"THE MERCY OF GOD"
by Missionary James H. Dearmore, B.S., Th.B., Th.D.
Preached At One Of Our Missions In Africa
September 26, 1982 © James H. Dearmore
Tape Recorded And Transcribed By Stenographer
(Edited To Limit African Illustrations)
I want to speak to you today on the subject of THE MERCY OF GOD.
You know, when you truly begin to think about it, this subject is something that really takes hold of you. And it has really affected me this week as Iíve been studying it. Actually I began to think a little bit about it last week. Then off and on through this week Iíve been studying on this subject, ďThe Mercy of God.Ē I read Spurgeon and various others, and traced the subject through the Bible. And the more you think about it, the greater it gets. Or as a country boy might say, "The more you think about it, the "gooder" it gets.Ē
Let us think about this together for a few minutes --- ďThe Mercy of God.Ē As we introduce the subject and begin to bring our thoughts together along the lines of the Mercy of God, there are several things that we need to notice by way of introduction. In the first place, mercy, we need to recognize, is the result and the effect of Godís goodness and grace. Notice that Iím emphasizing Godís goodness.
If you turn over to Psalms 33:5, you will see our first Scripture reference for today. Psalms 33:5, says this: ďHe loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.Ē So, we need in the beginning of thinking about turning our thoughts toward this idea of the mercy of God, to recognize immediately that mercy is entirely the result of and the effect of Godís goodness. It comes not from any other cause, nor any other source, nor from any other reason, except from Godís own goodness.
Both goodness and greatness meet in God -- both majesty and mercy.
The pagans, when setting up their great mythologies, their great systems of religion, they always tried to portray their number one god, their chief god, as one exemplifying greatness, and usually goodness as well. But in their case, usually this goodness did not manifest itself in mercy. But in just about all the pagan gods, the top god, the top dog, is shown to be both great and good. Such as Jupiter, for example ... Both great and good. But in God we find not only greatness and goodness, not only majesty, and power, but we find also mercy, which is entirely missing from most of the pagan gods.
God is essentially good in Himself.
Now think about that for a minute. The very essence of God is goodness. Heís essentially good in Himself. And not only is He the very essence of goodness within Himself and of Himself, but He is relatively good to us. You may say, ďWell, I had a hard time last week. How is that relatively good to us?Ē Do you know 500, or could you have found 500 other people last week who had a lot harder time than you did? Yes, you could have, couldnít you?
In fact, you could have found 5,000 people last week who had a lot harder time than you did. All you would have had to do was just look around a little bit. So, even if you had a hard time last week, then God was relatively good to you, wasnít He? You were much better off than 5,000 or 10,000 or 5,000,000 other people in the world, no matter how badly off you were last week.
But this also is shown even in Scripture, the fact that God is relatively good to us and that His very essence in Himself is good. Itís shown in one verse over in Psalms 119:68. Of course, itís shown also in many other verses, but this is one very short verse where we can find the fact that God is essentially good in Himself and relatively good to us, where it says: ďThou art good, and doest good: teach me thy statutes.Ē Heís not only good, but He does good as well. Heís not only good in His very essence, but His works are good also.
The things which He does, the things which He accomplishes, the activity in which He engages, the things which He allows to come to pass, are also good.
Let us go on a little step further, now that weíve introduced the idea of the mercy of God. Letís think a little further along this line. Concerning Godís mercy, letís look at several propositions now.
First, it is the great design of Scripture to present and reveal God as merciful.
You find this all the way through this book we have right here, the Word of God. The great design of the whole book, is what? To present God as merciful, to reveal God to man as merciful. Something that the pagan gods never do. They never reveal themselves as merciful. But the whole purpose of God's book, the Word of God is to represent God, and reveal God to man as a merciful God. This is like a lodestone to draw sinnerís to Him. You know what a lodestone is --- itís a magnetic type of ore which will draw iron filings to it. A lodestone, thatís what Godís mercy is; itís like a magnet to draw men to Himself.
