The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘character’

Mercy

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 10, 2008

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

The Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 5:7]

I’ve been preaching recently to our church on the “Blessed Attitudes“, or the Beatitudes, given by the Lord Jesus Christ in His opening of His Sermon on the Mount. WOW…what a study! I whole-heartily recommend every believer getting into studying what these principles truly mean and what the Lord Jesus is saying here in the beginning of His sermon.

I’ve been around a lot of Independent Baptist people in my walk with Christ, and one thing I’ve noticed about us is generally we have a hard time with…happiness – expressing our happiness or even somehow thinking it must be wrong that we can be spiritual and happy at the same time.

Now I know that’s “my opinion“, but I believe we get so focused on “the letter of the Law” – i.e., Doctrine – and don’t get me wrong…doctrine is vital! We have this saying at our church: Our methods are doctrinal and our motive is the love of Christ. Doctrine is truly vitally important, but I find many of us don’t express a consistent joy or happiness in our doctrine. I don’t know if we’re afraid to show much happiness because we’d be labeled charismatic or maybe “fleshly“…I don’t know…maybe I’ve just been around all kinds of “stuck-in-the-muds” since I’ve been saved 🙂 Help me out with this and let me know, but I’ve observed that many Independent Baptist people [I’ve been around] generally have a difficult time with being happy. [Again, please let me hear from you on this – is it the same with you, or do you observe true, Biblical happiness in our ranks or where you’re at?]

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount is His longest and fullest discourse we have from Him in all four accounts of the Gospel. Jesus preaches His message to BELIEVERS. The Lord DOES NOT preach these Beatitudes with the idea, “Do these and you’ll earn Heaven and eternal life“…what He IS saying is, “As a saved child of God these principles WILL BE a mark in your life!” The Beatitudes are principles for Christians to live by, AND when followed, they’re meant to give us true, Biblical happiness!

Don’t believe me? What was the FIRST WORD out of the Lord’s mouth and repeated nine times in the opening of His message? BLESSED. The word blessed only means happiness of the highest kind! It would seem that the Lord Jesus cares that His followers would be happy. He’s concerned for your happiness. Christian, isn’t it “past-time” that you’d be joyful and happy in your walk with Christ? Study out and put into practice the “Blessed Attitudes” principles. They must be pretty important to have and apply – the Lord Jesus preached them!

How about this one – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy“. Basically, the Lord is saying, “Ones who show mercy will have happiness of the highest kind, and they too will recieve mercy“. So, to have true, Biblical happiness, we must show mercy to others…okay…what does that mean?

WHAT IS MERCY

Before we can show it, we must know it. We must know what mercy means. When explaining the mercy of God, I like to say this in comparing Grace and Mercy:

Grace: God giving us what we DID NOT deserve / Mercy: God keeping from us what we DID deserve.

I think that’s a good definition of God’s mercy, but that’s not the definition we can use here in Matthew 5:7! Mercy here in verse 7 means COMPASSIONATE…but that’s not all it means…it goes further – this mercy means putting that compassion into action!

I think a great passage of Scripture to give us understanding on this mercy is James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

 

Basically James is saying, “What good is concern and compassion if it’s not put into action”…MERCY! If you have concern and compassion for others but it produces no beneficial action, IT’S WORTHLESS!

 

HOW CAN WE SHOW MERCY

 

We know that mercy is an action born out of concern and compassion, so that means the action of mercy will be put on display…it WILL BE shown! HOW? Well how about:

 

I. UNBIASLY

 

This means without prejudice; without any pre-judgment or partiality. We as believers can become pretty bias and partial in how we treat all kinds of folks, can’t we? We have a real problem in that we ‘play favorites’! We don’t like our children to play favorites with other children and leave out other kids, and we don’t like it when it’s done to us and we’re left out…BUT FOR SOME REASON, we find ourselves many times playing favorites! Unfortunately, that’s not something new with believers – see James 2:1-9. When James writes against having “respect of persons” he exactly means God is against us “playing favorites“.

 

Do you “play favorites” with mercy? Is your compassion in action only determined for a few or for anyone who truly needs it? Why aren’t you happy in Christ…[Matt 5:7].

