Summary: The Christian road has fork at the end and which way we go for Eternity is determined by how we meet human needs now

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Matthew 25:31-46 - The Sheep and the Goats

Suppose you are a judge

 and you were given the responsibility to judge this case involving a young thief

 evidence against him is overwhelming, and he is found guilty

 but when it comes to the sentencing phase of the trial, he expresses his remorse, he begs you to give him another chance, tells you he’s changed his ways, offers to make restitution to those from whom he stole

 being the good Christian judge you are, you feel sorry for him, and you decide to give him another chance and you let him go under the proviso he will change his ways

 the thief goes out of the courtroom to the waiting reporters and tells them he has changed his ways, the judge in there is the best for giving him another chance, he goes home and tells his family and friends he’s a new man

 but is he really? What is the only thing that will convince you that he has genuinely changed his ways?

 His actions! If he genuinely stops stealing

 We would be naïve to just take his word for it

 Why should God be any different in assessing whether or not our faith is genuine

We are continuing with the recent lectionary themes of the Day of the Lord

 Looking at the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matt 25:31-46

 Pretty sobering chapter, begins with the parable of the 10 bridesmaids, which ends with the chilling words, "Sir, sir! Let us in!" they cried out. "Certainly not! I do not know you", the bridegroom answered.

 followed by the parable of the talents which also ends with a chilling warning, 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 The sobering aspect of all these stories is, “they all knew Jesus Christ”

 Here we see Jesus in a different role to the one we normally like to portray Him

 Jesus is our Lord, He is our Saviour, but he is also our judge

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.

 Not “if”, “maybe” “perhaps”

32All the nations will be gathered before him,

 Its popular in some Christian circles these days to say that Christianity is not the only road to salvation, that all religions lead you to God

 doesn’t really matter what kind of a god you believe in, just be a good person, do the right things,

don’t hurt people, and you will be looked after

 In one respect this is a true statement, because v.32 says “All the nations will be gathered in his presence…”

 All roads do eventually lead to God, but not the way some people would like us to think

 This road leads to a God of judgment who begins to sort the sheep from the goats

 Better understanding of scripture is that, “all roads lead to judgment, but only one leads to salvation”

and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 So this road we were talking about has a great big fork in it

 The other startling fact about this scenario is that the fork we take has already been pre-determined

 Up to this point everyone is just moving along, blending in with the crowd, no pressure to act

 When suddenly you came to this fork in the road, Jesus is standing there, saying, “you go to the left, and you to the right”

 Don’t get the chance to argue the point

 The time for personal freedom is over

 Up to this point we have the freedom to choose whether we live for the Lord or live for ourselves

o We are free to choose just how passionate we are for Christ how indifferent we are for Christ

o We can choose to live lives of righteousness or lives of compromise

o We can choose our own level of involvement or uninvolvement in Christ’s church

 But Jesus says this time of freedom to choose comes to an end and He will do the choosing

 And his choice determines what our eternal destiny will be

 And to go back to that word, “When” in verse 31, means we can’t pretend its not going to happen

 Anyway we cut it, Jesus the Judge is going to choose for us

 Now we come back to the courtroom scene we spoke about at the beginning

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