Today’s show is all about Mercy. Does God show us mercy, how does God show mercy, does God expect us to show mercy to others?
Opening Song – Jim Reeves, Welcome to my world
Hello everyone, I am the Reverend Hank Wilson and welcome to the Christian Life’s Gospel Ministry – Dealing with life – your biblical guide to staying upright when life tries to knock you down.
We started today’s show with Jim Reeves and welcome to my world, which when you truly sit down and listen to the words, you can easily tell it is an invitation from Jesus. Let’s get started with our opening prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today asking that you show me how to apply the teachings I find in the Bible to my life. I need to learn how to truly live as a Christian, how to show mercy to others and I implore you to show mercy to me. Thank you Amen
Song – Ray Price – Peace in the valley
Psalm 130 – Hope in the Lord’s Forgiving Love. – A Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.
Song – Patsy Cline – Just a closer walk with thee
Song – Roy Rogers Chapel in the Valley
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the simple definition of Mercy is; kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly, kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation.
I often wonder how many of us ever think about the concept of mercy or of being merciful. In today’s society, it seems as if all we want to do is punish folks or let them suffer, for whatever reason, being merciful towards others doesn’t seem to be part of the equation. But why? We claim to be a ‘Christian’ country and yet often times we don’t act very Christ like towards our brothers and sisters; even though Jesus specifically commanded us to love one another.
In Matthew Chapter 7 verses 37-39, Jesus when asked taught, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of love being shown by us towards each other nowadays; so I wonder if we have forgotten all about mercy.
Today I want to look at the whole concept of mercy and see if maybe we can’t start to recover our feelings for others, by asking some simple questions:
- To whom does God show mercy?
- How does God show us mercy?
- Does God expect us to be merciful?
As I mentioned earlier, as a society we seem to have lost a lot of our capacity to show mercy to others and yet when it comes to our own lives and to judgement from God, we ask God for mercy.
To whom does God show mercy?
According to Jesus, God show mercy to the merciful. We read in Matthew chapter 5 verse 7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Reminds me of the saying ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’; if we cannot take the time to show mercy towards those who are less fortunate than ourselves, to those who might have taken a wrong turn in life; then how can we honestly expect God to show mercy on us?
I was thinking about those times when I see someone standing by the side of the road holding a sign asking for money, and how often I think to myself, ‘I wonder if they really need help or if it is just a scam?’ after all, I know there are numerous agencies around that offer help to those in need. What if that person truly does not know about the agencies that exist and they are truly in desperate need? How will God look upon me if I turn my back on that person? I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 25:41-45 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
So it all boils down to this; if we want God to show mercy on us, we need to make sure we are showing mercy to others. No ifs ands or buts about it. We have to stop putting down those in need and start lifting them up.
God also show mercy to those who honor him and fear (respect) Him in the Book of Psalms, Psalm 103 verse 11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him”. When people see the words ‘fear God’, they immediately take it to mean that God wants us to be afraid of Him; almost as if He will torture us if we do something wrong.
Personally I disagree with that concept, R.C. Sprouls wrote “(Martin) Luther distinguished between that (servile fear) and what he called filial fear, drawing from the Latin concept from which we get the idea of family. It refers to the fear that a child has for his father. In this regard, Luther is thinking of a child who has tremendous respect and love for his father or mother and who dearly wants to please them. He has a fear or an anxiety of offending the one he loves, not because he’s afraid of torture or even of punishment, but rather because he’s afraid of displeasing the one who is, in that child’s world, the source of security and love.” If we think of God as the Father, then it is only natural that we should try to please the Father and when we do that, when we do the right thing then we know that the Father will show us mercy when it is called for. We also have to understand, that when and if we misbehave there will be consequences for our actions. However, we can rest assured that the punishment will match the crime and will not be excessive or vindictive.
When we do sin, when we do commit a transgression against the rules the Father has laid down, if we apologize, if we talk with God, then He will give us the forgiveness and the mercy we ask for.
We are told in the book of Acts in chapter 2 verse 21, that God is merciful to those who ask for mercy. ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Our salvation is the only thing that truly matters. Everything we endure here on earth is temporary, now our negative situations may seem to last forever, but the reality is all things pass in time. The one thing that will not pass in time is losing our soul. Once we have departed this earth, there are no do overs, so it is imperative that while we are here we make the most of our time and that we have called on the name of the Lord and we have begun walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
Once we have done that, once we have moved our lives into the right traffic lane, then we can easily see the answer to the question, how does God show us mercy?
In Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus, which we find in Ephesians chapter 2, verses 4-7, he gives us the answer. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Paul is pointing out how each of us has a new life because through the ultimate life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, He showed us an extreme amount of love and mercy. Every person that has lived since Jesus walked the earth has had an opportunity to embrace that salvation and embrace that love that God showed us.
We could not have done enough on our own to achieve salvation, it is only through His love that we have the opportunity. We need to embrace it and we need to accept it. As Paul wrote in his letter to Titus, in chapter 3, verse 5: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
Sadly, even though God treats with mercy, we often have a difficult time treating others in the same manner. The reality is that God expects us to be merciful.
In chapter 12 of Matthew, on the Sabbath, the disciples of Jesus were walking past a field and being hungry, they began to pick some grain to eat. Some Pharisees saw this and began to berate them for ‘working’ on the Sabbath. In verse 7, Jesus answered them by talking about how David and his companions while hungry ate some consecrated bread and that was not lawful. But that if it would have been the priests who ate the bread that would have been ok. He then tells them that the new temple is in their presence and gets on them saying, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Jesus knew that there is more than just the ‘letter’ of the law, you have to take into consideration the spirit of the law and the circumstances involved.
In Matthew in chapter 18 verse 33, Jesus tells the story of the slave whose owner forgave his debt, then turned around and began to demand that one who owed him money had to repay immediately. The owner then says “Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?” Just has God has shown us mercy, we should show mercy to others, otherwise we are living a life that is not what is should be.
When we show mercy, we are following the teaching found in Jude chapter 1 verses 21-23, “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”
In the modern church, there is a tendency to want to put down or criticize those who question the teachings. Instead of ridiculing them, we are to be merciful towards them and try to answer their questions. When we do this, we can save them, we can help them recover and find their way back to the path towards God.
It is vital that we remember that we have a promise from God that He will be merciful to us always in Luke chapter 1 verse 50 ““And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.” Remember we are not talking about being afraid that God will punish us, we respect Him and look up to Him as we would a parent. He is, after all, our Father who art in Heaven.
So as you go through life remember God will show us mercy and He expects us to show mercy to others. To accomplish what God expects of us, we need to insure that we bring Jesus into our lives.
To do that, say this prayer on a daily basis – Lord Jesus, I come before you and confess that I am a sinner. Jesus, I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, and that Almighty God raised you from the dead. I pray that you forgive me of my sins, and come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Amen.
That is going to do it for today folks, I’m the Reverend Hank Wilson, thank you for joining me here on the Christian Life Gospel Ministry’s – Dealing with life – A biblical guide to staying upright when life tries to knock you down.
Closing the show today with Don Gibson – When they ring the golden bells
Until next time, stay strong, stay in prayer, and you can always find me sitting on the porch out in the country, doing my best to live the Christian Life. God Bless y’all
All scripture is from the NASB