Summary: God’s favor rests on those who live in the flow of His mercy. I. The Downward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Offered. II. The Inward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Received. III. The Outward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Extended. IV. The Reciprocal Flow of Mercy: Mercy Rewarded.
Living in the Father’s Favor: The Flow of Mercy
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
I. The Downward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Offered.
II. The Inward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Received.
III. The Outward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Extended.
IV. The Reciprocal Flow of Mercy: Mercy Rewarded.
Intro: The beatitudes seem to fall into 2 distinct categories. The first 4 deal with our relationship to God. We are "poor in spirit," admitting our need for Him. We "mourn," we see our sin in light of what Jesus sacrificed for us. Then we surrender to God’s control. We empty ourselves of self-sufficiency and exhibit Christ dependency. We are "meek." The result of the first 3 steps? Hunger. Max Lucado writes, "Never have you seen anything like what is happening in your life. You admit sin- you are saved. You confess weakness- you receive strength. You are sorry- you find forgiveness. It’s a zany, unpredictable path full of surprises. For once in your life you are addicted to something positive- something that gives life instead of draining it. And you want more." And what you hunger for is righteousness. You want more of His Word, you can’t get enough of God; you find you are happiest when around fellow believers who become family to you. You hunger and thirst after a right relationship, and you are filled. [Timothy Smith, SC]
-Today we are talking about mercy. We touched on justice and righteousness last week. That reminds me of the lady who had her photograph taken and upon seeing the proof complained to the photographer. He said, "Ma’am what’s wrong?" "Wrong? Why this picture doesn’t do me justice." To which he looked at her and said, "Ma’am you don’t need justice, you need mercy."
-In the first century Roman culture, mercy was not seen as a virtue, but was seen as a sign of weakness. One Roman philosopher called mercy “a disease of the soul”. To them mercy was a sign that you did not have what it takes to be a real man and especially a real Roman. They glorified courage, justice, discipline, and absolute power. They looked down on mercy because they saw it as weakness, and weakness was despised above all other human limitations. So mercy was hard to find in that day and age. [Daniel Brown, SC]
-However, Jesus was full of mercy and kindness and freely gave it to countless numbers of people to whom He ministered. He showed mercy to people who were poor, sick, blind, crippled, discouraged, rejected, and abused. Now while some people in turn treated Him well, the hope of receiving the same treatment was not what motivated Jesus to let His mercy flow out to others.
-The flow of mercy is so much more than karma at work. While it is often true that what goes around comes around, there is a personal God in heaven and earth who rewards the merciful with His mercy. People often do not return the favor, but our Father in heaven will not let mercy go unrewarded. Jesus only wanted to obey and please His Father. That was His motivation for showing mercy. That should be our motivation as well – doing what honors and pleases the Father. That is what we call living in the Father’s favor, which leads us to the main idea.
Prop: God’s favor rests on those who live in the flow of His mercy.
Interrogative: What do we mean by the flow of mercy?
TS: Let’s take a look at it from four perspectives.
I. The Downward Flow of Mercy: Mercy Offered
-One of the first things we need to know about mercy is that it is available to all people. Just as Matthew 5:45 says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” God does not reserve His mercy for those who deserve it. In fact, if anyone deserved it, it would not be mercy, but payment or obligation.
-Mercy is showing great concern for someone in need, having compassion, sympathy, or pity. Mercy is used to describe one of God’s attributes. Eph.2:4 says He is "rich in mercy." The Greek word for mercy, eleos, is used in relation to misery and its relief. Grace is God’s free gift displayed in the forgiveness of sins. Grace is extended to men as they are guilty. Mercy is extended to them as they are miserable (ISBE Bible Dictionary).
-Many people do not realize that God’s kindness is available to them in the midst of their misery. God has great concern for those in need- esp. those who are suffering. He cares about people who are hurting, and He is willing to help them if they will let Him.