Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 129 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Matthew 25 today and our focus is on The Least of These: What Separates Those Who Get in Heaven From Those Who Don’t?? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
The first sermon I even preached to adults was when I was a sophomore or junior in college, and it was around 1991 when it happened. The text is in today’s passage, Matthew 25:31-46 – Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. The reason I chose that text was because it blew me away the first time I really deeply read it, and I had never heard a pastor preach on the text before. In this parable, Jesus separates a group into sheep on one side, and goats on the other. He turns to the sheep on the right and invites them into the blessed Heaven prepared for them by God AND gives them the reason why He is inviting them into Heaven:
35 “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in;36 I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
They ask the obvious question, not remembering their visit to Jesus in prison, or that time they took care of Him when He was sick, and He replies, “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’’ One of the most astonishing statements of Jesus in the Bible – we can minister to Jesus somehow in a very real and tangible way by taking care of the least. Least in money, least in health, least in freedom, least in food, least in number of friends. All of these leasts – when we love them and take care of their needs, says Jesus, we are doing it for Him!
And then Jesus turns to the goats on His left, and He tells them something terrifyingly different: Depart from me you accursed goats – into the hellfire prepared for you. the devil and his angels! Perhaps they are too stunned to ask why, but Jesus tells them anyway:
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink;43 I was a stranger and you didn’t take me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of me.’ Matthew 25:42-43
Their question is obvious, racking their brains and not being able to remember a single time they saw Jesus Christ – the most famous person that ever lived – in trouble and needing help! Surely, they think – if we had seen JESUS – the actual JESUS…they would have helped Him, right? But they didn’t see Jesus, did they? Didn’t know Jesus needed food, or water, or shelter, or help, or love, or a place to stay. Jesus answers their objections: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
And then, after that devastating line…there is no appeal, not time to apologize, no repentance, nothing but the immediate execution of judgment. The sheep are led to Heaven, and the goats to eternal destruction. One of the most sobering Scriptural teachings of Jesus, and maybe one we don’t pay nearly enough attention to, given that this isn’t just a life or death matter, but an ETERNAL life or death matter!
Let’s read the passage through, because there are two more powerful teachings here too.
And we close with a few words from Spurgeon on the least of those + our memory verse of the month. First, dear Spurgeon says:
We show our love to Christ when we sing of him and when we pray to him; but if there were no sons of need in the world we should lose the sweet privilege of evidencing our love, by ministering in alms-giving to his poorer brethren; he has ordained that thus we should prove that our love standeth not in word only, but in deed and in truth. If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by him. Those who are dear to him will be dear to us. Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord’s flock—remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart—recollecting that all we do for his people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to himself.
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
Allow me to affirm something: salvation is by grace through faith – not by works, but when you combine that truth with what Jesus teaches us here, it the clear meaning is that all who are genuinely saved will do unto Jesus in this way by serving and helping the least of these. Giving and serving doesn’t save us – the gospel does by grace through faith, but all who are saved will, without fail, serve Jesus and His people in this way, bearing much fruit to show that they are His disciples.
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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