Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

10/14/2018 P.M.

 

Applying Mercy & Grace To One Another

Becoming An Encourager

 

Titus 3.4-5  Hebrews 4.16 1 Peter 1.3

Matthew 25.31-46  Ephesians 2.4-5  John 13.14-17  1 Thessalonians 5.11-26

 

Tonight…We continue our study in grace…And how it’s intertwined with God’s Mercy.

 

No…We will never understand all there is to know about His grace…

 

•His choosing to bestow so many physical and spiritual blessing upon us…

 

•Especially His choice of… Forgiving us… Saving us.

 

But to help us understand… We’re going to talk about… The Mercy Behind Grace… And how we can become Mercy People.

 

You see… Grace is best understood within the context of Mercy.

In fact… We sometimes use them SYNONYMOUSLY… For instance…

 

Ephesians 2.4 & 5 reads Because of his great love for us… God… Who is rich in mercy… Made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions… It is by grace you have been saved.

 

Titus 3.5… He saved us… Not because of righteous things we have done… But because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

 

Hebrews 4.16… Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence… So that we may receive mercy… and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

1 Peter 1.3… Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus.

 

These verses allow us to comprehend the subtle difference between Mercy and Grace.

 

Let me give you a modern day example of the difference… Let’s suppose we’re stopped on interstate 49… for going 85 miles-an-hour.

 

• Justice is the patrolman giving us a ticket… We are getting what we deserve

 

• Mercy is the patrolman giving us a warning… We did not get what we deserved.

 

• Grace… Is him giving us a box of chocolates… getting more thAn we deserve… Beyond anything we deserve.

 

Mercy is God withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve for our sin failures… But grace goes beyond that… Offering gifts of…

• Forgiveness…

• His presence in our lives…

• And salvation.

 

Listen to these mercy Grace equivalents from Scripture…

 

• Mercy withholds the knife from the heart of Isaac…

Grace provides a ram in the thicket.

 

• Mercy runs to welcome the Prodigal Son….

Grace throws a party with every extravagance.

 

• Mercy bandages the wounds of the man beaten by the robbers…

Grace covers the cost of his full recovery.

 

• Mercy hears the cry of the thief on the cross…

Grace promises paradise as his destiny.

 

• Mercy pays the penalty for our sins at the cross…

Grace affords us the riches of Heaven.

 

• Mercy appears to Paul on the Damascus Road…

Grace forgives him and calls him to Apostleship.

 

• Mercy closes the door to hell…

Grace opens the door to heaven.

 

• Mercy withholds what we deserve…

Grace provides blessings we... Have not… Could not… Ever Earn.

 

• A moment of Mercy can change our life…

A moment of Grace can change our eternal destiny.

 

Here’s a provocative question?… What kind of people and person would you and I be if God had not shown us mercy in our life.

 

Think of all the things we’ve done… What if God had given what we deserve instead of His Mercy and Grace?

 

OK… Let’s set these thoughts aside and let them soak…

As we seek to find out how we can become conduits…

Passing on God’s Mercy to others… Becoming Mercy People….

 

One of the most thought provoking questions in the Bible is asked by Cain... Am I my brother's keeper?

 

God doesn’t answer Cain in the text... But in the context...As He disciplines Cain for his attitude and behavior toward his brother.

 

In this narrative... God is telling us three things...

We are brothers...

•With brotherhood comes responsibilities.

•And God is going to hold us accountable for how we treat others... All others.

 

Jesus affirms this… Mercy People… Brother’s KeeperConcept in Matthew chapter 25… Words from the lips of Jesus… When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

 

Did you notice church…

 

•Not only is our becoming Mercy People commanded…

 

•Jesus indicated that serving the Jesus in others is a salvational issue!

 

How could we possibly read this Scripture and not understand that… HOW WE TREAT OTHERS has a lot to do with… 1) Ourhappiness in this life… 2) Our eternal destiny.

 

Jesus is teaching that this life is about serving others… And that Heaven is for those who will serve the Jesus in others… All Others.

 

Perhaps this is a good place to stop and ask… What is mercy…

•It’s a patient understanding

•Compassion...

