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Jan 30, 2022

The Parables of Jesus | Sheep or Goat?

The Parables of Jesus | Sheep or Goat?

Passage: Matthew 25:31-46

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: The Parables of Jesus

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: worship, faith, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, christian, bible, gospel, hope, believe, the bible, bible study, bible verses, live music, what is faith, parables of jesus, how to be saved, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, burnt hickory worship, parable of the sheep and goats, how to go to heaven, lukewarm christian, heaven, christianity, life after death, lost souls

This week, we dig deeper into Matthew looking at the parables that Jesus taught that relay huge truths to our lives as Christians. Today we look at the difference between sheep and goats, and the distinction that Jesus warns us in being a lukewarm believer. Is it enough to read the bible, attend church, and avoid the “big sins”? Who will go to heaven? When should you start living for Jesus? Pastor Matt poses some important questions from this bible study that need serious consideration about where you stand in eternity. Signs of being a lukewarm Christian include not really wanting to be saved from sin, only the consequences of sin, not sharing your faith with people around you, and thinking about life here on earth much more than eternity. Do any of these seem familiar? Are you afraid that you are living a lukewarm life? Do you know if you will have life after death? Begin today by asking Jesus to be the savior of your life and start living for him now. We would love to celebrate your decision to follow Christ, and talk with you more about your next step, so reach out today –

Well, good morning church, hopefully you have had a great morning so far. Let me just say this before we jump in to the message this morning, whether it is your first week or it is your 30th year here at Burnt Hickory, can I just say we're so thankful that you are here and that you are watching and learning and seeing what it looks like just to be part of the body of Christ Well, as you've seen on the bumper, we are in a series here where what we're doing is we're examining some of the parables of Jesus. Some of these earthly stories that Jesus gave to his disciples and the people that were following these earthly stories that have a heavenly meaning. And from the beginning of this series, we have seen one of the most intriguing things about these stories is that Jesus would give the same words the same context, the same message to a group of people, and these people over here would hear the truth would receive the truth, would see what Jesus was saying. But these people on this side, it would just kind of wash over, glaze eyed, hardened heart, and it would do nothing for them.

And it's been so just rich and so fresh to kind of realize that's why in church, that's why in the Bible. And that's why even today, the two people can read the same thing in a moment. If one will have their lives changed and one on this side will just go, OK, check that box. And I got it done. This is why some of the smartest people on this planet can hear the message of Jesus, but yet it doesn't soak into their heart. A lot of it has to do with the position and the tenderness of where our heart is. Week one, we looked at this parable about the soils, right? The Matthew Chapter 13, and we asked this question, what is our heart and how is our heart and as our heart receptive to the word of God? The second week in the series, we stayed in Matthew, 13, and we looked at the parable of the treasure. We looked at the parable of the pearl, well, we looked at it, kind of. You were in your pajamas at home. So, I get it. It was halfway there, right? And we asked ourselves this question at the end of that one is what is the gospel worth? What is it worth to us? Is it worth selling everything that we have and running and chasing after that pearl of great price so that treasure in the field?

Last week we looked at Matthew Chapter 20 and the parable the vineyards, the pair, the servants in the vineyard, and we saw that they're 6:00 a.m. workers that always are just thinking, that's not fair. And then we saw that there is the 5:00 p.m. workers that really trust God and just say, Hey, God, you are sovereign, and you are in control. And my job is just to trust you and to trust in your goodness. You know, one of the coolest things looking at these parables every week is? There's so much more to them than just putting them on the flannel board, right? There's so much more to them than just the surface level conversation. In fact, that's why in a lot of the parables, Jesus looked at the people that were following me. He would say, Listen, you need to hear this. So, listen, that's our job. Our job is to listen.

