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Week 27- Are the Goats Really Sheep??

17 Apr

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  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.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 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.  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,  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.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’   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.’  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.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  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.’ 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?’  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.’  Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46

The parable of the sheep and the goats, I’m sure you are all familiar with it.  Now you have at least read it, let’s consider a contemplative question.  Right now, with my life, do I really want to be judged by this passage?

I’ll answer the question first, and then you can tell me what your answer is.

I would say yes, I want to be judged by this passage.  I don’t mean this to make me sound pompous.  I don’t go feeding every hungry person I see, nor do I do the right thing every time I see a choice to.  It would be exhausting to feed, shelter, clothe and just generally do the right thing every time you see an oppressed person.  That’s why I don’t think God meant it this passage quit as literally as it is read.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very important for everyone to help the oppressed.  I just don’t think God intended us to do it 24/7 365 days a year.  There are times when I think He says, “That’s not my intended task for you right now.  Let someone else take care of those oppressed people.  I want you to serve my by helping these oppressed people.”  Which is why I don’t think it is necessary to feed, house, and heal every homeless person I see.

I said that yes, I would want to be judged by this passage.  I know it would be the right thing to do.  I know that it is God’s justice.  He’s the one letting me into heaven in the first place, so if He says that I can’t get in if I didn’t help the poor, then I have to live with that.  It’s God’s justice that saves me in the first place.

To many, this passage would seem to say that if a Christian who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior does not help those in need, then He is going to Hell.  It seems, by this verse, that salvation depends on how well someone helped the oppressed.  I wouldn’t say that, exactly.

I believe that when one becomes a Christian, that one changes.  One wants to help the oppressed, and tries at every instance to do the right thing.  I think that true Christians can’t help but save the oppressed.  It’s like a default setting ingrained into a Christian.  If there is someone who claims to be a Christian, but doesn’t feel any need or want to help those in need, I might go as far as to say that they are not truly a Christian.  So yes, they will go to hell because they did not truly accept.

I said yes, I would want to be judged by this verse.  I wouldn’t be comfortable with it, but I would want to be judged by it.  Maybe right now I would be a goat, someone who did not help the poor.  But that would mean that I did not truly accept Jesus and should not be allowed into Heaven anyway.  I do believe, however, that if I am changed, than God will give the opportunities and strength and resources to help the oppressed, and in turn, help Jesus.

I gave you the answer to my question; will you answer the same for me?  It does not have to be a detailed response, but I would like to know where you stand.  If you want, you can also answer this question, how would you like to be judged as a Christian?

Veggie Tales Silly Song

Gated Community – You have to keep sheep and goats in a gate!

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