Farm Animals & Kings

11/22/2020 at Liberty Baptist Church in Tipton, In

Message Title: Farm Animals & Kings
Theme: Christ the King Sunday
Season: ORDINARY
Main Text: Matthew 25:31-46
Scripture Reading: Psalm 100
RCL Scripture: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Psalm 95:1-7a; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
Focus: Jesus’ parable calls for action, not just pretty words.
Function: To get involved in the messiness of the Gospel by loving people that are hard to love. 
Other Notes: thanksgiving//CHRIST THE KING Sunday

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 100 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth! 2Serve the Lord with celebration! Come before him with shouts of joy! 3Know that the Lord is God—he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture. 4Enter his gates with thanks; enter his courtyards with praise! Thank him! Bless his name! 5Because the Lord is good, his loyal love lasts forever; his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.

Audience Engagement: Holiday traditions

  1. Questions:
    1. What holiday season comes directly after Halloween?
    2. Do you decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving comes?
    3. What about Christmas music or movies?
    4. What are your favorite Christmas Hymns?
  2. Me:
    1. It wasn’t until I was in seminary that I even knew that there was a difference between Christmas hymns and Advent hymns.
    2. Honestly, until about 4 years ago, I had a poor attitude towards Christmas. Not Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth but Retail Christmas. I had worked retail. Retail can definitely suck the joy out of the holiday season.
    3. I haven’t decorated yet, but do intend to this week! Yes, Christmas décor before thanksgiving!

Intro: Today is a unique holiday that you won’t see marketed by Hallmark or Amazon. Today is Christ the King Sunday also called Reign of Christ Sunday.

Today is the last Sunday in the church calendar. This holy day was instituted by Pope Pius the XI(11th) in 1925. Though it wasn’t celebrated on the last Sunday in the year until 1970.

War can leave us full of fear and searching for stability or comfort. The Pope believed that after WWI ended, the world needed to be reminded of the One True King and the hope our King brings.

So, Today we celebrate Christ as our King who reigns forever!

TRANSITION: In our text for today we are going to focus on Jesus’ words. He shares a parable of a king with unique expectations for his subjects that includes scary consequences for those that don’t comply. Should we be filled with fear? Let’s see what the Reign of Christ brings.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:31-46

31“Now when the Human Onecomes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. 32All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left. 34“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. 42I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ 44“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ 45Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ 46And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Titles used:
    1. Human One- a title used in Daniel
      1. Read Daniel 7:9-14
      2. Some of your translations may say Son of Man.
    2. King
      1. Merging of the Jewish messiah with the Davidic king.
  2. Action of the King
    1. Separates sheep from goats
      1. Sheep/ the ones on the right/ the righteous
        1. fed, clothed, cared for, & visited those in need
      2. Goats/the ones on the left/ receivers of terrible things
        1. Did not feed, cloth, care for, or visit those in need

INTERPRETATION: Jesus’ parable calls for action, not just pretty words.

  1. Background
    1. Gospel Writer: Matthew (Jewish writer to a Jewish audience)
    2. Scripture’s Audience: Disciples (Matt 24:3)
  2. Context:
    1. Up until entering Jerusalem, Jesus used calculated language. With a few exceptions in other gospels, Jesus doesn’t directly call himself the messiah. As you continue to read the Gospel of Matthew, the closer Jesus gets to Jerusalem, the more bold his words become.
    2. This passage is during Holy Week. Jesus had already entered the city triumphantly.  And now Jesus turns his language up to 11 on the controversial scale. At the time of this passage, Jesus is in Jerusalem and days away from being crucified. So he starts to make the statements that he knows will lead to his arrest and crucifixion.
    3. Jesus had been preaching to crowds in the Temple. Then Jesus walked to the Mount of Olives and the disciples pulled him aside to ask more questions.
      1. Jesus will be crucified as a treasonous blasphemer by the church and state. His statements became more overtly political. More overtly about the system being broken and pointing to the One True Kingdom.
  3. It would be easy to get hyper focused on the questions about sheep & goats (Picture) Is Jesus saying literally that sheep are better than goats? Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the literal animals today.  
    1. If you listen, we qualify as both sheep and goats.
      1. “done it for one of the least of these, you have done it for me”
      2. “haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me”
      3. Ignoring 1 opportunity means you’re a goat.
  4. But is this passage supposed to make us scared? No. We’re called to action.

APPLICATION: To get involved in the messiness of the Gospel by loving people that are hard to love.

  1. What is interesting about this passage is Jesus seems to contradict himself (from the other gospels). In John 3:17, Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Son came not to condemn the world but to save the world through himself. Now, Jesus is painting himself in to the judgement seat.
    1. Jesus is simultaneously our judge and our savior. He is the one setting the standard, and he is the one fulfilling the standard.
    2. Our actions do not save us. No one can meet these standards laid out by the king, Jesus meets them for us.
    3. But does that mean we don’t even need to try?
  2. Ownership of our faith: I want to take a moment to get our brains active. Everyone should have a note card and a writing utensil. Raise your hand if you don’t, we’ll get some for you.
    1. Notes cards: write down your answers rather than shouting them out.
      1. Who are the people that seem to have “lost their way” to you?
      2. Whose salvation do you worry about?
    2. Congratulations, You’ve just made a starter list of “the least of these.”
      1. How will you love them this holiday season?
      2. *Notice* the King didn’t say
        1. Tell these people they are horrible sinners and unworthy of love.
        2. Tell these people they’re so lucky to receive your kindness.
      3. The king says, those “least of these” – they’re me. Treat them like you would treat me.
  3. Tangible option:
    1. Donate for Jubilee Christmas
    2. Deliver Thanksgiving Meals with the Rescue Mission https://kokomorescuemission.org/event/thanksgiving-day-banquet/
    3. Sponsor a Buddy Bag https://unitedwayhoco.org/sign-up-here-to-be-a-buddy-bag-packing-partner/
    4. Care for a Convict-

CONCLUSION:

  1. Confession: “Things we’ve done and things we’ve left undone.”
    1. People: Most merciful God, we confess that we are by choice sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your judgement. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of your Holy Name. Amen.
    2. Pastor (Declaration of Grace): “In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ gave himself to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ, He gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  2. Crazy idea: for 5-10 minutes after church we’ll have discussion time for those wanting to iron out parts of the service that left them puzzled. We will have our benediction and then if people have questions, they can stay and ask questions and I’ll respond as best I can. I won’t guarantee solving the world’s problems but I can offer more clarity.

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