Creflo Dollar - The Power of God's Mercy - Part 1
Let's begin in Psalms 145 and verses 8 and 9. I wanna read out of the King James and then the NLT, and we'll talk about the power of God's mercy. I wanna spend most of the time tonight defining that. I need you to get this. I wanna talk about the mercies of God. And you can see this God that you talk to and this God that you love and this God that you depend on. All right, watch this. Verse 8, he says, "The LORD is gracious, and he's full of compassion; he's slow to anger, and he is of great mercy. The LORD is good to all".
Now think about that now. That's the mercy of God. He's good to all, not just to people who think they deserve it. You know, God's good not because we're good. God's good because he's good. And I don't know about you, the first time I heard that, that helped me out a lot because I was so busy trying to earn all of the attributes of God, I was trying to earn his love, trying to earn his blessings, and what we're talking about is just who God is. And once you begin to understand who he is, then you get out of the position of trying to earn something and then you just learn, you get in position of just receiving. You get in position to receive it, you see? "The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works". "Over all of his works".
So let's look at this in the NLT and let's work out some definitions. I really am taking my time to just let's define this, let's understand it enough to see how we can practically put it in our life. Maybe the Word's got me excited at night but I got, didn't get stuck but I was meditating on the book of Titus where it was talking about godliness, the Spirit of God that teaches how to be godly and then it talks about godliness versus ungodly. And I started thinking about ungodliness, you know, wickedness, immorality, all of these things. And as I was studying, the conclusion was those things are not what's ungodly. I said, "Oh, what", I said, "This is the devil talking to me in the room". He said, "No, no, no, no, no". He said, "Ungodliness is a total disregard from God. It is when you proceed to do something without considering God". And I said, "Oh, I can see where the wickedness and all the stuff comes from".
When you totally disregard God, that is defined as ungodliness. Of course, the opposite is true. When you regard God, that is godly. Okay, reason I mention that because I'm thinking, "There's so much religious stuff I gotta get rid of in my head and in my thinking in order to begin to see God like he is, and not like what religion has defined that he is". And the more men, and I got a whole message planned out on the godliness thing, but it is completely blowing my mind that if I start regarding God, you won't see the fruit of wickedness. If I start regarding God, you won't see the fruit of immorality. But we've focused on all of the things that religion told us to focus on, just to keep us away from getting to know him and his character and who he is, so that when you spend time with him, you're spending time with someone you are familiar with, you know, someone you love, someone that just blows your mind because you discover, you know, his character and who he is.
So I'm gonna be throwing out a bunch of stuff and people are gonna be disagreeing with it, but I'm just, I'm so delivered from that. I'm like, "Whatever," it's time to learn and to dig into these things of God and not have these religious doctrinal fights about something that God probably is not even concerned about. So here, he's talking about his mercy, and look at this in the New Living Translation. He says, "The LORD is merciful and compassionate". This is the same God that people say that "God's gonna get you". Says: "The LORD is merciful and compassionate, he is slow to get angry and he's filled with unfailing love". Verse 9: "The LORD is good to everyone". I mean, listen. He's good to everyone, whether you're saved or not. That's another thing we've got to get rid of. We wanna take God and say, "He's just only for us".
Now, he only will teach us, but he wants to put this love and compassion, he wants to show love and compassion to everybody. His goodness is used to draw people to change their mind. His compassion is gonna be used to draw people to change their mind. How you think people are gonna all of a sudden say, "You know what? I'm ready to go to the Lord". Not because he beat 'em down and scared 'em to death. No, because he's compassionate. He says, "The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation". If he made vegetation, he's responsible for taking care of it. If he made the trees, he's responsible for taking care of it. If he made animals, he's responsible for making sure they can eat. If he made us, he's responsible for taking care of us.
