March 13: The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
This Sunday Josh C. will continue the series Living as a Church at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament book of Exodus).
“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 our passage for this Sunday, Jesus concludes His series of teachings commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse, in which He gives word to His disciples regarding future events and how they are to prepare. In this last section, we are given a glimpse into the heavenly throne room, an awesome scene in which all peoples are gathered before the Lord. He separates the gathering into two groups, the “sheep” and the “goats,” then proceeds to send each group to a place of honor and dishonor, eternal bliss and eternal torment. As He does this, the Lord gives word as to the basis for the separation. The finality of the pronounced judgment is at the very least sobering, perhaps even terrifying depending on where one sees himself or herself in the scene. It should give everyone pause, whether believer or unbeliever, as this is a reality that everyone will experience.
Review and Apply
1. Many people have difficulties reconciling God being a loving God and the reality that there will be people sent to hell. How can this be clarified with an understanding of God’s justice and holiness?
2. Verses 35-36 and 42-43 seem to teach that salvation is by works, but it is clear from other parts of scripture that this is not the case. Recall and review some of those passages (e.g. Eph. 2:8-10, Rom. 4-6, etc.) and explain the role of “good works” in the Christian walk.
3. Describe your understanding of heaven and hell. How much of it has scriptural basis and are there ideas that have their roots in popular culture and/or beliefs that have no basis in scripture?
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