Matt 25:31-46                       The Day of the Lord                                   10/3/2004      ίΰ

  • A Parable of Judgment Day (Rom 15:4, Matt 25:31-46, 1Thess 4:17)

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Son of Man Shall Come (Matt 25:31, Dan 7:13-14, Isa 53:6)

 

 

 

 

  • What Is the Way of Judgment? (Gen 2:17, Rom 3:10, 6:23, 5:8, 3:23, 5:15)

 

 

 

 

  • For whom did Christ atone the sins of? (Rom 5:15, 10:17, 6:17-18, 8:1, Eph 1:4, 2:8)

 

 

 

 

#2.       Separation of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:32-33, Prov 3:33, John 10:16)

 

 

 

 

  • Do We Know Where We Will Stand? (John 13:34-35, 15:12, 1John 3:14, 5:2-3, Gal 3:21)

 

 

 

 

  • What Did You Do with Christ? (Matt 25:40)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew 25:31 (2X). I have titled the sermon for today, “The Day of the Lord” (2X). As you know, most of the time we find this term “The Day of the Lord” in the Bible, it refers to the End of Time, or the Last Day of this earth, which is the Day of Judgment for all those dwelling on the earth. This is a fearful day. But we need to keep in mind that every passage and every verse in the Bible was written for our comfort. Listen God says in Rom 15:4,

Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

God says that we should derive comfort and hope from every passage that was written in the Bible, even from fearful passages such as this one. And so, let us read in Matt 25:31 ff. This is:

  • A Parable of Judgment Day (Rom 15:4, Matt 25:31-46, 1Thess 4:17)

Mt 25:31-32 Ά When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:       And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

Mt 25:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Mt 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Mt 25:35-36  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:                  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Mt 25:37-39  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?       Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Mt 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Mt 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mt 25:42  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

Mt 25:43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Mt 25:44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Mt 25:45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Mt 25:46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

We must remember that this is a parable. This is not the true scenario of the judgment on the Last

Day. If this were the true scenario we would not be able to harmonize this with the scenario given in 1Thess 4:17, which says, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord”. Once we have been raptured up to be with Christ, we shall never be separated again. The Bible teaches us the principle that the saints have already been judged with Christ and in Christ, and since God is righteous God does not require that we will be judged again. But did you know that all the parables that Jesus spoke were pointing to the judgment on the Last Day? That is indeed true: All the parables are pointing to the judgment on the Last Day, because all the parables speak about the righteous and the wicked, or the just and the unjust, or the believers and the unbelievers, or those who hear and those who turn away their ear from hearing the Word of God. All the parables are contrasts between the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Satan. Let us now hear some of the principles Christ teaches us in this parable.

#1.       The Son of Man Shall Come (Matt 25:31, Dan 7:13-14, Isa 53:6, Rev 1:7)

Mt 25:31 Ά When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Why did Jesus use the title “Son of Man” here, when He pictures Himself as the Judge? Christ used this title in Dan 7:13. Please turn about 145 pages to your left (ΰ) to the Prophecy of Daniel 7:13 (2X). This title “Son of Man” is associated with Christ’s authority to Judge in the name of the Father. And whenever Jesus used this title in the NT He uses it to indicate His authority to judge the unsaved, as it was given to Him by the Father, or to be judged for the sins of all His elect, which was a judgment of the Elect that was also granted to Him by the Father. We read here in Dan 7:13-14,

Da 7:13  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Da 7:14  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Therefore this name “Son of Man” implies that the Lord Jesus Christ truly came in our flesh. He was truly the Son of Man who dwelt with us, and dwelt among us, and was like us in all things, except for sin. His incarnation made Him the Son of Man. He was God with us, Emanuel. But the name “Son of Man” also implies that He was able to bear our sins. He went to the cross to bear the full measure of the wrath of God on behalf of our sins. His suffering was in our place, because God said in Isa 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”. Therefore, since Christ was perfectly obedient to God’s purpose in all things pertaining to His atonement, He also was exalted above all things. His exaltation included that He can judge all men in the Father’s name. His exaltation is not complete until His Kingdom is finally and perfectly established. And the way to this goal is “the way of judgment” (2X). Please turn about 370 pages to your right (ί) to the Epistle to the Romans 3:10 (2X).

