Micah 6:4-8, Luke 15:17-30, I Corinthians 1:1-ff, Zechariah 7:9-ff, Romans 3:21-ff, et. al.
With Pastor Steve away, Rob Williamson preached a powerful message today on how we are to be examples of God’s justice, mercy, and humility. The sermon came from Micah 6:4-8, where the prophet told the Israelites how God desired their hearts, not surface actions. Similarly today, when people are facing problems they often try surface solutions like going to church or volunteering. But these are activities, which God is saying don’t please Him. If our hearts aren’t with Him, then our actions won’t matter.
To answer the question of what justice, mercy, and humility mean, Rob turned to the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. After wasting his father’s inheritance on women and wild parties, can you imagine the humility this son had returning to his father’s house? That’s the kind God wants: “He wants us to remember where we came from in our walk with Him. Paul in his story about the thorn in the flesh . . . asks God three times to remove the thorn and God says in (Paul’s) weakness God is made strong.”
We need to remember our humble position because it is easy to grow prideful and look down our nose at others who are struggling, while forgetting past struggles in our lives, Rob said. This isn’t a sorrowful kind of thing, either; Paul expresses joy over his infirmity because it reminds him of God’s greatness.
Referring to verses 20-24, which describe the father welcoming his son home, Rob said, “That’s love. That’s mercy. When I think about that son, I don’t know how much mercy I would have had if my son had said that (“give me my inheritance”) to me. But this father did. We are to love mercy. That father remembered a time in his life when he needed mercy.”
Paul showed this kind of mercy in addressing the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. Rob said if you look into the book, this was not a “stellar” church, with all kinds of sin and strange behavior. A church like that in Huntington wouldn’t be welcomed by too many Christians. Yet, Paul claims them as his brothers because he knew what it was like to be standing against God and need mercy. “Is it easy to be graceful with people in your life?” Rob asked. “No. But God wants us to be merciful.”
He concluded with a look at the Prodigal Son’s brother, angered because he wanted his brother to “get justice.” But when God brings in justice, it is about caring for the needy and the poor. Jesus ate dinner with sinful people, which in that culture signaled equality with them. This means we shouldn’t act in an oppressive manner and keep people from God. Grace, justice, and humility with bring us closer to God.