Inheriting the Kingdom – The Least of These

Matthew 25:31-46
Last week: Wait and Watch Expectantly! Did you? Explain.
Jesus is about to make some bold claims. Let’s pause and list some of the things he had done to prove who He was.
QUESTION: What can you name? Born of a virgin. Maji sought him out and identified him as king of the Jews. As a
young boy he confounded teachers at the temple. He preached the greatest sermon ever preached before or after. He
healed, cast out demons, did countless miracles. He challenged the religious leaders. They couldn’t trap him though they
tried over and over. Ultimately, he came to Jerusalem and predicted the temple would be destroyed, which it was.
Alternate view: He lived in utter simplicity, almost poverty. He was rejected by almost all of the great and mighty men
of the world. He had his disciples, but one would betray Him, one would deny Him, and the others would forsake Him.
And in three days he would be crucified.
QUESTION: Both views are true. If you do, why do/what caused you to believe the first story and put your trust in
Holy Spirit convicts us. The Bible is amazing, but it’s not a sales job, it tells the good and the bad of God’s people. It
shows all sides of God. And the witness of millions for centuries.
Here’s more that Jesus said. Through the lens of the alternate view, this is not believable. But, through the view of the
Bible, which by the way, records eyewitness accounts, this, too, is accurate and true.
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32
All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the
goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his
right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your
home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you
something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever
see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least
of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ 41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away
with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t
feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was
naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ 44 “Then they will reply,
‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ 45 “And
he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing
to help me.’ 46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
I don’t know where to put this, so I’ll put it here: Finally, Jesus describes the moment when the waiting will be over:
when He returns to earth with His angels as the King and the Judge. This depicts some point during the end times.
What follows is a passage notoriously difficult to interpret. Scholars debate whether this is an explicit moment in time,
perhaps at the beginning of the millennial kingdom, or a general explanation of each person's eternal fate. Other disputes
arise over whether those being judged are only Gentiles, only non-Christians who survive the tribulation, or all people
living on earth at that time. In any case, Jesus sits on His throne and separates these people into two groups.
What does it all mean?
1) V31-34 What can we know?

Jesus tells us he will come back. With all the angels. He’ll sit on his throne (on earth?) All nations, everyone will be
“together” and He will separate the people. (How can all people be gathered up to witness this? Easy – I phones.)
2) V35-46 How does Jesus describe His judgement process?
All will be judged according to the way in which they/or we have treated Christ.
The first group is praised and rewarded, since their faithful love for others has proven their faithful obedience to Christ.
The surprise of the Last Day is that they/or we have unknowingly encountered Christ in the persons of the poor and
needy. As we have treated those in need, so we have treated Christ!
The first group is praised and rewarded, since their faithful love for others has proven their faithful obedience to Christ.
3) V35-46 Jesus lists the hungry, thirsty, strangers to an area, naked/without clothing, and sick. Was this list of
examples to make an overall point about the importance of people or are the individual examples highly important
to Jesus to the point of being a good indicator of whether or not we are a real disciple?
Both. Individually – Remember Matthew was what kind of person? An outcast, a manzer. He emphasized Jesus concern
for the down and out.
Personal Story: I was confronted by the Spirit several years ago by the Holy Spirit during a sermon regarding these
verses. “This is what Jesus said and He meant it. If you don’t care for people in need, how can you claim to be a follower
of the One has sacrificed to meet our greatest need – what is going to happen to us when we die.”
It should be in our DNA as a Christian. Compassion for the down and out. It just should be.
Big Picture: (always look at scripture in its entirety, not pulling out one verse or section) We are not saved by our good
deeds, but good deeds prove that we do, indeed, have a saving faith in Christ. Loving other people, and meeting their
needs, is treated by Christ as if those deeds had been done for Him, personally.
In contrast, the other group exhibited deeds, really a lack of deeds, which prove they weren’t really Jesus followers after
all. Jesus will condemn them to the eternal fire originally intended for Satan and demons.
4) In light of verses V31-46, how should we be living our daily lives?
1-The last couple of weeks we’ve said, be waiting and watching expectantly, every day.
2- Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your
mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
SLIDE Trust God for your salvation, for your life after death. He’s given you a new life. Have confidence that you will
inherit eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7 4 But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous
things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through
the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he
made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
SLIDE Live godly and you’ll have confidence in eternal life. You won’t have to fear the “end times.”
Titus 1:1-2 1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to
those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them
confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.
SLIDE Listen to the Holy Spirit. He will guide you!
John 14:15-17 If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will give you another Advocate, who will never leave
you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit . . .

SLIDE Use the gifting the God has given you. And lead a worthy life!
Ephesians 4:1-11 1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you
have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s
faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with
peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. 7 However,
he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say, “When he
ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 Notice that it says, “he ascended.”
This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who
ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. 11 Now these are the gifts
Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Do you think you’re none of these? Listen to these basic definitions:
APOSTLE – extend the gospel, “sent ones”, church planters. Do you wonder, wish, do you think about how…?
PROPHETS – particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. Do you correct and challenge culture’s assumption?
EVANGELISTS – They recruit. Infectious communicators of the gospel. Do you focus on those outside the church?
PASTORS – SHEPHERDS. Nurture and protect. Caregiver of the community you are in. Cultivate relationships. Does
this describe you?
TEACHERS – Understand and explain. Communicate God’s truth and wisdom. Guide others toward wisdom. Could this
be your role?
CHALLENGE Think and about yourself and how God can use you. These can help you think.

In conclusion, there are three main takeaways from today’s lesson:
1) SLIDE Be prepared! We do not know when Jesus is going to return, so we must always be prepared. We do not
want to be caught off-guard.
2) SLIDE Do not coast through life! God has blessed us all with special gifts. He wants us to put those gifts to work
to glorify Him. When we do that, He will bless our efforts and we will someday hear, “Well done, my good and
faithful servant.”
3) SLIDE Take care of those in need. If somebody is hungry, offer them food. If somebody is thirsty, offer them
something to drink. Cloth the naked, visit the sick and visit those in prison. Jesus said in Mathew 25:40, “Truly I
say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”