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Matthew 25:31-46

Living Like Your Life Depends Upon Him

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • December 06, 2020

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Living Like Your Life Depends Upon Him

Matthew 25:31-46

Illus. Hold on!

This morning we are going to study the end of Matthew 25, where Jesus shares specifics surrounding the scene that will take place at His second coming. After hearing from Him that Jerusalem and temple would be destroyed in the beginning of Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples ask Him questions about when it will all take place and what the signs of His coming will be?

From there Jesus shares specifics about the signs of the end times, what those future days will be like, and then He turn His attention toward the way in which His followers should live their lives in light of His return. Through parables, insights and instruction, Jesus gives a clear picture of what it will be like in the last days, but also challenges those who are listening personally and all throughout history in the way they are to live out their days. 

In the end, your life and my life depend upon Him. And as we walk out this life He has given, it is important that we understand His words and are those who do not just understand what He is saying, but truly live like our lives depend upon Him, knowing that it all depends upon Him both now, and in the end. 

Read: Matthew 25:31-46

The scene being depicted is found in verse 1, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory…” This month we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus, known as the first coming of Christ. In Jesus’ day, most thought that the when the Savior came, He would set up His earthly kingdom at that time. Right the wrongs, bring justice and judgement immediately, and overthrow the earthly governments. But what we know in our day is that there would a delay between His first and Second Coming. Today we look forward to His return, and when we returns He will come in glory!

Illus. First Coming vs. Second Coming. 

Isaiah 9:6-7

Illus. Order of prophetic events! 

What we look at today is Jesus’ second coming and what will take place prior to the millennial reign of Christ on earth, which according to Revelation 20 is a 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth. Jesus returns and judges the nations based upon whether they have given their lives to Him. Jesus is going to set up His millennial kingdom on earth, He will rule with truth and grace, He will establish and uphold true justice and righteousness (Is.9:6-7) the question that remains however, is who will live in His kingdom on earth? Who will be the first citizens? 

Answer, those who chose Christ and lived their lives for Him during the 7-year tribulation. The context of this text is for those who are on earth at the end of the tribulation, as we have discussed, the church will have been raptured, taken up, prior to this particular time. While the context of the text is surround a situation that you may not see, the application extends to you, me and all throughout history as we see what He is looking for in the lives of those who believe. 

I.   Realize the Son is the One All Will Stand Before

Matthew 25:31-33

  • Jesus will come in glory, with all the angels, and with those who were taken up to be with Him and will appear with Him when He appears in glory (Col. 3:4), and He will sit on His throne. Those on earth will be gathered before Him and then separated into two groups.
  • The distinction between the two groups whether or not they have given their lives to Christ. Those that belong to Christ are here called “sheep,” and those who are not are here called “goats.”
  • The two groups at the time of His Second Coming are given a different destination from Jesus as He is seated on His throne, judging the nations. 
  • This future scene brings us to the reality that there will be a day of reckoning at Jesus second coming. 
  • Jesus noted earlier in His ministry that the Father has delegated all judgement to the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

John 5:22, Not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

James 4:12, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy.” 

  • While it is not something that many often think about, the Bible speaks to the reality of the lives we live and that there will be a future day of accounting for us all. 
  • All will stand before Jesus in the end. And we must realize that all judgement authority has been given to Jesus, He will take His seat as King and Judge. 
  • Throughout our study of Matthew 24 and 25 I have been looking at the Scriptures with the following questions in mind, what does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me?
  • Certainly, we know that this is a future judgement that those in Christ today will not be judged at specifically, but the Bible speaks of judgement for believers and unbelievers, and these judgements are important for us to know and see.
  • Those who are not in Christ will be judged according to their own deeds, apart from Christ:

Revelation 20:11-13,15

  • Revelation 20 speaks of the judgement at the great white throne is where those who have rejected Jesus are judged according to their deeds. 

John 12:48, He who rejects Me and does not receive my sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 

  • The books are opened, everything that a person has done, it is written down. If a person’s name is not in the book of life, they will be judged based on their works, or deeds on this earth. 

Galatians 2:16, By the works of the law no flesh will be justified.

  • Our deeds, our works outside of Christ are not sufficient. On that day, when the books are opened, every deed will be written. 
  • When the books are opened, the weight of one’s sin will come to light. In seeing it all, it’s as if man will cry “depart from me; for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)
  • Understand however, that those in Christ will not be judged at this great white throne, nor will they be judged according to their sins. 
  • For those in Christ, scripture reveals that the “certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us,” He has taken away, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14). 
  • In other words, the pages containing our unrighteous works and deeds were taken away, removed, and blotted out by the blood of Jesus.
  • Those in Christ are judged in Christ. 
  • The judgement which we deserved fell upon Christ, because of His love. He died to make a way for you.

Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow…” 

  • It is important to understand however, that we don’t escape God’s judgement, it has been satisfied in Jesus. 

Romans 4:25, He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. 

  • While we have overcome death through Christ, we also must realize that there is a specific judgement of believers and we too will stand before Christ. The judgement for believers is called the “Judgement Seat of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:10,  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.

Romans 14:10, But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

  • This is not a judgement or punishment of sins; it is a judgement of rewards. 

