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Summary: Final sermon in the series: "the Signs of the Times." What is the evidence of your salvation? All Scripture quotes are from the NASB.

We began this series at the first of the year. The setting was on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem. The disciples were showing off the magnificent Temple to Jesus and Jesus told them that a time was coming when “not one stone will be left upon another.” The Disciples asked what will the signs of these things be? (Matthew 24:1-3). Jesus proceeded to tell about the things that will come, especially the trouble times ahead. But more important, was the emphasis on His return and with His return, the coming judgment. Jesus said:

Matthew 24:42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

The implication is quite clear, we do not know the day nor the hour that Jesus will return, but when He does come, it will be too late to make a decision to live for Him. There will come a time in everyone’s life, when making a decision for Jesus will be too late. Coming to Jesus must be done when He calls, for that call may not always be present. Whether he grants us our last breath, or He physically returns, that time is drawing closer every moment.

Jesus finishes His Olivet Discourse with his teachings about His coming and with “The Coming Judgement.”

Matthew 25:31–46

Craig Blomberg, one of my favorite commentators and writer of a number of my seminary books, had taken several trips to Central America to teach in the seminary in Guatemala. He wrote:

“In fact, while I was in Guatemala, I taught at the evangelical seminary there, just blocks from a square-mile-large garbage dump where more than one thousand people live, combing through the daily additions to the dump to try to find small items that can be resold, the proceeds from which enable them to eke out a marginal existence. This was not my first such exposure to desperate poverty of this kind, but it remains no less touching and troubling.” [1]

“In talking with Christians in Guatemala, when I had established enough of a relationship to get the local Christian leaders to be honest (and North American missionaries were even blunter), the recurring theme that emerged was their amazement at how much money we spend on ourselves, not merely as a country but as churches, and how little we share with the rest of the world, especially with fellow Christians, especially with those in some of the poorest places in the world.” [2]

What do we do to minister and meet the needs to the “least of these?” I look at our shoebox ministry [3] and I cannot help but wonder who the least of these around the world we are touching. Our passage today is the last recorded teaching of Jesus in the book of Matthew. It is not a parable. It is a simile, a comparison. Jesus talks about His coming and his judgment of the nations. It will be like a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats.

A key to properly understanding this teaching of Jesus is know who are the players in this passage; Who are the sheep” Who are the goats? Who is the King? And lastly but often overlooked are the “one of these brothers of mine?” (verse 40). Who are these brothers of the King? We will deal with them in order we encounter them.

First we see the second coming of Jesus. It will not meek, mild and humble like His first advent. He will be coming in glory and in power and in judgment.

Matthew 25:31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

And when He comes, He will sit on His throne. This is His royal throne from which He will rule. It is not the Great White Throne we read about in Revelation 20 where He will judge the condemned dead. Nor is it the “Judgment seat of Christ” we read about in 2 Corinthians 5:10 where He will give out rewards for the saved. This is at the beginning of the 1,000 year reign of Jesus. And here He will gather all the people groups of the earth before him for judgment.

Matthew 25:32–33 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

The word “nations” in the Greek is “ethnos,” which means peoples or groups of peoples, based on geographical, cultural or physical ties. no Jesus makes a simile, a comparison, not a parable. But like a shepherd, the people will be separated like sheep from goats. In many herds, sheep and goats graze together, and at a distance, you would have a hard time telling them apart. But sheep are generally more highly valued than the goats and there comes a time when they must be separated. Placing the sheep on the right is the favored position. The left is the place of disfavor.

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