Responding to Our Knowledge of God - Mercy

Faith Church July 21, 2007 James 3:17

 

Introduction:

1.  We’re continuing our new series today in our Worship Service:  Reaching New Heights in Our Knowledge of God!

- our goal is to further APPLY the subject to our lives as an ABF, so we’ve entitle our ABF study: Responding to Our Knowledge of God

2.  Remember the words of Daniel: 

  • Daniel 11:32 "…but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”

- Christianity is a religion of action . . . we are to be doing what God wants us to do!

- we also tried to tie this into Paul’s words:

  • Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death

know’ = knowledge based on personal experience (because of the interaction/relationship)

- not just an intellectual knowledge, but a PRACTICAL knowledge of God (a life of obedience, a attitude of hope, and high motivation for future service to demonstrate that faith in God and what you truly believe about Him!)

Input: What have you learned so far from this study that has helped you the most in knowing God better (which attribute has impacted you the most)?

(Holiness / Faithfulness / Justice/ Presence / Love / Power / Sovereignty )

4.  We’re studying the topic of GOD’S MERCY!  Keep in mind the purpose of our study:

*  The purpose of our study:

1) to GLORIFY God by with our praise of worship of Who He is

2) to put that knowledge into ACTION! – especially the way we respond when God demonstrates His particular attribute (either in a way that we understand, or in a way we don’t understand . . . but still have to walk by faith!)

Input: Why is the concept of God’s mercy hard to understand at times?

Because the curse of sin – our selfishness is an inherent hindrance to showing mercy to others – our ability to think and reason like God is marred by sin – we WANT mercy, but we don’t want to SHOW mercy to others!

- there is no greater example of mercy than God Himself!

I.  Reaching New Heights in Our Knowledge of God’s MERCY!

Grace = God giving us what we DON’T deserve

Mercy = God withholding what we DO deserve

- because God is holy….

* One of our goals in this study is to learn more about God . . . and His MERCY so we will understand that He is MERCIFUL

1)  exercising our faith in a God Who is merciful!

2)  proclaiming this truth of God’s mercy to others

3)  modeling this attribute to others because God has shown us mercy!

- each week, we’re going to be asking a set of questions for you to consider in the context of the specific aspect of God that is being presented in the Worship Service!

II.  Responding to Our Knowledge of God’s Mercy!

Q: Do you really believe that God is merciful?

- think about the words of this familiar verse:

  • Lamentations 3:22 Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not!

- this is a reminder that God often withholds we what we do deserve – i.e. His wrath and judgment or discipline for our sin!

  • What other passages communicate this attribute of God? [various answers]
  • 2 Samuel 24:14 Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man."
  • Psalm 119:156 Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances.
  • Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.
  • Isaiah 55:3 "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.
  • Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

- this is one of my favorite passages:

  • Jude  21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercyof our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.  22 And have mercyon some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercywith fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.  24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
  • What impact should this attribute have in the following areas: [various answers]
  • Temptation to sin:

- I don’t want to presume upon God’s mercy – He may allow me to face ALL the consequences of this choice I’m about to make!

  • Facing Trials (suffering, illness, disappointments)

- God’s mercy can help me get through this situation! (this gives hope!)

  • Conflicts with people:

- I need to show mercy to others like God shows it to me!

  • Prayer Life:

- we can actually ASK God for His mercy

- this ought to be a great motivation to pray and talk to the God of Mercy!!

  • What are some examples in the Scripture of God demonstrating His mercy?
  • OT
  • Israel– Deuteronomy 13:17 "Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers,
  • God dealing with Job– Job 16:13 "His arrows surround me. Without mercy He splits my kidneys open; He pours out my gall on the ground.
  • Israel– Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
  • NT
  • The demon possessedman – Mark 5:19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
  • Blind Bartimaeus– Mark 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
  • Throne of Grace– Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • The church – 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • How has our church modeled this?

- the church discipline process – we’ve shown mercy to people in the process, yet trying to keep a balanced focus on God’s holiness!

- taking on the responsibility of Vision of Hope !! [Mention the opportunity to GIVE to the project to provide the ‘in house’ items]

Ex: The name of the new road:  MERCY WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • How does our church need to continue to grow?

- mostly in the ‘attitude’ toward those who need mercy (keep working on being humbled by God’s mercy toward us

- keep looking for creative ways to show mercy to others!

  • How can you emphasize this attribute to your family (spouse, children) and friends?

- sometimes in discipline, a parent can show mercy and NOT spank a child (which is the very thing he/she may deserve!)

- when conflicts arise with neighbors, or there are needs that can be met, mercy can be shown

  • How can we help each other grow in this quality?

- remind each other about God’s mercy toward us

- when we have to confront someone, our anger may be justified, but model mercy (you reap what you sow!!)

  • What causes you to doubt God’s mercy?

- we tend the think in irrational manner or ways NOT consistent with the Word of God which reveals a God of abundant mercy

- maybe the way we’ve been treated by others – we tend to view God in light of our experience instead of through the grid of His character, biblical history, and the Word

  • KEY QUESTION:  What impact should this attribute have on the following?
  • Outreach:  we should be merciful to others [e.g. Vision of Hope!!] in an effort to give them the gospel and disciple/train them to bring glory to God
  • Praise/Worship:  should cause us to PRAISE Him for the mercy He’s shown us
  • Discipleship/Growth: - show mercy to those who need to grow and change, mercy
  • Serving (use of gifts/abilities): Part of serving involves mercy – like Jesus showed to so many people while He was on this earth
  • One another ministry (Building Meaningful Relationships): one of the foundations of our church body should be ‘mercy’

Conclusion:

Q:  How would you rate yourself, your family, our ABF, our church, on being merciful?

Key Passage:  (reference)

  • James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

Faith Church