DUNCAN/The son of man will judge (By works!)

DUNCAN/The son of man will judge (By works!)


Please turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 25:31-46. In this passage I see three sections, in verses 31 through 33, you’ll see the context of the final judgment set by the Lord Jesus Christ. In verses 34 through 40 you will see Jesus’ account of what he’s going to say to His people on the last day. And then in verses 41 to the end of the chapter, you’re going to see what Jesus is going to say to those who either claim to be His disciples, but were not truly, or those who never claimed to be His disciples at all. You’re going to see what he says to those on His left. These are the three sections of the passage. I’d like to look at them with you.

I. The Scene of The Final Judgment 

First, look at verses 31 - 33. In this passage, Jesus teaches that when He comes again, He will come as Judge of all. Now this whole message which Jesus gives us has much symbolic language, but it is not like the parables that have gone before it. Jesus is describing for us what will really happen at His glorious appearing.

Jesus shows us that He is going to be enthroned as King, and He is going to assume the role of absolute judge. And we must all come to grips with this claim of deity by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the nature of His second coming. When He comes again, He is not coming in a state of humiliation. He will not come a second time as the suffering servant. He comes as the judging King of the world. And we must not miss the bluntness of Jesus’ claim. Jesus’ claim to divinity is unmistakable here.

I want you to understand that for believers this is going to be the ultimate consolation. You’re going to be standing there before the arraigned hosts of heaven, and the people who have dwelt on the earth in all of time, and you’re going to be standing for the judgment day; and you’re going to look up there and the one who is going to be accounted with the job of judging is going to be the one who loved you so much that He died for your sins. Then you’re going to breathe a sigh of relief, and you’re going to say, "This court is stacked. My Judge is my Savior." And it is going to be the almost incredibly consoling experience that you’ve ever experienced. But for the unbeliever, it is going to be the most terrifying day in their life. And suddenly they are looking up there, and the one who is the judge is the one who they are indifferent to. And the terrifying thought is going to cross their mind. “I’m in trouble.” And it’s going to be too late.

You see that last day we stand, and we see the Lord Jesus as Judge. Well, believer, what a consolation that is going to be. For everyone who is not embraced, what a consternation that is going to be, an eternal consternation. For the Lord Jesus sets before us the grand truth, and we must come to grips with it. We cannot trifle with it. We cannot be on the fence about this. We are either for it, or we are against. We either embrace it, or we don’t. It’s that simple.

II. Jesus Describes the Judgment of the Righteous 

And so, Jesus goes on to say what He’s going to say to His comforted disciples on those last days. You see it in verses 34 - 40, as He describes His judgment of the righteous. And then he says, interestingly, that their kindness to persecuted messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ is the evidence of true love for Christ. They will be judged according to their neighbor love for Christians in need. Now note this passage does not speak of salvation by works. God favors these people before the foundation of the world, before they existed, and, therefore, before they’ve done any work. So, salvation can’t be based on their work. 

These people simply love the Lord Jesus Christ, and because they love the Lord Jesus Christ, because the Lord Jesus loved them, they love His people. And, they have lived lives of neighbor love toward Christians in need because they love the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This passage emphasizes that Christian love towards Christians is the measure and evidence of true love for Christ, and hence salvation. And more specifically, this passage says that love for Christians who are in a special need is a measure of our love for the Lord Jesus Christ. By the way in passing, this passage does not teach that by caring for the poor we earn salvation. There are lots of people out there who’d like to tell us that. Build a house for the poor, give money to the poor, go get saved. But in this passage, He’s not talking about generic care for the poor. Jesus is talking about caring for persecuted messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ and for lonely Christians. In other words, He’s saying to Christians, the way you relate to Christians in need is going to be the basis on which I show the evidence of your true love for Me. 

III. Jesus Describes the Judgement of the Wicked 

And then Jesus speaks to those on His left. On the left are those who are false believers, those who are unbelievers. They are commanded to depart from God’s presence. They didn’t want God’s presence in life, they didn’t want to fellowship with Him forever. Depart from Me. Secondly, they are sent to the same place of punishment created by God for the devil and his fallen angels. It shows us a picture of just how serious God takes sin.

Some people might say, “I never outright denied the deity of Christ, I never denied Christian doctrine.” It doesn’t matter. You did not love the brethren. The Lord Jesus is showing just how serious it is not to love the brethren. Isn’t it interesting that what He is accusing them of in the passage is not the sin of commission, it’s the sin of omission. He's not saying, on last day, I’m really going to nail to the wall all those people who have done super, horrible crimes. He says, “Those will be judged and condemned and cast out, who do not love the brethren, the least of these, my brethren.” And notice they are condemned because of what they failed to do as much as for what they did wrong. We must note that sins of omission are highlighted in the condemnation of those on Jesus’ left. They failed to love lowly and needy Christians, and hence, they show that in fact they did not love Jesus Christ. May we be those who truly love the Lord Jesus, and love His people.

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