“Come, You Who Are Blessed By My Father”

The Last Sunday of the Church Year (A)
“Come, You Who Are Blessed By My Father”
November 26, 2017

  Sermon Text:    Matthew 25:31-46

 Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31)

Even being just that, the “Son of Man” … flesh of our flesh… Christ our Savior saw with crystal clarity what was to come. He knew perfectly what will soon be… the reality of it all for you, me and all the world.

Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, lays it all out for us in the glorious text before us this morning. It is hard for our limited minds to fully picture and appreciate the grandeur and the majesty of this moment… this cataclysmic event that can happen at any time… that will happen, marking the end of time.

Christ in the flesh… our triumphant King arrayed in all of His divine splendor, descending from the clouds. And with Him, it says, are all His angels.

How many will see this and say, “He is real.” And this in shock. The One they vehemently denied or simply doubted will be right there in front of them… in the flesh… sitting on His throne.

For the majority of mankind, it will be the judgement throne as they watch themselves and countless others gathered together, there and then separated forever from the faithful… from all who know Christ is real…

… from all who confess with their lips and with their lives that Jesus is Lord… from all who, while they walked this earth, bore their crosses in cheerful submission to God’s Holy Word… from all who suffered for the faith rather than to deny it or relinquish it.

There will be husbands eternally separated from their wives and wives from their husbands… parents from their children and children from their parents… families separated, friends separated…

God’s holy angels will do the gathering… bringing all the nations before the throne. And our Lord tells us here in our Gospel text that He… Himself… “will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:32-33)

It is no accident that Christ uses, yet again, the analogy of the shepherd. The shepherd who for so long sought to gather the lost … to feed his flock… to lead them beside still waters… to protect and comfort them.

Now, the shepherd separates those who would not come unto Him… those who were stubborn like a goat. They will go on His left.

The faithful… will be on His right. A position they know… we know… very well. For as we heard the Lord our God once say to His chosen people of old, so we have heard Him say again and again to us… to all who make up the new Israel,

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Indeed, all of us can say to a person that the Lord has certainly held us up from falling back and sinking into the dark quagmire of sin. And this with His righteous right hand… the very hand at which we will stand on the last day… before the throne… before our King who will say to us the sweetest of words,

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)

Think about that. Let it sink in. It has all been ready and waiting for you… for me… for all the faithful… from the foundation of the world! Since the creation. Since the beginning of time… it has been ready. Your inheritance, ready. Your heavenly home, ready. Ready and waiting for the moment now described to us in this text.

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

How these divine words, glorious words stand in stark contrast to those which Jesus Christ will declare to those on the left… “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)

What makes the difference… what is the determining factor… the essential factor… present in one (those on the right) and absent in the other (those on the left?

It all comes down to faith. It all centers in faith… faith in Jesus Christ… a living faith that will always produce the good, right and salutary “fruits of faith.”

And of this fruit… the greatest of these… that which is clearly evident in all the faithful… is love… love toward the King, our King… and love toward our brethren… from the greatest of them to the least.

And Christ drives home the point that what He is speaking of here is not magnanimous love, gregarious love, superficial or a “show-offy” type of love. But rather love which is of divine origin. We are talking… He, Jesus, is talking about simple love, selfless love, humble love, love that is caring and thoughtful… love that is truly from the heart… from all hearts in which He dwells… and reigns.

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

Notice my friends, that we see the true nature of the righteous, those at Christ’s right hand, in their surprise at what their King has to say because what they did… to them… is simply what you do… what all do… by faith… in faith.

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)

Isn’t it amazing what faith does in us… works in us… and this in Christ Jesus. The faith given to us, created in us in Baptism. The faith lived out all of our days. The faith by which, in which, we fear nothing, absolutely nothing, including what we will happen on the last day. That which will be the greatest of days as we hear our dear Savior say,

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Amen.

May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.

“Come, You Who are Blessed”  11/26/17  The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL