Sermon Illustrations

Blessed Are The Merciful

In the Sermon on the Mount, we notice that Jesus' subject was not on how people are to be saved, but on the fruit of those who allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. One of the signs or evidences that a person has been converted is that he is now merciful. Showing mercy in a way that brings glory to God, not to oneself or anyone else, is a mark of true Christianity.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5: 7) Nowhere do we imitate God more than in showing the same mercy that He has shown us. God showed His mercy to us by giving His Son to die for us, by expressing His willingness to pardon and save us, and by sending His Spirit to renew and sanctify our hearts. Each day of our life, each hour and each moment we partake of His mercy. The Bible says the Lord's compassions never fail, they are new every morning. (Lamentations 3: 22b, 23a) If we, then, show mercy to the poor, the wretched and the guilty, it shows that we are being changed into the image of Christ, and that we have His Spirit in us.

Christians who seek God will be given an abundance of opportunities to show His mercy, for this world is full of guilt, sorrow and poverty of godlessness. Christians must have sympathy and partake of the afflictions of others by helping them Biblically overcome sin, feeding the hungry, and clothing the needy. We are not to have pity only in our thoughts, but we are to be merciful in purposeful action.

One church that shows God's mercy to those who have been overcome by sin, feeds the hungry and clothes the needy is Times Square Church in Manhattan, New York. God has enabled them to start several Christ-centered ministries that point people to Christ through the Word of God. They give people a safe place to begin to grow in Christ and they train people to live in manner worthy of the gospel which enables them live productive lives. They started Teen Challenge which is now a highly successful ministry helping those addicted to drugs and alcohol obtain freedom. They are also affiliated with Front Porch, a place for runaway teens, and Mount Hope Camp, ministering to destitute women and children.

We all must be spending time in prayer, seeking God to make a way for us to show God's mercy in practical ways. The ignorant must be instructed, the careless warned and those imprisoned in sin shown the way to be truly set free from the bondage of sin. The Bible teaches, "If the Son sets you free you are free indeed." (John 8: 36) Christians need a plan of action to help and clothe the needy, feed the hungry and show the man bound by sin the joy of walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Less money and effort needs to be spent on Christian entertainment and more on true discipleship. Being merciful is not encouraging the lazy or making it easy for people to continue in sin, but directing them to that abundant life that is only found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then we must help them get on their feet, teaching them through the Word of God on how to live according to God's will for them.

Our Biblical mandate is to lift up Christ. We can start with being merciful. This Beatitude comes with a wonderful final promise, "...the merciful will be shown mercy."

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