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Matthew 5:7 07/23/2017
Happy to Be Blessed: “Mercy-Full->Mercy-Filled” Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
As we worship You, O Lord, please take away our sorrows and strengthen our faith in the face of our struggles that we might experience the joy of Your presence, in Christ’s name. We seek Your true blessing, and we hope to be that blessing for those around us in Jesus’ name. Amen.
In elementary school I was at the top of my class in math. No one was smarter. Then, in Jr. High School my Dad’s job moved him two times; thus I went to three different Jr. High Schools for 7th and 8th grades. Each new school I went to used the same PreAlgebra and Algebra 1 Math Books, but each time we moved the new school was a few chapters ahead of the old school. And since I had always been the smartest math student in my class, I just kept figuring I could catch up on my own…. I never did.
In 9th grade Geometry, Mr. Frasier new I wasn’t a slacker, he knew I was trying my best. By this time I even learned to ask questions and stay after class. But I could not understand math any longer.
In 10th grade Algebra 2, Dr. Jenkins understood exactly what Mr. Frasier understood.
In both classes I had earned a D+, something like a 67%. But both teachers had mercy on me. Neither wanted my GPA to suffer irreparably, so after both teachers suggesting I give up on math, they both gave me a C-. That was real Mercy.
In our Summer series of teachings on the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, today we come to the fifth Beatitude: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
We are in this list of Beatitudes because of the varieties and ferocities of struggles we have all witnessed, shared, and talked about over these last several months. These Beatitudes see these struggles as opportunities for blessing.
The 1st Beatitude is about being “POOR in spirit”, acknowledging our spiritual bankruptcy, our need for God.
The 2nd Beatitude is about “MOURNING” our sinful tendency, receiving God’s comfort and grace.
The 3rd Beatitude asks us into “HUMILITY”, we know our spiritual poverty and mourn it, so we cannot exalt ourselves because we are unworthy.
The 4th beatitude deals with desiring legal, personal, and social “RIGHTEOUSNESS”, and Jesus promises to satisfy that desire.
Then this 5th Beatitude begins a list of CHRIST-like character traits that will form in those who follow Jesus well.
Listen with me to these words of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon of the Mount. Matthew 5:1-2 and 3-7 ….—-
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (NIV)
The first four Beatitudes all describe the needs of a disciple. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” is the last in this intro-series.
These first four Beatitudes all remind us that, as human beings longing for eternal love, we need a Savior – who has come to us in the person of the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth.
Remember that the Greek word Matthew uses for “blessed” is Makarios, which refers to the BELIEVER in Christ who is SATISFIED and SECURE by the indwelling of the HOLY SPIRIT. (StudyLight.org) This is much more than the simple word “happy”. Makarios implies that there is nothing else needed.
I began this message today with that story about my High School math teachers being merciful to me to help illustrate what mercy looks like.
“Grace” is often defined as getting what we DON’T deserve – I did not deserve a C-, but I got one anyway – we do not deserve forgiveness, but God offers it through faith in Jesus anyway.
“Mercy” is often defined as NOT getting what we DO deserve – I did deserve a D, but I did not get that – we do deserve banishment, but God offers grace through faith in Jesus anyway.
Mercy is the generosity, tenderness of heart, and kindness of soul that moves us to alleviate the sufferings of others. It is one of the characteristics that reveal the children of God, for God Himself is “rich in mercy” – Ephesians 2:4 tells us.
Lamentations 3:22 remind us that God’s mercies are never-ending.
The Apostle Peter tells us that those whose lives are marked by a deep and lasting heart of mercy are made this way by experiencing the mercy God shows us by allowing us to be born again! (I Peter 1:3)
Have you been “born again”? Do you know Jesus in a way that demonstrates faith and trust in Him as both Savior and as Lord?
If you say YES, then carrying the Christ-like characteristic of mercy will be a real thing. People will say, look at her, she cares for people. They will watch you and wonder why you are so generous toward others, so tender-hearted.
If you say YES to that question about having a full-on relationship with Christ, but feel like you lack that love for the lost and the lonely – here’s how we develop it:
We grow in mercy as we REFLECT on God’s mercy to us!! Reflect on the truths of those first four Beatitudes – Poor in spirit, mourning our sinfilled lives, humbly asking for God’s help, and hoping to gain in Christlikeness – reflect on the fact that God’s Son died for you! Above all – He thought of you!
Reflect on that, son.
Then, after realizing how amazing God’s grace is – we will always want to share His grace with everyone around us – we will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, take care of the infirmed. We may not all do all of that with perfection, but some of it we will excel in!
Jesus said, Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, even as your Father in heaven is merciful.”
As discipled followers of Jesus we are already what we hope to become – full of mercy. But here’s the thing – as we live lives mercy-full what we are promised is to be, ultimately, completely mercy-filled. We have it, and then we get even more!
And this Beatitude, some believe, promises ultimate mercy on our souls! As we SHOW mercy to others, God promises eternal mercy on our souls!
We are invited to find God’s ultimate SATISFACTION in Christ. The imperative of this indicative/imperative clause is to be merciful; the indicative is that as those who know the deep, deep love of Jesus, we are already mercy-filled!
Living and gracious God,
through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
You have brought us out to a spacious place
where we are called to live as those redeemed.
Empower us by Your Holy Spirit to keep Your commandments,
that we may show forth Your love
with gentle word and reverent deed
always, everywhere. Amen.
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange; hermeneutics.stackexchange.com.
Steward, Gary; “Blessed Are The Merciful”; TableTalk; June 2017; Pp 21.
“Makarios: Blessed; the state of one who has become a partaker of God; to experience the fullness of God”; StudyLight.org.