Are you Ruth-less or merciful?

Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:28
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Today we look at Matthew 5:7 and the beatitude about being merciful. Ultimately God showed us the greatest form of mercy through His son Jesus. Listen today as we look into the story of Ruth and Boaz to discover how great God's mercy is. This is a love story that conradicts everything the world paints as love and ends with a promise. Listen up and be encouraged! (The song played in this sermon at 36:10 is called "What mercy did for me" and it is performed by the band People & Songs)

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Matthew 5:7 NIV
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
I did a little bit of research this week and found out the history of the greek New Testament word merciful or mercy in this verse.
Do you know what I found out?
It’s exactly what it is. These words merciful and mercy mean... mercy. Period.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for mercy could mean about 6 different things, however in this specific passage there is no other meaning but simply mercy.
Another very similar passage to Matthew 5:7 can be found in James 2:12-13 where James, the writer, says.
James 2:12–13 NIV
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Martin Lloyd Jones, a well known author and pastor who lived from 1899 to 1981 wrote:
“A Christian is something before he does anything; and we have to be Christian before we can act as Christians… Being is more important than doing, attitude is more significant than action... First we are Christians, our action is the outcome.”
Galatians 2:20 NIV
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Unbelievers live their lives for the present and their decisions are based on them wanting to never die, believers (like Paul says), make their decisions based on the future, knowing Christ’s death brings us life when we die.
I truly believe what Jesus is saying here in Matthew 5:7 is more than present tense. It is:
Past- God, in His mercy, created us with a free will to love and chose Him, knowing that we would turn from Him.
Present- God continues to show us mercy as we seek forgiveness each day and run back to Him. His mercy is endless as we are repentant.
Future- God’s ultimate plan to fulfill mercy was and is still to create all things new for His glory and our benefit.
Often times we get grace and mercy confused.
1) Grace is associated with us in our sins.
It is that God showed us compassion and love by providing Jesus, the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
He offered eternal life and a better way of living at no cost to us.
A free gift that is continually offered.
Grace continues to be shown to us through His love and forgiveness.
2) I believe that God’s mercy is the beginning of His grace.
It is the red carpet, so to speak, of grace.
Mercy is associated with us in our misery.
Knowing are and were in total depravity or that we have no ability to be good in our own flesh, God reached down to us in this mercy.
Knowing that we would curse Him, push Him aside, find Him irrelevant at times, live for our selfishness, you fill in the blank… God’s character was mercy. It always was mercy and always will be.
To simplify things, as Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones puts it:
“Grace looks down on sin as a whole, while mercy looks upon the miserable consequences of sin. Mercy is a sense of pity plus desire to relieve suffering.”
What Jesus is saying here in Matthew 5:7 is that believers should show mercy to others because God ultimately has shown us the greatest act of mercy humankind could ever experience through His son Jesus Christ.
I need 3 really good readers. Grab your Bible and head up here to the front pew.
I would like us to now experience what mercy looks like.
There are so many examples of this in the Bible but one story more than others stood out to me this week and it can be found in the book of Ruth.
The book of Ruth is only 4 chapters.
It is a love story, in a sense, that displays God’s love, mercy and compassion on His people in a time when there was no morality.
During the time of this story there were no kings ruling the earth.
Every man did what was right in his or her eyes.
You can only imagine what that look like.
Judges 21:25 NIV
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
It was set towards the end of the time period that was called Judges and you can read all about that in the book of Judges.
Ruth, as it were, was a rose in the middle of this time period.
The story of Ruth also comes during a time of great famine.
There was very little to eat.
So let me put it to you this way. Who here gets hangry?
Imagine a bunch of hangry people that had no moral compass.
Enter Ruth, let’s read!
Normally we don’t read full books of the Bible, however I believe we need to today to get a full view of this story and experience it for ourselves. So grab your Bible or the one in front of you in the pew and follow along with us.
This is an awesome story.
There are three sides to the this story I feel and you may find more.
But here are three:
1) In such a dark time in history, God sends a rose to bring a different aroma.
Ruth chooses to stay with her mother in law and to follow the Lord.
She didn’t go to the gods and idolators like Orpah did but chose to care for and love her mother in law and pursue a the life God wanted for her.
2) On the other side, Boaz was a man of integrity and mercy in the midst of an age when most men were vile.
He went above and beyond for Ruth and was obedient to the Lord.
His love was so strong for Ruth he petitioned to keep the families land and uphold her dignity and value.
3) God’s love and mercy was so evident through this story through His grand plan.
This may have been a dark time but God allowed His people to be obedient to Him and because of that he blessed them.
Because Boaz came from the clan of Elimelek, he was able to preserve that line.
Why was that important?
The son, Obed that Boaz and Ruth had later had a son of His own named Jesse.
Jesse later had a son named David. (You can read this in the next book called 1 Samuel.)
David went on to be a shepherd boy, who later killed the giant known as Goliath, who later became the greatest king Israel ever had and served God for many many years.
David received a covenant with the Lord that a greater king would come through His blood line.
This king would have a kingdom that would go on forever and ever (2 Samuel 7:12-17)
We are approaching Christmas and so it might be fitting to mention that this king that was mentioned in 2 Samuel was in fact Jesus, who would be born to Mary. (Luke 1:31-33)
Jesus was the promised king and came from Boaz and Ruth’s family tree.
It was a tree of obedience that was fueled by the mercy of God.
I don’t know what you’re going through in life whether it is:
Enduring a hardship
Caring for the elderly or your parents
Pursuing a path of integrity in a world of the opposite
Loving and supporting a family member or friend who is in desperate need of prayer
Maybe your are simply in a season that is in wanting:
Wanting God, in His mercy, to grow you closer to Himself
Desiring a stronger faith, prayer life.
I would say to you, just like Ruth or Boaz.
Don’t give up.
Seek God’s Will, mercy and love in your life and rely fully on Him.
You have no idea what He will accomplish in your life but His promise and track record shows that His mercy is everlasting.
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