Summary: This sermon addresses what God will use to judge you on Judgment Day, and how you can approach such an awesome Day in faith.
November 6, 2005 Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 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. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “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.
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, 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.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Kids are especially focused when it comes to special days. It can be months before it ever comes, and a young child will ask, “when is my birthday?” It’s quite amazing if you think about that singular focus that they can have at times. Christmas, birthdays, vacation days - these are all days that some people count the days til.
I would venture to bet that Judgment Day is NOT one of those days that kids think about as much. Not too many people set aside this “Last Judgment Sunday” as the highlight of their church year. We put as our highlights Christmas and Easter - the birth and resurrection of Christ - not this day. That’s when even good old Uncle Fred who barely ever comes to church may show his face - but not for Last Judgment Sunday.
Why is that? Listen to what Jesus talks about - judgment! The same one who said “don’t judge” is coming to judge - and He’s making it clear! Those who think that Jesus was just a nice guy who talked about how to be nice to people - (which He does talk about in today’s text) - seem to forget that Jesus also talks about eternal heaven and hell - a final judgment! Jesus on a throne in ALL His glory. Wow. Big pictures here - pictures that make many people AFRAID. We simply can’t ignore these words of Jesus. It would be like taking out a chapter of an author’s book without his permission. Today we are going to do a daring thing and actually-
Look Forward to the Final Judgment
I. The nature of the judgment
Jesus draws a very vivid picture in this text of heaven and hell. Both are eternal. You can’t deny it. For those who would like to think that heaven is eternal, but hell is not - it can’t be done without tearing out the very words of God. Vs. 46 in today’s text lays eternal heaven and hell right next to each other, as two equally lengthy paths in opposite directions. Forever is a long time. Imagine, for instance one year of life in a one year old’s life, and a 90 year old’s life. To a ninety year old person - that year doesn’t seem too long. But to a one year old, it seems like an eternity. One hour in church seems like an eternity to some, while one hour of recess seems way too short. Time is relative to the one experiencing it. No matter where you are or how you feel, heaven and hell will be for eternity - whether it seems like it or not.