Mercy Magnified

Bible Book: 1 Peter  1 : 3-5
Subject: Mercy; God, Mercy of; Salvation; Heaven; Assurance
Series: Strangers In The Land
Introduction

Today we come to part two in our series of messages entitled: Strangers In The Land. Last week we learned that Christians are defined as strangers, pilgrims, sojourners, tent-dwellers in this world. We are looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. As such, we are ambassadors for Christ! We represent Him in this world.

Today we are going look at the delight of the strangers, which is the blessing of God's mercy given to us. Peter revealed information and truth that can cause the Christian to shout for joy.

  • Remember that Peter was writing to a people who are under attack from Satan.
  • They were under attack from their daily circumstances.
  • They were under attack from the world in general.
  • They were under attack from men.
  • They were under attack through temptation.

In the truest sense, every generation of believers has experienced a similar assault. Even today, Christians must face trials, temptations and troubles of all kinds. In some places in the world, Christians are forbidden to practice their faith openly. Those who defy the government are arrested, beaten, imprisoned or even put to death.

What can put a shout in our souls in this sin-cursed world? What can cause us to praise our God freely? Peter tells us in this passage. Furthermore, he tells us what can lead us to live victoriously in the midst of our difficult circumstances. He speaks to us about God's wonderful, marvelous mercy.

What then can we see and say about this wonderful mercy from our text? I feel like the man who had never seen the ocean but visited the beach. He scooped up a cup of the water from the sea and said, "I will take this back to my village and show the people what the ocean looks like." A cup of sea water can never describe the wonder of the oceans in the world. Likewise, the vocabulary fails the preacher trying to describe the fullness of God’s mercy. Oh, the depths of the riches of His mercy! Let us see what our human eyes can see and understand what our feeble hearts can grasp from the subject of God's amazing mercy.

I. THE GREATNESS OF GOD'S MERCY

As believers we must learn the nature of our benefits in Christ. A child born into an extremely wealthy family cannot possibly know just how rich he or she actually is. Even at two or three, the child will not grasp his wealth. Only when he is mature will he understand the fullness of his blessings simply because he was born into a very wealthy family. That is the way it is with us as believers. We are rich in Christ! We have a spiritual silver spoon in our mouths! Only when we are mature, however, do we fully realize just how blessed we really are.

A. The Resource Of Mercy

God is the Father of all mercy! Look at 1 Corinthians 1:3 to see this clearly stated.

Peter states that God's manifold, marvelous, majestic mercy results in accolades, acclaim and adoration from the mouth and heart of the child of God. The words, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" begins with a word ascribed only to God in the New Testament. It comes from the Greek word eulogetos = blessed and means worthy to be praised is, therefore praised be. This is the desire of the believer's heart, to praise God!!!

We do not just praise God, we praise the Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ. The basis for the praise goes on to the end of the clause in verse 5. He is worthy, for He has given us this manifold mercy and that is what we needed.

B. The Reach of Mercy

I heard about a lady who went in to have a photo made. She went back to the photographer a few days later to look at the proofs. She said, "Sir, these photos do not do me justice," to which he replied, "Ma'am, you don't need justice, you need mercy."

Mercy is what we needed and mercy is what God supplies. Mercy means that God does not judge us according to justice but according to grace. The Law charges us, justice finds us guilty, and the righteousness of God calls for death. In that case, holiness refuses to look at us! Thank God, mercy and love come to our rescue. God, who is rich in mercy, redeems us. The songwriter penned:

"Love lifted me, Love lifted me,

When nothing else could help, Love lifted me."

God's love and mercy had lifted Peter from the depths and he has done the same for us. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • God's mercy reaches the Least - Zacchaeus
  • God's mercy reaches the Last - The Thief on the Cross
  • God's mercy reaches the Lost - All who will respond to His offer of mercy and grace through Christ

God sent Jonah to Nineveh because of His amazing mercy.

God saved Rahab out of Jericho because of His amazing mercy.

God saved Ruth, the Moabite, because of His amazing mercy.

And, if you are saved to day it is only because of God's amazing mercy!

II. THE GIFTS OF GOD'S MERCY

Peter tells us that God's mercy has given us gifts. In reality we could say he has given us many gifts. Here, however, we shall see the three gifts mentioned by Simon Peter.

A. A New Heart

We have been given new birth. As Jesus came out of the tomb of death, we have been delivered out of our sins and trespasses. We have been delivered into life. Just as a mother delivers her baby, we have been delivered into the family of God. This was only possible because Jesus died for us and opened the way for justification when He rose from the dead. We are born again, and have been made a royal priesthood. He is the Elder Brother and we are joint heirs with Him. As such, we have a new nature. We have a new heart. We are new from the inside out.

We have received a new nature and that is what we needed. A man was out hunting one day when he came upon a bear. His rifle would not discharge, so he started running for his life. The bear was right behind him every step of the way. Finally the hunter’s strength gave out and he fell on his knees. Being a Christian, he began praying, "O Lord, make this bear a Christian bear." He looked out from the corner of his eyes to see the bear on his knees with his paws in the praying position. He was amazed and thought to himself, "God has heard my prayer." Just then he heard the bear pray, "Lord, I thank you for the meal I am about to enjoy!"

