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Blessed to be a blessing: Living with an Eternal Purpose.

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Doing. Our Eternal Purpose.

Matthew 25:
Matthew 25:31–46 ESV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 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. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 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.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 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.’ “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. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 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.’ 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?’ 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.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
In the passage we read in , We summarize that Jesus, sitting on His glorious throne at the end of the Age will separate the cursed from the righteous as a shepherd separates sheep from goats:
Sheep look different from goats, so you can conceivably separate them by observing them
He will use the following criteria:
Those who fed him when He was hungry
Those who gave him water when He was thirsty
Those who welcomed Him when He was a stranger to them
Those who visited Him in prison
The righteous and the wicked do not remember ever doing that to Jesus, but Jesus will reply to them - if you did it to the least of my brothers - or the least of these - you did it to me.
The righteous will get eternal life, and the cursed will get eternal punishment, prepared for the Devil and His angels.
Is this all we are to get from the passage? No. There is a lot going on, and we will briefly attempt to identify it. In order to do this, we have to go back to . Please read it when you get home. For now, we will just summarize it.
Mathew 24-25 is a response to three questions that His disciples asked Him. They wanted Jesus to notice the magnificence of the Temple as they were walking away from it. There was a lot to admire:
Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes, for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. (223) But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for, as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. (224) On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth.
Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 707–708.
But Jesus simply dismissed it, saying that its magnificence will turn into rubble - it will be utterly destroyed. In light of all this - how do you think the disciples felt? If someone prophesied and said that all the church buildings in Nairobi will be destroyed, you might ask similar questions to that prophet. So these are the three questions that the disciples asked:
When will the temple be destroyed?
When will the end of this age come?
When will be the sign of your coming?
We can understand why the disciples thought are important questions, because the temple was a sign of YHWH’s presence in Israel. Without the Temple, the Spirit of God and the Messiah had no place to return to, no Mercy seat, no way to receive sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving or sin. There would be no reason for the Jewish nation to exist. This had happened before, a few hundred years before, so it was still very fresh in their memories what the destruction of the temple meant.
In response, and in light of this context, Jesus replied:
Many will attempt to deceive you - I am the Christ. Many will be deceived.
Ignore the wars
Ignore the famines and the pestilences - they are just the beginning
You will be hated by many
Many false prophets will arise and deceive some of you
The love of many will grow cold
The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, then the end will come ( )
Therefore (see )
When you see the abomination of desolation (from the prophet Daniel)
“most scholars agree that there is a reference to the desecration perpetrated by Antiochus Epiphanes when he built an altar to Zeus in the temple and offered swine and other unclean animals on it as sacrifices (cf. ). “
Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 603.
This was likely a reference to AD 70 when the Emperor Titus would lay siege to Jerusalem and destroy the temple. But no matter what it refers to, Jesus knew that the disciples would recognize it when they saw it, so His advice was:
Flee to the mountains - don’t go back home to get anything
Woe to pregnant women, and to mothers of young children - they will probably die
Those days will be terrible, but they will be shortened for the sake of the elect
False Christs will arise - don’t follow them
All these things will happen within the current generation - except the day of the Lord’s return, which will remain unknown.
After the tribulation
The heavens will be shaken
The son of man will return on an unknown day in the future
Keep watch
When He comes, He will gather His elect (faithful servants) like this:
If you are the virgins flanking a wedding ceremony, remember your role at the wedding, be watchful, and be faithful, the bridegroom may come anytime
If you are a servant with your master’s assets, put them to profitable use, for He will require a profit from you at any time
There are needy people around you, feed them, clothe them, visit them, give them a drink. Do your part, for He will require it from you anytime.
Both the faithful and the unfaithful did not known when they did (or not do) what they were supposed to - so Jesus cautions everyone - the least of these = me. So watch, be faithful.
So in short,
When will these things happen? During your generation
Do not be concerned about time, these are they who ask want to cheat the system, so they can procrastinate their work until the last minute
When will the end of the age come? Like the days of Noah - no one knew
Do your part, be focused on the talents and role God has given you, He will require it from you at anytime
When will you return? - Like a thief in the dark, no one knows.
Do not dismiss the needy, in God’s kingdom, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked , the prisoners and the strangers are loved dearly. They are exactly like Christ. Do not dismiss them.
So, what should I do in the meantime? Work. Do what the Holy Spirit has asked you to do. Be faithful, because this is your lot. Your reward is in your work.
If the love of Christ truly rests and glows from your heart, these things are easy to do. If Christ is not your heart, you will not look like one of the sheep, but rather, as a goat.
When The Christ returns, or on your deathbed, will you be able to say:
2 Timothy 4:6–8 ESV
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
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