Introduction: We need to distinguish Mercy and Grace. Mercy is the loving response prompted by misery – answers the unhappy - relief Grace is the loving response when undeserved – answers the unworthy- pardon
Point 1: Background
A. Mercifulness is one of God’s most fundamental attributes.
a. SEE Ex 34:5-6 -- Merciful is the first thing God says on connection to His name.
b. Moses reiterates this key point in Dt 4:31 “the LORD your God is a merciful God.”
B. This is a key prophetic theme:
1) Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
2) Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”
C. “Merciful” embraces at least four characteristics:
1. Having Compassion
2. Being Generous
3. Providing Nurture
4. Forgiving Others
D. Jesus doesn’t elaborate on the recipient.
a. Sometimes a Stranger
b. Even an Enemy
c. Most definitely a brother or sister
Point 2: Blessed are the Merciful
A. SEE Ps 41:1 and Prov 14:21 – This is what it means to be merciful.
B. SEE Matt 18:21-35
a. The master had pity upon his servant and even completely forgave his debt.
b. The servant did not show mercy toward his fellow servant.
C. This beatitude anticipates 6:12, 14-15
D. NT Scripture References:
1) 1 Jn 3:16-17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
2) Matt 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Point 3: Obtain Mercy
A. Being merciful doesn’t earn mercy, but you can’t receive mercy if you haven’t repented. In turn, you can’t claim to have repented and not have a merciful response to those in need.
B. We NEED Mercy!
a. When we have a proper view of ourselves, we can view others appropriately.
b. We are sinners in need of mercy – others are sinners in need of mercy.
C. Lamentations 2:22-23 “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Conclusion: Many see that there is a structure to Matthew’s beatitudes. The first three comprise a set which is completed by an interjected beatitude and then there are three more in a set which are bracketed by an ending beatitude. The first set can be titled “Humility Before God” and the second set can be titled “Mercy Towards Men.” The first set elaborates the inward attitude of a kingdom citizen and the last set describes the outward expressions that stem from within.
All Christians have been given a degree of discernment. Some have a higher degree and some have a lesser degree, but we can all determine a situation from a godly perspective. We have the Spirit of God counseling us! This beatitude speaks to a way of life. We are meek (Lord Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner) and can view others with the mind of Christ. When we view ourselves this way, we can not help but be merciful on others. This is a day-after-day, moment-after-moment kind of thing – yet, with our discerning hearts we can observe people in certain conditions that need our immediate and undivided attention.
We need to interrupt a bad day, miserable circumstance, or depressed situation with:
Rom 15:7 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”