All right, so let's watch this. Let's work on that definition a little bit here. Let's define it. All right, first of all, mercy is compassion. Mercy is compassion or you can say it's forgiveness too. It's compassion, it's forgiveness, shown towards someone whom it is within one's power to punish or to harm. So someone has the power to punish you, the power to harm you, but instead of punishing you and harming you, you see compassion and forgiveness that's shown by someone who has the power to punish and harm you. So, punishment and harm could be the result, but instead of punishment and harm, compassion and forgiveness is extended. That's what this mercy is. Mercy is when the harm could come, compassion is when the punishment could come, and in some cases, rightfully so, instead of the harm and the punishment, you get the compassion and the forgiveness. Dude, I am interested, amen? I am interested.
And so, that's the first one we look at. You have the power to inflict punishment but because of mercy, you show compassion and forbearance to one who has offended or one who have wronged you. Just like we sin and God shows mercy. We sin and God shows mercy. Here's another thing that's been kind of bought to my attention as I'm digging deep in this Word. I have my assignment for the whole year and that is to teach you and to teach you and to teach you deep. Not to teach you some religious stuff that you're all familiar with; to challenge you, to challenge your thinking and to challenge what you say you believe. And in doing that, I'm sitting here thinking, like, you know, I read Scriptures like this and, you know, we talk about a God who will forgive us and a God of mercy and a God of kindness, and I just wonder the number of people who really believe that.
Do you believe that God is a merciful God? He has the power to punish you. He has the power to, I mean, it could be pretty bad. He chooses not to. He chooses not to. He's made a choice. He has chosen to love you. He's chosen to show compassion your way. To me, that seems like it just ought to blow your mind that there's a God who has chosen to love you. Say this out loud: I have a God who has chosen to love me, forgive me, and to show me mercy. Now, here's the thing. It's this deal of I don't know, I hear people talk, and they say, you know, "That person sinned," or "That person can't get that Holy Ghost because sin's in their life". Please let's get this straight. There is nobody on the planet that's without sin. You can't trust nobody. You have sinned somewhere. I said I wasn't gonna holler tonight. I don't get that when it, "Well, you have sinned against the Lord". You have too.
See, what happens is, is you try to put sin in categories and when you try to judge other people of sin, somehow or another you've got to change the rule for yourself. Sin is just simply having a bad attitude, complaining. You know the judgment that came on people under the law when they complained? Some of them fell dead for complaining. Today, we don't even see that as sin. And the thing that gets me is that we put sin in categories so we can excuse ourself from the results of those people who are, all of us, that's a humbling thing. It's a humbling thing for me to recognize that while you don't break the big ten, there may be something with your attitude or you're a complainer or you have declared independence in some area of your life where you're not really dependent on God. Or you're an exaggerator.
You might as well say you're a liar. I don't see how we can even think about placing hurtful judgment on somebody as if you're not in the same spot. I mean, God so loved the world that he forgave, listen, it was a shock to me to realize that people don't go to hell for sinning 'cause the church taught me all my life that people go to hell for sinning. And I got to studying the Bible and I'm like, "Oh, wow, people don't go to hell for sinning. They go to hell for rejecting Jesus". And when you accept Jesus, you accept his mercy and you accept his love, and all of that begins to change your behavior. You're still not gonna be 100% until you're totally changed, but you're not... the grace of God teaches you how to regard God. The grace of God teaches you how to live righteous. The grace of God teaches you how to be redeemed.
I don't know how we're gonna do this without an understanding of God's grace. It's a big, big thing, and remember, God's grace is Jesus, okay? It's not just, you know, we love to take things and dumb it down to a principle and forget about the person that it represents. This New Testament is about the person of Jesus Christ, glory be to God. All right, now, in light of that, check this out now. Mercy is love that responds to human need in an unexpected or unmerited way. Love that responds, this is God responding to human need when you don't expect it and when you don't deserve it. That's what he does. But we keep taking things and saying to people, "Ah-ha, this is why that didn't happen," and "Ah-ha, this is why God didn't do this".
