The Great Day When Faith Turns to Sight (Matthew 25:31-46)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church & Bethel Lutheran Church, Lebanon & Sweet Home, OR
Last Sunday of the Church Year + November 26, 2017
Text: Matthew 25:31-46

We are Christians living in the Last Days.  As such, it is our calling not to measure the frequency of wars, famines, and earthquakes, but to wait patiently for the Day of the Lord.
So let’s walk through this text and learn from the Lord what He would have us learn.

  • What this teaches us about the end times
    • “When the Son of Man comes”: He is This is unavoidable and just as certain as His coming at Christmas.  Because it’s been so long, it will catch many by surprise (“like a thief in the night,”
    • All His angels with Him: those ministering spirits, God’s army, who have served the elect to help them to this end and protected them from danger, will now at last will be the reapers who will separate out the multitude of unbelievers and gather the elect to their Lord (Matt. 13:37-43, Matt. 24:31).
      • Hebrews 1:14: Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
      • Psalm 91:11–12: For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
      • Matthew 24:31: And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
    • The Day of Christ’s return in glory will also be the Day of Judgment (Acts 17:31).
  • It will be a day of great revelation of what was in the hearts of all
    • For now, all we can see are the works. God knows the faith for certain.  That’s why the Lord commands us not to step into the role of judgment: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-5)  For one person to judge another is beyond their ability.
    • On that Day, each person’s faith will be seen at last when the Lord separates believers from unbelievers. Do not judge and do not attempt to discriminate who the true believers are before then (Matt. 13:24-30).
    • Salvation will not be on the basis of those works, because the Kingdom comes as an inheritance which has been prepared for us from before the foundation of the world.
      • Inheritances are received on the basis of someone else’s labor (namely, Christ’s)
      • “Before the foundation of the world” shows the fullness of this plan that it could never be on the basis of human merit. Faith only receives what God gifts. (see also Ephesians 1:3-14)
    • The damned have it all wrong because they believed that God would be pleased with their works. They are astonished that God would find fault with all the Christian-looking things they did.  On that day, everyone who believed in a works-based salvation (Christian or other religion) will be put to shame.
  • Now that you know the end of the story, this is how to prepare:
    • Faith is the absolute most precious gift that any person may have.
      • Make every effort to build up your faith through frequent attendance in worship, studying the Scriptures, and devoting time to prayer. Faith comes and is strengthened by being in the Word (Romans 10:17, Galatians 3:5, James 1:21)
      • Avoid those things which are harmful to your faith. Namely, activities which keep you or your children from worship, books and YouTube videos which would cast doubt on the apostolic faith, and yoking yourself with someone who does not share the faith or criticizes your church.
    • Let the Holy Spirit renew your heart so that you live that faith. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned.  Welcome the downcast are love them, just as God welcomed you into His family.  When works like these come out of faith in the mercy God has shown you, it’s a beautiful thing in God’s sight.
    • Share with others what a beautiful inheritance Christ has won for all who believe in Him.

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