Mercy

P4076405What is mercy?  Mercy is replacing punishment with kindness—when someone gets someone else out of trouble at his or her own expense.  Mercy is undeserved kindness.  Mercy isn’t fair because it involves receiving unfair benefits, blessings, or rewards that we don’t deserve at someone else’s expense.

Mercy is: “That… tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.” —Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

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Parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35)

Both truth and mercy are very important in understanding the gospel; one must know the truth that Jesus is the only way, and must recognize that he/she is guilty and ask the Lord for mercy.  Truth tells us the trouble that we face as sinners; mercy frees us from it.  When we know the truth about our condition, we must ask for mercy.  God is just—meaning He must punish sin, but He is also merciful—He does not want to punish sin.  Jesus became our substitute, taking our punishment and satisfying God’s justice.  Now God can extend mercy to us.

“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

—James 2:13

It is so easy to repay evil for evil without even thinking about it, but God calls us to be merciful to others – to have an attitude of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness toward those who have hurt or wronged us.  It takes mercy to repay evil with good.  It takes humility and meekness (not weakness!) to extend mercy to those who have wronged us.

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Parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

Evangelism requires mercy.  Unbelievers are saved by asking God for mercy.  For belivers, it takes an attitude of mercy to share the gospel with others.  Many people don’t seem to care and don’t do anything about those who are lost and dying in sin.  An attitude of mercy will motivate us to share the gospel with others.

When we realize that we have done something wrong and are in need of mercy, what is the best way to get it?  We need to admit the truth and ask for mercy with a humility and sincerity.  Each of us stands guilty and helpless before God—we are totally unable to pay the debt we owe.  The more we recognize the exceedingly great mercy of God, the more we will love Him.  If we look at ourselves as “pretty good” we will only love the Lord a little, but if we see the seriousness of our sin as He sees it, we will love Him much!

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Parable of the Pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:10-14)

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

—Lamentations 3:22-23

God’s mercy is given to us daily.  It is new every morning.  It endures forever.   The more we understand how utterly dependent we are on the Lord’s mercy daily, the more we will appreciate His incredible kindness and gift of salvation.  It is important for each of us to recognize the tremendous mount of mercy we’ve been shown.

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Parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)

We finished the lesson with reading Psalm 136 together

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:
To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever;”

—Psalm 139:1-4

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Parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7)

For our activity time, we acted parables that illustrate the concept of mercy.  As always, the girls were creative and loved coming up with their parable “skits”.  See you all at our next meeting!

Sharing the Gospel – Part 2

March 24 was a great meeting as we talked about practical tips and ideas for sharing the gospel with others.  Most of the girls seemed excited about the topic!  It was a wonderful evening learning together.

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We know how important it is to share the gospel, but many of us struggle with fear.  In Matthew 28:18-20–the Great Commission–Jesus reminds his disciples that He is one who is in control and that He would be with them.  Why?  Because it’s natural to be afraid.  We have to remember that we aren’t doing this alone.  God is right there beside us, supporting us as we go.  Giving into fear dishonors God because it implies that we don’t trust Him to carry us through.  If we’re truly concerned for the lost, we will be willing to share the gospel no matter what.

What is courage?   It isn’t an absence of fear; it’s facing your fear.  If we waited until we felt ready or weren’t afraid at all, we’d never get around to sharing the gospel.  We need to be courageous. Some practical ways to battle fear are to pray for courage.  Pray that the Lord would give His heart for the lost.  Memorize Scripture to deal with fear.  (Examples: 2 Tim. 1:17, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 118:6).  It really comes down to this: fear of the Lord vs. fear of man.  Let’s be strong and courageous for the glory of God!

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Helpful Tips & Tools for Sharing the Gospel

Use your personal testimony–Remember this isn’t really about you, it’s about what Jesus did for you! Try to keep the focus on that, and make it simple so others can understand how they can be saved through hearing your testimony.  Use Scripture.

Use the 10 commandments–A lot of people think they’re pretty good.  They hope that one day their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds and God will let them into heaven.  Using God’s law shows people that they don’t even come close to God’s standard of holiness and perfection, and why they so desperately need a Savior! (Rom. 2:14-15, Rom. 3:20, James 2:20)

Use questionnaires–Questionnaires are perfect for parks, neighborhoods, etc.  Approaching strangers is less awkward this way and often springboards into longer discussions.  Having a questionnaire to follow helps keeping the conversation going.

