THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-4-02
LESSON TITLE: UNDESERVED BLESSINGS FROM GOD: "MERCY"
Here we are together again on a wondrous Lord's Day Morning. Privileged to serve our God in songs of praise and through the study of His Word. We welcome you to this time of offering to God.
I hope each of you had a great week and I hope you are ready today to think on things above, and to give full attention to our Creator who has done so much for all of us. In fact, this morning we want to begin by talking to our God in prayer. Won't you bow with me at this time before the throne of God.
Let me take just a moment to encourage all of you to be with us during this week for our Vacation Bible School at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ. Our activities for all ages are scheduled each evening at 7:00. We hope to have you with us for this time of growth in the study of God's Will.
At this time we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, " Almost Persuaded."
When was the last time you took some medicine for a headache, pain or for some discomfort. Some of us have already taken some this morning, and the rest will probably take some during the day. And if not today then you at least will take something during this next week. If you don't think American's are into taking medicine then you need to check with statistics. The medicine industry is a multi billion dollar one here in the United States, but why? Well, because we all know we can treat our symptoms and pains with these medicines that have been invented by man.
In the book of Proverbs, the wise man Solomon knew a little about medicine, too. The best part of it is that he talked about a medicine that is really effective, but cheap. There aren't too many of those today. Also, the medicine he mentions can be found anywhere and it is readily available to everyone. Read with me the word of Solomon, where he said, "a merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones," Proverbs 17:22. Did you get all of that? He said, that a merry or cheerful heart does good, just like medicine. Doesn't this idea just make good sense?
Consider a person who is always serious, down or depressed. What type of life do they have? What type of health do they have? If we are negative and depressed most of the time, it affects the way we feel, also. However, if we are happy and jolly, then we will really enjoy life and the things that it has to offer. Even when those trials or problems come our way, a cheerful person is going to take them more lightly and be able to deal with them better.
How many times have you been really serious or worried about something, but a year later you can't even remember what it was. You see we must live life, taking the good and the bad, knowing that if we have a happier disposition, then life will be easier to deal with and much more enjoyable.
Furthermore, God wants us to be a happy people, and not just for our own sake but for the sake of those around us. How many of us like to hang around that person that is always sad or depressed? But how many of us like those who are fun to be around, or the life of the party? Would anyone want to know our Jesus if they always see us unhappy? If people see Christ in us, they are going to have to see the joy we have because of Him and His promises. Cheer up in the Lord, take His medicine and your life will be a lot more worth living.
Today we are excited to again have with us Kevin Patterson. Brother Patterson is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. We always enjoying having Kevin with us and we look forward to him leading us in the study of God's Word in just a few minutes.
Our study this morning will again focus on those, "Undeserved Blessings From God." Our specific topic today is entitled, "Mercy!" Now, let's join in our second hymn of the morning. The name of the song, "Each Step I Take!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us. We have been discussing the topic "The Undeserved Blessings from God". Undeserved because we simply don't deserve them. Important because we absolutely need them. We've talked about salvation and grace and this week we're going to be talking about mercy. Consider the subjects of grace and mercy for just a moment.
Do you consider them to be the same or do you see a difference between the two? Less than two weeks ago, I was sitting in a Bible class and the teacher was asked this question, "What is the difference between mercy and grace? I have heard preachers over the years use mercy and grace interchangeably and in many senses they can be used as such, but there is a difference and the Bible makes a difference between he two. That particular evening we were discussing the passage of scripture found in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 16 where the Hebrews writer says to a group of Christians, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." The Bible does not use these as exactly the same thing, but rather makes a difference and in fact, there are a number of New Testament passages that mirrored this particular passage. For instance, take Paul's two letters to Timothy. In both of those letters and in Paul's letter to Titus and in John's 2nd letter, each one of them brings salutations to their recipients by saying, "grace, mercy, and peace be to you."
Grace and Mercy are different. But how can we distinguish the two? I want you to consider the following sources that distinguish grace and mercy. First of all, consider their notes on the book of Galatians where Hogginvine(?)(inaudible) states that grace describes God's attitude toward the lawbreaker and the rebel. Mercy is attitude toward those who are in distress.
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines mercy as the aspect of God's love that causes Him to help the miserable, just as grace is the aspect of His love that moves Him to forgive the guilty.
As was discussed last week, grace was something that we absolutely must have if we are going to inherit eternal life. We cannot earn our salvation. We cannot work our way into heaven. We are absolutely dependent on God's grace to save us. But at the same time, why does God give us that grace? It's because of His incredible mercy. Why does God give His mercy to His children who are willing to submit their lives to His Will because He loves them.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines mercy in this way. It says, "Mercy is the outward manifestation of pity. It assumes need on the part of him who receives it and resources adequate to meet that need on the part of him who shows it."
We are certainly in need of God's mercy, for many reasons but certainly because of our sin.
Romans chapter 3 and verse 23 says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." So that puts us in a very difficult position because when we sin we alienate ourselves from God. In other words, we are separated from Him. We need some way that we can be reconciled to Him so that we can live eternally with Him in heaven.
Romans 6:23 teaches us that "the wages of sin is death." So if we stay in our sin, we are in a terrible condition both here and in the hereafter. That's why God's mercy is so awesome, why His love is so great, why He chooses to have compassion upon those that He has created.
John chapter 3 and verse 16, a passage that I'm sure is familiar to you and probably quotable to you shows us God's great mercy. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever should believe in Him but have everlasting life." God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son. Why? Because He loves us. Why? Because He has compassion on us. Why? Because He understands our condition and wants to help us. That's His mercy.
