Summary: A sermon for Christ the King Sunday Judgement

Christ the King Sunday

Matthew 25:31-46

"Are you a Sheep or a Goat?"

Today is Christ the King Sunday. It is the last Sunday of the church year. It is the Sunday we honor Jesus as the king of our lives and the king of the world.

This Kingship of Jesus is clearly seen in our gospel text as He says: "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 them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left."

Notice a few interesting facts. Jesus is sitting on his throne. Where is God?? Is judgment left up to Jesus??

Then notice, gathered before Him will be all the people of the world and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Notice, each group is being separated for what they are, sheep or goats. Jesus doesn’t make them sheep or goats. He divides them as He sees them. Sheep on His right hand or his hand of mercy, and the goats on his left hand, his hand of judgment.

Then, Jesus goes on to say how the division was made, upon what basis. The criterion of this judgment is our response to the cries of human need around us. For when we hear that cry and respond out of love, we are hearing the cry of our Lord and responding out of love to Him, because He first loved us. Jesus is saying our response to the needs of others is a reflection of His in dwelling love in our hearts. We are sheep people, or Jesus people, as we reflect love. We are goat people, or people who do not love, as we hoard the love of Jesus selfishly in our hearts.

Listen to the following and decide if Heidi reflects the love of Jesus?

"A newcomer had come to school for the first time. The children all stared. His skin was a different color than their skin, he was small for his age, and he had a club foot. But one girl, Heidi, quickly and easily made friends with this newcomer.

"One day on the playground, some of the children began to tease and make fun of this newcomer. Heidi came to his rescue by saying she was still his friend. And she proved her loyalty by playing with him. Still the teasing and name-calling persisted. She told the others to stop, and eventually, the kids got to pushing and shoving, and finally, the teacher came to stop the fight. Heidi had stood alone in the fight defending her new found friend.

It was unlike Heidi to fight, and because her clothes were torn, her teacher called her mom to come to school with clean clothes and to have a talk with Heidi about the fight. After Heidi was all cleaned up, she met with her teacher and mother. Heidi was asked to describe what had happened and why she did what she did.

Her reply was simple. The newcomer, the little boy, was her friend. The others should not make fun of him. "Jesus love me, " said Heidi, "And Jesus loves all the little children. I wanted the others boys and girls to love my friend and be kind to him like I am. He can’t help it if his skin is a different color, and if he is small and has a funny way of walking."

Dr. Richard Hoefler says in his book, The Divine Trap, "In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Christ issues a warning in love. It is not a prescription but a description. A prescription is something that we must do if we are to achieve a desired end. A description is a picture of the ways things are, or will be. Sheep and goats are not made sheep and goats by the judgment; they are only identified for what they are. Therefore, judgment reveals what has long been true. The deeds of mercy which the sheep performed were not works of merit, but examples and evidences of the fact they were sheep and not goats. Therefore, judgment is not a threat of something to be feared in the future, but a warning that one day all people will be revealed for what they are now.

The last day is not so much judgment day as it is VERDICT DAY. This is the surprising truth about judgment: it depends ultimately not on what we do, or fail to do, but on what we are -- sheep or goats."

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