Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Following Jesus Christ

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Following Jesus Christ

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Following Jesus Christ

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We are specially called and sanctified, but this comes with a need to become a new creation with a new attitude in which we develop God's character and follow Christ and become one with God and each other. We must trust in God's love and not in our own way of thinking and doing. We need to follow Christ and be like Him.

Sermon Notes

These are the speaker’s notes. This is almost a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.

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I’d like to tell you a story. A grandfather and his grandson were walking through the woods together. Coming upon a rather wet area, the grandfather didn’t want his grandson to get his shoes all muddy (Or even worse, to lose one or both. So he told the boy to follow him and he would lead him to the other side. The grandfather very carefully picked a path out through the low-lying area which had very soft spots in it. As he led the boy through to the other side, he was careful to take shorter steps. When they reached firm ground on the other side, the boy told the grandfather, “Grandpa, I put my foot exactly where you put your foot!” The little guy had his eye on every step that his grandfather was taking. He was determined to put his foot right where his grandfather had stepped. Today, I want us to look at a command that Jesus gave. A command that ought to have as much impact on you and me as it did when we were first called into God’s Church. He gave this command to his disciples when he first began his ministry here on earth. He also gave it to you and me when we were called and for as long as we live the Christian life. Before we begin, let’s establish that it is God, the Father, who calls us into the truth and his Church. (Turn to John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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) (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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) no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

(Turn to John 17) John 17:6 John 17:6I have manifested your name to the men which you gave me out of the world: your they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept your word.
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, 9, 11-12 “I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Verse 9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. Verse 11-12 now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given Me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom you gave me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. It is very clear that the Father is the one who chooses and calls those are to understand and have the opportunity to rise to meet Christ in the air when he returns. But it is also clear that in order for us to rise to meet Him, we must obey and follow Christ. Here in v. 12, Jesus, in his prayer, mentions that 11 of the 12 have followed him, but Judas obviously did not. Let’s look at examples of those who were called to follow and obey.

(Turn to Matthew 4) Matthew 4:18-22 Matthew 4:18-22 [18] And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. [19] And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. [20] And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. [21] And going on from there, he saw other two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. [22] And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
American King James Version×
And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 then he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 they immediately left their nets and followed him. 21 going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the Son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Notice. They walked away from their source of income and their equipment and followed Jesus as he commanded them. James and John responded to his calling by immediately leaving not only their boat and equipment, but their father, as well. Turn to Matthew 10. Let’s read verses 34-39.

Matthew 10:34-39 Matthew 10:34-39 [34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.
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34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 for I have come to ‘Set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 and he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. 39 he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. Many of us here, when we were called, and our minds were opened to the truth of God’s plan and his way, had to face a separation between us and our families. Depending on our family’s religious fervor, the separation may have been minor, or in some cases, like my own, very difficult. My dad was a minister in the Church of Christ. My whole family--brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins and grandparents were strong members of the Church of Christ. In their minds, the Church of Christ was the only true Church. But since we understood God’s truth and his calling, we had no choice but to obey him and follow Christ. The same situation occurred a few years ago, when a choice had to be made whether to follow men’s teachings or to continue to follow Christ. Again, there were separations in some families. That’s never easy. But Jesus Christ’s command to follow him is not a matter of whether it’s an easy thing to do. It’s not optional. Was it easy for Jesus to suffer and die for the sins of mankind? We know the answer. Obeying God is not always easy…but it is always best.

(Turn to Matthew 19:27 Matthew 19:27Then answered Peter and said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you; what shall we have therefore?
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) Here Jesus has just finished answering a wealthy young man who had asked Jesus what he should do to have eternal life. Jesus had answered that he should keep the commandments. The young man asked, “Which ones?” Jesus replied by starting to name some of the ten. The young man said that he had done these things since he was a child and asked, “What do I still lack?” Jesus knew that the young man was very wealthy and that he loved his wealth. So he answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” This young man was offered the opportunity to walk with Jesus Christ, as one of his disciples. But he turned away sorrowfully, because he was not willing to part with his physical wealth. Jesus commented to his disciples that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So we see that sometimes following Christ is not easy. Sometimes it means sacrificing a job or even relationships with those we love.

