This is the audio and outline from the October 17, 2021 sermon, “What Does God Want: LOVE Mercy”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Goshen Christian Church.
Text: Micah 6:8, Matthew 23:23, Luke 10:37
I suspect we have all had our share of conversations and questions about what God wants and how to know His will. Many of those discussions I have been involved with have often included an element of a person wanting to justify their own actions by either claiming they are doing what God wants or by saying what He wants is so elusive that it doesn’t matter. Many times we try to get so specific about the details of life that we miss the big picture that God has stated clearly in His Word. In fact, God said through the prophet Micah three things the Lord requires that ought to form the basis for our understanding of His will. Today we look at the second of those three things, that we would love mercy.
For many people, the level of loving mercy tends to depend on whether we are in need of mercy or if we are expected to show mercy. To a man who was attempting to justify himself to Jesus by his goodness, Jesus tells the story we know as the story of the Good Samaritan. When asked who the neighbor was to the man who had been beaten and robbed, the expert in the law said it was the one who showed mercy. Jesus confirms that it was the right answer by telling the man to “go and do likewise.” We grow in learning and doing what God wants when we . . .
- Learn Mercy. Matthew 9:13
- I suspect that to really become good at loving mercy, we need to learn what mercy is. The religious leaders of the day had missed it so much that Jesus told them to go and learn what scripture means when it says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” When we learn God’s desire for us to be merciful is greater than His desire for our sacrificial offerings, we get a glimpse into how much He would have us to be merciful in order to reflect His mercy to those around us. Learning mercy should lead us into a greater understanding of just how lost we are as an individual without God’s mercy. No matter how good we are, or how good we think we are, we need to learn that the sin which separates us from God is far greater than anything we could ever hope to take care of on our own. It is God’s mercy, the withholding of the punishment we deserve, that ought to teach us the most about showing mercy to others.
- Observe Mercy. Psalm 123:2
- When we lift our eyes toward God and gaze intently into His word, we ought to find our self looking directly into the source of mercy. Throughout scripture we find God consistently looking for people who would accept His mercy. We observe mercy as we see God calling and using people in the Bible that would call out to Him in need of mercy and forgiveness. I believe God also wants us to be able to look around today and observe mercy being shown in a variety of ways and settings. Given the nature of most news sources today, life is full of examples of wickedness and evil to be observed with little to no effort on our part. It takes work to look for, find, and observe the many examples of mercy that surround us unnoticed each day. When we choose to fill our minds with the acts of mercy that take place, we find that our love of mercy grows.
- Value Mercy. Luke 6:46
- While many people define priorities as those things we believe to be important, the practical definition of priorities has more to do with the things we actually do. Saying something is important but not doing it gives a mixed message at best and shows that you don’t really value that practice as much as you claim. Because mercy is important to Jesus, and extended to us by Jesus, we show we value the things He values when we extend the same mercy to others that we ourselves have received from God. Our life needs to be more than just lip service to the idea of mercy — we need to value mercy to the point that we realize we simply cannot live without both giving and receiving it.
- Encourage Mercy. James 2:12-13
- When we love mercy as God desires for us to, we will find ourselves encouraging mercy everywhere we go. In a world filled with self-proclaimed experts, forgiveness and mercy become rare commodities because no one believes they need them. We encourage mercy when we “speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom”. We must learn to see “mercy triumphs over judgment” as a way of life, not just a saying. We encourage mercy when we accept it and when we give it. The warning that “judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” ought to be pretty strong encouragement to all of us when it comes to loving, and practicing, mercy.
How will you LOVE mercy today?
When it comes to mercy, what do you need to Learn, Observe, Value, and/or Encourage?