Well, this morning, if you have a copy of scripture, we're going to be in Matthew Chapter 25 this morning. Matthew, Chapter 25. It's another one of Matthew's parables that we're going to look at today, in fact. Matthew, 25 doesn't just give us one parable, but it gives us a three for one special in parables, and we are going to look at every one of them this morning. So, if you came this morning looking for a parable, good news. You're going to get three weeks’ worth in the next 57 minutes. All right. Here it is just kidding. For those of you that are visiting, kind of. There it is. three parables in Matthew chapter 25, we're going to look at them and then we're going to land officially. The parable for the morning is the parable of the sheep and the goats. Now when I say goat for you, young people, all right. I'm not talking about Tom Brady, Celine Dion or Thomas Rhett, LeBron or Trout. All right, I'm talking about an animal. All right. An animal that is the goat. So, Jesus in this parable gives an idea and an encouragement to his disciples throughout this whole chapter of what it's going to look like when he returns.

And so, these parables are actually a response to a question that the disciples asked Jesus about what that's going to be, how that's going to go and what that's going to look like. And Jesus wanted to encourage his disciples. So, Jesus calls all the people in, calls everybody together, and he begins to tell them these stories about a day of when he was going to return. The difference is, is when Jesus does. Return and what he's saying is he's not going to return in a manger. He's not going to return as a baby, but he's going to return as Jesus the Messiah, the son of man in all of his glory. So, these parables all point to this one idea that we as believers in Jesus should be working for that day.

Then we should be living for that day and that we should be prepared for the day that Jesus is going to return. Let me summarize the first two parables, and then we're going to spend most of our time in the back two. But what I want you to notice is that every one of the parables from this chapter builds on the parable before. So, it's really kind of hard just to tell the last one without seeing the first two. First parable in Matthew 25, if you've been in church for a long time, you'll remember that it's the parable of the bridesmaids. Or if you're a k-j-veer from long time ago, the parable of the Maidens. All right, that sounds so official. It's where Jesus tells the story about these ten bridesmaids. They're all at the bride's house. They're all ready for the bride party to where the groom would come and pick them up, and they would walk down the street to the groom's house.

Weddings looked a little bit different that day. There wasn't a moment in time that it was. There was a range of time to where the groom would go to his father's house. He would prepare a house on the side of that house. Probably not the wisest thing, but that's how they did it. They would go once it was prepared. He would come and get his bride with the bridal party. They would walk down the streets in this massive party. They would go to the father's house. They would have the last part of the wedding, the feasts, the party, and then they would be officially married. Well, in this story, Jesus says that five of the bridesmaids were wise. They were wise bridesmaids, and they lived their lives at the bride's house, ready for the groom to return.

They had their bags packed. They were ready for the day. They kept their lamps full of oil. And in fact, Jesus says they actually took some extra with them so that in any moment when Jesus the groom came to get them, they would be ready to go. They would be ready to be received. They would be ready to go to the party. Well, Jesus says there's the other five in the story that didn't live their life like Jesus was going to come like the groom was going to come. In other words, they just thought to themselves, Well, he's not coming today. He's not going to come tomorrow. I'm not worried about it. When I get older, I'll worry about it. When I get all the money I need, I'll worry about it when I sow my wild oats. I don't know what that means, but I've just heard it before. I then will get ready. And what the Bible says is that they ran out of oil and there was no Amazon two hours shipping or the whole problem would be gone, right? So, they had to go find some. They had to then prepare. But it was too late because when they went to prepare, Jesus came. The groom got them, and he took those bridesmaids along with the bride with him, and the others weren't ready. They weren't prepared. So, the point of the whole story Jesus makes is that we all should be ready, we should be prepared, and we should be living toward the day when Jesus returns, where from the father's house with the prepared place to receive us. But how many of us are? That was the point of the parable. We should be living in anticipation. The second parable answers the question of what that looks like to live that way, you know, because when I just say live like Jesus is coming back like, I don't know what to do. I don't. I don't even have any oil. I don't even have a lamp. What does that mean?

That's parable two which is the parable of the loans. Or if you grew up in church, the parable of the talents, the parable of talents. It's an easy one. It's probably one of my favorite ones. It goes like this. There's a master which is God in the story. He calls in three servants to one servant. He gives five talents to one servant. He gives two to the last servant, he gives one. Now talents in the story. They really can mean just a gift that God gives you a talent that you have to serve him. But in these specific times, a talent was a measurement of money. It really was a measurement of in today's world, $15,000.

