DAILY DISCIPLINE #187
By Colleen Donahue
We come now to the Lord's final words in what is called the Olivet prophecy. This is not so much a parable but straight forward language with judgment as the main theme.
The great desire of Christ's heart is to see God's will done on earth as it is occurring in Heaven. He has a vision of men being filled with the knowledge of God and walking in holiness all over the world just as the waters cover the seas. (Isaiah 11:9)
The Lord speaks of the day he will come to establish his Millennial Kingdom on earth. The judgment we will now study is His decision as to who will be part of this kingdom.
The Sheep and The Goats--Practical Christianity
(Olivet Prophecy- Part 4)
Read Matthew 25: 31-46 to get the whole story
Day 1- We are looking at the opening incident in the great prophesied administration of the Millennial Kingdom. What is this Millennial Kingdom? It is the thousand year period in which Jesus Christ comes with his saints and angels to rule over the earth.
Day 2- During that thousand years Satan will be bound so he cannot deceive the nations.
But he (Satan) will also have a short period of release AFTER the Millennium.
Revelation 20:3b, 7-8
Day 3- Those who have been martyred for the cause of Jesus Christ will be resurrected so that they can rule with the Lord and be priests for God.
Revelation 5:10 / Revelation 20:4
Day 4- The Millennium will be the last of the times or "ages" before eternity dawns.
Isaiah 65:17 / Isaiah 66:22 / 2 Peter 3:13 / Revelation 21:1
Day 5- There are three judgments spoken of in the Bible. These verses in Matthew 25 are the scene of one of the judgments that will happen when Jesus Christ returns to earth to usher in his reign. Who will be gathered before the Lord for this judgment?
The Greek word for "nations" is ethnos which means "gentiles" or "heathens". Jesus is describing the judgment of the non-Jewish people on earth. All their national distinction has been erased.
Day 6- Who will be the judge?
How is it that Jesus will have this authority to judge the nations?
John 5: 22-27
Day 7- Notice that Jesus will judge as a shepherd.
Reread Matthew 25:32
In many flocks there were so many similarities between the sheep and the goats that only the trained and practiced eye of the shepherd could distinguish one from the other. We look on the outward side of things but Jesus knows the heart and cannot be deceived.
Job 34:21 / Proverbs 5:21 / Proverbs 15:3 / Jeremiah 16:17 / Jeremiah 32:19 / Hebrews 4:13
Day 8- What title is Jesus given?
Jesus is the King of the Nations.
Jeremiah 10: 6-7
This will be the time when all people everywhere will bow before Jesus and acknowledge his supreme sovereignty.
Day 9- We have now before us the scene of a great gathering near the Holyland where all the gentile nations (or perhaps their representatives) will be gathered for judgment. This time is also associated with the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel and the fulfillment of God's promises and covenants to them. Joel's prophesy in these verses is a description of this event.
Joel 3: 1-2, 11-12
Day 10- There are actually three groups in this judgment scene. What are they?
Matthew 25:33, 40
Who are "these brethren of mine" or "the least of these my brethren"? Some feel they are the Jewish people undergoing extreme trial and testing. Others say these must be the 144,000 Jewish believers who are identified with the Lord behind the scenes during the Great Tribulation. Still others feel they refer to the individual (the Jew or non Jew) who are in need during the last days. Either way we have an obligation to show love and kindness to all people at all times.
Day 11- Does the Lord ask those being judged any questions?
Matthew 25: 32-33
What is the basis of his choice as to who are sheep and who are goats?
Matthew 25: 35-36
In this assembly the time for questions are over. Jesus in not selecting between good and bad people. He is not selecting between believers of the gospel vs. nonbelievers. This is the separation of the hypocrites from the real -- the false from the true. In this judgment Jesus calls the true and false from among all those professing to be Christians and claim to belong to Him as members of God's family.
Day 12- In simple language Jesus states clearly the mark of an authentic Christian. Read again:
Matthew 25: 35-36
The mark of a true Christian is not his creed or doctrine. It's not how much of the Bible he knows. Rather, it's the reality of his heart and the manifestation of Christ-like love to those in need.
Day 13- There is a service test that Jesus gave to one of the Jewish experts in the law and also to us. Will you pass it?
Luke 10: 25-37
Day 14- There is divine sympathy towards all men.
Isaiah 63:9 / Hebrews 4:15
And in the same way men are to show their fellow men the same mercy, love and sympathy.
Isaiah 58:7 / Acts 20:35 / Galatians 6:2 / James 1:27
Day 15- How will YOU answer this question?
Day 16- What is the result if we don't do the good that we ought to do?
Day 17- After the Lord separates the sheep from the goats you'll notice that both are surprised!
Matthew 25:37-39, 44
Everyday we are being challenged by situations of human need:
-a lady needing help carrying something
-a blind gentleman that seems lost
-a child lost in the mall
-a family stranded with car trouble
-a child has fallen off his bike and has cuts and bruises
God will judge us according to our reaction to that need. Notice that it will be help in simple things -- things that anyone can do. Also notice that the help must be uncalculating. If you reread Matthew 25:37-39 those who helped didn't think they were helping Christ or piling up eternal rewards. They were doing what came natural to them.
Day 18- To whom is all help given (or withheld) actually done?
Every time we cross the road or pretend we didn't see, we walk away from Jesus himself.
Day 19- The goats (who thought they were sheep) probably thought with pride about their profession of faith and being outstanding church members. But, what they did in ministry was not for God but themselves. As you read these verses notice that there is a common thread. What will we be judged by?
Psalm 62:12 / Jeremiah 17:10 / Matthew 16:27 / 2 Corinthians 5:10 / Revelation 20:12 / Revelation 22:12
Day 20- Can our good works save us?
Ephesians 2: 8-9 / Titus 3:4-5
Day 21- Although the good works of the sheep did not save them, their good works proved to be the reality of their faith.
James 2: 14-26
Did you know that not one loving deed escapes the eye of God? But when it comes to good deeds motivation matters. If you do them thinking you'll be saved by them, you'll be surprised by the Lord's rejection of them.
Day 22- Only one kind of life can transform a goat to a sheep and that is the transforming life of our Lord. Only His life working within us can respond to human need with unselfish love.
Ephesians 3:17-19 / 1 John 4:16
Day 23- There is a reality of life beyond this brief life on earth. No one will be given the chance to say a word in their defense. Each person will simply be told which group he or she belongs.
Matthew 25:34, 41, 46
Day 24- We now finish two very blessed chapters in Matthew called the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24 and 25). What is the one great word throughout our Lord's teaching in these chapters?
Matthew 24:4,42,44 / Matthew 25:13
To watch means first that we wake up and actively seek God. We take time with God in Bible study and prayers. We call upon Him as we walk according to the Holy Spirit, and honor Him as Lord by risking all for Christ's sake.
Here is a memory tool to help you remember what it means to WATCH:
A= Actively seek God
T=Take time with God
C=Call upon Him
H=Honor Him as Lord
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