Matthew 25:34
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Sermons
The Surprise of the RighteousCharles KingsleyMatthew 25:34
The Great AssizeJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 25:31-46
The JudgmentMarcus Dods Matthew 25:31-46
The Judgment of the NationsW.F. Adeney Matthew 25:31-46
A Call to GloryJ. Vaughan, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
Charitable Actions Reveal an Inward GraceC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:34-44
Charity Ministers to Self-EnjoymentT. Manton.Matthew 25:34-44
Christ Inviting His Saints to His KingdomC. Bradley.Matthew 25:34-44
Christ Reproaching the WickedMatthew 25:34-44
Christian BenevolenceAnon.Matthew 25:34-44
Christian SympathyJ. Gaskin, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
Christ's RepresentativesTranslated from the German of Krummacher.Matthew 25:34-44
Destiny Determined by ServiceablenessJ. C. Jones.Matthew 25:34-44
Done to My Friends is Done to MeMatthew 25:34-44
God Rewards CharityT. Manton.Matthew 25:34-44
Hard to See Christ in the Poverty of the SaintsT. Manton.Matthew 25:34-44
HeavenJ. Leifchild, D. D.Matthew 25:34-44
Heaven Prepared Far the SaintsC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:34-44
Judgment Upon WorksT. Manton.Matthew 25:34-44
Kindhess to Christ's ServantsMatthew 25:34-44
Necessity of Good WorksR. Winterbotham, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
Practical Beneficence the True Christian LifeR. Veitch, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
Relation of Good Works to ChristianityMartin Luther., F. B. Proctor, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
Self-ForgetfulnessC. D. Bridgeman, D. D.Matthew 25:34-44
Sins of OmissionT. Manton.Matthew 25:34-44
The Blessed Sometimes Think Themselves Cursed, ForgottenJ. Cumming, D. D.Matthew 25:34-44
The Disabilities of SelfishnessH. Allon.Matthew 25:34-44
The Divine Law of CompassionT. R. Evans.Matthew 25:34-44
The Final SeparationC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:34-44
The Final TestH. Melvill, B. D.Matthew 25:34-44
The Objects, Source, and Dignity of Christian LiberalityT. Robinson, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
The Principle by Which Men Shall be JudgedA. Watson, D. D.Matthew 25:34-44
The Reasons for Christ's SentenceT. Manton.Matthew 25:34-44
The Reward of the RighteousC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 25:34-44
The Surprise of the RighteousJ. W. Alexander.Matthew 25:34-44
The Tests of the Final JudgmentS. Robins, M. A., W. Clarke., A. MeCaul, D. D.Matthew 25:34-44
The Unavailing Declinatures of Praise and BlameM. Martin, M. A.Matthew 25:34-44
There is More in Our Deeds than We are Aware OfCanon Scott-Holland.Matthew 25:34-44
True Benevolence of ChristianityMatthew 25:34-44
The two earlier parables of judgment refer to those who are in confessed relationship with God. The parable of the ten virgins represents the relationship of friendship, - that of people who would share in the joys of God's home, as friends at a wedding feast; the parable of the talents represents a less intimate relationship, - that of service; the talents are committed to their proprietor's "own servants." Now the scene changes, and we are brought out to the larger world of the nations; the judgment of those who do not know Christ as their Friend or consciously serve him as their Master is here typified. To Jews this would mean the judgment of the Gentiles; to Christians it represents the judgment of the heathen, with those, also, who live in Christendom, but who do not give their adherence to any of the Churches.

I. CHRIST WILL JUDGE THE WORLD.

1. There will be a judgment of the world. This is not to be confined to the Church; it will not be only for those who acknowledge Christ. We cannot escape from it by ignoring the rule of Christ. The most heedless and careless, the most worldly and unspiritual, the most sceptical and materialistic, will be brought before the bar of the universal judgment.

