Summary: At the Great Judgment, we will either be considered a sheep or a goat.
The Messiah and the Great Separation
Text: Matt. 25:31-46
1. Illustration: One of my all-time favorite movies is "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." In the movie the father in the story tells his daughter, "Tula, there are two kinds of people in the world; Greeks, and everyone that wish they was Greek!"
2. Well, that father sort of had it right; there are two kinds of people in the world. However, according to Jesus, the separation has nothing to do with nationalities, but with character.
3. According to Jesus, there are two kinds of people: sheep and goats.
4. At the Great Judgment we will see...
a. The Great Separation
b. The Sheep
c. The Goats
5. Let's all stand as we read from Matt. 25:31-46.
Proposition: At the Great Judgment, we will either be considered a sheep or a goat.
Transition: First, there will be...
I. The Great Separation (31-33).
A. He Will Separate The People
1. In our text today, Jesus does what He usually did; used a common illustration to explain a spiritual truth.
a. He explains that the inevitability of His Second Coming is the judgment of the earth.
b. He does using an illustration that to the people of His day would have been common - separating the sheep from the goats.
2. Jesus begins by saying, “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne."
a. When Jesus came the first time, it was as unostentatious as it gets.
b. He came to a working class family, and was born in a stable with a horse trough for a bed.
c. However, when He comes to judge the world it will be quite different.
d. When Jesus comes to judge the world He will do it in a way that is filled with splendor, majesty, and magnificence.
e. It will be so spectacular that it can only be explained with one word, glory!
f. He will sit on a throne that is worthy of the King of the Universe.
3. Jesus says that at this time, "All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."
a. The debated expression "the nations" has been interpreted to mean the church, all humanity, or all unbelievers, but within the context of Matthew's Gospel it is most likely intended to mean both Jews and Gentiles who throughout this age are the combined object of the Great Commission (Wilkins).
b. He says that at this time He will separate the sheep from the goats.
c. Although sheep and goats grazed together, it is said that Palestinian shepherds normally separated sheep and goats at night because goats need to be warm at night while sheep prefer open air.
d. Sheep were more valuable than goats, which seems to be the point here (Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
e. There is some debate as to when this will take place. Some say it is at the beginning of the millennial reign and others say it is at the end of the Millennium.
f. However, the more important concept for us to grasp here, I believe, is that there will come a time when King Jesus will separate people into two classes - sheep and goats. The distinction between the two will be evident.
4. Jesus says "He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left."
a. The right is the preferred side in ancient texts; in the few scenes of judgment where it occurs, the right side is for the righteous and the left for the wicked (Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
b. The right side is a side of joy and blessing, whereas the left side is one of condemnation, judgment, and sorrow (Horton, 559).
c. Notice that there is no debate here. There will be no defense lawyers at the Judgment. Jesus will make the decision, and it will be a just decision.
1. Illustration: Charles Spurgeon offers this warning: "If you haven’t looked at Christ on the cross, you’ll have to look at Him on the throne—with great trembling. The sacrificial death of Christ will be brought before the eyes of all who refuse to accept His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. In Bethlehem He came in mercy to forgive sin. In the future He will come on the clouds in glory to establish justice. What will we do without a Savior? On the day of judgment there is nothing we can do if we have not trusted Christ."
2. Jesus will judge fairly and do what is right.
a. Genesis 18:25 (NLT)