IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: THE GREAT AND TENDER MERCIES OF GOD MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.”
Whenever we come to God with a request, we should remember what David here remembers, that it is only a matter of mercy that God would hear his prayer. David was a great man of God, a “man after God’s own heart, ” but even he did not presume to make demands on God but instead cried out for mercy.
The Tender Mercy of God
“To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”— Luke 1: 77— 79.
Forgiveness comes not to us through any merit of ours, present or foreseen; but only through the tender mercy of our God, and the marvellous visit of love which came of it. If he be gracious enough to forgive our sins, it can be done; for every arrangement is already made to accomplish it. The Lord is gracious enough for this— for anything. Behold him in Christ Jesus, and there we see him as full of compassion.
“His heart is made of tenderness, His bowels melt with love.”
The main point of this sermon will be to bring out into prominence those few words, “the tender mercy of our God.” To me they gleam with kindly light: I see in them a soft radiance, as of those matchless pearls whereof the gates of heaven are made. There is an exceeding melody to my ear as well as to my heart in that word “tender.” “Mercy” is music, and “tender mercy” is the most exquisite form of it, especially to a broken heart. To one who is despondent and despairing, this word is life from the dead. A great sinner, much bruised by the lashes of conscience, will bend his ear this way, and cry, “Let me hear again the dulcet sound of these words, tender mercy” If you think of this tenderness in connection with God, it will strike you with wonder, for an instant, that one so great should be so tender; for we are apt to impute to Omnipotence a crushing energy, which can scarcely take account of little, and feeble, and suffering things. Yet if we think again, the surprise will disappear, and we shall see, with a new wonder of admiration, that it must be so. He that is truly great among men is tender because he is great in heart as well as in brain and hand. The truly great spirit is always gentle; and because God is so infinitely great, he is, therefore, tender. We read of his gentleness and of his tenderness towards the children of men; and we see them displayed to their full in the gospel of our salvation. Very conspicuous is this “tender mercy of our God.”
“Mercy is “not getting what we deserve.”
It is because of God’s mercy in not giving us what we do deserve that we are offered the gospel of grace – something we did not deserve.
The person who ignores God’s mercy doesn’t know what he hasn’t received.
The person who ignores God’s grace doesn’t know what he has received.
“Therefore, what difference should God’s mercy make to us who have received it?”
A true understanding of God’s mercy enables us to live sacrificially.
A true understanding of God’s mercy enables us to think transformationally.
A true understanding of God’s mercy enables us to relate graciously.
A true understanding of God’s mercy enables us to love infinitely.
A true understanding of God’s mercy enables us to make a difference, for this is how God has made a difference in us.
“Let not mercy and truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and men”.
This is an interesting verse that blends truth and mercy. And God says, “Make sure they are always with you and never forsake them.” Truth needs to be spoken and we need to be right; but mercy needs to be combined with truth. They go together. Truth without mercy becomes callused, hard, and cold. It is often legalistic. And mercy without truth becomes sentimental and wishy-washy and does not really take a stand. And mercy alone is not courageous and has no holiness to it. It must be mercy and truth.
“Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord.”
Psalm 119: 15
I think a lot of people believe that they have blown it so bad in their life that there is no hope for them. I hear that so much. I hear people who say, “Well if he only knew what I am really like and what I have done, there is no way I could possibly be what you are asking me to be.” God never is asking you to be anything apart from who He is. He provides all that you need. He is not trusting you to perform. That should be good news to a lot of people today. That should just take a heavy burden right off of you. The good news of the gospel is who God is. We already know what stinkers we are. Amen? We often like to say if we knew what was in the heart of the person next to us, we would move. We do not want to know about depravity. We want to know about God’s grace and God’s mercy. And mercy is what God is.
When you come to the Lord, you are not coming to somebody who is sitting with a baseball bat ready to club you for every false move. The Bible teaches that His essential nature and character is mercy. Mercy holds back from us what we really deserve. While grace gives us what we do not deserve. How wonderful it is to know that it involves His person. That is what His character is like. There is never a moment when you come to the Lord that He stops being merciful.
Just think for a moment: imagine how God would be if He had no mercy. Imagine what the holiness of God would be if there was no mercy. Imagine what the justice of God would be if mercy had no part in it. But the mercy of God, just like that arch that we’ve been talking about, it overeaches all His other attributes – and indeed, let me say this, that the mercy of God sweetens His other attributes.
That’s what God wants to show to the world. In fact, even God’s enemies receive mercy, it’s like the dew that falls on the thistle as well as the rose. God’s mercy – the sun shines on the righteous and on the unrighteous, and not just those that dwell in the presence of God.
Build Your Life on the Mercies of God
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
My aim in this message is that you would be encouraged by God and enabled by his Spirit to build your life on the mercies of God revealed in Jesus Christ. There are two parts to this aim:
that you would build your life on something, and
that you would build it on the mercies of God revealed in Christ
“The whole point of Christianity is to glorify the mercy of God in Christ. We exist to display God’s mercy.”
The reason Christianity must build our lifestyle on God’s mercy in Jesus Christ is that the whole point of Christianity is to glorify the mercy of God in Christ. We exist to put the glory of God’s mercy in Christ on display. So Paul spends 11 chapters opening the mercy of God in the work of Christ, and then says, “therefore” build your lives on this. Live a life that shows this! That’s why you exist.
The word mercy here implies not only forgiveness for the guilty, but especially tenderhearted compassion for the helpless and desperate. This is what we expect after Romans 1–11. See if you don’t hear both in Romans 5:6–8:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Did you hear both sides of mercy? We were weak and helpless (that’s one side), and we were sinners and guilty (that’s the other side). Mercy responds to both. Mercy forgives the guilty and mercy pities the helpless. Have you built your life on that? Or maybe I should ask, “Have you saturated your life with that? Have the mercies of God in saving you sunk to the center and core of your life, so that you are living from a deep spring of humble, brokenhearted happiness in the God of mercy?”
“Our lives are rooted in the mercies of God. Our lives are founded on the mercies of God.”
Mercy is not weak. It has an unbreakable backbone, but is very soft to the touch. May God encourage you and enable you by his Spirit to build your life on the mercies of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Receive these mercies. Entrust your life to them. Embrace them for the forgiveness of your sins and all the help you need to live a life of mercy.
I come before you today, O my God, not with any confidence in my own righteousness. But you are the “God of my righteousness, ” even as you were to David of old. I come to your in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and present my petition before you. I come not as collecting something due to me from you but as one who seeks your mercy. AMEN!
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