Fourth Sunday after Holy Trinity
July 9, 2017
Genesis 50; Romans 8; Luke 6; LSB 696
Title: Be Merciful Even As Your Father Is Merciful
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It is written: 36Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Lord God Almighty, who does not disdain the sighs of the forlorn nor scorn the longing of troubled hearts: Behold our prayer which we bring before You in our need and graciously hear us, so that all which strives against us of both the devil and men may come to nothing and be scattered by You good counsel, to the end that unhurt by all temptation we may thank You in Your church and praise You at all times; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord. Amen.
Your Father is merciful to you because even now He offers you the forgiveness of your unbelief. You are the ones who have heard that your Father does not delight in the death of a sinner. Thanks be to God.
Your Father’s judgement at your Holy Baptism remains an open promise to you today. All who believe in Jesus Christ are the ones your Father declares - I am well pleased with you.
Your Father does not condemn you who trust Jesus. Rather, He condemned His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Christ mercifully bore your judgment and condemnation so that you might live.
What has your Father done for you in Christ? He has forgiven you all your sins. He has canceled you debt to Him. He covers your naked sinful nature with Christ’s robe of righteousness. He acquits you of all accusations from the Law. He quiets your nagging conscience with His promise. He washes you of your sins. He makes you clean and holy.
To all who have faith in Jesus - You are a child of Almighty God.
Today’s text from Luke starts here. Jesus is preaching a sermon to us. To us the children of God, let us behave like children of God.
Let us be merciful. Rather than punishing someone for the wrongs they have done, instead the Lord urges us to make that person’s life better. St. Augustine’s mom, Monica, provides an example of merciful behavior. Monica was a Christian married to an unbeliever but he treated Monica o.k. Other Christian wives came to Monica for advice. How did kindhearted Monica answer? What was her secret? Monica was merciful. ‘When my husband scolds, I pray for him. When he is angry, I avoid him or return kind words. In this way, I (Monica) have not only put down his anger but brought him so far, that he is converted and become a Christian.’ Monica may be remembered by us all on account of her demonstration of mercy. Let us, whether husband or wife, be merciful like Monica. Let us strive to make our spouses lives better. Let us strive to mercifully improve the lives of our friends and enemies. Yes, especially with enemies. Those who hate you and revile you. Give them good, make their lives better, especially when the favor may never be appreciated.
Let us not judge but love our neighbors. The Small Catechism quotes Luke 6:37 in connection with the 8th Commandment which forbids us to slander our neighbor or hurt his reputation. Let us therefore put the best construction on all things. Let us love our neighbor in response to God’s love for us. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Let us not condemn but forgive those who sin against us. Think of the greatest offense committed against you through no fault of your own. It is a great offense and most people in their right mind would not hold it against you if you condemned that person and walked away.
But now compare their offense against you to your offense against God your Father. Your sin against Him will always outweigh the burden you carry.
The Lord has every right to be unmerciful to you. But He desires mercy. Rather, the Lord delights in loving you through Jesus. He sent His only-begotten Son so that through Jesus you might have life. And eternal life. He has baptized you and given you faith in Jesus and yet you still need forgiveness for your unbelief. You believe but you need help for your unbelief.
We Christians should never be soooo offended by the sins of others that we would not forgive them
Let us learn to be merciful as our Father is merciful.
Your Father doesn’t need your mercy.
The people in your lives need your mercy. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Co 9:7. So how much should we strive to be merciful to each other and even to our enemies? As much as you can cheerfully give. We can all pray that the Lord would sanctify us to gladly grow in our ability to live in peace and quietness with our neighbor and strive to make their lives better.
I would like to close this morning with such a prayer. John Heermann is the author of today’s sermon hymn - O God, My Faithful God. I would like to close by praying stanza four of that hymn:
Lord, let us win our foes With kindly words and action,
And let us find good friends For counsel and correction.
Help us, as You have taught, To love both great and small
And by Your Spirit’s might To live in peace with all.
In the name of Jesus. (Amen)
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard and protect you in body and soul through Jesus Christ, our Savior. (Amen.)