  • What Is The Way of Judgment? (Gen 2:17, Rom 3:10, 6:23, 5:8, 3:23, 5:15)

Way in the beginning, when God talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, God said to Adam in Gen 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. God laid down the law to Adam, and God stated the penalty for violating the law. But this was not enough of a deterrent, for Adam and Eve did eat from that tree. Judgment followed. It was the moment they died spiritually and became slaves of Satan. But the consequences were that every human being that came out of the loins of Adam was also a slave of Satan. This is how everyone of us came into the world, as slaves of Satan and enemies of God. That is why God said in Rom 3:10, and now we read in Rom 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”. No one is good enough to come into God’s holy heaven, because no one is righteous. And what is the consequence of being unrighteous? If anyone dies in a state of unrighteousness, then Judgment follows, and God says, “To Hell you go!” Please turn to Rom 6:23 (2X). There God says, in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”, and the death that God has in view is to spend an eternity in Hell. But God did not create the human race to send everyone to Hell. Let us read Rom 6:23 again, Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. The gift of God is something that God gives freely. Please turn to Rom 5:8 (2X). What is that gift of God? God says in Rom 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Why did Christ die for us? What could that accomplish? Well, after Adam and Eve delivered themselves into the hands of Satan, God intervened and God revealed that He will accept the principle of substitution. In other words, someone else could bear the guilt of our sins and could stand in our place before the judgment throne of God, and this someone else could endure the penalty for our sins in our place. The only problem with that arrangement is that this someone else had to be sinless, because if that person had a sin of his own, then he would have to endure the penalty of Hell first for his own sin. He would never come out of Hell to atone for our sins, because the penalty for sin is an eternity in Hell. And thus, there is no other human being who could take our place, because God stated in Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Therefore God Himself provided the Person who qualifies to be our Substitute. God provided the Lord Jesus Christ, who was fully man, except for sin, and He was fully God at the same time. Christ could bear the guilt of our sins, and He could endure the wrath of God that is equivalent to us spending an eternity in Hell, and He could do that within a finite time span, less than 24 hours, and be successful. He did that about 2000 years ago, when all our sins were still future sins, and when “we were yet sinners” as we have read in Rom 5:8. That is why we read in Rom 5:15 (2X), “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many”. But now a new problem arises.

  • For whom did Christ atone the sins of? (Rom 5:15, 10:17, 6:17-18, 8:1, Eph 1:4, 2:8)

