Do you ever ponder on the goodness of God? The mercies of God? Do you know how far how far God will go to save a man or a woman? God gave Judas 4 chances to repent. Before the floods, He had given the people 120 years to repent. He gave the Jews 490 years to repent, the Amalekites 400 years to repent. Psalm 103 verse 10 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities, meaning if God truly gave us what we deserved, we would have perished long time. We never get from God what we truly deserve, I mean on the negative side. On the positive side, we get everything we don’t deserve there isn’t a human being who deserves the smallest blessing from God, but God gives them because He loves us, because it’s merciful. In Blessed are merciful, Pastor Randy, looks deep into the mercy of God upon His people
Blessed are the mercifulOpening prayer-
We thank you for loving us and for proving it by sending Christ. We thank you dear God for the conviction of your spirit, the protection of your angels and the joy of fellowship one with another. We have come to listen to your word and as Father we’re prepared to receive this message, I pray that your Spirit will prepare our hearts. Take possession of my mind dear God. My desire is to glorify you through this message. Help me to do that. Touch every listening heart I pray. I ask you to grant a special blessing to our guest brother Ephraim. When this service is over, let all of us know that we have met with You. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Blessed are the merciful
Let’s go to Genesis chapter 19. Our theme for these two weeks is: One with Him. Whatever Christ is, we want to be. The only exception to that is, we cannot be God, but every other thing possible to a created being, we want to be one with Him. Genesis 19 is the chapter in which two angels go down to Sodom. Christ also went with them, although He’s not directly mentioned in that chapter, but Ellen White mentions Him in the chapter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Patriarchs and Prophets. And they are in the house of Lot, you know the story. Lot has made them a feast, verse 3, in verse 4 before they lay down the men come to do whatever they wanted to do, but in verse 15 the Bible says 15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. The angel said, Lot get up take your wife, take your children and get out.
Before God sends destruction, He mercifully sends a warning. Before God allowed the Romans to destroy the city of Jerusalem between 66 and 70 AD, He caused the Romans to withdraw mysteriously, that allowed the Christians to leave the city. Those who had accepted the words of Christ, they took off from the city, the hard-hearted stubborn Jews stayed. The Romans came back and closed off all escape routes.
The angel told Lot, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. If the Spirit of God is telling you get out of the city, get out. I’m not here to promote country living that’s not the purpose. I believe in it but that’s not my purpose. But I need to say if, notice my words carefully, if the Spirit of God has been convicting you to get out of the city, then please obey that conviction and get out. Because God allows a door of mercy to be open only so long and then He closes it.
Verse 16 of Genesis 19 as we continue with the subject blessed are the merciful 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. What a beautiful verse. How does verse 16 begin? Come on read it, and while he lingered. What’s our subject? Blessed are the merciful. Should we bless God? Yes or no? Yes. We must bless God and tonight I bless God for being merciful. The angel said the night before arise take thy wife and thy two daughters which are here lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city and while he lingered – it is a dangerous thing to linger when God tells you to do something, very dangerous, but God is so merciful. He is so unwilling that any should perish -2nd Peter chapter 3 verse 9. That when we linger God tries to stay with us insofar as His justice is not compromised.
And so, while he lingered the men laid hold upon his hand and upon the hand of his wife and upon the hand of his daughters. Picture it! That’s how badly God wants to save. God new Lot’s heart – the Bible describes Lot as a righteous man. God was not pulling the hand of some inveterate sinner, that would be supporting sin. He knew the heart of Lot. And Lot needed some divine shoving and pushing a little bit and the angel laid hold on his hand, on the hand of his wife, the hand of his daughters and I want you to picture that as the Angels pulled them out of the city! And there are some people when God tries to pull them out, they pull their hands out of God’s hands. It’s leave me alone! The Lord being merciful to him and they brought him forth and set him without the city.
Verse 17 17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. Now these are clear instructions. He lingered the angel grabbed him, pulled him out. Now the angel did not take him to the mountain. God only does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. The angel had the power to take him to the mountain, but the angel brought him out. Remember the angel brought Peter out and left him right outside the gate and then vanished! Peter you’ve got legs, you know the city find your way to where the believers live. That’s the way God functions – I will do what I can do, now you act on what I have done. Are you following me? Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:
Now let’s read verse 17 again. What did the angel say in verse 17? And he said escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, Stop. The angel said, with whose authority was the angel speaking? God’s authority. Angels have no authority of their own. So, this is God’s Commission to Lot, escape to the mountain 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD. That tells you how merciful God is. God goes as far as He can our way until He comes to the point with one more step and God would be guilty of wrongdoing, but He tries. You see God has told us in Romans 12:18 18 If it be possible, as much as life in you, live peaceably with all men. Now what God requires of us is the way God is. If that’s not the case He could not say, let us make man how in our image. God goes as far as He can to get along with people. And Lot said oh not so my Lord behold now thy servant have found grace in thy sight and thou has magnified thy mercy which thou has shewed unto me in saving my life and I cannot escape to the mountain lest some evil – the word evil means something unfortunate like an animal destroying him or falling into a pit or off a cliff or something – some evil take me and I die.