You remember John 9? John 9 keeps coming up. John 9:1 when they walked by and they saw this kid who was blind, born blind, and they asked Jesus, "Jesus, who sinned, the mother or the father, that this child was born blind"? And Jesus responded, "Neither the mother or the father sinned, but that we may work the works to see God's glory". He said that's the only reason. He didn't say, "I'm blaming it on this, I'm blaming it on that". See, here's a problem. Sometimes, we think sin is greater than God's grace. And sin is not... I told you once before, your crazy will never be able to outdo God's grace. And here you see a part of his character where mercy is love that responds to human need and in an unexpected, unmerited way.
You ever had God to show up and then do something for you unexpected? And when it was unexpected, it was probably because you didn't think you deserved it. That's when it was unexpected. It's unexpected 'cause I didn't think I deserved it. Oh, I don't think I've been praying enough, I don't think I've been fasting enough, I don't think I've been good enough. Be careful to not let that spirit come in and ruin your relationship with God. That's the beauty of this New Testament, that we finally, finally accept what he has done for us, what the blood of Jesus has accomplished for us. I am loved and I am highly favored, and it is something I didn't earn, it's something that I didn't deserve. It's something that I did not expect. That's what humbles you. That's what breaks you down. It's like, "He did that for me"?
I said to this guy one time, I'm like, I had to apologize 'cause I referred to him as "Dude". I said, "Dude, there are, like, lots of people in this world that are so much better than I am". I said, "I am a mess," and he's like, "Everybody I choose is a mess". He says, "If everybody was a masterpiece, I wouldn't have anything to do". I was, like, "Wow". And I'm like, "You would do this for me"? "Yeah, I love you. Yeah, I love you". "Yeah, but I need to do this, this, this". He said, "There you go again, trying to deserve it". Did you know it aggrieves God? "I'm trying to give you something for free. You keep trying to do something to earn it. You keep trying to put a price tag on something I hadn't put a price tag on. And religion keeps telling you, 'Stamp this with a cost.' And I'm telling you I have paid what it cost. It is now free. I spent everything, the most valuable thing in heaven. I sent my Son Jesus".
Isn't that Scripture? "I gave you Jesus. What is it that I won't do for you"? And we keep pushing it. And religion keeps making it all right. And I'm challenging your religion. I'm challenging your confession. And I'm saying, "Rethink it. Relook at what you're saying. Accept it, you're going to bed beating yourself up. You're still condemned, you're still shamed, you're still all of those things. You know what you're saying? You still don't believe in the free gift". I believe in the free gift. That's why when I lie down in peace, my sleep is gonna be sweet. Someone said, "Well, Pastor must be sleeping good". No, you say that when it ain't good. You gotta respond to the devil contrary to what he's trying to fight you with. Respond to the devil contrary to what he's trying to fight you with. And the church said, "Amen".
Now, this is good preaching 'cause we finally focused, we gotta focus on him. I think our Christian life, the difference between a religious person and a Christian, religion always seeks to try to do something to deserve it. Religion always seeks to try to do something to earn it. Christianity should be about the relationship. It's not about you trying to do something to get God to do something. It's relationship. It's not rules and regulations. It's you having a relationship with him, accepting and believing what he said, seeing the power of just accepting his love, and out of it, changed behavior. Out of it, desires change and wanting to do other things.
I think in this dealing of religion we got so into and please hear me correctly. We got so into making a right confession that we weren't believing right. I gotta confess it, confess it, confess it, confess it. I'm wondering, do you believe it, believe it, believe it, believe it? 'Cause the Scripture says that when you believe, you'll speak. Now I understand sometimes you're having to speak it enough to, watch this phrase, to talk yourself into it. I get that. I get that. And then all of a sudden, you enter into a rest and you got it. I understand that. But I wanna put emphasis on, and I don't know why people are attacking believing. "I do more than just think it". Well, you better think it first before you say it, you know? No, no, no, you've got to believe with your heart, okay?
