Sheep and Goats

Hell is hell! Itís not a nice place. Nobody wants to go there! But for many people hell is their final destination. Many people seem to think God is Love and He is. But what they miss is He is also a God of justice and retribution. It is absolutely true that God loves us and it is also absolutely true that he desires that none should perish. Unfortunately many will perish because they refused to do what is required to receive the gift of salvation. And just what is necessary to receive salvation? Accept Jesus as Lord and walk faithfully down the path He has described. It is not enough to talk the talk. You must also walk the walk! Actions do indeed speak louder than words. Consider the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

*†† (Mat 25:31-46 NIV)"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. {32} All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. {33} He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. {34} "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. {35} For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, {36} I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' {37} "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? {38} When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? {39} When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' {40} "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' {41} "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. {42} For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, {43} I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' {44} "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' {45} "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' {46} "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

 

What I think Jesus wants us to get from this parable is the idea that we need to be about our Fatherís business. And we need to understand the consequences of not getting the job done. Jesus thinks this is a big deal and so do I. Letís see: Life in the kingdom of God or a terrible death in hell. Kingdom or hell? Hmmm, let me think it over. Boil it all down and it spells, L-O-V-E. Love is the key and God is love! Or put another way itís do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We can talk about the theology of salvation by the hour and debate the fine points and various understandings till the cows come home. But after we go there we need to get to doing the work Jesus talks about in the parable. And realize that the things He mentions are not even the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds and thousands of opportunities to serve God by serving people. We need to pray about it and then get busy! There are opportunities all the time: 24/7 & 365 days a year. Just to be clear here is a little of the theology that compels us to do what needs to be done.

It starts with grace and mercy

*†† Titus 2:11 - For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

Followed by the blood and death of our Lord.

*†† Romans 5:9,10 - We have been justified by His blood, reconciled by His death.

Confirmed by the resurrection of Jesus.

*†† 1 Corinthians 15:17 - And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Testified to by the gospel.

*†† Romans 1:16 - The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

So far itís all God and nothing from us. Now letís look at our part. Our part is simply what a reasonable person would expect. It in no way diminishes what God has done. Rather it declares the acceptance and gratitude we have for what God has done.

*†† Philippians 2:12 - Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

*†† John 6:44,45 - No man can come to Jesus without hearing, learning, and being taught.
Romans 10:17 - Faith comes by hearing the word of God.

Knowing what God has done and believing it to be true requires faith.

*†† Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

*†† Romans 5:1 - We are justified by faith.

Having heard and believed we need to repent.

*†† 2 Corinthians 7:10 - For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.

*†† Acts 2:38 - Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.

Having decided to repent means we have decided to obey God.

*†† Hebrews 5:9 - Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

*†† Romans 6:17,18 - When we obey from the heart the teaching delivered, we are then made free from sin.

*†† 1 Peter 1:22 - We purify our souls in obeying the truth.

*†† Acts 10:34,35 - Whoever fears God and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

With obedience comes confession.

*†† Romans 10:9,10 - With the heart man believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

Having come this far it still remains to be baptized.

*†† Mark 16:16 - He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

But it still isnít enough. Perseverance and endurance are also required. Itís good to start well but better to finish well.

*†† Matthew 10:22 - He who endures to the end will be saved.

*†† Revelation 2:10 - Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

A major help in perseverance and endurance is attending church. That is clear from this scripture.

*†† (Heb 10:25-27 NIV)Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. {26} If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, {27} but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

 

OK, back to the parable. The choice is simple, kingdom or hell, reward or punishment, doing right or doing wrong. Having made the choice all that remains is to act upon that choice to show you mean it and are not just paying lip service. We serve God by serving mankind. And what ever we do for mankind we are in fact doing for Christ. If we do that then we know we shall hear these words.

*†† (Mat 25:21 NIV)"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'