February 24, 2019

The Merciful

Passage: Matt. 5:7

Bible Text: Matt. 5:7 | Preacher: Adam J. Korenczuk | Text: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

Scripture Reading: Luke 10:30 – 37 Introduction: Christians are the only genuinely happy people on earth. They are happy because they realize their spiritual helplessness because they cannot sin and enjoy it because God controls their lives. In the first four Beatitudes, Jesus has dealt only with humankind’s relationship with God. We come now to the first beatitude, which deals with a person’s relationship with others.

A world without mercy.
In Jesus’ day, there was a lack of respect for human life.
Jesus taught that there is joy in heaven when a sinner repents; the Jews taught that there is joy in heaven when God’s enemies are exterminated.
Roman slaves were considered tools of their masters. They could be beaten, killed, or sold. It was said of many Roman masters that they delighted more in the sound of a cruel flogging than the sound of birds singing.
Aristotle said, “Let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared.” It was a common practice for the unwanted child simply to be thrown in the garbage can. The professional beggar often retrieved the child from the garbage, maimed him, and used him to awaken sympathy from those who gave alms.
In our day there is a lack of respect for human rights.
Our laws indicate that we respect human life. During the industrial revolution, children were forced to work long hours chained to looms to keep them from running about the mills and factories. Laws were enacted to forbid child labor. When human lives were threatened by automobiles, traffic laws were passed to protect innocent people from drunken and careless drivers. Various types of alcohol and narcotic regulations have been enacted because of our respect for human life.
Every human being has a right to become a Christian, but only a small percentage of evangelical Christians ever even attempt to witness to their unsaved friends.
Every human being has a right to fair treatment, for each is created in the image of God. We are equal, and that means we should have equal rights!
The lack of respect for human rights ultimately leads to a lack of respect for human life.
The bitter, critical, unhappy, despondent people of today are those who have no respect for the rights of others.
The meaning of mercy.
Mercy is usually used in the Bible to describe God and his relationship with people.
The earth is full of God’s mercy (Ps. 119:64).
God’s mercy reaches to the heavens (Ps. 36:5; 57:10).
God’s mercy endures forever (Ps. 100:5).
God is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4).
God’s mercy is the ground for a person’s appeal to God in times of trouble (Ps. 59:16).
People have hope because of God’s mercy (1 Peter 1:3).
God hears a person’s prayers because of his mercy (Ps. 66:20).
Salvation in Christ is available to all people because of God’s mercy (Titus 3:5).
To be merciful is to have the same attitude toward people that God has. It means to think of others as God thinks of them, to feel for others as God feels for them, to act toward others as God acts toward them.
Above everything else, God demands mercy of us. In God’s sight, mercy is superior to religious activities (Hos. 6:6). The prophet Micah said that God requires us to “do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Mic. 6:8).
Mercy is love in action. It is not a vague, general benevolence but a love that shows compassion in deed as well as word.

The neighbors crowded about their friend whose horse had just been killed in an accident. One well-meaning friend kept saying, “I’m sorry; I’m sorry!”

“I am sorry fourteen dollars’ worth,” said another friend. “How much are you sorry?” They passed the hat, and enough money was taken to buy the man another horse. This is love in action.

To be merciful toward our fellow humans means to have compassion on those who are at our mercy. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

III. The promise for mercy: “They shall obtain mercy.”

Our Lord is speaking of the mercy that God bestows on his children in the day of judgment (2 Tim. 1:16 – 18).
This promise does not mean that God will be merciful to us if we are merciful to other people. If this were the meaning of this beatitude, it would be inconsistent with the teaching that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8 – 9).
This beatitude teaches that if we are truly saved, we will be merciful. Our Lord is saying that the merciful person is the kind of person who will receive the mercy of God in the day of judgment.

Conclusion: The supreme example of mercy is found not only in the words of our Lord but also in his actions. One sees him hanging on the cross — one who never sinned, one who did no harm to anyone, one who came preaching the truth, one who came to seek and to save that which was lost. He could have complained about the nails in his feet or the crown of thorns on his head, but he chose to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The circle of God’s love became large enough to include the thief who hung on a nearby cross. That circle reaches even to us. To refuse to step inside that circle is to know hate, revenge, and bitterness. But to step inside is to know mercy.

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