Aug 20, 2017 – Be Merciful: Motivation for Mercy
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Be Merciful
Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and 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. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
To “be merciful” (v36) we need to consider what is motivating us (what reward we are seeking, v35).
I) What do you hope to gain?
- Jesus’ questions (vv32-34) expose our limitations – we are naturally merciful to a certain point (until it stops helping us get what we want)
- Jesus would have us hold loosely onto the things that human beings are generally in competition for
II) What should you hope to gain?
- v35 “expecting nothing in return” (from the people to whom you are to show mercy)
- what we can hope to gain (from God) 1) mercy and grace 2) life with God 3) reward 4) God’s glory 5) satisfaction
Questions for Reflection
- What motivates you to kindness, generosity, compassion? What kinds of things do you hope to gain in situations where you have the opportunity to help others?
- Do you think a virtuous person should be free of any desire for gain? Would you be a better person if you didn’t want anything?
- In situations where it is particularly hard to do good and be kind (to those who mistreat you, etc.), what causes you to give up (stop trying)? Should you act kindly even if you don’t feel like it?
- Can being intentional about choosing new values and goals help you keep your heart merciful? If so, how?
- What priorities do you see in the life and ministry of Jesus that give an indication of what makes him the merciful person he is?
- If God is to be your source of satisfaction and you are to free yourself from seeking to find full satisfaction in material things or in what others think of you, what exactly should you seek in God? What are some good things to desire and to pursue?
Prayer of Confession
Our Lord and God, we confess that we lack a deep attitude of mercy because we are overly concerned with the wrong things. We can get so caught up in competing with others for the things of this world that our lives are filled with envy, bitterness, resentment and disappointment. Forgive us for not having the same eagerness simply to be your children and to enjoy the benefits of life with you, and the satisfaction of becoming more like you. Forgive our lack of compassion for others because we are consumed with our own personal gain. Show us mercy, and teach us mercy. Amen.