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Summary: In view of the fact that God is rich in mercy what should we do? 1- Become a living sacrifice 2- Don’t give in to the world 3- Change our thinking

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INTRO.- ILL.- After Lee’s surrender, Lincoln spoke to a large crowd from the balcony of the White House. He told them about the policy he had in mind for the South. At the end of his speech, Senator Harlan asked, “What shall we do with the rebels?”

The vindictive crowd shouted back, “Hang them!” Tad then turned to his father and said, “No, no, Papa. Not hang them. Hang on to them!” “That’s it!” replied Lincoln joyfully. “Tad has it. We must hang on to them!”

At the time, Tad was only eleven. He must have acquired his compassionate spirit from his father! Amen.

Brothers and sisters, many people are in the hanging business. They would rather hang someone for whatever they consider to be wrong in their lives rather than to hang on to them and try to help them.

Galatians 6:1-2 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

The people of God need to learn to demonstrate mercy toward one another instead of hanging one another or crucifying one another.

If we are truly spiritual or like Jesus, we will try to restore people to a right relationship to Jesus rather than hang them or write them off. We will pray for the people who are living in sin. We will continue to demonstrate love in order to win them to Jesus.

Jesus is our ultimate example of demonstrating love and mercy.

John 8:1-11 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus demonstrated mercy where others wanted to hang that woman. We who are in Christ need to learn to demonstrate mercy, love and forgiveness. Instead of criticizing people and condemning people or writing people off.

ILL.- I heard about a preacher in Missouri whose wife was in the hospital, dying from cancer. The elders from his church came to visit them. The preacher was thinking they came to pray for them and minister to them, instead they came to let him know that he was fired. How unmerciful can you get?

But God is different than us human beings. His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are higher than ours. Way higher! (Isa. 55:8)

We humans can sometimes be very unkind and cruel but God is rich in mercy! (Ephesians 2:4) It’s a good things that God is rich in mercy or none of us could be saved!

PROP.- In view of the fact that God is rich in mercy what should we do?

1- Become a living sacrifice

2- Don’t give in to the world

3- Change our thinking

I. BECOME A LIVING SACRIFICE

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. In the OT sacrifices were killed. They were dead sacrifices. But we are supposed to be living sacrifices. We are supposed to give our bodies to God as living sacrifices.

ILL.- Ken and Jennifer Witt are new people to our church and they are lovely people. Ken is a Staff Sergeant in the US Army, now working at the National Guard Armory in Newport. He’s served two hitches in Iraq. One time he was shot in the chest but of course, he wasn’t killed because his body armor. But he told me that if the bullet had been two inches higher it would have killed him. Nevertheless, the force of that bullet hitting him in the chest was so strong that it knocked him to the ground. He said it was like being hit with a sledge hammer in the chest. And to this day when he does pushups he can hear some cracking noise in his chest. I BET.

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