August 21, 2021 I Desire Mercy Part 2

I Desire Mercy

Part Two




Read Matthew 9:9-13.


Jesus quotes God, speaking through Hosea, when he says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”


Last week we saw that this is hyperbole. God does desire sacrifice. But he desires that we show mercy to others more. This is fascinating when you think about it. For sacrifice is directly to God Himself. Showing mercy is to our fellow man: our spouse, our children, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and the lost. God is more desirous of us showing mercy than doing things for him!


Of course, when we exhibit mercy to others we are reflecting the nature of God because he is merciful. Thus, even when we show mercy we are fulfilling God’s desire for us: to be like him!


The subject of mercy is so important that we need to have a fuller understanding of it.


We also saw last week that what Jesus said to the Pharisees applies to us also. He told them “Go and learn.” This is our charge! We must go!


You must not just sit around and wait for something to come to you. You must go. You must seek the truth. All must learn. We are all ignorant of the truths of God. Yet, we must not remain in our ignorance. If we do, there will be no hope. We must learn what God has spoken. God has not left us in our ignorance. He has given us a book whose very source is God Himself. God has spoken! How sad it is when those who profess Christ do not go and learn! We must be those who abide in Christ’s words. Abide means to live in.


If you had a friend who lived on your street, and you visited him once a day for 15 minutes. Could you say that you lived there? Of course not. There are some Christians who just look at their Bibles 10 or 15 minutes per day.  They are not abiding in God’s word. We must go and learn!


Last week we also saw that our own need for mercy is great. We need to see that. It is because we are the recipients of God’s abundant mercy that we can and must show mercy to others.


The more we understand our own need for mercy and how it enlivens us, the more willing we will be to show mercy to others.


How do you deal with sin in your life? The unbeliever most commonly deals with sin in two ways. He either believes (at least ostensibly) that his sinful actions are not sins at all, or he justifies his sins; that is, he recognizes that his actions are not conducive to wholesome living, but he affirms that he has special circumstances that justify him living a certain way. For example, he may say that he was born a certain way or that his economic situation forces him into doing things that he does not want to do, or that another person in his life is intolerable, etc. Actually, the list of excuses for sin is almost endless. The bottom line is that the unbeliever will not own his sin and flee to Christ for help.


But do you know what? The Christian can behave in this way, too! The one who professes to follow Christ will sometimes think that their sins are not sins. Or, they will justify their sins when they are corrected.


And, we are supposed to correct one another! If you don’t correct me that means you don’t love me. If you allow a brother or sister to remain in their sin then you do not love them.


Obviously, it does not feel good to be corrected. It exposes us. We don’t even like to be corrected on math problems or on how we do our jobs. How much less do we like to be corrected on our moral failures! But, we all need it! When we are corrected we need to learn to say, “You are right. I need to forsake this sin. Can we pray right now?” Then, we need to actually forsake our sin and take a new path.


Remember, God does not grant mercy without repentance.


Our receiving of mercy from God empowers us to forsake sin and begin anew!


This is the glory of God’s mercy! His mercy motivates us to mortify sin and to have a new beginning!


The mercies of God especially come to us in the morning. Because God’s mercy gives us a new beginning and each sunrise is God’s gift of a new day and a new beginning, he grants his mercy in the morning so that a new beginning is vivid in our eyes.


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

23    they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness. [1]


New mercies will come to you in the morning!


Mercy and grace come in the morning if we have confessed our sins:


For his anger is but for a moment,

and his favor is for a lifetime.

       Weeping may tarry for the night,

but joy comes with the morning. [2]


Many disciples have had this experience. I know I have. Evenings sometimes bring greater temptation. I don’t know why that is. It may be simply because most of us are busy throughout the day. But the apostle Paul warns about this phenomenon:


For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.[3]


Paul names the sin of drunkenness as afflicting some at night. But I think this is true of many sins. We may stumble at night but God’s mercy comes to his own people each morning!


God grants to you a new beginning each morning! Don’t allow the morning to slip by, by sleeping in nor by taking care of your physical needs before your spiritual needs.


Our God is a God of new beginnings! Consider Jacob. Turn with me to Genesis 28: 10-15. In Jacob’s experience we see that he had a vision. The vision was similar to the visionary promises that his grandfather Abraham received. The Lord added that he would be with him and that He would keep him. What a glorious promise!


How did Jacob respond? Verse 20 tells us that he made a vow to God. Part of his vow was that Yahweh would be his God. In other words, he is going to obey the Lord! He is going to consecrate himself to the only true God. Further, he would give ten percent of all he had back to God. This is consecration.


In verse 21 he says, “…so that I come again to my father’s house.” This leaves the impression that Jacob is not going to make Yahweh his God until he gets back home safely. However, it is clear from everything he did and said in the 14 years before he did get back to his father’s house that he made Yahweh his God during that whole time. He did not wait 14 years to serve God. There was not a delay as there was with Abraham.


Immediately after this he experiences blessing. In 29:9 we read that, while he was speaking to his father’s relatives at a distant well back in Haran, Rachel came. We know the rest of the story. He loved Rachel deeply and married her (after some work and tribulation) resulting in the twelve tribes of Israel. The purpose for his journey was to find a wife and he did! His new beginning in the land of his ancestors resulted in blessing – his own family! And what a great family it was!


