#6 (THE "INVITATION FROM GOD" SERIES)
"COME AND INHERIT"
TEXT: Matt. 25:31-46; 16:27
INTRO: We are getting to the time of the year when children begin looking forward to a very special holiday ... Christmas is coming! We often find that the closer we get to a special day we find ourselves getting more and more excited. Holidays usually involve time off, good fellowship, sometimes presents, etc. They help us endure the hard times and the everyday hectic schedules we keep, we keep saying, "in a few more weeks I'll get several days off and some well deserved rest and have some fun."
When we examine the events of this world we know that we are getting closer to the coming of the Lord, a really special day! We will be receiving a great inheritance from our Lord, one we are invited to come and take! Like a special day that is coming, the closer it gets the more anticipation and excitement we experience – if we are ready for it!
The Bible has put great emphasis on Christ’s 2nd coming ... there are over 1,800 references in the Old Testament alone on the return of the Messiah. In the New Testament there is no less than 1 in every 30 verses about the 2nd coming of Christ! For every prophecy in the Bible about Jesus' first coming there are 8 about His second coming! So, if the first proved reliable, be sure the 2nd will be also!
PROP SENT: The Bible teaches us that we are invited to enjoy a great inheritance in Christ, our future is bright and His invitation is clear, “Come … and inherit!”
I. HERE COMES THE JUDGE! 25:31-33; 16:27
A. Position 25:31
1. While Jesus' first coming had to do with coming as a servant, humble; this second coming will be with glory and power as King … and all the angels with him.
2. Jesus' first coming was to be the Savior, His second coming He will be the judge of all mankind!
a. This is the picture here of Him sitting on a throne.
b. Surrounded by His angels He will judge all.
3. This judgment will have nothing to do with the legal system of this world, the rich and famous won't have their high price lawyers to help them.
ILLUS: DR. GEORGE TRUETT WAS ENTERTAINED ON ONE OCCASION IN THE HOME OF A WEALTHY OIL MAN IN TEXAS. AFTER DINNER THE OILMAN TOOK HIM UP TO THE ROOF OF HIS MANSION AND POINTED IN ONE DIRECTION AT ALL THE OIL WELLS AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. THIS MAN STATED, "DR. TRUETT, THAT'S ALL MINE ... I CAME TO THIS COUNTRY 25 YEARS AGO PENNILESS AND NOW I OWN EVERYTHING AS FAR AS YOU CAN SEE IN THAT DIRECTION. THEN HE TURNED AROUND AND POINTING TO WAVES OF GRAIN SAID AGAIN ... "AND EVERYTHING IN THIS DIRECTION YOU CAN SEE IS MINE ALSO." THE HE TURNED TO THE EAST AND SAID THE SAME THING, AND ONCE AGAIN HE TURNED TO THE WEST AND PROUDLY PROCLAIMED HIS OWNERSHIP AND HIS HARD WORK AND HIS PRIDE AND POWER! THEN HE WAITED FOR THE PRAISE HE EXPECTED FROM DR. TRUETT, BUT T0 HIS ASTONISHMENT DR. TRUETT LAID A LOVING HAND ON HIS SHOULDER AND POINTED UPWARD AND SAID, "MY FRIEND, HOW MUCH DO YOU OWN IN THAT DIRECTION?" AT THIS THE RICH MAN DROPPED HIS HEAD IN SHAME AND SAID, “I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT!” -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. How very different is Jesus ... He comes for those who will come to Him, and to them He offers a great inheritance not based on wealth or power on earth, His call is based on our relationship with Him -- He opens up the barriers, this can't be done by anything on this earth!
