INTRO: When Moses was commanded to build the tabernacle, he was also commanded to build certain furnishings to be placed both inside and outside of the structure. One of those furnishings was the ark of the covenant. Covering the ark was what was called the mercy seat (Ex 25:21). The presence of God was represented to be at the mercy seat. On the day of atonement, blood of a bullock and of a goat was sprinkled on the mercy seat (Lev 16:14,15). The point of my reminding you of this is simple. Mercy in Gods dealings with mankind is of long standing. And that mercy was often associated with forgiveness. In the text for our thoughts this morning is Davids prayer that Gods mercies would come to him.
I. THE TENDER MERCIES OF GOD - PS 119:77
A. From time to time David refers to the tender mercies of God
1. Ps 25:6 & 51:1 - ...thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses...
2. what a lovely and loving sentiment, but is it any surprise? 2 Cor 1:3 - Father of mercies...
3. we find these references in company with the loving kindness of God
B. Upon whom would such mercy come?
1. consider 1 Pet 3:12 - the unrighteous cannot expect the mercies of God
2. if one is out of Christ, what mercies could he possibly expect? Eph 2:12
3. by contrast Eph 1:3 - only in Christ are spiritual blessings
C. What might the tender mercies of God be?
1. one thing they are not is escape from all earthly consequences of sin
2. certainly the psalmist learned that lesson in the death of a child born out of his sin with Bathsheba
3. still, Ps 103:1-5 with Jas 1:17 - every good gift is from God!
II. THE RECOGNITION OF NEED FOR GODS MERCIES
A. There is the sound of unworthiness here!
1. listen: Gen 32:10 - I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies...
2. or, Ps 51:11 - Cast me not away from thy presence...
3. only in sincere humility can one see the mercies of God!
B. Here is a sinner feeling deeply the need for Gods mercies
1. Rom 3:23 - not a one of us is exempted from this need
2. or, 1 Jno 1:8-10 - even in Christ people must recognize this need
3. Lk 18:13 - here is such a wonderful example of recognizing the need and the spirit in which the need must be understood and the plea made
III. THE SPECIFIC MERCY MENTIONED HERE? THY SALVATION
A. There can certainly be no salvation without mercy
1. why? because sin is violation of Gods law - violation requires penalty
2. a sinner wants the mercies of God - not the justice of God!
3. so, Eph 2:1-6 - how perfectly the matter is stated - it is only by the mercy and grace of God that dead in sin people can hope for salvation!
B. A very basic qualification for one who would receive this salvation?
1. Ps 85:9,10 - ...his salvation is nigh them that fear him...
2. fearing God is this basic qualification - without it, there will be no mercy
3. Acts 10:34,35 - before specifics can be mentioned, ones heart must be turned toward God
C. Titus 3:5 - A reminder for Christian people
1. or, think of Eph 2:8,9 - it is not our merit which brought our salvation
2. it is of the mercy of God!!
3. 1 Pet 1:3 - ...his abundant mercy hath begotten us again...
IV. THE MEDIUM BY WHICH IT IS KNOWN? ACCORDING TO THY WORD
A. It is by the revealed word of God that this salvation is known
1. 2 Tim 1:8-10 - saved us, called us ... known through the gospel
2. without the gospel, the word, the world would still be hopelessly dark
3. Acts 13:26 - the word of this salvation
B. So, one who would receive this merciful, gracious gift must go to the word
1. it is within the word that discover the atoning blood of Jesus Christ
2. it is within the word that we are specifically told how to make that sacrifice ours
3. it is within the word that we are assured by God, Who cannot lie, that salvation is offered to those who fear Him and who, in that fear, carefully obey His directions
C. An example?
1. Acts 2:36-38 - believers who fear God are asking for direction to Gods mercy, to salvation
2. Acts 22:16 - a penitent believer is given direction to Gods mercy, to salvation
3. how can I, how do I know these things? its according to thy word
CLOSE: The Father of mercy extends the offer of salvation to you. Do you have the sense of sin by which you recognize your need? True, neither you nor I is worthy of such an offer. Thats why, my friends, we plead for the tender mercies of God!
Cecil A. Hutson
January 2, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)