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Servants of the King

St. Matthew 25.31-46


Christ the King
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 In the Nicene Creed we confess our belief that our Lord Jesus Christ will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead.  Today, in our Gospel reading, Christ reveals what this End of the Age judgment will look like.

[St. Matthew 25.31-33]

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: 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: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

When Christ comes again he will not come in humiliation, as he did when he first took on flesh.  There will be no seeking shelter in a stable.  there will be no looking for a place to lay his head.  There will be no concealing of his power and glory for the sake of the lost.  And there will be no mistaking the fact that he is indeed the ruling and reigning king of heaven, the king of earth, and the king of all creation.  When Christ comes again, he will come will all his glory.  The angels will come with him.  He will sit upon his throne, and we, together with all humanity will be gathered to stand before him.  And then he will judge.  His faithful sheep he will welcome to the safety of his right hand.  But the unfaithful goats he will send away to his left.  And then he will pronounce his judgment on us all.

2 [St. Matthew 25.34-36]

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: 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: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

The sheep gathered to Christ's right hand are blessed by God the Father.  The sheep inherit the kingdom of God, which God has prepared for them from the very foundation of the world.  Why?  Because the sheep have been faithful.  they have believed in their hearts and confessed with their mouths that Jesus is Christ and Lord.  And they have put their faithfulness into action, just as God desires.  The sheep are those who have taken to heart what St. Paul writes in Ephesians 2.

[Ephesians 2.10]

For we are [God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Knowing they are blessed, the sheep serve God by serving others.  Knowing they will be welcomed in the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world, the sheep welcome others into their midst and care for them at every opportunity.  Knowing they will live at Christ's right hand, the sheep live as Christ lives: for the sake of others, for love of God, and for the good of all.

3 And the sheep never think about their good works earning them anything.  In response to the Lord, they say:

[St. Matthew 25.37-40]

Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee?  or thirst, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

By serving others in their faithfulness to God, the sheep have been serving God.  By performing the works God created them to do as the Body of Christ, the sheep have only done what comes by faith.  They have borne the fruit of faithfulness.  They have kept the faith with their hearts, with their mouths, and with their hands.  They have lived just as Christ lives.

4 The goats, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite.  They are not welcomed into the kingdom prepared by God, but rather this is their fate:

[St. Matthew 25.41-43]

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: naked, and ye clothe me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited not me.

The goats may have said they were faithful to Christ.  They may have claimed to follow Jesus.  But they did not put their faith into action and live as Christ lives.  They served God only with their lips, but failed to do so with their hearts and with their hands.  Or worse yet, they rejected God all together, refusing his gracious forgiveness and righteous salvation.  So they face the eternal future of those unfaithful to God Almighty.  They must live eternally apart from God and the saints.  They must spend eternity in the fires prepared for the devil and his angels.

5 While the sheep live as Christ lives, the goats live only for themselves, unaware and unconcerned for those in their midst who need their help.  Their lovelessness is revealed in their response to the King:

[St. Matthew 25.44-46]

. . . Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  And these shall shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

6 For those of us called to be sheep, our course is clear.  As those faithful to our heavenly king, we believe in our heats and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is our Lord and our King.  And we put that faith into action.  We serve those in need, because when we do, we serve Christ.  If you've been wondering where Christ is, and how to serve him, wonder no more.  Christ our King is right here in this room.  He's sitting to your left and to your right; in front of you and behind you.  He sits across from you in the dining room, and lives across the hall from you.  Christ comes to comes to clean your apartment.  Christ comes to fix your washer and dryer and air conditioning when they break.  Christ lives here with you, works here for you, and comes here to visit you, for he lives in the heart of every person here at Meramec Bluffs.  When we serve our neighbors here, we serve Christ, our Lord and King. 

7 Perhaps your service to your neighbor and to Christ has been lacking.  Perhaps you've been unaware of your opportunity to serve the Lord this way.  If that's the case, today by the Gospel, Christ calls you to repentance, and today he calls us all to a renewal of our dedication to loving service to all in our midst, for every good work we do for people we know, we do for Christ.

8 As those called to be sheep of the Great Shepherd, and servants of Christ our King, we praise and worship him as the only King of heaven and earth.  And we serve him by remaining faithful to him and serving others in their time of need.  Through prayer, through generosity, through hospitality, and through our love, we put our faith into action.  For these loving acts are nothing more than us being whom God has called us to be: Sheep who hear the voice of our Shepherd and long for him to come in glory and judge both the living and the dead.  On that day, as those redeemed by Christ, and called to be his sheep, we will follow him into the kingdom prepared for the saints from the foundation of the world.  Come Lord Jesus.  Come quickly.  Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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