20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. Now Lot said, here’s a city which was marked for destruction. Now the five cities got targeted for destruction were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela. Those were the cities of the plains. Lot said behold now this city, Bela was very close to Sodom and it is a little one, Oh, let me escape thither. What did the angel tell Lot to go? The mountain. Where did Lot want to go? Another City. But I don’t want to stress the stubbornness of Lot. I want to stress how far God will go to save a man or a woman. Verse 21 21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.
Now Ellen White tells us in the chapter on the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah page 161, this person was Christ talking to Lot. The other angels had brought them out and went back to destroy the city. The person talking to Lot at that point was Christ, the life giver and she says in Patriarchs and Prophets page 161 paragraph 1 after Christ said I have accepted thee concerning this thing also verse 21 that I will not overthrow this city for the which thou hast spoken she writes oh how great the mercy of God to his erring creatures
What’s our subject? Blessed are the merciful. God is merciful God. The Bible also says God is no respect of persons. God goes as far as He can in every individual’s life to save that person. That’s why no one who’s lost will be able to say, there was something else you could have done. There is nothing else God could have done to save any man or woman who is lost. Absolutely nothing! And so, He said see I have accepted thee concerning this thing also that I will not overthrow this city for the which thou hast spoken. God going as far as possible.
Let’s go to John chapter 13, our subject blessed are the merciful. John 13 we read from verse 18. This is a chapter of the last supper, beautiful chapter. John 13 reading from verse 18, Jesus says 18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. This is Christ referring to Psalm 41 verse 9, where the betrayal of Christ is predicted. By the way if you read Psalm 41:9 9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. In that verse the name of Judas is not mentioned. Judas chose to betray Christ. Please get this point clearly. God never chooses a person to sin, He chooses us to do what is right. And so, the name of Judas is not mentioned, Judas took it upon himself. Now in Isaiah 45, the name of Cyrus is mentioned before he was born, because God chose him as a deliverer for Israel. Are you following me? But God never calls a man or a woman to sin.
And so, Jesus said he that eateth bread with me, verse 18 of John 13, have lifted up his heel against me and then He speaks in 19 and 20. In verse 21 21 When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Now look at verse 18 and look at verse 19, picture the scene, what’s going on? It is the Last Supper. Who is present? Jesus. And who else? The twelve disciples including whom? Judas. We’re talking about blessed are the merciful.
- – Clue #1 – In verse 18 Jesus speaks out loud, He knows what’s in the heart of Judas – but that the scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me, that is what they were doing, hath lifted up his heel against me. Now Judas knew. Ellen White says he was the most intelligent of the twelve. He knew that Christ was referring to him but what do you think Christ was doing? Yes, giving Judas an opportunity to say, look let me not go any further than this. So, He drops a clue. I know what you’re up to, turn back. This is Christ trying to reach the heart of Judas – as much as life in you.
- – Clue #2 – verse 21 verily, verily I say unto you one of you shall betray me. Again, He reaches out to Judas.
- – Clue #3 – then John asked Him in verse 25, who is it? 26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon – Third clue! Judas I know what you up to, stop. Mercy pleading.
- – Clue #4 – verse 27 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly – Fourth time!
And so, in His prayer in John 17, He prays to the Father in verse 12. He says 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. Now Jesus calls Judas the son of perdition. You know what that means? – Go to 2 Thessalonians 2:3 – Our subject is blessed are the merciful. Verse 3 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. The Thessalonians had come to believe that Christ was coming very soon. Paul wants them to know, no that won’t happen soon. That day shall not come unless there come a falling away first.