ILLUS: SOME TIME BACK WHEN THE PRINCE OF WALES VISITED INDIA THERE WERE A LARGE NUMBER OF HIGH CASTE PEOPLE WHO WERE WAITING TO SHAKE HANDS WITH HIM, AND THERE WAS A BIG BARRIER SEPARATING THEM FROM THE MASSES OF THE LOWER CASTE PEOPLE WHO HAD ALSO COME TO SEE HIS ARRIVAL. THE PRINCE ARRIVED, SHOOK HANDS WITH THOSE THAT WERE PRESENTED TO HIM, AND THEN, LOOKING OVER THEIR HEADS TO THE CROWDS BEYOND HE SAID, "TAKE THOSE BARRIERS DOWN." THEY WERE TAKEN DOWN, AND ANYONE WHO WISHED COULD COME AND SHAKE HIS HAND AND MEET HIM, FROM THE SON OF DIGNITARIES TO THE LOWEST CASTE PERSON, THEY ALL COULD MEET THE “EMPEROR OF INDIA.” THE NEXT TIME THE PRINCE OF WALES VISITED INDIA OVER 10,000 OUTCASTS WERE GATHERED UNDER A HUGE BANNER THAT READ, "THE PRINCE OF THE OUTCASTS." JESUS ALSO TOOK DOWN THE BARRIERS AND IS WILLING THAT ALL SHOULD COME! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
B. Purpose 16:27; 25:32-33
1. The purpose of Jesus' coming is made clear here, it is to judge the people and nations of the world.
2. Here all mankind will be gathered before God's great judgment throne.
3. The purpose of this time is to separate the people of the world into 2 groups, and only two groups -- there is no middle ground!
4. Most people don't even want to think of the future, but this coming separation will be real!
ILLUS: AN OLDER CHRISTIAN MAN WAS DYING, AND SO HE CALLED FOR HIS SAVED WIFE, HIS SAVED DAUGHTER, AND HIS UNSAVED SON. TO HIS WIFE HE GAVE THIS FINAL WORD, "GOODNIGHT MY DEAR WIFE, WE'LL MEET AGAIN IN THE MORNING" -- MEANING HEAVEN. TO HIS SAVED DAUGHTER HE SAID, "GOOD NIGHT MY DAUGHTER, THE SEPARATION IS BUT FOR A SHORT WHILE." THEN TURNING TO HIS UNSAVED SON HE SAID, "GOODBY, SON!" HIS SON GOT A FUNNY LOOK ON HIS FACE AND HE ASKED HIS FATHER, "FATHER, WHY DID YOU SAY 'GOODBY' TO ME, AND 'GOOD NIGHT' TO MOTHER AND SISTER?" THE FATHER REPLIED LOVINGLY, "WELL, SON, YOU THROUGH THE YEARS HAVE REJECTED CHRIST, THE SAVED AND THE UNSAVED HAVE DIFFERENT DESTINIES ... THE LOST ARE ETERNALLY SEPARATED FROM GOD, AND THEIR LOVED ONES WHO DIE IN THE LORD, SO TO YOUR MOTHER AND SISTER IT IS MERELY GOODNIGHT FOR NOW, BUT FOR YOU I MUST SAY GOODBY AS WE WILL NEVER MEET AGAIN." GOD'S SPIRIT BROUGHT DEEP CONVICTION OF SIN TO THE HEART OF THE YOUNG SON, AND WEEPINGLY HE SAID, "DAD, I HERE AND NOW RECEIVE CHRIST AS MY PERSONAL SAVIOUR, AND WE WILL NOT BE SERPARATED IN THE YONDERLAND!" -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. This time will be real and forever, God will divide the masses of humanity, past, present, and future into two groups!
6. It is vitally important who you listen to while in this life and it will make the difference for all eternity!!!
ILLUS: BACK IN THE 19TH CENTURY ONE OF THE GREATEST AGNOSTICS, ROBERT INGERSOLL WENT TO GIVE A LECTURE; HIS ANNOUNCED TOPIC WAS "AN ADDRESS ON HELL." HE DECLARED BOLDLY THAT HE WOULD PROVE CONCLUSIVELY THAT HELL WAS A WILD DREAM AND SOME SCHEMING THEOLOGIANS HAD INVENTED IT TO TERRIFY CREDULOUS PEOPLE. AS HE WAS LAUNCHING INTO HIS SUBJECT, A HALF-DRUNKEN MAN AROSE IN THE AUDIENCE AND EXCLAIMED, "MAKE IT STRONG, BOB, THERE'S A LOT OF US POOR FELLOWS WHO ARE DEPENDING ON YOU. IF YOU ARE WRONG, WE ARE ALL LOST. SO BE SURE YOU CAN PROVE IT CLEAR AND PLAIN!" -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
7. For believers this time is going to be one of great joy, but for the lost it will be the greatest sorrow in all eternity!
a. Verse 33 makes it quite clear that there is a final separation.
b. No universalism can be taught here!!
c. As real as Heaven is, so is Hell!
