Where the Rubber meets the Road – Guest Post #1
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I have received a few of the entries for the Guest Post Series so it is time to officially kick it off and get it moving down the road. I will be posting the entries as I have received them from the author which means the views and opinions will be that of the author.
And so we begin.
Introduce yourself in 25 words or less (we are all counting – some of us are borrowing our neighbors fingers or toes):
My name is Amy. I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and a child of God thanks to His sacrifice. I am a stay-at-home wife and mother of five children.
Respond to the following the scenario:
I am a skeptical seeker who has just read Matthew 25:31-46 and you are the first person that I meet at your church on a Sunday morning and I ask you to explain these verses and show me how your community applies them.
The following is how I would hope to explain to a skeptical seeker the verses recorded in Matthew 25:31-46:
There will come a day, nobody knows when (however in the previous parables we are told to watch and be ready) that Jesus Christ will return to earth to set up His kingdom and reign on it. This passage describes some of that scene. Jesus is speaking about the coming judgment of the peoples and nations of the earth. He comes back to earth with all of His angels, in a glorious display and takes His place on His throne.
He will separate the peoples or nations of the earth into two categories. He uses the illustration of shepherd, sheep, and goats. Jesus being the shepherd (which He refers to Himself as in the book of John 10:11-16), and likewise refers to His people as sheep. He puts the sheep (His followers) into His right hand and then the goats (non-believers) into His left.
He then proceeds to judge each group. First He speaks to the sheep and when He does He is loving and kind and they receive eternal life and inherit the kingdom prepared for them by Christ Himself. He tells them because they served others who belong to Him (brethren), they served Him. They are accredited with righteousness.
He then speaks to those He has in His left hand and tells them they are cursed and they receive their punishment, eternal fire. They were not His sheep, they did not follow Him, and they did not serve others through Him. It’s possible that some of them have done some good things in their lives, but the only way to receive eternal life is through Christ. The Bible is clear about this issue. You can not equate good works or benevolence with salvation. Jesus is the only Way to the Father (John 14:6).
The key factor of judgment in the passage is treatment of God’s people, by God’s people. Inheriting the kingdom (eternal life) is not possible if you are not a child of God which you cannot become without a right response to God’s word (His Son, Jesus). So while acts of kindness and compassion take place in the community through food pantries, or those who care for the sick, or take in strangers etc., the condition and motivation of the heart will be the starting point for judgment. If I am personally presented with needs like the ones spoken of here, I would help in whatever way I could. If the church as a whole is presented with these needs (food, drink, clothing, shelter, visitation) it would do the same.
I believe it is a natural result of Christ living in you that will cause you to recognize a need and fill it. The good works of the righteous aren’t the root or what saves you; they are the fruit of God’s grace extended to us though undeserved. God’s word says that Jesus knows His sheep and they know Him. It is critical to belong to Christ; you will not receive eternal life without knowing Him as your Savior at the very least.
What makes you come alive?
As for what makes me come alive? I wish I knew. I can say that I get very excited when I see God at work around me and in those I love…and myself. It motivates me to keep going. Life certainly has ups and downs and there are times when I just want to throw in the towel. Somehow in those times especially, God reminds me that He is there, He is still in control, and that I am His. He is my reason for living; He did give me life after all