This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Oct 17th 2021 byNavaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 5.
CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 5
Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at how Jesus came to usher in the Father's Kingdom- an upside, inside out Kingdom Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom not of this world and which is eternal.
Jesus was describing how a true disciple or citizen of the Kingdom should live. The Jews had encountered and experienced cold, cruel religion that was ritualistic. It fulfilled the letter of the law, but it was cold and heartless. Through this sermon, he is showing them how the law really needs to be interpreted and applied.
Here is a caution I would like to add as we listen to God's word this morning. Jesus ends his sermon with a parable of two men; one who built on sand and one who built on the Rock. Sand is the religious ritualistic approach where we like our ears to be tickled with information but makes no transformational impact. The one who builds on Rock is like a true citizen of the Kingdom where it is transformation inside out. My prayer is we will not merely be hearers of the WORD but allow Him to rearrange our hearts, minds, and actions.
Jesus starts with the foundational core beliefs, which are these:
Unless you see yourself as insufficient, poor, and depraved spiritually, you will never in humility to God nor acknowledge your need of a Saviour. When we encounter our human depravity, we need to mourn our sinful state so that we may know God's pardon and comfort. Godly sorrow or mourning leads to true repentance, i.e., heart conviction that leads to behavioural transformation. This requires meekness – surrender to God because you know that you can do nothing apart from Jesus. From this place of dependence and surrender, we will seek, hunger and thirst for His Kingdom and righteous rule first and above all else. And He promises that all this and more shall be added to us.
Today we are going to look at the next beatitude. Probably one of the most difficult to put into practice.
2.BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY. MATT 5:7
So mercy is behind the scenes in salvation. Mercy is behind forgiveness. Mercy and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin.
God's mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:23, Is 43:19). He gives us a fresh start each day. Mercy is more than forgiveness. Mercy gives us a second chance, because we are commanded to forgive 70x7.
Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve.
Grace is giving someone what they don't deserve.
E.g.) Someone steals a meal from the canteen. Judgement would be you call out the wrongdoing and punish the crime.
Mercy is not punishing the crime.
Grace is giving you another hot meal. You cannot have grace without mercy. You cannot show grace without a proper understanding of mercy. Mercy also requires action.
Where can we expect mercy from?
Can I expect people to be merciful to me? I cannot demand it, nor can I expect it, nor am I entitled to it. I can expect mercy only from God. It is not your right to ask or expect mercy from people. Jesus who showed so much mercy to the broken were the very ones who screamed crucify him!!
Is this mercy deal a tit for tat? If I show mercy, I will be shown mercy? No! this is addressing people who are already in the Kingdom who are there because they were shown mercy first. Also, it would be a contradiction of salvation based on grace alone. So, we must always understand scripture in the context of the whole counsel of scripture.
4. WHAT MERCY IS NOT.
We cannot give mercy where we are not authorized to. As a teacher, I must grade a student in all fairness. It is not up to me to overlook the wrong answers and mark them right.
Mercy does not excuse wrongdoing. It is not calling wrong as right. Remember Jesus in His mercy did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but neither did he condone her sin. He told her to go and sin no more. He called her up to a higher standard.
Mercy is not avoiding confrontation. We could disguise as mercy when we are afraid to confront conflict because of our need to please people.
Mercy does not encourage dishonesty, disloyalty etc.
Mercy does not condone indiscipline.
Mercy is not toxic where it enables irresponsible behaviour.
5.WHAT IS MERCY? (CONTINUED)
And yet mercy is not treating a person as they might rightfully deserve. It is like the parable of the unmerciful servant. The other servant owed him money. He had every right to throw him in jail…. But he was shown the better way. He was forgiven a debt he could NEVER repay. He had an opportunity to do likewise.
Mercy requires that we are able to see people's pain and respond with a heart of pity and make the effort to help, even if it is someone who has illtreated you — that's mercy.
It is kindness, compassion in action.
Mercy is costly- it will cost you even financially, emotionally etc. It is to give someone something they don't deserve when they have hurt you.
Jesus is not interested in our religion. He said I desire mercy and not sacrifice. You can pray, you can tithe, you can attend all the meetings and harbour unmerciful thoughts towards people. That is what Jesus was getting at when the teacher of the law asked Him what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus did not commend his religious acts. He gave him the story of the Good Samaritan where the kindness and mercy of the Samaritan toward the Jew (who considered him as unclean)
6. THE DILEMMA
Real-life is complex for Christian people who seriously want to live out their faith in a sinful world. It is not black and white as some might think.
Remember truth comes in layers and is multidimensional. Sometimes we must hold two truths in tension i.e., Justice and mercy. We are called to be merciful while not allowing God's standard to righteousness to slide. For this we need wisdom from above: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
7. CONCLUSION Mingle Justice and Mercy
He has shown
you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you. But to do
To love [a]mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
God's will is that sometimes we deal with people with what they deserve, whether punishment or reward (call that justice).
And God's will is that sometimes we recompense people with better than what they deserve (call that mercy). In upholding the claims of justice, we bear witness to the truth that God is a God of justice. In showing mercy we bear witness to the truth that God is a God of mercy.
So how do we know when to show mercy and when to show justice? This balance will come only as we walk closer to Jesus. We may get it wrong at times and we need to trust our redeeming God to overturn our wrong choices.
Even in our execution of justice we can show mercy. While we sometime cannot condone the action of a person, we can still be gracious and loving in our dealing with the person.
Remind yourself of how merciful God has been to you.
Remind yourself of how people have been merciful to you.
Think about how you can show mercy today. How can you make being merciful a lifestyle because it is a core belief? If we want to be more like Jesus then we have no choice but to be merciful.