Doing Something: The Fruit of Our Faith

Matthew 25
  /  April 21, 2024
Speaker: Jonathon Slagenweit

Well, you know where to turn in your bible if you haven’t already turned there.

Right? Our scripture reading today. And I do want to say a welcome to each one of you. So good to have you with us, Those that are here in person, those tuning in online, we welcome you to the service. Matthew chapter 25 is where we’re looking today.

We’ve been working through a series of messages, encouraging us to do something. Fact that God has redeemed redeemed us by his grace through faith so that we could be bumps on a log. I’m sorry, bumps on a pew. No. He’s created us unto Christ Jesus for good works.

Last Last week, we were in Exodus chapter 3 and looked at the account of Moses on the backside of the wilderness and God lights a bush on fire and God calls us to do some I find that passage of scripture fascinating when you consider that God says to Moses that I have seen the affliction of my people and I have come down. And then he says, now you go. Just a reminder that God’s calling in our lives is that we are called to go. We are called to do something. And as we go, it’s Christ in us and through us.

It is God at work in us, through us, in the in us through us. In the world. This morning, I want to talk to us from Matthew’s gospel chapter 25 of what is the result of our doing? What is the result of our doing? If I were to ask you this morning, how important are good works, what would be your response?

Would you view good works as a good idea, something that is encouraged for us to do? Would you view good works as, something that is optional to do if if I feel like it? If the opportunity arises, maybe I’ll engage in it. Do you view good works as instrumental to your faith? Do you find good works as a necessity, as an imperative to your faith.

How do you view good works? In Matthew’s account of chapter 25, Jesus gives us some pretty significant words. In fact, to me are some of the most challenging words in scripture. I’m gonna invite us to stand as we read these together. It’s a familiar passage of scripture, I’m sure.

When the and before and he shall separate them 1 from another as a shepherd divideth his and so the kinks say unto them on his right and here at the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. Naked and you and you and you and you and so the righteous answer him saying clothed stranger and took the inn or naked and or in prison and and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye did ye have done it unto one of the least of these my And to and he gave me no mead. I was thirsty. And he gave me no drink.

I was a then they also answer him and so we the in hunger or athirst or a stranger or naked or sick or in. And These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. Let’s pray together. This morning, we have rejoiced in your presence that we sense that is here. Guides us and directs us hearts, Lord, may, may this truth convict our hearts as we consider the reality of our eternity, as we consider the reality of our doing in this present life.

I pray it in Jesus name. Amen. Your may be seated. View. It, Matthew chapter 25, you would discover that there are 3 parables that Jesus tells in this chapter.

He begins by the familiar parable that we all know of the 10 virgins, 5 wise, 5 foolish. He tells of these virgins that have come for this wedding ceremony celebration and that 5 were prepared and 5 were not. Shot out. J. A.

S. Moves from that parable to tell the parable of the talents, the master who goes away for a season of time and gives to his servants and upon the master’s return asks for The man with 5 talents says, master, I have gone out, taken what you’ve given me, and I’ve doubled it. And here is 10 talents. The one with shows the 2 talents that he is profited. The final So his master, I knew you to be a man harvest where he is not.

And so I buried your talent and here’s your talent. And Jesus says of that man, you’re a wicked and a lazy. Parable that takes place of the final judgment. Me. And he will separate them 1 from an as a shepherd divides his sheep from his his generations together and he begins to sort through, the sheep and the goats as or through the people as a shepherd would sheeps.

And someone his right, someone his right, someone his some on his right, some on his left. It’s a picture of Christ bringing about some form of judgment. Now, I will I will be honest with you. If we are to interpret this passage of scripture in its context, it’s a little difficult. Some people would say, what judgment is this?

White throne judgment that takes place in Revelation chapter 20? What is the picture before us? And depending on your view of eschatology and end times, you might interpret this passage just a little bit differently. Hold on for just a second. Don’t get caught up in the weeds and miss the point.

All right? It would seem you, after the battle of Armageddon, Christ is preparing to set up debate on depending on your view of escapot. That’s not as important as what is taking place. The point. The point that Jesus is making with this passage of scripture the she the sheep and the goo based on what they the a scene of judgment that is taking place.

A time where Jesus is dividing out those who have done something from those who have not done something. Here’s, here’s the big picture. Here’s, here’s the big picture. Here’s, here’s the big picture. There is coming a point of judge where all of the nations will be brought together and where you and I will stand before Christ and each person and a So make no mistake here.

