THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 5-22-05

LESSON TITLE: "THE CHRISTIAN BEATITUDES: BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL"

WELCOME

The Psalmist once proclaimed, "Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful." Psalm 116, verse 5. Praise be to God that He is gracious, righteous and merciful. It is our prayer that you are serving this God today, and that you have already submitted to His perfect Will!

Therefore, we assemble this day, as those who love God and it will be our privilege today to be uplifted through our commitment to His service as He commands. What a blessing we have this morning to reverence our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our assembly together is acceptable to God, that we may glorify Him in all things?

Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!

(PRAYER)

Let's join in songs of praise to God at this time. Our first song of the day reminds us of one of the greatest promises from our God. So won't you do your part in this worship to God, as we sing together, "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Earlier we read about many of the great attributes of our God. One which David specifically mentioned was "Mercy." He proclaimed, "our God is merciful!" In James 3:17, we read that the "wisdom from above," includes being "full of mercy!" Here we learn not only that God is to be all merciful, but that we are to be all merciful as well.

I want you to hear another great passage in the book of Psalms that shows just how much David understood about the mercy of God. In Chapter 51, verses 1, we read, "Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions." In this verse we hear the plea of a child of God, requesting the mercy of God on him, although he had transgressed God's Will. In the same passage down in verse 3, David confirms his sin, "For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me." Wow, what an eye opener.

Like King David we are often guilty of sin, but the great news is that we can be forgiven by God who is all merciful. That's exactly what David was asking God to do in verse 2 of our text, where we read, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin."

As Christians today, we read of a similar promise through the blood of Jesus Christ. Let's read together from Hebrews 8:12, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Did you catch all of that? Because of our merciful God, Jesus came and died on this earth to enact a new and better covenant. It is through this covenant that we have the opportunity of the forgiveness of sins unto salvation. And when God forgives our sins, He has proclaimed I will remember them no more. To God be the glory! Are you serving such a loving and merciful God this day? If not, choose today to obey His Will, be saved and to live thereafter faithful in His Kingdom.

Today we will continue to focus on the Mercy of God in our main study of the day. This lesson will be entitled, "Blessed Are The Merciful." This sermon is the next discussion in our series which is dealing with, "The Christian Beatitudes!" So stay with us this morning, and after our next song together, I will lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "More About Jesus."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

We thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we look at the Christian Beatitudes, there again focusing on Matthew chapter 5 as we see really the first gospel sermon that it says that "Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom." No doubt you and I have already looked together very clearly of the concept where Jesus said in Matthew 16, "I will build My church," which is the kingdom. But here Jesus already has began to tell the disciples of the kingdom of God. He was preaching a gospel about the kingdom.

Thus far, we've looked at several of these Beatitudes, several great characteristics that not only lead us to Christ, but make us better servants in Christ, such as being poor in spirit, understanding the great need that we have there in verse 3 to really empty ourselves, humble ourselves in a way to the fact of understanding that we need God and without God we are nothing.

Second we saw in verse 4 the idea of mourning, how that our sin and the knowledge of what we are without God brings a mourning in our lives, but in the fact that we mourn knowing Christ, we are able to be comforted, and therefore although we mourn without Him, in Him we find comfort in that kingdom that was promised back in verse 3.

Verse 5 also talks about the meek. If we understand what it is to be meek, kind, gentle as Christ was, then certainly we are those who as it states here will inherit the earth, will be heavenly blessed, greatly blessed on this earth by God because we are exemplifying Him in all that we do and all that we say.

And then last week together in verse 6 we saw "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness," or for righteousness because those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness are seeking and reaching out for God. And what does it say? "Those who do such will be filled." They will have their full of God. God will be with them and help them to know Him fully through His Word.

But then today, we will look at verse 7, "Blessed are the merciful." Certainly mercy is a wonderful idea that we can go throughout many different passages and scripture to understand truly what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of great mercy and how that mercy is an intricate part of the life of a child of God.

In Titus chapter 3, we are reminded of a verse there in verse 5 where it speaks again of "this need that we have for mercy from God," as it states, "not by works of righteousness which we have done are we saved, but according to His mercy, He has saved us through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit through His mercy." God was so merciful that He was willing to die for me even in the fact knowing that some day as a child of His, as a Christian, I would still make mistakes. I would still stumble. I would still do things that I shouldn't which were contrary to His Will. But God had mercy. He loved me enough to die anyway and to know that He would allow His grace and mercy to be extended even to me, a sinner, one who outside of Him was without hope, but in Him still at times sinning covered by His blood, washed clean and found to be perfect through His precious gift.

