Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 22
March 9, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<422> Thesis: Let God form His sympathy for the plight of others in you. Introduction: In the Kingdom of God, three practices dominate: loving, doing good, and meeting needs. Jesus presented these activities as the "highest" forms of making the character of the King manifest. For disciples, then, there is no greater calling. But, this calling is not only very high, it is also very difficult. The making of disciples is not a process in which God takes pure virgin clay in hand to mold some beautiful work of art. Instead, He takes polluted, heavily invested, human beings who, for the most part, have spent the vast majority of their time pursuing and developing contrary character and objectives, and presses them into His discipleship program to become vessels of great honor and glory in the Eternal Kingdom that is rapidly approaching. This, as we have already seen, is a "grace" thing. It begins with "enemies" who do not have the capacity to even understand grace, let alone respond to it properly. From there it moves to a "summons" to discipleship by means of being shown "love", "goodness", and/or "the meeting of a great need". When a person responds to that "summons", there is a kind of "grace" that is implanted within that enables the highest and most difficult fulfillment of the summons. But, that leads to this question: what "form" does this implanted grace take? Is there some root that undergirds the "loving", "doing good" and the "meeting of needs"? I believe the answer is "Yes" and I believe that Jesus revealed it in the opening statement of His next "set" of exhortations. These are contained in Luke 6:36-38, and they begin with the words, "Be merciful...". If you and I are going to wield the highest instruments of spiritually successful effort, it will only be a consequence of a legitimate response on our part to this command. So, let us, this morning, pursue a clearer understanding of this root to our calling.