Matt 25:34                 Grace and Works Counted on the Last Day               9/21/2008      ßà   

·        Christ Shall Come in His Glory (2Cor 5:10, Matt 25:31-46, Heb 4:16, Dan 7:9, Luk 12:8, Rev 14:10)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       Come, Ye Blessed of My Father (Matt 25:34, Rom 3:11, John 6:44,65-66, Eph 1:3-5)

 

 

 

 

 

·        Grace (John 14:2, Matt 25:34,40, 12:48-50, Heb 2:11-12, Tit 3:5, 1Thes 4:9-10, Joh 15:12, 13:34-35)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Depart from Me, Ye Cursed (Matt 25:41, Psalm 115:17, 2Tim 2:26, Rev 9:16, Gal 3:10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Final Separation (Matt 25:46, 13:29-30,40-43)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 25:31 (2X). At last we have come to this wonderful portion of the Gospel of Matthew which is called the parable of the sheep and the goats Do you realize that it is only a parable. This cannot be the real scenario of the judgment on the last day, for the saints have already been judged at the cross, and we are not going to be judged the second time. It is true that 2Cor 5:10 says “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ”, but this does not specify that we all stand there at the same time. It cannot be that the resurrected saints shall stand in their glorified bodies at the same time together with the wicked who stand there in bodies that smell of shame and everlasting contempt. No. We have already appeared before the judgment seat of Christ at the time that the Lord Jesus, our Judge, came from behind the Judge’s bench, and paid on the cross for all our sins the full price that we owed, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. But this parable of the sheep and the goats has been used by those who peddle a freewill gospel to support their gospel of works, and who emphasize that they must strive to do good works, looking for Christ to reward them for that on the last day. Therefore I have titled this sermon, Grace and Works Counted on the Last Day (2X). We must see in this parable how the true Gospel of Grace and the false gospel of works are viewed by God. 

·        Christ Shall Come in His Glory (2Cor 5:10, Mat 25:31-46, Heb 4:16, Dan 7:9, Luk 12:8, Rev 14:10)

Mt 25:31-46 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: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 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: For I was an hungered, 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. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, 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? 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. 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: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 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. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 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. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

We read in verse 31, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory”.  Christ is called here the Son of

man because He is to judge the sons of men. And since He is like us, of the same nature, He is uniquely qualified to be the judge over those whom He made in the first place. The Sun of righteousness shall then shine in His glory as the Judge, and the Prince of the kings of the earth shall show the riches of His glorious kingdom and the honors of His excellent majesty. Then all the world shall see those things that now only the saints believe, namely that He is the brightness of His Father’s glory. The glory of God the Father is the Lord Jesus Christ. Today He sits upon the throne of grace, to which we may come boldly to find grace in time of need (Heb 4:16). It is the throne of government; it is the throne of His father David; it is the throne of our great High Priest who makes intercession for us. But then He shall sit upon the throne of glory; the throne of judgment; the throne of the fiery flame according to Dan 7:9. Solomon’s throne compared to the throne of Christ is like a dunghill. And He shall come with all the holy angels who must gather all His elect from one end of heaven to the other, and who also must bundle the tares for judgment, and who also must be witnesses of the glory of the saints according to Luke 12:8, and who also must be witnesses of the misery of the cursed sinners in Hell according to Rev 14:10. Then Christ shall separate them one from another as the wheat are separated from the tares, and as the good fish and the bad are separated at the shore, and as the corn and the chaff are separated on the threshing floor. Here on earth the wicked and the righteous dwell together in the same kingdoms, in the same cities, in the same churches, in the same families, and they are not distinguishable one from another. But the Lord knows them that are His, and He shall separate them exactly, and everyone shall go to his own place. This was already known in the OT, where in Gen 30:35-36 Laban divided his sheep from Jacob’s sheep, and set three days journey between them, and where God says in Ezek 34:17, “Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle”. Let us now also see how the Lord addresses His precious inheritance:

#1.       Come, Ye Blessed of My Father (Matt 25:34, Rom 3:11, John 6:44,65-66, Eph 1:3-5)

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:

The glory which shall be bestowed upon the righteous is not only that all our sins will be forgiven, but also that we shall be honored as sons of God and as the Bride of Christ. How wonderful to actually hear in our ears the words of Christ, “Come, ye blessed of My Father”. And who are those who are called “blessed”? All those who have heard the Gospel of grace alone, and have believed that the Lord Jesus suffered and died in their place and has paid in full what they ought to have paid, are the ones who are “blessed”; for He has promised this to all who believe God’s intervention that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But who are those who will believe? God says in Rom 3:11, “There is NONE that seeketh after God”, and that means literally no one. But we are here, and we do seek after God. How is it then that we do find some who will seek after God? And does that not also indicate God’s intervention? Put a sticker here in Matt 25, for we will be returning here many times, and please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 6:44 (2X). The Lord Jesus has dictated to the apostle John one of the most hated passages in the Bible, which we find here in John 6. The Lord knew full well that there are NONE that seek after God, for all men are basically haters of God. This is how we come into the world, for when we were physically born, we were born in the kingdom of Satan, as slaves of Satan, and we were very content to do the will of Satan. Therefore NONE of us wanted anything to do with the true Gospel, as it is found in the Bible, for Satan draws us away from the true Gospel. Therefore the Lord Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man CAN come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. This is the basic principle of the Gospel of grace. God has to interfere in the thoughts and in the will of man, or else no one would believe, and then no one would be saved, according to John 3:16. Even though this is found in the Bible, is this a popular doctrine? O No! People hate it if they do not have any control in this matter of salvation. Their pride is at stake. But God is absolutely adamant about this fact that He alone is 100% responsible for our salvation. The Lord Jesus repeated this doctrine in verse 65. Please drop down to verse 65. There we read in Joh

Jo 6:65-66 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

This is also what we see today when we show people these verses. They want nothing to do with this Gospel of pure grace, even though it is in the Bible. And so, when we read in Matt 25:34, “Come, ye blessed of My Father”, we are reminded of another passage where we are called “blessed”. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:3 (2X). Here is a passage which completely agrees with John 6:44, and all the other places where God says that He is drawing us, and it is not we who are seeking Him. And when we look at the Word of God with believing eyes, with eyes that are sensitive to the sovereign absolute grace of God we find more and more that this agrees with the whole Bible. W.r.in

Eph 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

The Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. That is why we are called “the blessed of the Lord”, and we are the blessed ones that are referred to when the Lord says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father”. God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, and that is why the Father drew us to Christ at some point in our life. He did that not because He saw down the corridors of time that we were willing to come to Christ, but He did that entirely according to the good pleasure of His will, as we read in Eph 1:5. When God looked down the corridors of time He saw only wicked sinners. Please return again to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 25:34. Therefore when Christ pronounced us “blessed” we know that He calls us blessed because He, as our Redeemer, makes us blessed. The law curses us for our many sins, but Christ, having redeemed us from the curse of the law, has commanded a blessing upon us. Therefore, when we read of the parable of the sheep and the goats, we want to be extra careful not to interpret this parable as if God makes our salvation depend on our works, rather than on His grace. God is not a man that He should lie, and thus He cannot make two statements that contradict one another. If we understand them as contradictions, then the problem is with us, but not with God. And so, can we see the grace of God in this parable of the sheep and the goats? Look at the remainder of this verse 34, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. Literally the Greek text says, “Inherit the kingdom having been prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. What kingdom is the Lord speaking about? We could say “the present heaven”, but in this we fall far short, for God has prepared a much greater and more glorious place than the present heaven where God and the angels dwell. In fact the NH&NE, where He would lead us into after the judgment of all the unsaved, it has been created already but it is still empty. This is what Matt 25:34 says. It is a place that is much more glorious and much more wonderful than the present heaven, or else God would not have created it. What a joy shall fill our hearts. We now come boldly to the throne of grace, but then we shall come boldly to the throne of glory. And this Word of God holds out a golden scepter with the assurance that our desires shall be granted to more than half the kingdom. In fact we shall each of us inherit the whole kingdom, and we shall reign as kings and priests unto Christ and His Father. Therefore, when we read of the parable of the sheep and the goats, do we see God’s grace there? This is important. Can we see God’s grace there?