Sometimes I realize that you need to preach on judgment as well, but sometimes you can preach on judgment until you are blue in the face, and then preach on mercy and itíll touch some heart that preaching on judgment never would touch. The love of God, the mercy of God, touches hearts. And it is primarily designed to draw men to Him. This is the great purpose of the Scripture in presenting God, representing and revealing Him to man as merciful.
Exodus 34, beginning with verse 6 has something to say that fits well here. Thatís the second book of the Old Testament, as you know. ďAnd the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the childrenís children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.Ē
Now notice there in those two verses, just in those two verses alone (6 & 7), we have six expressions of Godís mercy. Six distinct expressions of Godís mercy in those two verses alone. And only one expression of His judgment or wrath.
So, weíve got a ratio of six to one there, of His mercy being proclaimed as opposed to His wrath or His judgment. Six different times there He emphasizes or calls attention to or sets forth His mercy. And only one time He sets forth His justice, where He says, ďWho will by no means clear the guilty,Ē thatís the one time where He speaks of justice. But six other times in that same passage He proclaims and sets forth His great mercy.
Thereís another place that I didnít jot down on my notes here today that is of interest though that I believe Iíll refer back to, over in Exodus 33:18-19. In it Moses asked God to reveal His glory to him. And what does God do? He doesnít jump up and down and shout about His judgment and His wrath and His punishment and so forth. But what does He do? He speaks about His mercy there in the same chapter. In Exodus 33:18-19 it speaks of the glory of God --- the greatest glory of God, perhaps, in the eyes of man, is His mercy. And this is shown there even in one of these passages in which God was speaking to Moses after the Israelites made the Golden Calf.
God is represented in the Scripture as a great King with a rainbow about His throne. Thatís in Revelation 4:3. Now what does the rainbow stand for? What does the rainbow indicate? It indicates the mercy of God.
You say, ďWell, where do you get that?Ē Well, do you remember the rainbow promise? The rainbow couldnít represent anything but the mercy of God, after He gave it in the fashion that He did, could it? It could not possibly represent anything except the mercy of God. Because we remember the promise of God to Noah when He showed the rainbow and said this was His sign that the world would never again be destroyed by judgment of water. So, it clearly represents mercy. Psalms 108:4 teaches us that Godís mercy is far above the heavens.
Secondly, let us go another step forward and think of it another way. God is more inclinable or more disposed to mercy than to wrath.
Arenít you glad He is more inclined to mercy than to wrath. Mercy is His attribute He most delights in displaying to man. And we can prove that by Scripture. He doesnít delight in His wrath upon man. But He delights in His mercy toward man. It brings Him great pleasure to show mercy to man.
Micah 7:18 says, ďHe delighteth in mercy.Ē Mark those words --- ďHe delighteth in mercy.Ē And you will not find a single verse anywhere in the Book that says He delighteth in wrath and judgment and punishment. Not a verse anywhere in the whole book from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation --- you wonít find a single verse that teaches or says that God delights in judgment or punishment or wrath. But you can find many places which either state plainly or clearly indicate, just as it does here in Micah 7:18, that He delighteth in mercy. Itís His joy to show mercy to fallen man.
Lamentations 3:32-33 says: "But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men." God does not grieve nor afflict men willingly, but He does so only upon great provocation. It is a good idea for all of us to read Lamentations chapter 3 once in a while.
Now, let me give you an illustration here of what weíre talking about. Weíve just said, according to this passage that we mentioned from Lamentations chapter 3, that God does not afflict nor grieve men willingly, but only upon great provocation. Let me give you an almost perfect illustration of that from everyday life. Think with me now for just a minute about this. All of you have seen the honeybees. Now, whatís the main business, whatís the chief delight of the honeybee? Is it to sting people? Of course not! What is the chief delight of the honeybee? To make honey, isnít it? Thatís his main business.
