Summary: This sermon explores that Jesus emphasises that living as Christians results in us loving God and loving others because we love God. And as we do we interact with Jesus because Jesus is with the needy.
Today is Christ the King Sunday.
The last Sunday of the church year.
And as the last day of the church year,
we are focussing on the last days,
and our Gospel reading for the day from Matthew 25:31-46
highlights one of the ways how Jesus as King makes of a decision of who receives eternal life and who receives eternal death.
Now before we go much further we need to be clear about what a king is?
When you hear the word king?
What is your perception of a king?
Do you think of Prince Charles?
Perhaps you think of someone who rules over people and who is pompous?
Maybe you have a Robin Hood opinion of kings, that they steal from the poor?
Some people have a very negative view of kings.
However our views of who is Jesus as a king should be determined by what God says about kings and what Jesus does as a king found in the scriptures.
A week before Easter, we celebrate Palm Sunday.
The day Jesus enters Jerusalem, as a king.
He does so not in a chariot or being carried by people,
but on a humble donkey.
In the Old and New Testament God constantly emphasised that a kings role is to care for the people.
And Jesus cares for us not only by providing for our everyday needs,
but also by creating a future for us.
And again who receives the future is determined not by who we think has done the right thing,
but it is determined by Jesus.
And as Proverbs 3:5-6 says having God’s perspective is something we need to take seriously.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
When we have God’s perspective on life we will live according to His ways.
And we will have a clearer picture on what He is up to as king.
Our starting point is to ask, “what is God saying about this or that situation?”
And also what is God saying about our future?
It is easy for us to develop an attitude of how we think life should be,
based not on what God thinks, or what scripture reveals
but our own perspective on life.
Earlier this week some newspapers carried a story
that Gerry Harvey the owner of Harvey Norman,
said charity is a waste of time.
He said “why would you want to help the homeless,
when they contribute nothing to society.”
Now to be fair, Gerry has helped people out in the past.
But he expresses what many people including Christians feel.
That we will only help someone out when we receive a benefit.
or if the community will benefit.
However Jesus reveals to us a different perspective to helping the needy.
Let’s listen again to some of these verses.
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 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, ’Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
When we help the needy, we are interacting with Jesus.
We are serving God.
If Jesus was to walk through our church door and we knew it was Jesus.
Many of us would bend over backwards to serve him and help him out.
However today Jesus reminds us that we acknowledge and serve God not just by directly serving Him.
But also by how we relate to others.
How we treat others, especially the needy.