·        Grace (John 14:2, Matt 25:34,40, 12:48-50, Heb 2:11-12, Tit 3:5, 1Thes 4:9-10, Joh 15:12, 13:34-35)

“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom having been prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. It is a kingdom prepared for you, and it is prepared already! Think of the condescension of Almighty God who has prepared this for us. The Father designed it for us in His thoughts of love, and provided it for us in the greatness of His wisdom and power. The Son purchased us with the objective to place us in this glorious kingdom as His Bride, just as He said when He was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). And the blessed Holy Spirit in preparing us for the kingdom, is in effect preparing it for us in all its glorious details. It is a kingdom prepared for you; not just for anybody, but you whom the Father knew by name; you whom the Father knew personally and particularly; you who were chosen to be saved from the ravages of sin and death and Hell; you who were chosen out of the miserable mass of mankind, who for the majority still are in the Bottomless Pit, and who are following the prince of the power of the air. And how does the Lord judge our conduct as saints on this earth? He says in V.35, “For I was hungered and ye gave me meat, and so on in V.36”. Why does the Lord say this? Why does He in fact state it as if this work of ours was the sole reason why He would let us into His holy heaven? Please drop down to verse 40, and let us read exactly what reasons the Lord brings up to justify our works.

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.

What is the meaning of “the least of these My brethren”? Who are these “brethren” of the Lord Jesus Christ? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 2:11 (2X). We have seen already a long time ago in Matt 12:49 that the Lord Jesus called us His brethren. He said in Matt 12:48-50, “He answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother”. And so, the ones who “do the will of My Father which is in heaven” are all those who are of a likeminded faith with us, and as far as we know, that includes everyone in our congregation. They are our brethren and they are Christ’s brethren, as far as we can tell. Also we find in Heb 2:11-12 a more definite declaration of who Christ’s brethren are. We read in Heb 2:11-12,

Heb 2:11-12  For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.

And so, who are “the least of these My brethren” in Matt 25:40? They are our fellow saints, all those who share our system of faith. The least important among our fellow believers in this congregation should be considered as “the least of these My brethren”. Those of a false gospel are not our brethren in Christ, even though they may be related to us by blood descendancy. But we are commanded to love one another in this congregation, and to be kind and tenderhearted to even the least of these. And how can this activity relate us to the God who saved us by His grace? It relates through the grace of God that is shown to us at the time that we were “born again”, or better “born from above”. When God the Holy Spirit makes us born from above, as we read in Titus 3:5, “He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost”. We are not saved until God the Holy Spirit applies the payment for our sins that Christ made on the cross. We were under the wrath of God until that moment in time. It is then that God the Holy Spirit gives us a regenerated soul, and transforms us from sinners into saints. It is then that God makes us a new man on the inside, and gives us a new nature so that we can love God and can have a fervent love for one another. Please turn a few pages back to the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, 1Thess 4:9 (2X). God tells us here that brotherly love for one another is a gift from God. When we are born from above, God also gives us a new nature, which includes characteristics such as be forgiving to one another, symbolized by washing one another’s feet, and be charitable and loving toward even the least in the congregation, as is indicated in Matt 25:40, and have a burning desire to read and understand the Word of God, and always live toward the future goal of life eternal with Christ in the NH&NE rather than live for the here and now. These are just some aspects of our new nature. W.r.in

1Th 4:9-10  But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

God’s Holy Spirit teaches us brotherly love, through the reading and understanding of His Word. The Lord Jesus placed this task of loving one another at a very high priority in our life as saints. He said in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”. This was the NT commandment that He already stated in John 13:34-35. And there are many other passages in the Bible that give us the same message, like in the parable of the sheep and the goats. The important conclusion from this parable of the sheep and the goats is that we should see Christ in our fellow man, woman and child that we see here in our congregation. We should see Christ in each one of us, for he said in Matt 25:40, “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”. This is the main reason why we should love one another. And are we able to love one another as Christ loved us without the grace of God? Absolutely not! The unregenerate, unsaved masses of mankind do not love one another. We can see it all around us these days. But we should gather our doctrinal insights not from looking around us, but from the Bible. God says to the unsaved:

#2.       Depart from Me, Ye Cursed (Matt 25:41, Psalm 115:17, 2Tim 2:26, Rev 9:16, Gal 3:10)