(Look at verses 27-29 here in Matthew 19) (Matthew 19:27-29 Matthew 19:27-29 [27] Then answered Peter and said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you; what shall we have therefore? [28] And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred times, and shall inherit everlasting life.
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) 27 then Peter answered and said to him, “See, we have left all and followed you. Therefore what shall we have?” 28 so Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. Jesus told them that there is nothing in this physical life here on earth to compare with what they had been called to receive when he returns to establish God’s kingdom here on earth. The same holds true for you and for me. As we follow Christ, our values are not the same as those who are in the world. We cannot agree with what the world refers to as the “New Morality” (Which is not new.) nor is it morality. It is immorality. Satan continues to inspire more and more violence and explicit sexuality on TV and in the movies. The result is a society which accepts these things as normal. That, in turn, leads to more heartache and sorrow in the lives of those who follow these ways. But God has opened our minds to see that the ways of the world with their false values do not lead to happiness. Our calling is to follow Christ and to develop and grow in God’s spirit and the mind of Christ.

(Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
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) (V. 17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (V.18) now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” Our calling is to come out of this world which is greatly influenced by Satan, the God of this world. We are to be obeying God’s laws and keeping his commandments—displaying God’s character in our actions and attitudes to those around us. (Look at v. 20) 2 Corinthians 5:20 2 Corinthians 5:20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.
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V.20) therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God was pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. Remember what Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 5? Let’s go there (Matthew 5:14-16 Matthew 5:14-16 [14] You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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) 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. We are to be different—ambassadors representing a way of life—and demonstrating God’s way of loving and giving and caring for others. When the scriptures quote Jesus as saying, “Follow me”, the Greek word that is used means ‘To follow one who precedes, to join him as his attendant, to accompany him’ --- (In other words, to walk with him not merely walk the same road that he had walked.) So when Jesus told Peter and John to “Follow me”, he was actually saying, “Come, walk with me as my disciples and companions. Learn from me and (with the help of the Holy Spirit), grow into those who think and act like me and my Father!” Think of it brethren! God, the Father, chose you and me and called us, along with all of our brethren, to walk with Jesus Christ as his companions, his disciples. “But”, you say, “Jesus is not here, on earth, for us to walk with.” Remember what Jesus said to his disciples just before he ascended into heaven? He gave them a job to do. It was a job that they could not finish. We call it the “Great Commission”.

(Turn to Matthew 28:19-20 Matthew 28:19-20 [19] Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
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) 19 go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Would his disciples be able to complete the job? Obviously not. But notice his promise at the end: “I am with you even to the end of the age.” (In other words) “I will never leave you or forsake you.” But he was talking to them, not to us, wasn’t he? No! Not just to them. Remember what he said in his prayer to his father about us just before his arrest and crucifixion? (Turn to John 17) John 17 is the Lord’s Prayer. (The whole chapter is his prayer just before he went out with his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane where he would be betrayed.) Notice how earnestly he prays for his disciples. He loved them and was about to leave them.

John 17:1-11 John 17:1-11 [1] These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you: [2] As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. [3] And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [4] I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do. [5] And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was. [6] I have manifested your name to the men which you gave me out of the world: your they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept your word. [7] Now they have known that all things whatever you have given me are of you. [8] For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you did send me. [9] I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me; for they are yours. [10] And all my are yours, and your are mine; and I am glorified in them. [11] And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.
American King James Version×
1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your son also may glorify you, 2 as you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. 3 and this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given me to do. 5 and now, O father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was. 6 “I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you. 8 for I have given to them the words which you have given me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 and all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be one as we are. Don’t you just sense his love and concern for them? But let’s drop down to v.20. Jesus prayed not only for the 11 disciples who were with him, but for all who would be called by the Father after them—(And that includes you and me!)

Read vs. 20-23. John 17:20-23 John 17:20-23 [20] Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [21] That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. [22] And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: [23] I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.
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20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as you, father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 and the glory which you gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one: 23 I in them, and you in me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them as you have loved me Yes, Christ prayed for all who would be called into his Church from that time forward until the time when he will return. (And yes, we are included!) God chose to open our minds to understand his plan for mankind and he called us to be baptized and to receive his Holy Spirit to help us to grow in his mind and very character for a special purpose. Do you want to look at something very encouraging? Turn to Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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, 31, 35-39. Here in Romans 8, the apostle Paul is writing to the Church (And that includes us.) Let’s skip through a few verses here in the last half of the chapter. V.28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.” V.31, what then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Vs.35-39 who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 as it is written: “For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. What beautiful and reassuring words! God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, have a love for us which is constant and unconditional. And even when we stumble and fall, they are faithful and merciful to forgive us when we repent and ask to be forgiven. Even in the Old Testament, God assured those whom he called of his support and help. We won’t go back there, but in Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1, God named Joshua to take over for Moses when the children of Israel were ready to cross over into Canaan. You remember that Israel had wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they had balked at going into Canaan when God told them to. They trusted the report of some of the spies who returned with reports that the people of Canaan were giants. They had seen Pharaoh’s army drowned in the Red Sea, and water gushing from a rock at God’s command, and quail and manna enough to feed the multitude every day and many other miracles. And yet, they did not trust God to give them the land which he had promised them. Because of their unbelief, God sent them to wander in the wilderness for forty years (until the adult generation had died.)