By the way people don’t fall away from the world. Where is the falling away happening? In the church. There’s nothing to fall away from in the world. Christ meant an apostasy in the church. There will be a massive apostasy, do not be a part of it. Paul just said there will be a falling away he did not mention your name. All he’s saying, it will happen, you and I can choose, we will not be a part of that. We will be faithful to God’s remnant Church even unto death. Except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Of whom is he writing? The son of perdition or the man of sin is whom? Well he worked by the power of Satan but who is he? Who is what is he called in Revelation 13? The Beast. What is he called in Daniel 7? The little horn. It’s the same power. Here’s how Paul describes that power and the powers coming: 2 Thessalonians 2:9 – whose coming is after the working of Satan. The power of the son of perdition, is the power of Satan. If you read revelation 13:4 it says and they worship the Dragon which gave power unto the Beast. Now Jesus calls Judas the son of perdition, the same name the Bible gives to the Beast, the Antichrist, the little horn or the man of sin. Now Jesus said of Judas in John 6:70 have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? So, Christ is pleading with the devil.
Now favor number three is think. Then the Bible says Jesus the same yesterday, today and forever. Using the way Christ dealt with Judas, whom Christ identified as a what? A devil. Go back thousands of years, millions when the first devil sinned, you think Christ dealt with him any differently? No. Christ must have given Lucifer chance after chance, after chance to repent. Because a devil is a devil, is a devil. The mercy of God even with someone bent on God’s destruction.
Let’s run back to Genesis, we go chapter 18 we read from verse 25. Abraham is talking to God. Abraham is pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah, not only because Lot is living there, Lot’s family, but Abraham is a merciful man. Ellen White said the spirit of Abraham was a spirit of Christ. He’s pleading for people’s salvation and he said 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. Now question for you, did God already know they weren’t fifty? Yes. Does Abraham know that? No. So, at which level does God have to function? Abraham’s level. So, God comes down to Abraham’s limited level and works with Abraham’s limited knowledge so that Abraham would eventually see that God was right in the first place – that is mercy.
The Lord said verse 26 yes if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? He says God come on will you destroy because you miss 5 of the 50? Statistically Father was the difference between 45 and 50? Not much. That’s the way Abraham – and the Lord stays with him at his level. Okay, He said, If I find there 40 and 5, I am not destroying it. And Abraham went down to 40 in verse 29. He went to 30 in verse 30, to 20 in verse 31, to ten in verse 32. What Abraham saw was the extent to which God will go to express His mercy.
My brothers and sisters, let’s go to Genesis 15, our subject blessed are the merciful and we need to bless God’s holy name all the time. You know we always ask God for things but let’s bless God. Genesis 15 verse 13 13 And He said unto Abram, know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Now fourth generation in that context is 400 years. Sometimes the Bible says 415, sometimes for 430, sometimes 400, that can be explained but I can’t get into that now. God tells Abraham, I’m giving you this land but you’ve to wait, because these heathens, their iniquity is not yet full. What does that mean? It’s like God is saying, here’s a glass of sin and it’s just half-full. I and My mercy must give them an opportunity not just to fill up the glass but to turn back.
And so, God told Abraham you and your descendants cannot occupy this land as long as there is hope for the repentance of the Amorites because God didn’t just die for Abraham – for God so loved the world – including the Amorites? Yes. A merciful God! Now I’ve heard people jump all over God, how can God be so bloodthirsty? Told the Israelites destroy this tribe and destroy that tribe, but after 400 years of refusing to repent God uses the Israelites as His sword of destruction and He starts to destroy the tribe. He had given them 400 years! That’s mercy. Not bowing to that mercy is arrogance. We serve a merciful God
Let’s go further back Genesis 6 reading from verse 1. Our subject is blessed are the merciful. Genesis 6 reading from verse 1. The chapter that introduces the flood. And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years – to repent. After listening to Noah whom the Bible describes as righteous, for a hundred and twenty years, these people did not repent. When the flood came, the only righteous people were Noah and his family, on the entire earth, but the earth had a hundred and twenty years. What did God say to the Israelites? I told you God is no respect of persons, to the Jews He said, 70 weeks are determined upon thy people. He gave that nation finally 490 years to do what they should have done years before! It began in 457, it ended in AD34. And just before AD34, Jesus said your house is left unto you desolate. God is merciful and if we’re to be one with God we must be merciful.
And so, as we see God going to the limit with Judas, we intelligently reason He went to the limit with Satan. We see Abraham taking God to the limit to save Sodom and Gomorrah. God goes to the limit to save the antediluvians in the days of Noah. He gives His nation 490 years, that’s half of a millennium virtually. That’s the God we serve. In Isaiah chapter 5 verse 4 God says 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? What else can I do?
