Session #030 Mercenaries on Mission
Scripture Matthew 5:7
Summary Be challenged by this kingdom requirement in Matt 5:7. As recipients of God’s mercy, it is expected of all believers that mercy and grace be likewise extended. Beware of mercy stealers and killers that keep us from being merci-naries on mission for Jesus and His kingdom.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7
Mercenary is from the latin word merces: wage or reward. A professional soldier has an assignment and will be rewarded upon completion of the assignment. The word also means blessing or a divine blessing that is undeserved. It further extends to the French word merci meaning thank you.
Mercinary is a blessed and thankful full-time soldier who knows his kingdom assignments, looking to the rewards he will receive when these assignments are fulfilled. But what type of assignments or missions are these? Missions of Mercy. Merces -> Merci -> Mercy.
What is Mercy?
The Greek word for mercy is “eleos”, and to the Greeks, it is an emotion. To the Stoics is control of emotions, thus mercy is regarded as sickness or weakness. We still have the same negative connotation today where some think it is a weakness. Mercy is a quality of God, rooted in His nature of love (Exodus 34:6–7). Even here, we see the tension of mercy and righteousness in play. For Israel because of God’s mercy and faithfulness, God keeps His covenant with Israel despite their unworthiness and unfaithfulness over and over again.
In Exodus 15:13 “You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.” In the wilderness, after 12 spies returned, Numbers 14:19 “Pardon the iniquity of these people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven these people, from Egypt even until now.” In the dedication of the Temple, 2 Chronicles 7:3 “For He is good, for His mercies endures forever.”
The prophetic books and the psalms contain many references to God’s mercy. He has shown mercy to Nations: Not Just Israel, but upon their enemies too, Jonah 4:1–3. From the Hebrew (hesed), mercy is not just about sin or wrongdoing, but much broader, it is kindness, lovingkindness, goodness, pity, compassion (Psalm 103:13, Isaiah 54:7, and Hosea).
More than just overlooking a fault, but also compassion to act in the interest of a person in grace or favour.
The Continuum of Mercy and Grace
Mercy is not getting what we deserve which is justice where there is a penalty for sin. Grace is receiving what we do not deserve as seen in Joseph (Genesis 39:21).
God’s mercy extends into New Testament through the person of Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 2:4–7, 11-13, 14-18, 19-22).
There is assurance and access to our Great High Priest in Hebrews 4:16. Compassion and comfort are seen in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4. Through God’s mercies, compassion, lovingkindness, He acts for our good and well-being, comforting us through trials and tribulations.
The Effect Of Mercy Received
By the mercies of God in Romans 12:1–2, we worship which is a voluntary presentation and sacrifice in response to the mercies of God. There is a transformation by the renewing of minds and Align to the will of God. We are then called to kingdom Assignment as seen in Romans 12:3-8.
In Luke 7:36-50, we read that one who is forgiven much will love much; one forgiven little will love little. In both Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:12, we are called to show mercy.
There are mercy stealers and killers. Self-righteousness where one focuses on others’ sins, (Luke 18:9-14), minimizing one’s own sin, magnifying own righteousness, being judgmental and critical while excusing oneself. Religiosity where the focus is on the outward forms (Matthew 9:13, 12:7, 23:23, Luke 10:33, 10:36-37). Partiality or Favouritism, focussing on own preferences and likes such as helping certain groups of people and ignoring or judging others. It is easier to help those who benefit you but disregard those who serve no purpose (Luke 14:12, James 2:12). Self-Centredness, focussing on personal pursuits and agendas; and missing the heartbeat of the kingdom and our kingdom assignments such as chasing after material gains and the cares of the world, building one’s own kingdom or ministries but having no time for others. Busyness is not fruitfulness.
There is a common factor – PRIDE. Proud people think they are always right and good. There is no need for mercy. Proud people see weak people as deserving of whatever state they find themselves in. Proud people refuse to acknowledge the need for anything outside of themselves, there is no need for God, no need for mercy. Proud people do not fear God so even if they falter in being righteous, that is still fine. Proud people are not repentant and refuse to change their ways. God will resist these and give them over to their own devices (Romans 1, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
Righteousness and Mercy: How do Righteousness and Mercy Co-Exist?
They are complementary, not contrasting (Zechariah 7:8–10 and Micah 6:8).
In parenting, the parent teaches a child the right way vs giving him space to learn from own mistakes and still loving him in spite of his disobedience or rebellion. In the judicial system, the full weight of the law vs mitigating factors.
In church discipline, is it restoration or ex-communication? Discipleship is not lowering the standards, but extending mercy and grace as one is still growing and maturing in Christ. False teachers and prophets, we need to show them the right doctrine but showing them mercy and grace as well.
If we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, if we are also merciful and gracious when others fall short of God’s standard, we need to show forgiveness and pardon. The extent to which we are able to administer these effectively is the extent to which we have grown and matured in Christ, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Keep looking back to the Cross, and at others through the Cross. God’s righteousness (justice) is revealed from faith to faith. God’s mercy is then expressed.
The Blessedness of Mercy Extended and The Consequences of Mercy Withheld
In the present age, we enjoy the blessedness of being merciful, being thankful and grateful. Unthankful and ungrateful people are not very blessed. No matter how much they have, they are always complaining, griping, criticizing and judging,
The word “thanks” comes from “grace”. You are thankful because you acknowledge the undeserved-ness of what you have received. Thankful and grateful people enjoy the state of blessedness. Makarios. Releasing (forgive)others, is thereby releasing ourselves. Be purposeful by being on kingdom assignment. As we are on assignment, we will continue to receive mercy and grace to see us through to the completion of the assignment. In the age to come, we stand confident before Jesus, the Righteous Judge. This looks forward to the coming of the King and the Day of Judgment. Sins are already judged, mercy already received. Our works will be judged as an expression of how, in being made righteous in Christ, we now do the works of righteousness. Works are evidence that mercy and grace are not received in vain. Expressions of mercy are works of righteousness. Forgiving as we have been forgiven (Matthew 18:21-35).
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7
Let us not be mercenaries, killing others with our self-righteousness and pride, by being judgmental and critical, unforgiving with no compassion. Let us not be self-absorbed, living for ourselves only, showing no grace or compassion to those who desperately need to know the mercy and grace of God. Having received God’s mercy and grace, will we align with Him and be His merci-naries?