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184 - Baa, Baa, Bleat

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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February 24, 2024 1:00 pm

184 - Baa, Baa, Bleat

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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February 24, 2024 1:00 pm

Episode 184 - Baa, Baa, Bleat (24 Feb 2024) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Well, today we come to our last episode about the end of the age, Jesus talking about what's going to happen at the end. And he's talking about sheep and goats. Sheep and goats.

Oh, we've heard this before. And how do you know if you're a sheep or a goat? I think that's a very important question.

And I'm hoping that we'll find out today on More Than Ink. Well, a wonderful good morning to you. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we are sitting here this morning with our coffee. Well, I've got my coffee. I just finished mine. You finished your coffee.

But in a very relaxed context, I should say. We like to sit and talk about the Word, read the Word, and we think that's why you're with us as well. So if you have been with us, we have been talking about the end of the age. So at the beginning of chapter 24 of Matthew, his apostles ask him, let us know all about the end of the age. And he has spent two chapters. And we're going to finish that today. I've chopped it into six sections. And we're going to look at the sixth and last section today as we talk about the end of the age.

Well, and each one of those sections kind of builds on the one that went before. Exactly. And what we just read before this, what we talked about last week, was that the end of the Parable of the Talents, where the bottom line there is, what did you do with the Master's resources? In the time coming up to the return.

Right. And the end of that parable that says, the worthless servant will be cast out, but the worthwhile servants, the ones after the Master's heart, will enter into his joy. So it might be good, because this passage just picks up without a breath on the end of that parable. It might be good if we read those last two verses that come just before it. This is verses 29 of Matthew 25. Jesus says, For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance. But the one who does not have, even what he does have, shall be taken away, and cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Yeah, so there's a real judgment, a real weighing coming. And what did the one category of servants have? Well, they had their Master's heart. They had their Master's interests. They sought his purpose, and they entered into his joy.

And so they received more of that. And I think we see that kind of underscored in this next passage that we're going to talk about today. Oh, absolutely.

Yeah, absolutely. So it's interesting, in chapter 24 where we started the discussion, he talked about signs leading up to the return. And then in 25, which is where we're in now, he talks about what happens at the return.

Right. So we talked, but he talked in parables to start this return stuff, the 10 virgins, and then what you're talking about, the talents. And those are parables. And today, as we get into the last section of what happens when he returns, this doesn't look like a parable anymore. It doesn't really actually fit kind of the pattern for a parable. No, but it is what will happen at his return. At his return, not leading up to, but at his return what will happen. But he does use some kind of word pictures like parables contain.

We've got sheep and goats. Yeah. So I don't want you to go full parable on this, but go full metaphor on what's going to happen. So this is the tricky business about seeing this. His return is not metaphorical.

It is really going to happen. Well, and we'll see at the end of it that his bottom line is the same. Exactly. Right. There's two destinations.

Yeah, exactly. So let's take a look. This is our final time to look at the end times.

And we're jumping in at verse 31 of chapter 25. Okay. You want me to read? Take us away.

Okay. When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Okay, wait, we got to stop right there. Because Jesus just bang starts right into this saying the Son of Man, when the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne. Well, Jesus has referred to himself as the Son of Man all the way through his ministry. So this is an outright claim to being the one described in Daniel 7. Yeah, yeah.

I'm the Son of Man, I'm coming back, the angels are coming with me and I will sit on a throne and judge. And that part is not a parable. That's for real. No, it's for real.

That's for real. But in order for us to understand kind of how this is going to happen, he says before him will be gathered all the nations and he'll separate them as a shepherd. So that's where we go to the metaphorical.

But this is real. So the reality is, and we've said this before, there is a date on God's calendar when this return will happen. And that date, the exact day is not known by anyone except the Father, but it is going to happen. And when he does return, his angels will come with him, which is a very strong statement of the power of heaven in that sense. And he'll sit on his glorious throne. I mean, there will be no denying the fact that this guy is in charge of like everything. And then he'll assemble all the nations in front of him.

Wow. So back in Daniel 7, in Daniel's vision, he says, I saw one like a son of man coming. And then in verse 14, he says, and to him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all the people's nations and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away. So for those who knew their Old Testament or knew their scriptures, because that's all they had, they would have heard the echo of this in what Jesus was saying.

It would sound very familiar to them because of that, yeah. And Jesus, like you're saying, is putting himself in a position of this very important son of man who has this authority. And I might add, as we go on, he assembles the nations. In chapter 24, verse 14, he said, the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Well, here we have it. The end will come and all the nations are there. Well, and the interesting thing is now when he sets up this little picture, he'll separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. So there's no question about their whether they are sheep or goats, and they don't get to self-identify at this point. The shepherd separates them because he knows. Now, on one of our trips to Israel, we were in a place where our guide pointed out a flock on the side of the mountain.