And so tonight we want to behave like God. Romans 12:18 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. But to do that, you have to take stuff. And we live in a society that teaches you, don’t take stuff from anybody. Do we understand we serve a God who has taken stuff for 6,000 years? He’s taking it right now. There are some members who should have been here, they’re probably home watching TV. That is God taking stuff. 6000 years of taking stuff from people because God is merciful and we who claim to be His children we are too quick to fight back. Someone jumps in our face we jump higher, mm-hmm. Jesus says if any man will compel you to go a mile go with him twain. If he takes a coat give him your cloak. In other words, do everything in your power to get along.
When Jesus sent the seventy or the twelve out to preach in Matthew 10, He said to them behold I send you forth as sheep among wolves. Here are the sheep, here are the wolves, which one is more dangerous? The wolf. But Jesus tells the sheep, you be wise as serpent. He said nothing to the wolves. God has no expectation of the wolf to be nice to His sheep. He tells the sheep, those are wolves, because you are connected to Me, you want to be smarter than them, you find a way to get along or get around them. You be wise as serpents, harmless you let you work in an environment where people are unsaved you have to figure out how to get along. That’s God’s expectation.
And many of us we bring problems in ourselves because we don’t take time, how can I get along? I am not talking about, Rodney King can we all get along, for those of you who are old enough to remember that. I mean a biblical requirement. We must be people who take stuff. If you live your Christian life this way – with fist fights, you’re not headed to heaven. It is impossible to grow in Christ when you live your Christian life this way – with fist fights. That’s not the way Christ lived. He lived this Christian life this way – with open arms. He was hurt, now He did not carry your sign, hurt Me, but He was hurt, He was hurt, He was hurt and He took it because His first concern was not Him but the person doing the hurt. How can I behave in such a way to change that person? For us, how can I behave in such a way to end my pain? That’s how we think. Blessed are the merciful – the most merciful person in the universe is God and tonight we bless His name and we thank Him. It is because of His mercy that we are alive right now. Can you say Amen? We thank God for His mercy and we ask Him tonight, Father give me a merciful heart. When God came down to show His glory to Moses, Moses said in Exodus 33 verse 18 show me thy glory, meant God’s face and brightness. The Bible says in first chapter 34 verse 5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, – merciful and gracious, that’s God.
Psalm 103 verse 10 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities, meaning if God truly gave us what we deserved, we would have perished long time. He hath not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. We never get from God what we truly deserve, I mean on the negative side. On the positive side, we get everything we don’t deserve. There isn’t a human being who deserves the smallest blessing from God, but God gives them because He loves us, because He is merciful. Do you have an opportunity to give someone a break? Do it. To say, forget it, do it. Now, you can’t compromise integrity, you can’t, but as far as possible, give people a break. Forget it, you didn’t mean it, let’s start again. What did Jesus say forgive how many times a day? Seven times. mm-hmm. Well He was not being mathematically precise, He was just saying keep doing it, keep doing it as long as it is necessary. Why would Jesus say that? Because that’s the way He is.
Let me close the book to let you know I’m finishing. One with him is our theme, blessed are the merciful, our message for tonight. Shall we not ask God to give us a merciful heart? Merciful to our fellow brothers and sisters? Merciful to the Pastor? Merciful to our neighbor? Merciful to those vulnerable, those less fortunate than we are? Mercy is such a powerful evangelistic tool. It is the very heart of God because we know the greatest expression of Mercy is that cross on Calvary. And so mercy and the law they meet and that is where God’s throne is, the place where righteousness or justice and mercy kiss according to God’s Word.
How many of you will say with me Father, seriously give me a merciful heart? May I see your right hand. Give me a merciful heart? Let stand, to forgive people, give them a break. Tell them forget it – young and old just have that heart like God. God does not tolerate sin but God is merciful.
Closing prayer –
Heads bowed eyes closed
Dear God in heaven, we thank you for your mercy. Father your slow to anger. You delight in mercy that’s what the Bible says, Micah 7:18 you delight in mercy. Father in heaven, so many of us do not delight in mercy, we’re hard, we’re harsh, we’re unfeeling, we’re cruel, we are vengeful. Father take that out of us dear God and create in us a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within us dear God, a spirit distinguished by mercy, not mercy as the world shows it but mercy that originates with you, yourself. Give us that heart, dear God. Take us home safely as an act of divine mercy. Let angels patrol our homes to protect us as we sleep and Father bring us back tomorrow to hear your word again. Thank you for being merciful to us we bless your Holy name and your merciful name and we thank you in Jesus name and for His sake. Let God’s people say Amen and amen.