Date written: August 13th, 2005
Scripture ref: Matthew 5:1-12
SUBJECT: Beatitudes, Mercy
TITLE: Blessed Are the Merciful
PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will look at the meaning of mercy, the actions of those who practice it and the blessing that we receive from being merciful.
Objectives: That each would know what mercy is and how to practice it.
Aim: That we would all work to be merciful in our lives.
1. Read: Matthew 5:1-12
2. About the Text:
1) This passage begins the famous Sermon on the Mount.
2) This sermon speaks concerning the character of those who will be in the kingdom of God.
3) All who would be citizens of God's kingdom should study and understand the contents of this great sermon.
3. The beatitudes
1) In this sermon, we are going to focus upon the first part of the sermon, know as the beatitudes.
2) Each beatitude has a particular form. There is in each one...
a. A declaration of blessing.
b. A description of attitude.
c. A disposition of blessing.
3) Each beatitude begins with the declaration of blessing.
a. The word for "blessing" in Greek is MARKARIOS.
b. The word contains idea of happiness and contentment.
c. 1 Cor.7:40 "But she is happier if she so abide...."
4) There is then the description of the attitude.
a. Here is why these are called the "beatitudes."
b. We are attitudes that describe who we are to be.
5) Then there is the disposition of blessing.
a. This is the actual blessing itself and the reason for the happiness.
b. This is also what we can expect will result from having the attitude described.
4. Regarding this beatitude.
1) Several of these beatitudes come from O.T. verses.
2) Many scholars believe Jesus was referring back to Psalm 18:25a here. "With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful...."
3) The source of mercy is God Himself.
4) Thus, being merciful is an attribute of God that we ought to emulate.
5) Remember Exodus 34:6 "And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth...."
5. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
I. What does it mean to be merciful?
1. Some commentator definitions.
1) Barnes writes, "those who are so affected by the sufferings of others as to be disposed to alleviate them"
2) Clarke says, "This virtue, therefore, is no other than a lively emotion of the heart, which is excited by the discovery of any creature's misery; and such an emotion as manifests itself outwardly, by effects suited to its nature."
3) Johnson says, "those who, instead of resenting injury, are ready to forgive."
2. Bible usage of the word.
1) Involves love - Ephesians 2:4 "but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us...."
2) Involves satisfying needs - Isaiah 49:10 "They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them will lead them, even by springs of water will he guide them."
3) Involves forgiveness - Daniel 9:9 "To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness; for we have rebelled against him;"
4) Involves love of enemies - Luke 6:35, 36 states, "But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful."
3. In short, mercy is the out-flowing of love that seeks to satisfy another's true needs with a willingness to forgive their faults.
II. Who are the merciful?
1. The one who provides for the needy is merciful.
1) Psalm 14:31 "He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker; But he that hath mercy on the needy honoreth him."
2) Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar to practice mercy toward the poor to end his iniquities in Daniel 4:27 "Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of thy tranquility."
2. The one who tends to the sick is merciful.
1) On numerous occasions Jesus showed mercy to the sick. Consider Matthew 9:27-30 "And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it."
2) Consider Matthew 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is epileptic, and suffereth grievously; for oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft-times into the water."
3. The one who pardons the guilty is merciful.
1) Consider Psalm 51:1 "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions."
2) Consider also Psalm 123:3 "Have mercy upon us, O Jehovah, have mercy upon us; For we are exceedingly filled with contempt."
4. These are they who are truly merciful.
III. Why is it a blessed to be merciful?
1. Because it is an attribute of God.
1) Psalm 86:15 "But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth."
2) Joel 2:13 "and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto Jehovah your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."
3) Because it is an attribute of God it means it is simply the right thing to do.
4) If we desire to be like God, then we will be merciful.
5) Luke 6:36 says, "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful"
2. Because God desires mercy and not sacrifice.
1) Jesus said in Matthew 9:13 "But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
3. Because mercy satisfies the golden rule.
1) Others are aided as we would want to be aided.
2) When we show mercy to others they receive what is needful from us.
3) Parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 "And he said, He that showed mercy on him. And Jesus said unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
4) And we will be blessed because Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
4. Because we will, in turn receive mercy by being merciful.
1) Our beatitude today: "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7).
2) If we don't show mercy neither will we receive mercy. James 2:13 says, "For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment."
5. Because it is wise. James 3:17 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy."
1. Read Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need."
1) God wants us to have mercy.
2) We need God's mercy.
3) Let us draw near and do what we need to do to receive God's mercy.