Summary: In the Bible we see revealed the heart of God the Father for justice and mercy, reflected in the face of Jesus the Son, and required in the hands of God – His Church.
DO SOMETHING #1: THE HEART OF JESUS FOR JUSTICE AND MERCY
NEW YEAR CHALLENGE:
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14, NKJV).
• Let’s forget the past, and reach forward in Jesus! Pray, read your Bible, grow.
INTRO TO TOPIC: There’s something missing in the church today!
QUOTES: ‘There are 2,103 verses of Scripture pertaining to the poor. Jesus Christ only speaks of judgment once. It is not all about the things that the church bangs on about. It is not about sexual immorality, and it is not about megalomania, or vanity. It is the poor. Jesus said, “I was naked and you clothed me. I was a stranger and you let Me in.” This is at the heart of the Gospel. Why is it that we have seemed to have forgotten this? Why isn’t the church leading this movement?” (Bono, lead singer of U2).
“I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” (Ghandi).
• For the past eight years, you have heard me preach on many different topics including: Prayer, Bible reading, revival, healing, evangelism, worship, loving God and people.
• I believe God has given us a new challenge for this new season!
QUOTE: “What does God expect of us? What is the Christian faith about? Going to church every Sunday, saying grace before meals, and avoiding the most serious sins – or does God expect more?” (Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel).
• We all know the Great Commandment: Love God and Love People (Matt. 22:37-38).
• We all know the Great Commission: Preach the Gospel to all people (Matt. 28:18-20).
KEY SCRIPTURE: But do we know the Great Requirement?
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, NKJV).
• JUSTICE: mishpat = the quality of being just; righteousness or moral rightness:
• MERCY: chesed = goodness, kindness, faithfulness
• If you memorize one Bible verse this year, let this be it!
THE BIG IDEA:
In the Bible we see revealed the heart of God the Father for justice and mercy, reflected in the face of Jesus the Son, and required in the hands of God – His Church.
STATISTIC: “More than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that.” (Richard Stearns).
1. THE HEART OF GOD THE FATHER:
JUSTICE FOR THE POOR:
“He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor.” (Psalm 72:4).
“God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:1-4).
“Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For He has delivered the life of the poor from the hand of evildoers.” (Jer. 20:13).
MERCY FOR THE POOR:
“He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.” (Psalm 72:13, NLT).
“If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” (Deut. 15:7-8, NKJV).
“For You have been a strength to the poor, A strength to the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm…” (Isaiah 25:4, NKJV).
• There are so many Scriptures in the O.T. that talk about God’s heart of justice and mercy!
QUOTE: “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.” “Well, why don’t you ask Him?” “Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” (Anonymous, quoted by Richard Stearns).
2. THE FACE OF JESUS THE SON:
“1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.” (Isaiah 61:1-2).