Pinebrooke Community Church
Saturday, September 23, 2023



Sunday Service Messages  


Pinebrooke Community Church                                                                                                                 17 September 2023 Knowledge of the Holy: The Mercy of God                                                      Ex. 33:19; Deut. 4:31; Neh. 9:31; Micah 6:8


     Because of our proclivity toward sin in thought, word, and deed what right do we have to live in the glorious presence of the Holy One?  “Did we not by our sins take part in that unholy rebellion which rashly sought to dethrone the glorious King of creation? (p. 96).”  And yet, “We who earned banishment shall enjoy communion; we who deserve the pains of hell shall know the bliss of heaven (p. 96)?”  Oh, but what is mercy?  “Mercy is the attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively compassionate.”  That is what He did for us on the cross of Christ.                                                                                                                                               

     Last week we discovered that righteousness is God’s way of being and justice is God’s way of doing.  Our conversation today is that compassion is God’s way of being and mercy is God’s way of doing.  Two sides of one coin again.                                                            

     It is a false narrative that justice and judgment characterize the God of Israel, while mercy and grace belong to the Lord of the Church.  In fact, the mercy of God is mentioned four times as much in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament.  “Wherever and whenever God appears to men, He acts like Himself.  Whether in the Garden of Eden or the Garden of Gethsemane, God is merciful as well as just.  He has always dealt in mercy with humankind and will always deal in justice when His mercy is despised.” (p. 97).                             

     The divine mercy is not a temporary mood but an attribute of God’s eternal being.  Mercy never began to be, but from eternity was so it will never cease to be. (p. 97).  Let’s consider the story of God’s mercy among us.                                                                                          

     As God tells His story with Moses He said, “And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord in your presence.  I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Ex. 33:19).         As the Lord introduces His attributes and His ways they are governed by His will.  How He expresses Himself and how He deals with us originates with Himself alone.  It is the intentions of His own will.  His attitude is mercy and His action toward us is compassionate.                                                                                               

     Moses’ interaction with Yahweh led him to remind Israel of who God is.  “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath.” (Deut. 4:31).  No matter what you think or what your complaint is, the truth is God is merciful.  The more Moses recognized the difference between Israel’s behavior and God’s response the more he recognized the merciful quality of God.  Without God’s long-term compassion, Israel should have already been crushed.                                                                                                     

     Through all the history that followed, God remained faithful in His mercy toward His children.  Much wickedness grew up within Israel and it is in the context of the exile that Nehemiah writes when he says, “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” (Neh. 9:31).  Since the decisions regarding Noah’s day and the days of Sodom, God has chosen to let the weeds grow up among the wheat so to speak.  Until the time of judgment, mercy and compassion leaves plenty of space for repentance.  That is why we pray for the salvation of others until their days are over.  God doesn’t give up on us, so we ought not give up on Him.                                      

     The mercy of God has shown us that we might become like Him.  Micah the prophet appeals for our transformation.  “He has showed you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (6:8).  If we are to be like Him, it begins in our souls and reaches our feet.  Justice begins with righteousness.  Gaining a heart of mercy leads to a compassionate life.  And humility becomes the path of intimacy or “with-ness” in Him.  Can we see that the Jewish story is the story of mercy and compassion?                                                                              

     Now we turn to the shadow of the cross of Christ.  Jesus lays it out for those who would follow Him.  In another of His sermons Jesus teaches us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:36).  As Jesus introduces the kingdom of God it all begins with our hearts.  The way of the kingdom of God is to live from the inside out.  Don’t we get the sense from Jesus’ character as it is scripted in The Chosen that his passion is mercy, and his actions are always compassionate?  He bends down to the leper, or the lame and he always hugs the broken and the rejoicing.  He both models for the disciples and He teaches them directly, it’s about mercy and compassion.  Justice only comes when mercy is despised.  The lack of mercy characterizes the Pharisees and Sadducees it makes them feared not honored.                  

     The story of mercy continues.  The Apostle knew it in his own life, so it was easy to declare, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression – it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:4-5).  Mercy picked us up out of the pit of despair and sin and grace transported us to the cross of Christ.  Mercy picks us up in the midst of the wrong.  The story is completed in our new birth in Christ.  Simon Peter says it this way, “Praise be to the God and Father of our, Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you….”   God’s continual goodness generates mercy that leads us by the means of compassion to become what we could never have been able to be.                                                                                  