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Use questions–Many people who claim to be Christians aren’t truly saved.  Asking open ended questions helps you know where they’re at spiritually, as well as making them think deep!  Asking questions is also a great way to start a conversation with someone: “Can I ask you an interesting question?” … Who do you believe Jesus Christ is?  What do you think happens when someone dies? Is eternal life a free gift or something you have to earn?  If you were to die today and God were to ask you why He should let you into heaven, what would you say?

Use Tracts–Tracts go where we cannot and keep speaking when we leave.  When you pass out tracts know what you’re going to say, be confident, smile, and look them in the eyes. If you act comfortable, they will feel more comfortable, too.  Treat it like a gift you are giving them, because that’s essentially what it is.  Don’t leave home without them.

Find tracts you like. If you have tracts that you are excited about, you will be more confident with them and more eager to give them to others.  Be picky about your tracts!  Make sure they use Scripture and share the gospel clearly, and are Biblically accurate.  Or write your own like these young ladies:

Take Advantage of Holidays–People are often more receptive around the holidays… especially if its a holiday themed tract. Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, etc.  My family has gone door to door handing out tract on Halloween because people are expecting a knock on their door.

As bright lights seeking to valiant for God’s truth, we need to be prepared to share the gospel with others. We can prepare by memorizing Scripture verses that you can use when you are witnessing to people, practicing sharing the gospel with friends and family so that you can be ready when God gives you an opportunity, carrying “tools” to keep with you all the time (i.e. tracts, Bible, wordless book, cube, etc.), learning how to answer common questions people have about the Bible, and praying that God will bring people into your life who are searching for the truth.

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Remember, the goal in witnessing isn’t to make sure someone makes a decision for Christ.  That’s not our responsibility!  We are simply called to be faithful in sharing the gospel.  We might just be planting seeds that God will use to bring someone to salvation later.  We plant and water, but God gives the fruit (1 Cor. 3:7).  We can be the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13) that makes people thirsty for the Living Water–Jesus Christ!

Practical assignment: Give away at least one tract to an unbeliever before our next BL meeting!

We watched this video about the Mallys witnessing on St. Patrick’s day a couple of years ago.  Its really inspiring and so encouraging to see young people sharing the gospel with others.  This is a great challenge for us!

Helpful Resources:

For our activity we practiced one-on-one witnessing to each other.  It was a great way to get a feel for sharing the gospel with others.  We were also reminded that even though it seems like we “failed” God can still use our obedience to Him.

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Sharing the Gospel – Part 1

As young people, we are in a special position to share the gospel with others.  Adults usually aren’t intimidated by young people and so they are often willing to talk about spiritual things.  They are often curious about young people and enjoy conversing with them.  Since many young people today are immature, irresponsible, people notice a difference when they see a young person who takes a stand for truth and articulates what he or she believes.  As young ladies, we have energy, we have time, we have enthusiasm.  Let’s use it for Christ!

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The word gospel means “good news.”  You can’t appreciate the good news without the bad news.  Many people don’t like to talk about the bad news.  They don’t like to tell people that they are heading for death and hell.  But it’s doesn’t make sense to tell someone God loves them and Jesus died for them unless they first understand the bad news.
When sharing the gospel, there are three things people people need to know:

1. The Bad News: Man’s sin and need for a Savior

  • God is holy and perfect, cannot allow sin into heaven.  (Rev. 15:4)
  • Man is sinful, has broken God’s law. (Rom. 3:10)
  • Man cannot meet up to God’s standard of perfection. (Rom. 3:23)
  • There is a penalty for sin. (Rom. 6:23, Rev. 20:15)

2. The Good News: The Savior, Jesus Christ

  • God loves us, He made a way for us to be right with Him. (Rom. 5:8)
  • Jesus came and lived a perfect life.  Because He had no sin of His own, He died on the cross to pay the penalty for us.  He took our place and became our substitute.
  • His death satisfied the payment that had to be made, and God raised Him up on the third day showing His power over death. He offers eternal life to all who believe on His name.

