(Happy are the Merciful - August 7, 2022)
Series Big Idea: "People in God's Kingdom will be known by several characteristics"
Sermon Big Idea: "Christians can be merciful because God has shown mercy to us"
Key Scripture (Matthew 5:1-12)
The four “Beatitudes” we have discussed so far in this series of sermons, in some way or another, speak of our dependence on God. Today I want you to see in verse seven that Jesus begins talking about how our dependence on God is shown in our actions toward others. You could say that this is the fruit of the other four.
1 When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He began to teach them, saying: 3 “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 4 Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted. 5 The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled. 7 The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy. 8 The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God. 9 The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 11 “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12 Be glad and rejoice because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
One theologian has so rightly said, “When we realize our sin and take responsibility for it, and cry out to God for the forgiveness of sin and refuse to be self-sufficient, instead desiring the things of God, the only thing we can do is be merciful.”
But does being merciful really guarantee mercy to be shown to us? I would say not always. But it most definitely will help. You and I both know situations in our own lives and the lives of others where people have been treated badly even though showing mercy themselves. But that's not Jesus' point here, so to help us with this today I want to share with you two thoughts concerning being merciful.
1. Being merciful means demonstrating sincere Sympathy and Care for anyone in need
We are not just talking about giving someone money or physical things. It means having real sympathy for someone and doing something about it. It's not about giving someone something out of guilt. It is helping people in a way that benefits them, not you. It is genuine compassion with a pure, unselfish motive that reaches out to help.
Jesus was saying, “The people in My kingdom are not takers, they are givers.” “The people in My kingdom aren’t setting themselves above everybody else, they actually bend down to help.” How can this be? How can we be merciful?
2. Christ is the Greatest Example of God’s mercy
The word “merciful” is only used in one other place in the New Testament. (Hebrews 2:17) Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. God the Father showed the greatest act of mercy ever, through the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ on the cross. But He didn't give his Son as a handout to humanity. Yes, He has sympathy for us. Yes, God has compassion for us. But He didn't stop there, He did something about it! He sent Jesus! His compassion is genuine. His motive is pure and unselfish.
Whom do you say Jesus is? Your answer to that question either gives proof of your salvation or proves you are not a disciple of Christ. For those of you who have been called and have received mercy from God through His Son Jesus; you have become a channel to be merciful to others. When you finally understand the freedom of being forgiven yourself, you will share that forgiveness with others.
The word “merciful” in Hebrew is said to be almost impossible to translate into the English language. So, I would say that word is reserved only for the almighty God Himself! This word carries the meaning of identifying in the suffering of others and going through and experiencing what that other person is experiencing. It means ultimately entering another’s problem with TOTAL understanding and acceptance. I don't know about you, but I know I could never do that to the fullest extent. God did this through his son Jesus. He identified with humanity, and its suffering and died and rose from the dead on behalf of our sin.
When Jesus said, “The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy,” He was saying, you who continue to be merciful to others are proving you have responded to God's love through His Son Jesus and are living by His grace. When you stand before Jesus on the day of judgment, you too will receive mercy.
Pastor Beaver's thoughts and ideas are inspired by:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
English Standard Version Bible
King James Version Bible
Christian Standard Bible
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