If you can’t be merciful to somebody else it shows you haven’t really received it in your life. Because God’s mercy is so big, it’s so powerful, once you take it in you can’t help but give it out to somebody else.
I understand it’s difficult… that we struggle to forgive. None of us will be perfect, but if you can’t find it in your heart to show mercy, you have not experienced it.
If you take a two gallon bucket of water and you try to put three gallons of water in it, what’s going to happen? It overflows. It cannot help but overflow. Nothing else could happen. When you put God’s mercy in a human heart, if it’s genuinely there, it cannot help but overflow in mercy to other people.
When you experience it, it will flow out of you. How does it do that?
Colossians 3:12 The Living Bible
12 Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently.
As God acts toward you, you begin to act towards others. Not in perfection, but in kindness and love towards others.

How do we show mercy?

Jesus talked about it.
Matthew 5:38–45 NLT
38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow. 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Jesus gives us 5 radical steps we can take to show radical mercy to others.
In verse 45, he says the sun and the rain fall on the just and the unjust. The most evil person in the world gets the same warmth from the sun we do… the same chance at mercy as we do. That’s radical… I wouldn’t do it that way but I am not God. God says revenge doesn’t work… mercy does.
Let’s let the sun shine on the face of those we would rather strike with lightening. Let’s let them experience softness of the rain so that they might one day wake up and realize… this is a merciful God and I want him in my life.
abortionist who converted because a pastor show her mercy and kindness
That’s how god works and it’s radical. Jesus is not just talking about god’s merxy to us but about how we are to show God’s mercy to others.
Don’t take small steps that you can do without God’s help. Take God sized steps of mercy… the kind you can not take with out God. Forgive that person who took advantage of you… show them mercy. You need god sized mercy in your life and so do they.
Here is how Jesu said to do that.

1. Turn the other cheek

That’s radical. muslim at LSU that slapped a Christian and then said if you are real, turn the other cheek and he did.
That’s radical. I am not sure I can do that… I know I can’t in my own strength.
In Jesu day, the slap on the right cheek was with the back of the hand and it was the greatest insult possible. So Jesus is saying that when someone insults you… does you wrong… worst possible scenario… What do you do?
I know what I want to do, and it’s not turning the other cheek. That won’t change anything.
Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Only God can give you the wisdom and strength to do that.
ILL - twitter … today we don’t slap… we tweet. They insulted me online so I will insult them back. So when you get that text or email or post that you should not have seen… don’t fire one back…
Listen to me. Some of you already show mercy on steroids. Don’t take this too far. I am not saying you have to go back into a relationship with someone who say has been abusive… I am talking about not letting it get to you. Sometimes loving someone is making sure they get the help they need before you give a relationship another chance … if at all.
I am also concerned about those of you who when you are insulted you pretend it didn’t hurt… Stop pretending.
In any case, is there someone you are punishing in your mind? Then turn the other cheek. That’s radical mercy.

2. Let them have your coat

As Jesus tells the story he says if someone sues you, let them take your coat.
What Jesus is saying is that relationships are more important that stuff. Jesus is saying that if someone needs your shirt, they must be cold so give them a coat as well. This kind of response would change conversation.
That may sound crazy to you… it does to me. We get caught up in the lawsuit part of this… Jesus is focused in the person.
You can spend your time and even your life angry and bitter over that suit or the loss of that thing. OR you can express mercy. Radical Mercy changes them and us. The truth is life is not about things… you can replace things.
So what do we do. How do we show mercy to people we are arguing with over stuff? Maybe they are family and you are arguing over a family heirloom… Somebody has to step up and show mercy. Someone has to say stuff is not as important as relationship.
What happens if you forgive them… if you show mercy and they do not reciprocate? That might happen… probably will happen. At least you opened the door for change. They have to make their own choice to change.

3. Go the extra mile

If you were an Israli during the Romans times, a soldier could make you stop what you were doing and carry his gear for a mile. Jesus said to take it an extra mile. Why?
Why would Jesus want you to take his gear? Because change takes place in the second mile. Change never happened in the first mile. Many soldiers converted during the early church. Think about it, you are carrying his stuff a second mile and he asks, why are you doing this? It gives you the opportunity to witness.
I wonder who you need to go the second mile with… maybe your spouse… child… co-worker… friend… boss It’s in the 2nd mile that change occurs.

4. Give to someone who asks

Jesus said to give to someone who wanted to borrow from you… don’t loan it, give it.
Radical mercy says that when someone needs help and you have the power to help them, you help them. Thanksgiving food give away

5. Love your enemy

By now, Jesus had made showing mercy a major thing, but he keeps piling it own. Now he says that instead of going for revenge he says to love your enemy. He knew we would think that we could go for some type of revenge and spare our soul… You are lying to yourself if you think that. Jesus knew that we could refuse to help someone and think it wold not harden our hearts… it does.
How can you love your enemy? Pray for them. You tell him everything. Be honest and eventually, you will actually be able to pray fro God to do god things in their lives.
When you pray for God to bless someone who’s hurt you, that is one of the most outrageous incredible, radical acts of mercy in this world. Only by God’s strength, but with God’s strength you can do that.
In every one of these examples Jesus is teaching us the same thing. In every one of these examples someone is wanting to take something from you. Instead of letting them take something from you, you give something to them. You show them mercy by giving to them instead. They may misunderstand it… mishandle it… reject you, but you did the right thing.

Mercy is messy

It began with a baby born in Bethlehem and ended with him stretching his arms out on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins… even though we put him in that cross. He poured his love out on everyone of us on that cross. People… even his disciples did not understand what he was doing… it was messy. There was no formula.
It’s messy for us too. It comes with people misunderstanding us… rejecting us. It comes with our confused emotions and the mess of people rejecting us.
Mercy is messy but it’s also the only thing that will change things. Mercy is what’s going to change that marriage. Mercy is what’s going to change that relationship. Mercy is what’s going to change that hurt that you have with one of your kids. It’s the only thing that has the possibility of change.

Mercy is risky

Pilot wanted to set Jesus free… to show him mercy until it became risky politically.

Pilate was merciful until it became risky. CS Lewis

I want us … River Church… to take the risks to show radical mercy. It might not come out the way you meant it, but unless we begin to show radical mercy, nothing will change.
What am I talk about? I am talking about the ability to sit down with a friend and tell them I can’t tolerate this sin in your life anymore than I can tolerate it in my life. I see it tearing you and yuro family to pieces. I struggle to, so let’s work together to help each other look to God’s mercy together.
Here is Jesus’ mercy challenge. If someone asks you for help, and it’s something you can do, show them mercy by helping them.
When someone wants to sue me or slap me because of their own brokenness, show them mercy instead of seeking revenge.
When someone wants to put me down to show they are more important, go the extra mile for them. Show them mercy.
It changes everything because it changes us.

As I show mercy, I will better experience God’s mercy in my own life

If you want to know God’s mercy, it’s not just about sitting here listening or reading your Bible… that’s good and that’s where you gert to know God’s mercy. but the place where you really get to know God’s mercy is by showing it to others.

You know mercy in order to show mercy

First I have to have it in my own life. Then I can show it to others and then I will experience it in a greater way.
Matthew 5:7 NLT
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

If I am going to experience mercy… if I am going to express mercy It has to begin with me.

Hebrews 4:16 NLT
16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Go boldly to God. He will give you mercy and grace. That’s what the cross is all about. He loves you and he wants to pour it into you and through you.
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