So, to one servant, the master gives 75K, to one he gives 30K, and to one he doesn't trust him a whole lot. He just gives him 15K. The master looks at him and says, Hey, I am going on a trip right representing Jesus, going to the fathers. And when I come back, I want to see what you do with this money. He tells these servants right to invest the money to get a gain on the money because inflation is going to eat it alive. Amen. If they don't. So, the two in the first part of the story they do, the wise thing, they invest, the money, they put it in the market, probably not this week, but maybe another week they go start a business, they go do something with it. We're really not sure all the ins and outs, but the third guy decides, Hey, I'm scared of this guy. He goes into his backyard, he digs a hole, and he puts the measly one talent in the bottom of the hole, fills it over and just lives like nothing happens. Well, the master comes back.

He calls the servants in, and he looks at them and says, What did you do with the money? I can't wait to hear it. The first two were like, Well, this is what we did. And he says, Oh, bless you. I give you this. I give you more. The last guy comes up and he's got his little box of money, right? And he's got it in a little. I don't know what kind of little box, but in my mind is maybe a paper bag, I don't know. And he gives it to him. He says, Well, I was kind of scared. Here you go. And in verse 26, one of the scariest verses in the whole Bible I might add. Verse 26, the master calls this servant evil or wicked. He calls him wicked. In other words, what the master is saying in this story to all of us is that for us to be ready for the master's return is for us to be leveraging the talents, the abilities and the gifts that God has given us. That he's given us, not just sitting on them. right? To be leveraging them and making a profit and using them for the kingdom. Because isn't it true that God gives every single believer in Jesus a set amount of time, of talents, and treasure? And what he expects out of us is to use it.

Here's the deal Some of you are one talent. People like me. Some of you are five talent people. And all God expects us to do is to invest into use for his mission and for his plan, what he gives us, we're responsible for it. To which you would say, Well, Matt, how do I know if I'm even a real servant to do that? Well, I'm glad you asked, because that's what the third parable answers. See, the first one is just watching, be ready. The second one is, be part of the mission. And the third one says, you've got to figure out if you're really one of his servants or not. That's the third parable in where Jesus drills down in this third parable, and he gets to the core or the foundation.

Listen to this of what it really means to be a believer in Jesus. And look, I can't think of a better question for us to answer this morning is - am I truly a Christian? Am I truly a Christian? Because if I were to ask that question of what does a true follower of Jesus look like? You see, many of us would have an answer like, Well, man, I just need to believe or man, I just need to know the truth, or I just need to go to church. I just need to stay away, you know, from those big sins or I need to live the Ten Commandments, or I just need to be moral. But listen, Jesus is about to rock our world right here, and he's about to show us what it really means to live a life that's pointing to him. In fact, Francis Chan says like this in his book Crazy Love.

We're going to use this a couple of times this morning. He says this just to read the Bible, attend church and to avoid big sins. Is this really the passionate, wholehearted life of discipleship that Jesus is calling us to? So, let's see what Jesus says, though, when he defines a Christian, because what he's about to do is he's about to take the first parable of keeping our lamps ready for Jesus. The second parable of living out the talents. He's about to smash them together and show us all of us if we're a sheep or if we're a goat. Here it is. Here's the parable Matthew. 25 verse 31. I'm going to tell you now; we're going to read chunks and I'm just going to pull the truth out of it. Some theological truths and give you some questions on the backside. There's where we go. Just in case you need to leave early, this is what we need to do, all right. Verse 31. He says when the son of man, that's Jesus comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Now what's the scene, right? Matthew 24:25. Jesus, speaking of the final or the Great Judgment Day.

Now you've got to know from this text that this is not a figurative event. This is not the parabolic language in this. This is a real thing that is going to happen to you, to me, to all of humanity. But Matt, we're looking at the parables. How do I know the parable part of this story is the fact that Jesus tells it using sheep and goat and not me and Zander, right? That's the that's the parable part of it. He's not using someone's name. He's not using a specific person to go you, no chance. You yep, come with me, right? He's not doing that. He wants to live another day, right? His time has not come. That's the parable point.

