This Sunday we will be studying our sixth beatitude as we are still in the beginning of our sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. As we have taken the time to explore each of these attitudes and attributes that we are to "be" in the Christian life, we have learned more about our Savior and more of ourselves. How wonderful is it that our Lord and King took the time to instruct us on kingdom living.
One of my favorite quotes regarding The Sermon on the Mount has been by Martin Lloyd-Jones: “We are not told in the Sermon on the Mount, live like this and you will become Christian; rather we are told, because you are a Christian live like this.” The beatitudes, and all of Jesus' famous sermon for that matter, instruct us on Christian living. However, we must be careful not to think, "If I just do all these things, then I will be happy, and then God will love me." That is not the point of the sermon and it is not the point of the whole Bible. The Bible never presents us with a formula or a set of instructions only, but with a person. We are to "be" like Jesus. We are to be meek and merciful and the other wonderful attributes that He teaches because that is the example of our Lord.
I also want to bring to your attention a possible misunderstanding from my sermon last week on "Blessed are the merciful." At one point in my sermon (specifically around the 24 minute mark if you listened to it online), I made reference to what marriage struggles might be like in a home and used the words "beating up" in the context of a husband and wife struggle. I want you to know that I used that phrase as an expression of being worn down, frustrated or aggravated. I was NOT advocating or encouraging mercy at the expense of domestic abuse. I hope to be more sensitive and thoughtful of my words next time.
What I was trying to communicate by way of application when I used that example, was that we should be willing to show mercy toward others by getting involved in messy situations with brothers and sisters in Christ, even if our natural tendency would be to stay away or avoid the situation. One example would be a divorce situation that is not pleasant. The point being that showing mercy and forgiveness can often be really hard and most certainly, not natural. We cannot pick and choose when to show mercy, and thereby, when NOT to show mercy and forgiveness. Jesus calls us to be merciful because we have been shown great mercy.
I'm very thankful for the brother in Christ who pointed this out to me. I'm thankful for his and others' concern for making sure I am preaching biblically and correctly. I do hope that I have now clarified my comments. Like all of you, I am gravely concerned by domestic abuse and child abuse of any kind. I do want to be sensitive to the issue while at the same time strongly condemning any type of abuse in a family. We are not called to show mercy at the expense of physical abuse to ourselves or others. We are called to show mercy with wisdom. Thank you for letting me preach the Word of God to you. May God bless you as you hear His Word.
by His grace and to His praise,