Please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 25:41 (2X). The Lord addresses the saints and the wicked in almost exactly the opposite manner. The same words He uses to praise the saints, He also uses these words to condemn the unsaved standing before the judgment throne. W.r.in:

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:

In the Greek text a certain part of verse 34 and verse 41 are exactly the same. Verse 34 states, “The kingdom having been prepared for you” and verse 41 states, “Everlasting fire having been prepared for the Devil and his angels”. Now if the kingdom, identified as the NH&NE, was already prepared from the foundation of the world, then it must follow that the everlasting fire, identified as Hell, was also already prepared from the foundation of the world. But the kingdom is still empty, for all unrighteousness must first be purged from the present creation, and then the saints can be led into the NH&NE where only righteousness dwells. Likewise, Hell is still empty, for the last battle between Christ and Satan must first take place, and then the Devil and his angels can justifiably be cast into Hell. Contrary to what many churches teach, presently Hell is still empty, for anyone who will be cast into Hell must first be arraigned before the judgment throne and be found guilty. Our God is a just judge, who will not cast anyone into Hell without due process. This process of judgment must still take place. And even though the Devil and his angels know that they deserve Hell, they must first be arraigned and based on their works they shall be found guilty and be judged accordingly. But their evil works must first be committed. The same can be said for all unsaved mankind. All their evil works must first be committed, and then, on the last day, the judgment will take place. Where do the souls of the unsaved go when their body dies? God says in Psalm 115:17, “The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence”. They go to a place of silence, awaiting the judgment of the great Day of the Lord. But let us now look again at Matt 25:41, and ask ourselves, “If the everlasting fire, was prepared for the devil and his angels, why does the Lord send people, the unsaved of mankind who are represented by the goats, to this place that was prepared only for the Devil and his angels? The answer is obviously that the Devil’s angels are the Devil’s messengers, for this is the more perfect translation of the Greek word that has been translated angels. And who are the Devil’s messengers? All the fallen angels are messengers of the Devil, but also all the unsaved of mankind are messengers of the Devil. They are in the grip of the Devil, who uses them, and who uses their bodies to be indwelt by his fellow demons, to execute his plans on this earth. God speaks of this enslavement of the unsaved to the Devil in 2Tim 2:26, “Who are taken captive by him at his will”. O yes, in addition to the 200 million demons (Rev 9:16), the Devil has at his disposal an army of at least 12 billion messengers who will do whatever he wants. Let us now look again at Matt 25:41. The Lord says to all the unsaved, “Depart from me, ye cursed”. Why are they cursed? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:10 (2X). All the unsaved have been aspiring to obtain their future bliss by their own works; not by the grace of God. All false religions are characterized by a salvation, or a future blessing, dependent on works, good works or bad works. There is only one religion where salvation is totally by grace, and that is the religion of the Bible, established through the cross of Christ. The curse of the law is on everyone that breaks it. That is why we read in Gal 3:10,

Ga 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

And thus, they that strive to become right with God by doing good works, or by obeying His law, or by doing the best they can, or by doing anything that might possibly please God, are under a curse. For if we strive to get right with God by any other means than through Christ crucified, then we are under the curse of the law, for then we have tried to enter in through another door, but not through the door that is Christ. It is impossible to escape the curse of the law by doing all the works of the law, for if we fail to do one thing perfectly, if we miss only in one point of the law, we have broken the whole law, and are under the curse of the law. That is why God gave us a Gospel of mercy and grace. This is the real good news.

Please turn again to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 25:45 (2X). The unsaved have always relied on their works. They were always so confident that their works were never of an evil character. This time grace is absent; all that they have before the judgment throne is works. And how does the Lord judge their works done as human beings on this earth? He said in verses 42 and 43, “I was hungered and ye gave me no meat”, and so on. Look at this list in verses 42 and 43, and what do we conclude? All that they are charged with is “Omission”. Look at the previous two parables in this chapter. The servant was condemned, not for wasting his talent, but for burying it; he omitted to do anything with it. The five foolish virgins were condemned, not for frivolously wasting their oil, but for omitting to buy it, and for failing to get prepared for the Lord’s coming. The same principles apply to the present parable. Matt 25:45,

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.

