This is Part 5 of an 8-part series that was originally developed for a 13-week adult class, with some of the parts taking more or less than a 45-minute class period. I am starting to post the series on SermonCentral, and plan to post the remaining parts over the next few days as time permits.

I developed a set of slides on PowerPoint for use with the series and will be happy to share the PowerPoint files. The prompts reminding me to advance slides and activate animations are embedded in the sermon below. If you want to request the slides send me an Email at specifying what part(s) of the series you are requesting. Be sure to include the word “slides” in the subject line of your message; otherwise I am likely to miss it. I would find it interesting to know the location and a few words about your personal ministry if you will include it in your message. Allow several days for me to respond.


Outline of the series:

I. Introduction to the series

II. God’s Plan from the Beginning

III. God’s Plan Now and Our Problem with It

IV. Justice vs Mercy and the Plan of Salvation

V. The Only Way to Eradicate Sin

VI. Providence – What God Provides in Earthly Life

VII. Providence and Civil Governments

VIII. Providence, Miracles and Phenomena


V. The Only Way to Eradicate Sin

*Click for title of series – DIVINE PROVIDENCE

*Click when ready for outline

Sometimes the bible offers difficult truths, and the superior place of mercy, both in God’s actions and ours, in a mindset that very properly values justice, is one such difficult truth.

But as justice is truth, mercy’s superiority over justice (judgment) is also truth.

James wrote it concisely:

James 2:13 (ESV) For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Why are we uncomfortable with anything other than the original plan that Adam and Eve failed in keeping, and that same plan that everyone else has failed in keeping, excepting only Jesus?

Why do we feel that there might be something wrong about this—that we might be understating the importance of choosing right and obeying, and overstating the power of mercy?

Or if we talk about God’s grace and mercy, do we feel we must join a caveat to it, lest those who hear it believe in it too firmly, or depend on God’s mercy in a calculated, manipulative way?

Let me suggest some reasons and we’ll discuss them:

*Click for James 1:15

James 1:15 ESV Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

*Click for 2 Cor 5:10

2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

*Click for Romans 6:23

Romans 6:23 ESV For the wages of sin is death…

Serious business!

Is this why we’re uncomfortable thinking of God’s plan as larger than those and other verses convey?

Are we uncomfortable talking about mercy at all in the presence of such dire warnings?

It’s tragic when a person’s failure to see the larger plan is an impediment to the very thing God wants from us and for us, and in fact gives to us.

Let me tell you what I mean by impediments, and you’ll see why I say they’re tragic:

“I’ve been too bad. I can’t be saved.”

“I don’t believe I can lead the life I would have to live in order to go to heaven.”

“I’ve got to straighten up some things before I can get into that lifestyle and meet God’s requirements.”

“I know some Christians who do worse things than I do.”

“I don’t have to be associated with so-called Christians to live right.”

People often reject the gospel because they don’t understand--or don’t accept as truth--that God is both a just and merciful God.

And that our only hope to be free from our sins is God’s mercy.

If we haven’t yet visualized how we can “do” one and “love” the opposite, let’s let Christ illustrate it. It’s a great Christian principle--though difficult to grasp--demonstrated when Christ met the demands of justice that he did not owe and yet showed mercy to an adulterous woman who was brought before him.

John 8:2-11 - tell it quickly

In this story, we are not only those holding stones, anxious to throw them, needing the poignant lesson Jesus taught the Pharisees.

We are also the woman.

Justice demanded that she die according to a specific dictum in the law.

Should we not spend some time in deep thought that Jesus did not answer in favor of the God-given Law’s plain requirement?

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