Summary: We judge people by their outward appearance. God judges us by what we have done for "the least of these.l"
Sheep or Goat – Matthew 25:31-46
Intro: Raise your hand if you would:
Like to loose 20 pounds.
Like to be taller?
Like to be seen as a prize Persian when you are really an old alley cat.
Perhaps you know someone who thinks they are a prize poodle when they are really just a mangy mutt .
When I was a kid, I thought I must surely be adopted and one day my REAL parents would come and rescue me from the crazy family in which I found myself.
We judge ourselves and each other by comparison. What we use as a yardstick to make our comparisons depends on what we value.
I. Vs. 32 – “Then all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
A Which do you think you are? My children think I’m an old goat. And I’ll bet there are some among you that are thinking the same thing but for different reasons.
B What is the difference between sheep and goats? Is there some distinguishing factor that would help me decide? If there was a flock of sheep and goats here in this room, could you separate one from the other? How would you decide which was which? --- By the way they look. Appearance / Characteristics we can observe.
C We tend to make all our judgments in that way, don’t we? Male and female, rich and poor, white and black, We tend to base most of our judgments on outward appearance.
II. VS. 34 – 36 --- Jesus doesn’t distinguish between goats and sheep by their outward appearance and neither should we.
A. What does Jesus use as his criteria for “sheepness” or “goatness”? How many are happy with yourself just the way your are? Vs, 35 – 37 “You fed me, gave me a drink, welcomed me, clothed me, visited me when I was sick and in jail.”
B. How do you differentiate between your friends and your enemies? Your friends are people who are just like you. You like your friends and welcome them with open arms, warm hugs and kind words. They have value to you because of who they are and what they do for you.
C. How do you recognize your enemies? Usually, it is someone who is very different than you, someone you can’t trust and wouldn’t hug because you are afraid they would stab you in the back or their stink or dirt might rub off on you. So, you tend to stay clear of them.
III. Nearly every time we are out in public, Barbara will find a penny laying on the street or sidewalk. Most people ignore the pennies on the street because they think they are worthless.
A VS. 40 – “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
B Being a Christian isn’t doing something for the church --- it’s doing something for “the least of these” that are precious to Jesus. It’s not how much you give to the church, it’s how much you do for the worthless pennies of society.
C. The ruler God will use for determining the difference between sheep and goats is what you do for the least of these. ----