Thatís what he delights in doing, thatís what heís engaged upon all the time, except after great provocation, he will sting. He will sting. But thatís not his business, thatís not his purpose in life. It is not his joy in life, to sting us, is it? But his purpose, his main occupation, his principle idea, his reason for being, is to produce honey. And this makes a pretty good illustration of God, relative to His mercy and His wrath. His chief delight is to show mercy. But upon occasion, after great provocation, He must show His wrath as well, like the honeybee.
God punishes, in other words, only when He can bear no longer. As it teaches us in Jeremiah 44:22, where it says this: ďSo that the Lord could no longer bear, because of the abominations which ye have committed.Ē In other words, there comes a limit when God just canít continually extend mercy. When the abominations become overwhelming, then His wrath follows, as He tells us there in Jeremiah 44:22. The abominations referred here are worship of false gods.
We could say it or illustrate it another way. Mercy is Godís right hand, the hand He loves to use. But, inflicting punishment is called His strange work in Isaiah 28:21. So, His chief delight, His principle object, His joy, His purpose, is to extend mercy, like using His right hand, His strong right hand. But, the infliction of punishment is referred to as His strange work. Itís a work He does not prefer to do. A work that He does not enjoy doing. That He only does upon great provocation.
In the Psalms, if we look at two references there in chapter 103:8 and then at chapter 86:5, these two places together tell us that He is slow to anger but ready to forgive. Again, this is emphasizing the chief delight of the Lord as being to show mercy to man.
Thereís no condition --- going on now to the third step --- thereís no condition that we can be in, but that we can see some mercy in it.
You might think, ďWell, as we used to say when I was a child, ďI feel lower down than a snakeís belly.Ē Now, thatís pretty low, isnít it? But even if youíre lower down than a snakeís belly, at least youíre not buried, are you? So, thereís even some mercy in that kind of position, isnít there? Youíre still above ground. So, any condition or position we find ourselves in, we can still see some of Godís mercy in it. As the Scripture says, ďIt is of the Lordís mercies that we are not consumed.Ē So, any condition in which we find ourselves, certainly is still mercy from God, isnít it? It is of the Lordís mercies that we are not consumed.
The fourth step --- Mercy sweetens all of Godís other attributes.
Mercy sweetens each of Godís other attributes. Without His mercy, Godís holiness and His justice would be terrible. Think about that! Without His mercy, then His holiness and His justice would be terrible to behold. But itís all tempered and sweetened with His mercy! It is made bearable by His mercy.
Mercy sets Godís power working for us. Nothing else sets His power working for us, only His mercy. We canít demand, ďNow, God, You do this and You do that.Ē We canít do that, can we? Itís only His mercy that sets His power working for us. And it works for us everyday. In ways we never even think about. In ways for which we are totally ungrateful. And yet, His power works for us day by day. His mercy even makes His justice become our friend.
And, furthermore, His mercy eventually shall avenge our quarrels. All these people, all these enemies of God, all these who make it tough on us, including the old devil himself as well, some day Godís mercy is going to cause Him to bring about an adjustment of our quarrels with these, isnít He? And then, Heíll bring about vengeance because of their quarrels with His children.
Godís mercy --- step number five --- is one of the great glories of His crown.
Think about it this way --- the glories of His attributes are like a golden crown with great jewels in it. And mercy is the brightest of all the jewels. Think about it. The mercy of God. The center jewel in His crown. The great diamond. The great jewel that flashes out and draws men to Himself --- The mercy of God is the greatest jewel in His crown.
His holiness, one of His other attributes, makes Him illustrious, we could say. But, His mercy makes Him propitious, doesnít it? We can approach to Him, it makes Him kind, loving, gentle and good to men. Even the worst men taste some of Godís mercy. You think about that! Even such as fight against Godís mercy and yet, they taste of it. And the wicked even have crumbs from mercyís table --- Even the wicked all around us here. The fifty or a hundred more who should be here to hear this message, and theyíre not here. Even in spite of their rejection of God and the truth, yet in spite of that, they still get crumbs from the table of mercy. If they didnít, theyíd be in hell right now, wouldnít they? If they didnít, theyíd be dead right now, wouldnít they? But even the wicked get crumbs from mercyís table.
