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“I will have Mercy, and not Sacrifice”: What does this really Mean? [podcast]

“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:13 

Jesus specifically instructs us to “go ye and learn what that meaneth.”

UNTIL, as an individual, you begin to realize just how wicked you really are, you will never begin to appreciate what our KING and Savior did on that cross!

Matthew 9:9-13 – Jesus calls Matthew

Mat 9:9  And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 
Mat 9:10  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 
Mat 9:11  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 
Mat 9:12  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 
Mat 9:13  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 

Approaching God on the basis of His divine mercy and in holy fear:

“But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy MERCY: and in thy FEAR will I worship toward thy holy temple.” Psalms 5:7

In light of our own utter depravity and unworthiness, we must approach God on the basis of His sheer mercy.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

With no exception, each of us is in utter need of God’s mercy – initially at salvation and ongoing.

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6

It reveals a great imbalance when someone preaches “holiness” and never mercy. There is hope in the Gospel – the only hope and that is Christ who said “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” In this passage Jesus is revealing to us that He came to save sinners, not to destroy them (Luke 9:56; john 3:17). Yet He only saves those who are willing to admit they are sinners and repent, putting their faith in Him, following Him. Prayerfully declaring verses like Romans 7:18, 24 and Titus 3:5-7 daily defuses evil self-righteousness.

In the divine economy, does mercy triumph over judgment or does judgment triumph over mercy? – “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:13)

Are we preaching AT people or TO people? Do we view our listeners are enemies OR eternal souls that Jesus loves and came to save from their sins?

Paul wrote:

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:15-17

All of our unrighteousness went on Christ so that all of His righteousness could come on us.

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Adam is the father of the old man, the fallen man. Jesus is the King of the new man the new creation. Romans 5

ALL men have sinned against God and are guilty (Romans 3). Yet, only a few are willing to honestly admit their sin before God and receive His mercy. Flanking our LORD on crosses also, one of those sinners humbled himself and is and forever will be in glory. The other chose to harden his heart and consequently is and forever will be in hell.

God will forgive “ALL sins” except 1:

“Verily I say unto you, ALL sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” Mark 3:28-29 

How about the two men who went up to pray? One was heard and the other not (Luke 18:9-14).

“Israel was bringing sacrifices and offerings to the Lord on their feast days, but their lives were corrupt, so their offerings were rejected by God. He would rather have righteousness than ritual. Even in the wilderness, when professing to worship Jehovah, they had practiced idolatry with Moloch and other idols, such as Sikkuth and Chiun.” William MacDonald

All men have sinned and God only forgives and saves those who fall upon His sheer mercy in conviction, contrition, and brokenness. All others forfeit His gift of salvation in Christ.

“Hell is full of people who think they deserve heaven. Heaven is full of people who know they deserve Hell.” Unknown

Notes on this passage from William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

Matthew 9:9-13
I. Jesus Calls Matthew the Tax Collector (9:9-13)

9:9 The tense atmosphere building up around the Savior is temporarily relieved by Matthew’s simple and humble account of his own call. A tax-collector or custom house officer, he and his fellow officials were hated intensely by the Jews because of their crookedness, because of the oppressive taxes they exacted, and most of all, because they served the interests of the Roman Empire, Israel’s overlord. As Jesus passed the tax office, He said to Matthew, “Follow Me.” The response was instantaneous; he arose and followed; leaving a traditionally dishonest job to become an instant disciple of Jesus. As someone has said, “He lost a comfortable job, but he found a destiny. He lost a good income but he found honor. He lost a comfortable security, but he found an adventure the like of which he had never dreamed.” Not the least among his rewards were that he became one of the twelve and was honored to write the Gospel which bears his name.

9:10 The meal described here was arranged by Matthew in honor of Jesus (Luke 5:29). It was his way of confessing Christ publicly and of introducing his associates to the Savior. Necessarily, therefore, the guests were tax-collectors and others generally known to be sinners!

9:11 It was the practice in those days to eat reclining on couches and facing the table. When the Pharisees saw Jesus associating in this way with the social riff-raff, they went to His disciples and charged Him with “guilt by association”; surely no true prophet would eat with sinners!

9:12 Jesus overheard and answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” The Pharisees considered themselves healthy and were unwilling to confess their need for Jesus. (Actually they were extremely ill spiritually and desperately needed healing.) The tax collectors and sinners, by contrast, were more willing to acknowledge their true condition and to seek Christ’s saving grace. So the charge was true! Jesus did eat with sinners. If He had eaten with the Pharisees, the charge would still have been true—perhaps even more so! If Jesus hadn’t eaten with sinners in a world like ours, He would always have eaten alone. But it is important to remember that when He ate with sinners, He never indulged in their evil ways or compromised His testimony. He used the occasion to call men to truth and holiness.

9:13 The Pharisees’ trouble was that although they followed the rituals of Judaism with great precision, their hearts were hard, cold, and merciless. So Jesus dismissed them with a challenge to learn the meaning of Jehovah’s words, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (quoted from Hos_6:6). Although God had instituted the sacrificial system, He did not want the rituals to become a substitute for inward righteousness. God is not a ritualist, and He is not pleased with rituals divorced from personal godliness—precisely what the Pharisees had done. They observed the letter of the law but had no compassion for those who needed spiritual help. They associated only with self-righteous people like themselves.

In contrast, the Lord Jesus pointedly told them, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He perfectly fulfilled God’s desire for mercy as well as sacrifice. In one sense, there are no righteous people in the world, so He came to call all men to repentance. But here the thought is that His call is only effective for those who acknowledge themselves to be sinners. He can dispense no healing to those who are proud, self-righteous, and unrepentant—like the Pharisees.”

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