Matthew 5:7

Welcome back.

Good morning. It's a privilege to be with you. Thank you, Trevor. So the name of this message is, how can I be happy when I'm offended?

Interesting question, because I think most people when they're offended, don't ask this question. You know, it doesn't even come to their minds because they can't imagine that it's possible. But we're going to find an answer to that this morning as we look at Matthew, chapter five, verse seven. And I have the privilege to contribute to this series on the Beatitudes. And Trevor's done a masterful job of laying the foundation for understanding the beatitudes.

We understand that the beatitudes are not attitudes that make for a happy life. They're also not instructions that make us acceptable to God. They are helpful so that we can recognize the person that is to be honored, the person that's to be envied, and the person that has actually experienced the mercy of God and the love of God, his favor and his approval. I kind of think of the beatitudes as they're characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ that are expressed in his people. This is what his life looks like.

This is who God is like. And so with that in mind, I invite you to look at this verse with me. We'll dive in and ask six questions about it. Matthew, chapter five, verse seven, where Jesus said, blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. So let's ask these questions because I think it'll help us understand this passage a lot better.

So the first question, of course, is, what does it mean to be merciful? Let me give you a quote from Doctor D. Martin Lloyd Jones. He was a former pastor. He has passed away now of Westminster Chapel in London.

And here's what he said as he commented on this particular verse, and I quote, there's an interesting distinction between grace, mercy. Grace is especially associated with men in their sins. Mercy is especially associated with men in their misery. While Grace looks down upon sin as a whole, Mercy looks especially upon the miserable consequences of sin. Mercy really means a sense of pity plus action.

It's a desire to relieve the suffering. And that's essentially the meaning of being merciful. Close quote, pity plus action. That's what it means to be merciful. Let me help us understand the word pity, sympathetic or kindly sorrow that's evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another that leads one to give relief or to give aid or to show mercy.

In Hebrews, chapter four, verse 15. We're encouraged by this as the writer tells us about Jesus. He says, we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses. That's pity. And you'll notice what he goes on to say in those verses.

You're probably familiar with them in Hebrews four. That's when he invites us to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find grace and mercy to help in time of need. So what is it about Jesus that gives us such confidence? It's that he's a merciful high priest who has sympathy. He is drawn to be with us and to confront us.

But I think we need to be very careful here not to confuse this with empathy. Empathy identifies with someone's pain. It's one's ability to feel another person's suffering. By the way, this is very popular today in the progressive Christianity, so to speak, where they say, oh, you need to have these empathetic feelings for people and whatever their lifestyle is or whatever, but just to show you the difference, empathy doesn't recognize that anybody is in trouble.

It doesn't recognize they have a problem. It just says, oh, I feel with you sympathy. Jesus is not an empathetic high priest. He is a sympathetic high priest who sees us in our misery, the misery of our sin, the misery of the sin that we have because of Adam and them, which we have added to. He looks upon our misery, and therefore, because he is merciful, is drawn to us to set us free, which means he confronts us, but he confronts us without shame.

He confronts us without condemnation, because he's a merciful high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. Can you see the difference between those two? We're not trying to be empathetic. That's not pity. Pity, we see the misery of sin and sin has.

Sin's got a long shelf life, doesn't it? And we are all suffering in that way. So I hope this helps us. So let me give you some examples. The first one is, of course, Jesus is our high priest.

Here's God looking at mankind and seeing the miserable condition we're in, and he comes to us, he comes into our worlds, into our suffering, because he is merciful to set us free. And Ephesians, chapter two, verses four through ten, for everybody that knows this misery of sin, boy, do we love these verses. Look what it says. But God being what, rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. For by grace we've been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Can you see it? Can you see the mercy there? Mercy that comes and gets us and then raises us out of our sin and grants us repentance, and then pulls us up and seats us with him. Whoa. So then in the ages to come, he might show the surpassing riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you've been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It's a gift of God, not as a result of work, so that no. 1 may boast, for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. That's the mercy of God. So question number one.