2. This judgment will be in the hands of Christ. It will be conducted by the "Son of man," who, even when acting as a Judge, is to be regarded as a Shepherd dividing his flocks. Therefore the judgment will be conducted with humanity and with sympathy, with the discrimination of knowledge gained in experience.

II. THE JUDGMENT OF CHRIST WILL RESULT IN A TWOFOLD DIVISION.

1. There will be two classes. All are not condemned; but all are not approved. Even Jesus with all his graciousness must reprobate what is wrong. His gospel is not a security of salvation for the sinful impenitent.

2. There will be but two. These are the main divisions. All characters tend either downward or upward. We are all either in the narrow way or in the broad way - either sheep or goats.

3. These classes will be separated. At present they are united. There will be a revelation and a division, and each man will then go to his own place.

III. THE GROUND OF JUDGMENT WILL BE MEN'S CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE. It will not be a profession of religion, nor a creed, nor a performance of acts of worship. Christ looks chiefly to conduct in the world. He takes what is done to one of his brethren as the test. This is just the same as if it were done to him, because he is so perfectly sympathetic, that he feels what is done to his brother exactly as though it were done to himself. The rule is for the judgment of the heathen and those outside the Church of Christ. More is expected of Christ's own confessed followers - lamps well supplied with oil of grace, and faithful use of entrusted talents. But such people cannot be excused from what is expected even of the heathen. We can all best serve Christ by ministering to his brethren. This is what he most cares for.

IV. THE JUDGMENT WILL RESULT IN BLESSEDNESS AND PUNISHMENT.

1. There is the joy of the kingdom for the sheep on the right hand. It is remarkable to see that the kingdom was prepared for such from the foundation of the world. From the first its blessings were for many who are not in any visible Church, for many who do not know themselves to be Christians.

2. There is punishment for the goats on the left hand. The hard and selfish are those who receive this punishment. They will not escape it because of their ignorance or their refusal to recognize Christ. It will be unbearably awful. - W.F.A.







Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed.I. Consider the reference made to the CONDUCT of the righteous.II. Their STATION
I. THE TIME WHEN THIS INVITATION WILL BE GIVEN.

1. After our Lord has assembled round Him the whole world.

2. He will give us this invitation before He condemns the ungodly.

II. THE CHARACTER IN WHICH CHRIST WILL GIVE THIS INVITATION — "Then shall the King," etc.

III. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THIS INVITATION WILL BE GIVEN.

1. Those who have abounded in good and charitable works.

2. They think nothing of their good works.

3. They are those whom the Father has blessed.

IV. THE KINGDOM TO WHICH CHRIST CALLS HIS REDEEMED.

1. It is really a kingdom.

2. A prepared kingdom.

3. A kingdom prepared long ago.

4. It is one which we are to inherit; our possession of heaven will be full and free.

5. We are to inherit this kingdom with Christ our Lord.

(C. Bradley.)

I. THE PERFECTED NATURE AND BEING OF THE RIGHTEOUS. A new body to which they will be united. Its identity with the former.

II. THE STATE AND CONDITION IN WHICH IT WILL BE ENJOYED, AND TO WHICH THEY WILL BE SUMMONED. It must be a place, and not merely a state. Epithets by which this heavenly country is designated.

III. THE INHABITANTS OF THIS FUTURE ABODE. The great object of their contemplation and. source of their happiness, infinitely surpassing all the rest, will be the Deity Himself. Their worship will be of the highest order. They will have the most extensive intercourse, and be in the most intimate fellowship. There will be different orders and societies among them. The happiness of all will be continually progressive, according to the degree in which it is possessed by each.

(J. Leifchild, D. D.)

The call is not arbitrary. It signifies —

(1)Sympathy;

(2)Service;

(3)Sovereignty.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The true principle of Christian benevolence rests on the identifications of Christ with His people; and in the transactions of the great judgment this principle is brought out and wielded by the Judge, to the surprise alike of the righteous and the wicked. The righteous, to their astonishment, hear themselves commended for loving services to the King, which they are quite unconscious of ever having rendered. The wicked, on the other hand, to their amazement and dismay, hear themselves condemned for having refused to the King services which they are quite unconscious of ever having had opportunities to render or refuse.