1 Corinthians 3:12-15: Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire.

  • Here Paul is speaking of the coming assessment of each one’s work before the Lord. What we have done, and our motive for doing it, will be tested by fire, and the purifying fire of God will burn up everything that was not of Him. 

Illus. Rewards and Crowns. 

  • What we see in the different judgements clearly, is that Christ is the key. That said, we must live like our lives depend upon Him (because our lives truly do) and realize that the Son is the One all will stand before. 
  • What we are looking at in our study today is the judgement of the nations, or the sheep and the goats. It is at the time of His second coming, the people who remain on earth will be divided into two groups, the sheep and the goats. 
  • We understand in and throughout Scripture that there are two different paths people choose that ultimately equate to different eternal destinies. 

To the sheep:

Matthew 25:34, The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

To the goats:

Matthew 25:41, He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

  • The reality is that the Son is the One all will stand before on judgement day. Though He is the One all will stand before, what each person hears from Him will be different, and specific to their salvation in Him and the lives they lived. 

Hebrews 4:13, There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.

  1. Carry the Symptoms of Salvation
  • To carry is to take something from one place to another. And symptoms are a sign or indication of that. 
  • The sheep and the goats built their lives on different foundations. Who they were and who their lives belonged to was evidenced in what they did, and what they did not do. 
  • Before talking about the specific ways in which the sheep and the goats lived our their days, it is important to catch that their destination is not on the basis of their works, but on the basis of their being “blessed by the Father.” 
  • To those who are His, Jesus calls blessed by the Father! That is the key, their salvation is not by their works, but based on the Father’s blessing. 
  • Specifically, the blessing of the Father is upon those who put their trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 3:23-25, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. 

  • Though believers in Christ will stand before the judgement seat of Christ rather than the Great White Throne of Judgement, though our sins will be burnt up like chaff, if it imperative that we understand that the only way this way made possible is through the blood of Jesus. 
  • It is Jesus who made the way. Works are not the grounds of salvation, however, they are evidence of it. 

James 2:26, For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Quote – Stanley Toussaint, a famous professor and commentator described it this way, “a righteousness founded in faith in God which in turn, by God’s grace, empowers a person to live a new and righteous life, Genuine faith results in life, and life manifests itself in righteousness, thus, works are evidence of faith.”

  • The nations stand before Jesus, are divided and He tells them their destination, but the determination of their eternal destination had already been made by them long before that day. 
  • It was based on how they responded, listened to, and follow Him during the lives they were given. 

Illus. Symptoms. 

John 10:27-28, My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Illus. Signing off. 

Colossians 3:17, Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

  • In verse 34, we see that the King will remind those on His right, His sheep, of what they did, how they lived in light of their salvation in Him.

Matthew 25:35-36, 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 invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. 

  • Then the righteous will ask, “Lord, when did we see you and do these things…?”
  • And the King will answer, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
  • And to those on His left, depart from me…

Matthew 25:42-43, For I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 

  • Interestingly, the Scriptures tell us what we do not do is as important as what we do. This is the sin of omission, knowing the right thing to do, and not doing it. 

James 4:17, Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

  • Those on His left will ask, “Lord, when did we see you and not do these things…?” Jesus will say (Vs. 45), ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 
  • Jesus speaks to the way in which those who have given their lives to Him treat His brothers as sisters. 

Hebrews 2:11, Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

  • Those in Christ are in His family, and that reality is true for even the lowliest (the least of these). 
  • In Matthew 10:40 to His disciples, Jesus said “He who receives you receives me.”
  • In John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples; if you have love for one another.”
  • The context of this text again is how those standing before Christ treated His brothers during the great tribulation. At a time when doing so meant they might be killed for being a follower of Jesus. 
  • While the “who” He is talking about here is His brothers and sisters, and we as the family of Christ are to help those in the family of Christ in need, it also shows the reality of the “what” Jesus desires to see from you and me. 

Galatians 6:10, Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

  • He desires us to do as He would do, to love as He loves, to meet needs as He would meet needs, and to realize that when we do, we are doing it unto Him. 
  1. See Jesus When You See a Need
  • Jesus says to those standing before Him, “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 invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” 
  • His sheep respond, “when did we do those things?”
  • It seems that there will be reminders when we stand before the Lord, of what we did, and He will tell us exactly who we were doing it for, we were doing it for Him!

1 John 3:17-18, But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 

Colossians 3:23 -24, Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.


Illus. We don’t always know.

Illus. Sister without. 

Illus. Did not know. 

  • Jesus’ point is that we should have His heart for others and see Jesus when we see a need. 
  • Your very life depends up on Him. In the end it will be abundantly evident. 
  • Jesus calling us to be His hand and His feet, to know that He is the One all will stand before, that our salvation should have symptoms, that should we see a need, we should see Jesus. 
  • In the end, it all depends upon Him, most realize that, but many do not live like it. Here Jesus is making clear that there are two eternal realities. 
  • Is the way you are living and walking presently, an indication of where you are headed eternally? 
  • Are you living like your life depends on Jesus? Or on something, or someone else? 

Illus. Sacrifices Made. 

Matthew 25:31-46

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 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 invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


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