Good morning! So, smartphones, tablets, personal computers or PCs – when kids talk about games these days, most games that they would play would be found on these gadgets. Before there were gadgets, like for someone such as myself, mga batang 90’s and older, in order to play or have fun, wala pa nun’ yung mga gadgets na ito. So, we physically play, whether cards man yan, board games. To more physical games, like hide and seek, tex, yung without the letter T – yung t-e-x, ‘tex’, jolens and many more.
Now, one game I remember as a kid playing, was a game called Mercy. I’m not sure if may makaka-relate na Gen Z. But how it’s played is, what you do is you find another player, and then the opponent, what you do is you interlock your hands with your opponent, both hands, and then what you do is you bend your opponent’s hand as far as possible para sumakit, para masaktan siya. So much so, na sobrang sakit, all he can say, in order for you to stop, is to say “mercy”.
Somehow the world has an idea of what mercy is. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, mercy is the compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one that is subject to one’s power. So, the world has an idea what it means. But for a Christian, mercy should have a much deeper essence, because they have experienced it in a divine way, a supernatural way. In fact, it should have an impact on Christians so great, that their entire being, their entire way of living is affected by it. So Christians, in other words, should bear the mark of mercy.
Turn with me to our passage this morning. We’ll read, our passage is Matthew chapter 5 verse 7 but, like in the previous sermons as well, I’d like to read on verses 2 to 12, so we’ll have an overview of the entire beatitudes. Verse 2, I’ll read from ESV, And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. May the Lord add blessing to the reading of His word.
So still we are on the Sermon on the Mount. We are on verse 7 and this is still particularly on the beatitudes. And as mentioned on our previous sermons, these beatitudes is a list of characteristics, but these characteristics are mentioned not so we can cherry pick the ones that we like, kung ano yung feeling natin yun yung parang strong suit natin, and then just leave out the rest, omit the rest of them. No, that’s not the case.
These characteristics are what makes up the entirety, the whole being of a Christian man, a man who is in the kingdom of God. And so, these beatitudes do not guide us on what we need to do to earn our entry to God’s Kingdom, but rather it helps us in assessing ourselves if we, as Christians, are doing our part as kingdom citizens. If we are doing what is written on our essentially our job description.
Now, don’t worry about unbelievers. They’re doing their job just fine. Sila yung mga expert dun sa mga bagay ng pagsuway sa Panginoon, pag disobey sa Kanyang law. But for us who have been redeemed purely by grace, and who are waiting for the return of the King to remove the curse of sin in us, we recognize that there is still remaining sins in our flesh. And so, we always have to evaluate ourselves, if we are living in obedience to the word of God, if you are living in accordance with the characteristics of what a kingdom citizen should look like.
To borrow from Charles Spurgeon, sabi niya na itong mga characteristics na ito raw are like steps on a ladder in which a Christian character or trait develops, upon realizing that there is nothing in us that is acceptable before God, because of sin we genuinely mourn for our helpless sinful state. And because we know how helpless we are before the judge of the heavens and the earth, then we become meek not in the sense that we are weak, but in the sense of not being boastful and proud for there is nothing for us to be able to boast before God; in other words humble or gentle. Now, because of those realizations, we hunger and thirst for what we can never find in ourselves, and that is righteousness by God’s mercy, that is what he will give us.
Now here’s the thing, God doesn’t owe us anything for him to be persuaded to show us mercy but yet He did. He did so, not because of anything of us, remember doon sa ating mga natutunan, sa ating mga pag- aaral, God cannot be persuaded for something that is out of Himself. Kung mangyari iyon, then God is not God. So, God did it out of the counsel of his own will, nothing of us, nothing in us, that’s why we call it grace.
Now, having experienced this divine mercy, and being considered kingdom citizens, because of what Christ has done, then we are both called by God, and also, with hearts change, we are willing to show mercy towards others as well. This is a picture of the kingdom of heaven and this is also the message for us this morning. The message is that the kingdom of the merciful God consists of merciful people. The kingdom of the merciful God consists of merciful people. Sa Tagalog, ang kaharian ng maawaing Diyos ay binubuo rin ng mga maawaing mga tao. We’ll divide it into two parts tackling two different perspectives. Una sa lahat, we’ll look at God who has shown us mercy, God being the first point – Mercy’s Source. And then we’ll look at the second point on how we are changed by God’s mercy. So, the second point is Mercy’s Effect. Let’s go on our first point.