I. THE IDENTIFICATION OF CHRIST WITH HIS MEMBERS.

1. Christ for me.

2. Christ with me.

3. Christ in me.

II. ITS SURPRISING INFLUENCE ON THE JUDGMENT.

1. The plea of the unrighteous in exculpation seems to involve —

(1)A professed ignorance of Christ and His people;

(2)a complaint that if they had the opportunity it was not made plain and palpable;

(3)a profession that had they seen their opportunity they would have embraced it.

2. The righteous' modest declinature of praise. It is to be explained on the grounds, on their part, of a certain want of —

(1)Recollection;

(2)Recognition;

(3)Realization.

(M. Martin, M. A.)

I. The TERMS of judgment.

1. Negatively.(1) Not the mere rightness of a creed.(2) Not any inwrought impression upon the man's own mind, if unattended by the outward marks of a converted heart.(3) That which is furnished in the life.

II. The JUSTICE WHICH IS MANIFESTED IN THE APPOINTMENT OF THESE TERMS. Love to Christ is the principle, without which there can be no present enjoyment and no hope of future glory. Thus we hold it to be a test of final judgment, an evidence of love to the Saviour, to have honoured the people of Christ, especially those without rank or standing in society. All the riches of providential gift are intended to be the materials whereon stated Christian principle shall work. But mark the consideration of the Saviour: He has so brought down this exhibition of charity that it is within the reach of all, a cup of cold water.

(S. Robins, M. A.)

I. Consider the UNION which subsists between the Redeemer and His people, and the happy privilege it implies — "these, My brethren."

II. The indispensable DORIES which the brethren of Christ owe to each other.

(W. Clarke.)

I. GUARD AGAINST MISTAKE. Men think that if only they are generous they will be saved. That we cannot be justified by the merit of almsgiving.

II. THE LESSONS HERE TAUGHT.

1. That though men are not justified by our works they shall be judged by them. That the Judge will pay especial attention to works of charity.

(A. MeCaul, D. D.)

I. The OBJECTS of Christian bounty. The least of the brethren of Christ.

1. Least in consideration.

2. In civil station.

3. In age. The brethren of Christ demand our first care.

II. ITS NATURE.

1. It is essentially humble.

2. It is tender in its exercise.

3. It is appropriate.

III. ITS SOURCE.

1. Its source is the love of Christ.

2. The magnitude of His love; its activity.

IV. ITS DIGNITY. Christ considers Himself your debtor.

(T. Robinson, M. A.)

1. Selfishness is incompatible with the fundamental principles and purposes of human society.

2. Selfishness is inimical to the proper development and perfection of thy own individual life.

3. Selfishness is a direct contradiction of the entire mission and character of Christ.

4. What emphasis He gives to the least of My brethren, as if He would sternly exclude mixture of motive.

5. The unconsciousness of the selfish man is striking.

(1)It blinds the soul.

(2)It makes sympathy unintelligible.

(3)What grand opportunities for the service of love and reward it loses. We are all familiar with the excuses of selfishness.

(H. Allon.)

Without this principle of love men have not the temper of Christ. His kingdom is meaningless to them. Pure philanthropy owes its noblest spirit to Christ. From what other source could it have sprung?

1. Is it a legacy to us from the ancient world? The temper of humanity could not have been wholly lacking in ancient times.

2. It is impossible that Judaism, so happily conspicuous in ancient times for the tender springs of mercy which God's hand cleft for it out of the rock of Sinaitic Law, should have slowly leavened Gentile society with the spirit of compassion.

3. If we turn to the voluminous instructions of the great ethical systems, we are no nearer an answer to our question. We are compelled to trace to Christ the development of that spirit of humanity, of which compassion is one of the vital elements. The foundations of the Christian doctrine of compassion.

