Sunday School Material 2-15-15: Serving the Least





(Matthew 25:31-46; 2/15/15)

Introduction: A key idea in our Sunday School material is that Jesus shares a teaching about the importance of being kind to other people of God who are in need. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on being kind to especially other people of God who are in need.

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Body:

Read Matthew 25:31-33

I. The Scene: Separation. The Son of Man, Jesus, is expected to return. He is expected to return with His angels and all nations gathering to Him. Jesus will separate the sheep to His right and the goats to His left.

 

Applications –

- Jesus is Lord. Notice in vss. 31-33 that Jesus is the King who rules. Jesus really is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Every knee will bow before Him. When we choose to bow, there are great blessings. Let’s live like we believe that Jesus is Lord. Such living should be known for making sure that we are saved and that we are striving to live lives focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

 

- Either right or left. Notice in vs. 33 that there is a right and left side of Jesus. There is no in between. Let’s live like we understand one is either right with God or one is not. We should work on evangelizing the lost and edifying the saints with great urgency, in light of there being no in between ground with Jesus.

Read Matthew 25:34-40

II. The Sheep: Invitation. The King will commend those on His right because of their kindness to Him. The sheep ask about when they were kind to Him. The King replies that the sheep were kind to Him, when they were kind to the least of the brothers and sisters of the King.

 

Applications –

- Ministering to the needs of other believers. Notice in vss. 34-40 that serving the needs of God’s people led to great blessings. First, there is a level of service or kindness that we show anyone. After all, we are light of the world and salt of the Earth. Second, there is a higher level of service and kindness that should be shown to those who are our siblings (i.e., brothers and sisters), in the Lord. Our text refers to those in need as brothers and sisters of the King. These are saved people. Saved people ought to be in church. And being a member of a church should include benefits that non-members are not as likely to receive. Third, make sure you are a brother or sister of Christ by accepting Jesus as your savior by faith. Let’s make sure we are saved and involved in minister to the needs of especially other saved people in our church family.


- Practical needs. Notice in vss. 34-40 that the ministry being offered is very practical. The text is talking about food, drink, cloths, etc. It is not talking about praying, talking, and singing. We should strive to respond to the practical needs of especially our members. At Southern, we have a benevolent fund that is managed by our Deacons to help respond to one shot emergency issues that members encounter in life. Our church gives thousands of dollars a year to organizations that help people who are homeless, in need of a job, or in need of financial coaching. Let’s make sure that we respond to practical needs, not just spiritual needs.

 

Read Matthew 25:41-46

III. The Goats: Dismissal and the Results: Eternal States. The King talks to the goats on His left. He prepares to dismiss them to eternal fire, because they did not help Him. When they did not help the least of the King’s people, they did not help Him. The last verses shows how the goats will experience eternal punishment, while the sheep will experience eternal life.

 

Applications –

- The danger of doing nothing. Notice in vss. 41-46 that there was great punishment for those who didn’t serve. First, God is not neutral about people being neutral. God expects us to be kind towards people. When we are not kind, we are subject to punishment. Second, notice that the sin of the goats was not that they oppressed the weak. Their sin was that they ignored them. Thus, we should be very careful about seeing people in need and yet doing nothing. Let’s live like we understand the danger of doing nothing, when we see people of God in need.

 

- Salvation by works? It is important to note that we are not saved by doing good works. Nor do we lose our salvation, by our negligence in doing good works. Salvation is the product of our accepting Jesus as our savior by faith (see Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9). However, those who are saved have the Holy Spirit in them who convicts us to live by God’s will. A part of God’s will is for us to respond to the needs of especially our sisters and brothers in the Lord. Let’s make sure we don’t fall into a salvation by works way of thinking.

 

Conclusion: Let’s work on being kind to especially other people of God who are in need. God has much for those who obey His will.

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