This morning I would like for us to examine two standpoints, two positions concerning the subject of mercy. First of all, we want to talk about God's mercy and why indeed it is so great. And then we want to talk about how we are to take that mercy, emulate that mercy, follow its example and then share it with those around us.
First of all, I want to tell you as I was studying this lesson, I was looking through a concordance looking up the word "mercy" and seeing how many times it was used in the Bible and how it was used in the Bible. I could not help but notice one particular chapter of the book of Psalms, Psalm chapter 1:36. It's a passage that is entirely devoted to the awesome mercy of God. I want to read to you a few verses out of the 26 verses found in this reading. "Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His mercy endures forever. Oh give thanks to the God of gods for His mercy endures forever. Oh give thanks to the Lord of Lords for His mercy endures forever. To Him who alone does great wonders for His mercy endures forever. To Him who by wisdom made the heavens for His mercy endures forever. To Him who laid out the earth above the waters for His mercy endures forever. To Him who made great lights for His mercy endures forever. The son to rule by day for His mercy endures forever. The moon and stars to rule by night for His mercy endures forever." Each individual verse of scripture in this chapter attributes all of these great things to God's mercy that endures forever.
Another translation, the New American Standard translation, translates God's mercy as "His loving kindness. Kindness that He bestows upon us because of His love for us. It is everlasting. It endures forever."
There is no doubt that God's mercy is great, but who needs it? Well, from our reading a while ago we would imagine that all of us need God's mercy, but there are some who don't really feel like they do. There are some who are in denial of the state that they are in because of their sin or perhaps they simply don't realize the magnitude of the problem they face because of the mistakes in their lives.
Luke chapter 18 beginning in verse 9, also He spoke this parable, Jesus did to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. Jesus said this, "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector, the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust adulterers or even as this tax-collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess.'" Now remember that the Pharisees were the religious rulers of the day. These were the ones who were supposed to be good examples of what God's Will was all about and evidently he did certain things that were good according to the law. But he also had an ego. He was arrogant and he thought more highly of himself than he ought to. He looked at the things that he had and talked about how great he was. In fact, it almost seemed like in his prayer to God that he was attempting to convince the Father of his greatness. He did not understand his position. He did not understand the problem that he faced because of his sin. He was not humble in his position.
Now I want you to consider the tax-collector for a moment. This was a man who was despised by the people, not unlike our tax-collectors today. The only difference being that the tax-collectors of that time were often thieves. They oftentimes took more than they were supposed to and could get away with it. This tax-collector when compared to the religious leaders of the day, look and see what he does. It says in verse 13 that "the tax-collector standing far off would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'" He understood his position. He understood the need that he had. He understood that only God's mercy could help him. He needed God's compassion. He sought God's compassion in prayer.
Jesus said, "I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
To whom does God give His mercy? His mercy is great. Because of our sin, we all need it, but does God give it to everyone? Well, I would say that God makes it available to everyone, but not everyone yields their will to that of the Fathers.
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 21, "Not everyone who says unto me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of my Father in heaven." In other words, it's important for us to do more than pay lip service to God. It's important that we follow His Will, that we yield our lives to the example of His son.
Proverb chapter 28 and verse 13 teaches us a little bit about who is going to receive the mercy of God. It says, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
If we can have the attitude of the tax-collector, if we can understand our position and seek the mercy of God realizing that we cannot be saved without it, then we too, can receive God's infinite mercy.
Since God is merciful to us, we also have to be merciful to others. It's not only a commandment of God but it's an opportunity that we have to share God's mercy with those around us.
Matthew chapter 23 and beginning in verse 23, we read about the Pharisees who once again got it wrong. Jesus said, "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy and faith. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone. Blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel." It was Jesus' way of saying that they did certain things that were right and these were good, but they neglected things that also were important, things like justice, mercy and faith.
What kind of example can we be to others if we only obey a certain part of God's Will for man? How can we be compassionate to others and show them God's love if we pick and choose what we want to follow?
In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapter 5, 6 and 7, in the earliest parts of that sermon Jesus gives what we have commonly referred to as the Beatitudes. Blessed are those who do certain things for they will be rewarded in some way.
Matthew chapter 5 and verse 7 says, "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy."
There a number of passages out of the book of Proverbs that talk about God's mercy that I thought would be good for us to examine today. Take a look for instance at Proverbs chapter 3, verses 3 and 4. "Let not mercy and truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man."
Proverbs chapter 14, verses 21 and 22 reads, "He who despises his neighbor sins, but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. Do they not go astray, those who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good."
In Proverbs 14 and verse 31 reads, "He who oppresses the poor reproaches his maker, but he who honors has mercy on the needy."
Who are the needy? Who is my neighbor? You know a man once asked Jesus that question in Luke chapter 10 verses 25 through 37. A man came up to Jesus and asked, "Who is my neighbor? Who is it that I should be merciful to? Who is it that I should show compassion to?" Remember the story? Jesus talked about the good Samaritan and how the two religious men of the day, the priest and the Levite walked past a man who needed their assistance, but the Samaritan stopped and gave him help. At the end of the story, Jesus asks this question, "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
If we can understand our need for God's grace, if we can understand God's willingness to give it to us, if we can understand how great it is and then if we can understand how we can give it to others, then we can be pleasing in the sight of God and receive mercy in the end.
(SONG # 3 - "Christ We Do All Adore Thee!" ")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we all strive more every day to comprehend the true mercy which our God bestows on us. How privileged we are to have a Father who cares so much.