The Mercy of God
It’s about knowing od an best way to him is to learn about his attributes his qualities his nature his characteristics. We’ve already talked about the beauty of God thed, when we say God is beautiful it means everything about him is just right; secondly we’ve talked about the love of God, we also talked about the grace of God but today we’ll talk about the mercy of God. Before we even begin by looking at the definition of mercy, let’s establish the fact the bible teaches that God is a God of mercy. About 388 times in the bible we find that God is merciful. So let’s look at some of the verses that talk about the mercy of God briefly.
- A. Psalm103:8
- The LORD is merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. (Psalm 103:8 NKJ)
- So he has a lot of it. Look at another text which talks about the mercy of God.
- B. Psalm 25:6
- David said this, let’s read together: Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and your loving kindnesses, for they are from of old. (Psalm 25:6 NKJ).Look at the adjective here, tender. In other words God’s heart is soft for his children, when we suffer he suffers with us, the bible talks about tender mercies. Look at another expression used in Psalm 145:8.
- C. Psalm 145:8
- The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. (Psalm 145:8 NKJ). He’s not only tender mercy but great in mercy. Look at Ephesians 2:4. It talks about how we were lost in our sins.
- D. Ephesians 2:4
- But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (Ephesians 2:4 NKJ). In other words he will always have mercy available for us if we need it. And finally look at another passage that summarizes very well the though. II Corinthians 1:3 NKJ)
- E. II Corinthians 1:3
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (II Corinthians 1:3 NKJ). Two things are important to underline in the text, first the father; what does a father do? He gives life in other word God is the source of mercy, mercy comes from him from his being his person his temperament his existence. The mercy that we manifest towards people is a reflection of that mercy that comes from God, he is the father of mercy and the text not only says he’s the father of mercy, but he’s the father of mercies, in plural. In Hebrew that’s what you call an intensive plural. Now, comes the question, what is mercy exactly? That’s the first question we want to answer, what is mercy exactly?
II. What is Mercy?
The best definition I found is this: mercy is compassion for the miserable. Let me break down that definition for you so you could understand. First of all the word compassion comes from two Latin words cum which means with and pasio which means to suffer; for example the week that Christ suffered on Calvary we call it the passion week, the movie by Mel Gibson was called The Passion of Christ. So compassion means with suffering or suffer with; when you have compassion you suffer with somebody. Mercy is compassion for the miserable meaning the person who has mercy suffers with the person in misery, whether it’s spiritual misery, emotional, physical or financial misery, you feel what they feel and that is a characteristic of God. Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ you often see ‘And he had compassion on the crowd.’ One of the greatest examples that we have is in John 11, the bible says after Lazarus had died and Jesus walked into the house and Mary and Martha in their great grief after the loss of their brother and the bible said, (the shortest verse in the bible perhaps the most powerful one) “And he wept.” It means that he was able to feel what they were feeling after they had lost their brother.
As I was reflecting on that message it touched my heart so much, I said how can it be that the God who created the heaven the earth the moon and stars, the one who gave breath to every man can feel what I feel and suffer what I suffer in life, can share my pain my sadness can even share my tears my anxiety. The word used for mercy in the bible is a Hebrew word translated as rooms, rooms of compassion; the French said “Entrailles de miséricorde.” Now anybody who’s ever gone through tremendous emotional pain, I’m talking about the kind of pain you feel when you lose a loved one, you feel it in the bottom of your stomach.
About a year and a half ago when we had Ruben’s funeral and we had some tragic cases like that where parents lost their children unexpectedly, and I remember having a conversation with someone and she said you need to understand that mother’s pain when you lose a child at that age you go through labor all over again. And remember seeing Ruben’s mom at the funeral she was crying with everything that she had in her soul and he held the bottom of her stomach and I understood that she was going through that same contraction and pain of labor. It was interesting in the bible that the word used to show how God feels when we suffer is the same as a woman in labor, or who loses a child unexpectedly, God is able to feel that level of pain when he looks at us and see our misery. That why in Isaiah 49:15 it reads: Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. (NKJ). Now comes the question: why is mercy so important? Why is mercy so necessary?
