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The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2021 8:00 am

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 29, 2021 8:00 am

We often hear the phrase it’s the little things that count and today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll discover how that statement applies to our Christian lives. We’ll find that God doesn’t give us points for building cathedrals, starting charities or making million dollar donations. He simply calls us to live humble lives of obedience. He calls us to be faithful in the little things.

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We often hear the phrase it's the little things that counts in today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will discover how that statement applies to our Christian lives will find that God doesn't give us points were building cathedrals starting charities are making million-dollar donations. He simply calls us to live humble lives of obedience. He calls us to be faithful in the little things are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

What is the evidence of true conversion. Let's listen into the teaching of Dr. Boris as we learn together from the parable of the sheep and the goats become today. In our study of Matthew to the last recorded teaching of Jesus in this gospel is called the parable of the sheep and the goats were strictly speaking, it is in the parable have been other parables.

The story before it is a parable story before that, as a parable. The one before that talks about the five wise by foolish women were waiting for a wedding. It's all about the women whether there ready or not taken end of the wedding banquet or launch story. After that, about the three servants is all about the servants whether they use the money that had been entrusted to them by the master whether they didn't.

Whether they were approved or disapproved. When he returned with this story. Strictly speaking, is not a parable that has parabolic elements in it is really a story about judgment, outright. It's about the division among the nations where the Lord retires.

Jesus says it's like sheep and goats like the way it Shepherd will separate them in verse 33 says you put the sheep on one hand and the goats on his lap.

But when it begins to talk about it.

There's no doubt that he's talking about people and talk to certain people and say you done this, other people you done that and the answer is either they have and I have under their destiny is determined on the basis of what they've done is a certain building here first of the parables stressing the need of Christians to be ready when Jesus returns. That's what the story of the five and five foolish women is all about and then the second story stresses the judgment itself.

I have to be ready by faithful works in servants which curates almost entirely the judgment first story. Those were foolish or shut out of the banquet in the second story that lazy servant is thrown out into the darkness. But here I should talks about cursing by the Lord himself which results in an eternal punishment is to be taken seriously might think a parable or store ARI depiction of judgment like this would be easy to understand. Surprisingly, there's been a great deal of disagreement.

How it's to be applied particularly how the interpreter is to understand the words. The least of these brothers of mine, verse 40. Those who have either been cared for not actually about four major interpretations that words might refer to anyone who is hungry or lesser has other physical needs. That's been undoubtedly the majority view down through church history, and it's led to many fanciful and sentimental stories, especially in the Middle Ages, Gregory the great tells about a monk whose name was Mark Torres. He came upon a deformed man was lying by the roadside. He picked him up and carried him to the monastery and as he was approaching the Abbott so I'm coming.

He called after the other monk saying open the gates.

Our brother Mark Torres is coming and he is carrying the Lord together is a well-known story about Francis of the sea. St. Francis of Assisi very privileged background. He was wealthy and careless before his conversion, but one day he was out riding Esau, a leper formed loathsome by the roadside.

Something moved him to dismount and throw his arms around the leper and when he did that face of the leper turned into the face of Jesus Christ. I don't know how you would know that if you weren't sure exactly what Jesus Christ looked like, but those are stories very characteristic of medieval piety, and yet that same idea exist today.

For example, William Barclay, author of that well-known series of studies of the biblical books says God will judge us in accordance with our reaction to human need another teacher wrote, the son of man sees in any wretches brother was one interpretation of the second. Is this the least of these brothers of mine means the June sources.

The dispensational view and it fits in with their understanding of the end time events. They understand that there's going to be a great tribulation after Christians have been removed from the world, another going to be a series of judgments, one of which is literally upon the nation on the basis of their treatment of the Jews. Ironside saw it that way, my brethren are those of Israel who are related to Christ both according to the flesh and the spirit and will be as authoritative witnesses at the coming time up regulation when the present church age is ended. That view is possible, but it's only possible if you accept the entire dispensational system. The third view is less that it refers to the apostles and other Christian missionaries.

