Lesson 58—March 15, 2015
Mercy Twice Bless’d
Scripture: Matthew 5:7
Lesson Goal: To better understand mercy twice bless’d.
Before we move into today’s Scripture passage, I want us to look briefly again at Matthew 5:6 and receive the wise words of John Phillips:
The fourth beatitude tells us that we are to aim at being righteous. We are to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” A person who is desperately hungry or thirsty can think of nothing else. Hunger and thirst are the most basic and demanding drives of our physical nature. No one can ignore them for long. Happy is the man who has an equally strong desire to know God. According to the Epistle to the Romans, righteousness is first revealed, then required, then received, and only after that, reproduced. Followers of Jesus are constituted righteous positionally by receiving as ours the righteousness of Christ. We are made righteous practically –and righteousness is the key to practical Christianity—by the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who imparts to us the divine nature and enables us to overcome our old Adamic nature. This work deals with our state, which is all too often imperfect. Our standing and state will be in perfect harmony when we receive our resurrection bodies. In the meantime, the regenerated (saved) individual hungers and thirsts after righteousness.
The fulfilling of this hunger and thirst for righteousness brings a wonderful blessing of happiness into our (true believers) lives. It is a hunger and thirst that is “filled,” but continually desires more!
Today we read the words of Jesus: “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” Let us begin with some basic and simple ideas concerning “mercy” and “merciful.”
Believer’s Study Commentary states:
To be merciful means to be actively compassionate. In one sense, it means to withhold punishment from offenders who deserve it. In a wider sense, it means to help others in need who cannot help themselves. God showed mercy in sparing us from the judgment which our sins deserved and in demonstrating kindness to us through the saving work of Jesus Christ” (MacDonald).
Please read Ephesians 2:4-7.
In this passage, we understand the truth that true believers experience the wonderful indescribable mercy of God when we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Please prayerfully respond: Can you remember and tell about times in your life when you personally experienced the mercy of God?
Can you share of a time, since you were saved, when you received the mercy of God?
What does the heart-depth-knowledge of the truth that you have received God’s mercy do for you today? How does it shape your thoughts and ideas of others, your attitude toward others, and even the way you treat and respond to others?
Please read Luke 7:36-50 (Notice where Jesus is eating).
How is this woman identified in verse 37?
What was the Pharisees’ reaction in verse 39?
What was the lesson for Simon in verses 40-47?
How should receiving God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness influence our actions, attitudes and the way we look at and treat others?
In your own words, what is the great truth of 2 Corinthians 5:18-19? Please give much prayer and thought to your answer.
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” Warren Wiersbe explains: “We experience God’s mercy when we trust Christ, and He gives us a clean heart and peace within. But having received His mercy, we then share His mercy with others.”
Truly those with heart-depth-knowledge and the understanding that having received the mercies of God, they must extend those mercies to others. “The word ‘merciful’ implies forgiveness, compassion, and it includes a desire to remove the wrong as well as alleviate the suffering. Believers understand true mercy because they have received mercy from God” (Galvin).
An Important Truth
John MacArthur shares some important words:
The Jewish religionists themselves were not inclined to show mercy, because mercy is not characteristic of those who are proud, self-righteous, and judgmental. To many – perhaps most – of Jesus’ hearers, showing mercy was considered one of the least of virtues, if it was thought to be a virtue at all. A popular Roman philosopher called mercy ‘the disease of the soul.’ It was the supreme sign of weakness. Mercy was a sign that you did not have what it takes to be a real man and especially a real Roman. The Romans glorified manly courage, strict justice, firm discipline, and above all, absolute power. Jesus Christ was the most merciful one that ever lived. He reached out to the sick, restored the crippled, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and even life to the dead. He found prostitutes, tax collectors, the debauched and the drunken, and drew them into His circles of love and forgiveness.
MacArthur further explains:
When the scribes and Pharisees brought the adulteress to Him to see if he would agree to her stoning, He confronted them with their merciless hypocrisy: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” When no one stepped forward to condemn her, Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way.” Please read John 8:7-11. Yet what was the response to Jesus’ mercy? He shamed the woman’s accusers into action, but they did not [heed His words] and become merciful. By the time the accounts of John 8 ended, Jesus’ opponents picked up stones to throw at Him (please read John 8:59). When the scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus eating with the sinners and tax-gathers, they asked His disciples why their master associated with such unworthy [sinful] people. The more Jesus showed mercy, the more He showed up the unmercifulness of the Jewish religious leaders.
We must understand that this beatitude does not mean that mercy to men will bring mercy from men. What it does teach for the believer is that mercy to others brings mercy from God. The second clause of this beatitude, as well as the others, tells us that God is the one who brings about the truth. It is God who gives the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit, comfort to those who mourn, the earth to the meek, satisfaction to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Those (true believers) who show forth mercy shall receive mercy from God.
Please read the parable in Matthew 18:23-35. What does this parable say to us today? Please ask God to show you.
Do you have anyone in your life that you deem not worthy of mercy? Please read Luke 23:34.
“Forgiveness flows out of the fountain of mercy and the fountain of mercy is fed by the river of love” (Bro. Mick). If my saying is true, what does this say about forgiveness, mercy and love?
What is the difference between mercy and grace?
Please read Matthew 25:41-45. Now what do you think?
Shakespeare, in “The Merchant of Venice,” put it this way:
The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath; it is twice bless’d.
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown… (4.1.1-6).