top of page

Sermon24-13 Mt25 Guide

Matthew 25:31-45, theme verse Matthew 25:34

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the second Sunday of the Lent I pray that God may bless you all in His love, grace and blessings. During the Lent, as we participate in His suffering and death, and celebrate His resurrection in the Sunday, we have to live as His disciples in His pleasing will such as repentance, fasting and almsgiving, etc.. As such in the end times, Jesus taught that we have to live the life of gratitude to care for the least of His brothers and sisters and even our neighbors in response to His sheer salvific grace as today’s text taught us. Therefore by looking at today’s text regarding to the life in the kingdom of God, we would like to learn few lessons together.

1)    As we already saw last few weeks, the Gospel of Matthew was written by Levi Matthew, was sent to the church community of Jewish converts around AD 75-80, when the Christian community was separated more and more from the Jewish community after witnessing the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman soldiers, in AD 70, in order to teach the reality of the kingdom of heave and also the identity and the way of life of Jesus' disciples so that the church community could be established as the missional church to take great commission to go and make disciples of all nations.

2)    In his Book, Matthew recorded three sermons of Jesus on the Kingdom of God: a) In the first sermon in chapter 5 through 7, well known as the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught the lessons about the beatitudes in the kingdom of God, along with true meaning of the law of Moses. b) In the second sermon in chapter 13, He explains the nature of the Kingdom of God through several parables. c) And thirdly, from the chaptere 23 to 25, Jesus taught when the kingdom of God would be consummated and until then, in what attitude of mind and how His disciples should live.

3)    By the way, as you can see in the Gospel of Matthew, unlike Mark who used the word “Kingdom of God” in his gospel, Matthew used the word “Kingdom of heaven.” The reason why he used the kingdom of heaven instead of kingdom of God is; a) Firstly, as Jewish people typically used “Adonai” which means “the LORD”, instead of “God” when they read the Bible, in order to keep the third commandment “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain, following that Jewish tradiction as a Jewish himself, Matthew used the word “Kingdom of heaven”, instead of the word “Kingdom of God.” b) And secondly, in order to correct the distorted expectation of Jewish to the Messiah that the Messiah would com and defeat the Roman empire to build the political Messianic kingdom on earth, Matthew used the word of Kingdom of heaven, instead of the word “the kingdom of God,” since the heavenly kingdom Jesus inaugurated is an immanent and transcendent one, not a temporal and territorial kingdom. c) In addition, this word of kingdom of heaven implies Matthew’s intention to explain that the kingdom of God in the Old Testament was tied to Israel as a temporal and territorial concept, has now expanded to a new spiritual and transcendent community of church. d) And finally, to Jesus’ disciples who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman empire in AD 70, Matthew intended to explain this kingdom of heaven was inaugurated by Jesus Christ, the Messiah they had longed for, by His redemptive ministry by His suffering, crucifixion and resurrection and after His ascension and sitting on the throne, Jesus started heavenly reigns and also earthly reigns though the Holy Spirit He sent and His church He established.

4)    In that sense, the kingdom of God which Matthew wanted to proclaim was the kingdom which is already present, though hidden to many and unacknowledged by many, yet awaits a more public, future manifestation in which people will submit to his sovereignty, as in Ma 16:28, Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” and then after six day in Matthew 17:1-13, Jesus showed to Peter,James and John that He was transfigured and talked with Moses and Elijah.

5)    And also in this kingdom of heaven, even though the blessed people will have characters of being humble, meek, mourning, hunger for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart and peaceful, as Mt 5:3-11 said, yet, in the already-not-yet era, they would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake too.

6)    That’s why in the chapter 24, right before today’s text, while explaining the signs of the last days, Jesus said, in the end times, while false Christs and falso prophets will arise and deceive the elect, and tribulations such as wars, famines, and earthquakes will occur, Jesus’ disciples would be persecuted as they preached the good news of His kingdom to all nations, while lawlessness becomes more prevalent and people’s love cools. Therefore, Jesus exhorted that His disciples should stay awake to discern the end times, and also becoming His faithful and wise servants, they have to live the life of stewards, taking charge of our master’s household and distributing food to them at the right time.

7)    And then in the following chapter 25, repeating and expanding the themes of chapter 24: a) In verses 1 to 13, through the parable of the ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom, He exhorted us to stay awake as the wise virgins prepared both their lamps and oil, not as the foolish virgins did not prepare oil. b) And in the following verses 14 to 30, through the parable of the talents, when a master goes far away after giving talents to his servants, as a good and faithful servants made a great profit with the talents he received, while an evil and lazy servant simply buried the talents in the ground, He exhorted his disciples to live faithfully in that end times. c) And finally, in following verses 31 to 46 of chapter 25 as today's text, through the parable of the sheep and the goats, as the righteous fed when the least of the brothers and sisters were hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick or in the prison, while evil one did not so, Jesus exhorts us that we, the righteous will be rewarded the eternal life, and those who did not do so will be cursed and be punished forever.

8)    Likewise, the Gospel of Matthew is full of teachings that those who have received God's grace are destined to bear fruit through a life of gratitude in response to God’s grace, as Jesus said in Matthew 7 that those who are born again by the Holy Spirit and whose nature is changed into a new person, I mean, a good tree, then will do the will of the Father in heaven and can bear good fruits. Because the grace and the life of gratitude cannot be separated like the front and back of a coin. That’s why James said that faith without works is dead, and also even in Ezekiel 36:24-27, which prophesied about New Covenant, the reason why God gathered His people who had profaned His holy name in the Gentiles, led them out, brought them to their homeland, and sprinkled clean water on them to purify them, and then gave a new spirit and a new heart and heart of flesh and put the Holy Spirit, within them was to make them follow and keep God's laws and regulations.Since the salvation by God's grace becomes a powerful internal motivation to become God's holy people who live according to God's will.

9)    In that sense, as today’s text exhorted, the life to care for the least of the brothers of the Lord when they were hungry, or thirsty, or strangers, or naked or sick or in prison is the life of gratitude in response to His sheer grace. Here the least of the Lord's brothers are His disciples who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sometimes sick, and imprisoned because of the persecuted which they received for the sake of righteousness, as in Matthew 5:10. So, as also Matthew 10:42 says “Whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, he will by no means lose his reward”, I hope we could take care of those who have hard time for the kingdom of God.

10) Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, the least can be extended to be all the humanities who were created by God in His image, yet were suffering due to sin so that we, the disciples of the Lord, have to care for them as Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are those here, for they will receive mercy” based on Psalm 68:5 “God is a father to the fatherless and a judge to widows in his holy dwelling place” and Deut 10:17-20 “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe, He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” And secondly therefore, in the Lent season, in addition to the fasting which represents our repentance and return from sin, we used to practice the godly life of benevolence for the least who are suffering, since this almsgiving is our obedience to the desire which God works in us, so that I pray that in this second Sunday of the Lent, I pray that we could obey to our God’s will as God works in us to desire and to do in His pleasing will.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 The already but not yet tension in the kingdom of God can give us the deep inner motivation and inner confidence for our victory in the end, because our identity in the kingdom of God have already the consummated true reality. So, after thinking how you can have hope in this aspects of already but not yet, I hope you can share your thoughts with your team members together.

Q2 And also, in the kingdom of God, we can know that already His pleasing will of God toward His created world is inherent there. In this perspective, after we received His grace, we can know that our heart started to go outward to the people who are suffered with the sin as Mt 5:7 said. After reviewing your deep heart, if you can find any desire toward brothers and sisters and even your neighbors, then I hope you could share your thoughts for how you will obey to that calling to serve with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


bottom of page