I. Much stress must be laid on the impression produced by Christ's earthly life.

II. A second fruitful element was Christ's revelation of the nature of sin. It was not based on a misconception of the character of those on whom it was poured.

III. This power was given to us by Christ, for He has cleansed and sanctified human nature.

VI. Christ's revelation of the dignity of man.

V. Christ's revelation of immortality. Let nothing tempt us to forget the spiritual and supernatural ground on which all adequate sympathy with our fellow men must stand. The most effectual benevolence rests on the mystery of Christian faith.

(T. R. Evans.)

Dear people, She law and conditions under which human life grows and works are the same whether we make for good or whether we make for evil. We cannot complain of them in the one case without protesting against them in the other. If we deem the conditions under which our life may go down hill to the pit to be hard and cruel, we must take into account that we are incriminating also the conditions under which our life can now climb upwards towards the blessed hills of heaven. Both stand and ,fall together. If, in this case of sin, we find ourselves to be handling and discharging powers that lie behind and within us, unsuspected, incalculable in range, yet, subject to our will, set loose and in action; so, in the case of goodness, there lie within us and behind us stores of energy immeasurable, beyond belief, such as eye hath not seen nor heart conceived — energies which wait on our little volitions to liberate and discharge themselves also. In both cases we find ourselves to be creatures that move under the influence and pressure of higher and deeper agencies than ourselves. Neither our evil nor our good dates from our own petty life, or has its origin in our tiny scope of will. Both were born long ago; both are ancient and immense; both occupy this dim and unknown background on the surface of which our little day plays itself out. "Kingdoms" they are named of our Lord, kingdoms — a kingdom, on the one hand, of this world, of Satan, worked and pushed and animated and fed, built and bonded together, by principalities and powers, by workers of wickedness in high places; a kingdom charged with mysterious forces and full of dark and dreadful hosts; and, on the other side, a kingdom of God, of heaven, of Christ, of righteousness, set over against the other, with its own patient and unwearied armies, who watch and war there with swords of victory and helms of flame and wide unslumbering eyes; a kingdom behind us, weighted with accumulated glories, and thick with bonded ministries, and rich with memorial honours; a kingdom of Christ, filled with His breath, and fed with His body, and alive with His promise, and aglow with His hopes, and built with His headship, and expanded by His pleadings, and mighty in His intercessions. These are the two kingdoms, on the mere skirts of which we walk, and move and live.

(Canon Scott-Holland.)

In the text the thought is not that the just failed to discern the Master in the men they helped, but that Christ is to be the motive of all action. Let us consider for a few moments this ideal of a Christian worker.

I. THE BEAUTY OF SELF-FORGETFULNESS. In nature we see this lack of self-consciousness. There is no deeper tint to the bloom of the flower because there is an admiring crowd. The stars look down as beautifully in the silent desert, etc. The sea breaks and scatters its treasures on a dead shore, etc. There is an utter self-obliviousness. How this self-forgetfulness adds to the charms of a child. A saint loses his sanctity when we see that he thinks himself saintly.

II. SELF-FORGETFULNESS CONTRIBUTES TO POWER. A traveller says, while climbing an ice-bridge in the Alps, he had to cut in the ice rests for his feet. There was no trouble in doing this so long as his mind was centred on his work, and he forgot self and danger. When he thought of self he trembled, and to tremble there was death. The man who loses all thought of self in a grand work, enlarges his nature until he seems to circle beyond the stars.

III. SELF-FORGETFULNESS CONTRIBUTES TO HAPPINESS. There is joy in an unselfish ministry. Look at the steps by which we attain to this.

1. The first feeling in looking to Christ is that of shame, because of our sinfulness and insincerity.

2. The next thought: "How can I attain to the exalted life of Christ?"

3. Then our thoughts of self are lost in admiration of the excellences of Jesus. Christ becomes enthroned within us, and He is a force that manifests Himself constantly. The Christian shines unconsciously — as the jewel sparkles, as the bird sings. Love thinks nothing of the sacrifice it makes. Told of what it has done, it blushes at what it deems unmerited praise. Self-forgetfulness is the first sign that we are doing work for the God above us.

