Summary: A look at how Jesus loved accepted and forgave people and why we seem so unwilling to do the same in many instances.

14, September 2003

Dakota Community Church

Merciful Savior

Week 5: Imitate Christ Series

Hebrews 12:2-3

2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Lets begin by looking at Jesus acting in mercy and talking about its importance:

Matthew 23:23-24

23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Luke 10: 28-37

29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ’Look after him,’ he said, ’and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Mark 5: 18-19

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."

Luke 7:12-14

12As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out--the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don’t cry."

14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!"

This should be the easiest thing of all to imitate.

What is the opposite of mercy?

- Judgment.

None of us like to be judged. We look at our motives, but we look at others actions.

Clearly Jesus was anti-judgment.

If you are sitting there thinking, "Well I may not be allowed to judge but I certainly am allowed to be a fruit inspector be cause the bible says we will know them by their fruit." I have one question for you.

Why do you want to be a “fruit inspector” so desperately?

The bottom line is this:

1Samuel 16:7

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

If we know all this why do we so often get judgmental and refuse mercy?

1. We fear guilt by association.

- We would rather stand with the accusers than risk joining the accused.

- What if I am viewed as being “soft on sin”?

- What if they say I practice “sloppy agape”?

At a recent wedding I was at a table with many unchurched people, the man beside me was coming back from the open bar with beer two at a time and sitting one of them in front of me so he would not appear to the hosts as being "greedy"

I later found out that a family, one of whom had witnessed this wedding, left our church because of my drinking. I should point out that I was not drinking although that is a matter of personal taste not religious conviction. The truth is I would rather associate with the two fisted beer drinker than the judgmental believer. How will we ever reach the lost if we continue to cling to silly legalist ideas and avoid people while claiming we are avoiding "the appearence of evil"?

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