Summary: We are called to imitate Christ
Blessed are the merciful
For they shall be shown mercy (Matt:5:7)
The Beatitudes are described in Matthew 6:1-12
3. Poor in Spirit
5. The Meek
6. Hunger and thirst for righteousness
8. Pure in heart
10. Persecuted for righteousness sake.
11-12: Insulted because of Christ.
These are nine attitudes that reflect the CHARACTER OF GOD HIMSELF. Can you see Jesus in these Attitudes?
Paul in Ephesians 5: 1 tells us
Be imitators of God therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
To be an imitator of God can cost us something. Sacrifice is involved.
The only command that Christ gave his church was in John 15:17:
This is my command: Love each other.
It is interesting that when Jesus summed the Law of God up, he did not refer to outward signs but in inward attitudes. It is these attitudes that govern our lives:
He agreed with the Pharisee that the Law was not composed of doing things but to: (Luke 10:27)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and
Love your neighbour as yourself.
And then simply applied far deeper than the man himself had by relating the story of the Good Samaritan. You see the Good Samaritan was merciful and by showing mercy he showed his love to both God and man.
So what does being merciful mean?
In the OT:
1.1. hesed: means solidarity with, kindness, grace.
Used of God it is said:
It is this steady persistent refusal of God to wash his hands of wayward Israel.
Often translated as
to deal loyally with.
It is the gracious favour of the superior to the inferior, all undeserved (Snaith)
2. In the NT
Grace (Charis) in the Greek. is often used for the OT hebrew term hesed which means solidarity with,
It means: compassion to one in need or helpless, distress or in debt, without claim to favour
The term heartfelt compassion is used in Col 3:12
There are two aspects to this:
2.1 Giving mercy
2.2 Receiving mercy.
2.1 Giving mercy.
a) Kindness to others.
Jesus in the Parable of the Good Samaritan puts it well
SLIDES: Luke 10:25-37
36. Which one of the three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers.
37.The expert in the law replied: The one who had mercy to him:
Jesus replied: Go and do likewise.
As Christians we are often merely keen to get a person to become a Christian. But you first have to be a friend to him.
There are so many hurting people in our churches today because we have not spent time being a friend.
Church instead of being a place where you meet your friends becomes a holy huddle that after the service, people are too busy to spend time and befriend others. The sects have learnt this principle of friendship in this lonely world.
Many Christians cannot forgive. Their pride is hurt or whatever.
Yet Jesus tells us that God does forgive us unless we forgive others.
Matt.6:12 in the Lord’s Prayer:
Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.
And the rider we find in verses 14 and 15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
On this point I find the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant most helpful
SLIDES: Unmerciful Servant
Peter by offering to forgive seven times thought he was being generous.
Yet Christ tells us that our ATTITUDE has to be one of being PREPARED to forgive.
Story: Richard Wurmbrand’s wife and the Russian soldier who murdered her family (as they were jewish) and repented and became a christian.
He brought the man home and introduced him as the murderer of her family but forgiven in Christ and told her that the man had become a Christian.
She forgave him, went intio the kitchen and made the man supper.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant has helped me a lot, personally
Not to stand on my pride but to forgive.
One of two verbs for forgiveness is the NT is word:
charizomai : meaning
to deal graciously with.
Another verb is aphiemi meaning
to send away.
The noun from this word is
aphesis meaning : remission.
Forgiving is the ATTITUDE to forgive where there is real repentance.