Summary: We’re continuing through in our series through the Beatitudes. This sermon will be looking at the fifth beatitude, one that deals not only with our relationship with God, but the way God wants us to deal with one another, and that is with mercy.
Sermon on the Mount
“Love in Action”
We’re continuing through our series through the Beatitudes. Today we’re going to be looking at the fifth beatitude, one that deals not only with our relationship with God, but the way God wants us to deal with one another, and that is with mercy.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7 NKJV)
What this is saying is that we get what we give. It’s the law of direct return. If we criticize other people then we should expect to be criticized back. If we’re friendly then others will be friendly in return. And when we exhibit mercy, we’ll receive mercy back.
If we want to be happy, that is, blessed, we need to treat people the way we want to be treated, which is the heart of the Golden Rule. And so the right way to treat others is with the same mercy we’ve been shown by God.
One definition of mercy is that mercy is not getting what we deserve. We deserve death, “The wages of sin is death,” but instead we receive God’s mercy, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Seeing that today is Valentine’s Day, tonight I’d like to give you the verb form of the word, and that is…
Mercy is Love in Action
Mercy is more than merely an attitude, and it’s more than feeling sorry for someone. It’s doing something about it. This is literally one of the attributes of God. God is a merciful God; therefore, God is love in action.
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” (Psalm 145:8 NKJV)
And because God is a merciful Father, He then expects His children to be merciful as well.
“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 NKJV)
But how do we show mercy? What are the marks of a merciful person?
We encounter all sorts of different people. Some are good eggs, and some are good eggs that may be a little cracked, while others are hatched and ornery. There are all sorts of different people each with their own particular quirks. And so the Bible says,
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NKJV)
We need to be patient with everyone, which is something I’m still working on, and more than likely so is everyone else. But if we want to be blessed then we have to be merciful, and to be merciful we need to be patient with those who don’t always fit into our mold.
How can we be patient with everyone? Learn their background. Understand where they come from and stop looking at how far they have to go, instead look at how far they’ve come.
That’s what makes us patient with others. We look beneath the surface at the internal pain they may have or are still going through. Because behind every person there’s loneliness, hurt, depression, or anxiety. The Bible says,
“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7 NKJV)
Merciful people are loving people. They’re not quick to criticize or judge. They realize that hurtful people oftentimes are people that have been hurt.
So the first mark of a merciful person is that they are patient with others, and that’s because they need others to be patient with them.
When people make a mistake, do we rub it in, or do we try to rub the mistake out? When people let us down, do we hold it over their heads, never letting them off the hook, or do we show them a little mercy and forgiveness?
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13 NKJV)
Isn’t it interesting that when we receive forgiveness how right it feels, but when we are called to give forgiveness how wrong it feels, and that’s because we don’t want to forgive, instead we want justice.
It’s like the person who had their picture taken. Later they bring it back complaining that it doesn’t do them justice. The photographer replied, “You don’t need justice, you need mercy.”
It’s a lot easier to criticize than it is to sympathize. It’s a lot easier to point a finger than it is to lend a helping hand. But if we want to be merciful and blessed, then we have to forgive.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” (Proverbs 3:27 NKJV)