 

II. SACRIFICIALLY

 

Remember the story the Lord tells of the good Samaritan? [to refresh your memory – Luke 10:30-35] In this story did you notice that there was NO personal benefit for the good Samaritan? He was just a man who had acted out his compassion for someone else!

 

You may never be publicly recognized for showing mercy. You may never get a plaque honoring you or a picture taken of you in recognition of your mercy…but your recipient will be glad that you showed mercy! SACRIFICE!

 

III. PERSONALLY

 

True mercy comes from one whose been shown mercy and understands what it means to need mercy. CHRISTIAN – If anyone should know, YOU ought to know what it means to need mercy! Haven’t you experienced the mercy of Christ at Salvation? If you’re truly born-again, you have! So knowing God’s mercy as we do, we in turn ought to extend that mercy unto others! Nowhere does the Christian imitate God more or have a greater testimony than in showing mercy – please see Matt 25:35-40.

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”. MERCY is putting concern and compassion into action for the benefit of others – that’s what the Lord Jesus did on the cross!

 

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST’S MERCY TODAY?

DO YOU SHOW CHRIST’S MERCY TO OTHERS?

 

Are you truly happy in your walk with Christ – apply those “Blessed Attitudes”!!!

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Lovers of Their Own Selves

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 21, 2007

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves…” 2 Timothy 3:2

“lovers of their own selves” = SELFISH!

In 2 Timothy 3, God gave Paul a list to characterize “the last days”, or as it’s also referred to, “perilous times”. What was FIRST written was that people would be lovers of their own selves. People in the last days would be known as being fond of self…having self-love…SELFISH.

Now we can clearly see that this selfishness, this self-love, is normal in the human heart. In fact, it shows itself in a person as soon as that person is able to express himself! For example, no one has to teach a cute, cuddly, little baby how to throw a temper tantrum to get his own way. That selfishness comes naturally.

So…what does a people, a society, a nation do to curb this selfishness in the individual? Well, a healthy society will impose restraints on this self-love. It will recognize the need to teach children respect for authority, such as with: their parents at home / their teachers at school / their preachers at church / the law of the land. If a nation will be healthy and vibrant, it must teach children to be well-mannered and respectful of persons and the property of others.

But what is our nation doing about this? Is our society winning the battle to instill a respect for others, or is it losing ground by institutionalizing the love for self? Well…let’s ask ourselves the following:

*Are parents encouraged to train and discipline their children, or are they discouraged from it lest the children become “inhibited”?

*If a child is failing the courses at school, is he being held back, or is the grading system being adjusted lest their flunking do them “psychological harm”?

*When someone commits a terrible crime, are his rights being taken away, or do criminals still have rights, even though they’ve shown no respect for the rights of those they’ve robbed, maimed, or murdered?

*Do we have a generation addicted to drugs [and alcohol, a drug!], given over to self-indulgence, and without regard for social values?

*Does today’s “music” of the world reflect and reinforce a love of self?

*Do the “worship services” of many churches reflect and reinforce a love of self?

Selfishness [self-love] has become institutionalized in our society. Selflessness is not a hallmark in our country, although it still can be seen…but selfishness is prevalent and easy to see.

I know that evil has always plagued societies, but it would seem like Bible Christianity had acted as a restraint in our society. However today, it sadly seems like Christian standards of morality and decency are being pushed aside, and perversion is flaunting itself proudly…in many communities, colleges, communication mediums, and in our nation’s Courts.

Are we in “the last days”? I believe we are. But does this mean we should just sell everything and go hide away on some mountain or in a cave? Of course not. What do we do? I’m glad you asked…!

Let’s be men and women of character…CHRISTIAN CHARACTER! Let’s train our children in the way they should go. Let’s obey the commands of the Lord that are intended to restrain our self-love and keep us from the practice of sin…and let’s see that same obedience developed in our children, our next generation. The Lord Jesus said, “If ye love ME [not self], keep MY commandments”. Let’s put into practice selfLESSness by having J.O.Y. = Jesus, Others, then You!

Yes, it is perilous times…they’re here. But: The darker the night, the brighter the light! May you live a life that’s selfless and that honours the Saviour!

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