Our first point – Mercy’s Source. Gaya ng sinabi sa ating verse ngayon, the mercy that Jesus’ disciples will receive is God’s mercy. Blessed are those who are merciful, for they shall receive mercy. It didn’t say the name of God but in the design of how the literature back then works, in fear of using God’s name in vain, there is an automatic understanding then that when they say this they’re pertaining to God. The mercy that they shall receive is from God. They shall receive mercy. Again, we must remember, us being merciful is not the reason why God would allow us into His kingdom or even forgive us. God allows us into His kingdom, God forgives us of our sins because He is merciful, because He decided in His own will to show us mercy. Now, what exactly does it mean to receive the mercy of God? Kailangan natin maintindihan at alamin kung ano talaga itong ‘mercy’ na pinag-uusapan natin dito. Kasi to appreciate the gospel, it is necessary that we identify what ‘mercy’ it is that we pertain to, because God being God extends to us manifold mercies. Ang dami nating pwedeng i-identify na awa ng Diyos. Actually, lahat ng nangyayari sa mundo ay dahil sa awa ng Diyos. So, we need to be careful in identifying nang sa ganon alam natin kung ano yung atin in-appreciate bilang mga citizens ng Kanyang kaharian.
According to Arthur W. Pink sa kanyang libro na Attributes of God, sabi niya “God’s mercy denotes his inclination to relieve the misery of fallen creatures”. We understand that mercy then, ibig sabihin, presupposes sin. Ibig sabihin kaya nagpapakita ng awa ang Panginoon ay dahil sa existence o pagkakaroon ng kasalanan. Arthur Pink continues to say that God’s mercy has three-fold distinctions, and we’ll go over them real quick para ma- identify natin.
Una sa lahat meron siyang tinawag na General Mercy. And general mercy, ibig sabihin, ito yung awa na tinatangap ng buong creation, ng mga tao, ng mga nilikha Niyang hayop, ng mga nilikha Niyang halaman, na under ng curse ng sin. The reason why the birds of the air, the beast of the land, the fishes of the sea, are able to thrive and live and eat and continue living is because of God’s General Mercy.
And then there is also that Special Mercy that is specifically for Humanity, para sa mga tao, in helping them, in providing for them, in aiding them with the necessities of life. Included po dito, sa ganitong klase ng awa, not just the believers, but also the unbelievers. Gaya ng sabi sa scripture, even God causes the rain to fall even on the good and the evil.
But then there is this third mercy which Arthur pink called Sovereign Mercy, and this is reserved for those whom God saves. The Sovereign Mercy is reserved for those, who through Christ their sins have been forgiven, and they then in return have been welcomed into the kingdom of God. So when Christ, said blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy, these Christians receive this sovereign mercy specifically.
The greatest mercy from God is having our sins pardoned in receiving us in His kingdom. Because otherwise, if we have not been pardoned of our sins, if we have not been received in His kingdom and still continue to be alienated from God, then ang mangyayari sa atin throughout the end of this earthly life, we would be, we will be facing the judgment of God. We will be facing the punishment of God, not because trip lang ng Pnginoon na tayo ay maparusahan, because He is sovereign, but because we have been sinful, because we have been living in sin, because we have been disobedient to Him, because we have disrespected the holy, just God who hates sin. We continue to do so. Kahit ngayon tayo ay merong in dwelling sin. And so, if not for the mercy of God, if not for God pardoning our sins and receiving us in His kingdom, then it would be a hopeless state for all of mankind.
If you are someone who is not yet in Christ, who have not known the finished work of Christ, and you are hearing this now, and you might say to yourself “Nakakatanggap ako ng awa ng Panginoon sa araw-araw. Nagpapasalamat nga ako sa mga blessings na natatanggap ko mula sa Panginoon. Pero hindi ako namumuhay ng kagaya ng pamumuhay na tinatawag Niya sa bawat Kristiyano. So I think this is enough.” Then my friend you are mistaken. You may have been experiencing the mercy of God, yes, but it is not his mercy that is enough to save you from your sins.
Well next question, does it mean if I don’t believe in Christ, then I don’t have the chance to experience God’s sovereign mercy? Of course not. there is still that call, there is still that invitation na naririnig ninyo ngayon, habang kayo’y humihinga, habang kayo’y nabubuhay, para kayo’y tumalikod sa inyong mga kasalanan. Repent of your sins now and trust in the finished work of Christ, which is the only basis by which all our sins may be forgiven by God.
