Give & Receive Mercy
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:7
Sermon Theme: The happy life consists of giving and receiving what God gives.
Blessed are the merciful,…. Who show mercy to the bodies of men, to those that are poor, indigent, and miserable, in their outward circumstances; by both sympathizing with them, and distributing unto them; not only making use of expressions of pity and concern; but communicating with readiness and cheerfulness, with affection and tenderness, and with a view to the glory of God: who also show mercy to the souls of men, by instructing such as are ignorant, giving them good counsel and advice: reproving them for sin, praying for them, forgiving injuries done by them, and by comforting those that are cast down. To show mercy is very delightful to, and desirable by God; it is what he requires, and is one of the weightier matters of the law; it is very ornamental to a child of God, and what makes him more like to his heavenly Father. The happiness of such persons is this, that
they shall obtain mercy; from man, whenever they are attended with any uncomfortable circumstances of life; “whoever is merciful”, men show mercy to him and from God, through Christ; which is free, sovereign, abundant, and eternal. Men are said to obtain this, when they are regenerated, and called by grace; and when they have a discovery, and an application, of the forgiveness of their sins: but here, it seems to design those supplies of grace and mercy, which merciful persons may expect to find and obtain, at the throne of grace, to help them in time of need; and who shall not only obtain mercy of God in this life, but in the world to come, in the great day of the Lord; for which the Apostle prayed for Onesiphorus, 2 Timothy 1:18.
(From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
- Is your mercy an intentional kindness or just a surge of emotion? Are you passive with a silent concern which, though genuine, is unable to give tangible help? Jesus is not speaking of detached or powerless sentiment that is unwilling or unable to help those for whom there is sympathy. Nor is He speaking of the false mercy, the feigned pity, that gives help only to salve a guilty conscience or to impress others with its appearance of virtue. It is genuine compassion expressed in genuine help, selfless concern expressed in selfless deeds.
- Jesus says in effect, “The people in My kingdom are not takers but givers, not pretending helpers but practical helpers. They are not condemners but mercy givers.” The selfish, self-satisfied, and self-righteous do not bother to help anyone—unless they think something is in it for them. Sometimes they even justify their lack of love and mercy under the guise of religious duty. How are you developing character qualities that reflect the merciful heart of Christ? For kingdom servants must reflect in their own hearts the heart of the King.
- Is the mercy you are showing meeting people’s needs? It is not simply feeling compassion but showing compassion, not only sympathizing but giving a helping hand. Mercy is giving food to the hungry, comfort to the bereaved, love to the rejected, forgiveness to the offender; companionship to the lonely.
- Do you see the Lord’s mercies in your everyday living? For the “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses [mercies, KJV] indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22). God’s mercy to His children never ceases. For pure mercy is a gift of God. It is not a natural attribute of man but is a gift that comes with the new birth.
- Are you practicing a sort of false mercy which is common in our day? Is it unloving and unkind to hold people responsible for their sins? It is a cheap grace that is not just and is not merciful, that offers neither punishment nor pardon for sin. And because it merely overlooks sin, it leaves sin; and the one who relies on that sort of mercy is left in his sin. To cancel justice is to cancel mercy. To ignore sin is to deny the truth; and mercy and truth are inseparable, they “are met together” (Psalms 85:10). Those who do not come to God on His terms have no claim on His mercy.
- In the midst of our corrupt, ego-centered, and selfish society that tells us to grab everything we can get, the voice of God tells us to give everything we can give. Are you striving for the true character of mercy in giving—giving compassion, giving help, giving time, giving forgiveness, giving money, giving ourselves? The children of the King are merciful. Those who are merciless face judgment; but “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
- Is our mercy being shown in our attitude? Mercy does not hold a grudge, harbor resentment, capitalize on another’s failure or weakness, or publicize another’s sin. Wrong attitudes always happen when our hearts are not submissive to God. They will invariably twist biblical instruction to satisfy their own selfish desires. These selfish attitudes always affect ones life style. These pretences of true religion are devious because it is so easy to imitate them. We are God’s servants only when the truth of God shakes our very attitudes toward life. It is then that God’s love shapes our perspectives of others rather than our lofty view of ourselves.
- Are some people trying to earn their salvation by being merciful? We must be saved by God’s mercy before we can truly be merciful. We cannot work our way into heaven even by a lifetime of merciful deeds, any more than by good works of any sort. God does not give mercy for merit; He gives mercy in grace, because it is needed, not because it is earned.