Christ does not say, “I was hungry and thirsty, for you stole my meat and drink from me; I was a stranger, for you robbed me of my identity papers; I was naked, for you stripped me of my clothes, and so on”. But instead Christ says, “When I was in these distresses, you were so selfish, you were so taken up with your own ease and pleasures, you were so proud of your own works, you were so stingy, so hesitant to give a part of your money, that you did not minister unto the least of these that you see around you. You had no love for them, for your heart was hardened against helping them. And notice that the Lord does not say here, “the least of these My brethren”. Even in the absence of those that might be considered children of God and brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ, you did not minister to those of your own kind, to “the least of these”. You may have done many sacrifices and burnt offerings, but you have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy and faith. On the last day, that great Day of the Lord, sinners will be condemned for having omitted those charitable works which was in their power to do. But most important of all, they omitted to read their Bible and consider what God has said, and they allowed their Bible to collect dust on the shelf. Or they omitted at all to contemplate that there is a God who judges all the works of man, and will call us to account one day. But if the doom of the uncharitable ones is so great, how much more intolerable will be the doom of the cruel ones who hate and persecute Christians? They only dare to persecute those who will not retaliate, and who will not defend themselves. And they that have hurt and persecuted Christians would not want to admit that they have done that unto Christ Himself; and they did not expect that Christ would ever bring this up against them, for they did not expect that this slight error on their part would grow into such a great accusation. And when Christ says, “Depart from Me, Ye cursed”, He will bring to their memory that they turned a deaf ear to His calls, and turned to more pleasurable things in this life than listen to the Word of God. Therefore, justly they are asked to depart from Christ, for in this life they did not want to come to Him. In principle they said in this life: “Depart from me You who are the fountain of all good; depart from me You who call yourself the Savior; depart from me You who was crucified; I do not care for Your brand of salvation by grace alone and I will not have anything more to say to you; I will rather go to those who have a more acceptable gospel where our works also play a role. For example, please turn to the seventh chapter of this Gospel of Matthew, Matt 7:21 (2X). In the second half of this chapter the Lord shows us contrasts between those who put their trust in the will of the Father versus those who put their trust in their own works. They do so because many of their works seem to be “good works”. We read in

Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

You see, those that rely on their wonderful works are under the curse of the law. Only Christ can make a good tree that bringeth forth good fruit. Ye shall know them by their fruits: by their teachings.

#3.       The Final Separation (Matt 25:46, 13:29-30,40-43)

Perhaps you remember the last verse of the parable of the sheep and the goats. Matt 25:46 says,

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

This is the final separation between the righteous and the wicked. Today there is no clear separation between those two groups of people, and we should not try to make such a separation. Perhaps you remember the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matt 13. Please turn to the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 13:29 (2X). The Lord Jesus gave us here a parable which clearly tells us of the sovereignty of God in salvation. The Son of man sowed good wheat in His field, but while men slept the Devil sowed tares among the wheat. After a while the crime was discovered, and then the servants of Christ offered to gather the tares and throw them out. Then we read in Matt 13:29,

Mt 13:29-30  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Do not gather up the tares, for I do not want even one of the wheat plants to be lost. I care for every one of them. Let both grow together until the end of the world. Only then shall be the final separation. And thus, if we apply this principle to our congregation, then we should not try to distinguish between the saved and the unsaved people in this congregation. We should not try to weed out the tares, for we do not have the discernment to do this job perfectly. All we can do is teach you, the congregation, and let the Lord take care of whom He will save. The Lord Jesus further explained this parable in verses 40-43,

Mt 13:40-43  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

First the tares and bundled and burned in the fire, and then the righteous shall be ushered into the NH&NE. The same sequence is shown in the parable of the sheep and the goats. First the goats are sent to everlasting punishment, and then the sheep are given life eternal with Christ in the NH&NE.

Where will you stand? That is the most important question each of you must answer for yourselves. What evidence can you bring to bear to show to yourselves that you will be standing on the side of the sheep, rather than on the side of the goats? Perhaps it will help if you ask yourselves these questions: What have I done with Christ? What have I done with the Bible? Do I love Christ? Do I love the Bible? Does it permeate my life? And how does it make me different in God’s eyes from the guy next door? Let us pray that God will give us wisdom in all of this. AMEN.            Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.