Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Lord, When Did I Feed You?

Scripture: Matthew 25 v 31 - 37: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

These are the words of Jesus, written in red in the Bible, meaning that He spoke these words to His disciples in one of the last times of preaching or teaching before the Last Supper.

He knew that He was going to Jerusalem and what awaited Him there, so He wanted to leave these words for all to know His earthly judgment between the sheep and the goats.

Sheep follow so are righteous; goats butt and are unrighteous. The sheep go on His right hand and goats go left. Sheep are gentle and non-aggressive animals that are easily controlled. Goats are not. So when Jesus comes in glory with His holy angels He will divide the sheep from the goats. What is His definition of right and wrong?  On what does He base His judgment of sheep and goats.

Jesus always used plain and familiar illustrations when teaching His flock.  They were farmers, fishermen, knowing about animals, seeds, planting, food and drink.  So parables or real, His examples were easy to be understood by the people 2000 years ago, and with us too in this day and age.

1.  I was hungry and you fed Me; 
2.  I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink; 
3.  I was a stranger and you took Me in; 
4.  I was naked and you clothed Me; 
5.  I was sick and you visited Me; 
6.  I was in prison and you visited Me. 

Our response to Jesus is - When did we do these things to You?

He answers - whenever you did these things to your fellow human beings no matter how down and out they might be - you did it to Me. To My Body. And Jesus was not just meaning our hospitality. There is a deeper meaning to feeding Him and giving Him a drink.

The souls in the world become hungry for knowledge about Jesus and what the Bible says about Him. The most unlikely people eventually feel the hunger pangs and need us to feed them with what we know about Jesus. He is the Bread of Heaven - If we allow Jesus to have His way and share His love with them we are sheep. If we turn away and ignore their cry for help we are goats.

They thirst for righteousness and we need to explain that when we are born again we come alive inside Jesus and His righteousness covers us by grace. If we share this truth and pray with them to become born again, forgiven, walking in New life saints, we are sheep.  If we deny them this drink of Living Water we are goats. 

When did we see You as a stranger and take You in? A stranger is one who has not been assimilated into the Body of Christ. He is born again but has not found his place in the Body. We need to help him feel at home in the Church or group and include him in its activities. Sheep are warm and friendly but goats are aloof and uncaring. 

There are many naked ones who have no spiritual clothing. This does not mean costly religious garments but garments of praise and holiness, prayer and worship. We need to be an inspiration for those who are new to the Body to be clothed in robes of salvation and fellowship. Sheep will lovingly provide this service, goats will ignore the opportunities, preferring religion over spiritual life.

We visit the sick, not on hospital duty rosters, which is a blessing for those who choose to be kind and friendly, but when we are alerted that a brother or sister is in trouble. We pray for their needs to be met and if led by God we get involved in helping to fix the problems. The needs are all around us and there is never a lack of people struggling. Are you a sheep who cares and helps, or a goat that is selfish and full of excuses?

Finally, we visited You in prison, when was that exactly? When we see people in bondage and minister to them. When we discover that there is a personal devil that hates God's people and goes all out to destroy them. 

He captures them through emotional blackmail and sin, so we must learn how to withstand him, thus  enabling us to rescue those in severe situations out of his evil hands. If you are a wise Deliverer you are a sheep. If you don't care because they brought it upon themselves, then you lack mercy and are with the goats.

Everything we do and how we respond to every situation is faithfully recorded in Heaven for the Lord to use on the day He separates His righteous sheep from the evil goats. It is never too late to begin to be a true sheep in the Lord's flock knowing that every good thing we do is being done to Him.  It is a blessing to His Body that He would never ignore.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are all in this together and there needs to be unity among the sheep of the Lord. Perhaps we will win some goats over to Your loving ways. Teach us to be Your hands extended to meet the needs of those who You show us. In Jesus' name. Amen.