Mercy And Compassion 

Proverbs 11:17
“The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”

Mercy is often defined as not getting what we deserve. While that is true, the word carries a greater meaning. It also means to show compassion and kindness to those who are in need or distressed. We see it evidenced in the life of Jesus. When He heard the leper calling out for Him, we read Jesus was moved with compassion, reached out His hand, touched the man, and cleansed him. Mercy stirred the heart of Jesus to touch the untouchable, and restore what leprosy had destroyed (Mark 1:40-41). When He felt a tug on His garment, He turned to see a woman who had been struggling with an illness for 12 years, without any hope of healing. Mercy stirred Him to heal her sickness, and reward her great faith (Luke 8:43). When He arrived on the scene of Lazarus’ funeral, and heard the wailing of his family and friends, mercy stirred the heart of Jesus, to weep with those who wept, and to intervene by raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-17). Over and over, page after page, person after person, we see Jesus expressing His mercy, in compassion and kindness, to those in need. Nowhere, is this seen more clearly than in the cross. Our need was much greater than that of a woman with a blood disease, a man with leprosy, or even a family with a dead brother. Our need was caused by sin, and the only cure was the death of God. Jesus saw our condition, and bore the weight of all our sin, as He hung on Calvary’s cross. Mercy was extended as His blood was shed.

Mercy is something we are to receive and to spread. Solomon stated, it is the merciful man who does good for his own soul. Jesus said we are blessed when we are merciful. Just as Jesus looked for, and aided those in need, we should be looking for ways to express the mercy of God to others. Mercy is expressed in forgiveness. When we choose to forgive someone who has wronged us, and treat them as though they had never acted that way, we are expressing mercy. When we choose to be kind to someone, not because they have been kind to us, or in hopes of being rewarded, we are expressing mercy. When we go out of our way to show the love of Christ to others, whether it be in word or action, we are expressing mercy. This mercy will benefit the receiver and the giver alike. Those who receive mercy are learning something of the nature of God, and those giving it, are doing good to their own soul.

Pastor Jim

 

Drifting Away 

Hebrews 2:1
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”

Sadly, we have all seen Christians fall by the wayside. People who at one time were walking with the Lord, but have fallen back into the life from which they were once delivered. We see this happen to new believers and old. We may have even been victims ourselves. How does that happen? I can think of at least four things that result in a person finding themselves away from the Lord.

First, we are warned against falling away. This is caused by giving into temptation instead of resisting it. One of the necessary elements of success in your Christian life is to deny the flesh’s desire for sin. When we let our guard down, or think we are mature enough to handle a little sin, we will fall captive to its snare.

Second, we are warned against walking away. Sometimes, the difficulties of life can cause us to accuse God of wrong doing. Soon, we become embittered toward Him and deliberately turn away, going back into our old life. This was a constant problem for Moses in the wilderness. As the people faced the struggles of wilderness living, they attempted, on numerous occasions, to turn back to Egypt.

Third, we are warned against being led astray. Jesus told us to be on the lookout for wolves, false prophets, false teachers and false christs. The Christian walk has no shortage of people claiming to know more than the Bible, and leading unlearned Christians away from the Lord.

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”

Our text warns of a fourth danger; drifting away. We are told drifting is caused by neglect. Drifting is the danger faced by those who travel by sea. Since the surface the ship sits upon is constantly moving, and often not moving in the direction the pilot wants the vessel to go, constant attention must be given to avoid drifting into pitfalls like rocks, reef or even other ships. Anchors play an important role in keeping a ship from drifting, but another key is moving. A moving vessel will be less likely to drift into danger than a stationary one. If we want to avoid ending up on the rocks, one key is to keep moving forward with the Lord. This is possible only by keeping the first things first. If you are like me, when you first received Christ, you were told to read the Bible, pray, fellowship with others, and tell someone about your decision for Christ. Now that I have been a Christian for almost 30 years, I still need to read the Bible, pray, fellowship and tell others. The faster you are moving forward, the less likely you will be to drift away.

Pastor Jim