III. Why do I need Mercy?
The God that we serve is a holy God, Isaiah 6:2-3 said: Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (NKJ). Holy for the Father, Holy for the Son and, Holy for the Spirit; God is holy but man is sinful and wicked before God. Romans 3:23 says ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. Couple of weeks ago, we looked at a verse in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (NKJ). So when you have God who is holy meeting with man who is sinful, automatically it unleashes God’s wrath, anger. In his justice he has to judge sin, in his justice we must pay for what we do; so the only way a holy God can meet with a sinful man without his wrath being unleashed is if there’s mercy in between. Now we often sing about the grace of God and that’s great and we should, but the mercy of God is even more foundational for our relationship with him than the grace of God. I say that because I said it last week, mercy is God not giving you what you deserve; grace is him giving you what you don’t deserve. Because of your sins you deserve death and separation from God, he does not give us death so that’s mercy; we don’t deserve to eternal life we don’t deserve to be bless by him because we are rebellious against him, we don’t deserve to be prospered because we’re disobedient to him, it’s him giving us what we don’t deserve, grace. Why did I say that mercy is even more important than grace? Because if God gave us what we deserve we wouldn’t even be around to receive what we don’t deserve; there will not be room for grace, prosperity wouldn’t matter, financial blessings wouldn’t matter, marriage wouldn’t matter if God gave us what we deserved, we could forget about grace. So that why I said mercy is foundational.
In order for God to teach about the importance of mercy in the Old Testament, there was something call the mercy seat in the tabernacle (I might teach about the tabernacle in the fast, so let’s be in prayer about that). In the tabernacle there were different places; there was the outer court with the different altars like the altar of incense. The entire inside of the tabernacle is in gold because the God that we serve is not a cheap a God; so everything was made in gold in the tabernacle. There is a first part inside call the holy place and that’s where you have the altar of perfume that represents prayer. There is another room with a box inside and this room is call the holy of holies and that where the arch of covenant the presence of God dwell. Now God called Moses to make the arch of covenant, let’s look at it in Exodus 25:22 it says: And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel (NKJ). In the next picture here that’s the arch of covenant which was made in gold, and those two angels hold their wings together they are called the cherubim. In between them a flame is coming out, that where the grace, the glory, the Chekinah of God used to reside. So every time a person comes and God says my glory will manifest in between those cherubim and I will speak with you and meet with you and that cover where the presence of God was manifested it was called the mercy seat; in order for God to talk with man he had to seat on mercy. In order words, we are so sinful and God is so holy, the only way he can have a relationship with us is for him to seat on a good dose of mercy an infinite dose of mercy so his holiness not to consume us; and I’ll go even further, we not only need mercy in order to pray to go to the presence of God, in fact, God is omni present so even if we don’t necessarily go to him in prayer simply to leave we need mercy. The bible says in Habakkak your eyes are to pure to behold evil, that’s why the verse we read in Lamentation 3 this morning made so much sense: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NKJ) Grace is what you’ll find throughout the day but to begin the day, because of what you did yesterday, the only way you’ll have the right to another day in your life is because before you wake up God pour his mercy on you; and he’s so faithful he never miss a morning because the day he would miss a morning is the day I will take my last breath.
The only way you could receive mercy was through the pouring of the blood, so the place between the cherubim was a symbol, but the real mercy seat happened at Calvary where Jesus Christ shed his blood and he took it and went to the Tabernacle in Heaven and pour it on the mercy seat according to Hebrews 9, and that’s why everyday you could receive mercy. At the end of the message I’ll encourage anybody who needs to accept Jesus Christ, you don’t need to go to Jerusalem to find Calvary, just come to the front and the altar will be your Calvary and you’ll find mercy in the presence of God. To conclude, how do we obtain mercy?