Those who bear the gospel in the Gentile lands closer to the text, only that it has the support of other passages, even in this gospel you go back to Matthew 10 verses 40 to 43 you find Jesus saying to the disciples, he who receives you receives me and he receives me receives the one who sent man of anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Now that is a lot closer to the kind of thing we have in Matthew. The only problem with it is that the way that work brothers is used in Matthew was never restricted solely to the missionaries of the apostles. It refers to all over the followers of Jesus Christ. Anyone who follows Sam believes on him, takes up his cross is his brother and occurs even that passage from Matthew was referring along those lines because it talks about even one of the least of these onesies little ones because he is my disciple that actually leads to the fourth and what I think is the right interpretation of this namely that the least of these brothers of mine refers to Christ disciples are to all Christians doesn't mean you understand that the Bible is unconcerned about the poor and the oppressed. Of course it is. We read about that often. We are the care for the poor and the oppressed, just that it's not what it's talking about here Jesus is saying here is the fate of individuals is related to how they treat Christ people.

The reason black/white obviously is a delay. Love Christ people is because they love Christ stand in the right relationship to him. This is a way John Broadus puts that is one of the good commentators, our Lord is not expressly speaking of benevolence to the poor and suffering.

In general, but of kindness to his poor and suffering. Brethren, for his sake. Again, DA Carson true disciples will pass an examination not because they're trying to pass an examination, but because they will love his brothers and sisters, and therefore Jesus else will fail because of course I will not particularly care for Jesus brothers and sisters, and thus will be rejecting the Messiah himself, just as Paul and persecuting Christians was actually persecuting Jesus shouldn't surprise us because that's the sort of thing that's taught elsewhere in the New Testament.

First John is written to assure those who are Christians. What they really are Christians and that book is three tests we can really know where believers or not one is whether we understand the believe that Jesus is God come in the flesh very part of teaching a theology incarnation second test is whether we obey Christ commands you repeat that over and over again. You are Christ keep his commands. Are you keeping us commands. That's how you can know whether you really belong to Christ in the third test is whether we love other Christians.

That's really the basis upon which this final parable is based. Because the issue here is whether or not we love and care for Christ followers and therefore whether we love and actually care for Jesus Christ.

That's what determines our destiny has bearing on this problem that bother so many Christians and that is the relationship of faith and works, especially Protestant Christians, we been taught that we are justified by faith through faith entirely apart from works works no entering at all on that ever trusting our works were trusting ourselves rather than Christ were not actually Christians. That's what it says very clearly in Ephesians 2nd chapter of Ephesians verses eight and nine.

Say, for it is by grace that you're saved through faith and not from yourselves. It's a gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. We believe that that's true, how is it that a story like this talks about the separation between the sheep and the goats on the basis of their works. And the answer of course is the passages that speak of the judgment being based on works or merely saying that it might all judgments will be based on demonstrable evidence we have that much lesser sense when we receive people as members of a particular church. We have a phrase for we talk about credible profession as people do they trust Christ as their Savior, they believe that he died for their sins by relying for their salvation on him only people will say yes to that, if their life entirely contradicts that is not a credible profession.

No matter what they may be saying we recognize even on that lower human level are of course were entirely fallible and are judgments that somehow works at that point and rent their evidence either pro or con as to the profession and of course that's the sort of thing we have here William Hendrickson says in the case of any given individual. What matters is whether he has during his earthly life given evidence of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore of a life in harmony with Christ commands and examples some points worth noting about this and one of them is this the evidence of a credible Christian profession is not how many great works have been done for Jesus Christ as we understand greatness. How many great cathedrals. We have built, or how great our philanthropy has been giving the Christian causes or missionary endeavors. What is significant here is that the proof of conversion mentioned by Jesus is not great things at all what we would call little things as whether we share food with her brother was hungry. We give a drink to assist her with this first day whether we welcome the stranger, whether we offer closed, one needs clothing whether we care for the sick or visited person who is in prison, it was because these are little things that the righteous were unaware that they had done them. Jesus commends them for it. They say, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you are thirsty and give you something to drink and even remember that they did those things, and yet they did is also why the unrighteous are so surprised when the judgment comes because well they say if you had been there yourself. We would certainly have done it for you.

