Something Christians and non-Christians generally agree on is that this world had a beginning and it’s going to have an end. Non Christians will say it started by accident & it’s going to finish by accident. Christians will say it started with God and it’s going to finish with God.
When the Son of God steps into history I would expect He’s going to let us in in a few secrets. And He’s told us today what’s going to happen at the end of the universe.
Jesus is going to come back to earth as King and everything will stop. He will sit on a throne and every person from every race and every age will be gathered in front of Him and He will sort them into 2 groups. Just two. They may look similar, but their destinies will be hideously different.
To one He will say, “You are blessed”
To the other He will say, “You are cursed”.
To one He will say, “Come with Me”
To the other He will say, “Depart from Me”.
To one He will say, “Enter the inheritance prepared for you”
To the other He will say, “Enter the eternal fire prepared for the devil”.
Well that’s pretty blunt.
So who’s going to be in each group?? That’s the second big secret that Jesus reveals. And I have a huge problem here. Can you see what it is. If I were to ask how does a person become saved? You would say something like, “Accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour and Lord. Trust in His death on the cross, and ask Him to take over your life.”
But what does Jesus say is the basis for judgement? 6 things.
- feed the hungry, water the thirsty, welcome the stranger, cloth the naked, tend the sick, visit the prisoner.
We say No No No! This can’t be right!
Whatever happened to John 3:16? Eph 2:8, Rev.3:20, Two Ways to Live? “You are not saved by your good deeds. You are saved by trusting in Jesus’ death & resurrection”? Yet here is Jesus, apparently saying everyone will be judged on their deeds of charity. It should get our heresy hackles bursting.
It gets worse. As you look at Jesus teachings, you find that Jesus often teaches that what you do can affect your salvation. eg.
* If your eye causes you to sin …
* Unless you forgive your brother
* Not everyone who says.
These are the sayings that we tend to choke on, because we think that Jesus couldn’t have meant that so we try and reword them.
The fact is, works do matter. Not to get us saved, but because we are saved.
When revival hits a community one of the first things you see is people caring for the poor.
It’s there in the parable. Jesus said. I know who you are, because you cared for the lost.
They said, “But Lord, we never realized we were doing it for You.”
Jesus says, “Exactly. You just did it. That’s what shows who you are”
And we need to just do it.
In the first century, Christians set up food distribution to support widows. Not surprisingly, Christianity flourished.
In the middle ages, Christians opened up monasteries and took in the children whose parents had died in the plagues. Not surprisingly, Christianity flourished.
150 years ago, Christians were in the forefront of Dr. Barnado’s homes, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Scouts, Boys Brigade.
What’s happened now is that Christians have stopped doing and gone back to talking.
Aussies hate Christians and to be honest I don’t blame them.
We’re also guilty of having a hidden agenda. For too long, we’ve had this notion that Jesus healed the sick so He could preach to them. You’d have a hard job finding that in the Bible. The reason Jesus healed people is because they were sick.
If we find ourselves saying,
“What’s the point of feeding the hungry if it doesn’t get them into Heaven?”
We’ve lost the plot. The reason for feeding the hungry is because they’re hungry.
Jesus sees caring for the poor as perhaps the most important thing we can do. If you want to be a person favoured by God, then care for the poor. If you want to be a church favoured by God, then care for those outside. “Because you did it for Me”
So: An alive church is one who serves the needy.
It will be different for each of us.
Individually or as a family or as a church
What’s your dream for TCPC?
eg.1 Neighbourhood lighthouse.
eg2 Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier and a Christian. One cold winter day, as he was entering a city, a beggar stopped him and asked for alms. Martin had no money, but the beggar was blue and shivering with cold. Martin took off his cloak worn and frayed though it was and he cut it in two and gave half to the beggar. That night he had a dream. In it, he saw heaven with angels and Jesus in the middle of them, wearing half of a Roman soldier’s cloak. One of the angel’s said to him, “Master why are you wearing that battered old cloak. Jesus replied, “This is a gift from My servant Martin”
The Christian church in Tamworth is a vast underutilized army of anointed people.
So let’s not be standing in a shed saying come in and get saved.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and let our light so shine that people will see our good deeds and attribute them to our Father in Heaven.