We are all spiritually bankrupt. We are all breakers of the law. We read in the decalogue a while ago and none can raise his hands saying that he has perfected in obeying it otherwise. We don’t have it in our innermost desire, and ability para gawin kung ano ang pleasing sa ating Panginoon. We have nothing to offer God that can satisfy His anger for sin. For even to the best of our abilities, like seeking, our offering is only imperfect, tainted offerings before God, dahil tayo ay mga makasalanang nilalang.
And that leaves us hopelessly counting down our lives to an everlasting punishment. Gaya sa binasa natin kanina sa confession ng ating mga kasalanan, God being rich in Mercy has sent his only son who lived the perfect life without breaking the law, therefore Christ was sinless. In that perfect life of Christ is what was offered unto God by dying on that cross, not for His sins, but for yours and mine. It has been the only offering that is accepted by God. Really? Has it been really accepted by God? We can definitely say yes. Why? How do we know that? Because Christ rose from the dead after three days. That’s what it costs para maging available sa sangkatauhan ang awa ng Panginoon.
Well, do you think that you are in too deep, in your sins and that God will not show you his mercy? Again, God sent His son to save us. And Christ accomplished this mission that was given to Him by the Father completely. That is the finished work of Christ where our salvation rests upon. And the spirit of God bears witness in our hearts and calls us to respond and come to Him. So, this invitation is still here while you are breathing and living here on earth. Repent of your sins, turn away from your sins, and turn to Christ, trust in Christ.
My brothers and sisters here in Christ’s Heritage would probably agree to this, but now here is a question for us who identify ourselves as Christians, part of citizens of God’s Kingdom. We forget sometimes of the greatness of the mercy that we receive from God. That is a fact because otherwise hindi tayo magkakaron ng kasalanan. But as we have said on the pastoral prayer kanina, every minute of our lives, meron pa rin tayong inclination sa kasalanan. And so, the problem is we forget that great mercy that we receive from God. We forget the cost of the salvation that the Triune God has given to us. What shall we do then?
So, here’s my first challenge, we forget then we reflect on Christ’s work, and be humbled in knowing you received what you did not deserve. Reflect on Christ’s work. Let me ask you, do you take God’s mercy for granted and continue in your sin? Lalo na sa ating mga Kristyano. Of course, sa unbelievers automatic, they take God for granted. The fact that they do not come to Christ is they take God for granted. But for us professing Christians, is there a time in our life, may mga oras ba sa ating buhay where we take for granted this mercy of God and give in to our sins?
My friends, brothers and sisters, let’s reflect on the work of Christ. God did not leave us alone, God sent His Spirit, His Spirit is in us to strengthen us. God has given us His Word that we may not forget, and we may continuously be reminded of is promises. God gave us overseers and elders to shepherd us, a local church to edify one another, a day in a week to come together, and worship Him, and reflect on His mercy. God even gave us two sacraments the Lord’s supper and baptism to remind us of how our sins have been pardoned and how we have been welcomed and ushered in into His kingdom. Now isn’t that sovereign mercy.
When temptation comes knocking on our doorstep, inviting us to follow our passions once again and disobey God. “Halika ginagawa mo naman ito dati. Tara, isa lang tapos mag sorry ka na lang ulit kay God.” Reflect on the work of Christ. As we would be singing later, “when trials come, when waves of trouble roll”, we can just, to the point where we can’t bear it reflect on Christ’s work. His work can bring a sweet relief to every pain that we feel. If that’s not enough look at this part. Binasa natin ito sa 2nd London Baptist kanina in chapter 18 paragraph 4, the assurance of a true believer salvation may be shaken in diverse ways. Not in one way, there are numerous ways kung saan matetest ang ating faith. Kung saan kwe-kwestyunin natin mismo ang ating salvation. Kwe-kwestyunin natin kung tayo ba talaga ay citizens ng kingdom. Bakit? Dahil tayo ay nagpapatuloy minsan sa ating mga kasalanan. Dahil minsan tayo’y nagfa- fail. Dahil minsan tayo ay nahahatak ng tawag ng ating flesh para tayo ay sumunod sa kung anong layunin natin at hindi layunin ng Panginoon.
But our confession continues, “yet are they never destitute of the seed of God and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime, they are preserved from utter despair.” Sa madaling salita, nagpatuloy ka sa kasalanan matapos kang iligtas ng Panginoon, and yet God does not give up on His elect. He remains faithful to His elect making sure that they don’t fail definitively. That they would still be kept, that they would still be kingdom citizens. Despite of our sinfulness, isn’t that sovereign mercy? Reflect on Christ’s work and you will be comforted by God’s sovereign mercy.
