--So far in our travel through the Sermon on the Mount we have been
looking at the Christian in terms of his need, and of his consciousness of his need.
--We now will move to a different stage, and that is looking at his
--Of course his disposition is a result of everything that has gone before
--Disposition ===traits, qualities, makeup
--I emphasize again it would be futile to take any statement from the Sermon on the Mount at random and try to understand it
--They must be seen as a whole, and in the context.
--Our Lord is delineating and depicting christian character.
--The next three Beattitudes are virtues that flow out of the first four.
--Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matt. 5:7
--The Roman world did not admire mercy.
--They did admire justice, courage, slef control, and wisdom.
--But not mercy
--Jesus was speaking in a day when people were treated like things,
power is the supreme deity, and success the most important thing in life.
--Sounds kinda like today. The spiritual reality is we are not far from the Roman world.
--In this Beattitude I see a Searching statement, a Particular question, and a Supreme example.
I. A Searching Statement
A. Test of our standing before God.
1. What a man should be like. Merciful. This should be our disposition.
2. Happy is the man that is merciful.
B. Reminder of certain primary central truths about the whole christian position.
1. The Christian gospel puts all it's primary emphasis upon being rather than doing. As we go through the Sermon, Jesus primarily talks about diposition, and then doing. In this verse He is describing character, not telling us to do something
2. We are not called to try and be merciful, it should be a central part of our character as borne again Christians. I possess a certain character, therefore I am merciful
3. Taken a step further, we are not to control our Christianity, but it should control us.
There are at least two responses one may have when they read or hear this statement. If we dislike it, and are impatient with it, and would rather be talking about politics or anything else in the world, then maybe are character isn't what it should be. On the other hand if we feel these statements do test and search us, and even humble us when we measure ourselves by them, we know that they are good for us,and never object to being reminded of who we are. Which brings me to aparticular question
II. A particular question. Are You Merciful?
A. Understanding mercy Before you can answer that question, you need to understand what mercy is.
Mercy can best be understood in relationship to grace. Grace in a simple defintion is God's unmerited favor. Mercy on the other hand is grace in action.
1. Lots of people mistake and easy going personality for mercy. But many times those that are easy going just ignore or pretend not to see things and that is not truly mercy. God is Merciful, and He never chose to overlook our sin, or pretend it wasn't there, so whatever merciful is, it definitely is not a personality trait of an easy going person.
2. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said it like this. "Grace is especially associated with men in their sins, while mercy is associated with men in their misery." While grace looks upon sin as a whole, Mercy looks upon the miserable consequences of sin.
Mercy really means a sense of pity with a desire to relieve the suffering. It is pity plus action. So the christian has pity. His concern about the misery of men and women leads to an anxiety to relieve it.
Place yourself in this situation: You suddenly find yourself in the position of having someone in your power who has done you a terrible injustice. If you want to know whether you are merciful or not, examine your feelings toward that person. If all you are interested in is getting even, and exerting your rights that is the antithesis of being merciful. The exact opposite of what it means to be merciful. Think about the Good Samaritain. Suddenly he had in his power this Jew. Legally he had every right to get even with him for the way Jews treated Samairtans was horrible. Worse than they would treat a dog. But instead he felt pity, and a great desire to relieve the suffering of the Jew, and that's exactly what he did. He didn't form a committee to study the ramifications of Samaritans in the ditch. Neither did he go before the congregation and ask if it was okay if he helped the Samaritan. He just helped him because that was his disposition, to be merciful. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Of course that is a human example, and we have the Supreme example in Jesus Christ.
III. The Supreme example--Jesus Christ
The central and supreme example of mercy is seen in God the Father, sending jesus His only Son into this world to relieve us from our pitiable state. He saw the suffering, and in spite of the law breaking, it moved Him to action. And of course that action was to die on a cross despised and rejected, so that He alone that was perfect, could pay the debt of sin that we owed in our pitiable state. That is why Zecharias in Luke 2:67f. understanding what the birth of Jesus was all about could thank God for having brought it about out of His tender mercy. (vs. 78)
Are you merciful?
Do you sorrow over people that are in the miserable state of sin, and know nothing of the forgiveness of God?
If you are, then let's see your action.
If you truly are merciful then you've been praying about a familytoinvite to our revival. A family or person that needs Christ. Here are the invitations. Please come and take one and pray for the one you will give it to.
Then please deliver it. Then come to our cottage prayer meetings Tuesday night, and pray. And come to Wednsday night prayer meeting and pray. People all around us are in apitiable state. Let's show them the mercy that is part of our disposition, and get into action, telling them about Christ.
If we refuse mercy here we will receive justice in eternity.
Most of the content of this sermon comes from four sources, D. Martin Lloyd Jones, James Montgomery Boice, Chuck Swindoll, and John Stott. and NASB is my bible of choice.