I'm giving you this. What is mercy? It's pity that's moved to action. And Jesus is a great first example. Second example is the parable of the good Samaritan.

Most of us are familiar with that, you know, from Luke ten. Here's a guy that gets beat up. He's robbed. Three guys walk by. The first two just keep on walking.

But the third one, surprisingly, a Samaritan, a foreigner, crosses the road because of mercy, pity. He sees this man in his miserable condition, and he can't just walk by. The other two could because they were not merciful. There was no pity. There was nothing evoked out of them that moved them to action.

But this guy, pity, moved to action, goes over, picks him up, puts him on his donkey, takes him to the nearest town, to an inn, treats his wounds, pays for him to be cared for until he is well. Now that is mercy. Can you see it? Pity moved to action. Great example.

A third example is the apostle Paul. His life shows us that God is merciful. He endured Paul. Just think about it. Jesus endured Paul's hatred and animosity and vindictive spirit and pride and all that just to give us an example of mercy.

That's what Paul says in one Timothy. So I don't know about you, but, boy, this makes me want to praise God, doesn't it? To bless him, to honor him. In fact, I'm envious of God in that way and want to celebrate what an incredible, merciful God we have. The second question, what circumstances put this person in the position of being blessed?

So there are two, essentially two kinds of circumstances. It's when he's offended or he sees the suffering of others. So that's what puts us in a position to be blessed, being offended or seeing the suffering of others. Let's just start with God's perspective. Because from his perspective, the opportunity to express mercy came from the beginning.

As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, he's put in the position of being blessed. In fact, that's why we honor him, because we've added to that we're a part of Adam and Eve and their sin. And so from Adam and Eve through all of history, God was and has been disrespected, disobeyed, dishonored, rejected, spurned, ignored, shamed, and replaced by us. By you, if I may be personal. And me.

The debt of that first sin has been passed down to us. We've added to it. So it's been our iniquities and offenses against God that have put him in this, may I say, honorable, enviable, to be celebrated position.

And so this is true for you and me as well. I mean, don't miss this. Anytime someone offends you, God has put you in a place to be blessed, right? He's put you in a place to exercise mercy, to take pity on their condition that they would be in such a condition that they would sin against you.

And seeing their pitiful condition of being entrapped in sin like we are, it gives you, gives me, gives us the opportunity to show pity and be moved to action and forgive and to bless them. So that's the first circumstance whenever we're offended. The second is, of course, when we see suffering of others. And the Good Samaritan's a great example. What would be a modern day example of that?

Maybe someone that's caring for a disabled child. Maybe it's going to visit someone in the hospital, or you come upon a car accident and you get out and you help. Or maybe it's someone that is in prison or in jail, or just someone that we see that's just trapped in sin and they're suffering because of it.

So question number two. What circumstances put us in this position to be blessed by God? And the answer, it's whenever we're offended or whenever we see someone is suffering. Okay, let's look at question number three. Who asks for mercy?

Now, this third question isn't directly, explicitly stated in this verse, but I think it's an important question, and you'll see why. Because there's a flow in the beatitudes. And when we start thinking about, okay, who is this person who would possibly give mercy and show mercy? Who's going to be the merciful person? And the answer to that question is it's the person who sees their need for mercy, which Jesus has explained in the beatitudes.

It's the person that is poor in spirit. They see, they just don't have any hope but God and his mercy. It's the person that mourns over sin. It's the gentle, the humble of heart. It's the person that hungers and thirsts for righteousness.

It's the person that's merciful. That's just the way it flows. So implied in this verse is that the person who is blessed, who is merciful, is a person who recognizes that I have no hope but him.

And so that person is a person who sees their need. Let me explain this from an example like Jesus story he told about two men, a Pharisee and a tax collector. Do you know this story? So Jesus said, these two guys went up the temple to pray. The Pharisee looked at others in their pitiful condition and said, God, I thank you that I'm not like them.