Then, in Joshua 1, God spoke to Joshua and gave him his marching orders. Three times -- (in a very short chapter) --God told Joshua to be strong and of good courage, to be very courageous and not to be afraid because God was with him. God was encouraging Joshua. He was saying, in so many words, “Look, I will never drop you. I will never let you go.” Even in the Old Testament, we have the examples of individuals who were drawn to God and had a close personal relationship with him. As they were obedient and remained close to him, they were blessed. Even when they strayed away from him and sinned, God was willing to forgive them when they repented and asked for forgiveness. Sometimes we may feel like God has abandoned us. When that happens, it is likely that we have drifted away from him. Am I saying that when we have various physical problems it means that we are not close to God? No. Don’t get me wrong. Bad things do happen to good people at times. You and I are physical. We get sick and we hurt physically and emotionally. Our bodies grow older every day. Satan loves to cause us to doubt God’s love and care when we are hurting. But if we are close to God, and trust him to care for us and help us, we can be sure that He will not leave us or forsake us. I cannot help but admire those in our prayer requests who have serious, (even terminal) health problems. Yet they are thankful for our prayers and ask that we pray that God's will be done in their lives. That shows a mature understanding that God loves us and he will not forsake us. It also shows a trust that God’s word is sure and that when we die in a close relationship with God, we have great and precious promises to look forward to. (Let’s go back to Matthew 16) This is another place where Jesus tells us to follow him.

Matthew 16:24 Matthew 16:24Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
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“And Jesus said unto his disciples, “If any man desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” We have been made separate, called by God, the Father. We have also been told- (invited) -by Jesus Christ to follow him and walk with him. Here we see self denial is involved in following Christ. (Look at verse 25.) Matthew 16:25 Matthew 16:25For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
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, 27 (Verse 25) for whosoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Look at v. 27) (Verse 27) for the Son of Man will come in the glory of his father with his angels, and then he will reward each according to his works. Here, Jesus tells us that following him will not always be easy, that there will be trials. How do we know that we will be able to pass those tests? (Turn to 1 Corinthians 10) (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
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) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. As trials come our way, the natural tendency is to feel self-pity or to strike out at those around us.

Turn to 1 Peter 2. Here, Peter is talking to Christians who are slaves. (1 Peter 2:18-24 1 Peter 2:18-24 [18] Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent. [19] For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. [20] For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [21] For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: [22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously: [24] Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
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) (18) Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear (Respect), not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. (19) for this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. (20) for what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (21) for to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in his steps: (22) who committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth, (23)who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to him (God) who judges righteously (24) who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to our sins, might live—by whose stripes you were healed. Jesus Christ set the example for self-denial when he humbly allowed himself to be tortured and crucified for our sins. There was nothing right or just about how he was treated but he did not strike out at those around him. Question: Am I humble? Yielded? Self-denying (in my attitude toward others?)

(Turn to Matthew 5) (Matthew 5:3 Matthew 5:3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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, 5, 7, 10-12) (Verse 3) blessed are the humble (Poor in spirit) for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Verse 5) blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Verse 7) blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Verse 10) blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven Verse 11) blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. (Verse 12) rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Again— (Matthew 16:24-25 Matthew 16:24-25 [24] Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. [25] For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
American King James Version×
) And Jesus said unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

(Turn to Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 25:31-46 [31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. [34] Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: [36] Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? [38] When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? [39] Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you? [40] And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. [41] Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [42] For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: [43] I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you? [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×
) 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then He will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 when did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? 39 or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ 40 and the king will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 then he will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 and these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Brethren, obviously Jesus was telling us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves—to help and care for those who are in need of physical help as well as kindness and loving care. And his parable of the Good Samaritan tells us that our neighbor is any person who is in need of our help. The sheep were those who cared and entered God's Kingdom. The goats didn’t care and didn’t enter. Even closer to home, how about our brethren? The elderly, widows, the lonely, young people, the sick or injured. We are the family of God. We need to love and care for each other, to pray for one another, to encourage and pick one another up. We need to follow Christ and learn to be like him.

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