Psalms 145:9 says this, ďThe Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.Ē In other words, what heís saying here when he says, ďThe Lord is good to all: his tender mercies are over all his works,Ē basically we could illustrate that by saying it this way. The sweet dewdrops are on the thistle and on the thorn, the same as on the rose! The sweet dewdrops of Godís mercy are on the thistle and the thorn, on the cactus, the same as they are on the beautiful rose!
Step number six, one act of mercy engages God to another.
Now, think with me. That is completely the opposite of a man, isnít it? A man may do you a big favor. He may even do you two big favors. He may even be exceptionally kind to you several times. But there comes a time when he says, ďQuit bothering me.Ē Heís not inclined to help you anymore when heís already helped you two or three times. But God is just the opposite of that, because one act of Godís mercy engages God to another and to another and to another. And it just goes on and on and on. God, when He shows us His first and greatest act of mercy, is not inclined to cut it off! He is ready still to show us mercy.
Itís like a parentís love for their child. The parentís love for the child makes him give, and give, and give, and keep on giving, doesnít it? And thatís the way Godís mercy is to us. He delights in mercy.
Step number seven, All mercy in the creature is derived from God!
Yes, all mercy in the creature is derived from God, and is but a drop of the vast ocean of Godís mercy. If you think about that, youíll see how true it is. All mercy in the creature, that is in us, is derived from God. And the most mercy we have or ever can show is only just a wee drop in the ocean of Godís mercy. We need to think much more about this question of mercy. Iíve been thinking along these lines relative to myself lately, about taking a more compassionate attitude, a more merciful attitude. I know we see so much evil and it, ďvexes our righteous soul,Ē as the Bible says about Lot. If we are not very careful we will sometimes just feel, ďWell, those sorry so and so good for nothing rascals out there, they deserve anything they get.Ē
But thatís not the right attitude, is it for us? What if God had taken that attitude about us? Weíd still be lost! And we would have deserved everything we got, wouldnít we? But thank God, He delights in mercy. And we should delight in mercy also. When I speak of mercy and compassion, it is not to say that we should compromise with sin, thatís not what Iím saying at all. But we do need to have compassion for the sinner. We need to hate sin but show mercy to the sinner.
Now, let us think further about this great truth that all mercy in the creature is derived from God. And yet man's mercy is like a drop in the ocean when compared to the great ocean of Godís mercy. God is called the Father of mercies in Scripture. Thatís in II Corinthians 1:3, if youíd like to look it up some time. There He is called the Father of mercies. And why is that? Because He begets all the mercies in the world. Without God, there would be no mercy of any kind in the whole world. Heís the Father of mercies.
Just imagine how terrible the world would be without any kind of mercy from any source anywhere in the whole world. It would really be like hell on Earth, wouldnít it? A world without any mercy is unthinkable, and would soon become uninhabitable. We canít even imagine how bad it would be if there were no mercy, not even one little scrap of mercy anywhere on Earth! And yet, without God being the Father of mercies, there would be no mercy anywhere on Earth, to anyone, about anything.
Again, thinking a little further, still on the idea of the mercy in the creature being derived from God; if God has put any kindness into the creature, and we know He has, otherwise the world would be totally uninhabitable, how much more is in Him who is the Father of mercies? He delights in mercy. He is the Father of mercies.
Step number eight --- Mercy should make us both Happy and Humble.
Yes, mercy should make the saints both happy and humble. (Now who are the saints? The faithful church members, if you check it out in God's Book youíll find thatís what it means in the Bible when it speaks about saints). It means nothing more nor less than faithful church members. But, as we started to say, mercy should make the saints both happy and humble.
(I got that word for you there Tom, ďhumble.Ē Ed. Note -- This parenthetical note about the word "humble" was referring to the fact that Tom, one of our faithful men in Africa, had shortly before I preached this sermon at Pomona, near Johannesburg, informed me that if you failed to pronounce the "H" [aitch] sound plainly and audibly the people there thought you had a speech impediment).
