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September 30, 2022 7:00 am
Part eight. Today we want to go on and we want to talk about the fact that God is merciful. Now what do we mean when we talk about this word mercy well you look it up in the dictionary, the word mercy is defined as kindness beyond what may be reasonably expected. In other words, mercy is more than just normal kindness, mercy is kindness that is unexpected that is undeserved and that is on fair you know in the garden to be if you remember Adam and Eve. They deliberately chose to rebel against God to disobey God to dethrone God is the Lord of their lives in the rear of their lives. And if we're honest let's agree that every single one of us here has done the very same thing every one of us at times in our lives have rebelled against God, like Adam and Eve did every one of us have chosen to dethrone him as Lord of our lives at certain times.
Everyone of us have deliberately disobeyed God and lived in the lust of the flesh and the we have done this, not only before we were followers of Christ, but each one of us has done this at certain times even since we've been followers of Christ. So now, in fairness, how should God respond to to our behavior. Or to put it another way, what do Adam and Eve and you and I deserve as the result of our choices were what we deserve is we deserve judgment and we deserve punishment and we deserve alienation from God here on earth and rejection by God in eternity.
And yet listen and yet we know and belong to Jesus Christ. We who were enemies of God by our own choosing. We rightly deserve the banishment from God for all eternity. In spite of that, through Jesus Christ, we are now the adopted children of God, with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereon to I love that it's all my college degree and I never get to say that with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereon to and what are some of those rights and privileges will friends when our sins have been forgiven. We got personal intimacy with the God of the universe here on earth were going to heaven to spend all of eternity with God just to name a few.
And how do we explain this undeserved treatment by God. How do we explain this unfair treatment by God. Simply friends. This is the mercy of God, I love what the Bible says, Psalm 103 verse 10 for God has not dealt with us according to our sins. Is that good news are what nor has he rewarded us as our iniquities deserve for his high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his mercy towards those who fear him, you know I'm always amazed when I hear these radio and TV preachers who tell us to go.
Name it and claim it who tell us to go to God and demand our rights from God, who go to Wasit or tell us to go to God and tell God that we want what we deserve. Listen to me friends. If you're smart, you will never ask God to give you what you deserve. If God gave you and me. What we deserve.
We all be in big trouble. We should never go to God and say hey God, be fair with me. God help us if you ever ask that question we should go to God and we should say, God give me what I don't deserve give me your mercy. Give me your grace.
Give me your blessing. Give me your kindness. The things I don't deserve, and we should go to God and say, God, don't be fair to me.
God be merciful to me, be merciful to me. You know the good news of the Bible is that the Bible says everyone of us who goes to God and cries for mercy will find a sympathetic hearing because the Bible says over and over, that our God is a God of mercy. Mercy is not something God does my friends. Mercy is something that simply is part of the way God is listening. These verses. Psalm 103 verse 17 the mercy of God, the Bible says is from everlasting to everlasting Micah chapter 7 says who is a God like you who pardon sin and who delights in mercy.
How wonderful is that for you, oh Lord.
Psalm 86 are abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you which is why in Ephesians 2 Paul called God rich in mercy. Lamentations chapter 3. Jeremiah said it is because of the Lord's mercies that you and I are not consumed every single day and you know what Psalm saw second Corinthians chapter 1 just for Alaska example says blessed be God the father of mercies, the source of all mercy, my friends, the only reason mercy even exist on this earth is because it existed first in the heart of God, not in the heart of man, but in the heart of God and friends the mercy of God is everlasting as the Bible says it would take just about that long for me to tell you everything the Bible says about it.
But the point is clear. Psalm 130 verse seven with the Lord there is mercy and it is abundance and it is overflowing.
Thank God for that. I want to say one other thing that the Bible says about God's mercy and that is that God's mercy is the only basis upon which God does business with Mayor God will not do business with man on any other basis than his mercy in Jesus told a story of the Bible that makes this point in a crystal-clear way.
Let me read it to you. It's in the Luke chapter 18 Jesus said two men went up to the temple to pray, one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. Now Jesus could not have chosen to main characters who were any farther apart on the spectrum of Jewish society and these two guys on the one hand, there was a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish religious elite.
This was a God who was loaded with good deeds loaded with religious activity, a pious man and on the other extreme, a tax collector who works for the hated Roman occupiers collecting Roman taxes, as far as the Jews were concerned he was the lowest thing on the food chain, a bottom feeder. I watch as Ollie went up to the temple to pray, verse 11, and the Pharisee stood and prayed this way. He said I've thanked the old God that I am not like other people, swindlers, and unjust and adulterers, or even like that tax collector over there. He said I fast twice a week for you, Lord, and I pay tithes on everything that idea. Now you know all the Pharisee said about himself was true and an admirable. He was a paragon of religious activity and spiritual commitment. I mean, he fasted twice a week.