The overarching theme in this passage is a passage of judgment based on our. Within this judgment scene, there’s only 2 classes of Many of you probably know the name George Vernon, right? If you don’t know George, you know his brother Steve. George Vernon oftentimes would tell people, he says, Well, I have friends on both sides of the fence and I stand with my friends. Other words, he likes to straddle the fence.

In this particular scene, Jesus makes it clear there is no straddling the fence. Your 1 or the Look at verse 30. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, come you blessed of my 4. And here at the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. What is Jesus saying?

He to throated of Revelation. Jeezus equates heaven as the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the into the everlasting for the devil. Making a very clear statement in this judgment scene. There is no middle a part of the kingdom of God and welcomed into eternal life, or you are part of the kingdom of Satan that is doomed for destruction. It’s one of the 2.

Doomed for destruction. It’s one of the this. From Now, I want it to be very clear here. We have taken a passage of scripture, made a proof text, something that has to be put in the full context of scripture. How are we saved?

And we can’t just take this passage of scripture and just say, well, this is all that there is to say about salvation. No, no, no. Paul was very clear saved by grace through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast. And we all say what? Amen, right?

Not all about our trying and our striving and all about our work that saves us. Jesus was clear that salvation comes from repentance from Both Jesus and salvation, our salvation that comes by faith must produce some. Jaws was plain that yes, we’re saved by repenting of our sins. Something different from from what we were doing before. Repentance literally means turning from So Jesus tells us that when we have been saved, it produces produce.

Salvation produces produce in a person’s life. And Now, we ground? Now, we live in a little bit of a different day. I thought of this illustrator. If you don’t know what kind of tree you have growing in your yard by looking at its bark and its leaves, what do you do?

I I know that because the other the other week, brother Austin was over at my house, and I’d bought my wife a gardenia or not a gardenia, a hydrangea bush. Took a picture of it and pulled it up. And if if you want to know what kind of tree you have, one of the ways you can tell is wait until it starts dropping its produce, right? If if you have acorns that drop, what do you have? If it drops one of those 2, what do you have?

Well, it depends. You may have a pecan tree or you have a pecan tree. Right? If it starts dropping oranges, what do you have? You have an orange tree.

You know what kind of a tree it is based on the fruit that drops from that. Jisas says the way in which he is going to be able to identify in this judgment scene, what kind of a tree you were, draw. JESUS says, I will know the root that you were tapped into and the fruit that you produce in your life. And then, Barclay said, this is one of the most vivid parables which Jesus ever spoke. And the lesson of it is crystal.

He says the lie. It’s the God will judge us in accordance with our reaction to human point of this particular It’s the point that Jesus is trying to get across in this passagestra. If you want to boil it down to anything, what Jesus is going to look at is Did you live out the commandments of God? Did you love me with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength? And what is the second commandment?

The second commandment To love your neighbor as yourself. Life, Vine and not produce without producing acts of or connected to the source of the vine, then you live out the life of that vine. Don’t you live out the life of that vine, don’t you? You live out the life of that vine. The life of that vine.

Don’t you live out the nutrients that flow through that trunk that come from the root and feed the branch. And if you are connected to that vine, then you will, you will live out. Jesus says you will bear much I understand when we or or or or or or personal holiness. And when I say personal, I mean by that the separation from the world and its broadest, of those acts of of piety are essential expressions of our faith, but they’re not the most important acts that we do. But they’re not the most important acts that we do.

And they’re not the most important acts that we do. And they’re not the most important acts that we do. And they’re not the most important acts that we do. And they’re not the most important acts that we do. And they’re not the most important acts that we do.

And they’re not the most important acts that we do. And act. And just say to us this morning, I believe in the importance of daily scripture reading and living out all of those But when we get to heaven, Jesus is not going to ask us. When we get to heaven, Jesus is not going to ask Did you your bible everyday Did you go to church every time the door was open? Now, everybody hears me clearly this morning, don’t you?

I’m not saying that prayer and Bible reading and church attendance is not important. Everybody hear me? Say amen. But according to this passage of scripture, what Jesus is going to look at is All of that stuff do anything internally to produce fruit in your life. And all of that stuff do anything internally to produce fruit in your life.

And your. And just say for the yesterday, today, and acts of piety. They go through all of the acts of piety. They go through all of the acts of piety. They go through all of the acts of piety.

They go through all of the of piety. They go through all of the things that they’re supposed to do. But they failed in the most important and God judges them for it. Can I give you 2 examples? Maybe you want to turn to Micah Chapter 4.

