Study Lesson 19
Righteous Individuals Are Honored
Scripture To Consider:
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
“And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King [Jesus] will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 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.’”
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25.31-40
A Few Words Of Warning:
Will We Be Among The Righteous Honored
Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” Jesus is speaking to all nations again concerning His second coming. At that great and victorious moment all the nations of the world will be gathered and then separated into two distinct groups; one righteous, and one unrighteous. The righteous nations are likened unto sheep and will be positioned on Christ’s right hand, a place of honor and blessing. The unrighteous nations are likened unto goats and will be positioned on His left hand, awaiting their overdue but much deserved punishment for their sinful and selfish behavior and willful rebellion against Jesus Christ and the written revealed Word of God.
But what is the underlying reason for the separation? Why will some be given entrance into Christ’s millennial kingdom and others are refused entrance? The Scripture text is very clear and precise as to why these righteous nations, which are comprised of righteous individuals, are to hear Jesus declare, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” This kingdom reserved for the righteous, according to Jesus, has been prepared from the beginning of the world.
Paul takes this thought process one step further in Ephesians 1.3-4, by stating, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us [righteous sheep] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him [Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame [righteous] before Him [Jesus] in love.” Christ has chosen us and therefore we should choose to be holy and without blame or righteous before Him. Amen!
Something To Consider:
Does True Righteousness Require Works
Therefore, the righteous sheep, holy, and without blame, will be given access into God’s kingdom which was created before the foundation of the world. And yet, the righteous were also chosen before the foundation of the world. But were the righteous randomly chosen by God, which may conclude that some were not chosen? Or were some chosen by God because of the foreknowledge of our all wise and all-knowing Almighty God? I personally think it to be the latter.
Because God is able to see the future more clearly than we see the past or we see the present, He has chosen individuals based on His foreknowledge of who will ultimately respond to His Word of truth, and who will not. Therefore, we must indelibly stamp 2 Peter 3.9 upon the monitor of our minds, which declares, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
But the bottom line is revealed in the truth of Jesus’ words, “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.” Many may see this teaching of Jesus as justification by works. But it matters not how we see God’s reasons; it only matters that according to Jesus the difference in this text was that the righteous doers of His Word brought forth fruit worthy of repentance and this pleased Jesus our soon coming righteous King.
The righteous were then and continue to be the caregivers to those in need of food, drink, clothing, and in need of being visited when sick and in prison. The righteous are seen righteous by Jesus because of their acts of righteousness, plain and simple, whether we or others see this as justification by works or not! The words of Jesus will ring so true during the time of coming tribulation upon the earth and therefore we must be prepared as true end time believers to become and to remain the Christ-like caregivers of those in need!
More Scripture To Consider:
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’”
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then will He [Jesus] answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25.41-46
Something Else To Consider:
Will We Be Among The Individuals To Be Punished
It is ironic that the righteous were not aware of their righteous acts. It is as if they simply responded righteously to the visible needs of others around them, as did Jesus when He was upon planet earth. And because the care of others is extremely important, according to Jesus, in the spiritual context of Christianity, Jesus repeats Himself to the unrighteous; this time in response to their refusal to act righteously, by explaining, “Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”
Therefore, at the time of Jesus’ second coming, the fate of all nations will be sealed and there will be no time for repentance or reprieve. The unrighteous selfish nations will then hear their eternal condemning verdict, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
The following is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 3-5; as Paul wrote, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations [afflictions] that you endure, which is manifest [plain] evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.”
Wow! People do not speak like that anymore. But maybe it is because we have lost something of great importance and much value within Christendom and are in tremendous need of recovering what we have misplaced. The early church, even in the midst of fierce persecution, tribulation, and oppositional affliction, expressed great care and concern for the least of those brothers and sisters in Christ of which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25 who were in need of being cared for.
It appears that it was as second nature to the early believers to reach outward to provide what was of need by others as if it was their Christian duty and responsibility. In contrast the unrighteous goats are to be eternally punished for refusing to give care to others. What therefore will be our eternal status in relationship to these verses spoken seriously by Jesus?
The apostle Paul continued his message of great importance and meaning in 2 Thessalonians 1.6-8, by warning his readers and the unrighteous, “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is a message of warning the church should be willing to herald without concern for emptying the pews or depleting the financial coffers of the church. It is a serious and sobering challenge the leaders of every religious organization should heed, and more so as we approach the end of this age.