Continuing now on the fact that it should make us both happy and humble, mercy is not the fruit of our goodness. A lot of people seem to take the attitude that mercy is the fruit of our own goodness. ďOh, Iím such a good fellow, Iíll be merciful to this person, Iíll let him off the hook.Ē Thatís just stupidity and foolishness and a whole bunch of other things rolled into one, isnít it? ďIím such a good fellow, Iíll just let this slide, Iíll be merciful to this one.Ē Well, that is not the reason weíre merciful.
Mercy is not the fruit of our goodness, but itís the fruit of Godís goodness. Thatís what weíve been saying since we started this message! Itís the fruit of Godís goodness, itís not the fruit of our goodness. We donít have any goodness that will produce mercy. Mercy is entirely the fruit of Godís goodness, not ours.
Any righteousness that we have is not the product of ourselves. Any righteousness we have is the product of Godís grace and mercy shown to us. Itís entirely because of Godís mercy. Let us be humble and honest about it. Almost slipped again there, Tom.
Job 10:15 is a good verse to read here. If you remember the story of Job, you will remember that he was a very good man, as men would count goodness. He was a man who humbly served and loved and worshipped God, as a man should. He was a great man. A wonderful man. Even in Godís sight, he was a good man in the sense as far as God can see man being a good man, because he did love and worship and serve God as a man should. And yet, Job here in chapter 10:15 said this, ďIf I be wicked, woe unto me: and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head.Ē Now he understood that righteousness --- any righteousness that we may have doesnít come from any goodness within ourselves, but it comes from what? From the mercy of God, doesnít it? From the goodness of God. Any goodness we have is just a little spark of the goodness of God that Heís given to us, the mercy that Heís shown to us, that Heís put in our heart. And Job clearly understood that when he said, ďIf I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head.Ē He wouldnít even lift up his head, even in doing good. He would still be humble with bowed head, realizing that any goodness he had, any righteousness he followed, came only from the mercy of God, and not from himself.
Mercy delays the speedy execution of Godís justice. Arenít you glad it does? What if there had been speedy execution of Godís justice, we should all have been lost, had we not? But arenít you glad that there wasnít speedy execution of Godís justice? We were rebels against God. Enemies of the cross. Every thought that we had was evil before God, yet He showed His mercy to us. He drew us to Himself. He saved us. He gave us eternal life in Christ. So, mercy delays the speedy execution of Godís justice.
Sinners continually provoke God. Every breath they breathe, they constantly provoke God. And as Ezekiel 38:18 says, ďThey make the fury come up in His face.Ē And yet, He doesnít generally just strike them dead like that. And He could. Why does God not immediately arrest and condemn sinners? Itís not that He cannot do it. Remember Heís armed with omnipotence, isnít He? Itís not that Heís incapable of arresting immediately and condemning instantly all sinners. Heís certainly capable of that because Heís armed with omnipotence. He can do anything. He has all power. But the thing that keeps Him from doing it is this --- His mercy! The mercy of God! Nothing else prevents Him from immediate execution of every sinner in every country, and even those in space, except His mercy.
Mercy gives a reprieve for the sinner, in other words. God would, by His goodness, lead them to come to repentance. Thatís the purpose in His gracious mercy. Like a magnet drawing them with His own mercy to Himself. That He, through His own mercy, might save them. And that He, through His own mercy, might give them eternal life in Christ.
Romans 2:4 is good to read, where it says: ďOr despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?Ē Itís Godís mercy, Godís goodness, leading men to repentance, isnít it?
If we turn over to II Peter 3:9, thereís another great reference. It says: ďThe Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness,Ē but listen now to this last part, ďbut is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.Ē Oh, the wonderful mercy of God!
Step number nine --- We could speak of many other kinds of mercy.
We could speak of preventing, sparing, supplying, guiding, accepting, healing, quickening, supporting, forgiving, correcting, comforting, delivering, dying, and crowning mercy and many others. But now let us continue by looking at the properties or qualifications of Godís mercy.
