An excerpt from Ray Ortlund's sermon on Matthew 5:7 preached at Immanuel Church on April 1, 2012. Read the rest here. If you have the time, I highly recommend you listen to the podcasts of the Real Jesus series. Ray is opening up for us at Immanuel what Jesus really says and who he really is. It is changing our church.
We pray for a new visitation of God upon our city. When God comes down and lays hold of our city, I believe it will be, more than anything else, an outpouring of mercy for the guilty. Picture in your mind Berlin in 1945, at the end of World War II. We’ve all seen pictures in history books. Think of the rubble and wreckage – the bombed out remains of a once magnificent city. Do you see? Spiritually and relationally and emotionally and theologically and morally, that’s us in Nashville today – people who have sinned and been sinned against and the destruction is everywhere we look. But where is the mercy? Where is the divine power to restore? Only the mercy of God, coming down through the gospel, can give us all the better future we long for. The real Jesus did not come down into this world to hold out against the guilty. He did not come to settle a score. He did not come with a burning sense of wrong. Jesus said, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). What you want is what you are, at the deepest core of your being. And Jesus said he wanted mercy. And here is what he’s saying to us today. It’s the merciful he will use to spread his mercy. If we are willing to serve him in this way, we ourselves will experience more mercy. It is not easy to forgive. There is nothing more costly than to forgive. It wasn’t easy for God. There was a cross. But mercy is the power that brings down the kingdom of heaven