That's impressive me. Most of the time. I have trouble making it from lunch to dinner. You understand what I'm saying. This guy fasted twice a week for God impressive. Verse 13 but the tax collector stood some distance away and was unwilling to even lift his eyes up to heaven instead be on his breast as a sign of contrition and inner pain and he kept saying all God be merciful to me a sinner. But this tax collector. Absolutely nothing to present to God, no good works, no religious activity. Fast twice a week. He didn't pay tithes out of everything he got. All he did was humble himself and confess his sinfulness and throw himself on the mercy of God. You see them now.
Jesus said verse 14 I tell you it was the tax collector who went back to his house justified right with God equipped acquitted before God rather than the Pharisee for whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. When you save a lot on this. This is just not right. I mean that the Pharisee had all that religious hardware behind all that spiritual devotion.
He had all that self-sacrifice and all that clean 11. I mean, the tax collector had nothing, absolutely nothing to offer God, I mean just pure logic long would dictate that God should have been much more pleased with the Pharisee that he should've justified the Pharisee that he should've acquitted the Pharisee will folks be careful you don't forget Isaiah 55 verse eight were God says for my ways are not your ways and my logic is not your logic. Let me repeat what I said a moment ago. God deals with human beings on one basis and one basis only and that is the basis of his mercy. Any appeal made to God on any other basis than God's mercy will fall on deaf ears. The Pharisee appeal to God on the basis of his religious activity and his personal piety and his spiritual performance and what did he find from God.
People today try to appeal to God based on their church membership in their baptismal certificates and their memberships in acquiring the money they put in the offering plate. You know what they find from God. Based on that appeal. Deaf ears. We even as followers of Christ often try to appeal to God on the basis of our years of service that we've given him, and our godly obedience that we've got live for him and our spiritual faithfulness that we put out for him. And when you appeal to God on that basis, even as a follower of Christ. You will find God is death to that appeal in your why friends it's because all of these appeals are based in human pride in their based, and in human effort in their based in human performance and the energy of the flesh, and God will not deal with any man or any woman on this basis because if he did, the glory would go to man and God's not doing that. This is why Romans 320 says for the by the energy of the flesh. No one will ever be declared right in God's sight.
There is only one basis on which God deals with man. There was only one kind of appeal that God will respond to and accept. It's the kind of appeal, the tax collector may and what he do frenzy humbled himself. He confessed his sinfulness and he threw himself totally on the mercy of God.
This is the appeal God hears because when God responds to this kind of an appeal, my friends, all the glory goes to God and none of it goes to man. When I think of this.
I think of the story of Jonah.
You remember the story of Jonah, God sent Jonah to the Ninevites. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The Ninevites. These were mean people will people also people and Jonah arrived in town and started preaching and said in 40 days God's going to overthrow this city. Now watch Jonah 3 says the people of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and they put on sackcloth and they humble themselves before God and they repented of their evil deeds saying. Perhaps God will change his mind and turn away from his fierce anger against us. Jonah 310 and when God saw their actions.
What'd they do well you say lame. They all got circumcised and converted to Judaism know they didn't when God saw their actions. What'd they do well. They all went to Jerusalem and made sacrifices at the temple know they didn't you say when God saw their actions. What'd they do well. They all went out to help the poor and and agree to have quiet time every morning know they didn't what'd they do frenzy humbled themselves and they threw themselves on the mercy of God. And when God saw their actions. God relents to look at this concerning the calamity he declared he would bring on them and he did not do it while many say if you're here today and you never trusted Christ in a real and personal way. There is a quote that I want to share with you. Here's what it says it says no man will ever taste of God's judgment who will throw himself on God's mercy, and friends. This is an important quote for you to understand because this is the basis upon which the whole plan of salvation operates my friends at the cross, God offers mercy through the work of Christ, but the way we activated the way we activate that mercy is when we come to him the way the tax collector came to him when we come to the cross.
The way the Ninevites came to God, not on the basis of our good works, not on the basis of our religious activity, not on the basis of our human effort, but on the basis of humility and repentance and order reliance on the mercy of God is displayed on the cross.
If you're here today and you never trusted Christ.
I want to warn you, don't you dare think that when you meet up with God.
All of those other things are going to make a bit of difference. You're going to get deaf ears. My friends just like the Pharisee got deaf ears but no band will will ever taste of God's judgment my friends.
Let me repeat that no man will ever taste of God's judgment who will throw himself on God's mercy. That's what the sent plan of salvation is all about. You do that I'm urging you. You do that at the cross. But you know if you're here and you're a follower of Jesus already does a great lesson here in the same principle for us because as followers of Christ, we have to be careful that we never become Christian Pharisees, you say what you mean by that I mean look. A lot of us as followers of Christ.
