There is often a disconnect in our lives between what we say we believe and how what we believe plays out in our daily living – the things that we do. The bigger the gap between what we say we believe and our willingness to put it into action in our lives, the farther we are away from experiencing the fullness of God and this life he longs for us to have. This weekend in our text, Jesus addresses the idea that Real life begins when Mercy is given and received.
In Matthew chapter 18, verse 21, Peter comes to Jesus and asks the question we all ask at some point: “Lord, how many times do I forgive, how many times do I show mercy to, someone who hurts me, who sins against me?”
I wonder if something has happened in Peters life and now it is personal? It makes all the difference doesn’t it? It’s one thing to experience mercy, but it’s another to extend it when it is you who has been hurt.
Whatever the reason, Peter comes to Jesus and says “I know you want us to forgive, but when is it OK to hold back? How far do I have to go? And Jesus goes on to illustrate the significance of the 5th Beatitude from Matthew 5:7 when Jesus said “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.”
This weekend we are going to look at three lessons from the parable that Jesus uses to illustrate this beatitude.
Forgiving others isn’t an option for the Believer, it’s a requirement. We have no right to withhold mercy. Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)(NIV)
The king said to the unmerciful servant - “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”
My mercy toward others is to be fueled by God’s compassion toward me. Forgiving others is a process driven by God’s forgiveness experienced in our lives.
Psalm 130:3 says “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.” (Psalm 130:3-4a)(NIV) Colossians 2:13 says: “When you were dead in your sins God made you alive with Christ. He took our debt and nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)(NIV) (Paraphrased)
Mercy is more than a thought, it results in action. Jesus said “Blessed are the merciful…… Blessed are those whose actions are full of mercy… for they will be shown Mercy.”
The merciful see the need for Mercy, feel the need, get into action to meet the need and follow through. This is where real life begins – living in the grace and mercy that Jesus Christ has shown us.
I look forward to leading us through these life giving words of Jesus this Saturday at 5:30 and Sunday at 10:30. Don’t forget to plan to hang around Saturday night for “Mess Fest”.