31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
In this passage of scripture, we find Jesus speaking to us about a day that is coming that is a judgment day. You will remember that in chapter 24, the people were asking Jesus about the end times, what was going to happen, what was going to come. Jesus gave them an explanation that included wars and rumors of wars. Things that would happen in the land. Then in chapter 25, Jesus continues His discourse on the end times. He uses a king as an illustration. He, Jesus Christ, being the king. In this illustration, He gives to us truths that we need to know about a righteous life. We will explore three things from this passage in this study.
The Righteous Are Selfless Through Charity
Did you notice that in this passage, when the judgment day comes, He will take the people of the world and separates them to the left and to the right. To the right will be the sheep of His fold. To the left will be the people who He never knew.
He turns to those of the sheep and explains that because of their charity toward other, they have gained eternal life and a place in Heaven. When He talks to them about their work, it is always about them pouring themselves out into the lives of others. He mentions that when was hungry they fed him. When he was naked they gave him clothes. When he was sick they visited Him. The question that these people had was, “Lord we have never seen you in these conditions, how can you say that we have done this to you?” The great truth of this scripture is that Jesus was able to say “As much as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.”
This tells me that they became selfless in the work that they did for the cause of Christ. May I remind you of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:13?
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
May I suggest to you that charity is more than just love. It is love in action. Charity is taking the steps necessary to minister to those who are in need at their point of need. Think about this verse. Faith is the foundation of your salvation experience. Without faith in Christ, you cannot boast of an eternal home with Him forever. Without faith in Christ, you cannot have hope. Two basic foundations to the Christian life, Faith and the result of faith is hope.
Paul mentions a third, which is charity. The greatest of these three is not faith, it is not hope, it is charity. You may have all the faith in this world. You may have all the hope in the world and be the most optimistic person alive, but without charity you have nothing. Charity requires a humble, selfless attitude. On the judgment day, when He turns to his sheep in the fold and says “You have gained a place with me forever,” it will be proven through our charity.
Now let me say something before we go on. Because I know what you are thinking. Your work in this life does not save you nor does it keep you saved. The Bible plainly says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8). May I remind you that when God’s grace comes into our lives, it should motivate us into action to become charitable people ministering into the lives of those in need. I have a real problem with those who profess the name of Christ and are never willing to help others. When we come to the understanding of God’s grace and how He has helped us in our lives, we ought to be willing to show that to others. Let’s face the facts, those of us who are Christians probably are Christians because of the influence of someone else in our life! Charity requires a humble spirit, a selfless attitude for the purpose of pouring ourselves out into the lives of others.
The Righteous Are Sensitive To Other’s Needs Through Charity
All throughout God’s word it is shown to us that God is sensitive to the needs of people. Two particular illustrations, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. In the Exodus 16, Israel was in the wilderness. While there they did not have all the food that they needed. So God provided manna for them. They were to go out each day and take enough for that day to eat. They were not to take any for tomorrow or to save any from yesterday. They were only to take for that day. Then at the end of the week as the Sabbath Day approached, they were to take two days worth so that they did not have to work on the Sabbath. Even with His people, Israel, in the wilderness because of their disobedience, God was sensitive to their needs to provide them with manna.
Another great illustration from the gospels is the time when Christ had 5000 people following him (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:1-13). They had not eaten. They had a journey ahead of them. Jesus knew that they would not make it home without eating. They would faint. Jesus called to see if there was any food. There were five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus touched that food and supplied more than enough to meet their need of food. God has always been sensitive to the needs of people. We too ought to be sensitive to the needs of other people.
Let me give you a few passages of scripture from the book of the Proverbs.
20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Are you looking for happiness in your life? Quit being so selfish and start pouring yourself out into the lives of others. Do not reserve everything for yourselves. Pour it out into the lives of others.
17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Have you ever thought about this? This is why in the great judgment day Christ can say, “Even as you have done it unto these, you have done it to me” and “Even as you have not done it to these, you have not done it to me.”
13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
When you ignore the needs of the poor, you will one day cry out for help and you will not be heard. When we give to the poor, we will receive in return. It is all about being sensitive to the needs of others. We will reap what we sow. Those who sow charity into the lives of others will receive charity. Those who do not sow charity will not receive charity.
The Righteous Serve Christ Through Charity
This is why Paul could say that charity is the greatest. This is why the wise man in the book of the proverbs could say that we lend to the Lord when we give to the poor. You see, when we have been clothed in the righteousness of God, we come to understand His grace and mercy we are motivated into action to give into the life of others. When we do so, we are serving Christ.
There are people in this world that are crying out for help and all the wrong people are helping them. This is why so many young people are joining gangs at such high rates. The gangs care for them. People are hooked on drugs and alcohol because someone reached out with the wrong things to help them. Why are we, who have the truth, not willing to reach out and help people with a life-changing message?
A few weeks ago, as Brother Jim Blankenship and I were eating dinner at our annual homecoming, Brother Wiley Perkins’ name was mentioned in the midst of our conversation. Brother Jim said to me, “Brother Paul, his church is doing so well because he loves his people into the church.” What a testimony to the character of a man. If you know Brother Wiley, he always has a handshake and a greeting for you no matter who you are.
I am grateful that in the Reynoldsburg Free Will Baptist Church we have been able to reach out to those in need. Sometimes in the form of money. Sometimes in the form of food. Sometimes it is our Women’s Auxiliary that searches out a family at Christmas time to supply them with Christmas gifts for their children. I am thankful that in this church there is a spirit of charity that presides here and that we are willing to try to help. Today, you have brought in canned foods and nonperishable items so that we can once again revive our food pantry to help those who call for help in getting food. This is the beginning of another phase of charity so that we can help those in need.
The great, wonderful truth is that when we meet the needs of people, God in Heaven sees our heart and what we are doing. In the end, we will be rewarded for the work that we have done here in this earth. Once again, it is by grace and grace alone through faith that you are saved. It is not your work that neither saves you nor keeps you saved. It is God’s grace alone that does that.
It always gets to my heart when I see someone in need. You know sometimes we are not always in a position as individuals to help the way that we would want to. It is such a wonderful thing when a church comes together and decides to help. There is a much greater ability and more resources to help when a church comes together.
The church that I grew up in has a big heart for those in need. A couple of years ago, when the floods hit southern Ohio, a lady in my home church had her house ruined. That church sent out a call to bring in money, food and clothes to help her. They supplied her with enough to help her. They even supplied manpower to help clean up the house. That is the result of God’s grace and love in our hearts.
May we never come to the point in our lives that we are so selfish and so focused on our needs that we forget about those around us. God wants us to focus on the needs of others because He focuses on the needs of people.