Date: 16 March, 2017
Text: Matthew 25:31-46
Title: Called Before the Throne
For some reason for a child - There is a righteous fear of the principal's office. It is the hall of judgment. I remember getting called into that place on one particular occassion and knowing the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomache as I walked to that room to give an account.
note: Judgment is sobering.
I've never had to stand before an earthly judge - but I can imagine the sense of helplessness as someone else has your future in their hands.
What will it be like to stand someday before him who has OUR ETERNAL FUTURE in his hand?
31 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:
exp. The judgment before us this morning likely takes place at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as He takes rightful possession of the throne of David.
It is a judgment upon earth.
It is a judgment of the just and the unjust.
It takes place AS HE TAKES HIS THRONE which he does at the beginning of the 1000 year reign.
It has to do with how men treated the king's "brethren" THESE ARE DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE SHEEP.
I believe it is the judgment of those who lived through the tribulation regarding how they treated the 144,000 Jewish witnesses during the tribulation.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Believers of the church age will not be judged at this judgment
We will be raptured before the tribulation.
I Thes. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
We will appear before the judgment seat of Christ in Heaven.
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
1Co 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
app. This will be no easy judgment for those who have done nothing worthy of reward.
unbelievers who die during or before the tribulation - will NOT BE HERE EITHER.
They will rise for judgment after the 1,000 year reign of Jesus on the throne of David.
THESE HAVE NO PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION - OF LIFE.
Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
THEY FACE THE Great White Throne judgment
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
- this judgment unlike the one before us cast every single person in this resurrection of damnation into Hell. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
And so - AS WE LOOK AT A JUDGMENT WHICH WE WILL ONLY BE AT IF WE LIVE THROUGH THE TRIBULATION (unsaved before the rapture and saved or unsaved during the tribulation)
HOWEVER - we find much IN MATTHEW 25:31-46 to prepare us to BE CALLED BEFORE THE THRONE. Are you ready friend? You will give an account to Jesus. Are you ready to stand before His throne?
There are many significant truths that prepare us for that event.
I. The significance of the judgment.
A. It is a judgment of all.
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations:
exp. "Before him shall be gathered all nations:"
note: It's not be invitation - it's by command.
ill. A summons is an order to come before a judge. A person who get's one can't say, "No thank you." or "Maybe some other time." or "I'm busy."
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
question: Would you worry if you received a summons - especially if you had guilt? If I met someone who was guilty and summoned to court who said, "I'm not bothered." "I'll get what I get." I would know that something is wrong with them. They ought to fear the judge. (Maybe that is why they are going to be condemned.
app. Are you prepared to face the King and Judge of all the earth upon His throne? If you are unconcerned - something is wrong. You out to Fear God. Sadly, maybe that is why you are going to be condemned.
B. It is a clearly defined judgment. v.32 "and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
ill. I mentioned on Thursday night that we saw herds of sheep and small herds of ferril goats on our way through the highlands. I'm not a shepherd, but I could easily distinguish which was which.
quote: Expositors Bible Commentary - "How easily and with what unerring certainty the separation is made-as easily and as surely as the shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats! Nothing eludes the glance of that all-searching Eye. No need of pleading or counter-pleading, of prosecutor or prisoner’s counsel, no hope from legal quibble or insufficient proof. All, all is "naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do." (Heb. 4:13) He sees all at a glance; and as He sees, He divides by a single dividing line. There is no middle position: each one is either on the right or on the left."
exp. Mother's will be separated from children. Husbands will be separated from wifes. Grandparents from grandchildren. Brother from sisters etc. - neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances....
app. If SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU IS in Hell - they want to be separated from you for all eternity - BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO GO THERE. If they are IN HEAVEN OR on their way to Heaven - DON'T GO TO HELL AND MISS THEM FOR ALL ETERNITY.
II. The significance of your work. (Read vv.33-46)
exp. At first reading, someone may think that salvation is by good works.
We'll point out in our next point that this passage is NOT teaching works salvation.
The judgment is however emphasizing the clarity of works in revealing the reality of salvation.
A. Fruit shows what kind of tree you are.
Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
exp. We saw banana trees, orange trees, fig trees, date trees, etc while in Israel. Whatever fruit you find on a tree IDENTIFIES CONCLUSIVELY the type of tree before you.
ill. Jesus parable of the wheat and tares - both grow together until the harvest time - then the tares will be burned up and the wheat will be gathered into the barn.
app. People may wrongly identify a tree by it's "apparent" fruit (wax fruit- lifeless and dead)- but the Great Husbandmen, the Lord Jesus Christ, will not get it wrong.
B. Works prove the reality of your profession.
Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
exp. I don't
abstain from alcohol,
lying to be saved - but if I'm saved - those things OUGHT TO BE FAR FROM ME as EVIDENCE that I'm truly a child of God.
share the Gospel,
read God's Word,
obey the ordinances (baptism/Lord's supper)
give tithes and offerings,
care about others - to be saved - but if I'm saved those thing OUGHT TO BE IN MY LIFE.
app. Does what you do or do not do - CORRECTLY IDENTIFY - you as a child of God?
