Sermon Summary – Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
This past Sunday we heard the fifth sermon from our Beatitudes summer series.
Chris Lindsay shared Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” He first investigated the concept of mercy from the OT. We saw from Scripture that biblical mercy had at least two expectations.
- Biblical mercy or (chesedh in the Hebrew) entailed showing steadfast, unconditional covenant faithfulness. (Psalm 136; Lam. 3:1-24; Ex. 34:6-7)
- Biblical mercy also entailed doing justice for the poor and oppressed. (Prov. 19:17; Zech 7; Micah 6:8)
So, when Jesus pronounces this Beatitude he means both of these dynamics. Mercy is the motive, desiring to show steadfast unconditional love, because we have received incredible mercy from God. Doing justice is the action: being generous and correcting oppression — both of these are the inevitable expression of having received this mercy from God.
After exploring the mercy and justice from the OT, we looked at the mercy and justice of the cross. As Ex. 34:6-7 declares, God is merciful and gracious, abounding in chesedh, but he will not overlook sin. As the Scripture declares, he will not fail to punish sin. This classic paradox of God’s unfailing mercy, and his relentless wrath, found it’s full resolution in historic and cataclysmic event: the Cross. At the cross, God’s fulfills his mercy and justice by pouring out the fullness of His wrath for sin, on His Son, instead of us, the covenant breakers. This reality then shapes our mercy showing. When we remember God’s mercy for us, we see how He came down and engaged in the life of men. He didn’t isolate himself; He didn’t stay in Heaven; He came to us. And because we bear His image in the earth, we are responsible for showing His character in the world, by making disciples, and doing justice in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Is it clear to you how the concepts of mercy and justice are linked? Recall Chris’s illustration of Jim and Bob. What do we owe (justice) our Christian brothers and sisters – especially the downtrodden? Our neighbors – especially the marginalized?
- Are you motivated to show mercy to others? If not, why? If yes, why? What can you do in community with others to cultivate desires for mercy showing?
- Chris expressed a real desire for us simply to be aware of the need/oppression around us. He called it the “new car effect.” Can you identify any needs in your immediate surroundings? What could you/we do to engage?
- Chris gave a powerful example of how one family wisely invested their resources for adoption from Haiti. They did not simply “give money and get their kids.” How can you/we grow in wisely caring for those in need?