I don't know whether you remember this. And it was all these kind of mixed animals, and somebody asked, well, are those sheep or goats? And she said, well, they're both there.

They're both. They're all mixed together. But the shepherd knows who's who, even though they all kind of sometimes look the same. Right. And they all feel like, well, we're all one flock. Right.

And they're all feeding in the same place. But as we find out as the story unfolds, that they are not behaving the same way. So he's saying that all mankind can be separated into two essential species in a way. Right. There's something essentially different about these two. So let's find out how he separates them, what his criteria is.

Okay. He'll place the sheep on his right. This is verse 33. He'll place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Then the king, okay, the one on the throne, 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. 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. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me.

I was in prison and you came to me. You want to stop there or go on? Sure. Yeah. Let's stop right there. Yeah. Let's pause for a minute. Yeah.

There's a couple of fascinating things. For one, the kingdom that he's separating them into has been prepared since the foundation of the world. Like this was the original intention of God is to populate this kingdom with these ones. So he's inviting them, come in now and inherit what I've prepared for you. This sounds to me like a kind of a deeper layer of meaning on the previous parable when the master says to the servants who have invested his resources well, come and enter into the joy of your master. Right.

The preparation. So this has always been the plan. This has always been the plan and it's been prepared for you from the foundation of the world. So this also hints at the fact that God knows who will respond to the message. He sees who will respond to the message, which makes sense. If, if indeed he is a timeless being, which we, which he is based on the language of space, especially in the old Testament, then he can look at the, the entire timeline of humanity and he sees who's coming in. So he's basically saying these, the ones are going to come to this kingdom I prepared. Now it's interesting what his criteria are.

It starts in 35. He doesn't say that you fed hungry people. He said, I was hungry. I was thirsty. You gave me a drink. I was a stranger. You welcomed me. I was naked. You clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me, which of course raises a fascinating question, which they're going to ask in response. How is it that the King who, who fastens this kingdom is the one who was in such a needy place?

What are you talking about? Well, don't you think that connects back to him saying, I am the son of man and deeply identified with these human beings who are created in my image and likeness. Right, right. And in another sense, I look at this as parents as well. You know, if, if my, if my daughter was traveling someplace and someone gave a kindness to her cause her car, you know, ran out of gas or something and they did something nice for her.

I would, I would thank that person and say, thank you. You did that for me because of my love for her and your love for her as well. So it's really easy for us to understand what he's talking about. And that's what he's going to say in a second.

If you loved the ones that I loved, you've loved me. Right. Yeah. And if you love them the way I love them. Yeah.

Yeah. So let's read on. Cause then into verse 37, the righteous will answer him saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you or naked and clothe you?

And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them. Truly I say to you as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me. Yes. Yes. So this is really interesting to me that these sheep, they're not even conscious of the fact that they've been doing, they've been like their shepherd, right? Well, they, they have been demonstrating the behavior of the heart of the shepherd himself. So this really strongly implies that the sheep themselves somehow have gone through a transformation where their interests are the same as the interests of the shepherd himself.

Right. And you know, when we look in the New Testament, Paul calls that sanctification, but it's the fact that we're being made continually into the likeness of the son, which means not that we'll physically look like Jesus, but the fact that the things that drove Jesus' heart, his love for mankind, we will share that. And you know, in our, before we come to Jesus, we don't have that kind of interest and concern for other people. We are, we are so selfishly oriented that we couldn't give a rip about other people in need. But the fact that our hearts have been transformed and we love these ones that the King here calls the least of these, my brothers, which means they have no, no sense of power or authority or any kind of standing in the world. These are the ones who have nothing and yet our hearts are poured out to him just like the father would because these are his children.

Yeah. So we've been transformed. We've been acting like him.

We're like him. Well, and that set me thinking about, about John 10 verse 11 when Jesus says, I'm the good shepherd, right? And the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Well, these sheep are like their shepherd. Somehow they have been transformed so that they also are other oriented, loving, self-giving.

They have the heart of their shepherd. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, some people look at this and say, well, this is kind of an odd, it's an odd criteria. I mean, so he's going to make a judgment just based surely upon their moral kindness.

Well, you know what? That is actually an ancient idea that God, God weighs actions, right? Actions as a reflection of the heart. And a couple of verses came to mind for me because I had been studying the song of Hannah earlier this week. Hannah says in her song after at the birth of Samuel, she says in verse two, this is in 1 Samuel 2, two, three, boast no more so very proudly. Don't let arrogance come out of your mouth for the Lord is a God of knowledge and with him actions are weighed.

Exactly. And then Proverbs picks that up, right? Proverbs 16 two says, all the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. And there's an even better one in Proverbs 24.

And I love this because it relates to the goats. And Proverbs 24 12 says, if you say, see, we didn't know this, does he not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does he not know it who keeps your soul?