We work hard to obey God as we should. We go out every day and try not to cursor the luster to gossiper and a liar to cheater to steal or act unethically, but if we're not careful. My friends very solidly. We will begin to come to God to ask for his blessing and to ask for prayers to be answered on the basis of all this stuff that were doing will come in the God he will say all Lord. Look what I've been doing for you. I've been having my quiet time. I've been faithful to my wife or my husband. I've been leaving my family and family devotions I been serving you in church have been given to you faithfully. I've been doing all this stuff now, Lord, I want to ask you for this that and the other thing please bless me. Does that sound familiar, will ensure hello, it sounds just like the Pharisee and what happened to the Pharisee deaf ears. No no listen God's delighted when we seek to obey you.
Don't get me wrong, but friends is not because we obey God that God blesses our life is not because were faithful to God that God blesses our life. It's not because we do things of religious obedience to God that God blesses our life. Don't you ever begin thinking that is a follower of Clive Christ. God blesses our life for one reason, and on one basis only and that is his mercy, God loves to show mercy and goodness and kindness to his children in Christ, and he does it. Sometimes, even when our behavior doesn't deserve it. You want to appeal to God and really see some happened and friends don't you become a Christian Pharisee you go to God, like David did. Psalm six David says the Lord. Do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath, have mercy on me oh Lord, not tell your friends when you get on your face before God and you say more.
These are the things I want to talk to you about it. You know what I don't deserve a single one of these things but I'm appealing to you in your mercy to do these for me. Friends now you're cooking with gas cooking with gas.
Now you will see God honor that prayer. But if you're Pharisee and you come to God and you try to get God to respond. A never going to happen. Friends Lord have mercy on me. That's the way we come to God even as followers of Christ. That's as far as we want to go in the theology of all this because we want to stop now. We want to ask ourselves a very important question and you know what that question is so here we go nice allowed one to three yeah you salon. So what say this is good we could stop right now you been feeding us. I know, but some of you say well you know London fetus and Osama cram it down your throat this morning. I hear we got more for you.
We got more for you. You know, a merciful God, here's the point that I want you to take away for our so what a merciful God expects.
Let me even say no.
We don't expect he demands merciful children.
Jesus said Matthew chapter 10 freely you have received, freely give friends you and I know Christ, have we not receive salvation and all the benefits of that freely yes or no freely. You didn't pay anything for that digital and every single day that we walk as a follower of Christ, don't we receive God's blessings and God's forgiveness and God's mercy and God's kindness freely. You don't pay anything for that. Do you do you know okay what it Jesus said freely you have received now freely give. And Jesus said a little bit later in Luke's gospel, be merciful, just as your heavenly father has been merciful to you. In fact, Jesus told him, a wonderful story about this in the Bible, a parable actually Matthew 18 what's called the parable of the unmerciful servant, listen. There was a king Jesus said wish to settle accounts with his servants.
And when he had begun to settle them a servant was brought into him who owed him 10,000 talents. That's about $10 million in today's money, and since the servant didn't have the means to repay, his Lord commanded that he should be sold, along with his wife and his children and everything he had to repay the debt, but the servant fell on his knees before his Lord and said please be patient with me and I will pay you back everything you have a chance to payback $10 million you really think of course not. There was no chance in the world that that servant was ever going to be able to payback $10 million.
So the master felt compassion for him and he canceled his death completely and letting go. Now let's stop for a moment to figure out who's who in the parable in this parable who is the king the Lord that was all the dead who is that hello class that's God exactly and lose the servant who owned God.
$10 million that he forgave all that letting go free.
Well, that's us as followers of Christ that you and me.
We owed a debt we could never repay. And in God's wonderful mercy God canceled it. Let us go because of the work of Christ. Now watch but the servant who just been forgiven, went out and ran into one of his fellow servants, who owed him 100 in area a couple thousand dollars and he seized him and demanded that he pay what he owed so his fellow slave fell on his knees and said please be patient with me and I'll pay you back everything that sound familiar. That's exactly what the first guy just said to the king, but the first servant refused and instead he had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt and when the Lord is Lord.
The king heard what he did he call them in and he said to him you wicked servant, I canceled all your debts because you beg me to shorten you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you I forgave you.
Just because you asked me for mercy. How dare you, the king says how dare you go out there and refuse to forgive and show mercy to your fellow man. How dare you do that point is that a forgiven servant, has no right to refuse to forgive anybody else that I wanted in the last couple minutes. I got here go from preaching the Medlin can I do that aren't well done matter.
I'm going to anyway.
And here's the question I want to ask you listen as followers of Christ.
How many of us here today are just like the servant in Jesus's parable hung God in his great mercy has forgiven us $10 million and more worth of debt that we could never be repaid.