Unrighteous will do lots of great things were great people sort of tit for tat. I would identifies me with somebody who is important, but they didn't bother to do it for the inconsequential the insignificant people of the world, the poor are those were really needy. Notice one other thing about this the wicked are condemned in the story because of some great positive evil that they have done is singling out the Adolf Hitler's of the world or serial killer or something like this what he's talking about our well we would call them good people are the people that occupy the pews in our churches. There are people who serve on the boards of philanthropic organizations.

Therefore, when the judgment comes to their astonishment.

Like the police versions of can't believe that there shut out of the servant was lazy and can't believe that the master wasn't satisfied with the zero growth performance on commentators as as in the previous parables of the 10 virgins entrusted well. So in this picture the great judgment it's not so much positive wrongdoing that evokes a severe century is the order.

Failure to do good desire to do good comes from receiving the life of Jesus Christ within which is another way of talking about regeneration. Those who are born again will love them because they love they will serve and they will serve others. In Jesus name and for his how we have to talk about hell because that's what Jesus is talking about here. Sometimes your people say that they can't believe in the Old Testament God. It was a God of wrath and sends people to hell what they believe in this, the New Testament God, it was revealed to us by Jesus. A gentle loving God would never do anything bad anybody they forget all of the Bible, the person who speaks most about hell is Jesus Christ. And he certainly doesn't. Here in Matthew 25 parable of the talents, the master says throw that worthless servant outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in the separation of the sheep from the goats. The king says that the goats depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, and it ends with this frightening summation. They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life unless Jesus speaking we may not like those statements. How could we like them to be warped all sorts of ways to like them but they were spoken by Jesus son of God. I think you know what he was talking about.

We have to do is take his warnings seriously should we sell something to be feared or we throw it off of the joke strong. Sometimes you hear people say don't worry about ending up and help you get the hell you be so busy shaking hands with old friends will be anything to worry about something to be taken that likely what does Jesus say when he talks about Hitler's way he describes it was erstwhile hell is total separation, not just for most will be with Christ in heaven. Separation from God's is expressed it when he said, quoting the king depart from me, you who are cursed in verse 41. Interesting the way most of us divide people up we divide them up in all sorts of ways are separate men from women. We talk about the haves and have-nots the privilege to disadvantage the wise and foolish rulers supposedly old people who belong to our particular class of society and all other people some incentive on occasion always divide the world into two classes.

Those who divide the world into two classes and those who don't sort of an infinite number of ways of making those divisions, but in the final analysis is only one division that matters, unless the division between save the loss between heaven and hell.

That's what Jesus was talking about here. This division is absolute. Charles Spurgeon said not one goat will be left among the sheep but one sheep with the goats.

There will be no middle company in that day's Jesus teaching. He also thought that hell is a bad association sometimes largeness we will care things that we don't find anywhere else in the Bible and we find one thing here, which to my knowledge, we don't find any place at all and that is verse 41 that says that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels as far as I know that's not explicitly set anywhere else you know of hell was prepared for the devil and his angels.

The angels that followed them in his rebellion against God, and are now known as demons we can be certain that they're going to be in hell. Someday that's the case, it means that those who have refused Christ shown that by their neglect of those who belong to Christ, and in some cases, the persecution of them are going to be sent there to be in file along with those demons and people of hell is a place where the devils torment people. That's not the picture of the Christ paints he paints the demons fallen angels, the devil himself being there in order to suffer along with those who have turned their back on Jesus, returnable Association what a destiny be in hell forever shoulder by shoulder with a demon who is made it his goal from the very beginning to rebel against God in all his ways and to get as many people as he can in the hell to suffer along with them forever and ever. I suppose in that day the demons in hell if they have any satisfaction at all. Take satisfaction in the fact that so many people were there with them.

