Our pastor concluded a sermon series this past week entitled: BIG FAT FAKE (week #5)–HUMBLE PIE. He started his message by giving us the following:
 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Great verses to memorize and plant God’s Word Seed in out hearts–“Search me, God…”
Pastor Kyle had us then turn to The Sermon On The Mount–the Beatitudes, as some call it; specifically Matthew 5:3:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
When reading and meditating on Scripture, my mind often leaps in anticipation, I NEED MORE!… more explanation, more examples and more application in my daily life [‘more is better’].
I was almost disappointed when pastor’s preaching time on the clock had run out! And then the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit, “Mel, you’re the ‘Word Detective’...you get something going, start digging in the Word…press on in the meantime!”
Actually, before diving into God’s Word, it’s important for us to take Jesus’ Sermon as a whole, not just one Bible Verse, before we come to the details. It’s like the cliché, “missing the wood because of the trees”. We become ready to fix on certain particular statements and not realize that this Sermon On The Mount of Jesus, cannot be understood except in the light of the whole. They build upon each other–each verse. That being said, “Are We Merciful?” Then “Search me, God…”
Matthew 5:7 : (NIV)
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”
Dealing with MERCY–What MERCY IS NOT…
1. Pretending to have a heart of care and compassion.
2. It is NOT Self-Seeking – Not trying to act nice so that others are nice to you.
3. It is NOT Self-Righteous – Like the Pharisees who thought they were getting brownie points from God by giving to the poor.
4. It is NOT bothering to show kindness only when you think something’s in it for you.
I’ve given a few examples of what MERCY isn’t, so the obvious next step….
WHAT IS “MERCY”?
I found by reading various Commentaries [i]–that a good place to start is to compare MERCY with GRACE: “GRACE is especially associated with men in their sins; while MERCY is especially associated with men in their misery.” While GRACE looks down upon sin as a whole, MERCY looks especially upon the miserable consequences of sin.
So MERCY really means, “a sense of pity plus a desire to relieve the suffering.” That is the essential meaning of being MERCIFUL; it is pity plus action. So the professing Christian has a feeling of pity and your concern about the MISERY of others leads to an ANXIETY to relieve it. Another way to describe it: “an inward sympathy with outward acts in relation to the sorrows and sufferings of others.”
A New Testament Illustration – The Parable of the Good Samaritan:
JESUS gives us a parable in Luke 10:25-37, that is an old familiar story about The Good Samaritan.
On his journey he sees a poor man who has been in the hands of robbers, he stops, then goes across the road to where he is lying. The others who have passed by the scene, have already moved on. They may have felt compassion and pity, yet they have not done anything about it.
But here is a man who is MERCIFUL; he is sorry for the victim, goes across the road, dresses the wounds, then takes the man with him and makes arrangements for his well-being; until he can get back on his feet. THAT’S BEING MERCIFUL. Now that doesn’t mean only feeling compassion; it means a great DESIRE, a desire to do something to relieve the situation.
TRUE MERCY IS COMPASSION THAT GOES INTO ACTION!
JESUS is the greatest example of this kind of MERCY. He saw those in need, showed compassion by doing something about it: He healed the sick; made the lame walk; gave sight to the blind; made deaf ears hear; and gave life to the dead.
“But that’s JESUS!”
The Word of God asks us these questions:
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity [Amplified Bible says, “a heart of compassion”] on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17 NIV).
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16).
Suppose someone you know is living without the “Armor of God” ( Ephesians 6:11-17) without Spiritual food? Will you and I be content by feeling sorry for them? Or, will we spiritually show TRUE MERCY and do something about it!
“…the MERCIFUL will be shown MERCY.”
What happens do you suppose, to persons who are not full of TRUE MERCY? What happens to the MERCILESS?
— WHAT HAPPENS TO THE UNRELENTING BOSS?
— WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CUTTHROAT BUSINESSMAN?
— WHAT HAPPENS TO THE ABUSIVE FATHER?
— WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MANIPULATIVE MOTHER?
What happens to any of us who refuse to put our COMPASSION INTO ACTION?
For those of us who are content to say, “That’s a shame”, “Look at those poor people”, “That’s too bad for him”, “That’s a pity what’s happened to her”, “I really feel for them”, “Isn’t that something?”, and the list goes on. We’ve all thought or made similar statements from afar.
Whether they are glaring words, or passive, we will have to answer for not being MERCIFUL. Scripture warns us all with these words, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged…because judgement without MERCY will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (James 2:12-13).
AN “UNMERCIFUL SERVANT”:
JESUS says in Matthew 18:33-35:
 And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant (servant), as I had pity and mercy on you?
 And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all he owed.
 So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.”
Some people think after reading that passage of Scripture…“Well; doesn’t that teach that I’m FORGIVEN by GOD only as I forgive others to the extent I forgive?”
I believe that’s the wrong understanding, for two reasons:
1. If you and I were judged strictly on those terms, it is reasonable to say not one of us would be forgiven or see heaven.
2. If that is the interpretation of the Beatitude and parallel passages, then we cancel out the doctrine of GRACE from the New Testament.
If that is your thinking, then you must never again say ‘we are saved by grace through faith, and not of ourselves’, we must never read again those eye-opening words of the Gospel, telling us that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’, even ‘when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God’, or ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself’.
Scripture Must Be Interpreted by Scripture…ALWAYS!
We must never interpret Scripture by contradicting other Scriptures–‘rightly divide the truth’.
Applying this all, the explanation is perfectly simple: JESUS is really telling us to say to ourselves, “I am only truly forgiven when I’m… TRULY REPENTANT.”
‘Repentant’ means, I realize I deserve nothing but punishment, that I am FORGIVEN because of GOD’s MERCY and GRACE–His LOVE for me.
In other words, if I am truly repentant, realizing my position before God Almighty, and realizing I am only forgiven in that way, then of necessity… I shall FORGIVE those who trespass against me.
In the Operation of God’s Grace–
When GRACE comes into our hearts with FORGIVENESS…it makes us MERCIFUL–
None of us has by nature a ‘forgiving spirit.’ And if you have such a spirit, you have it by one reason only: You have seen what GOD has done for you in spite of what you deserve, and you say, ‘I know that I’m truly forgiven; therefore I truly forgive’.
‘Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy’. Because they have already obtained MERCY, therefore they are merciful. What makes me MERCIFUL is the GRACE OF GOD.
“Let every man examine himself”
I’m not asking you what sort of life you are living. I’m not asking whether you do this, that or the other. I am simply asking this:
“Are you merciful?” “Are you sorry for every sinner, even though that sinner offends you?”
THAT IS THE TEST!
‘Blessed–happy, happy, happy–are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.’
[i] Exerts quoted from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones “STUDIES IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT” – WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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