In the first place, Godís mercy is free.
Mercy requires no merit on our part. Were it so that it did require merit on our part, we could never obtain mercy! But mercy requires no merit on our part, itís free. We may force God to punish us. Thatís one thing we can do, we can "force" God to punish us by obstinately continuing in sin, we can "force" God to punish us, but we cannot force Him to love us.
Hosea 14:4 speaks of this when it says, ďI will love them freely.Ē Thatís the only way God loves people. The book of Hosea as you may remember, is dealing with a people who are in rebellion against God. People who are far from God. People who are living in wickedness. And yet, He says, ďI will love them freely.Ē Thatís the only way God loves men --- by His own free choice! We cannot "cause" Him to love us, but we can "cause" Him to punish us.
Every link in the chain of salvation is built with Godís mercy. Every link in the chain has Godís mercy written all over it. If we think of this day by day, it will change us! It will make a difference in what we do, in what we think, in what we say, even make a difference in the very way we are.
Secondly, justification is free.
Romans 3:24 speaks of being justified freely by His grace. Or Titus 3:5 speaks of salvation, saying, ďAccording to his mercy he saved us.Ē And when you go through studying this subject of salvation, you find that every single link in the chain, even from drawing us to Himself, or to wooing us to Himself and winning us to Himself and keeping us to Himself and our final delivery to heaven --- every thing about our salvation has mercy painted all over it. Every link in the chain has mercy in great big letters on it.
We need not say, ďIím unworthy.Ē Because mercy is free. We are unworthy, thatís true. We should recognize that. But we donít need to worry about the fact we are unworthy, because mercy is free.
Thirdly, Godís mercy is an overflowing mercy.
It is infinite. Psalms 86:5 speaks of Him as being plenteous in mercy. Ephesians 2:4 speaks of Him as being rich in mercy, and Psalms 51:1 speaks of the multitude of mercies of God.
GOD'S MERCY IS ETERNAL. Not only is it infinite, but itís eternal. If we look at Psalms 103:7, it tells us this: ďBut the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him and his righteousness unto childrenís children.Ē So, His mercy is eternal. The blessed --- and I like to think of this, imagine this in your mind with me --- the blessed shall ever bathe themselves as if weíre bathing ourselves daily in the warm, sweet water of His mercy. And thatís what weíre doing, isnít it? That is what weíre doing, even now, AND THE BEST IS YET TO COME! His mercy endureth forever! If you look at Psalms 136, twenty-six times in that one chapter it says those words exactly, ďHis mercy endureth forever." Godís mercy is not only overflowing, but itís ever flowing as well!
Look on God today, in His robes of mercy, surrounded by the rainbow of mercy. Believe in His mercy. Psalms 52:8 says, ďI will trust in the mercy of God forever.Ē Isnít that wonderful to think about? His mercy is like a fountain thatís open. A fountain that flows and never stops and all we need to do is let down the bucket of faith and drink of this fountain, which is the fountain of His mercy! Just let down the bucket and drink of this fountain of salvation.
What greater encouragement could there be to believe than to think on Godís mercy? There are two outstanding ways that Godís mercy or His willingness to show mercy appears to men. One is by entreating sinners to lay hold on mercy. God is constantly entreating, ďCome unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you . . . and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls.Ē Again, ďBehold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man will open unto me, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.Ē Again, Revelation 22:17, ďAnd whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.Ē Heís constantly calling sinners to come to Himself. So, thatís one of the wonderful ways that Godís willingness to show mercy appears.
Another outstanding way His willingness to show mercy appears to men is by Heaven's joyfulness when sinners lay hold on His mercy. ďThere is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner cometh to repentance,Ē the Scripture says. Think about this question, ďHow is God the better, whether we receive His mercy or not, what does it benefit Him?Ē An additional question, ďWhat is the fountain profited that men drink of it?Ē This wonderful fresh flowing spring of Godís mercy. How is the fountain benefited if we drink of His mercy? It isnít really benefited at all, is it? And yet, Godís goodness is so great that He rejoices at the salvation of sinners. He is glad His mercy is accepted.