But we must not overlook who it is that will receive the full vengeance and eternal punishment of our righteous and just Almighty and holy God. Peter writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, warned of God’s full vengeance to fall upon two groups of people; 1) those who do not know God, and 2) upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why these lessons have been prepared. We take extremely seriously the spiritual admonition of Jesus to teach His disciples of all nations, to observe all things Jesus taught, which would also include obeying all things Jesus has commanded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Therefore, will we be found guilty of compromising God’s Word and the words of Jesus? Will we stand against the rushing downstream waves of complacency crashing upon Christendom in this 21st century? These are very important questions to be answered honestly by us all!
Something More To Consider:
What Do We – If End Time Believers – Truly Hold Dear
Jesus, earlier in Matthew 6.19-21 affirmed, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What is it that we, as true righteous, blameless, sheep-like believers truly hold dear? Is it the commands of Jesus to feed the hungry, or to clothe the naked, or to visit the sick and imprisoned? Or is it to selfishly grab for all the glittering gusto and worldly gadgets this earthly human existence can wastefully render upon itself? The average wage earner cannot usually do both without eventually claiming financial and spiritual bankruptcy.
So, what do we hold dear enough to not leave undone? If heaven, eternal life, the kingdom of God, and ruling and reigning with Jesus in the millennial kingdom are our priorities, then the choice is very clear and unmistakable. We must then take seriously the instructions of Jesus and Matthew 25.31-46. But where do we begin? We begin by declaring in prayer and in our own individual hearts exactly what it is we do truly hold dear. And we must do that before we suddenly depart this earth!
For most of us our human sinful nature fights us every step of the way on this lamp lighted path of righteousness in Christ. At every corner of life, the flesh desires to gain control and to take every detour in order to heap upon itself new opportunities for more lavish living. Therefore, we should ask ourselves an enlightening question as often as is needed. What do we, forgiven, redeemed, righteous sheep-like individual believers in Christ Jesus truly hold dear enough to both live and die for?
What is it that we hold dear enough to let go of everything else that the world holds dear, in order to cling to for Christ’s sake? If we have learned anything by our studying Matthew chapters 24 and 25, it should be that life is short, the end is near, and all eternity does heavily hang in the balance.
We have been warned by Jesus to not be deceived by the many among us false prophets proclaiming false and deceptive messages through damnable demonic doctrines. We have seen the wars and heard the rumors of wars. Many are experiencing first-hand famines and a rise in pestilences in the earth. The world as a whole is reeling from the increase in numbers and in frequencies of earthquakes in many places.
If we have learned anything, we should be wisely awaiting Christ’s gathering of His true elect saints still alive upon planet earth. And while watchfully waiting we should be ready and faithfully willing to endure whatever the enemy, Satan, his evil counterpart to Jesus representative, and his false prophet like religious leaders will mandate against all true present tense believing saints. We must endure unto the end if we intend to hear those words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
A Few Final Words:
Will We Be Found Enduring Or Departing
Therefore, let us take seriously all the words of warning of Jesus studied in Matthew 24 and 25. Let us not become complacent or individuals who are willing to compromise the truth of God’s Word simply due to the itching ears messages of false prophets in these last days. Let us continue steadfastly to study to show ourselves approved unto God, not ashamed of the gospel. Let us press forward toward the prize of the upward high and holy calling in Christ Jesus to live as He declared we should live, not as the false prophets claim we can live and still enter heaven due to their mistaken man-made doctrines created to fill church pews and church offering plates.
Will we and those we are responsible for endure unto the end? Will we and those we are responsible for overcome the temptation to succumb to the evil of our day that is spoken of as good by so many from all positions of human rule and earthly authority? Will we be found by Jesus believing the lie rather than the truth of God’s Word, while we continue headstrong in our humanistic path which leads to destruction to the point of God finally sending us such a strong delusion that is humanly impossible to resist and in the end seals our fate and delivers us in the end directly to eternal destruction?
We have all been adequately warned! Will we heed the numerous and repeated by Jesus end time warnings? That is an individual question to be answered by every individual of every generation. How will we honestly answer? Time is running out!
In the closing of this study, let us be forever reminded, that our answers to these questions of enormous end time and eternal importance, will not change in the least, the consequences and rewards biblically attached to the claims and warnings of Jesus in Matthew 24 and 25. But our honest answers will indeed seal our eternal fate.
Therefore, let us not be too quick to answer! But rather, let us soberly think on these things, and wisely consider the many words of warning spoken of by Jesus, and preserved for every generation in the canon of Holy Scripture. For Jesus declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away”, and “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” And finally; “If you abide [continue] in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, help us to be found abiding in Christ and among the righteous when Jesus returns. May we hide Your Word in our hearts and study to show ourselves approved unto You Father and found worthy to escape the wrath of God revealed in Your Word. In Him Always, Amen!