•Forbearance...

•Kindness...

•Forgiveness...

•Help given to others...

Mercy is not a feeling... It’s a behavior... Mercy is something we do because of our feelings.

 

Scripture alludes to two kinds of MERCY...

 

Corporal acts of mercy involve caring for the material needs of others...

•Feeding the hungry... Giving drink to the thirsty...

•Clothing the naked...

•Encouraging the discouraged...

•Visiting the sick and imprisoned...

•Welcoming the stranger...

•Being hospitable.

 

Then there’s Spiritual acts of mercy… Caring for souls…The spiritual welfare of others...

•Sharing the Gospel...

•Admonishing those caught-up in sin...

•Praying for others...

•Forgiving offences...

•Bearing wrongs...

•Being patient and longsuffering.

 

In the opening verses of Romans chapter twelve… Paul says... Because of His mercy and grace toward us... We are to become God’s instrument of Righteousness… His living sacrifice… passing His mercy on to others.

 

Ephesians 2.10 affirms... We are His workmanship...Created in Christ Jesus... To do the good works that He planned in advance for us to do.

 

Jesus said… I desire mercy not sacrifice… Mercy not ritual…

How do we place mercy before sacrifice and ritual?…

 

By loving others… All others… Friends and enemies alike...

Church…Mercy is a product of love.

We will never be merciful to those we do not love.

The New Testament is filled with love Scriptures...

 

John 13.24-35... A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you... By this all men will know that you are my disciples... if you love one another.

 

First Peter 1.22... Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth… So that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply.

 

First John has a lot to say about loving one another...

 

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

 

This is His command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus... And to love one another.

 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

 

•Since God so loved us… We also ought to love one another.

 

No-one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

 

1 John 3.12 concludes with this statement... Do not be like Cain... Who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.

 

So the question becomes... Are we murdering our brother and sister by things like…anger…Gossip…ENVY… Jealousy... Or…Are we demonstrating our love by showing mercy?

 

By accepting one another.

Listen to Paul as he admonishes us from Romans 15.7... Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Our King James says... Receive one another.

 

When a family or an individual joins our church family by... New Testament conversion or by placing membership...

•Do we... Welcome them... Accept them... Receive them... Or... Do we ignore them?

 

•Do we assimilate them into our social circle... Or do we leave them to fend for themselves?

 

•Do we welcome them or do we start an investigation into their past… Judging them?

 

Today...Too many church members remain on the fringe of church family involvement... Because of our lack of acceptance.

 

Mercy…Mercy… Includes acceptance... God accepted us... Warts… Sins… And all…So… We are to be… accepting people… Mercy people.

 

By not Judging others.

We’ll not likely extend mercy to those whom we have judged wrongly.

It was Jesus who warned us about judging others... Judge not that you be not judged... The judgment you apply to others will be applied to you.

 

Listen to this from James... Brothers… Do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks…Listen now… Anyone who speaks against or judges his brother speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

 

In rhetoric… Paul asked… Are we to judge…The service… The ministry… Of another…  Then he concludes by saying… Stop passing judgment on one another

 

Can I say this and you not become upset with me… Most of the time those who insist on judging others are in need of first judging themselves.

 

Only God can see the heart!... Only God is equipped to judge… Only He can see the secret things of our heart… Only He can see our motives!

 

Let’s leave the judging to Him!!

 

Ours is to become Mercy People... Not judges.

 

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy…Do we need Mercy… Then by all means be merciful… AMEN?

 

Paul’s admonishment is… Instead of judging one another...

     • Be devoted to one another

     • Preferring one another in brotherly love

     • Honor one another above yourselves.

 

Number four... We place mercy before ritual when we Exhort & EDIFY.

The Hebrews’ writer says... Exhort one another so that we not be overcome by sin.

 

Exhort here means… to encourage... To admonish... To nudge… Move… motivate… spur one another... On towards love and good deeds.

 

Romans 14.19 reads... Let us make… Every Effort… HOW MUCH CHURCH???... every effort… To do what leads to peace and mutual edification.