II. HERE COMES THE JUDGEMENT! 25:34-46
A. Praise! 25:34-40
1. The favored placement by monarchs in ancient times was to be put on their right side ... here Jesus separates the sheep and puts them on His right side!
2. Jesus also states clearly that this inheritance was prepared for His sheep from the very foundation of the Earth!
a. God's plan has always included salvation!
b. The life we live now has impact on the future life we will live!
3. The Lord goes on to explain why they were honored to receive this inheritance:
a. There was evidence in their lifetime of the Spirit's work in their hearts.
b. In fact, this passage clearly indicates that when the Lord lives in a heart there is always clear and real evidence!
c. It is also clear that they weren't doing all these wonderful things to just get a reward, for they are startled by the fact that Jesus praises them!
4. They lived this way because Christ was in their hearts and not just to earn heaven!
ILLUS: NOT TOO LONG AGO A HINDU WOMAN WAS CONVERTED THROUGH THE BIBLE. SHE SUFFEREED VERY MUCH FROM HER HUSBAND, HE PERSECUTED HER CONSTANTLY. ONE DAY A MISSIONARY ASKED HER, “WHEN YOUR HUSBAND IS ANGRY AND PERSECUTES YOU WHAT DO YOU DO?” SHE REPLIED, "WELL SIR, I COOK HIS FOOD BETTER; WHEN HE COMPLAINS, I SWEEP THE FLOOR CLEANER; AND WHEN HE SPEAKS UNKINDLY, I ANSWER HIM MILDLY. I TRY SIR, TO SHOW HIM THAT WHEN I BECAME A CHRISTIAN I BECAME A BETTER WIFE AND A BETTER MOTHER." THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS WAS THAT WHILE THIS MAN COULD WITHSTAND THE PREACHING OF THE MISSIONARY, HE COULD NOT STAND THE PRACTICAL TEACHING OF HIS WIFE THROUGH HER CHANGE, AND SO HE GAVE HIS HEART TO GOD WITH HER! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
ILLUS: A VERY DISTINGUISHED CHRISTIAN LADY WAS RECENTLY SPENDING A FEW WEEKS AT A HOTEL AT LONG BRANCH, AND A GREAT PARTY WAS PLANNED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EVENT THAT WOULD INVOLVE A GREAT DEAL OF DRINKING AND CAROUSING, SINCE SHE STOOD QUITE HIGH IN SOCIETY THE POWERS TO BE WANTED HER THERE, BUT SHE DECLINED. FINALLY, A SENATOR WAS SENT TO PERSUADE HER TO COME, HE TRIED BY TELLING HER IT WOULD BE QUITE HARMLESS AND SHE COULD DO ONLY AS SHE PLEASED, BUT HER PRESENCE WAS IMPORTANT. TO THE SENATOR SHE REPLIED, "I CANNOT DO IT ... I AM A CHRISTIAN. I NEVER DO ANYTHING DURING MY SUMMER VACATION OR WHERE EVER I GO THAT WILL INJURE THE INFLUENCE I HAVE OVER THE GIRLS OF MY SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS." THE AMAZED SENATOR SIMPLY RESPONDED, "I HONOR YOU; IF THERE WERE MORE CHRISTIANS LIKE YOU, MORE MEN LIKE ME WOULD BECOME CHRISTIANS!" -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. The point Jesus is making is quite clear, the lives reflected the change of heart Jesus had brought them, they served without attempting to earn their salvation for they were quite surprised when Jesus praised them for their labors and work!
a. They did what came natural from their supernatural change of heart.
b. Their life reflected the character of Christ in action!
6. Any and all revivals do this, people become servants, the love of Christ in their life becomes more evident and they do it without manipulating God, they do it because of God's love in their hearts!
ILLUS: A YOUNGSTER WHO GAVE HIS HEART TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN A CHILD EVANGELISM MEETING HURRIED HOME AFTERWARDS AND SAID TO HIS LITTLE SISTER: "I HAVE A NEW HEART!" WITH THE CHARACTERISTIC OF GREAT WISDOM THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM BABES, SHE SAID, "OH YEAH, THEN LET ME SEE IT!" HE WAS STRUCT WITH THE FACT THAT SOMEHOW HE HAD TO BE ABLE TO SHOW IT WITHOUT OPENING UP HIS CHEST, SHE HAD THE RIGHT QUESTION, AND DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT SOLUTION? -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
7. Too many people think that getting saved means they should do great things for God, and for some they won't serve unless it is something big.
