Becoming a Good Samaritan: Loving the Forsaken

Matthew 25:31-46

I had planned to go through three more sermons on the subject of Becoming a Good Samaritan, but I have made a change of plans. Today’s sermon will conclude this series. The topic is limitless in the Scripture and is the ongoing call to the Christian to intercede for those who need us most. The text today is a fitting end for our discussion. It is not a parable, but does has several parabolic elements. This section directs our thoughts to the last day “when the Son of Man comes in His glory” and we learn that He will discuss how we have or have not loved the forsaken. This will be a key indicator of our genuine allegiance.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

The Setting
That the Lord will return is the hope of the Christian and the proclamation of the Church.
It was Daniel in the Old Testament who spoke of the Son of Man coming,
“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”
That same expectation was continued into the New Testament by the teaching of Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Church…SEE Matt 25:31; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor 4:5; Rev 1:7
The Son of Man will come in all His glory. There is no earthly description that could be used to convey the message. It will be so splendid that we have no reference for such.

The setting begins after the coming of the Lord and all the holy angels with Him.
We are fast-forwarded to a scene of Christ seated on His judgment throne and all the nations of the earth have been gathered before Him. We are told that Christ Himself will be the One to do the work of (obviously a judge, but specifically) a shepherd: separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will be gathered to His right side and the goats to His left. In the passage, the Son of Man is also referred to as King…Son of the Father (My Father)...and Lord.

The Message to the Sheep“…for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

The Lord lists off six good deeds that the sheep had done, and surely this list is not exhaustive. His point must be that those welcomed into the kingdom are those who helped Jesus in times of need. Yet, an excellent observation is made by the sheep: When did we see You and help You?

Jesus explains what He means, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

The least of these are His brethren. Jesus is very specific. He is talking about Christians helping other Christians. Jesus’ disciples are His brothers, His family (LOOK at Matt 12:49-50).

The Message to the Goats“Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…”

Why? They did NOT do those things.

Everlasting Punishment/Eternal Life“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

1. Everlasting Punishment: Goats (Left Hand)
2. Eternal Life: Sheep (Right Hand)

Feeding the hungry…Hydrating the thirsty…Taking in the stranger…Clothing the naked…Visiting the sick…Going to the imprisoned…Are all indicators of your true allegiance.

Put yourself in the situation of the persecuted church in the first century. Those who became Christians were often forsaken by their entire communities and even their own families. They were abused and neglected, hated by men… They were punished and imprisoned for not worshipping the gods of Rome and for declaring Christ as Lord, not the emperor. Many of those who went out into the world proclaiming the Good News of the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth were despised…left hungry…thirsty…homeless…stripped…and sick.

If a Christian saw a brother/sister in this condition and could not offer him/her help…that would be a tale-tale sign of his/her loyalty because we are called to love one another. Where does you allegiance lie this morning? To who are you committed? The Apostle John learned this lesson from the Lord. He asked in his first epistle, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” Later he says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” That is why Christ said in Matt 25, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” You know, we often say that we want others to see Christ in us, but have you ever thought that you are to see Christ in others? It was James who said, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

*Now, this teaching may bring up some conflicts in your mind. You know that we are saved by grace through faith. And the Gospel tells us that there is nothing we can do to be saved…only believe in the work of Jesus Christ. It is not by our works, only by grace. Yet, in this text it sounds like we must come to the aide of our brethren in need in order to enter the kingdom.
*Note v34 “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” This is the basis of our salvation…we are the Father’s blessed ones.
He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. He chose us who would believe in His Son who was sent into the world. We are saved because we are freely justified by His grace, we are freely blessed with the inheritance of His mercy found in Jesus Christ.

The works that follow our faith (such as the six listed in this text and much more) are only the fruits of the work that God has done in us. They indicate what has happened in our souls.

As we conclude this sermon and this series for now, let me emphasize the point that much more by incorporating one more text. TURN to Luke 6:27-36.

In Matthew 25 we learn that our love/compassion toward other Christians is an appropriate confirmation of the faith that we have put in Christ. When we are devoted to our own brethren we demonstrate our allegiance to Christ.

In Luke 6 the Lord is clear that our concern must extend to unbelievers, even enemies.

One person put it this way:
“Here I want to make two points. One is that we are drawn to show mercy to some people because they are Christians. The other is that we are drawn to show mercy to some people because they are not Christians. We are drawn to show mercy to Christians because we see Christ in them, and we are drawn to show mercy to unbelievers because we want to see Christ in them. We help suffering believers because they bear the name of Christ. And we help suffering unbelievers in the hope that they will come to bear the name of Christ.”