And then there was the tax collector, and he stood afar off in his pitiful condition, in his misery. And he said, and by the way, he couldn't even lift his eyes up to heaven. He beat on his breast, Jesus said. And he just simply prayed such a simple prayer, which shows he was repentant, truly repentant. And he says, God, be merciful to me, not a sinner.

He says, be merciful to me, the sinner. I'm the sinner in the room.

Does that guy recognize his need? Of course he does. And that's the man that received mercy. It's the one who saw his need and asked for it to be and asked for it. And he received it.

So this, I think, applies in all of our relationships. If we have offended someone, or perhaps we owe a debt that we know we can't pay to correct the relationship, we should ask for mercy as well as forgiveness. When's the last time you ask someone for mercy? Because you realize they have the power to either forgive or not. So that means they hold the power in the relationship.

You don't hold any power. You're at their mercy. And forgiveness flows out of mercy. So question number three. Who asks for mercy?

The short answer is, it's the person who sees his need.

I wonder, have you asked God for mercy?

Have you asked, and do you ask God for mercy? I know as I went over this, I asked myself that question, and I thought, not enough. How about you? I think, no, I do know that when I was converted, I received mercy. And what's interesting is that day God didn't affirm me.

He didn't affirm me in my sin. He actually started off the encounter with Norm, you're full of pride, and you don't have any life. Now, how do you think that made me feel? Good. He was not trying to be empathetic with me so I'd feel good.

It was sympathy. It was pity on my condition, Norm, you're full of pride and no life. And then when I went to spend time with him, all I could say to him was, you're right. I am full of pride. And this is what came out of my heart because it was true.

And I can't fix it. I just can't fix it. And then he showed me his forgiveness on the cross. And then he said, and you're full of lust.

And then he showed me his forgiveness in the blood of the cross, his mercy. And he said, and you're a liar and a deceiver. I mean, can you see how he's so concerned about how I feel about myself?

No, he wasn't concerned about that. He was concerned about setting me free.

And so. But there was no shame with it. That's what was amazing. It wasn't that I felt shamed by him. I just felt ashamed of my sin, which I should.

There is a well placed shame when we sin. Well, that went on for 3 hours before finally, I was so overwhelmed by the mercy of God, I just fell into bed asleep and woke up a new person the next morning. Because time after time, he showed me my need and I believed him and just asked him for mercy. Let's go to the next question. Why is this person merciful?

And the answer is, it's because he's experienced the mercy of God. It's not actually in the verse, it's implied because you can't give away something you don't have. Amen. I mean, how can you give away money if you don't have any money? How do you give away forgiveness if you haven't experienced forgiveness?

And how do you give away love if you haven't experienced God's love? And to this point, how do you give away mercy? How are you merciful if you've not experienced the mercy of God? You don't know what it is. You don't know who needs it.

You don't know why it's a good thing, why it's a blessing to be merciful. I've heard it said that you put people under what you're under if you think you're under law and you're having to perform for God, then you'll make people perform for you. Although if you're under grace, you'll give grace. And I think it's true in this case, if you're under mercy and you've experienced his mercy, then you'll give mercy to everyone. Now notice, you'll be merciful only if you've realized you've received mercy.

Now notice I said realized you've received mercy because it's possible for someone to receive God's mercy and not recognize it. I mean, think about it. God's mercies are new every morning. So this morning, did you recognize it? My guess is we took it for granted.

How much do we take for granted? The mercies of God? It's possible for God to be merciful to us, yet we not recognize it. And if we don't recognize it, it doesn't change us. Let me give you an example.

So I think there's insight in this parable that Jesus gave in Matthew 18. You remember the king that wanted to settle accounts with his slaves, and this one slave owed him. It was an impossibility for him to pay it back, a debt he could not pay. There was no way. So the king ordered that this slave, with his wife and his children and everything he owned be sold.