In understanding this, there is no other effect than but to be overwhelmed. Ikaw ba naman hindi ka pa naman ma-overwhelm na ang Panginoon ay nagpakita sayo ng ganun klaseng awa. There’s no other effect but to be overwhelmed by this overflowing divine mercy coming from God. And now being compassionate, this is what grows in us. Being compassionate ourselves, as we grow in the conformity of Christ, dahil tayo ay nakatanggap ng awa sa Panginoon, alam natin kung ano yung ating sorry state, then yun ay nakikita natin ngayon sa kamundohan. At ngayon, yun ang nagtutulak sa atin para tayo din mismo ay maging merciful na mga tao. And that is my last point – Mercy’s Effect.
Jesus said, those who are merciful are blessed, blessed are the merciful. Now, whether it is true that the Greek translation for blessed means happy, well for a Christian, I mean being happy alone doesn’t seem to define a blessedness. Parang, yes, we don’t say it’s false to say it’s happy, pero parang kulang. Being happy alone does not define blessedness to its fullest sense. Siguro to scrape off the surface and go deeper we can say that a Christian’s blessedness also points to his standing, his right standing before God because of what Christ has done. There is joy in us, there is happiness, because in Christ we have been at peace with God. The penalty of our sins, because of what Christ has done, had been forgiven. And the wrath of God is now not poured on us, because it had been poured on the cross.
So, for someone who is humbled in this mourning, his spiritual bankruptcy, and is starving for righteousness, then God’s mercy is the only thing that can comfort them. It’s the only thing that can comfort us. It’s the only thing that would satisfy our hunger. And as we receive that our response to God is the praise and glory of His name. Just look at David who had sinned against God. We know of the sin of David, but look at what he says here in Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, he was talking to himself, Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. And so, if we understand of this mercy of God then as David, we glorify the name of God.
But also, in understanding this, we also see the world in its true state. Kung dati akala natin normal lang lahat. Ordinaryo lang ang mga nangyayari sa paligid natin. The beliefs of the world, of our society is okay. Nung tayo’y nakaintindi ng awa ng Panginoon, ng galit ng Panginoon sa kasalanan, then we see the whole world in a different light. We see it in a fallen sinful state. And because of the wickedness of man, we see suffering, persecution and pain, na hindi natin nakikita before. Our new heart is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and now it yearns for Christ’s likeness, and move us to be compassionate, and to show mercy to the world around us, to show mercy to others. The natural effect of being at peace with God, of being blessed is being merciful towards others.
If we have genuinely received the mercy, then we cannot help but show the same to others. I forgot who mentioned this, pero sumagi lang sa isip ko, how other theologians have described evangelism or sharing the gospel. They said it’s like a beggar pointing to another beggar where to find bread. So, it’s like that. Dahil naiintindihan mo kung ano yun kalagayan ng mundo na lubog na lubog sa kasalanan, then nakakapag-pakita ka ng awa sa kanila, nagiging compassionate ka sa kanila, nagkakaron ka ng courage na sila ay bahagian din ng Bread of Life na makakapagligtas sa lahat.
Having a new heart, we have been given the fruit of the Spirit. Among the fruits, there is love, there is goodness, there is kindness. Does that Spirit dwells in our hearts, our hearts softens. In a sense, we do not think only of ourselves anymore, we also think of others. We do not seek revenge on those who wronged us, we seek to forgive, knowing that we have been forgiven for so much more. Hence, we show mercy because God Himself is merciful. So, we have been willing to show mercy to others, because we have experienced that mercy, but also because God Himself is merciful.
Sabi nga doon sa binasa natin kanina sa Luker chapter 6 verses 35 to 36 love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful. So, we are called, as citizens of the kingdom, to be merciful people. And we have our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as that visible embodiment of that mercy, that which we have received from God. And now God calls us to be holy for He is Holy. Which means we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, sabi ni Paul sa Ephesians. And that includes being merciful, that is part of the good works that is expected of us, being compassionate to the needy, forgiving our offenders.
However, because of indwelling sin, because there is still remaining sin in us, even as Christians, there is a tendency for us to hold back on the mercy that we ought to give to others. Minsan nag hold back tayo, nagdadalawang isip tayo, nag-aalangan tayo maging compassionate, nag- aalangan tayo tumulong, nag-aalangan tayo magpatawad. We give it a second thought when we are confronted by our selfishness. So, our last challenge is to mortify our selfishness and be kind to others.
