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Friday, May 2, 2014

We Are Always in Need of God's Great Mercy

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Peter knows about God's great mercy. He denied his Lord when He needed him most. He even cursed to convince those listening that he didn't know Jesus. He must praise the Lord.

The Greek word is eulogetes. We get the word eulogize from it. It means that we say good words. It results from the great mercy that God has given to us. He gave us new birth. He changed our destiny. He gave us a new relationship with Him. He made us into a new creation. He caused us to be born again.

We were given a living hope. Hope depends upon Someone who is able to give a better future than the present reality. This hope changes because it is living. It adapts to the situation that we are in. It pursues us when we deviate from His path.

The resurrection of Jesus gives us this hope. He was dead and was resurrected. We declare ourselves dead to sin and become resurrected to Him. His resurrection enabled our resurrection. His resurrection assures our physical resurrection.

All of this is mercy. Plain and simple. Mercy does not depend upon the one who needs the mercy but depends upon the One who gives it. The inability of the one who needs mercy so desperately magnifies the greatness of that mercy.

This past Sunday we met in our Fellowship Hall for worship Our 9,000 sq. ft. (approx. 836 sq. meters) sanctuary is being renovated. The Fellowship Hall is around 2700 sq. ft. (approx. 250 sq. meters). We were unable to take any recording equipment into the Fellowship Hall because of space limitations. I brought a hand held digital recorder to record the services. I forgot to turn it on in the first service. and gave it to someone else in the second. I decided to listen to the message to evaluate the sound quality.

It was awful! The recording was great but the sermon was terrible. My first thought was how bad I had done. My second thought was, "What is wrong with these people?! I would get up and walk out if I had to listen to preaching this bad!" I realized again that I needed God's mercy and that I needed to listen more carefully to what He wanted to say.

Realizing that mercy is needed is like being hungry and realizing that you need to eat. The hungrier you are the better the food tastes. The greater the mercy seems when you need it very badly.

It is grace when God uses me. It is mercy when He makes something happen which reveals His glory when I muck things up so badly. So while I need His grace for doing what is right, I need His mercy in what I have done so wrong. His mercy is always great and as long as I am a sinner,  I am always in need of it.

So, this Sunday I will ask for His grace. I will do my best to walk in that grace. I will always need His mercy for my sins. I just hope I won't need His mercy for my sermon.


Anthony Chia said...

I am sure it puzzles some people, when they read Psalm 23. That although the Lord is our Shepherd, and in that psalm, we read of the green pastures and quiet waters which He would bring us to, yet we also read that we could pass through valleys of the shadow of death. Why does the Great Shepherd allow us, His sheep, to pass through such valleys? Why can't He somehow, all the time, being with us, bring us, via some other route so that we can still get to the green pastures and quiet waters?

Well, I picture that, had The Lord done that all the time, I would NOT come to appreciate His grace and His mercy. I would have taken Him for granted even more than I am, today (I truly cannot say I don't ever take Him for granted, presently. {Lord, accept me as I am, first, I will try to improve on that}). I may even begin to think I am the God, He is the servant, that it is His duty to serve me, get me to where all the good things are, regardless; like I don't want to go to the mountain, He has to bring the mountain to me!

Some overly grace preachers seemingly tell us we are living in a different world. It is, "no" and "yes". The "no" must be recognized. It is "no" if the suggestion is that we are in an enclave of our own; like we are in one world, the so-called Christian world, and the non-believers, another world. We are in the same world; the same world that the non-believers are in. When scripture said that we are to be the light and salt of the world, it is light and salt in the same world where the non-believers are. We, believers, are NOT taken out and placed in a trouble-free world of our own, where there is only green pastures and quiet waters, not presently, anyway.

It is possible that at times, The Lord would have His angels completely encamped around you, and even feed you (Elijah was fed by God/angel), but it is NOT all the time, we are placed in the land of Goshen (Gen 45:10). Even when we do get placed in Goshen, it is NOT permanent, as was the case of the Israelites of old; or that we can discern from Psalm 23, we don't stay in a permanent green pasture or quiet water; we move at the appropriate times, from one pasture and water to another, and we better obey and be led by the Shepherd. Yes, in a most significant way, we are of a different "world". We are in this world but we are of another world. We, believers, are enlisted into God's army and so, are part of the Kingdom of Heaven, invading this world; but we are in this world, NOT in Heaven or in another world.

We need both the grace and mercy of our God and King, because we are in this world, where Jesus, Himself, said we would have troubles. Why would there NOT be troubles, for this is a fallen world and has Satan and his minions having it as their playground, so to speak. What game is Satan and his minions playing? They aim to steal, kill and destroy you and I, men (John 10:10a).

Satan is the great deceiver, and we are NOT out of the battleground. We are fighting NOT against flesh and blood, and so, we NOT only need to be fully armored to fight, we need both the grace and mercy of God, to live an abundant life. We need both the grace and mercy of God, because, presently, we are NOT as nearly as powerful as the spirits, on our own. We are more powerful than them, only in Christ Jesus. Yet, we do NOT put ourselves at the mercy of the evil ones, for we have a lord, our Lord. He who is in us is greater than he who is outside, said Scripture. The Spirit of Christ is in us, and the one outside is referring to Satan. It is our identification with Christ that makes us powerful.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

From Ps Prentis' repeated contrasted uses in his entry, we can see, grace is we receiving from God what we need, when we deserved them NOT, or merited them NOT; whereas mercy is we being spared the punishment or hardship we deserve. We receive both grace and mercy, without merit on our part, and so, we can demand NOT them from God (we ask but cannot demand) and angry NOT at God for "NOT giving them" to us, at times. Actually, God's grace and mercy are flowing out to us, all the time; it is just that what He portions to each is what He considers, for each case, His "sufficient grace and mercy" for the case. We, we are almost always thinking they are insufficient! What does Scripture say concerning this? Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Don't get me wrong! Ask, by all means, ask; I do that so very often, yet note these:
1. Be identified with Christ always; and
2. Be thankful, always; and so, rejoice in The Lord, always; again, I say, rejoice.
3. Love Him always, and with your all, too.

No, I am NOT proposing people work for grace and mercy. I am proposing we must NOT be like the Devil, who identified NOT with Christ, who is thankful NOT, to God, and who love God NOT. For the Devil: ultimately, grace and mercy, he shall have NONE.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions