Sermon outline on Mercy

I've been asked to speak this weekend at church. We are looking at Proverbs through the summer so that's my jumping off point on the topic of mercy. This is way too much for a 40 minute talk, so I will need to pare it down. This is also intended to address the question of why do we send money to people in need all over the world, like Haiti, when there is so much need in America. All verses are from the NIV.

Proverbs
14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.
14:31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

  1. What is mercy? Umland’s definition: generosity to the unworthy or desperate
    1. Caring for the needy: Parable of the good Samaritan
      1. Luke 10:23-37 25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"27He answered: " 'Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
      2. Giving to the unlovable or those who can’t repay (the poor) Luke 6:30-36 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
      3. Proverbs 31:6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish;

  1. Why practice mercy?
    1. We are instructed to by God – Proverbs verse above.
      1. Matthew 23:23 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
      2. I Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
    2. Prepares us to receive mercy
      1. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
      2. James 2:12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
      3. Matthew 25: 31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.32All 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.33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34"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.35For 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,36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'LORD, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'40"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.'41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'44"They also will answer, 'LORD, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
    3. Because Jesus is merciful
      1. 2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
    4. Because God is merciful
      1. Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
      2. Exodus 34:6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

  1. How to practice mercy?
    1. Job 31: 13"If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they had a grievance against me,14what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?15Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?16"If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,17if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless--18but from my youth I reared him as would a father, and from my birth I guided the widow--19if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or a needy man without a garment,20and his heart did not bless me for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,21if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court,22then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. 23For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.
  2. Receive mercy.
    1. Luke 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector.12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

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