Hence, we see that Jacob received a vision, consecrated himself, and had a new beginning attendant with blessings.


Our God is a God of new beginnings! Consider Joseph. His story is one of the most well known in the Bible. He had a dream where the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. This dream was a vision of things to come where, in due course, his father, mother, and eleven brothers would bow down to him. Yet, that would be many years in the future. Joseph was a man who had two new beginnings. After his brothers beat him and sold him into slavery he started a new life as the servant of Potiphar.


In the service of Potiphar the Bible tells us that Joseph was successful and the blessings overflowed from Joseph’s life into the life of his master, Potiphar. It says that, “the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake.” From being sold as a slave Joseph found a new beginning in Egypt over a rich man’s house. Joseph was consecrated to obey the Lord. We see that when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife to lie with her he replied, “How can I sin against God?” Then, things did not go well with Joseph for a while. He was thrown into prison for over two years.


But our God is the God of new beginnings. He gave Joseph another new beginning and he became the second in command of all of Egypt with all the blessings such a position entails including an Egyptian wife and children.


So then, we see Joseph received a vision, consecrated himself, and had a new beginning attendant with blessings.


We only considered two characters from the Bible. We could just as easily look at a dozen more. God desires us to cherish his mercy by leaving the old behind and embracing a higher path. The new beginning that God offers us in his mercy often comes in the morning!


We have received mercy. How can we display mercy? In the same way that God grants us a new beginning through his mercy, we can offer others a new beginning by being merciful to them.


The most obvious way we can do this is by sharing the gospel with the lost. Every follower of Christ ought to be doing that. If you are not sharing the gospel with others then something is wrong with your life. This doesn’t mean that we must share the gospel every time we speak to someone. No. There are times and places that are conducive to the gospel. But, if many weeks have gone by and you have not explained the gospel to someone then something is wrong. In fact, I would encourage you to hold your brother or sister accountable. Ask another Christian today or tomorrow, “Who have you shared the gospel with in the past month?” If they answer, “No one,” then ask them when they will start obeying Jesus. Ask them if they plan to continue living in disobedience or if they are going to do something about it. If they say they will do something about it, ask them what? In other words, hold them accountable. Don’t let them off the hook! Is this too much? Well, is it the Lord’s will for every disciple to share the gospel or not? What is the answer? The answer is yes! Therefore, if a follower of Christ is not sharing the gospel then we need to encourage them to do so!


However, today I wish to emphasize being merciful to our loved ones and our brothers and sisters in Christ.


We can help our fellow disciples obtain a new beginning too. The way we can do this is to first make sure that we ourselves are fresh. That is, begin each day as if the Lord is granting you a whole new start. Because he is! Don’t waste your mornings. Spend quality time with the Lord in his word. If we do this then we will enjoy him and our enjoyment will overflow to others.


The way we can show mercy and help others is to simply share with them what we have enjoyed in the word this day. When we share an encouraging truth from the word we provide a supply to our brother or sister. The word of God is living and active. When we share it with a person who has been born from above, then they receive life and will be stirred to be active for the Lord and not passive. We have too many passive, do-nothing Christians. Every time you ask them to do even a small work for the Lord, they have a million excuses. The solution to this self-centeredness is not nagging them. Rather, it is simply to supply them with the word that we have enjoyed. The word is life! If they have been born again then they will receive a supply and the supply will enliven them. If they stay the same then this shows that they may have never been born from above. They just go though the motions because they are expected to do Christian things.


But, we ought not to be too concerned about that. It is the Holy Spirit’s amazing role to make alive! Just be faithful to speak the word in season and out of season!


Where does the mercy come in? We need to display mercy because some of the saints to whom we speak are the very ones who seem to never change year after year. They seem to be on the outskirts of the camp of God’s people. It is easy to get discouraged about those who seem to barely have faith. It is easy to get discouraged by those who maybe avoid the most obvious sins like fornication, drunkenness, divorce, and the like, but who have the same “little” sins that they had five years ago. When Solomon wrote, “Little foxes spoil the vineyard,” (SS 2:15) it was an allusion to sin. In the same way that small foxes can spoil a vineyard, so can small sins spoil one’s life.


Hence, we need to show mercy. We will feel like giving up on certain saints who will either not deal with sin in their lives or who care more about their comfort than the Lord’s work. But they need mercy! Just as we need mercy, they need mercy!


What if the Lord gave up on you? Where would you be? If he did, you would not be here right now. In the same way, don’t give up on others. Of course, there comes a time, if a person refuses to forsake a known sin that we must exercise discipline (the cutting off of fellowship), but that is only after loving counsel and prayer. I do not refer to outright rebellion against God’s laws; rather, the influence of self which afflicts us all and keeps us from our own sanctification. If a person has been born again, the words of the Living God will enliven them and bring them into a new beginning!


I leave you with two admonitions today. Ask and receive the mercy of God each morning. Allow his mercy to give you a new beginning. And, be the bearer of mercy yourself by speaking words of life to another.


“I desire mercy.” Those are God’s words! He desires it! Will you give it?








[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (La 3:22–23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 30:5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Th 5:5–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.