Even then, it wouldn't pay back the debt. But that was what he decided, to settle that account. Well, the man fell down. And now listen carefully to this. He asked the king for more time.

Now, what isn't he asking? He's not asking for mercy. In other words, he thinks in his pride and in his, the way he views the situation. If I just have more time, I can fix this.

Well, Jesus, said the king, notice there's no way this guy can settle this account. And I have the power, I have the ability to be able to bear the weight of this man's debt and set him free. So he saw the pitiful condition this man was in and he gave him mercy. Now we'll see that that's what he meant here in a moment. It doesn't say that at the first part.

It just says he forgave the debt. And then that man, that wicked slave, goes out and finds a fellow slave that owes him just a little bit, maybe a day's worth of wages, he could go to work for the day and come pay it off. And he doesn't let him do that. He throws him in prison. Well, you can imagine the word got back.

Because in their day, news like that travels in the community, and the community gets back to the king and says, man, here's what this slave that you forgave all of his debts. And he went and did this and that king changed his mind and he had that wicked slave brought in. And he said to him, now listen to what he said, because this is really, really, this is my point actually. So when he sentenced this guy to prison and to torture, he said, should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave in the same way that I had mercy on you? Now did you notice that?

See, then Jesus goes on and he makes the point, my heavenly father will also do the same to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart. Now, although the beatitude is primarily about forgiveness, I think this is an interesting observation that relates. The king viewed forgiving to the debt as an act of mercy. He said, I had mercy on you. And my point is that obviously the man did not realize he had received mercy.

Somehow in his pride he thought, perhaps if I just have a little more time, I mean, that's illogical. It's proud. He said, if I just have a little more time, I can fix myself. I wonder, have you thought about your debts and transgressions against God in that way, that if you just had a little more time, you could fix yourself, you could quit doing those bad things and you could start doing nice things and the king would be more favorable to you? My friends, that's illogical and it's proud.

Our debt is so much, we cannot pay it because the weight of the debt is death. Now our king was willing and able and powerful enough and merciful to bear the weight of our debt and set us free and forgive the dead. Have you realized that? Because if you have not realized that, you're probably not a merciful person.

Mercy can only be given away by someone who has experienced the mercy of God. Fifth question is, what is the reward of the merciful person? Well, it's pretty clear, isn't it? He's going to receive mercy. God and the community are going to be merciful to this man.

That's the reward. And I want to reiterate that we know Jesus wasn't teaching that those who are merciful are motivated by what they're going to receive or they're going to be motivated by what they haven't received. No, it's quite the contrary. They're merciful because they have received mercy. They've repented, truly repented of their offenses to God, and then they've received mercy.

So having received mercy, they're able to give it.

Allow me to make the point again. The reason this person is merciful is that he's already received mercy from God. So I suggest that Jesus was teaching that the reward for the merciful person is that God is going to be merciful and so will the community, because blessed to be honored, celebrated and envied is the person who's merciful. They will receive mercy and they're going to need it.

I mean, the merciful person isn't a perfect person. They're going to sin against their brother and sister and they're going to need mercy.

But there's a promise here. And, you know, the person who shows mercy is to be celebrated and honored and envied because God and the community recognize that he's a merciful person.

In other words, many people in the community, apparently in this community, I would guess that he's speaking to have been blessed either by a direct application of this man's mercy to them or by his example. They've seen the fruit of a merciful heart and they're moved to celebrate and honor it. And the way they do is to extend mercy. Isn't that amazing? So when this person makes a mistake or falls into miserable conditions, he can be pretty assured that God and other people are going to see his misery and come and help.

But you know, the great thing about the mercy of God is we know it's not just for today, don't we? We know if I sin tomorrow, it's there, and the next day it's there until the last day I breathe. And the day I breathe my last breath, what am I counting on? I'm counting on the mercy of God to carry me right to the bosom of Jesus.