So, when you see this parable when Jesus says this, the parable part is not a figurative judgment. You will at some point in your life have somebody try to lump the judgment of Jesus into just a story into just a figurative event because they feel like he's just going to give everybody a pass right there. What is this showing us? It's showing us that universalism is not supported in scriptures at all. So, Matt, what does that mean? That means that Jesus is not just going to pull up one day and go, Well, you all tried.

Come on, let's go. We're seeing the great judgment. We're seeing the moment where Jesus looks into a gathering of people and says, you are going to be separated. Now notice in the story, though all the nations are in front of Jesus. This is how the judgment is going to work. Everybody's in front of Jesus. But notice this you are not judged based upon your nation. You are judged according to the fact that you are an individual. That's important because some of us believe just because we were born in America, just because I was born into this family, that is what is going to get me into heaven. That's what's going to make me a sheep. But Jesus is really clear. All the nations are in front of him. All the people are in front of him, and he is going to judge people individually and, catch this, instantaneously. Instantaneously. I know this is going to be deep all morning. I'm going to tell you right now. Here's what he's saying. He's saying that when I come back in this judgment, there's not going to be time at that point to make up your mind.

You see, some of us grew up in places that believe this. It's not supported in scripture. When Jesus returns, and I'm not saying this to be harsh. I'm saying this is a friendly warning when we're on the side, when Jesus returns in his what his full glory. At that moment it is too late. It is too late at that moment. He is dividing boom in that moment. Those are sheep, those that are goats. It's not like a seven-day period where he's like, hey John, come on up. Yup, you're next. I'm in the back of the line going. Yes, Lord, I believe you. No, no, no, no. That's not how it works. Instantaneous judgment. But also, I want you to notice the position that Jesus is in in these first two verses.

This is worth noting Jesus is no longer a meek human being. He's no longer a man of sorrows. He's no longer riding on a colt. He's no longer walking with his disciples, fully human. Now we are seeing the son of man Jesus in his what is like the sixth word when the son of man comes in his glory, in his glory with what? On the throne of the universe. This is Jesus. This is the Messiah. This is the one that we worship. This is the one that saves us. Is going to be the one that judges us, That is now returning in full glory with your mind and my mind on his heart, as to who is following him. It's a real event, people. It's real, it's not figurative. And it's going to be an event that every single one of us walks through if we're still alive. But Matt, what if I'm dead?

I'm glad you asked if you're dead, you're judged upon your death. This is for people who are alive. All right. Keep going in the story, that has two versus, Oh man, here we go, verse 33. He will put the sheep on his right. Now, if you've read the Bible, you'll know that the right hand is the blessing. All right, it's the blessing of God. If you're doing the Bible reading plant through the Year, you saw Joseph this week. Bless his grandson. Remember, he was like boob, and he crossed his hands because he wanted him to have the right. The righteous right hand of God is what carries us. Sorry, southpaws, we love you. But the right hand, right? He put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left, then the king will say to those on the right, come you who were blessed by my father, take your inheritance, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you. Catch this, since the creation of the world. So clearly, what are we seeing? There's going to be a judgment.

It's going to be a judgment where the sheep and the goats, both animals that look the same, that act the same, that travel with the same herd in Israel, I might add, are going to be separated. There are qualifications the place. What does Jesus say? The place that has been prepared for the sheep. Do you see this has been prepared since the beginning of time? Since the beginning of time, the place that shaped the true Christians, they're going to be rewarded.

Now look, I understand, I understand that a lot of people will skip through these passages. They don't like talking about judgment passages, right? I want to go to one of those churches that feels good. You're missing the story, right? Because this story feels good. This story gives hope. The story gives promise, and it's incredible to read the Bible. What we said on one side is an incredible message of hope, because if you are a believer in Jesus, there has been a place prepared for you and we're living for that place. Our eyes are gazed on that place, and we will spend eternity in that place. There's hope in that, but there's also hope in the fact that we're all still breathing and can make a decision today to be in that place. So don't just skirt around the judgment passages. They're encouraging that if you're here in this, you can still turn. You can still trust Christ. Verse 35. Watch, as he describes the true sheep. Listen to this. For I was hungry, Jesus said, you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. You gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. You invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison, and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous would answer him lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? I think I would remember that, right. Verse 39. When did we see you sick or in prison? Or visit or go visit you? Then the king will reply. If you're an underliner, or highlighter or whatever. You might want this verse right here.