- Did Jesus show compassion to everyone? The Pharisees lacked showing mercy so Jesus provided them truth but not with mercy. This shows what happens when you are not merciful. For the ones who have not shown mercy: to them mercy will not be shown (James 2:13).
- Is this the great truth of life: “If people see us care, they will care?” Yet neither Scripture nor experience bears out that idea. God works that way, but the world does not. With God there is always proper reciprocation, and with interest. If we honor God, He will honor us; if we show mercy to others, especially to His children, He will show even more abundant mercy to us. But that is not the world’s way.
1) Merciful is from eleēmōn, from which we also get eleemosynary, meaning beneficial or charitable. Hebrews 2:17 speaks of Jesus as our “merciful and faithful high priest.” Christ is the supreme example of mercy and the supreme dispenser of mercy. It is from Jesus Christ that both redeeming and sustaining mercy come. In the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) the same term is used to translate the Hebrew hesed, one of the most commonly used words to describe God’s character. It is usually translated as mercy, love, lovingkindness, or steadfast love (Psalms 17:7; 51:1; Isaiah 63:7; Jeremiah 9:24). The basic meaning is to give help to the afflicted and to rescue the helpless. It is compassion in action.
2) What are the ways that we can show mercy spiritually: 1) It is shown through pity. Augustine said, “If I weep for the body from which the soul is departed, should I not weep for the soul from which God is departed?” The sensitive Christian will grieve more for lost souls than for lost bodies. Because we have experienced God’s mercy, we are to have great concern for those who have not. 2) We are to show spiritual mercy by confrontation. Paul says that, as Christ’s servants, we should gently correct “those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25). We are to be willing to confront others about their sin in order that they might come to God for salvation “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” (Jude 1:22-23). Extreme situations require extreme care, but we are to show mercy even to those trapped in the worst systems of apostasy. 3) We are to show spiritual mercy by praying. The sacrifice of prayer for those without God is an act of mercy. Our mercy can be measured by our prayer for the unsaved and for Christians who are walking in disobedience. 4) We are to show spiritual mercy by proclaiming the saving gospel of Jesus Christ—the most merciful thing we can do. This should be done with a wish to glorify God; that is, in obedience to his commandments, and with a desire that he should be honored, and with a feeling that we are benefiting one of his creatures.
3) The following is from “Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture” 29 Vols
THE REWARD OF COMPASSION. (By Chrysostom): Jesus speaks here not only of those who show mercy by giving worldly goods but also of those who demonstrate mercy in their actions. There are many ways to show mercy. The commandment is broad in its implications. What reward can people expect if they obey the commandment? “They obtain mercy.” The reward at first glance appears to be an equal reimbursement, but actually the reward from God is much greater than human acts of goodness. For whereas we ourselves are showing mercy as human beings, we are obtaining mercy from the God of all. Human mercy and God’s mercy are not the same thing. As wide as the interval is between corrupted and perfect goodness, so far is human mercy distinguished from divine mercy.
AS BEGGARS IN GOD’S PRESENCE. (By Augustine): Hear what follows: “Blessed are the compassionate, for God will have compassion on them.” Do this, and it will be done to you. Do it in regard to another that it might be done in regard to you. For you may overflow yet remain in need. You may overflow with temporal things but remain in need of eternal life. You hear the voice of a beggar, but before God you are yourself a beggar. Someone is begging from you, while you yourself are begging. As you treat your beggar, so will God treat his. You who are empty are being filled. Out of your fullness fill an empty person in need, so that your own emptiness may be again filled by the fullness of God.
MERCY TOWARD ENEMIES. (By unknown author): The kind of compassion referred to here is not simply giving alms to the poor or orphan or widow. This kind of compassion is often found even among those who hardly know God. But that person is truly compassionate who shows compassion even to his own enemy and treats the enemy well. For it is written, “Love your enemies, and treat well those who hate you.” Remember that God too sends his rain and asks his sun to rise not only over the grateful but also over the ungrateful. So Jesus calls us to “be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Such a person is truly blessed, for if in fact he hasn’t sinned, which is difficult for us all, God’s grace helps him along in increasing his sense of justice. So he prays, “Forgive me my debts, just as I too forgive my debtors.”
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