You may want to turn as well to Isaiah chapter Lord says. Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and you strong foundations of the earth for the Lord has a complaint contention with Israel. Oh, my people, the Lord says. For I brought you up from the land of Egypt. I redeemed you from the house of bondage and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

Oh, my people remember now. Balaam, the son of Beor, answered from Acacia Grove to Gilgal that you may know the righteousness of the gal that you may know the righteousness of the -Shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the most Shall I come before him with burn offerings, with calves, a year? Will the Lord be pleased with 1,000 of rams, 10000 rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my. Or arods, did commanded Israel to do.

Absolutely. They were God had told Israel, you need to bring a sacrifice, and you need to bring a participate into the in the festivities, in the festivals of Israel, to participate into the in the festivities, in the festivals of Israel, reminding themselves of what God had done for them. Those would be the equivalent in our day of things like our daily our coming to church, our giving of our our ties and our church, our giving of our our ties and offer. All of those things. They’re so so they’re so they’re so they’re So many say amen.

They’re important. But if you keep reading in Mica’s account, this is what the Lord’s. And what does the Lord require But to do just to love mercy and to walk humbly with your sacrifices and worship the Lord and do all of those things. The Lord says, you have failed to do something of even greater importance. He He says, cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet.

Tell my people their transgression in the house of Jacob their sins, forsake the ordinance of their god. They ask of me the ordinances of justice. They take delight in approaching, you find pleasure and exploit all your labors. Indeed, you you find pleasure and exploit all your labors. Indeed, you fast for strife and debate and to strike with the fist of wicked.

Right. Is it a fast that I have chosen the voice of the Lord speaking to his and you’ve done all of these things. You’ve gone through all of the motions and you’re doing this fast and you’re going through all of this stuff. Is this really what I desire? It’s just not the fast that I have chosen.

It’s just a reward speaking. Is this not the fast that I’ve chosen to lose the bonds of wickedness and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out? When you see the naked that you cover him and not hide yourself from your own flesh, then your light shall break forth like the morning. Your healing shall spring forth speedily and your righteousness shall go before you. Rear guard.

Then you shall call and the Lord will answer. You shall cry and he will say, here I am. If you take away the yoke from your midst, the the pointing of your finger, the speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry Lord will guide you continually Those from among you shall build the old waste places. You shall raise up the foundations of many generations. You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets, streets to dwell in.

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honor and shall honor him not doing your own ways nor finding your own pleasure nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the. And I will cause you to ride on the high heels of the earth and feed you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, the mouth of the Lord. What your the mouth of the Lord has spoken. What is Isaiah saying to us? And yes, all of those things are important.

You’re fast. You’re going through all of those things. But all of those and Is this not the fast that the Lord has strivenced to clothe the naked, to care for the afflict I’m saying that Jesus is telling us this morning from Matthew chapter 20 5 in a broader sense from his entire connection between our relationship with God and what we do. There’s a direct correlation between our relationship with God and our care for humanity. And can I just tell us from this passage of scripture, Jesus, it And can I just tell us from this passage of scripture, Jesus says, it will be identified by where you spend eternity?

I just tell you if that doesn’t sober us this morning, it should. Fellow neighbor, how I treat the people around me, ultimately reveal where I spend eternity. Makes clear a couple of things about the nature of these works that he’s calling us to. Let me give just 2 of them real quick to you. Let me give just 2 of them real quick to you.

And real quick to you. And real quick to you. And real quick to you. And real quick to you. And real quick to you.

And real quick to you. And real quick to you. And real quick to you. And real quick to you. And real quick to you.

And real quick to you. And scenes that Jesus acknowledges in Matthew chapter 25 are a source. It doesn’t take great wealth. It doesn’t take great fame. It doesn’t take a lot of money.

It’s it’s something that all of us can do. Look at it. I was hungry. It’s getting about lunchtime. It It’s Getting About Lunch.

JESUS says I was hungry and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me.

What’s Jesus saying? Listen. The things that you and I do don’t have to be some sort of earth shattering event that draws great fanfare or attention. It’s simple things that Jesus says, if you are connected to me, you will do a if you are connected to me, you will do what I did. And it’s the simple acts of how we treat one another.

None of what Jesus mentioned requires any great gifts. Or any great wealth. Second one. All of these events were not calculated. All of these events were not calculated.

None of them were calculated. In fact, whenever he says this to the sheep, the sheep look at Jesus and say, what are you talking about? When did, when did we feed you? When did we see when did we see when did we see when did we see when did we see when did we see when did we give you something to drink? I never saw you naked and gave you something to clothe yourself.

I never saw you in prison. I didn’t know you were even sick, Lord. What are you talking about? And jesus, when you did it unto the least of these, my brother. You did it unto me.