Truly, I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. So, Jesus in this judgment text, describes the life of a sheep. Describes the life of a true believer.

That at the judgment day will end up receiving their reward for eternity. But we got to settle first. We're going to look at that. We got to settle first. What does this phrase least of these brothers and sisters mean? Because that's important. That's important. In Matthew's gospel, Jesus uses a lot of times a family phrase like brothers or sisters or brethren. Any time Jesus uses that, he is referring to the believers in Jesus. He's referring to the followers of Jesus. He's referring to those that know Jesus. So, when Jesus does this, least of these brothers and sisters, he is talking about his disciples, the people that are following him. Now it is obvious, though, in scripture, we are called to reach the poor. We are called to reach the nations. We are called to be a light in the darkness and to provide for people, whether they're believers or not believers, don't hear me say that we're not. But in this text, that is not what he's speaking of.

He is speaking of what we do in the life of believers in the life of the body of Christ. What we do in the life of those that are struggling under the banner of Jesus will in fact show who is a true believer in Jesus. So, before we go on, I just want you to. I want you to let this sink in because what Jesus is saying here is this. When you do kindness to one of Jesus's children, catch this, you're doing kindness to him. When you serve one of God's kids, when you serve a fellow believer in Jesus, you are in fact. What did he say? You are doing it for him. You're doing it for him. Jesus considers it done for him.

The converse is true when you ignore, when you are unkind, when you're unpleasant and when you are evil to one of Jesus's followers. Catch this. Jesus takes that personally as well. You're doing it to him. You say, Matt, I don't know about that. OK. Paul. Remember old Paul? Before that, he was Saul on the road to Damascus. He was persecuting believers, right? That was his goal. That was his promise. That's what he was there to do. Jesus knocks him off the donkey. Literally, right? He looks up at Jesus and do you remember what Jesus said to him, he said, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Remember Paul's mission? What was it? It was to persecute believers. But what did Jesus say? Why are you persecuting me? It's the moral of the story, the things that we do to believers in Jesus we do to the heart of Jesus. So, before you get snappy at another believer. Read the text. All right. And it makes so much sense, right? 24 years in Student ministry taught me one thing. It’s this. You want to see Mama Bear come out, don't put their kid in the right house at DNOW. Ignore their kid. Let their kid get punished, let some, send their kid home from camp. Why? Because what you do that mama bear kid you do to her. You want to be blessed? Bail them out of jail. Talk him off the ledge. Blessings and honor, glory, majesty. All that happens to you. Why? Because what you do to the kid you do to the parent. The father. This makes so much sense even Melissa life, right? She's pretty. She's pretty self-controlled in public, but you do something to one of her babies. It's coming. It's coming. See, that's how God feels about it, right? That's how God feels about us.

Keep reading the story because it gets heavy. Then, verse 41, he will say to those on his left. Depart from me. Depart for me, it gets heavy. You who are cursed Into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Now notice the subtle difference, the place that is prepared for those that are walking in Jesus has been prepared for us since the beginning of time. This has been prepared for the devil and his angels, but we snuck into it because of the sin in our lives. It's a big difference there. Verse 42, for Jesus said I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. They also will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison? And what and did not help you? Verse 45. He will reply, truly, I tell you.

Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Verse 46, then they will go away in the eternal punishment, but the righteous, to eternal life. Now, look, that's a heavy parable, that's a heavy, heavy parable, and I get it. We don't like this parable a whole lot. But I want you to see the other side of the parable. It is an encouraging parable because it shows us the answer to three massive questions in our life that we need to settle. And the first one is this. It’s the question of who will go to heaven. It tells us incredibly clear in the text, but this parable is pretty alarming because it shows us, quite frankly, that not everyone who considers themselves a Christian will go to heaven. Think about the parables, the sheep and the goats, right? They both recognize Jesus as Lord. In their minds, they both know who the shepherd is. They both travel in the same herd. They're both part of the same group.

