Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hell & Torment

I am working on a passage from Matthew 25:31-46.

This is the passage that I am going to take a look at for my message on Wednesday. I was assigned a topic to speak on and the topic was the following:

Lifting Up Jesus Through Your Actions

Here is the Scripture:

"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:


I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'

"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

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I am not sure why but I decided to read some sermons on this text and I was a little shocked that 99.9% of the sermons on this passage have to deal with Hell and Torment.

Needless to say, I am "bucking" that trend and using the Scripture to emphasize that we need to reach out to those who are hungry, thirst, stranger, naked, sick, imprisoned.

More on the message later. I was just drafting out some of the final parameters before the chicken bbq that we are having at the church.

If everything goes well, I will have the message finalized this afternoon and let it "saturate" for two days before I deliver it on Wednesday.

I also need to phone in to see how things are going over at my Grandma's

2 comments:

Doorman-Priest said...

This is one of my favourite passages. Like you I hate it when it gets hijacked. I love the challenge to obedient Christian discipleship in this pasage.

Jeff Greathouse said...

DP:

It is easy to become diverted into a discussion about hell and miss the essential emphasis of the parable.

Most people jump to it. Matthew is the dominate voice in that language.

However, there is so much more (IMO) to grasp from the passage.