(C. D. Bridgeman, D. D.)

I. THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST ARE OFTENTIMES FOUND IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PATHETICALLY CLAIM THE SYMPATHY OF THEIR FELLOW CREATURES.

1. For the sake of correction.

2. For the sake of preservation. From what dangers are we snatched by that poverty at which we murmur.

3. For the sake of example to others, and that God may be glorified in them.

4. That we may have an opportunity of exhibiting our love to the Redeemer by extending the necessary relief to them.

II. JESUS SO IDENTIFIES HIMSELF WITH HIS DISCIPLES, AS TO REGARD EVERY EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY WITH THEM AS AN ACT OF KINDNESS TO HIMSELF.

III. Every act of kindness to a suffering disciple, flowing from the simple motive of love to the Master, HE WILL MOST ASSUREDLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND RECOMPENSE. Here is consolation for the poor; Jesus Christ is the companion of their distress.

(J. Gaskin, M. A.)

I. CHRIST'S IDENTIFYING HIMSELF WITH MEN — "We have done it unto Me." —

1. Who are Christ's brethren to whom these acts are done, and which are counted as having been done to Him? They are humble afflicted Christians; but the word brother must have a wider meaning; coldheartedness will not be excused because those who we so treated were not of Christ's family. The spirit of pity is not confined by the knowledge we have that this man or that is one of Christ's brethren. Christ acknowledges as His brethren men whom nobody ever acknowledged before. We shall not recognize the " brethren" unless we have the brotherly spirit within us; that will open our eyes and work marvels within us.

II. That our Lord is giving AN OUTLINE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF JUDGMENT by which men shall be tried who do not know and have not known or seen Him. Its connection between Him and His brethren is not arbitrary, it is founded in nature and fact. In all ages, and in all nations, there are circumstances sufficient to test and prove the character of man. Jesus here tears asunder every false covering under which men claim to be accounted religious, when they omit the common calls on mercy and kindness. Great duties are not open to all; go were you will, opportunity for pity can be found.

(A. Watson, D. D.)

I. The PERSON by whom the last trial is to be conducted. It is the King: who is also spoken of as the "Son of Man." The combined justice and mercy in His appointment, who is to decide our portion for eternity. The equity of the trial depends mainly on the character and capacity of the being who presides. An angel would not guarantee a just verdict; the Omniscient will. Oh for a judge who can have a fellow feeling with us. It is a beautiful arrangement of the gospel that the offer of Judge and Redeemer should meet in the same Person.

II. THE TEST. Relieving or not the distressed. The power of being charitable not limited to the richer classes. So that we show you the lower ranks of society are no more excluded than the higher from the alleged blessedness of givers; and that those who seem to you to have nothing to bestow, may as well abide, at the last, a scrutiny into ministrations to the necessitous, as others who have large indomes at their disposal, and can take the lead in all the bustle of philanthropy. Ay, and we reckon it a beautiful truth, that, from the fields and workshops of a country may be sent to the platform of judgment the most active and self-denying of the benevolent; and that however in this world the praise of liberality is awarded only to those who can draw out their purses and scatter their gold, our labourers and artizans may be counted hereafter amongst the largest contributors to the relief of the afflicted. The donations which they have wrung from overtasked limbs, or which they may be said to have coined out of their own flesh and blood, may weigh down in the balances of the judgment the more showy gifts which the wealthy dispense from their superfluities, without trenching, it may be, on their luxuries-yea, and thus is there nothing to prove to us that there may not be poured forth from the very hovels of our land, numbers who shall as well abide the searching inquiries of the Judge, as the most munificent of those who have dwelt in its palaces, and be as justly included within the summons, "Come, ye blessed of My Father," though none are to be thus addressed but such as have fed the hungry, and clothed the naked, and succoured the sick.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

(1)Good works are the reasons of this sentence.

