Sheep v. Goats

(July 13, 2020)

Jesus shares an interesting glimpse of the coming judgment day, found in Matthew 25:31-46.  Here, he uses an analogy of sheep and goats… “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: (v32) 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: (v33)  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Mat 25:31-33).

 

When you read further into the text, essentially, the “sheep” are those who have ministered to those in need, and the “goats” are those who did not.  The sheep reached out to those who were hungry, thirsty, needed shelter or clothing, or were sick or in prison.  The goats did no such thing. 

 

Why would Jesus choose to use these two animals to illustrate this account?  Without getting too deep into animal science, let me just share what I know, from growing up as a farm kid.  Sheep are social animals.  They are natural followers.  It is relatively easy to get them to do what you want them to.  You simply lead them.  Goats, on the other hand, are rugged individualists, they tend to have their own agenda.  They are escape artists.  They are definitely not followers!

 

A large part of being a Christian is learning how to follow.  Jesus said, in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me:”  Are you hearing His voice?  Are you following Him?  What is He saying to you?  Where is He leading you?  Are you moved, when you see someone in need?  Are you obeying (following) His Word?  Or, do you have your own agenda?  Is your schedule so full, and your entertainment so loud that it is drowning out His voice in your heart?  Do you have issues following your spiritual leader?  Do you have trouble making time to stop and listen?  Do you question the authority of the Word of God?

 

When I read the end of the story in Matthew 25, it does not bode well for the “goats”, (v46) “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:”  However, for the sheep, it is “life eternal”.  This scenario reminds me of the lyric of that Sunday School Song, “…I just wanna be a sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa!  I just wanna be a sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, I just wanna be a sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa!”

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, not sure about you, but, I just wanna be a sheep.

 

Pastor V

Liberty

(July 6, 2020)

What a beautiful word.  Liberty.  A word that gives promise of something better.  A word that brightens our mundane existence as human beings.  A word that quickens our pulse.  A word that opens doors and breaks chains.

 

Our country was founded upon the principles of this word.  Taken from the text of our Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

I cannot forget the words of the Patriot, Patrick Henry, as he spoke before Second Virginia Convention on March 20, 1775:  “…Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

 

The Bible speaks of liberty as well.  My favorite passage is this: (Luke 4:17-21)  “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, (v18)  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (v19)  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (v20)  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (v21)  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” 

 

It is clear, from the above text, that Jesus was setting the foundation for his ministry, establishing the framework of the Gospel, and clearly communicating the purpose of why He came to earth.  It is interesting to me that the words “deliverance” and “liberty” are translated from the same Greek word “afesis” which, according to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, means:  ; freedom; (figuratively) pardon: - deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.  It is the same word used in Acts 2:38 (translated here as “remission”) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”.

 

The message of the Gospel is forgiveness of sin, remission of sins, deliverance from sin, pardon, freedom and liberty!  When we obey the Gospel, sin has no power over us anymore!  We are set free!  We are delivered!

 

However, I believe the Bible has more to say about liberty.  The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church in Galatia, writes, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) What is this “yoke of bondage” he is referring to?  If you read the context of the prior chapter, he talks about being “under the law” or in the later verses of chapter five, “the circumcision”, which both terms refer to the Old Testament Law and those related traditions.  Essentially, he warns us of being bound by traditional religion that is in conflict with the Gospel.

 

I think it would be good for all of us to take a few minutes to examine our traditions.  Do they align with Scripture?  Are they based on Scripture?  Do they harmonize with what Jesus and the Holy Apostles did and taught?  If not, we need liberty!  The kind of liberty that sets us free!  The kind of liberty that allows us to follow Christ, wholly!  (See 1 Timothy 4:13-16)

 

Pastor V

Sheep v. Goats

(July 13, 2020)

Jesus shares an interesting glimpse of the coming judgment day, found in Matthew 25:31-46.  Here, he uses an analogy of sheep and goats… “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: (v32) 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: (v33)  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Mat 25:31-33).

 

When you read further into the text, essentially, the “sheep” are those who have ministered to those in need, and the “goats” are those who did not.  The sheep reached out to those who were hungry, thirsty, needed shelter or clothing, or were sick or in prison.  The goats did no such thing. 

 

Why would Jesus choose to use these two animals to illustrate this account?  Without getting too deep into animal science, let me just share what I know, from growing up as a farm kid.  Sheep are social animals.  They are natural followers.  It is relatively easy to get them to do what you want them to.  You simply lead them.  Goats, on the other hand, are rugged individualists, they tend to have their own agenda.  They are escape artists.  They are definitely not followers!

 

A large part of being a Christian is learning how to follow.  Jesus said, in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me:”  Are you hearing His voice?  Are you following Him?  What is He saying to you?  Where is He leading you?  Are you moved, when you see someone in need?  Are you obeying (following) His Word?  Or, do you have your own agenda?  Is your schedule so full, and your entertainment so loud that it is drowning out His voice in your heart?  Do you have issues following your spiritual leader?  Do you have trouble making time to stop and listen?  Do you question the authority of the Word of God?

 

When I read the end of the story in Matthew 25, it does not bode well for the “goats”, (v46) “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:”  However, for the sheep, it is “life eternal”.  This scenario reminds me of the lyric of that Sunday School Song, “…I just wanna be a sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa!  I just wanna be a sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, I just wanna be a sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa!”

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, not sure about you, but, I just wanna be a sheep.

 

Pastor V

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