Serving and the Judgment
I. Study Text: Matthew 25:31-46
II. Theme: When we emphasize authority and commands, we often (1) ignore or (2) oversimplify God's purposes. In the
authority concept, Christians obey commands because it is required. Obedience does not occur to accomplish God's
purposes. It occurs to respect authority.
Jesus' concept of obedience focused on serving. Christians love God by loving people (Matthew 5:43-48;
Romans 13:8-10; 1 Peter 1:22,23; 1 John 3:13-24). Christians minister to Jesus by ministering to people .
Jesus gave no parable about a spiritual test to be given on the judgment day. He gave no parable that coupled the
judgment with a check list or with a form that determined "where you stand on the issues." Jesus did connect the
judgment with serving.
III. Questions and Application
1. When the Son of Man (Jesus) returns in his glory, who will come with him (verse 31)?
2. Where will he sit (verse 31)?
3. Who will be gathered before him (verse 32)?
4. In the separation, who will be placed on his right (verse 33)? Who will be placed on his left?
5. What will the King (Jesus, the Son of Man) say to those on the right (verse 34)?
6. To what physical needs of Jesus had they ministered (verses 35,36)?
7. How did those on the right (the righteous) respond to Jesus (verses 37-39)?
8. What answer did the King give them (verse 40)?
9. What did the King say to those who were on his left (verse 41)? Where did they go?
10. He said they failed to minister to his physical needs. What physical needs (verses 42, 43)?
11. In your own words, state why they considered Jesus' statement unjust (verse 44).
12. According to Jesus, when did they fail to minister to him (verse 45)?
13. Discuss who the "least of these" are.
14. Where would those on the left go (verse 46)?
a. Where would the righteous go?
b. In this parable, what distinguished the righteous from the accursed ones?
15. In your understanding of this parable, what is the primary lesson about the importance of Christians serving people?
IV. Conclusion: Focusing on our ability to do all things right fills us with a sense of failure and fear. Law exists to expose
failures and shortcomings. Serving fills us with humility and love. Serving "the least of these" transforms us (1) into the
image of our Father who sends the sun and rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45) and (2) into the image of our
Savior who was and is merciful and kind to the evil (which includes each of us!).
Is Jesus Christ our authority? Absolutely! Must we respect his authority? Certainly! Should we obey his commands?
Unquestionably! When we obey his teachings with his heart and mind, we will pursue God's purposes just as he did,
even when God's purposes lead to a cross.
What is your confidence as you face judgment?