Every week at our church we have something transitional in the order of service. It’s a short exhortation that helps us transition from our occupation with the secular, and focus our thoughts on the sacred. Various elders and aspiring leaders are given the opportunity to present these, and I’ve included one below.
By Stephan Landers
If asked, many people would say they are Christians. If you specified how they can be sure, they would say, “I prayed the prayer” or “I asked Jesus into my heart”, but what does a true follower of Jesus Christ really look like? How do we know if we have a genuine relationship with Him?
Over the past 4 weeks we have been looking at the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus gives us the answer. His children are poor in spirit. When they look at His holiness, they see themselves as the wicked sinners that they really are. His disciples mourn. Their hearts are broken because their sin grieves the heart of God. His followers are meek. Their spiritual pride has been shattered by the hopelessness of earning their salvation. When a person is born again they develop a hunger and thirst for righteousness. They joyfully embrace their calling to be salt and light in a fallen world.
The 5th beatitude is on the cover of the bulletin, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Mercy is God’s voluntary loving-kindness poured out on the undeserving sinner. It’s put on display because instead of immediate judgment, God has shown us mercy through the hope we have in the death of His only Son. So he is saying that we can show mercy now, in the small things of this mortal life because in the final judgment, true believers will receive mercy for the enormous sins committed against a holy God.
We’ve received infinite mercy, so how can we fail to show mercy to others? I pray that we will be merciful so that our heavenly Father will continue to lavish us with His mercy every day. Our Heavenly father is “rich in mercy” according to Ephesians 2:4, and he cares for us so much that even though, as Paul put it, “we were dead in our trespasses”, but he still showed us mercy.
You can only be happy in showing mercy if you truly believe in a just and all powerful God. The joy we experience in showing mercy is directly linked to our faith in God’s justice. We worship him this morning because our joy is amplified by our confidence that we can show mercy, and can leave the justice to him.