Well as we look at the concept of mercy in the original language, we find something that really cuts down to the heart, something that really pains the heart and brings a deep emotion as we look at the idea or the concept of mercy. In fact, it would often be attributed to the idea of that which is in the depths of man which really relates to pity, having a pity on someone else because of maybe the miserable state or the miserable account that is in their life or even our own life. And so therefore we extend a mercy and really we look and we ourselves want to comfort and to help and to do something to change this problem in these individuals lives.

Some other ideas are synonyms that are often used for mercy again includes ideas like kindness and goodness and extending again an ability of humility to others knowing that we need to see their needs and help them when they have needs.

And then often as we look at the idea of mercy, we see not only a loving God, but we see a loving, brotherly kindness that is extended to those who need and have needs, and not only brothers, but all men as we will see in just a moment.

So what about this characteristic of mercy? We've already looked at a few verses this morning about the great mercy of God. We might also consider there in Psalm 136 that it talks about that God is merciful. How merciful? All merciful. He's full of it, and we're to be full of mercy. I want you also to notice there that throughout the book of Psalms over 26 times the idea of God and His mercy is indicated and not only is it indicated as being something that God is, but there Psalm 100 says that God's mercy is everlasting. It is something that He extends on all men whether they are faithful or really even those who are outside of His fold because if He extends mercy, they might come to Him. So again, we see the great mercy of God, the great love that He had just like we might again extend mercy in different situations. Think of maybe something that has happened in your life where you felt merciful towards something. Maybe it was an animal that was caught in a trap or hurt. Maybe it was a dog or a pet of yours that got ran over or was somehow almost killed or in a very critical situation, and then the mercy, the feeling that we have, the pity that we have that we want to take hold and comfort and really help and restore the thing that is in that situation. Oh the mercy then that God has had for us and then the mercy that we must extend for others as we see mankind in similar situations.

But how far must we go? I think there in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 44, Jesus helped us clearly there again in the Sermon on the Mount, the same sermon that we have been considering in relationship to the kingdom of God. But there in that passage, He talks about how we are even to extend mercy to our enemies. He states it like this: "I say unto you, love your enemies. Bless those who persecute you or curse and do good to those who hate you and even pray for them." Wow! What does that sound like? That sounds like mercy, that we do something for someone even though they are undeserving, sometimes even though they are pitiful and even though they themselves might not understand that what they are doing really is contrary to the Will of God or they just don't care at all, but yet we still have love. We have compassion. We have a desire to be merciful, to extend a mercy of care on those again who are in this condition.

I might remind you as well in Matthew around verse 37 where God, that is Jesus in the flesh, helped us to see these two great commandments that he law was hinged on. It hangs there, as it says, on two, being that "we love the Lord, our God with all of our heart." The second is like it. It is to "love our neighbor as ourselves." I think we begin to see mercy there. If we love God, what are we going to do? Everything He says. We're going to be merciful and we consider the sacrifice of Christ. What do we feel? Mercy. Pity, a pity that causes us to respond, a desire to again comfort solace and to help in some way and to respond positively.

But at the same time, what about our neighbors? The second commandment to "love our neighbors as ourselves." What would that cause us to do again? Love is demonstrated through obedience. Love is demonstrated through action, through kindness and goodness and mercy and so therefore what do I do to my neighbor? I am merciful to him. I am kind to him. I go the extra mile and I help in every way that I can to see that he has what he needs and that he is comforted when he has trial and tribulation and difficulty in life.

Again, Jesus helps us with this idea again of those that we might love and that we might think about that we should be merciful to. There in Matthew 9 several chapters over, we find that He is actually talking about the day that He met Matthew the tax collector in verse 9 and as He saw him in his tax office, He says to Matthew, "Follow Me," and Matthew does. Well certainly He goes to the house and there are other tax collectors and now the Pharisees and the Jews are angry because they say, "Why is this man who claims to be the Messiah, who claims to be Jesus, why is it that He now eats with the sinners and He goes to this place with those who are unworthy? We are much better. We are His followers. Why would He not then come to us?" Well here we find what Jesus' answer is in verse 12. "And Jesus heard what they said. He knew what they said and He says to them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice for I do not come to call the righteous but the sinners unto repentance." What a beautiful passage because here Jesus says, "Look, as a spiritual man, I am a doctor and I am here to doctor those who need doctoring, sinners in a spiritual sense. And so therefore, I have not come to serve and to be merciful to those who already believe in My Father. I am here to extend mercy to all, have pity and compassion and to give them the opportunity to respond and to follow and to come to Me." Oh how beautiful it is to see the mercy of God and then to understand that we as well must have it.