(2)The good works only of the faithful are mentioned, and not the evil they have committed.

(3)Only works of mercy, or the fruits of love, are specified.

(4)All cannot express their love and self-denial in this way.

(T. Manton.)

1. At the general judgment all men shall receive their doom, or judgment shall be pronounced according to their works.

2. Christ hath so ordered His providence about His members, that some of them are exposed to necessities and wants, others in a capacity to relieve them.

3. Works of charity, done out of faith, and love to Christ, are of greater weight and consequence than the world usually taketh them to be.

(T. Manton.)

These blessed of the Father, brethren of the Son, and heirs of the kingdom, stand amazed that the Son of Man should so overwhelm their trifling services with a glorious reward. Nay, they can hardly recollect any service at all. The ministries were so trifling, and were bestowed on objects so inconsiderable, often with such mixture of bad motives, and such deficiency of good, that it amazes them to find every transient item legible in the book of the Judge, now seated upon the throne of His glory. Mark how He receives them, how He gathers up the bruised, withered, scattered flowers which seemed dying in our hands, and makes of them a garland; binds them on His brow as a diadem; points to them before His angels as an honour.

(J. W. Alexander.)

I. WHY IS THE EXERCISE OF CHRISTIAN BENEVOLENCE SO IMPORTANT?

1. Christian benevolence is the image of God-the nearest approach we can make to His likeness.

2. Peculiarly an imitation of Christ.

3. The distinguishing bond of Christian profession.

4. Is the fulfilling of the law, and contains every kind of virtue that has our fellow-creatures for its object.

5. Is the spirit of heaven.

II. OBSERVATIONS ON THE MODE OF DOING GOOD.

1. Secure the principle of charity by some system.

2. Visit the sick and the poor,etc.

(Anon.)

"Pagan philosophy," says Robert Hall, "soared in sublime speculation, wasted its stength in endless subtleties and debates; but among the rewards to which it aspired, it never thought of 'the blessedness of him that considereth the poor.' You might have traversed the Roman empire, in the zenith of its power, from the Euphrates to the Atlantic, without meeting with a single charitable asylum for the sick. Monuments of pride, of ambition, of vindictive wrath, were to be found in abundance; but not one legible record of commiseration for the poor." The primitive Christians, it is evident, taught this lesson of philanthropy to the world. Hospitals were referred to as in existence at the Council of Nice, A.D. 325.

The wicked are described by sins of omission.

I. Explain sins of omission.

II. Some sins of emission are greater than others.

III. In many cases, sins of omission may be more heinous and damning than sins of commission; partly because these harden more, and partly because omissions make way for commissions.

(T. Manton.)

Cicero writes thus to Plautius, "I would have you think that whatever friendly service, or good advice, you shall bestow upon my friend Fumius, I shall take it as kindly as if it had been done to myself,"

After telling us of the arrival of himself and his companions at a heathen village on the banks of the Orange River, Dr. Moffat says: "We had travelled far, and were hungry and thirsty and fatigued. We asked water, but they would not supply it. I offered three or four buttons that still remained on my jacket for a little milk. This also was refused. We had the prospect of another hungry and thirsty night. When twilight drew nigh, a woman approached from the height beyond which the village lay. She bore on her head a bundle of wood, and had a vessel of milk in her hand. She laid them down, and returned to the village. A second time she approached with other and larger supplies. We asked her again and again who she was. She remained silent, till affectionately entreated to give us a reason for such unlooked-for kindness to strangers. The solitary tsar stole down her sable cheek when she replied, 'I love Him whose servants ye are, and surely it is my duty to give you a cup of cold water in His name. My heart is full, therefore I cannot speak the joy I feel to see you in this out-of-the-world place!' I asked her how she kept the life of God in her soul, in the absence of all communion with saints. She drew from her bosom a copy of the Dutch New Testament she had received in a school some years before. 'This,' she said, 'is the fountain whence I drink; this the oil which makes my lamp burn.'"

