4th July 2023
Read (Matthew 25v31-46)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
There are only two types of people in this world - those who hate Jesus and those who have willingly embraced Him. Humanity is divided along all kinds of lines and markers but boil it all down and you have followers of Christ and those who hate Jesus. Nowhere will this be more apparent than on the day of judgement.
At the return of Christ, He will take His seat upon the throne and everyone who has ever lived will be gathered before Him (v31-32). We know this to be true because the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead has confirmed it. Paul once preached "God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17v31) The resurrected Christ will one day be Christ the judge.
The billions that will stand before Christ won't be mixed together in a jumbled mess. Instead they will be separated into a group on the right and a group on the left (v32). Jesus is the one who separates the mass of humanity and by this very act we understand that He know the hearts of all people everywhere. Those who follow Christ are called His sheep and their place is on Christ's right. Those who hate Jesus are called the goats and their place is on Christ's left (v33).
Not only will the human race stand in different places but they will be told different things. Those on the right hear "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." (v34-36). Whilst those on the left are told “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." (v41-43).
There are many who refuse to handle such passages. They believe that Jesus never said anything about judgement or hell and they imagine the Lord to be always loving and gracious. Indeed some even go so far as to say that there will be nobody sent to hell and there will be some sort of universal salvation. I reject all of this. History comes to a close with Christ on the judgement seat giving heaven to His sheep and hell to the goats.
What will the basis of this decision be? To stand on the right side in the judgement you must be born again. You must receive Christ as your Saviour. The one who is transformed by the Gospel will show the reality of that faith in their works. The righteous were surprised at Christ's description of their actions. They couldn't remember seeing Jesus hungry or thirsty or alienated or naked or sick or in prison (v38-39). The Lord's answer was that they had done all of these things to fellow members of the church and therefore they had done them to Christ (v40).
The situation was reversed on the left. The goats were also surprised as they couldn't remember any neglect of Christ but again the Lord's response was that they had mistreated Christ's followers and therefore they had mistreated Jesus (v44-45). Please be clear that we are not saved or damned by our works. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Nevertheless, our works or lack of them are sure evidence or our true spiritual condition and we certainly do not love Jesus if we do not love His church.
Christ's description of the day of judgement ends with one of the most sombre verses in Scripture. Jesus said "these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (v46). There's the final separation of humanity. Those on Christ's left go to hell forever and those on the right go to heaven forever. There is no "in-between" place that you can be prayed out of. Hell is not for one hundred years and then you get to go to heaven. The judgement that is decreed on the final day will not be revoked. You will believe the Gospel or not, you will serve Jesus or yourself, you will stand on the right or left and you will dwell in either heaven or hell.
There are only two types of people in this world - those who hate Jesus and those who have willingly embraced Him. Which one are you?
Q89 How is the Word made effectual to salvation? The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.