What I would like to do for just a few minutes then is to tell you of many examples briefly. I hope you have a pen and paper to jot these passages down so that you might look at them later or order a transcript or get a cassette tape and listen to them again. But notice all of these examples of mercy.

In Leviticus chapter 19 and verse 10, they were told "not to glean their vineyard." This meant that they should not take every piece that is found in the vineyard, every part of the produce. Why? Because those who are poor needed to be able to take for themselves as well. So again, mercy.

Deuteronomy 15 and verse 11, it says there, "They were to open their hands wide to the poor and to help those who have need." Mercy.

Psalms 41 and verse 1, "Blessed is he who considers the poor."

"Happy is he who has mercy on the poor," Proverbs 14:21.

What about the rich, young ruler who was told to go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor. He was not willing to be merciful and to help those in need.

Zaccheus, a man who was as well a tax collector, the short man, but the man who when Jesus called him, saw what he had done and that he had not had mercy. And what did he do? He turned around and restored fourfold what he had taken from all of those. He had mercy and extended it.

Paul spoke of mercy in Galatians 2 and verse 10.

What about the good Samaritan there in Luke chapter 10? The good Samaritan showed mercy on the one who fell among thieves although those who were of God had walked on the other side of the road.

What about Luke 17 where we read there about the lepers who pleaded with Jesus to heal them and He did and He extended mercy on all of them although only one showed thankfulness after he had done it.

What about the father who pleaded for his afflicted son in Matthew 17 that he be healed? He had mercy.

And what about the multitude when they were hungry in Matthew 15? Jesus had mercy.

On and on and on and on we could go in a physical sense, in an ailment type or ill sense, a sickness, in whatever sense, spiritually even. Jesus extended mercy. Why? Because He loves His creation and you and I then must do the same. Extend mercy to those that we come in contact with as well.

But what does He go on to say there in Matthew 5? He says, "Blessed (again) are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy." What does this teach us? If we are merciful as God is merciful, certainly we are to be imitators of Him, then we will obtain mercy. Sounds like the golden rule, doesn't it? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Jesus said, "Be merciful for I am merciful. Forgive as I forgive. Do all of these things that I have done and then you will receive the same from my Father in heaven." You see a good reason to be merciful is the fact that we know that when we are merciful that God will extend for us mercy. He is the Father of mercy. He is the one who has promised us and really given us the understanding that mercy is ours as faithful and that in the end mercy will as well be extended with grace that we might be saved although we have not been perfect throughout our lives.

Psalms 41 helps us with this as well as he again states in relationship to mercy. "Blessed is he who considers the poor. The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive and he will be blessed on the earth." And notice this, "You will not deliver him to the will of his enemy." Notice here that "the merciful not only will be extended mercy by God in the end, but the merciful will be extended mercy by God even on this earth and will..." be what as it says here? "delivered from trouble." Will be given the ability that he will be able to persevere and that even his enemies won't be able to come against him. Here is another great promise of God that if we do it, God draws nearer to us. The more merciful that we are, the more merciful that God is to us and the more then that He wants to bless and care for us and extend to us the wonders of His promise.

I encourage you this morning to find the great talents that God has blessed you with in your life whether it is one, two, five, ten, fifteen or one hundred talents. Find those talents and use them in a merciful way towards those who have need around you whether it be your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends, your acquaintances. Maybe it is a fellow student. Whoever it is, be merciful. Why? Because when you extend mercy to them there are several things that happen. First, they see God. Secondly, you receive the mercy that comes from God in your life and you will be able to have the mercy of God to live more righteously. And then thirdly, you will be extended God's ultimate mercy in the fact that you'll receive the great reward of heaven someday. As God is merciful, please be ye merciful.

(SONG # 3 - "I Know Whom I Have Believed!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!

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Thanks be to God for His great Mercy, which is able to save both you and me! May we ever live each day, so that this wonderful blessing will always be upon us as the faithful of God.

(Program closing)