Summary: Using the recent controversy of the NFL kneeling during the National Anthem, the need for mercy is illustrated.
Blessed are the Merciful
CCCAG October 1st, 2017
Scripture- Matthew 5:7
I’m going to share something fresh from the headlines this morning. This is a very controversial topic for many, so I humbly ask you to listen with an open heart and mind and wait until I get this out before you shut mentally shut me off or allow your own opinions or emotions concerning this subject close your ears to what I’m going to talk about.
Last Sunday afternoon, I was enraged. I hadn’t been that angry in a long time.
The reason I was angry was from watching NFL players, even those overseas kneel in apparent disrespect to our flag and our national anthem. In addition, those overseas disrespected the anthem of their county, while standing for God Save the Queen.
You can ask Tammie- I was seeing red.
As a veteran, and as a man who loves his country, the blatant disrespect shown by an organization and by men who enrich themselves off the very nation they are now spitting on made me want to do and say some very un-Christlike things. All I could think of is that people on the armed forces network were watching their American football teams disrespect them and their country while they were in harms way for that very country. I thought of all of the men who I knew, and even some family members who came home in flagged draped coffins- that they sacrificed their lives and their futures so that a bunch of millionaire could join the latest social media cool kids club and protest something that most didn’t even understand.
Of course, social media blew up with people typing in caps at one another- if you don’t know that’s the online equivalent of shouting, which just made me even angrier that many people, even many pastors didn’t see the problem with this so-called peaceful protest. That anger was smoldering into Tuesday morning- the next time I got to spend some time alone with God.
During that alone time, I looked up the verse I’d be preaching on this week and thought….OUCH. Mercy
I’m going to read that scripture today, and then we are going to look at what Jesus is saying, and how it applies to our lives today.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy
Big idea- The subject of Mercy is the litmus test of our Christianity. Just like Litmus tests are used in chemistry to prove the purity of a chemical, and mercy proves the purity of our faith in Christ.
Mercy is an attribute that we want applied to our lives. However, when it comes to everyone else, we want justice.
Let me illustrate that statement a little before we get into what Jesus was referring to here-
Let’s say you are in a hurry, and you need to get cash out of the ATM, and it’s pouring rain out. For your bank, the only non-fee ATM around is at Gordy’s here in Whitehall. As most people know, Gordy’s parking is can be problematic on the best day. You drive in the lot, and there are no parking spaces anywhere except the one handicap space next to the door. Street parking is full up to a block in every direction, and the next closest space you see is across the street in the bank, but again, it’s pouring rain and you have no umbrella.
What do you do? Park in the handicap spot and run in knowing you’ll be less than 2 minutes? You hope for mercy in that situation even knowing it’s against the law to park in that spot.
You come back out to discover a huge dent in your bumper from the person in the handicap van that ran into your car in protest of you taking their spot.
What do you do? Call a cop and ask for justice?
I think most of us would react just like the person in that scenario- mercy for ourselves, and justice for everyone else.
Are we all properly confused or convicted yet? Good- it’s intentional.
Let me speak to what Jesus is teaching us here about Mercy-
The first thing we need to understand about this concept of mercy is
I. Mercy is the fruit or an intended consequence of a righteousness received
I want you to look at the beatitudes as a whole for a moment and watch how they are building upon each other-
Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourn
Blessed are the meek- these 3 beatitudes, or beautiful attitudes of Jesus speak of a person’s repentance and dying to themselves.
The result of people dying to themselves is they should be losing their appetites for soulish or fleshly pursuits and instead be gaining a pursuit of righteousness