Summary: Judgment for our benevolence on earth
I have a question for everyone here today; especially those who have been Christians for many years. What happens after faith? We finally accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, start reading our Bibles, try to learn to pray and then what do we do? Isn’t their another step in this journey of faith? Maybe you struggle with this very problem. You have accepted Christ and just don’t know where to go next. Maybe you are still searching for something before you will accept Christ. You want to see genuine Christians living the life they profess and maybe you have other needs which should be addressed. Questions may plague your mind such as who is Jesus really? What does he have to do with me? How do I “believe” in him? Maybe you are searching for love and family or maybe just some answers.
I know that when I found Christ, it was not what I was looking for at all. I started attending church at the bequest of my friend Janice. She couldn’t answer the questions I was asking but assured me that someone there had the answers. I was pretty cocky and assumed the truth was that no one had the answers. I went and went as my family at home degenerated deeper and deeper into despair and hate. I remember it very clearly. I had been going to the church for several months trying to find the answers that I needed. I didn’t understand why my family was so messed up. School had already let out and I kept coming all the way into mid-august when my mother called the state-police and threatened to kill herself so that she would be taken to a mental institution. I sat in my room at our house for the rest of the day wondering what to do. Later that night I found myself crying my heart out and cursing the God I didn’t believe in. It was the strangest thing because as I was yelling at him but he was loving me. It was if he came down from heaven and gave me a hug and promised me he would take care of it all. He didn’t speak verbally but that is how I felt. He took care of everything for me. I’ll never forget how much he loves me, and how much he did for me through the people of the church.
Today we will lay the sixth track for our train to ride on into the future. Today we will talk about need-oriented evangelism. We will answer the question what happens after faith? At any given time you will find at least three types of people in the church. You will find the good and faithful, the bad, and the searching. You will find those who set the example of faith and help those who are searching to find answers. You will find those who come and go and never grow as Christians and you will find those who are seeking the answer to life’s hard questions and need someone to step up and answer them. Flip with me to Matthew 25:31ff. Jesus begins finishing his eschatological discourse or in laymen’s terms, his speech about the end of time. Here he focuses specifically on the judgment aspect, and in it you will find three types of people. (Read 31-33). At the end we will be in either one of two groups, those on God’s right hand and those put over by his left. Jesus now explains what God will say to each group of people. Faith without works is dead. (SBI)
The Good – “to those on his right hand…”
“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 look 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.”
At the Day of Judgment men and women who have faithfully served God and their fellow man will be heralded into the kingdom of heaven. Think of the words of James which say “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, “ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” There will be men and women who will be led by God’s right hand to stand among the faithful because their faith produced works. This group finds their hope and salvation in their faith in their Lord Jesus Christ. They help others in the ways listed and in many more because they love their Lord so much. Their salvation is not based on works but on the grace of God and that motivates them to help others.