And yet in our hardness of heart, we are refusing to forgive our fellow men. For the most minor of offenses by comparison.
Listen, my friends, hear what the parable said when we do this we anger God just like this guy.
The parable did and I'll tell you something. It is not a smart thing to do to make God angry at you. This is not a smart thing to do.
You know, God drilled this parable home to me a few years ago when he came in our relationship to my mom.
Many of you heard me talk about my relationship with my mom how she emotionally and verbally abused me how she used rejection in emotional brutality to try to control my life when I was a child and you know I've been a follower of Christ for about 10 years and I was already here is the pastor of McLean Bible church when God convicted me that I still harbored in Norma's hatred and enormous unforgiveness towards my mom and my heart and it based on Matthew 18 that this unforgiveness and hatred was not only offensive to God but that my ministry was never going anywhere until we fix this.
So I began praying for me tell you what I pray. I said, you know, Lord, I want to be honest with you and tell you I'm not sure I can forgive mama but I know this what you want me to do and I know this what you command me to do so, Lord, I'm willing to forgive her, which are going to have to make me able Lord you're going to have to go way down in their deep inside of me. By the power the Holy Spirit and you're going to have to deal with the venom poison that is down there. I can't deal with it. If you give me the power to forgive her, I'll do it. Lord, I'm as sincere as I can be. I'm not sure I can do this you're going to have to do it for me. Amen. That was my prayer and I pray that prayer for about two years, and friends. All I can tell you is that God did what I asked him to, I can explain to you what went on. Deep in my soul I can't diagram out the mechanics of what God did in my heart. What difference does it make what he did. The point is over about a two-year period, I found myself coming to the place were fully and completely and freely and genuinely. I was able to tell my mom one day. You know what mom, what you did to me once was not okay but it's okay now it's gone it's forgiven. It's ancient history. She did ask to be forgiven. I just told you never asked to be forgive the right did matter. God is going to work in my heart and I'm convinced that it was my ability to forgive my mom, which lay at the heart of her coming to Christ. A number of years later before she died.
The listen to me there. Many of you here who know exactly what I'm talking about many of you here, the people of hurt badly and you honestly don't think you can forgive friends I'm here to tell you if God can give me the power to forgive my mom he can give you the power to forgive anybody. God does not ask us to do things that he can't give us the power to do for many of us here, let's be honest, the real issue is not whether we can forgive that person but whether we want to because many of us would much rather dwell on those past hurts and chew on those past hurts and rehash those past hurts our flesh loves to do that and Satan loves our flesh to love to do that because he uses that to cause strife and hatred and havoc and destruction in our world, but I want to urge you today is a follower of Jesus to search your heart and to see where you've been acting like the unmerciful servant and when you find those places. If you find any. I want to urge you to repent and to ask God to forgive you and to ask God to help you get to the place where you can show mercy and forgiveness like you were shown by God in all of the verse of Scripture Ephesians 432. Here's what it says it says so there be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, watch, just as in Christ God forgave you. Friends, this should be our life. First, in our families, in our marriages in our offices at our schools in our neighborhoods with our relatives. This is our life. First, forgiving others the way Christ forgave you, so I want to close with a question and it's a searching question. The question is if God were to greet your cries to him for mercy. The way you've greeted the cries of some of your fellow men to you for mercy. Exactly where would that leave you.
Let me repeat that if you if God were to greet your cries to him for mercy.
The way some of us have greeted the cries of other people to us for mercy where would that leave you and me that if you like the answer to that question that I have a recommendation for you. My recommendation is you get on your face before God. You ask God to forgive you and you repent and you tell God you're willing to see a change and if necessary, you ask God to change it for you and your heart but friends don't you be that unmerciful servant, I'm warning you, I'm begging you, don't you be that unmerciful servant, you saw the attitude of the king towards that servant. You and I do not ever want to be on the receiving end of that from God's will. Be careful, this is serious business and I urge you to take it seriously.
Springfield well Lord I did a pretty good job of meddling the day but it was good meddling because it was based on the word of God and on our need to confront our attitudes and our behaviors biblically and to bring them into line and into conformity with the written word of God or Jesus. Many of us here need your forgiveness when it comes to the way we responded to our fellowmen's request for forgiveness after you've treated us with such mercy and such kindness and so God convict our hearts of our need to have a clean slate with everyone.
As Paul says as much, as it lies with you.
Be at peace with every human being and remind us Lord that we as forgiven servants have no business ever refusing to forgive anyone for anything they've done to help us Lord. Some of us have deeper we need your help but make us willing that with your help, were going to forgive and show mercy to every person we meet change our lives because we were here, Lord. Thank you for your wonderful mercy may be the foundation upon which we build our appeal and our relationship with Christ and we pray these things in Jesus name God's people said amen