They both have been following this guy for a long time. None of these people at the Judgment Day catch this pulled up to the Judgment Day and went, Oh my goodness, you're not Buddha, right? Or, Oh wow, where did you come from? Or wasn't expect there to be a God? None of that happened. When you look at all three of the parables, you'll start noticing that the bridesmaids all considered themselves friends of the groom. The servants all considered themselves true servants of the king. So, this judgment is not a judgment that is separating the evil world away from those Christians. What it's separating is the Christians from the impostor Christians. And that's heavy. This is deep water stuff right here, because what Jesus is saying is not everybody who says this is a believer. Not everybody who says this knows who I am. And I also just want you to see in this text that that this text is not just some loss of a heavenly reward. This text is literally heaven and hell. In eternity. Matthew, 25, verse 10, in the wedding party, parable says the virgins who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet and the door was shut. Later, others came Lord, Lord, they said, open the door for us, but he replied, Truly, I don't know you.

They thought that they knew him. Remember the parable of the servants? Verse 26, the master replied, You wicked lazy servant. Verse 30, threw them into worthless, throw that worthless servant outside into the darkness. Verse 41 of the sheep and goats, he says depart from me. I don't think he can get much clearer here that we're talking about heaven and hell. There's a lot of people in churches that are tragically out of line thinking that they know Jesus. They think they know Jesus. But the question is. Do you really know? Do you really know? You say, Matt, what's the difference? Well, the difference is the tax, evidently, Jesus says in the text, the difference is not what we know in our minds. Stay with me. The difference is what we do with what we know. What we do. OK, walk me through that. Here's the difference. You can say you believe anything, but you don't truly believe something until it transforms your heart, and it works in your life. That's the point, right? That's the point that it's making right here.

The point Jesus is saying is, listen, you can say anything in this world. But if you're not actively, tangibly engaged in the mission of God, you can say you believe it, but you don't believe it. James 1:27. Religion that God our father accepts is pure and faultless. Is this to look after the widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. This is faith, right, love the God, love the people God loves, keep sin out of our hearts, glorify God. But Matt, doesn't the Bible say, and you say it all the time. The salvation is by faith alone, by grace alone. Yes, it is. But I'll tell you this salvation truly hasn't happened until you engage into the life of Christ, because your mind and your heart cannot be transformed if you are not willing to do it.

If you're not willing to serve, here's the principle I just want to be clear, so nobody takes it out of context, saving faith transforms you from the inside out. And it's always demonstrated by actively engaging in the mission of God. Always, so catch this. The text is showing us, you don't work for your salvation. You work because of your salvation. That's the message, that's how you distinguish those who have had just some, some crazy intellectual. I know the shepherd versus those that God has transformed their heart. That's what he's saying, James, 2:17, says. In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead. Jesus makes the point if you believe in me at all. Of course, you will be moved to take action if you know the gospel at all.

How can you not be moved in the mission? Let me be clear. I just want to be clear, so don't upset anybody this week. Jesus is not saying giving to the poor gives you salvation. He's not saying the mission saves you. He's saying there's no way you're saved if the mission doesn't spur you on. That's what he's saying, the sign of genuine faith, passionate commitment to the people of God, passionate commitment to the message of God. And there's two ways to tell that is what comes out of your mouth and what comes out of your life. And Jesus says when those two things don't match up, he always trusts the testimony of our hearts because it moves in our lives. It moves out of us, our lives. So, who will go to heaven? It's those that Christ has saved, has sanctified, has moved us in a direction that our lives are changed.

