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Journey Through Matthew: The Sheep & the Goats

Journey Through Matthew   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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To be a Christian is a much higher calling than simply asking forgiveness of sin. Jesus calls us to forsake all others and to follow Him. Jesus calls us to sacrfice of self out of love. The mark of a true Chrisitan is not how many times they have repented but how Christ has changed their heart and how that chang of heart is demonstrated by their love for others.

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Introduction

Good evening and welcome back!
Tonight turn back in your Bibles to .
We are going to be finishing up the chapter tonight, looking at verses 31-46 on the subject of the “Sheep vs the Goats.”
And to many of you this is a familiar passage of Scripture, but it is also a good reminder of what it really means to be a Christian.
To many being a “Christian” simply means to go and say a prayer on an altar, ask forgiveness and that’s it, nothing else to it.
However, with our passage tonight and with many of the teachings of Jesus we have read, we know that this is not the case.
Being a Christian is more than just a decision a person makes on some random Sunday morning.
Being a Christian is an entire shift in our attitudes, our behaviors, our life.
Being a Christian involves a transformation of our heart.
We think differently, act differently, we are just different.
And what Jesus is going to point out in our passage tonight is that if we want to call ourselves Christians, His disciples, then there are certain behaviors that we should be exhibiting.
And he also shows the contrast of what happens if we are not doing these things and living this type of life.
If we are just trying to pretend or blend in with the crowd.
So, if you have found Mathew 25 in your Bibles I’d invite you to stand with me as you are able.
I will be reading verses 31-46.
Matthew writes . . . .

Scripture Focus

Matthew 25:31–46 NIV - Anglicised
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Sheep and Goats Separated(vs 31-33)

So, although this is a pretty familiar passage that we use to talk about the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous , like I mentioned in the beginning, this separation deals with our attitudes and behaviors rather than some arbitrary decision made by God.
We actually decide by how we live our lives, whether we are going to be going with the sheep or the goats.
so, the passage starts out . . . .
Matthew 25:31 NIV - Anglicised
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
Matthew 25:
So, this isn’t talking about a time that is going to be after the rapture, after the “Day of the Lord” after the second coming when Jesus establishes his reign on the earth.
This is the type of judgement that will be establishing our eternal faith.
Just like we make a decision as to whether we are going to follow Jesus and live for Jesus in this life, we also must realize that the decision that we make here, today, and everyday of our lives impacts or eternity.
There are so many times when bad things happen in our lives that cause us to just want to give up and quit, but everything we have learned from Jesus’ teaching to the disciples the last few weeks tells us NO!
It tells us to not give up, not quit, not give in, not go down that wrong road.
And it tells us not to do that because the consequences are not just the here and now but they impact our entire eternity.
Which is exactly the point that Jesus is trying to make with these disciples here.
In that time, when Jesus is in all his glory on his heavenly throne . . .
Matthew 25:32–33 NIV - Anglicised
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Matthew 25:32
And notice it doesn’t say “some people” or “some nations.”
The Bible tells us that “all nations will be gathered before him,” meaning all people, no on is excluded.
And as they stand before Jesus, some things begin to take place.
Jesus begins to separate them.
He puts one group on the right and the other on the left.
And the analogy is that it will be just like a shepherd who is going through his field, separating the animals.
The shepherd would take his prized sheep and put them on one side and the old goats and put them on the other side.
And Jesus is taking his sheep and placing them on his right side, a place of honor, but the goats he places on the left side, which in our passage becomes a place of disgrace.

The Sheep Rewarded (vs 34-40)

And then Jesus begins to explain some things to them . . .
Matthew 25:34 NIV - Anglicised
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Matthew 25:34
Not too bad a deal!
He calls them blessed and offers them the inheritance of the Kingdom.
Offers them the chance the rule with Him, for all eternity.
But why?
Why were they offered this opportunity?
Jesus explains . . .
Matthew 25:35–36 NIV - Anglicised
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Matthew 25:35-
But hold on just a minute!
This sounds an awful lot like “works,” and my Bible tells me I am saved by faith in Jesus, apart from any works.
And this is 100% true, but the Bible also says that we will know them by their fruit.
And what Jesus is saying here is, if you are really saved, then there will be a change in you.
Your heart will be different, it will be filled with love for God and love for others.
And when you see someone who is hungry, you will be compelled to feed them.
When they are thirsty you will be compelled to give them something to drink.
You will be kind to strangers, give clothing to those in need, look after sick, visit those who are isolated in prison (and the hospitals and nursing homes).
They are continuously asking Jesus what it means to be a disciple, and we have been asking the same questions ever since, well here is the answer to those questions.
This, however confused the disciples.
They never remember seeing the “King” in need.
Because to be honest, if they did anyone would would helped, for no other reason than to get a reward from the king.
So, they ask. . . .
Matthew 25:37–39 NIV - Anglicised
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Matthew 25:37
When did all of this take place?
And here is the kick in the teeth . . .
Matthew 25:40 NIV - Anglicised
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
If you truly love God and demonstrate that love for God, then you will do for others.
You will help others.
You will be with those who are in need, those who are less fortunate.
Those who have been abused and mistreated.
Those who are down and out.
You will be who you claim to be.

The Goats Punished (vs 41-46)

But, what about those goats?
What happens to them?
Matthew 25:41 NIV - Anglicised
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Matthew 25:41
No reward for them.
No eternal reign for them.
Rather, they are cursed and thrown into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Those who do not follow Jesus, those who are not “sheep” are cast into a place designed for Satan himself.
A place for those who rebelled and tried to overthrow God are placed.
But why? Why so harsh?
Matthew 25:42–43 NIV - Anglicised
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
Matthew 25:42
The same as before, but this time these did not provide for the king when he was in need.
These were the ones who turned the other way.
Ignored the need around them.
Ignored the hurt in our community.
Ignored the fact that there are a lot of lonely people in the jails, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Ignored the fact that there are homeless and destitute people right down the street.
Ignored the fact that there are children out there that just need a home.
Ignored all the things that the Holy Spirit has told us in our hearts that we are to be doing.
Because that’s what he is talking about here.
And the same conversation takes place as before . . .
Matthew 25:44 NIV - Anglicised
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
Matthew 25:44
Because if we had known it was you, we would have helped.
Sure, when someone is watching, or you think it will puff you up a bit.
We will jump right in and help.
But Jesus responds . . .
Matthew 25:45–46 NIV - Anglicised
45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25:45-46

Altar Call

And the reason is because their heart has not been changed.
They are no different because of Jesus.
Salvation is a concept to them, just something they “do.”
Getting “saved” is not something we “do.”
Submitting to Jesus is part of a transformation of our entire life.
It’s not just simply an act.
It is who we become, how we live.
So, ask yourself tonight what your attitude is toward those in need.
Are you willing to jump in and help just because they need help, or only willing when someone is watching or it benefits you in some way?
What is your attitude toward those in need?
Do you have compassion on them or act like the Pharisees and pass on the other side?
And it is serious business we must consider.
Because our entire eternity depends on it.
We are going to have a time of reflection and prayer and I want each person to really consider where their heart is right now.
Because there will come a day when you will give an account of your heart to God.
What will that account be?
The choice you make tonight could determine it.
What choice will that be?
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