Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Matthew 25:31-46 "Goats and Sheep"

Read Matthew 25:31-46.

"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." NIV

To me this has always been one of the most frightening passages in the Bible. Jesus is not referring to all people; he's talking about believers. He will separate out the truly committed from the Pharisees walking among us. The question always arises, am I one of the Pharisees? Am I living life as a truly committed believer? Am I loving people as Christ loved them? We'd better find answers to these questions because they are obviously important to Him.

So who are the goats? If you look back at the seven woes in chapter 23, we see what the Pharisees were being told they would be punished for.
  • Not practicing what they preach. (vs 3)
  • Power lovers (vs 6-7)
  • Followers of the letter of the law only, but not the spirit of it. (vs. 23-24)
  • Have the appearance of a believer without the heart. (vs 25-28)
  • Greedy and self-indulgent. (vs 25-26)
The goats will be like the five virgins not watching for the Lord because they were not prepared. They will be like the servant who wasted the talent that the master had given him.

But the sheep will live as Christ lived -- caring for all people's needs -- physical, emotional, and spiritual. Jesus did not look for a reward in this life for loving others as He loved Himself. Self-indulgence wasn't even in His vocabulary. Christ lived completely committed to His God-given mission and for the people. That's a tall order to live out. One that can only be accomplished through complete surrender and full commitment to the Almighty and His work.

Lord, help me to live as You would have me to live. I want to be on your right when the judgement comes.

Further Thoughts:
  1. How do we avoid falling into Pharisaical attitudes and behaviors?
  2. How do we live as Christ lived? What changes in my life or my attitudes need to happen to be in line with Him? What rolls do choice and the Holy Spirit play? Support with Scripture.
  3. Why can we never let our guard down? Where does the enemy want a Christian to remain? Support with Scripture.
  4. Full devotion requires complete surrender to God's ways and directions in our lives. Have you?

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