We are now marching on to the mission of Jesus. That's the truly saved sheep. Which leads me to question two. Is it possible to be a lukewarm Christian? Is it possible? Now, if you're not familiar with the term Revelation chapter three, Jesus criticizes the whole church right about just being like, meh OK, it's great. Maybe not great. It's kind of like coffee, right? I love piping hot black coffee in the morning. Oh yeah. I might even like a good cold brew in the afternoon. But you give me that in between stuff. Spew it out of your mouth. That's what Jesus says about being lukewarm. He says lukewarm believers are people who come into church, they believe in their head, the idea about who Jesus is, but they never engage in the mission of Jesus. These are the types of Christians that are described in every one of the parables. If you think about it. The five bridesmaids that don't make it, what are they doing? They're so concerned about their life, their vanity and their mission. They're not living the mission of Jesus, and therefore they get left because it didn't transform their heart to a point to where they were looking for Jesus to return. The servant with one talent. What did he do? He wasn't concerned with moving his life in a direction that was serving the king. He was concerned with complacency and doubt and not trusting the master. Therefore, he never used his gifts, abilities, talents that God gave him to do anything for the kingdom. The goats in the story. They travel with the herd. They know who the master is. But on the day of separation, Jesus draws a line right down the middle.

What bothered me all week in all of these stories is that either and we don't like to hear this in our culture. Either I'm anticipating the coming of Jesus and living like it, or I'm not. Either I'm committed to the mission of God and all of his kingdom and serving and using my eternal resources and my earthly resources and giving towards his kingdom. Or I'm not. Either we don't like to hear this, either. I'm a sheep or I'm a goat. And look, I know that seems like a hard line down the sand. But it's not, and that puts lukewarm Christians in a very precarious situation, according to these three parables. It really does, especially the one talent guy. I know I keep going back to this guy, man, he grabbed my heart this week. And can I tell you, I think about this one talent guy? He didn't steal the talent. He didn't waste the talent. He didn't go out and spend it on drugs, he didn't hire a bunch of prostitutes. He didn't gamble it away. He didn't use it for his kids’ sports. He didn't do any of that stuff. You know what he did? He brought the one talent back to God. He did not serve the king. Which tells me something there's more than one way to be wicked. Do you know that you can be wicked about a sin of commission, and that's when you actually don't live the Ten Commandments, when you actually send in your life? But do you know that you can also, according to verse 26? Do you know you can be also wicked just by not engaging with the Kingdom of God? And in God's eyes. It's all the same. It's all the same.

And look, I think we preach on commission all the time. But omission, the sin of omission, just not engaging. That's where we're like, we like the crowds. Too much to do that. But what does Jesus say the difference is, has your heart been changed enough to engage you in the mission? Has it? So Matt, I don't know. Well. Good for you. I've got seven things I want you to ask yourself this week straight out of crazy love. I think it's like Page 91 if you want to read it in a lot better way, right?

Seven quick questions. Number one, the profile of a lukewarm believer. No one lukewarm Christians don't really want to be saved from their sin, they only want to be saved from the consequences of their sin. In other words, they just want a fire escape plan, they have no desire for holiness and devotion. None. It's just useful. Number two. Lukewarm believers are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, but they don't do radical things themselves. In other words, they sit in places like this, they hear missional moments, they hear people who are giving their sacrifices, and they're like, Oh, this is a great story. And that's it. You see they really see things as radical as God sees as just normal. Number three. These aren't me, by the way, I'm just reading what he said, so it is. Number three, lukewarm Christians rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, and friends. They don't want to be rejected. They don't want others to be uncomfortable. And this is really just a result of them not believing the message. Number four told you they're quick, lukewarm Christians think about Earth much, much more than they think about eternity. Think about Earth. It's what they're hanging everything on. It's just all about the now. Number five, this one gets a little up in our business. They love their luxuries and rarely give to the poor in a truly sacrificial way. Man, we love our luxuries, don't we? And there's no way I can do that, man. You understand what I got going on. OK. Number six. They don't live by faith. Their lives are so structured, so they never have to.

Man, I'm going to tell you, this one hit me right here. You know what this means? This means everything in the budget lines up. It means everything in my time schedule lines up. It means everything on my chart lines up and my to do list is perfect. So, when God calls me to do something, all I can do is go, No, no, no, that must not be. It doesn't fit on my list. Man, you want to talk about West Cobb, Paulding County, this is us right here. Matt, I can't do that, that doesn't fit into my grid. Matt, you realize if I give that, what I'll have to do? Its Francis Chan, not me. All right. Number seven. It's the last one. They give God their leftovers and not their first and their best. They give God their leftovers, and not their first and their best. I love when the Prophet Malachi talked about this in Malachi 1:8. He's talking about these priests that offered to God, these sacrifices that were blemished, but yet they kept the best over here and listen to this and verse, it says when you offer blind animals for sacrifice or your left-over time, whatever. Is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or deceased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering that to the governor. Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? Says The Lord Almighty.

