Levi Skipper, senior pastor
Concord Baptist Church, Clermont
Following the rapture of the New Testament Church, the world will experience a tribulation period unlike anything ever faced. What seems to be a positive move for Jews during this time turns negative in a hurry.
After the rebuilding of God’s temple in Jerusalem the antichrist will sit upon the throne and claim himself to be God. At this time, Jews will face persecution like never before. During this time, however, there will be many Jews and Gentiles who turn to Jesus Christ by faith. However, their faith in this time of tribulation will be put to the test greatly.
At the end of the seven-year tribulation upon the earth, Jesus will return in glory to rescue Israel from world-wide annihilation. Defeating the enemy, Jesus will establish His eternal Kingdom upon the earth. But who upon the earth will be brought into His Kingdom?
Goats separated from sheep
That is the subject of our key text. Jesus will separate the goats from the sheep. The goats are those who denied Jesus and thus face the judgement of their sin. The sheep, however, are those who came to faith in Christ during the tribulation.
It will be obvious which people genuinely came to faith in Jesus during this time because their good works testify to their faith. No one is saved by their good works, but good works reveal those who are redeemed.
This truth is also taught by James in the New Testament. “Faith without works is dead.” Jesus will invite the sheep to inherit the kingdom which He has established. Jesus states, “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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to me.”
How we treat others …
The sheep will be curious as to when this occurred. That is when a great principle is taught by Christ. How people treat others is how they treat Christ himself. They had sought to look out for those who were being persecuted during the tribulation by their active service.
Jesus viewed this as serving Him directly. The negative of this is seen when Jesus asked the persecutor Saul in the New Testament, “Why are you persecuting Me?” Jesus viewed Saul’s persecution of the church as directly persecuting Him (Acts 9:4).
The principle: How we treat others is how we treat Jesus.
This principle is actually one most parents live by. I have four children. When one of my children is attacked, I take it personally. In fact, if you attack my child you are in essence attacking me. However, if you bless my child and do them good. I take that as a personal blessing to me.
While our text is speaking about the coming of the Kingdom of God upon earth, we learn how Jesus views our service to others. We must live to treat others how Jesus has treated us.
This kind of living causes us to shine within our communities, providing another platform for us to share the message of Jesus Christ. Our good works reveal our relationship with Jesus. How do you serve others?