And will he not render to man according to his work? Right, right. So the work as evidence of the heart condition. Yeah. And that's what's in view here.

Yeah. Because, you know, Jesus says, you'll know them by their fruit, right? And they, their hearts may be opaque to you and me. But he says, if you want to see an indicator that's more truthful than anything else, see what they do. Because that's not a new idea with Jesus. This is an ancient, ancient idea that a man's actions betray his heart. Well, and you know, hypocrites are ones who say one thing and do something else.

Which is the tour? Is it what they say or what they do? It's what they do.

It's what they do. Because you can talk up a great storm, but it's what you do that really matters. And especially what you do when no one's looking. And you know, when we're talking about taking care of the least of these of my brothers, this is something that happens in obscurity. You don't see a lot of this, you know, praise for this, you know, that kindly thing where you feed someone who's who's hungry or thirsty.

This Yeah, this is this is done in a sense, just because that's how your heart is not because you're looking for some kind of reward. You know, there's another interesting thing here that caught my attention. And that is that when this king separates the sheep and the goats, he puts the sheep on his right, that's important. And the right hand position, we say the right hand man does act out the will of the one who's in charge, right? Right. So these sheep that are on the right hand are functioning as the executive officer, sort of, yeah, of the shepherd. Yeah, right. So they're doing what the shepherd commands. Right, right. Yeah, the right hand was always not just the favored position, but the representative position of the king. Yeah.

So, so that's just that that right and left stuff is not a small pointer. It's it wasn't lost on the audience. They got it. They got it. They got it.

The king will answer him. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it for me, you did it to me. That's a fascinating thing.

That's a fast. So really, in summary, we don't see a lot of people here who are trying to earn their salvation by doing good work. They're just doing what is coming out of their heart. What we see is something that is naturally an outgrowth of their heart.

This is the fruit of a transformed heart. Well, and it sort of seems like they don't even realize they're doing it. Right. When do we see you? I mean, we were doing all these things.

But when did we see you doing it? Right, right. Yeah, because if they saw Jesus himself on the side of the road in need, of course, they do it. So we better do this because he's in charge. You know, he's, he's the king, we better do this.

No, you did it for the least of these. And you know, it couples together in my mind why it is that that that guy that came to Jesus and asked, what's the most important commandment and the responses will love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, all that you are love God with all you are, and and your neighbor, neighbor as yourself. And that's those are coupled together, not just because, you know, their commandments, but because, if indeed, we love God, we will love the ones that God loves. And we will love the way he loves the same way he loves them.

Yeah, just back to the same thing with me and my daughter, it'd be the same thing, you know, someone who exhibits the same kind of love for her and care for her that I would, is someone who has the same heart as me. So it makes it makes a ton of sense when you look at it. So the measure here to find out who's a sheep is the one who actually acts like the king would.

Yeah. And and that's not something that they earn. That's something that God worked in them transformed in them. We got to be quick to say, but I want to just make sure people don't think this is someone trying to earn their salvation by right doing as much good things as possible because because these things he even talks about are things that are done in obscurity, right?

So right, you're not gonna be seen for them. Okay, well, let's go. Let's talk about the goats.

Flip Yeah, yeah. Okay, verse 41. Then after he's dealt with the sheep, right, 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.

Oh, my goodness. Whoa, that's severe for I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.

I was a stranger and you did not welcome me naked and you did not close me sick and in prison and you did not visit me. 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? 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.

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Wow. Oh, my goodness. Wow.

So the first the sheep they go to the King them prepared for them since the foundation of the world and these goats go to eternal fire, which has also been prepared by the beginning of everything but prepared for the devil and his angels who you know, the nature of the devil is the opposite of God. Right? He wants to usurp God's place right to be worshiped instead of to worship.

Yeah. To control, instead of to submit to the godship, the lordship of the king. Yeah, and he's full of himself. He's selfish.

I want to I want to be like the most high God, you know. Also, you know, when Jesus talks about the the contrast between the good shepherd and the bad shepherd memory talks about, yeah, he says the good shepherd, you know, he came to bring them abundant life, but the bad shepherd, which is the devil came to steal, kill and destroy. I mean, his his intentions are, are not well meaning for no, they're exactly the opposite. So but but what's fascinating here is that these goats we do not see steel killing and destroying here. We just see them being indifferent. Yeah, we see them neglecting neglecting. Yeah, it's not it's not active mistreatment about those who are in need. It's it's just a neglect and indifference to interesting thing to me about the goats is that they didn't even see that they weren't doing it. Right. And they really weren't aware.

They were just unaware they were right. Well, kind of you have to fill in the blank here totally consumed with their own stuff. When you're selfishly oriented, you don't see any goats.