3. Man’s response

  • God has given each of us a free will.  Although God has done everything necessary to save us, He has also given us a choice to either receive Christ as our Savior or reject Him.
  • To receive Jesus, one must place their trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross  (Acts 16:31, Rom. 10:13)
  • It’s not a prayer that saves us, it’s not our parents’ faith that saves us, it’s not simply knowing about Jesus that saves us.  Only by realizing that we are totally unable to save ourselves and by putting our faith and trust in what Christ has already done—that is the only way we can be saved.  Christ alone!

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God has given us the exciting privilege and responsibility of sharing His message of truth to the world.  Each one of us is called to be a missionary, ambassador, witness right where God has placed us.  We have been entrusted with the most valuable news in the world—the saving message of the cross.  When we think about the eternal destiny of those who don’t know the Lord, how can we keep the message of life to ourselves?  How can we think that it’s too inconvenient, requires too much sacrifice, or is too difficult?  It’s a matter of life and death.

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”

—David Livingstone, missionary to Africa

What will matter a million years from now?  The only thing that will matter is who is in heaven and who is in hell.  What are we doing to share the gospel with others?

We also listened to the story of “The Man on George Street,” Frank Jenner–a man who faithfully shared the gospel with others.  You can listen the audio clip on YouTube here.

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Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

—Fanny Crosby

For our activity, we made “Beautiful Feet” bookmarks and poster to remind ourselves to be sharing the gospel with others.

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Presenting the Gospel

At our Bright Lights meeting on May 10th, we talked about sharing the gospel with others.  As young ladies, we are in a special position to share the gospel with others.  Adults are not intimidated by young people and are often willing to talk about spiritual things.  Not only are we in this special position, we also have an important responsibility and exciting privilege to share God’s truth with others.  Lots of people are searching for the truth.  We are the ones who have the truth and we need to be ready to share it with others.

Lesson time

In order to share the gospel with others, it is important that we know the gospel well to share it with others.  Because of this, we did a quick review of the gospel using three important points:

1.  Man’s sin and need for a Savior

God is holy and perfect and cannot allow sin into heaven (Rev. 15:4).  Man, on the other hand, is sinful having broken God’s law (Rom. 3:10) and cannot meet up to God’s standard of perfection (Rom. 3:23).  There is a penalty for sin – death (Rom. 6:23).

2.  The Savior, Jesus Christ

As a good Judge, God must punish sin.  But because He loves us, He made a way for us to be right with Him (Rom. 5:8).  Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life.  Because He had no sin of His own, He died on the cross to pay our penalty  He took our place and became our substitute.  His death satisfied the payment that had to be made.  He rose again three days later, conquering death and the grave.

3.  Man’s response

Although God has done everything necessary to save us, He has also given each of us a free will to either receive Jesus as our Savior or reject Him.  To be saved from the penalty of sin, one must place their trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross (Rom. 10:13).

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

Reading a skit demonstrating a witnessing conversation

As bright lights, seeking to be valiant for God’s truth we need to be prepared to share the gospel with others.  There are different ways that we can prepare for this, such as memorizing Scripture for sharing the gospel; carrying “tools” such as a Bible, tracts, etc. with you all the time; and practicing sharing the gospel with your family and friends.  It is important that we are ready to share when God gives us an opportunity.  Witnessing can seem scary or intimidating at times, but we can do it with God’s help.

Katey sharing a witnessing story

Each small group had a time of discussion about some of the difficulties of witnessing, different ways we can start a witnessing conversation, and how our personal salvation testimonies can be a tool in sharing the gospel with others.

For our activity, we practiced witnessing to each other.  Everyone got a chance to be the Christian witness and the unsaved critic.  It was a great way to practice what we had just learned in our lesson.  Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures… probably because we were having so much fun! :)

Over lemon bars (made by Louisa and Olivia), chocolate dipped strawberries (made by Lily), and lemonade, each small group discussed ideas for a lesson presentation for our upcoming program for our families (details will be posted on the blog soon).

For some great witnessing stories and ideas, visit Grace Mally’s blog and view the category Witnessing Stories.