Perhaps will be gloating over them. That's the question would be gloating over you while third Jesus teaches that hell is suffering.

I suppose these references the hell is a place of eternal fire and burning sulfur are symbolic and for no other reason that they demons or spirits. They don't have bodies and can suffer in physical ways of I suppose it's something else. But one of the actors, no comfort. It matched the purpose of imagery is the picture vividly something that goes beyond what you can actually communicate in words and if this terrible imagery is used because the reality is worse that the suffering is only mental or internal, or psychological or something that produces an eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth is nothing to be taken lightly.

How about this, Jesus also teaches that hell is darkness after fire darkness might not seem so bad. This is a darkness that shuts off all site others. Indeed, all site of everything, even the site of the suffering one himself. The only thing that will be left is the conscious mental self and its rebellion, that terrible poem was written by William Ernest Henley as he stands in at the goes like this out of the dark that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul will be any praising God for our unconquerable soul in that day more like cursing God for our soul because were unable likely finally to be extinguished, or to die the idea of eternal suffering is been so troubling to some people that they have gone to great lengths to try and get around and they said, for example, is inconsistent with the goodness of God of God is a good got out pretty allow people to continue suffering forever, but it's not my idea, whom I did tell what is consistent with God's goodness is for God to determine what is consistent with his goodness and apparently he thinks this is the people of Sandwell is inconsistent with the justice of God is no sins committed in time can never merit eternal punishment, but what makes sin and infinite evil is that it's committed against an infinite God who said we have to remember that punishment in hell is pictured as varying in its severity, depending upon the similar number of texts suggests that the problem with all those theories is in verse 46 uses exactly the same word to describe the duration of the sinners punishment in hell, as it does to describe the duration of the believer's life in heaven. And it's the word eternal. John Charles while was alarmist was an English bishop which there's no more gentle creature on earth.

But here's what while roach, who shall describe the misery of eternal punishment something utterly indescribable and inconceivable the eternal pain of wanting the eternal sting of an accusing conscience the eternal society of none but the wicked, the devil and his angels. The eternal remembrance of opportunities neglected in Christ, despise the eternal prospect of a weary, helpless future.

All this is misery. Indeed, it makes our ears tingle in her blood run cold. I don't think he was overstating he was describing exactly what is there. So I asked the question why does Jesus say these things. This is the last recorded teaching of Jesus in Matthew's gospel is Jesus trying to do is he trying to scare us. I don't think so you don't scare people and that is warning us installing the reality of the destiny of those that will not repent of their sin and come to him us and Peter in his second letter. The first chapter warns us to make our calling and election sure what Jesus is doing throughout these chapters. Be sure you're ready when it comes.

You won't be caught unprepared on trusting on serving on loving for Jesus sake.

Yes, Peter.

Well, how should we do that, how should we make our calling and election sure what Peter says is interesting. He says we must add goodness to our faith knowledge to our goodness, self-control to knowledge, perseverance, to self-control, godliness, to perseverance, brotherly kindness, to godliness, and love the brotherly kindness, all that comes from God's of his grace, but nevertheless is our responsibility.

Here's how we hands.

If you do these things will never fall you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God, give us grace to make that kind of a determination know whether we really are on the road to heaven or on the broad pathway to hell.

Father, we tremble before subject like hell who can possibly do justice to that. We wouldn't even touch it.

If it weren't so clear the teaching of Jesus Christ. There it is our father. Since you've seen fit to put teaching about that terrible subject in the Bible.

Indeed, in the passage that we started because we come through it the course of our studies in Matthew pray that you will use that teaching in your own way by the power of your spirit to turn people from such a terrible lens they might find salvation where loan can be found that is in Jesus Christ the Savior, a you are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.

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