Yeah, you don't see needs around you. And love itself is the turning around of selfish orientation to selfless to seeing others. So clearly, the goats here instead of being loving, which is outward looking to the needs of others were inward looking to themselves. And so they didn't even see it. That's why that's why I just find it fascinating. The problem here isn't active malevolence. It's just indifference. It's just a total self orientation. Yeah, and you just totally miss it.

You totally miss it. Okay, so that makes me think there's a funny meme going around on the internet with says, you know, I'm done being a person. I want to be a goat. Because I want to just jump around all day and have fun. I want to eat whatever I want whenever I want it. And I want to headbutt anybody who disagrees with me.

Oh, my gosh, is that not the nature of goat? That's a good I want to eat what I want. I want to do what I want.

I want to disregard everybody. And if you disagree with me, well, too bad for you. That's all I have to do is observe little goats and you'll see that clearly not displaying the heart of the king or the father and not in a loving way just totally absorbed with themselves. Yeah, totally absorbed with themselves. It is interesting, though, that these ones who neglect the needs of mankind neglect the needs of the ones that God loves are are lumped in with the devil and his angels, the demons. And it seems severe to me because if it was if it was highly malevolent, it would make more sense to me. But actually, it's not when you completely don't see people around you that could be loved and have needs cared for.

You might as well be malevolent. Well, and it touches on again, as I said this earlier that those whom God created in his own image and likeness, right, a disregard for human beings created in the image and likeness of God, who are worthy of being loved simply because they are God's creation. Right, right. And the ones who disregard that, and pursue their own ends are like the goats.

Yep, yeah. So in these last couple minutes, let's just wrap up Matthew 24 and 25, the end of the age and this this closing comment is the fact that when he does return, there's going to be a separation of all the nations between the sheep and the goats, the ones who display the heart and character of God, and I would say transformed by God himself and those who very selfishly don't even see needs in other people's lives. Well, and there's been this recurring theme of this day is coming, it will come, the master will return, the wedding will happen, the day is on the calendar, and there will be a judgment, a discernment between these and those. Yeah, and there's only two options.

Yeah, exactly. A great day of justice is coming as well. And we talked in the early part of this chapter about what do we do between now and then because when that happens, that's going to be a big deal. So what do we do between now and then? Well, a lot of the message we just read here today and in the previous couple weeks is about the fact that the day is inevitable, and it's coming, and what do you do to prepare your hearts and what do you do with your hands between now and then?

And that's largely what we can do as we approach that day. The day of the Lord in the Old Testament is a terrible day because there's great judgment coming and a great number of people in humanity will find themselves to be goats and they don't even know it because they're saying to themselves, well, I don't do bad things to people, but here they didn't either. They were just neglectful and indifferent to those who were in need. They were consumed to themselves. And in a couple of these parables, we have the servants, right?

When the master leaves them in charge and says, you know, just keep doing your assignments until I get back. And then the other parable where he left them specific resources in order to be utilized for gain when he comes back. There will be this day of reckoning. So what are you doing with the time? Are you pursuing God's purposes, God's love, God's kingdom coming in this world? Or are you pursuing your own kingdom and your own purposes? And just completely devoid of any notice of what's going on.

I'm just not paying attention to anybody else. And yet there's this whole raft of mankind that are in need, that need to be loved, and we don't care because we don't have the Father's heart. We don't love, we don't love. But those of us who've given our lives to Jesus, he is transforming our heart and we find ourselves loving in ways that we never would have before. And that speaks of God's presence in our life and his transforming because of his spirit.

Well, okay, so there's one more element I want to touch on and that is that from early on in chapter 24, Jesus had said to them, now, this is coming, it's going to happen. Be ready, be on the alert, but don't be afraid. Right.

Right. Expect it and be ready. It's coming when you're not looking for it, but you do not have to live in fear. And a lot of people look at the end of the age with that kind of fear, and they'll especially read about the tribulation we read about earlier and say, well, what's going to happen to me in the tribulation?

I don't like the sound of this. You don't have to be concerned about that. God's got this all figured out and you're not going to fall through the cracks of his plans at the end of the age. Right. If you're in my hand, you're in the Father's hand, I and the Father are one.

Nobody can snatch you out of the Father's hand. So do not fear. But now you've been informed about what's going to happen. Jesus gave us two chapters.

Right. And if anyone asks you what's going to happen at the end of the age, tell them, let's go to Matthew 24. Let's go read Matthew 24 and 25 together. Well next time, we're going to come back and we're going to go back into the narrative in Matthew. We're going to look at the plot to kill Jesus and that's going to rear its ugly head as we come back next time. So I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us and we're glad that you're understanding and your hearts are settled about the end of the age. Jesus is indeed coming back soon. We'll see you next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, morethanink.org. And while you are there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you.

Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. There we are. Got your coffee? Got my coffee. This has been a production of Main Street Church of rhythm city.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-24 14:21:00 / 2024-02-24 14:32:49 / 12

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