Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Love, Grace & Mercy
by Erik Momsen
Most of us will regard ourselves as Christians and many want to see this movement grow. We believe we have found something that has changed our lives and our eternal future. We want to share it with others.
The problem is that others are often skeptical or join us for a while and then fade away disillusioned. Thinking back on what attracted me to Jesus was firstly childhood teaching and then meeting vibrant and excited young Christians. What greatly strengthened my faith was experiencing demonstrations of the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4). My continued growth in the Lord is a combination of meditation on the Word and the perfecting power of the Spirit.
Importantly for me was that I was not skeptical. Much of the world is. Christians and the church need to demonstrate to the world that what we believe is real. The world wants something real. They want to see real love in action. They want to see grace in the way we treat each other and the world. They want to see practical acts of mercy. A church that can demonstrate the Love, Grace and Mercy of God will be a church that will convince their community that God is real.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) James continues "faith without deeds is dead" (2:26). The world is watching and waiting for something real. Something very practical.
"God is Love" (1 John 4:8) and the result is that He gives ("For God so loved the world that He gave ..." (John 3:16). His love resulted in creation and the new creation. The angels, heaven and earth were created because God wanted to share Himself with others. The love of God is present in believers and must be released.
God has given us life and a future and we pray "Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven". When the world sees us loving and giving they will know in their hearts that God is with us.
GRACE IS A PLACE
Grace is a safe place. "Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." (Romans 5;1,2). We have been forgiven, because we believed Jesus, and ushered by Jesus, because we believed Him, into the presence of God.
Christians stand in a safe place where we are not condemned, and are treated with kindness and blessed. We, in turn, create a place for others to experience the same thing. We must demonstrate God is "a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." (Jonah 4:2 cf. Exodus 34:6)
Grace is also the ability to give. "See that you excel in the grace of giving." (2Corinthians 8:7, 9:8, 14) Freely you have received, freely give.
In Hebrew "Love" and "Mercy" are the same word, i.e. hesed (Hosea 6:4,6) and it refers to right conduct towards men and God. The same tenderness we have towards God we show towards men. A lack of this tenderness (mercy) towards men will stunt our tenderness (love) towards God.
"For I desire mercy and not sacrifices and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings." ( Hosea 6:4,6)
Jesus shows us the meaning of "Mercy" when he overlooks the "sin" of the tax collectors and "sinners" and takes them to heart by eating with them (Matthew 9:10-13). Jesus notes that his task, along with the disciples, was to treat the sick (sinful) and he had to mix with them. He then rebukes the Pharisees and tells them to learn the meaning of Hosea 6.
Mercy and forgiveness are one issue. "Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant as I had on you?" ... "This is how your heavenly Father will treat you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:33)
LOVE GIVES - it gives to all those in need - money, time and energy.
GRACE IS A PLACE - your church and life must be a safe place for people to enter - be gracious - mind your attitude and tongue.
MERCY UNDESERVED - mercy for those who have failed and still fail.
Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that brings salvation ... teaches us to say no to ungodliness ... and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives."
Mercy when none is deserved.
Loving acts of friendship.
Miraculous acts of kindness.
Date Added: 2009-12-18
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