TEXT: MATTHEW 9:13 (9-13)
READING: PSALM 89: 1-18
SUBJ: Mercy as an attribute of God that is to be learned by both Holy Spirit instruction and experience in the redemptive process.
AIM: That we might learn and teach others the meaning of mercy as it is in Christ and that we may bear witness to knowing His mercy.
INTR: The call of Matthew occasioned a precious declaration concerning the terms of salvation and the necessity of mercy if fact and in practice.
1. Matthew, like many others, seemed to be an unlikely candidate for salvation. He is, also, a prime example of the application of the mercy of God.
2. We know of the mercy of God. We must learn its meaning and that from a personal perspective.
3. Here, we are given a clear mandate - "go and learn."
THESIS: There is no way, other than mercy, through which we are brought to Christ our Lord and salvation.
I. A challenged association (vv. 9-12)
1. The fact that Matthew was a publican was distressing to and a cause for question in the minds of many.
2. But, we note that His call to Matthew attracted many who were "sinners."
3. Of course, this activity drew the attention of the "righteous."
4. It is probable that they knew the scripture He quoted, but it is certain they did not understand it.
II. Learning the Meaning (v. 13)
1. From an old Webster's dictionary: That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.
2. The accusation from our Lord is clear that they and the many did not know. Similar behavior betrays the lack of such knowledge.
3. Mercy and Not sacrifice: two meanings.
1) Mercy as a work acceptable with God: Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
2) That which God delights to do in bringing many sons to glory.
4. God delights in mercy in that it enables Him to come to us with forgiveness and acceptance.
1) Many see themselves as first coming to Him.
2) We may show mercy because we are in the same condemnation.
3) But God is Holy and any display of goodness to sinners comes with a price
4) Thus, to understand mercy we must understand the sacrifice He provided (He could not accept their sacrifice because they believed it was enough).
5) But it also shows the intensity of His determination to redeem His people - Christ received what we deserve.
III. Not the righteous, but sinners (v. 13b)
1. God's mercy will be embraced by those who know their need.
2. The quote: "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."(Hosea 6:6)
3. The implication is that a true consciousness of the awfulness of sin reveals the absolute need of mercy.
1) This sense is not arrived at through a logical process (the methodology of the many)
2) Repentance is a call from the Lord to a proper experience of one's "undoneness" and only in this state can we learn the meaning of "mercy and not sacrifice."
4. All who truly hear that call come and so we echo the message we hear here. The call is to those who have had their condition revealed to them.
5. Learning the meaning of "mercy and not sacrifice" is a lifelong process and the results of such mercy are enjoyed through all eternity.
6. Thus, we are told - "go and learn..."