I'll be with him, trusting not only today, tomorrow, and the next day, but in that moment when I breathe my last breath, I will cast it all on the mercy of God. I know he'll be merciful because he's already been merciful. I've already received it. And so that brings me to the last question. And this question was, how?

How can I be happy when I'm offended? Now, God didn't promise us that he would make us happy in this world, right? We all agree by earthly means, although it's clear that to be happy, to be blessed doesn't mean to be happy. That doesn't mean that when we are, when we're blessed that we're not going to be happy. In fact, I suggest to you that that's when we're the happiest because what God is saying here is he's promised to satisfy in Jesus our deepest desires of our souls, and he's most glorified when we are most satisfied in him, in his love, and in his mercy.

And when we're satisfied in his mercy, we want others to receive the mercy like we have. We want them to experience total forgiveness. Like we've experienced total forgiveness. Amen. And so when we are rich in mercy because of the life of Jesus Christ in us, and we show mercy to those who offend us, and we show mercy whenever we see someone who is in a pitiful condition or in misery, we're happy.

We're fully satisfied because we're glorifying God. Because I think the answer here is this is, when am I the happiest? It's when I'm glorifying God. And in this particular instance, Jesus point is you're going to be blessed. You're going to be filled.

You're going to be satisfied. You're going to be envied, you're going to be celebrated. You're going to be honored when you're merciful. And that makes us happy, doesn't it, to glorify God. So I've got one last question, question number six.

And I ask you to examine yourself as I'm sure Jesus intended his listeners to examine themselves. You know, he wasn't asking them if they had a general interest in spiritual things. He wasn't asking them if they had a general interest in the kingdom of God. He wasn't asking them if they read their bibles or they give or anything like that. He wasn't asking them if they were kind hearted or empathetic with others.

He wanted them to ask themselves in this sermon. He wanted them to ask, am I poor in spirit? Do I mourn over my sin and how I've offended God? Am I gentle of heart and humble of heart? Do I hunger and thirst after righteousness?

And in this instance, he's wanting them to ask, am I merciful? Question number six.

Do the people around you honor and bless you because they see you to be a merciful person?

Do they see you be a merciful person because they've received mercy from you?

Would God and the people in your life consider you to be a merciful person?

Do you have pity on those who are sin sick, who are slaves of the flesh, the devil and the world, and are willing to get involved in their lives to do something, to see them set free?

Or do you just get angry, just get angry at them when you watch the news or listen to the news. You just get angry at all those people, all those politicians that are in such a pitiful condition that cause us such trouble. We just get angry at them. Or is there something inside of us that looks upon their pitiful estate and says, oh, God, have mercy. What can I do to help them?

You can pray for them. Maybe there will be other things you can do. But I want to ask you, like I think Jesus was asking, putting the test to them. So I put it to you today. He said, blessed, to be honored, to be celebrated, to be envied, are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

So question 06:00 a.m.. I. Merciful. Let's close in prayer. Father, thank you that we can rely on the riches of your mercy every day in the moment of our deaths and at your return.

Lord, we so look forward to that day because we know you're merciful. You know those of us who have sorrow in our hearts for those who are trapped in sin, who have not received your mercy and therefore are unmerciful. Father, we ask you to have mercy.

My prayer, Father, is that we all would recognize our great need of your mercy. Forgiveness and grace enable us to fully repent of our sins. May we, like the tax collector, even this morning, say, God, have mercy on me, the sinner, so that we might experience your mercy. Pour out your mercy, your love and your grace, Lord, in our hearts, so that we might look upon our fellow man with mercy instead of judgment, with forgiveness instead of pride, with love instead of impatience and taking offense. Lord Jesus, live your life in and through us, that we might be blessed as you are blessed, that we might be merciful, as you are merciful.

And we ask this in the name of Jesus and for your glory. Amen.

Wow. Are you walking in the law and giving away law, or are you walking in mercy and giving away mercy?





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