#15 ~ The Separation of the Sheep from the Goats
What are some ways that we spend time with Jesus?
Note: My point is that spending time with Jesus usually equates to reading our Bibles, praying, singing, and time alone. The parable (well, not quite a parable) teaches that when we do things for the poor, unclothes, sick, shut-in, hungry, the least of these, we are spending time with Jesus Christ.
Matthew 25:31-46 is sometimes called the parable of the sheep and the goats. Part of this can be considered a parable, but some of this will happen literally. Others term this The Judgment of the Sheep and Goats. Let’s look at another passage where Jesus speaks of judgment, as in, our final destination.
Matthew 10:26-33. Destroyed in hell. These are words of Jesus as He sent the twelve apostles out to preach the kingdom of God in the cities of Israel. Are we commanded to be public about our faith? Which verses in this passage would help you decide your position about your faith being public or private? Who does this passage say we should fear? Does it name who that is?
Matthew 25:31 ~ Jesus sits on the throne of glory. Jesus is using language parallel to Zechariah 6:12-13. What does the passage in Zechariah say about what kind of a King this will be?
Matthew 26:26-29, 64 ~ Further teachings about Jesus coming with the Kingdom of Heaven. What will Jesus do with us in the kingdom?
Matthew 25:32-33 ~ The separation of the nations. While He is sitting on the throne of His glory, all nations are gathered. Then there is a separation. Where else have we seen this teaching of a future separation? Key phrase: ________________________________. Where does this kingdom seem to be?
Note: for those following the entire series, this separation has been a common theme. See Matthew 3:12, 8:10-12, 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50, and even as recently as 25:1-13.
Matthew 25:34 ~ The Inheritance. Does this verse remind you of any other verses? This is the fulfillment of the ________________. Jesus usually referred to Himself as the Son of Man. What new word is He using here to describe Himself? Why did He wait all this time before using this word?
Answer: The Beatitudes. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 12:33-37 ~ Criteria for judgment. What has Jesus already said about how we will be judged?
Matthew 25:35-40 ~ Jesus welcomes in the sheep. How does this passage say we can spend time with Jesus? Does it seem odd that the ultimate criteria for entering the Kingdom of Heaven mentioned here is how we treat those in need (the poor).
Matthew 25:41 ~ The devil and his angels. This verse is foundational for any study on the devil, demons (fallen angels), and everlasting fire. Revelation 12:7 is the closest we can come to the phrase “the devil and his angels”, stating “the dragon fought and his angels”. The phrase translated everlasting fire is aionios pur. Aion refers to time and aionios basically means without beginning and without end, hence everlasting fire. This phrase was used by Jesus in Matthew 18:8, and it is equated with everlasting punishment or torment in Matthew 25:46. Where have we previously heard the phrase “depart from me”?
Answer: Matthew 7:23
Matthew 25:42-45 ~ Jesus dismisses the goats. The judgment is the same as the sheep, only in reverse. Here they are commanded to depart for a lack of the very things that the blessed did throughout their lives. Last week we learned about staying busy about the business of the Kingdom of Heaven. According to this passage, what is the business of the Kingdom of Heaven? Does it seem strange to you that the Kingdom of Heaven would be concerned with these issues?
Matthew 25:46 ~ The Summary. What is the final destination of the goats? And of the sheep? Compare Matthew 25:34 with 25:46. What conclusions can we draw by this comparison?
Matthew 5:2-12 ~ The Beatitudes. Matthew places the Sermon on the Mount toward the beginning of his gospel. These teachings should give us some insight as to what Jesus meant since He speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven, although it never seems like He fully explains it. Jesus pronounces a series of blessings upon a category of people that we know to be His chosen. One of these blessings is that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these people.
From the other blessings we can get a picture of what this Kingdom of Heaven might be like. Each beatitude puts the characteristic of the people first, then the characteristic of the kingdom second. We can overlap them to get a composite picture of each. The people that will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven are: Poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungering after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted. The Kingdom of Heaven can be seen to be:
Verse 3: The Kingdom of Heaven.
Verse 4: In this kingdom people are comforted.
Verse 5: It is here on the earth (read Psalm 37 in its entirety).
Verse 6: In this kingdom people will be filled and satisfied.
Verse 7: In this kingdom people will obtain mercy.
Verse 8: In this kingdom people will see God.
Verse 9: In this kingdom the citizens will be called the children of God.
Verse 10: The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these people.
Verses 11-12: It is a place of great reward. Note that the reward is currently in heaven, but this kingdom seems to be here on earth. See Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12 for more.
Matthew 5:13-16 ~ The role of “The Blessed” while they are here on the earth. Jesus gives His followers instruction on how they are to influence the world around them. You are the salt of the earth, the flavor of the whole earth. You are what makes the world taste good. You are the light of the world. You are what allows people to see anything that would bring glory to God. Without you shining your light, the world is in darkness. Currently the Father is in heaven, but His followers (the ones to whom the kingdom belongs) are here on earth.
This was a fun lesson to teach. At the end of the lesson, I drew attention to an older man who goes to visit a friend of his who is shut in on a regular basis. This faithful friend has nothing to gain by his visits to this shut in. I said: “Fred, can you imagine standing before the LORD Jesus and He says, ‘Fred, come on in. We’ve had such a good time visiting all these years.’ And Fred, you say, ‘I don’t remember visiting with You, Jesus.’ And Jesus says, ‘Don’t you remember, Fred? We had such a good time visiting week after week.’ And Fred says, ‘I don’t remember that, Jesus.’ And Jesus says, ‘Don’t you remember coming to visit me in that little trailer. Nobody else would come. But you did. We had such a good time. Come on in.’ “
It’s true. When you do it for the least of these, you are doing it for the LORD Jesus Christ.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman