faith comes by hearingand children are welcome
— Romans 10.17 —
In John's Gospel, we met Jesus the Son of God. In Luke's Gospel, we meet Jesus the Son of Man. In Mark's Gospel, we meet Jesus the suffering Servant. And with Matthew we embark on our Gospel-journey to meet Jesus: the Sovereign King.
Matthew begins by leading us down royal lines of our King's lineage.
From His birth He began threatening other earthly kings.
Futile efforts to find & kill Him were thwarted by wise men & magi. Upon finding their infant King, they fell and worshipped with royal gifts from the east.
In time, John the Baptist would join the herald of heavenly hosts, proclaiming the King & His Kingdom at hand!
Satan affirmed Jesus' reign by his efforts to tempt Him to a Kingdom exchange.
The sermons of the Sovereign One would also convince on-listeners of His heavenly descent: "He speaks as one with authority, not like our scribes & Pharisees."
During His crucifixion trial He made His own declaration: "My Kingdom is not of this world." Heaven's King came to reign upon the earth. The Cross would be the means by which He would conquer, a stumbling block for the proud, but grace to the humble.
Shaking off death like dust, Jesus proved His dominion over hell when He arose from the grave.
And ultimately, Matthew's final words record his Messiah's pronouncement: "All authority in heaven & earth has been given to Me."
Despite great lengths that Matthew went to in order to convince us of Christ the King, he faithfully & painfully focuses also upon the Messiah's rejection by His own people. Like no other Gospel, Matthew depicts the hostility of the religious leaders who refused their King. Of Himself He said, 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.'
But Matthew also includes chapter 24 wherein we learn of the Son of Man's second coming at an unexpected hour, full of glory, judgement & power. Will the bride be ready?
No other Gospel provides more instruction, direction and power for faithful followers commissioned to represent Christ the King throughout the earth.
They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
I've also heard it said that our love can be measured best by those we love the least.
Do you think your love for the least would pass the test of Christian love?
Join us this week as we wrap up another chapter of Matthew's account of the Good News of Jesus Christ, beginning in verse 31 of chapter 25. Today's sermon is entitled "The Love of Sheep and Goats".
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
blue = leaders only
living on mission: Please read Matthew 25.31-46
In the end metaphorically we are either sheep or goats. What is the character of sheep and what is the character of goats? Sheep are generally characterized as docile, even brainless they can be easily herded or led. Goats are usually thought of as having an attitude, a mind of their own and more difficult to heard or lead.
Would your biological father say you are a sheep or a goat? What about God the Father?
The passage described Jesus on His throne. Before Him are gathered all nations. Sheep and goats are mixed. Jesus, like a Shepherd, separates the peoples into two flocks. In your daily life can you think of sheep and goats that you are mixed up with? Examples: at work, home, school, play?
Do the goats know they are goats? Probably some do but, they may not even care. Other goats might think they are sheep.
If you asked a sheep what he was doing how would they respond? The Holy Spirit leads me to the work He has prepared for me. I go about my life living as a humble salvaged christian always pointing to God as the source of blessing and joy. I live to do His will.
What would a goat say? “Really you have to ask? Well you know my work. I haven’t made it a secret. I support christian organizations and you should too. It’s no secret, I sent my kids to Africa to dig wells. Surely, you cant miss the fact that my whole family is kneeling up front at the pastors weekly prayerathon.” Goats participate in activities and programs done in his name but, do not engage personally as a humble, repentant and joyful servant of God. They are not living joyfully their kings victory.
How would a goat know that you love your shepherd? People need to see us respond to trials by faithfully trusting God, in humility. Daily, faithfully praying and reading scripture because we are seeking more of Him and His will in our lives. Goats, need to see us live lives that are shaped by our personal love for God. Not just doing the religious thing as a part of an organization or ministry. If the organization or ministry goes away would the goat still know you love God?
Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. Do you have any responsibility? Obedience, love, your neighbor as yourself. Tell them about Jesus, so they don't spend one more day in the agony of being separated from God.
sharing life together: What is keeping you from helping “the least of these”? knowledge of scripture? I don't know any goats, I think I might be a goat, I am too busy, I don't cook, I am a germaphobic?
How can South Church help you live more intimately with God and consequently love your neighbor? Prayer, resources: books, money, teaching, more fellowship, testimonies, doctrinal classes, ride alongs?
growing in truth: What was the main point of the passage? Works are evidence of salvation. Works do not earn us salvation. Jesus will sit on His throne attended by angles. Every knee will bow before him. Jesus will judge the people. People will be assigned to heaven or hell. Our lives here will not earn us salvation but they will be evidence of our love for God and our surrender to His will. Those who have a personal relationship with the living God will be welcomed to His kingdom. Unfortunately there will be those that did work in his name for personal reward and they will go to eternal punishment.