Summary: Grace is amazing... and so is mercy.
Series: The Sermon on the Mount
Title: Amazing Mercy
Text: Matthew 5:7
In 1779, John Newton published what would go on to become the most recognizable hymn in the Christian language: Amazing Grace.
It is the song most likely sung in worship services and funerals, and it has been updated, changed and remade countless times over the years.
It is so popular because it proclaims the fountainhead of all mankind’s blessings, which of course is God’s Amazing Grace.
This morning, we are going to be discussing a similar topic to that of grace... the subject of MERCY.
While it is easy to confuse the two, I want to begin my introduction this morning by giving the explanation of how these two concepts - grace and mercy - are inextricably linked, but yet are different.
GRACE is the giving of a gift that is not deserved.
Grace is salvation, its heaven, its Christ, its the Holy Spirit, grace is our gifts from above.
MERCY is the removal of a punishment which is deserved.
Mercy is God not killing us the very moment we commit a sin, it is not being sent to hell, it is holding back of our punishment.
As I said, you cannot separate these two things - they are forever linked - but it is important that we understand both.
Beloved, we know about God’s Amazing Grace... but we must never forget also about His AMAZING MERCY.
Because understanding His mercy toward us helps us to be able to fulfill the command of our text today.
We are continuing in our study of the Beatitudes, and today we will see the role of mercy in the life of the believer.
READ: Matthew 5:7
Over the past few weeks, we have been going through the progression of the Beatitudes and we have seen a pattern emerge.
The beatitudes are not simply a list of independent character traits meant to describe different people.
It is not saying, “Some are poor in spirit” and “others are mourning” and then “others are meek” and others “hunger and thirst for righteousness.”
No, this is a description of “THE BLESSED MAN”.
The blessed man understands his spiritual poverty before God - that he has nothing in and of himself which God should look upon with favor.
The blessed man naturally mourns over this sinful state.
The blessed man is then humbled before God.
And he yearns inwardly for the righteousness that only God can provide.
This is one individual person... the blessed man.
It is a picture of what every believer should experience in his/her conversion to Christ.
A recognition of the need of salvation.
And a recognition that God is the one who fulfill that need.
Now, we have looked at the first four beatitudes and they all deal with our attitude in relation to God.
He is poor in spirit before God.
He mourns before God.
He is meek before God.
He hungers and thirsts for what only God can provide.
In the fifth beatitude, however, there is a change in perspective.
While the first four have dealt with ATTITUDE, today’s beatitude and the ones that follow deal more with BEHAVIOR.
What does the blessed man’s life look like?
Who is he in the world?
How can he be identified?
The first characteristic of the blessed man’s behavior is that his life is marked by MERCY.
Today we are going to study two things about this beatitude:
What Biblical Mercy is NOT
What Biblical Mercy IS
We know this passage calls the Blessed Man a man of Mercy... but what does this mean?
WHAT BIBLICAL MERCY IS NOT
I have chosen to begin with the negative because I know that most of us have at least some idea what mercy is, ... but I am also keenly aware that the world has miscommunicated and twisted the word, and thus we need to strip away any and all misunderstandings about this concept.
Biblical Mercy is NOT just a natural affection for others.
There are some people who are born with more kindness to others.
This is obvious when children are observed on a playground.
Some have bullying behaviors, while others are more apt to share and help others.
And many of us know people who may be unbelievers, but are generally nice people... some of them very philanthropic in their behavior.
They serve in soup kitchens, they give to the poor, they support charitable works.
And some of us may refer to them as “merciful” individuals, because of their willingness to help others.
But, beloved, these people are not in view when Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful”.
Because their “mercy” toward other people is not inspired by a faith in Christ.
Mercy that is devoid of Christ is mere HUMANISM.
It is not done to glorify God, but rather to glorify self and others.