C. Love for the body of Christ is a key evidence of true conversion.
Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
exp. This passage before us is all about how you as a person treat those who are God's servants.
ill. When someone comes to our church as a member or as a messenger - how do we treat them? Do we feed them? Provide for their physical needs - like clothing? Visit them in nursing home, hospital, prison, etc?
app. We give love offerings as a church to help facilitate this ministry - but it is more than just money - it is having people in your home and caring for them as YOU WOULD CARE FOR JESUS - it is loving people at church AS YOU WOULD LOVE JESUS. It is identifying with Jesus - NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF PERSECUTION YOU RECEIVE FOR DOING SO.
III. The significance of being a sheep.
exp.The sheep have more than their good work to the members of Christ's body.
1. God's possession. v.32 as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats
question: How does someone become His possession? By works or by faith?
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
app. Have you put your trust in Jesus? "Believe on the Lord...."
2. God's blessing. v.34 Come, ye blessed of my Father
exp. The sheep are in a place outside of the wrath of God and under the blessing of God.
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
app. If you have everlasting life today - you are blessed of God. Otherwise you are still under the curse.
3. God's inheritance. v.34 inherit the kingdom
exp. Only those who are saved will receive any inheritance from God.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
ill. News story this past week - woman estranged from her mom because she ran away with a boy at 17 against her mothers will - lived with him and eventually married him. Her mum said before she died that she was disinherited and gave her inheritance to 3 charities. (She fought to get some back - but if you aren't saved - you aren't even in a position to get any inheritance.
app. These sheep are taken care of for all eternity - despite the awful persecution during the tribulation by the beast and the false prophet. Their reward will far outshine any suffering.
4. God's righteousness.
v.37 Then shall the righteous answer him, v.46 ...the righteous...."
exp. Righteousness is impossible outside of Christ.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand (note - they'll fall) in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
app. Are you righteous today - or is your life full of the filth of sin? Does your heart rightly condemn you today as guilty -will God find it otherwise? The righteous go into life eternal - but the wicked go to Hell. How is it with your soul today? Won't you come to Christ and ask to receive His righteousness. Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
IV. The significance of the treatment of God's Servants.
A. IT IS UNTO CHRIST.
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.
ill. Having Dr. Bob III at the church in Tucson - him teasing me for sitting in the back row. Mrs. Nelson saying, "It was more important that I sat by the young man whom I was sitting by."
app. Our reward for the insignificant things which we do FOR JESUS will be much greater than anyone can imagine - BECAUSE WE ARE SERVING CHRIST.
B. OR IT IS AGAINST CHRIST.
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.
Question: Why are Christians the most persecuted people of our day? Because of the hatred of mankind for Jesus. John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
ill. Saul (Apostle Paul) was confronte by Jesus as he said, "Act 9:4-5 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
app. Why are you persecuting Jesus today? How long are you going to stand against God? That is the significance of how God's servants are treated by you.
V. The significance of God's preparation for your eternal destiny.
A. God's kingdom is prepared for the sheep.
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:
exp. Jesus himself said to his disciples, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3)
app. What a wonderful place heaven will be as God prepares it for his children! But, hell isn't prepared for mankind.
B. Everlasting fire is prepared for the devil and his angels.
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:
exp. People often scream and say, "This is hell or my life is a living hell." Sadly the worst thing in life would be better than the best thing in Hell. It wasn't prepared for men. It was prepared for Satan himself and his angels.
app. God never designed hell for mankind. He put his Son on the cross to keep an ungodly world from a Devil's hell. 1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
VI. The significance of YOUR PLACE in eternity.
A. Everlasting punishment.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:
quote: Expositors Bible Commentary - "It is the final judgment; it is the final separation; and scarcely with more distinctness could the awful letters have been traced, "Leave every hope behind, all ye who enter here." "These shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous"-none but the righteous-"into eternal life."
note: Those who endure this judgment for all eternity do so - OUTSIDE THE WONDERFUL PRESENCE OF GOD AND UNDER THE ETERNAL CURSE OF GOD.
V.41 Depart from me, ye cursed,
ill. Seeing a video of a 32 year old woman extracting herself from a mudslide whirlpool and passing from death unto life - BECAUSE SHE HAD A WILL TO LIVE.
app. Friends, extract yourself before it is too late. The punishment of hell is EVERLASTING!
B. Everlasting life.
but the righteous into life eternal.
exp. Heaven is in my heart today as a believer - because I will never perish.
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
ill. Praise God - if you have Hell in your heart today -that can change in life. But, praise God - if you have Heaven in your heart today - that will never change.
John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
app. Do you have that abundant life today?
ill. Witnessing to a young man last week who said, "I saw my friend die right in front of me on the football pitch." He had a brain aneurism - he had just talked to his friend ten minutes before - and then his friend was gone into eternity.
app. You don't get to chose when you die - but you do get to decide when you let Jesus into your heart. Don't delay - if death comes first - there will be no second chance. Get heaven in your heart today!
conclusion: I'm glad I'm passed those days where I could be called into the principals office. Those judgment days are past. BUT THE GREAT JUDGMENT DAY IS COMING.
Are you ready to stand before Jesus and give an account of your life? We may not face this judgment - unless we go through the tribulation.
Are you His sheep or a goat this morning?
If you died right now - would you open your eyes in Hell or Heaven?
Won't you make certain this morning that it is Heaven and receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
Believer - what do you works say about your profession. How are you treating the Lord Jesus Christ?