     “God’s mercy stands as a boundless, overwhelming intensity of divine pity and compassion (p. 97).”  The Lord sees us for who we are and stands ready to respond to our humility of repentance.  It is beyond us to conceive of the depth of readiness that lies within Him to forgive and to give new life when we no longer resist the truth about us and our need for Him moment by moment, day by day.  It is our pride and self-centeredness that fights against Him just as it has been from our human beginning.  It is our defiance that resists the reality of God’s pity.  It is that resistance that makes life pathetic.  Really, to resist God’s mercy in humility!  How pathetic!  It is as though we will do anything to not be led by the Spirit of God.                                                                                                                                          

     “As judgment is God’s justice confronting moral inequity, so compassion is the goodness of God confronting human suffering and guilt.” (p.97).  How unlike Jesus we can be and yet say that we are followers of Him?!  The mercy of God is meant to become a characteristic in the heart of man.  Is there a pharisaism in our hearts that we would not rejoice when God shows mercy or compassion to another?  We see in Jesus’ healing and miracles a kind of jealousy that arises when Jesus does things his way.  I’m reminded of Ted Bundy’s story.  You remember him!  Do we prefer righteousness and judgment for others and compassion and mercy for ourselves?                                                                                                    

     “It is human misery and sin that calls forth the divine mercy.” (p. 98).  Isn’t that the foundation of Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision in our day?  When we confront human misery and sin are we more akin to want judgment or mercy for the one suffering?  It is easier and far too common for us to want God to bring judgment on what is “wrong” than it is to desire repentance.  Mercy leads to compassion and compassion leads us to healing.  Would I rather see brokenness healed or simply removed or pushed aside.                                          

     Much of God’s work within us is the work of changing our hearts.  In Season 3 of the Chosen an episode near the end of the season, the focus shifts onto Simon Peter and the change that Jesus knows needs to take place in Simon’s heart.  Whether these numerous events portrayed existed for that same reason or not, the point was the change in Peter’s heart.  The change was the change from judgment and anger to compassion and mercy and the humbling that was necessary to make the change.  Much of what goes on in our circumstances of life are tools to bring about change in our hearts.  I can remember a time when tragedies were reported several days or weeks or months after the fact and they were easy to dismiss.  However, we live in an instant age so that we are faced with events of suffering continually or even because we live in a metropolitan area we see suffering continually.  Are we willing to live with a heart of mercy and compassion even if we are not called by God to fix things?  It means that we live with a vulnerable heart to the suffering and guilt of humankind.                                                                                                            

     “To receive mercy, we must first know that God is merciful.” (p. 98).  Mercy is available to us now in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.  Mercy is the expression of God when we are in the wrong.  Mercy is never earned.  It can only be received.  I’m thinking of Barnaby in The Chosen whose friend is blind.  In his asking Jesus to heal her blindness he wanted to keep the focus on her though he had his own need.  His delight was in her healing and yet in God’s mercy and compassion Jesus chose also to heal him of his “brokenness.” What we see is Barnaby’s humility.  Sometimes it is easier to believe God is merciful for the other than to believe He is also merciful for us.  Why is it that we chaff at the humility that mercy brings.                                                                                                

     I remember talking to my friend, Chuck Moore, once.  Chuck is a theologian and way smarter than I.  I asked him what he thought Jesus’ predominant character quality was and without missing a beat he said, “Compassion.”  If that is true and I think it is, ought that not be embossed on the frontals of our hearts?  As a follower of Jesus ought I be most known as a compassionate one full of mercy?                                                                                               

     I wonder if when Paul writes to the Corinthian Church that what matters most is faith, hope, and love are they not the ingredients of a life of mercy and compassion.  I depend on the mercy of God when I pray for those and serve those who do not yet follow Jesus.  I do not want to give up on them and I know He doesn’t either until they enter death rejecting Him.  Judgment comes only when we reject His mercy.


Whether a visitor to this site or a member looking to catch up on a missed
worship service we invite you to listen to a recent sermon.

Message Speaker Date
Acts 2:1-13 Bob Johnson 29 September 2019
Acts 2:41-47 Bob Johnson 13 October 2019
Acts 3:11-26 Bob Johnson 27 October 2019
Acts 4:1-22 Bob Johnson 3 November 2019
Acts 4:23-31 Bob Johnson 10 November 2019
Acts 4:32-37 Bob Johnson 24 November 2019
Matthew 24:36-44 Bob Johnson 1 December 2019
Matthew 3:1-12 Bob Johnson 8 December 2019
Matthew 11:2-11 Bob Johnson 15 December 2019
Matthew 1:18-25 Bob Johnson 22 December 2019
A Case for Miracles Deb Mitchell 29 December 2019
James 5:1-6 Bob Johnson 18 August 2019
James 5:7-12 Bob Johnson 25 August 2019
James 5:13-20 Bob Johnson 1 September 2019
Acts 1:1-5 Bob Johnson 18 September 2019
Acts 1:12-28 Bob Johnson 22 September 2019