When the prodigal came home, the father was glad and rejoiced and had a big celebration. You remember the story, Iím sure. Mercy pleases God. He is a God of pardons. Nothing prejudices us from receiving pardon, except one thing, and that is unbelief, our own belief. Not one other thing prevents us from receiving His mercy and His pardon, except our own unbelief. Unbelief, we could say, stops the current of Godís mercy from running to us.
Fourthly, take heed that you do not abuse the mercy of God.
That is like taking poison. Do not suck poison out of the sweet flower of Godís mercy. That is what a lot of people seem to do. They take Godís mercy as a sign of weakness and a license to sin forever. And thatís like drinking deadly poison!
Do not think you can go on in sin because of His mercy, because this is to make mercy your enemy! And when mercy becomes the prosecutor, then all are convicted. None can escape. To sin because mercy abounds is devilís logic. And yet, thatís what many people are doing. They think, ďWell, Iíll be saved just before I die. I want to sow my wild oats now.Ē But it doesnít work that way. This is just like one who wounds his head because heís got a box full of bandages to put on it. Now, thatís just as sensible, isnít it? Like one who slashes his head with a hammer, and says: ďWell, I wanted to use these bandages Iíve got here. Iíve got a box full of bandages,Ē so he bangs himself on the head because of it. Now, thatís the kind of logic it is to sin, thinking that later because of Godís mercy, you can get it straightened out anyway. But mercy abused, always turns to fury. Like love spurned becomes the deepest, most violent hatred! Mercy abused, always turns to fury!
Then, the main question for all --- what shall we do to be interested in Godís mercy?
It is most urgent that any unsaved should realize how much you stand in need of pardoning, saving mercy. How much we all stand in need of it. Be emptied of any opinion of self-worthiness. God pours the oil of mercy only into empty vessels. He does not pour it into people who are filled up with their own importance and self-righteousness. He pours it only into empty vessels. Come to God for mercy, remembering that all the mercy must come through Christ. Coming in our own name, God may refuse our plea for mercy. But He will never refuse our plea of mercy when we come in the name of Jesus. He never has and never will refuse those who come pleading the blood of Christ for mercy. Christís blood, in other words, is the price of pardon, full and free, without price!
Those who have found Godís mercy are exhorted to do three things.
First, to be upon Mount Gerizim. Now, you may remember the story of Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. Mount Gerizim is the mount of blessing, and praising. And Mount Ebal is the mount of cursing and judgment. So, when we have received Godís mercy, we should always be on Mount Gerizim! The mount of blessing and praising God. We need not be on the mount of Godís cursing and judgment anymore.
Second, we need to love God, when we have experienced His mercy. We should love God. As Godís justice makes us fear Him, let His mercy make us love Him. Love God for giving us food, health, strength, peace and many things one could list. But much, much more, love Him for giving us grace, for showing us saving mercy.
A famous Christian, whose name has slipped my tongue, once said these words, ďI would hate my own soul, if I did not find it loving God.Ē And we should feel that way ourselves, shouldnít we? ďI would hate my own soul, if I did not find it loving God.Ē (Later Ed. Note: The quote is a translation from Augustine).
Third and last, if weíve really experienced the mercy of God, if we know this saving mercy, we should imitate God in showing mercy. Thatís very important. We can love people into the church, but we canít drive them to the church. We canít even drag them into it. But we can love them into the church. So, we need to imitate God in showing mercy. As God is the Father of mercies, then we should show ourselves to be His children by being more like Him. Let us be merciful, showing that we are the children of the Father of mercies.
LET US PRAY --- Our Father, we thank You today for Your Word. We thank You for the privilege of studying it and preaching it. We thank You for these faithful ones whoíve come to hear. And we pray that You will use Your Word to be a blessing in their hearts today. Encourage us, use us to accomplish Your will, to show mercy to others and to show Your mercy to others as well. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.