IV. How do we obtain Mercy?
Before I answer the question you need to understand something, the relationship between justice and mercy. It’s very important to know just because God is merciful does not mean that he tolerate sin. God’s mercy is not a blanket for sin; look at Exodus 34:6-7 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (NKJ) So don’t you think for a moment because I’m preaching about the mercy of God that you can keep on living a sinful life and say God does not see, his mercy will cover me; you are wrong! God’s mercy doesn’t cover sin. So what do I need to receive mercy? I want you to look at two verses; the first one is in Isaiah 55:7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Is. 55:7(NKJ) Whatever you were doing that was wrong in the sight of God you need to repent, which means to make a U turn, so I use to commit adultery not only I need to walk out of that relationship even the adulterous thoughts, I need to ask God to help me clean my mind so I don’t entertain those thoughts. Look at Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (NKJ) so if you’re living in a sinful situation and keep on making excuses, I’m not perfect, everybody’s doing it, the bible says you will not prosper, you will not move forward, you’ll get stuck in that situation. You have to admit that you’ve done wrong, don’t excuse it confess it and call it what it is. After that you need to forsake it, because it’s not enough to say I’ve done wrong and you go back to the same thing the bible says whoever forsakes the sins will find mercy.So what’s the condition for mercy?
V. What’ the Condition for Mercy?
In order for us to live a life of mercy we need to live a life of repentance. We need to be continually before God on our faces, examining our lives, looking at what’s wrong in the sight of the Word of God, and walk away from them. Now I want to close with two practical advises regarding mercy.
A. Do not abuse Mercy
When God pours mercy on you the purpose of the mercy is to bring you to repentance. Let’s look at two scriptures that teach that. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:2-4 NKJ) So you’re coming to church and you’re condemning other people but in the darkness you are doing the same thing. The bible says don’t you think that God sees you. You need to get to a point and say I’ve offended God so much yet he’s been so gracious so merciful to me, yet he prospers me never chastised me I guess it’s about time to change my life around; that’s why God gives mercy.
God sees everything, he knows on that day what was the color of your underwear and what kind it was, he knows the address of the hotel, all the details and guess what, he recorded them; because the bible sys according to truth he will judge us. If you repent nobody will know about it, if you don’t he’ll put your business out there. Look at II Peter 3:9-10. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. [b] (NKJ). Those of you who are not saved must think that those Christians are crazy, they’ve been talking about Christ’s return for 2000 years, it’s for them to figure out that he’ll never come back; but the Word says if God hasn’t come back yet is because there are unrepentant people like you and wants to give time to them to come into salvation, the bible says if you don’t repent one day he’ll come as thief in the night, the day that you least expected and at that point there will be no more mercy you will have to face his justice and his judgment.
Believers, I want to understand this, when you keep on abusing God’s mercy one day his justice will over ride his mercy and people who are condemn eternally in hell it’s not because they didn’t receive mercy but because they abused it. There are two ends of the world, there’s the time when the world will end and there is the personal end of the world, if you die today the world has ended for you, that’s you’re end of the world.If it’s judgment day and you’re still alive even that judgment is a sign of mercy because you’re still alive and have time to repent.
B. Exercise Mercy towards others
Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luc 6:36 NKJ)
When we’re being merciful we look like our daddy, when I come across a mean Christian I want to ask him who’s your daddy? You can not be a Christian and have a harden heart. Secondly let’s look at Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (Matt5:7NKJ)
One day you might be in a situation where you need mercy, and God will remember that you have been merciful; towards others and he will move even the heart of the king to be merciful to you.
As I was preparing the message the Lord just laid strong in my heart, there’s somebody in this that the Lord gave the ability to be mercy, in fact in Roman 12, mercy is a gift. The lord told me that there some people who are just tired of being merciful, the Lord wants me to pray for you because you have helped people for so long, you’ve opened your home and shared your money, some of you have even used credits, and recently you’ve thinking about the returns, you said I’ve been giving out but it seems that I’m not receiving that much, and I think I should start hardening my heart, I’m too nice to loving and that’s why people used me so much; but the Lord wants me to tell you two things, first that heart of yours is a gift from him, everybody has some level of mercy not everyone have the gift of mercy, and the Lord says the talk that I’m hearing in your heart it’s sounds like you starting to despise my gift. It is through your gift that he will take you places; if you close up your heart you will close every door of blessings over your life.