He did not do it for the whole human race, because many are not saved, and many die unsaved. If Christ atoned for the sins of an individual, then that person cannot die unsaved, because Christ cannot be unsuccessful in His atoning work. You see in Rom 5:15 that “the free gift” is called “the gift by grace”. What is grace? We find in Webster’s Dictionary that “Grace” is “The unmerited Divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification”. In other words, “grace” is “the unmerited favor of God”. Grace is receiving a gift that we do not deserve. God’s free gift of salvation is a gift by grace. Therefore, can you merit unmerited favor? Absolutely not! Salvation is a free gift because you cannot DO anything to earn it. It means you cannot make a decision to follow Jesus so that you become worthy to receive this gift of salvation, because making a decision is something YOU DO, and that by definition is a work. It also means you cannot conjure up faith so that you become worthy to receive this gift of salvation, because this decision to believe is again something that YOU DO, and that by definition is a work. Well then, if heaven is given by grace, then it is a gift that does not depend on anything YOU DO, and therefore God must make the decision whom to give it to. Indeed God, did that before the foundation of the world, as we read in Eph 1:4. God decided before the foundation of the world to draw into His holy heaven those people whom He chose to be saved, His Elect, and God sent the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to suffer and die for the guilt of the sins of His Elect on the cross of Calvary. He did not suffer and die for anyone else. Christ did not suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those who themselves are going to Hell. That is utter blasphemy. But how are the Elect going to believe that Christ suffered and died for them if they are coming into the world dead in trespasses and sins like anyone else? This is the work of God the Holy Spirit. God will arrange the events of world history such that the Elect are going to hear the Gospel, the Good News, and God the Holy Spirit will regenerate their souls so that they will hear and believe the Gospel. God says in Rom 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. And thus the faith that we have is a gift from God. If it did not come from God then we are not saved. After faith came we became servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, we read in Rom 6:17 (2X) that we were delivered from being slaves of Satan. We read in Rom 6:17, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. {literally: whereto ye were delivered}” And again we read in the next verse, Rom 6:18  “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” We can now look at our life and see what God has done within us. And when we see that God has done a marvelous work of grace in our hearts we can rejoice that our names have been written in heaven. And then we read in Rom 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. We thank God for this transformation, because it was all a gift from God by grace, through a “faith that was not from ourselves but it was also a gift from God” (Eph 2:8).

Christ had to be judged. All the Elect had to be judged in Christ. And to remove all uncleanness out of His Kingdom all the reprobate have to be judged and removed into Hell on the Last Day. And so, Christ shall come in the glory of the Father and with the authority of the Father. God’s glory is not something that shines out of Him, with some kind of radiation. God’s glory existed before radiation existed. God’s glory is His ability to be victorious over all sin and uncleanness. His glory exposes the sin of mankind, even unto our deepest thoughts. His glory is also the glory of God’s absolute and sovereign right to judge all men. His judgment is always a righteous judgment. The throne of His judgment is the throne of His glory. Christ on this throne will be revealed as King of kings and Lord of lords. And Christ will judge in strictest conformity to the highest principles of judgment, and so He will pass the judgment of the Father. That will be a terrible day for all the unsaved, because the thoughts and intents of their hearts are horrible. Let us return to the Parable of Judgment Day in Matt 25:31.

#2.       Separation of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:32-33, Prov 3:33, John 10:16)

Again this is only a parable. It is not the real scenario of judgment day. However, the Lord Jesus chose His words very carefully, so that we can derive from these the principles of God’s methodology. The picture is that of a Shepherd and His flocks. The Lord Jesus said in Matt 25:32,

Mt 25:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

Mt 25:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Initially, when we think of sheep and goats, we think of those in the OT congregation, or those in the NT church, because both sheep and goats were clean animals. Both sheep and goats were used for OT animal sacrifices. But these people, who are represented by sheep and goats, are not only those who go to church, because Jesus said very emphatically in verse 32, “before him shall be gathered all nations”. Definitely He is speaking about all people who have ever lived, in all the nations of the world. But they are called sheep and goats to indicate that the sheep and the goats were together. They feed together, and they are watered together. And so it is in this life. The saints and the sinners live together, and they work together. There are most likely sheep and goats in the same family, and there are sheep and goats in the same church, hearing the same Gospel. There are sheep and goats teaching future pastors in the same seminary, because apostasy begins in the seminaries. But now in the Day of the Lord they are separated. In the true scenario the saints are separated because they have been raptured up to be with Christ forever, and the reprobate are left to be judged. Here in the parable the sheep are placed at the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is significant about that? Christ sat down at the right hand of God the Father, because the right hand indicates a position of authority. Christ is given the authority to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. The saints are placed at His right hand because the saints are destined to rule with Christ, and to judge with Christ. The saints are going to judge even the fallen angels. But when we think of the separation, we must realize that separation has already taken place now, in the spiritual realm. Even now the righteous and the wicked have already been determined. God says in Prov 3:33, “The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just”. Even though the righteous and the wicked live together, they do not share the grace of God. And when the moment of physical death strikes the righteous and the wicked are truly separated. The souls of the righteous go immediately to live and reign with Christ in heaven, whereas the souls of the wicked are going to a place of silence. And when the Day of the Lord has arrived, Christ brings with him the souls of all the saints, who will be joined to their new glorified bodies. Then the souls of the wicked shall come out of hibernation and shall be joined to their resurrected bodies that are designed to survive the torments of Hell. This is the final separation when we will know for sure who our enemies are. The saints are called sheep. This is to indicate that they are God’s Elect. They were always the sheep of Christ’s pasture, and the flock of His hand. The saints were not once goats who changed into sheep. They are God’s sheep, because Christ is their Shepherd and “He gives His life for the sheep”. Through the preaching of the Gospel these sheep are brought into the sheepfold of Christ. But they were always sheep, as we can read in John 10:16  “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd”. And now that we know that the sheep will be separated from the goats,

