Summary: In order to cope with all of the pain and suffering that goes on around us, we have learned to control our emotions and we don’t allow ourselves to dwell too long on all that ails this world. In the process however, we have become almost indifferent and m
We live in a world where it is easy to become cold-hearted, insensitive, and unsympathetic. With news available to us 24/7, we can see the tragedies almost as they take place most anywhere in the world. Constantly we hear of, and see the results of violent acts that have occurred. Scenes of dead bodies lying in the streets, police and paramedics hurrying about, friends and loved ones grieving uncontrollably have become all too familiar.
In order to cope with all of the pain and suffering that goes on around us, we have learned to control our emotions and we don’t allow ourselves to dwell too long on all that ails this world. In the process however, we have become almost indifferent and merciless.
How does Jesus want to respond?
Text: Matthew 5:7
In this fifth Beatitude, Jesus speaks out against the cruel and heartless attitude of today’s society. In contrast, Jesus is calling upon each of us to be merciful.
What exactly does that mean?
ILLUSTRATION: The parable of the Good Samaritan is a beautiful example of a merciful person. (LUKE 10: 25-36) Jesus told the story of how three individuals responded to someone who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. The first person was a priest who completely ignored the injured man. (v. 31). The Levite came and looked at the injured man, before he passed by on the other side. At least he felt pity, but being a merciful person is more than just having pity for someone, or even having a compassionate feeling.
A merciful person is someone who acts with compassion. The Samaritan was the one who stopped, looked, and reached down to help. Jesus then asked the question Luke 10:36 (NLT)
"Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?"
The lawyer replied, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said, "Go and do likewise."
I. MERCY IS A CHARACTER OF GOD.
A. God is holy, righteous, and just. This is not to say that God will ever overlook our sin. When we consider God’s Mercy along with our sin, we should know that God in his infinite love and mercy and grace comes to us and cares for us in our misery caused by our sin.
EPHESIANS 2:4-5: "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)"
ILLUSTRATION: "The Unmerciful Servant" (Matt. 18:21-35). He was in debt and about to be punished.
He pleaded for mercy and got it. However someone owed him money, also. The Unmerciful Servant decided to demand for his payment. The person that owed him the money begged for forgiveness, but the Unmerciful Servant refused to show any mercy.
God wants those of us who have received mercy to show mercy to others. No matter what the cost…
Mercy is really our greatest need. Often people demand justice. They demand their rights. However, if we got exactly what we deserved, we would already be in hell. However, God loves us in spite of our sins and has provided for us the remedy and mercy for our sins. He has provided a way out of the misery caused by our sins. He sent his only Son to go to the cross for our sins, and made it possible for us to be revived from our spiritual death, and to find life in Jesus Christ.
III. Mercy is distinctly different from forgiveness.
A. God is merciful to us even when you don’t sin, just as you can be merciful to those who have never done anything against you.
B. God’s mercy doesn’t just forgive your failures and faults, but reaches deep into all your weakness and need.
IV. Mercy is distinctly different from grace.
A. Grace is what saves you - mercy is what sustains you.
B. Mercy eliminates the pain, grace cures the disease.
C. Mercy offers relief from punishment; grace offers pardon from the crime.
Mercy is a word you will hear used in the legal system. After the conviction has been made, the jury has unanimously declared the persons guilt, and the sentence is about to be handed down, MERCY is begged for.
V. Mercy began in the Old Testament
A. The Old Testament Hebrew word for mercy is “Checed” which means to get inside someone’s skin, to look at where they view life and feel what they are experiencing; to move in and act on behalf of the one whose hurting.
1. That is exactly what Jesus did when He chose to leave the comfort and glory of Heaven to become one of us.
2. Mercy has also been defined as compassionate treatment, having the disposition to be kind and forgiving.