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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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There are Two Paths: Your Path is Eternally Consequential!

Christianity is the most serious matter in the Universe.

Today’s text:  Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The last verse of Matthew 25 (46) reveals the gravity of the situation.

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

From the beginning of Biblical revelation God is speaking regarding the two realities.

  • In Eden there were two trees.  The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  • Psalm 1 shows the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.

The earliest known Christian discipleship manual, the Didache, is a fantastic treatment of the two ways.

  • THERE are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference is great between the two paths.  The Twelve Apostles. The Didache . Acheron Press. Kindle Edition.

In my opinion, the days ahead will include a rapidly increasing work of God in identifying your position in relationship to the two paths.

  • The person is either wise or foolish
  • Prepared or unprepared
  • Righteous or unrighteous

From my perspective, righteousness includes a very strong behavioral component.

On the matter of the two paths, there are two predominant and opposite views:

  1. The righteous path is completely by grace alone, in Christ alone.  To God’s gift of righteousness, you can add nothing and subtract nothing.  It is all, completely, God’s doing.
  2. The righteous path is completely by your own efforts and work.  You are righteous based solely upon your life choices.  It is all, completely, your doing.

In my opinion, both of these positions are dangerous to the eternal well-being of a person’s life.

Matthew 25:31-46 is one of Jesus’ teachings about the two paths.  The two paths are compared to two animals, sheep and goats.

Notice, again, the seriousness of this conversation.

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

How you handle Matthew 25:31-46 determines your eternal reality.

Our eternity is at risk.

The first theological perspective suggests, “This passage has nothing to do with your eternal life.  The sheep are already eternally secure and they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, and cared for the sick BECAUSE they are elect by God to be sheep.”

The second theological perspective suggests, “This passage has everything to do with your eternal life.  You are either a sheep or a goat depending upon WHETHER you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and care for the sick.

My point today is simple, “This passage is about eternal punishment and eternal life.”

  • If you are a sheep and don’t know it or a goat and don’t know it, you are in a bad place.
  • If you are sheep and know it, but don’t behave like a sheep, you are in a bad place.
  • If you are a goat and know it, but behave like a sheep, you are in a bad place.
  • The only good place to be in this parable is a sheep living like a sheep.

Our Lord is as CLEAR as possible.  Sheep do the following.

  • you feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • welcome the stranger
  • clothe the naked
  • care for the sick.

Goat-hood is very clear as well.  Goat’s DON”T….

  • you feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • welcome the stranger
  • clothe the naked
  • care for the sick.

This goat/sheep separation is the theme of the Son of Man’s coming in glory.  The Son of Man will function, at this time, as King.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Let’s wrap up our conversation with the concluding paragraph of the Didache.

Watch concerning your life; let not your lamps be quenched or your loins be loosed, but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour at which our Lord cometh.  But be ye gathered together frequently, seeking what is suitable for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall profit you not, unless ye be found perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and seducers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; and because iniquity aboundeth they shall hate each other, and persecute each other, and deliver each other up; and then shall the Deceiver of the world appear as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unlawful things, such as have never happened since the beginning of the world. Then shall the creation of man come to the fiery trial of proof, and many shall be offended and shall perish; but they who remain in their faith shall be saved by the rock of offence itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first the sign of the appearance in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and thirdly, the resurrection of the dead—not of all, but as it has been said, The Lord shall come and all his saints with him; then shall the world behold the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven. 

Posted on 12th April 2020 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post

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