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Summary: Fourth in a series about God’s attributes and how to reflect them to others.

KNOWING GOD - #3

God’s Compassion, Mercy, and Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

Introduction

We are continuing our series on the attributes or character qualities of God.

Today we are going to talk about God’s compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. It has come to my attention this past week, as Debra and I closed on our house, that we experienced the first two in tremendous quantities.

My original intention for this message was to speak just about God’s mercy, but as I was putting everything together, it became readily apparent that we could not do justice to the topic without also addressing compassion and forgiveness, because they are all linked.

I also want to warn you that we will not get through this outline today. As I was preparing, I realized that although these three are linked, there is a lot to say about each of them.

So we will get through the first point in the outline as we define and expand on the three ideas to be explored.

We will finish this next week, then we are going to look at the grace of God in a couple weeks, okay?

These three attributes of God, aside from love, are probably some of the most visible ones.

Visible, that is, in the hearts and lives of His people.

People identify these as being some of the more identifiable marks of “religious” people.

And that’s fine. That’s the way it should be.

I mentioned a long time ago that it was the Christians who started the soup kitchens, care for lepers and AIDS patients, the orphanages, the hospitals, etc.

Christians have always been at the forefront of showing compassion and mercy.

It is a very tangible expression of passing on that which God has given to us.

Christians are commanded to show compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. To not do so is a sin in the eyes of God.

But first, let’s get a handle on what these three concepts include, shall we? So, first we look at the three…

I. Revealed.

In this section, I want to spend a bit of time defining the terms, and fleshing them out a bit. You may be a bit surprised at what you learn today about these three ideas.

First, lets look at…

A. Compassion.

Here’s how the American Heritage Dictionary defines compassion:

Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.

I’m going to review a little bit of something I have mentioned before. So if you have heard this before, just hang with me here for a bit.

Compassion goes farther than sympathy. It goes beyond empathy – able to feel their pain.

Compassion does something to help them out.

A great example of this is seen in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

You know the story, but let’s think about it for a minute. A Jew is traveling to Jericho and is attacked by thieves who leave him for dead.

A couple religious guys come by, and instead of caring for the man, they care more about not getting dirty or involved.

Then a Samaritan comes along, sees, the guy, has compassion, and treats his wounds, then puts him up at the nearest Super 8 until he gets better.

Of the three people, the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan, who had the least good reason to help?

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