Can I just say to us this morning, Can I just say to us this morning, you and I have no idea? The people that we encounter on a daily basis that just need a cup of cold water, or need a hamburger, or need a shirt, and visit with them. You and I have no idea, jeez. For the righteous, they thought they had done nothing special. And on the flip side, the wicked and lazy it was you, sure, we’d have given if we had known that it was you, sure, we’d have given you something to drink.

We’d have given you something to eat. But because it was just humanity, it’s not a big deal. Do you catch that from this passage of scripture? Do you see that? In essence, they If only they would have that homeless person prison.

Oh, they would have gone in. And just tell us this morning what Jesus is trying to communicate to and if you’re not even able to do something like that, you’re connecting them with places that can give them a place. And I just tell us there are some homeless ministries around here, miracle. There’s a place down here in Pickens that you can connect people with. It may be as simple as buying somebody a sleeping bag so that they have something to sleep in.

And you may not realize it, but that fella that’s bearded and smells bad. And you say, no, it’s not Jesus. Now, I have, I’ve met Jesus, the homeless man. At least that’s what he told me. It’s a a year ago.

I met this fellow, And what you and I may be doing is walking away. And that a guy he had sung called What if Jesus comes back like that? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo. Hobo? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo?

What if Jesus comes back as a hobo? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo?

What if Jesus comes back as a hobo? What if Jesus comes back as a hobo? A kid who was born to a mother who was hooked on And now it’s easy for us to say, what, Jesus isn’t coming back like that. You and I know that. But can I remind us from this passage of scripture?

What Jesus is trying to communicate And the way that you and I treat those people is really how we treat Did I, did I present the gospel to somebody today? It’s not all about did I do something evangelistic. Sometimes it’s just a cup of cold water and Jesus’ name. Sometimes it’s just looking at a homeless person. Want you to know that God loves you and I I want you to know that God loves you.

I care about your life. Sometimes it’s as simple as looking to a drug addicted person and you understand that. You understand there’s something inside of me that says, the Lord give me a the way you treat. Someday I’ll stand before and the roots of my soul have been producing fruit, and it will determine where I spend eternity. It may be as simple as helping an unwed murderer.

And and unwed and stored and aborting that child. Go in to -Right. -to help house somebody. It may be as simple as helping underprivileged children in this You and I have no idea. The people that we touch, the people that we touch, the God would not ask you at your and at the last day how much you have left in your where you have given so and so much to say to you, I was, and you gave me no food.

I was naked and you did not take these words to heart. The important thing is whether you have given to your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor and treated your neighbor given to your neighbor and treated him well. The story is told of Martin of Tours. Devoted Christian 4th century did not want to serve in the Roman army but was eventually conscripted into service. While he was in service, the story is told that one day he was traveling, had nothing with him other than he was dressed in his, in his room and draw.

And he came across a poor beggar. In his room and came across the poor beggar. And he dismounted from his his horse it was chivalry. It was and I don’t have anything to give to you. I have no idea what I have, I will, and he took off his cloak, his Roman cloak, and he cut it in, and he and he cut it in to and he wrapped it in to and he wrapped it in to and he’s and he’s told The story is told that that night, Martin of Tours had a dream, had a vision of Jesus walking through heaven, Wrapped in that half a cloak.

And as he walked, the angels asked him, Jesus, where did you get that cloak? And he said, and by, what is inside what we are tapped into, where our roots are grounded, and my rares, degree that, yes, we love you with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But help us to love our neighbor. And to do to those who are hurting and broken. And were connected to the let’s stand together as we close this morning.

Father, this morning, I confess that it is so easy to look at a broken world around us and see ruined lives, wrecked lives, And turn our nose and walk away. Lord, would you somehow, through the help of your spirit, would you illuminate our hearts to the reality that the way in which we treat the hurting and the broken and the wounded around us, That’s the way that we treat you. And Lord, someday we’re going to stand before you, and we’re going to give an account of what we have done. And I pray this morning that you would stir our hearts to see that when we have been redeemed by your grace, you have created us under Christ Jesus for good works in your to do something. Lord, would you help us to be faithful just in the simple acts of life, in the simple things as we go about our daily activity.

Give us eyes to see, Lord, humanity as you see them. And then, father, give us hearts that would respond the ways in which you see in our own hearts. There’s callousness to the hurting world around us. I pray holy spirit that you would take the file of your grace and begin to shave all of those calluses off of our heart. Give us hearts that are tender.

Give us hearts that are broken with what breaks your heart. I pray these things in Jesus name. Father, as we go from here, keep your hand upon us. Bring us back safely to worship you again tonight. We ask it in Jesus name.

Amen. Amen. The Lord bless you. You are dismissed.

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