A bear is a bear and will always be a bear. His nature cannot be changed. This is not true of a human being, because a man or woman can be made new in Christ. We can have our sinful nature changed because God offers a new heart to those who receive His Son Jesus.

This has come about through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died for sins, but only a risen Lord could give us new birth. Just as Jesus came from the tomb, so we have new life in Him. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

B. New Hope

He states that this new heart and new life that God's mercy has delivered to all the saved is a living hope. Just think about the fact that everything in the world is devolving and declining. Everything wears out. Everything is dying. But Christians have a living hope because our merciful Savior has risen from the dead and gives it to us.

Several years ago my wife had some plastic fruit in our house. It was very popular back then and thank goodness she got rid of it years ago. But one night I saw a fly, which had slipped into our house, land on that plastic fruit. He landed on a delicious looking apple and he walked all over that thing looking for a place to get a good bite. When he saw that was to no avail, he leaped onto a grape. That grape really looked authentic and real, and it even had dew drop on it. Finally that fly jumped over to a banana, but by the time he had gotten to the banana I had gone into the kitchen and found a suitable weapon. With that weapon, I sent that fly out into fly heaven - or wherever flies go when they die. You see, that fly had landed on a dead hope. He saw false prospects of pleasure. He was seeking to eat something which contained no life in it. That is exactly what the world offers! So many people in the world today are doing exactly what that poor fly was doing. They are looking in all the wrong places for life. "Come, eat and be satisfied," Satan whispers or sometimes shouts. But, there is nothing waiting there but death! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us a living hope. Your hope is as safe as Jesus is safe! As long as He lives, you will live!

C. A New Home

Barclay reminds us that the word "inheritance" is the same word used to describe the promise of God concerning the Promised Land. Canaan was the "inheritance" of Abraham's descendants. It was not theirs by right or might, but by grace and mercy! God has an inheritance laid up in heaven for you.

He tells us three things about our inheritance in Christ.

1. It is Death Proof

It cannot perish. Everything is dying, as I previously said, but God offers us life that is Death Proof. Satan offers a dying and lying hope. God promises the Christian an inheritance which can never perish, die or cease to exist.

2. It is Dirt Proof

It can never be stained with the touch of sin. It is Dirt Proof. Wouldn't you like to have a dirt proof house? It would be nice to have a dirt proof car. I know a lot of little boys who would like to have dirt-proof ears! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He has promised us an inheritance that can never be dirtied or sullied with the stains and pollutions of this world.

3. It is Decay Proof

Here on earth, every flower eventually dies. Here everything fades. God has an inheritance for you that will never fade in its beauty.

I have often driven down a country road and seen a chimney standing out in a field where an entire house used to stand. I am made to wonder who lived there. I wonder what laughter and tears once filled that house. What happened to it? Why was it abandoned? I think about the excitement the family must have felt when they first moved into it. I can see a family gathered round the fireplace in the winter and sitting on the country porch in the hot summer months. But now, all that is left is a crumbling chimney. I thank God for a house in heaven that cannot decay, will not collapse and will never be abandoned.

John Jasper, the black slave preacher, said that when he got to heaven he was going to gaze in the face of Jesus a thousand years and then go down the alley and find a mansion with a name on the door: John Jasper. Thank God for the promise of a salvation and home in heaven that is death proof, dirt proof and decay proof!

III. THE GRIP OF GOD'S MERCY

A. The Power of It

Now we come to the word "kept" in our text. Peter tells us that what God has given is “kept.” The Greek word used in this passage for “kept” is a military word. It means that God puts a garrison of soldiers around something. What has He done? He has put a heavenly garrison around your inheritance and around you. He actually gives you double protection.

1. He guards the inheritance for you
2. He guards you for the inheritance

A little boy kept falling down as he and his father walked through a field. He tried to hold to his father’s hand but when he stepped into a hole he would slip again and lose his grip. Finally his father took hold of the boy’s hand. The next time the little fellow slipped his dad held him up. Friend, you and I are not holding on to God, He is holding onto us!

Dear Christian, God’s grip holds you now and forever. How powerful is that grip? That grip is as powerful as God, Himself.

B. The Promise of It

In 1912 the great Titanic sank. There is only one ship that will never sink – that is a relation-SHIP with Jesus. A relationship with Jesus can never sink and never fail because of God’s promise. God never breaks a promise and He has promised those who repent of sin and trust His Son, that heaven is home. He made this promise because of His GREAT MERCY. We can’t earn it and we do not deserve it. He is the Father of all Mercies.

Conclusion

There is so much more we could say of God's mercy, but time fails us. But there is one more thing related to God's mercy that we must deal with. Have you experienced the mercy of God? We must not close this service without an answer to that question. You might ask how one can experience His mercy. God offers His mercy to those who hear His voice and respond to Him. Someone here today needs God’s mercy. You need to listen to His voice as He calls you to come to Him today. Turn from your sin, trust in Jesus Christ, and come to the Lord just as you are. His mercy will receive you. He will give you an inheritance settled in heaven. It is not a promise like those made by men on this earth. You, no doubt, have had promises made to you and not kept. Perhaps you even made some promises you failed to keep. But, God never lies and His promises are true and sure.

Now, let us respond to God's merciful call.