I. The Way in Which the Gospel Makes Us Merciful (The Gospel Root of Mercy)
– By its very nature, the Gospel crushes any sense of merit and deservedness before God.
– The Gospel replaces our “merit glasses” with “mercy glasses.”
II. The Ways in Which the Gospel Makes Us Merciful (The Gospel Fruit of Mercy)
– The Gospel creates in us a heart of mercy and love toward needy and undeserving people around us.
– The Gospel generates out from us joyful acts of generosity and sacrifice for others in need.
“The great reversal taking place in the world, in which the first are becoming last and the last are becoming first, the proud are being brought low and the humble are being exalted. Luke places great emphasis on God’s love for the poor, tax collectors, outcasts, sinners, women, Samaritans, and Gentiles. In keeping with this concern, many of the episodes that appear only in Luke’s Gospel feature the welcome of an outcast (the Christmas shepherds, the Prodigal Son, the persistent widow, Zacchaeus, etc.).” —ESV Study Bible, Intro to Luke, “Key Themes”
“When a Christian sees prostitutes, alcoholics, prisoners, drug addicts, unwed mothers, the homeless, the refugees, he knows that he is looking in the mirror. Perhaps the Christian spent all of his life as a respectable middle-class person. No matter. He thinks: ‘Spiritually I was just like these people, though physically and socially I never was where they are now. They are outcasts. I was an outcast.’”—Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy, p.63
“If they are come [into poverty] by idleness and [laziness and self-indulgence], yet we are not thereby excused from all obligation to relieve them, unless they continue in those vices… If we do otherwise, we shall act in a manner very contrary to the rule of loving one another as Christ loved us. Now Christ has loved us, pitied us, and greatly laid out himself to relieve us from that want and misery which we brought on ourselves by our own folly and wickedness. We foolishly and perversely threw away those riches with which we were provided, upon which we might have lived and been happy to all eternity.”—Jonathan Edwards, quoted by Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy, p.64
“Now we are in a position to see why Jesus (and Isaiah, James, John, and Paul) can use the ministry of mercy as a way to judge between true and false Christianity. A merely religious person, who believes God will favor him because of his morality and respectability, will ordinarily have contempt for the outcast. ‘I worked hard to get where I am, and so can anyone else!’ That is the language of the moralist’s heart. [But…] the language of the Christian’s heart [is this]: ‘I am only where I am by the sheer and unmerited mercy of God. I am completely equal with all other people.’ A sensitive social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of mercy to the needy is the inevitable sign of a person who has grasped the doctrine of God’s grace.” —Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy, p.65
“Mercy is spontaneous, superabounding love, which comes from an experience of the grace of God. The deeper the experience of the free grace of God, the more generous we must become. This is why Robert Murray M’Cheyne could say: ‘There are many hearing me who now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart.’”—Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy, pp.66-67
1. How do you view yourself? Where do you see yourself in the Gospel stories?
2. How does God (in Christ) view and treat you in your need and your undeservedness?
3. Who are some individuals in your life who are in need of mercy and help? How do you view them? How does the Gospel-mercy you’ve received move you to show mercy to them?
4. Next Sunday 8/22/21 after church (11:30-Noon): “Ministries of Mercy Opportunities Fair”