And notice what happens when you believe in your heart, you will say it with your mouth. But we can't turn that into a church doctrine if you don't do it exactly this way, it didn't work. What if I'm in a wilderness somewhere, there's no church, there's no preacher. God just did something awesome and I just said, "Oh man, this is so good". I said, "I just believe you. God, I believe you". Two days ago I was a pagan worshiper. I'm going to heaven and you're gonna turn me out of church, "Well, you didn't go down the aisle. You didn't do it right". What d'you mean, "do it right"?
All I had to do is believe it. I'm saved. "You ain't saved. You've gotta go down there and you gotta make the confessions of baptism, the confessions of that... Then you gotta go to the prayer room and they gotta lay hands on you, and you gotta say the same words they tell you to say or you ain't really saved. You didn't really get saved". You've got to know God is just not that vain. But some people don't. Some people don't. Some people don't, boy. And I had this at its core, or at the base of all of this, mercy is forgiveness and we all need forgiveness. At the very core of this whole deal, mercy is forgiveness. And I'm telling you we all need forgiveness. We all need forgiveness. Once you become aware of some of the things you're doing, like, my wife helped me to become aware of complaining. She said, "You gave the definition. I'm just following it". And I was, like, "Man, why'd I give that definition"? It's simply expressing your dislike.
And, you know, every time I would express my dislike for something, she's like, "No complaining". And I wanna say to her, "That's not complaining. I'm just expressing my dislike". She says, "Stop it. Then you just defined complaining". And I'm telling you, I thought, "Man, if I'd have been living in the days of the Law, I would have been a part of those thousands that died for complaining". That's what I'm telling you to watch out for. Don't you get to the point where you start, you know, putting scores on certain sins: "This sin is, scores higher than that sin, and then that doesn't matter". No, that's not what we're doing here. Yet at the core of this thing, mercy is forgiveness. We all have it, we all need it, but here's the thing I'm trying to get you to, when you got born again, you receive this free gift of forgiveness. You receive it.
Look at Matthew chapter 9, verse 13. Matthew 9:13, he says: "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy," I will have mercy, "and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but I come to call sinners to change their mind". Wow, Jesus is the face of God's mercy. Look at the same Scripture in the Amplified. He says, "I'm trying to get sinners to change their mind about me, about me". The greatest decision you made is to make Jesus the Lord of your life, and by loving him and getting to know him, your behavior changes because you accept who he said you are. He says: "Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and to invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God)," that's not why I came, "but sinners," sinners.
Hosea says that: Sinners, he came for sinners. And I'm trying to tell you, you're good to go. Right now, you're just maturing in the call that you have accepted and, doing that, we have to examine the Scriptures. We gotta dig into it a lot deeper than what we've been digging into. We've gotta pull things out. I've got to make sure I'm better prepared and more prepared to come and to try to break these things down to a practical level so we can live it. But I think I said this Sunday: romper room school is closed. We've got to learn how to live every day with God and walk with him and have fellowship with him. Okay, let me go over this real quick so you can have it.
The first definition was mercy is, number one, compassion or forgiveness, as shown towards someone whom it is within one's power to punish or to harm you. In other words, you have the power to inflict punishment but because of mercy, you show compassion and forbearance and instead of the other thing.
Number two, mercy is love that responds to human need in an unexpected and unmerited way. And that you don't have to work or deserve this, you know? And at the very core of this mercy, that is love, is forgiveness. And we all need it.
Number three, mercy is the bad you deserve but you don't get. Mercy is the bad you deserve that you don't get. The bad deserved is replaced by undeserved favor and goodness. That's grace. So we know grace is undeserved favor, but mercy is you deserve it but you don't get it. That's awesome. How many of you know in all of our lives, I guarantee you we deserve something different than what we get? That's a blessing of the Lord. That's enough to melt you down to say, "I'm yours, God. What do you wanna do"? And that's what this is about.