This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Developing Well”.
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Psalm 41:1-4 (NKJV)
1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. 2 The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. 3 The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed. 4 I said, “LORD, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”
Matthew 5:7 (NIV)
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Last week we talked about hungering and thirsting for righteousness. We defined righteousness as living by trying to do the next right thing. That this idea was developed in verses 7,8, and 9 which are sandwiched between verses about righteousness. Right living includes being merciful, pure in heart, and peacemaking. These characteristics are what should be developing in the life of a believer who is yielding to the Holy Spirit. They become possible after taking a good look at our own brokenness and need that was brought on by the first three beatitudes. Having realized how amazing what God has done for us is we desire to live for Him. Today’s beatitude is about mercy.
1. What is mercy?
Mercy is a compassionate response to human need. Grace and mercy are often mentioned together but they differ. Grace deals with sin and guilt. Mercy deals with the consequences of sin and guilt. As we realize the mercy that God has shown us, it stirs us to be merciful to others.
Colossians 3:12-17 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 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. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
2. Mercy in action
Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In 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. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He 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. 35 The 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?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
a. Mercy sees
Mercy sees distress. It does not walk through the world with blinders on.
Luke 10:33a (NIV)
33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him….
b. Mercy has an internal impact
Mercy responds with a heart of compassion.
Luke 10:33 (NIV)
33 … he took pity on him.
c. Mercy has an external response
Mercy then does something to attempt to relieve the distress.
Luke 10:34-35 (NIV)
34 He 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. 35 The 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.’
3. They shall obtain mercy
God shows mercy towards the citizens of the kingdom who are merciful.
Proverbs 11:17 (NKJV)
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
Proverbs 14:21 (NKJV)
21 He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Psalm 18:25a (NKJV)
25 With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
Jude 1:21 (NIV)
21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
Do you know who the Samaritan is? Remember who Jesus is talking to. He is talking to the established religious community who don’t like Him. It was this group who John writes about:
John 8:48-51 (NIV)
48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” 49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
Jesus is the Samaritan. Full of mercy. Jesus sees us battered and broken. He has compassion on us. He takes our mess on himself, pays for it, at the cross. He comforts and cares for us, empowers us to live by His Spirit. He demonstrates what mercy is. We find and experience now and forever, full and abundant life in Him, now as recipients of His mercy, go and do likewise.