 

How are we doing?... Are we…

• Seeking the lost…

• Lifting up the fallen…

• Admonishing the Prodigal…

• Helpingthe weak…

• Bearing one another’s burdens?

Or are we like Cain… Excusing ourselves?... Sobering question.

 

Perhaps some of us need to reexamine our role in the church... God didn’t place us here…To find fault... to be critical and judgmental... But commands us... To edify... Admonish... And keep the peace.

 

It was said of Philemon that... He refreshed the hearts of the brethren.

Indeed he was a brother’s keeper... AM I... ARE YOU... A PHILEMON?... Are we mercy people?... Refreshing folk. I hope we are!!

 

We show mercy by serving.

Jesus plainly said... I came TO SERVE... NOT BE SERVED.

Our Western Culture says... I want to be served!... I derserve to be served!

 

Western Culture says... Don’t be a people & person of the towel… Don’t wash feet!

Jesus wants to know tonight... Are we living life by… Western Culture?… Today’s Political Correctness?… Or by… His Culture… His Correctness?

 

Listen to First Peter 2.21... To this you were called... Because Christ suffered for you… Leaving you an example... That you should follow in His steps.

 

Galatians 6.2 tells us that... We are to bear one another's burdens.

• We’re to do good to all men... Especially to those in the household of faith.

• We’re to be given to hospitality.

• We’re to place the interest of others before our own...

submit to one another.

 

Are we showing mercy?... Are we a brother’s keeper?... I pray we are.

 

Perhaps most of all… Mercy is shown by ourforgiving one another.

Colossians 3.13 says... Bear with each other and forgive…Whatever… Whatever… Grievances you may have against one another... Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

 

Mark 11.25 has Jesus saying... When you pray... If you hold anything against anyone... forgive him... so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

 

In the Sermon on the Mount... Jesus plainly taught that God will not forgive us... If we are unwilling to forgive others.

 

We are to become like Jesus… Who… On the cross… Forgave the ones crucifying Him.

 

God help us to understand that Jesus taught our forgiveness is proportional to our forgiving others… To our showing mercy through forgiveness.

 

Well... Let’s finish the lesson with four Biblical concepts that...

we as MERCY PEOPLE... Must always keep in mind.

 

This work must be done in a context of truth.

As God’s MERCY PEOPLE…We must… Always… always… Assist others from a Biblical perspective… Never from worldly wisdom.

• What does the Bible say?

• What advice and help would Jesus give?

• What would Jesus do… What did Jesus do?

 

Mercy people must be patient.

Paul says we’re to be?... be patient with everyone.

Spiritual maturity is a process… sometimes a slow process.

• We must give the Holy Spirit time to work through the Word.

• Time for people to cultivate their own convictions.

• And for those convictions to become a way of life.

God is patient with us… So... we must be patient with one another.

 

Be vigilant… Be soul sensitive.

Pope Frances wrote a book titled… The Name of God is mercy.

Indeed it is… We hear Him say… Come now… Let us reason together… Though your sins be as scarlet… They shall be as white as snow… Though they be red like crimson… They shall be as wool.

 

Pope Frances makes the point that we become… What he calls… God’s IDENTITY cards as we extend mercy and grace to others around us... Especially to one another.

 

Jesus affirmed this Identity Card concept when He said... The world will know you are my disciple when you love one another.

 

May god help us in our efforts to become Mercy People…

A GENUINE Brother’s Keeper… Amen?

 

Let’s close byreading Paul’s statement about becoming A Brother’s Keeper… Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong… Evil for evil… But always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always... Pray continually... Give thanks in all circumstances.... Do not put out the Spirit’s fire... Do not treat prophecies…Teachings… With contempt... Test everything... Hold on to the good... Avoid every kind of evil. May the God of peace sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Question…What do you and your preacher need to do tonight to become Mercy People?

 

Do we need to put on Christ in genuine New Testament Baptism… Raised to walk in a new Life… Allowing His mercy to become our Mercy?

 

Perhaps we just need to become more sensitive to the needs of others… Showing Mercy!

 

Accept God’s invitation and challenge as we stand and sing together.