ILLUS: D.L. MOODY ONCE SAID, "THERE ARE MANY OF US THAT ARE WILLING TO DO GREAT THINGS FOR THE LORD BUT FEW OF US WHO ARE WILLING TO DO LITTLE THINGS!" -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
8. Jesus praises His sheep for their lifestyle, their ministry to the weak as well as the strong, for every time they served others they were in fact serving Him!
a. This would not go unrewarded!
b. The righteous have hard and real evidence to their changed nature!
c. Jesus earlier had stated, “by their fruit you shall know them.”
9. These now separated to His right are invited to "take your inheritance."
a. God has prepared a place in heaven for those who are His, not just those who say they are His -- but those who show they are!
b. What a praise this is, heaven is a real hope and eternal life with Christ is a real future for the real saints!
B. Punishment 25:41-46
1. Now Jesus does the same thing with the other group on his left, the “goats!”
a. Here again Jesus points to their lifetime actions!
b. They all fall short of showing Christ's nature in their lives.
2. Jesus runs down the same list only showing how they DIDN'T DO THESE THINGS!
a. How well will you do one day when Jesus asks these questions about you?
b. It is interesting to note that Jesus describes "Hell" as the place designed for the "Devil and his angels."
c. Hell was never intended to hold human beings, sin separates us from God and since there are only 2 dwelling places in eternity and you miss heaven by living in sin you send yourself to the only other place ... Hell!
3. It is really more a matter of INHERITING HELL if you reject Heaven!
4. Jesus here throws an interesting twist to the concept of SIN, He explains here that SIN is not just WHAT WE DO ... IT CAN ALSO BE WHAT WE DON'T DO!
a. These are the sins of omission!
b. It is stated this way in JAMES "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin!"
c. Jesus seems to be equating here that the sins of omission are greater than the sins of commission!
d. Why? Because they rob others of the opportunity to see Christ in action!
5. Notice the response of the wicked, it is with injured innocence that they ask, “When did we see” or in the NIV “Lord, when did we see you …”
a. They plead ignorance of Jesus’ needs!
b. They fail to see the obvious; they lived for themselves, the very nature of all sin!
6. Their excuses however do not stand, they had lived their lives for only self, now they would get exactly what they lived for -- only self -- a place called Hell where God won't bother them, or anyone else, they will live in self-exiled darkness forever.
7. Jesus in no way waters down the concept of Hell here, it is real, and will be the final destination of those who reject Christ and who live their lives for self.
ILLUS: YEARS AGO IN LIVERPOOL THIS STORY WAS SHARED ABOUT THE FUNERAL OF DAVID LIVINGSTONE, THE GREAT MISSIONARY AND MAN OF GOD. IT WAS THE GREATEST FUNERAL LONDON HAD EVER SEEN. A GREAT PROCESSION MARCHED THROUGH TOWN AS THE BODY OF LIVINGSTONE WAS CARRIED. IN THE GREAT THRONG OF PEOPLE A SHABBILY DRESSED BUM FOUGHT HIS WAY THROUGH THE CROWD TO SEE THE CASKET GO BY, BUT HE WAS REBUKED BY THE CROWD, BUT HE CRIED OUT ... "I HAVE A RIGHT TO SEE DAVID LIVINGSTONE, I KNOW HIM BETTER THAN ANY OF YOU! WE WERE IN SUNDAY SCHOOL TOGETHER. HE DECIDED FOR CHRIST AND I DECIDED AGAINST CHRIST." WHAT A SAD COMMENTARY ON THE REALITY OF THE TWO DESTINIES ... ALL FOR CHOOSING RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY! BUT IT IS TRUE! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
8. The sin of doing nothing is as damaging as the sins of doing wrong! They too leave others in darkness!
9. Jesus' invitation still stands today, take it while you can! You can choose to come and inherit Christ’s salvation and reward; it’s your call NOW.
CONCLUSION: Jesus' greatest invitation to us still stands as an open door, to "come … and inherit." This invitation is to an event yet to come, the invitation has gone out, and we yet await the event! In this invitation however two possible outcomes are waiting; and the choice of which one is deeply affected by our actions now! Like all inheritances the quality of it depends on the investments and management taken during an entire lifetime. Have you invested wisely? How much are you putting in your retirement account?!