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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS COMPARES SAINTS TO SINNERS

Matt 25:34-36 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. (Also See Matt. 25:37-46)

On Judgment Day, our Lord, Jesus Christ, will descend from heaven, assume his regal position on His throne, and judge all people of all ages and of every nation. By examples, Jesus explained this in order for all to fully understand the final day of judgment. In His analogy, the righteous men and women of the world will be separated from those that have lived unrighteous lives in the sight of God just as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. Although these animals usually graze and forage together in the same fields during the day, at nighttime they are separated and placed in separate cotes. And like this example, saints and sinners that live among each other during life on earth, on Judgment Day their souls will be separated and spend eternity apart - the righteous in heaven, and the unrighteous in hell.

What will be the characteristics by which Jesus will make this final judgment? He uses the following illustrative story to explain the righteous basis of His judgment. The lesson begins with Jesus, noted here as the King, having already separated the good from the evil. He placed the faithful saints to His right hand side, and the disobedient sinners to His left. To the saints He says, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. These followers of Christ were blessed by God because they had obediently submitted themselves to the acts required to become members of the body of Christ, His church. Those acts of obedience include hearing His gospel message of salvation, believing it to be God's truths, repenting of past sins and turning to serve the Lord, confessing Jesus to be the Son of God, submitting to water baptism by emersion for the remission of their sins, and living a life obedient to the will of God.

With the analogy found in the verses following the lesson text, Jesus taught all mankind the obedient life that is expected by God, our Heavenly Father, in order to receive His blessing and the hope of inheriting eternal life in heaven. He not only taught those first-century Christians, but, by inference, taught all thereafter, including all of us living in the present age, the lifestyle He expects of all members of His body, the church of Christ. Jesus continues His analogical description of the sheep, representing the elect saints of His church, which will be placed on His right hand. He tells them the reason they were to inherit the kingdom. For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. These actions represent those that would be freely given to demonstrate one's true, compassionate love for his neighbor; actions that would fulfill one of the great commandments of the New Testament era. We remember the first most important commandment given to His followers as being, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and, afterwards Jesus said,the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (See Matt. 22:37-40).

In the analogy, Jesus indicated that these actions of charity were given by His righteous brethren to those in need, were, effectively given directly to Him. Somewhat confused by this, and knowing that some, if not all, could not remember doing so, they ask Him in this manner, "When did we do these unto thee?" Jesus answered: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. To these questioning followers, Jesus answered that any act of kindness and love demonstrated to His brothers, that is, members of His body, was also demonstrated to Him. Charitable acts to brothers and sisters in Christ are, at the same time, charitable acts to Him. In other words, one's love for God and Christ Jesus, can only be demonstrated through acts of love for others. Continuing on, Jesus says that all refusing to love others and ignoring their needs, are, at the same time, demonstrating a lack of love for God and His Son, because they refuse to hear, believe, and obey His gospel message of salvation. Sinners shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous (saints) into life eternal. This judgment will be determined by how obediently we serve God by charitable acts of love for others.Do you love God? Then you must love others!