TRUTH AND MERCY HAVE KISSED
JESUS IS THE RADIANCE OF THE GLORY OF GOD
HE IS HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
AND CANNOT TOLERATE SIN
HE IS THE TRUTH THAT MADE THE WHIP
TO CLEANSE THE TEMPLE
BUT HE IS ALSO THE MERCIFUL GOD
WHO MADE PURIFICATION FOR OUR SINS
WHO COVERS OUR SHAME AND BROKENNESS
WITH COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS
EACH DAY YOU MUST BE OPEN TO BOTH
HIS WORD OF TRUTH SO YOU ARE QUICK TO REPENT
AND HIS WORD OF LOVE SO YOU ARE RESTORED
ONLY IN CHRISTIANITY DO MERCY AND TRUTH MEET TOGETHER
This week I called my dear friend Eunice Arant who first involved me in prison ministry. She is one of the most beautiful radiant believers I know. She is also the one who reads the audio version of Idol Lies — and I had to call her to tell her what a wonderful job she did — that she made the book live. Then she proceeded to tell me how the book had impacted her.
First, she told me that the piercing sword of the Word had cut her about her own idols. “When I would get unhappy about circumstances or people in my life, I would eat. Never before did I see that as a comfort idol. But now the truth was right in front of me. Rebecca’s story so moved me. I had the same fear: ‘Would God just let me sit in my pain?’”
Rebecca’s testimony encouraged me that He would lovingly meet me. And He did. Slowly, He came to me and brought me comfort that food could not. Not only have I lost seventeen pounds, but I am experiencing that intimacy and joy again.
Truth and mercy come together in our Wonderful Counselor. He convicts and He forgives. He pierces and He heals. There is no one like Him.
This week’s study is rich — and Keller is at his best. He even makes Melchizedeck easy! (I have studied Melchizedeck at Seminary, listed to D. A. Carson carefully, and felt my brain twist. One simple sentence from Keller — and I got it.) This is going to be a great week!
I am also going to be on Midday Connection on Moody Radio on Thursday live for an hour at noon central time. We are doing chapter 2 of Idol Lies. (Spiritual Blindness) You can call in or text or go to their Facebook page and make a comment! But most of all, please pray! You can also listen after the fact:
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. Share a time this month when you were you responded to truth and experienced mercy.
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
It almost feels like whiplash. After the warning that the Israelites, through disobedience, had their bodies scattered in the wilderness, and after telling us that we must not be like them and harden our hearts — suddenly, everything becomes tender. For we are told that Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses, and therefore we can come boldly to Him in our time of need.
I’ve been doing an Idol Lies study at my cabin this fall with women in leadership from this area — pastors, pastors wives, and leaders of ministries. It has been a joy to me. One of the young women said this week, “I am really seeing how I need to run to Jesus first before anyone else.This week, a really busy time in our lives, I got the news that our rental house sold out from under us. I was so worried and upset. I had my hand on the phone to call my sister, and then I thought, No! I’m going to give Jesus the firstfruits of my lament. She went boldly to His throne to receive mercy and find grace to help her in her time of need. And He calmed her anxious soul.
3. Read Hebrews 4:15-16 (This is the second Hebrews passage we are memorizing — so practice!)
A. Why is Jesus able to sympathize with our weaknesses, even though he did not sin?
B. What exhortation are we given in verse 16? How often do you do this throughout the day?
Only in Christianity can we come boldly — because we are forgiven. But it is not that God does not look with anger upon sin. Our sin was so bad it took Him to the cross. The cross is where truth and mercy meet together. We see both this terrible and wonderful truth repeatedly in Hebrews. This is the chiasm of the cross.
4. This is hard to do electronically, but trace with your finger the word in the first line of Psalm 85:10 that parallels the word in the second line. Then make another line to find the second word in line 1 that parallels the word in line 2. These two truths make a cross.
Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
5. Read Hebrews 5:1-4
A. Why could the priests of the Old Testament deal gently with the sins of their people?
B. Share a time when you were not particularly sympathetic toward someone who failed or was hurting — but then you failed or you hurt in the same way — and it changed your attitude.
Read Hebrews 5:5-6 (Melchizedek!) Then read Genesis 14:17-20.
Since this is a brain twister, let me give you the Keller insight. A King is associated with rule and authority and truth. A Priest is associated with mercy. In the Old Testament, you could not be both King and Priest. But there was one very mysterious exception, and you find him briefly and only in the Genesis passage above. He was king of Salem, yet he was a priest of God Most High.
6. What, therefore, do you think the author of Hebrews means when he says Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek? What two qualities are combined together?
7. Write out what you have memorized of Hebrews 4:15-16.
THURSDAY- FRIDAY GREAT KELLER SERMON
8. Tim Keller gives several illustrations of Jesus being a “terrible/wonderful” counselor. He talked about Mary and Martha and also the woman taken in adultery. Did either stand out to you? If so, comment.
9. What notes do you have?
10. What is your take-a-way and why?