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What did you do?

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Matthew 25:31-46

People are interesting. Just how we are, how we think, what we say, and how we act. I, like many, like to study the way people are. So I try to observe.
A serious incident happened last week with a police officer and another person. right now there is a case developing so not all of the details are out yet, they will be, and its an incredibly sad event because the officer lost his life.
it is what people did immediately following this incident, as they discovered that an alleged killer was on the loose that really got me wondering..... some people, actually many people took to social media and expressed themselves. It what was probably the most clear display of what could be thought of by them as “justified hatred” and people were pointing the finger at the criminal with attitudes of incredible anger. they wanted justice for this slain officer and they wanted the shooter dead, by any means. it was an attitude of justified anger to the place of sin. it is dangerous.
You know, we are all almost programmed to think like this from movies and stories that have a good guy and bad guy in them. we all root for the good guy and look down on the bad guy. it is socially acceptable.
I am watching this one show on Netflix, Lost in space, and it has a character that is the worse of the worse. It makes that justified hatred come up.
as I watched this event with the officer play out and all the people with such anger on social media, I prayed and asked God a lot of questions. God answered. my heart was going out to the family of the officer, but I was also thinking about the attacker, and thinking why? I wanted to ask him, what did you do? and then I thought how the future might play out, about him going to prison and sitting there..... we know the backstory of this person. but there are plenty more that are in prison that we don’t know what they did.
And still, Christ compels us to reach the lost.
So, these verses came to me and as I read them, I thought about the one that was visited in prison. if they were in prison, they did a crime. what did they do? was it murder? theft? something worse? yet, in our text we hear that these Christians were visiting criminals. It really got me thinking.....these Christians weren’t angry, but reaching out to the lost.....no matter who they were.
as we read earlier in Matt 25 starting in verse 31, we see Jesus, after His coming with all the angels with Him, He sits on His throne, He separates people into two groups, some on the right and some on the left. and He speaks to both groups, first to the group on the right.
Matthew 25:34–36 ESV
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. 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, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Now, let’s think about this verse in the context. this is after everyone has lived and we are at the final Judgement. this group is being told to inherit the Kingdom and Jesus explains what they did. this verse can be taken out of context if it is not interpreted with the rest of scripture. there are people who try to say these verses support works for salvation. wrong.
what is implied here about these people is they are His. Jesus says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father” they have believed in the Son of God and the salvation plan so from their belief, from God’s blessing, they lived a certain way in their lives. they loved, they cared for people, they reached out to those who needed help. A note to remember, a person cannot love someone and care for their needs and judge them at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. to love someone, you don’t stand in judgement over them, but you put yourself in a place of servanthood towards them. Just like Jesus.
Christianity is meant to cause us to become more like Christ.
1 John 3:2 ESV
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
So we know that what we believe changes us. and it is a change from the inside out, like Keith spoke about last week. great teaching about God’s will and the transformation by the Holy Spirit within us vs conforming to the world.
believe is implied in this text because they have lived their lives already. We all believe something, and what showed through their lives was Jesus.
What is interesting is that they didn’t realize that when they were ministering to the poor, the sick, the needy, naked and in prison, and prisons.
they were doing it as unto Jesus Himself.
Look at the verse again. all these needy people, Jesus is identifying Himself as them.
just a thought.......
what if we looked at everyone, all people, as if they were Christ? what would that do to us? how would that change the way we look at some people now?
these people on the right, they are given the kingdom!
and what kind of kingdom is being inherited? a righteous one. a perfect one. It is certainly alluding to what Jesus has done for His people. no one can inherit the kingdom on their own works because none is righteous, but by the works of Jesus, the perfect works of Jesus we become righteous by His life only.
it brings me back to the question. what did you do? and what we do comes from the heart and what we believe in our heart.
for the lost, why would we think that they would do anything but sin? they aren’t receiving forgiveness for all their sin, they haven’t received the perfect life of Jesus....not yet anyway, so, we should kinda expect the evil that happens in the world.
for the saved, would we naturally see the actions of what we are reading? from the heart, reaching out to the needs in the community? that’s when God is on the move and people know it. His love is reaching out and we get to share the message of why we do what we do.
Just like Jesus.
now, before I close, let’s go back and talk about how the verses started because there is one thing we must see. Jesus has a supreme place in this world and in this universe. We can be affected by Him, but He does the work.
When we look back, we see Jesus, separating the sheep and the goats. this is Jesus, He is the one who has the right to judge, the right to separate, the responsibility in this. we are the sheep, affected by His choices, affected by His work, and out of that, He puts us where we belong. we belong to Him. this is our identity.
I have been observing people in this church being transformed by Him. people are seeing needs in this world and at first they may be asking why? then God is doing a work in then and calling them to minister to the needs that they are seeing. there is a reason for what you see in this world. God wants to use it!
I am witnessing this happen and it is a joy to see God moving and growing lives here at Calvary Bible. God is on the move, and as He works, we will naturally see these works being done.
asking the question now about what did you do, after God gets a hold of you and sets your course to do what He has called you to, it becomes a beautiful response.
What did you do? I gave to the needy, I reached out to the hurting, I clothed the naked, I visited those who were sick and those who were in prison. All because of what Jesus has done. Amen!
this last song was written based on a story like we have talked about today. there was a lady who visited oversees and wasn’t sure why the orphan kids where not getting the help that they needed. she could have pointed at all that was wrong, but God called her and she, being affected by Him, responded to His love.
It’s called “do something” by Matthew West
you can just listen or sing along if you like.
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