Mortify our selfishness and be kind to others. When someone needs our help, ano ang unang bagay na ating naiisip, what’s the first thing that comes to our mind? May nakita tayo ng nangangailangan ng tulong, probably hindi siya nanghihingi ng tulong, pero as a Christian, medyo sumasagi sa isip mo na tulungan siya, pero ano yun unang reaksyon ng isip mo? “Sayang yung oras kasi medyo busy ako. Marami naman akong fellow brothers and sisters in Christ na ready tumulong sa kanya”, “sayang sa energy”, “hassle”. Or kung nangangailangan ng pera, let’s say pera or material needs, “Sayang mababawasan yung pera ko. Ahh magkano kaya? Baraya na lang”. So, I’m not saying we should be carefree and even worse be careless without being good stewards of God’s resources. What I’m saying is, what comes to our minds? Is there even an inclination in our minds na tayo ay maging compassionate? “Nah, may iba naman nagagawa yan. God will provide, not just me.” Is that how we think when these scenarios arise?
This also applies, not just to strangers, but also friends and relatives and family, yes even families. Our children is longing for affection, is seeking for attention, but oh we’re too busy for work, and you’re bothering me with work. “Nak..” minsan nga hindi pa maganda yung pagkakasabi, “Alis dyan! Inaabala mo ako!”. Our spouses need our help, but we’re too preoccupied with our own needs, and now we neglect to think of them. Even in our homes nangyayari din ang ating hindi pagbibigay ng mercy, ng awa at ng pagpapatawad, even sa ating mga kapamilya. So, we have to be very careful, and we have to mortify our selfishness, our pride, and be kind to them.
When someone sins against you how do we respond? Are we too quick to point out their sins? Of course, nagkasala nga e, alam natin sin yun, alam natin against God, how do we respond, being sinful men ourselves? Are we too quick to point out their sins? “Yan ang kasalanan mo. Yan i-mortify mo yan, mortify mo yan.” Are we so quick to point out to them how we have been wronged and how we need restitution? “Mag sorry ka sa akin, kailangan ko ng apology.” Or do we even bother to ask, knowing that we are sinful as well, do we even bother to ask “why did you do it my friend”, “why did you do it my brother”, “why did you do it my sister”. And perhaps in the process, understand the state where they’re in, what have caused them to sin and by the providence of God, point them to the gospel as well. It might be a way for us to lead them, “pagsisihan mo kapatid ang iyong kasalanan, at magtiwala ka sa Panginon Hesu Kristo at humingi ka ng kapatawaran.” How do we respond when someone sins against us?
Sometimes, our selfishness takes over our pride, takes over and we forget that we are not just called out to identify and point out sins. we are also called to be compassionate and merciful to others. So, brothers and sisters, and friends, again let us mortify our selfishness be kind to others. And let us show mercy for we have received mercy.
The greatest display of mercy that God has displayed for us, had given us, is none other than the mercy that we can find in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. As people of His kingdom, it is our distinguishing mark as Christians to be merciful. It is a distinguishing mark this Christians must have, just as their Lord and Savior had been merciful to them. So may the Lord keep us all, as we continue to abide in His faithfulness, in His mercy and His love. Let us all pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, our merciful God, we understand that it is only by your grace, and only by your mercy that even at this very hour we are still living. It’s only by Christ holding everything together that we are still here. And we’re still able to worship you and come to you. Thank you Father for reminding us, for convicting us of our spiritual bankruptcy Lord, of our need for Christ’s righteousness. And thank you for your mercy in providing it for us. Sa ganun Panginoon, we are confident in coming to you knowing that you are faithful to forgive. We can come to you as not strangers but as your sons and your daughters. Not because of anything that we have done but because of the mercy which You have shown us through Your son Jesus. We thank you Lord for giving us this privilege, for showing mercy on us, and accepting us in your Kingdom, for assuring the Kingdom of God, Your kingdom, in our hearts. And so Father, we pray as we still remain here on earth, being haunted, being chased by our remaining sins, Father we pray, and we thank you that we can come to your mercy seat, that we can take refuge in you, that we can lift up to you our concerns, our pains, our challenges, our struggles knowing that you do not leave us or forsake us. That as your people, you will not leave us be, but You are here always with us, guiding us, strengthening us, making sure that we are with you, that we see you to the end when Christ returns. Father may you be glorified in our worship and thank you for this day which you have given us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.