Mercy

Preaching and Worship Resources about Mercy

An exhibit of God's steadfast love, mercy is relief for sufferers.

In Scripture

Slow to anger "The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, `The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ex. 34:6).

The covenant "Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them" (Deut. 4:31).

Pleading for mercy "Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old" (Ps. 25:6).

Safe for ever "Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever" (Ps. 40:11).

According to your steadfast love "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions" (Ps. 51:1).

Receiving mercy "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy" (Matt. 5:7).

Mercy on others "Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?" (Matt. 18:33)

From generation to generation "His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. . . . He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. . . . Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant. . . . By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us" (Luke 1:50, 54, 72, 78).

Mercy for all "Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all" (Rom. 11:30-32).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation" (2 Cor. 1:3).

We do not lose heart "Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart" (2 Cor. 4:1).

Rich in mercy "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-6).

A greeting "To Timothy, my loyal child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (1 Tim. 1:2).

Throne of grace "Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

You have received mercy "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Pet. 2:9-10).

Points to Ponder

God's address to human guilt Technically, grace is God's address to human guilt; mercy is God's address to human misery. But grace and mercy imply each other. So grace is a mercy, and mercy is a grace.

Steadfast love God's motive for showing mercy is his steadfast love.

Cannot be earned People may appeal to God for mercy, but they cannot earn it.

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison In Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Anglicanism, the rites for worship include some variation of Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison ("Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy; Lord have mercy). Here the prayer is preserved in Greek, no matter what language people are worshiping in. The Kyrie is no doubt the origin of the "Jesus Prayer," especially popular in Eastern Christianity, but also praised by Pope John Paul II: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Covenant In Luke 1, Mary's Magnificat and Zechariah's prophecy describe the impending birth of Jesus as a mercy. God has remembered the covenant. God will rescue Israel from her enemies through Jesus. "By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us."

Missions of mercy In his speeches, the late Dallas Willard used to comment on the tender mercy of God that has worked in the world through the church. He would say that if today you were to pass a magnet over the history of the world and draw up everything that has been influenced by Jesus and his gospel — all the billions of people whose broken hearts have been mended, all the art and music and literature, all the hospitals and orphanages and adoption agencies, all the social justice movements in housing and finance and hunger relief, the whole movement for women's rights and for setting slaves free, every Christian church, school, university, every mission movement and evangelistic crusade, all preaching, teaching, witnessing, and provision of pastoral care, all the groups of Christian businesspeople who band together to give an African village a well or a Haitian village a new clinic — draw a magnet over all this plus everything else in human history influenced by Jesus Christ and lift it all free. Let's say you'd need quite a magnet and that you'd leave quite a hole in history. And what's sticking to the magnet will so often be examples of tender mercy. There is much in Christian history to lament. But there is also much to celebrate. At the center of the celebration will be the Christian church's historic love for missions of mercy.


Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.