A rich young man of Rome had been suffering from a severe illness, but at length he was cured, and received his health. Then he went for the first time into the garden, and felt as if he were newly born. Full of joy, he praised God aloud. He turned his face up to the heavens and said, "O Thou Almighty Giver of all blessings, if a human being could in any way repay Thee, how willingly would I give up all my wealth!" Hermas, the shepherd, listened to these words, and he said to the rich young man, "All good gifts come from above; thou canst not send anything thither. Come, follow me." The youth followed the pious old man, and they came to a dark hovel, where there was nothing but misery and lamentation; for the father lay sick, and the mother wept, whilst the children stood round naked and crying for bread. Then the young man was shocked at this scene of distress. But Hermas said, "Behold here an altar for thy sacrifice! Behold here the brethren and representatives of the Lord!" The rich young man then opened his hand, and gave freely and richly to them of his wealth, and tended the sick man. And the poor people, relieved and comforted, blessed him, and called him an angel of God. Hermas smiled and said, "Ever thus turn thy grateful looks first towards heaven, and then to earth."

(Translated from the German of Krummacher.)

To be servant of humanity is to be servant of Christ. The love of God cannot be where compassionate love of man is wanting. From gospel truths such as these start here is made. The exclusive emphasis laid in the text on practical beneficence shows that it alone is accepted as evidence of devotion to Christ. With Christ religion is simply goodness; personal devotion to Him is the very heart of goodness.

I. CHRIST'S RELATION TO MEN FROM WHICH HIS AND OUR TRUE ATTITUDE TO THEM SPRINGS — "My brethren." All are His brethren. The least are included. Their poverty and destitution, pain and sorrow, are His own. Relief of their wants is relief to Him, etc. Those who are Christ's brethren should be ours. We should be so lifted up into the spirit of His life, that His attitude towards all men becomes ours. Our best love of Christ is evidenced in love to man.

II. SERVICE OF THE LEAST IS, IN A SPECIAL WAY, EVIDENCE OF NOBLE LOVE. His greatest love was shown towards the worst of men, and the most genuine evidence of our love to Christ is in our stooping to the least. This attitude to men must spring from a deep interpretive sympathy — from a love which believeth all things — "the enthusiasm of humanity." Service of God, which separates us from service of the least among the brethren of Christ, is monkish and not Christian. We need faith in self-sacrificing love as mighty to redeem. God's supreme demand is that we live to bless His children. The Christian principle and life have their place in all the concerns of our daily existence. We need to be continually reminding ourselves that we are dealing with brothers.

III. WHAT IS NOT DONE TO CHRIST'S BRETHREN IS DEFECTIVE OF SERVICE RENDERED TO HIM. Every opportunity which business life affords of reaching out to other souls to bless them, and which is neglected, is something positively not done to Christ. The redeeming principle must rule us in our attitude towards all the great social questions which arise for solution to-day — questions between capital and labour, landlord and tenant, seller and buyer. What is needed to-day is not a sentimental adherence to the principle of beneficence, etc., but an enthusiastic devotion to Christ, such that we shall seek with all our might His ends, and even be willing to make sacrifice to the death for their attainment.

(R. Veitch, M. A.)