  • Do We Know Where We Will Stand? (John 13:34-35, 15:12, 1John 3:14, 5:2-3, Gal 3:21)

In Matt 25:34 the sheep are called “the blessed of my Father”. They were always the ones whom God chose to bless. That is why they are also called “the righteous” in verse 37. Their righteousness did not come from their own good works, because there are none. Even our best works are tainted with sin. But the Lord Jesus Christ gave us our righteousness as a free gift. And now we can stand before God and not be afraid, because He sees us as perfectly righteous. But is that really so? Are we really sure that we belong to the sheep of Christ? Are we really sure that we have received the gift of salvation? God’s gift of salvation is accompanied by outward signs, indicating that a miracle of God has made us a new creature. For example, we can see that in the parable of Judgment Day in Matt 25. What did the righteous do? They treated their fellow sheep in a very loving manner. They did not do that for everyone in the world. Did you notice in Matt 25:40 that the Lord Jesus said, “these my brethren”. This is significant, because “the brethren” refer to those to whom Christ is a “Kinsman”. How we treat our fellow believers in Christ matters a great deal. Please turn almost to the end of your Bibles, to the 1st Epistle of John 3:14 (2X). The Lord Jesus repeatedly said that we must love our fellow believers in Christ. He said in Joh 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. Moreover He said in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”. What can we conclude from these? Well, we can say, “These are only two isolated cases, and obeying a commandment has not saved anyone”. Let us then read what God says through the pen of the Apostle John in 1John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death”. Please do not misunderstand this verse. It does not say that obeying the command to love our brethren in Christ can save us. God says in Gal 3:21, “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law”. But certainly if we are saved then the love of God placed in our hearts will manifest itself in showing the love we have for one another. The love God has placed in our hearts will first of all be toward God Himself. But the love for God will be evident in how we obey His commandments. God says here in 1John 5:2 (2X), “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous”. Do we want to know where we will stand in the Day of the Lord? Then check to see if we love the children of God. If we find that loving the brethren is grievous to us, then we should worry if we really have been saved. God says that if we have been saved “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”. Is this really so?

  • What Did You Do with Christ? (Matt 25:40)

Please turn again to the parable of the Day of the Lord in Matt 25:40 (2X). Yes, what did we do with Christ? Do we love Him? It is easy to say we love the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is in heaven. Only for a few years was He on earth. So then, the real question is, “What did you do with Christ’s saints?” Christ and His saints are one body. They are united together in perfect union. What is done to the saints is therefore done to Christ Himself. We read in Matt 25:40,

Mt 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

It is true that the people of God have the calling to love their neighbor as themselves, but this must not be interpreted in terms of a general social calling. This parable with which the Lord Jesus concluded His ministry has nothing to do with the social gospel, which is so popular these days. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha”. But if we love Christ, then we must love His brethren, which are also our brethren. This is not grievous. This will be our 2nd nature, if we indeed have been saved. And so, when we love our fellow believers in Christ we have not only fulfilled the direct command of Christ, but we have also contributed to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.