You see, all of these things, God says, are not just an inadequate way of living. They're really evil. They're evil. They're us holding back on our giving, on our time, on our talents, on our resources. So, can we just please stop calling out, stop calling our complacency and our apathy a busy schedule or bills? And let's just call it what it is. It's evil. It's just that we don't trust the gospel. Enough for him to provide for us. Now, please don't hear me wrong. We all go through seasons of lukewarmness, I know I do. I know I do. But the question is when you became a Christian. Did it include a surrender to the mission of Christ? That's what he's saying, right here. If it didn't, it was just an intellectual ascent that did not change your heart. And I'm not really sure you moved from being a goat to a sheep.

Here's the last question. When should I start living for Jesus? When? To which the Bible's very clear in every one of these parables. Answer that question is emphatically now. It's now. You see, if you took the five bridesmaids that didn't make it the one servant that buried the deal and all the goats. They would all have one message for us, and it would be this, nobody knows the time or day Christ is going to return. Nobody, if they do, they're a liar. The truth is not in them, and they would say, I promise you, it is not worth rolling the dice that it will be later because later might not exist.

You see the message in here, why it's super heavy. Super encouraging for you on two reasons. Let me tell you why. Number one. It's because you're already a sheep, which makes this an incredible passage for you. Because you're looking at the father going, heck, yeah, I'm going to the wedding. Give me that blessing and eternity's coming. But it's encouraging for you too also, because even if you are goat. You don't have to stay that way. You don't have to stay that way. The Lord Jesus Christ said, come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. He said I'm the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. This is the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life. You know, the most encouraging part of the story is this he hasn't come back yet, and you're hearing the gospel message.

So, sheep, let me ask you this. What is it today you need to set free from your hands that's dragging you toward lukewarmness?

Goats, no offence. Let me talk to you for a minute. Do you need to trust Jesus today? He's worth it.

Lord Jesus in just a second as we sing together. Lord, I just pray that throughout this room, as well as classic service and through thousands online. God, you would have us examine our hearts through the lens of has my faith transformed my life to take action. And God, if it hasn't. I pray that many people give their lives to you today. And turn to you. God, if they're online, I just pray they reach out to the next steps app and just say, Hey, I need Jesus today, someone, I reach back out to them. If they're one of our venues. I pray they just walk down whichever aisle they're at and look at the person in the front of the room, in the side of the room, and just say, Hey, I need Jesus. And they'll take over and do the rest. Or Jesus, move in these next couple of minutes so that we can surrender all to you. It's in your name, we pray.


Let's stand and sing.

Follow Along with the Message

Sheep or Goat?

January 30, 2022

“Just to read the Bible, attend Church, and avoid ‘big’ sins — is this really the passionate, wholehearted life of discipleship Jesus was calling us to?”
— Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Matthew 25:31–32
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
Matthew 25:33–34
33 “He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”
Matthew 25:35–40
35 ”‘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, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Matthew 25:41–44
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’”
Matthew 25:45–46
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

3 Important Questions

1. Who will go to ?

Matthew 25:10–12
10 “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’”
Matthew 25:26, 30
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! … 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”
James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

PRINCIPLE: Saving faith transforms you from the inside out and is always demonstrated by engaging in the mission of God.

James 2:17
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

2. Is it possible to be a Christian?

Profile of a Lukewarm Christian

from Crazy Love by Francis Chan

1. Don't really want to be saved from their sin; they only want to be saved from the of their sins.

2. Moved by about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not do radical things themselves.

3. Rarely share their with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends.

4. Think about life on much more than eternity.

5. Love their luxuries and rarely to the poor in a truly sacrificial way.

6. Don't live by , their lives are so structured that they never have to.

7. Give God the leftovers, not their and best.

Malachi 1:8
When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.

3. When should I start for Jesus?

Additional Notes


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