With all authority Jesus will call you to take your inheritance, the eternal kingdom prepared for you!

November 26, 2023

Pastor Gunnar Ledermann

Matthew 25:31-46

Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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 invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 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 did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

“I saw you give your sister a slice of pie. I saw you give your brother a glass of eggnog.” Then the family joined together in their tradition to set up their Christmas tree after the Thanksgiving meal. What I just described is a very different scenario than, “I saw you take your sister’s jacket. I saw you ignore your crying brother when he fell off his bike.” Then the children were separated and sent to their rooms to go to bed early without any more fun. In the first scenario, the loving children enjoyed the family activity planned for the evening. In the second scenario, the children suffered the consequences of their actions.

You control what you post on social media. You also have some controls over who sees your posts. In many ways, this allows you to shape how others view your life. Whether you realize it or not, the choices you make on what to post, like, follow, share, etc. reveal what people otherwise cannot see. The digital profile and presence you create reveals a lot about your inner heart and mind.

 God does not need to check your social media to see what is going on in your life. In our Gospel reading from Matthew 25, Jesus has told two parables about the kingdom of heaven and now taught about his return to judge all people. Jesus revealed that he can see all that we have done as easily as we scroll through social media. But unlike social media and profiles that stretch the truth, he sees exactly who we are. We read from Matthew 25:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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 invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

First, Jesus spoke about what he saw his followers do throughout their lives. Then, he spoke about what he saw in the lives of those who did not follow him,

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 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 did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

Notice, those who did not follow Jesus gave the same reply as his followers regarding what Jesus observed about their lives. Finally, Jesus said, 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” As Jesus taught about Judgment Day, he explained the heavenly kingdom as always being part of his plan for his followers; it was prepared since he created the world. It is also inherited, which means it is given, not earned. On the other hand, the eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, not for people, after the devil and his angels rebelled after the creation of the world. The cursed will be sent there who brought punishment on themselves for their lack of love for the Lord and his people.

You cannot change what God sees when he looks at you. The things Jesus looked at when making his judgment call may surprise you. In his description of those blessed by the Father, he did not list great things like ending poverty, wars and plagues. Instead, he listed basic things like giving food, drink, shelter and visits. Also, when he described the cursed, he did not list sins like murder, stealing and adultery, but again listed the lack of the same basic things. No one can excuse themself from completing the things listed for lack of great wealth or skills because they are not necessary. God does not need social media, but he does see yours; he sees every post, comment, like, follow, share, etc. God also looks at what others cannot see, your heart and mind. He knows what is behind all you think, say and do. As terrifying as it is to think someone has a full, honest and complete record of your life who will use it to judge you for eternity, it is good to understand the truth shared in Hebrews 11, 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God… Many people’s lives may look relatively similar online and in person. God sees a difference. The real danger Jesus exposed in his teaching was, 45 … ‘whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Not doing these things means a lack of faith. Without faith there is no connection to Jesus, his righteousness and eternal life in heaven. The cursed will suffer eternal punishment for their refusal to believe in Jesus, recognize him in others and do basic good things for them.

God has prepared your inheritance. While you spend your time worrying about judgment on social media, in person and from God, God worked. You have always been in God’s plan and so you have nothing to worry about. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he summed up God’s work to make you his blessed child who will inherit eternal life and one who will hear, 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ He wrote in Ephesians 2, 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. God gave you the gift of faith and saved you by his grace. He has also made you a new creation to do good. When writing to the Thessalonians, Paul in our New Testament reading from 1 Thessalonians 4, encourages all of us that whether we are alive or dead we will receive our eternal inheritance when Jesus returns, 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

God sees you through Christ. Christ is your status. He is your profile filter. He is the one you serve. You serve him through serving others. Being worried about what you do is not your motivation as a follower of Christ. When you worry or stress about living the right way or think what you are doing is insignificant, keep this picture in your mind from our Old Testament reading from Daniel 7,

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

This is Jesus who has all his authority and uses his authority to rule his kingdom forever. In our Gospel reading from Matthew 25, Jesus is pictured in the same way using his authority to put you into his everlasting kingdom,

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

Jesus urges you to watch for his return. Remain in the Word, put your hope in God, love others as Jesus did through actions and with the truth. Look forward to Jesus’ glorious return to take you to your eternal inheritance prepared by your Father in heaven.

A lot of people see what you post, share, like, follow, etc. They also watch your life. Keep your eyes fixed on heaven for the return of your King Jesus. In doing so, you will love and encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ, love others and point others to Jesus. Pray many more sheep will be with you when with all authority Jesus will call you to take your inheritance, the eternal kingdom prepared for you! Amen.

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