Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thursday: Blessed are the merciful



A politician went to have his portrait done and upon seeing the results was quite upset about how his pictures had turned out. He went in and griped at the photographer and said, “These pictures do not do me justice!” “Justice?” the photographer said, “with a face like yours, you do not need justice; you need mercy.”

Question: What is justice? What is mercy?

How mercy builds upon righteousness
   Previously we studied the righteousness of God, of Christ and of humans. Longing for righteousness must be followed by mercy. A poor spirit (5:3) leads to mourning (5:4) which leads to humility (5:5), followed by a desire for righteousness (5:6). We have no righteousness apart from faith.

In light of that, how can we have anything except for a merciful heart? The word for can be translated because. The verse could read, “Merciful people are happy, because they too shall obtain mercy.” They do not carry grudges or keep a score of debts. They dispense mercy, knowing that they have and shall receive mercy themselves, and are happier for it.

We sometimes think mercy is the opposite of justice, but actually it is a complement to it. When we see justice, we see the need for mercy. A mother of a man accused of a serious crime went to Napoleon and pled for mercy. “Mercy for that scoundrel? He doesn’t deserve it!” was Napoleon’s reply. The mother said, “Sir, it wouldn’t be mercy if he deserved it!” The mother's logic prompted Napoleon to relent, “Well, then, I will have mercy.”

Some people use this and other verses on forgiveness to say that God’s mercy on us depends on our mercy towards others. Such thinking is contradictory to what the word mercy means…we shall obtain mercy because of our sins, not because of our good works.

Question: What is the opposite of being a merciful person?

Mercy for the miserable

The Greek word for merciful and mercy is based on eleos which is a descriptive adjective and is not based on emotions. In other words, God doesn’t feel sorry for us, but rather He is a merciful in His nature. The Latin word is miserecordia which sounds a lot like our word, miserable. In fact, the King James translates a Greek word similar to eleos to miserable twice. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable(1 Cor. 15:19)

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). A person who needs mercy is miserable and a person who refuses to give it will eventually become miserable.

Read Romans 9:16 “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Luke 6:36 “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

Now read Matthew 6:12,14-15 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. …For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Questions: Who is it that initiates mercy, God or us? Do we have to do anything to deserve mercy? What do others have to do in order for us to be merciful?

Being merciful is a Be-Attitude

What is your attitude towards others who are miserable and pitiable? The worse someone is, the more they need mercy. In God’s eyes, how someone acts towards us is not what’s most important, but rather how we react. The word merciful is not a noun, but rather an adjective. It describes who the believer is, and not just what he does.

Questions: When you are wronged, do you seek justice or mercy? Now, when you are wrong, do you seek justice or mercy?

When and how do we obtain mercy?

If we are merciful, we may notice that others are merciful toward us and we will see God’s mercy come to us like a reflection in a mirror. It is more than just receiving mercy in heaven, but we shall obtain mercy here as well. So how can we go beyond our hurts and get to healing?  

      Don’ts and do’s                                              Do’s and don’ts

1) Don’t nurse, burn                                   1) Immerse, don’t churn
   (Job 11:16, Acts 19:19)                                 (Mic. 7:19, Prov. 30:33)
 

2) Don’t rehearse, spurn                           2) Reverse, don’t yearn
   (Heb. 8:12, 10:17)                                         (Isa. 61:3, Ex. 14:12)
 

3) Don’t curse, learn                                  3) Verse, don’t turn
   (Prov. 9:9, 2 Cor. 1:4)                                 (Ps. 119:10-11)
 

Thursday’s “Be-Attitude”                                               
Kid’s Korner by Morgan Perry
Have you ever heard the saying, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”? This is exactly what Jesus is talking about in this Beatitude. He is telling us that we should show mercy, or kindness, to people, even when they don’t deserve it. This is because there are times that we need forgiveness and God ALWAYS forgives us. If we show others mercy and forgiveness, we will be given the same from God.
 
Give an example of how someone has hurt your feelings.
 
How should you respond to their actions?
 
Give an example of how you have possibly hurt God’s feelings.
 
How does He respond to your actions? (When we ask for forgiveness and make every effort to make better choices, God ALWAYS forgives)
 


Wednesday: Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

The downloadable pdf is now available on www.fbckilleen.com or
 

Righteousness builds upon meekness
After meekness, there is a thirst and hunger for righteousness. Righteousness is not merely doing right and avoiding wrong. That is legalism. Without meekness, such a desire would only result in self-righteousness. Righteousness is right standing before God brought about by the righteousness of God and results in a continued path to blessed happiness.

The Righteousness of God
God’s righteousness is explained in Phil. 3:9. “And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Paul was righteous by the Law, but when judged by God, Paul’s righteousness fell short of God’s perfection.

We are to yearn not for our righteousness, but for God’s righteousness. Romans 1:17 says that the God’s righteousness is revealed by faith.

God’s rule says that sacrificial blood brings about forgiveness of sin. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Blood on the altar will make atonement for the soul. But not the blood of animals. Psalms 40:6 says, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.” Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”         

So whose blood? The blood of Christ. Hebrews 9:12 says, “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

So how can we know that God will keep His promise, to forgive us of our sins? By trusting that God is righteous. This is said again in Rom. 3:21-22a, 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”

The famous line of Rom. 3:23 is actually a dependent clause of a sentence explaining God’s righteousness is shown by faith:

We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. (New Living Translation)

We are saved because God is righteous. We hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness and to do otherwise is ignorant. Romans 10 says, 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Questions: Do you feel smug about how good you are compared to others? Are you looking at others’ sins rather than God’s righteousness?

The Righteousness of Christ
Jesus was the only one who was righteous in God’s sight. 2 Cor. 5:21 says Christ’s sacrifice made us righteous, even though we aren’t. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 1 Peter 3 also explains that Jesus, the just, died for us, the unjust, “18 Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” (NLT)

Only Christ fulfills the righteous requirements of the Law; only His blood on the altar is pure. Romans 8 says, 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Question: How are you affected by the “great exchange” of Christ becoming sin, even though He had none, so that we could have His righteousness, even though we have none?

The Righteousness of Man
After we hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness and when we know that we are only righteous in Christ, then we can truly long for our righteousness. But unlike a longing for food to satisfy ourselves, we should long to bear fruit. 2 Cor. 9 says:

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

After we are saved, we bear righteous fruit, as James 3:18 says, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Paul said in Eph 5:9, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” and again in Phil. 1:11 “being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
 
They shall be satisfied 
There is a verse that says “do not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9, NIV). If you are not feeling satisfied or filled in all you are doing, it may be because you are looking at the wrong things. Self-righteousness comes in comparison to others. Satisfying-righteousness looks to the harvest.

Question: What type of fruit do you bear? Are you doing good but with the wrong attitude? If you long for righteousness and are not filled, whose righteousness are you hungering and thirsting for?



Wednesday’s “Be-Attitude”
Kid’s Korner by Morgan Perry
When Jesus tells us we should “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” He wants us to crave a friendship with Him and God. He wants us to desire to know Him more than any other thing we can think of.
 
Tell me examples of how you want a friend to treat you.
 
How can you show God you love Him and want to be His friend?