Be warned against that fatal fanaticism which has devastated a great part of Christendom in these latter days, which takes its stand upon one half of the truth in order to deny the other half, which calls justification by faith only "the gospel," just as if judgment according to works were not equally "the gospel," just as if very fundamental truth revealed in Scripture were not equally a part of the "everlasting gospel." There was a certain clergyman (in Ireland) who preached all his life that we never can be saved by good works, and that all our good works are as filthy rags, and so on. At last a neighbour remonstrated with him after this manner: "Why do you always preach against good works? there is not one of them in your parish!" Doubtless this anecdote, which might savour of the ridiculous if it were not so sad, is only too true in fact; there are, we must fear, not a few places where justification by faith is preached every Sunday — where neither priest nor people ever do any good works of piety and charity — whence, therefore, both priest and people will certainly go into everlasting fire unless they repent and amend. God forbid I should say that justification by faith only is not true, is not part of the gospel; but I do say — and observation of mankind fully confirms me in saying — that the teaching of justification by faith, as though it were the whole of the gospel, is simply the most ruinous error that could be committed. If that be the gospel which is plainly and clearly laid down in the New Testament, then salvation by faith is the gospel, salvation by works is the gospel, and salvation by sacramental incorporation in Christ is the gospel too. The faithful preacher will preach these doctrines all round, without dwelling on any one or two to the practical exclusion of the others [or other; a faithful Christian will believe them all round, and strive to live by them, not staggered because they seem to be inconsistent, because in human systems they are made to mutually exclude one another, but knowing that what God hath joined together man has no right to put asunder, whether in doctrine or in practice. I do not ask thee for one moment to forget the law by which thou must be justified thy God, the law of faith in Him who freely justifieth the unrighteous; but I do ask thee to remember, O man, the rule by which thou shalt be tried before thy Saviour and thy Judge. Those that treat Him well He will reward, those that treat Him ill He will condemn.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Good works do not make a Christian; but one must be a Christian to do good works. The tree bringeth forth the fruit, not the fruit the tree. None is made a Christian by works, but by Christ, and being in Christ, he brings forth fruit for Him.

(Martin Luther.)Faith to the power of good works is saving faith.

(F. B. Proctor, M. A.)

It was I who formed you, and ye clave to another. I created the earth, the sea, and all things for your sakes, and you misused them to My dishonour. Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not. Ye have become the workmen of another master, even the devil. With him possess darkness, and the fire which shall not be quenched, and the worm which sleepeth not, and the gnashing of teeth. I formed your ears that you should hear the Scriptures, and you applied them to songs of devils, to harps, to jokes. I created your eyes that ye might behold the light of My commandments, and follow them; but ye opened them for adultery, and immodesty, and all uncleanness. I ordained your mouth for the praise and glory of God, and to sing psalms and spiritual songs; but ye applied it for the utterance of revilings, perjuries, and blasphemies. I made your hands that you should lift them up in prayers and supplications; ye have stretched them out in thefts and murders.

( Hippolytus.)

and forsaken: — The cloud that casts its cold and its freezing shadow over your home broke into innumerable blessings. Those things that pained you when they touched your flesh no sooner approached the chancel of the soul, the immortal spirit, than they became the very soil on which character grew up, and ripened into happiness and heaven. There is not a line of suffering visible upon your road that has not had parallel with it a line of glory, of happiness, and joy. When you thought you were cursed, you were really blessed; what you dreamt in your ignorance were calamities were the very credentials of the people of God; and if God had not so dealt with you, you had never been in that happy group to whom he speaks those thrilling words, "Come, ye blessed." Do you see a mother with an infant in her arms? The infant in its ignorance put forth its hands to touch the flame of the candle, as if it were a bright and beautiful plaything. The mother draws back its hand, or puts away the candle; much to the child's disappointment, but much to the child's happiness and comfort. So God deals with children of a larger growth, We in our ignorance would seize the flaming thing that would burn to the quick; He in His compassion puts it away, and bids the heart be still; and what you know not now He tells you you shall know hereafter.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

I. THE DIVISION.

1. They shall be divided into two parts — the sheep and goats. There shall be two positions, on the right and on the left hand. There will be no third class. There is no state between being converted and unconverted.

2. They will be divided readily. It is not everybody that could divide sheep from goats. They are extremely like each other: the wool of some sheep in a warm climate becomes so like hair, and the hair of a kind of goat so like wool, that a traveller scarcely knows which is which; but a shepherd who has lived amongst them knows the difference well. The eye of fire will soon separate the sheep from the goats.

3. They will be divided infallibly. Not one poor trembling sheep will be found amongst the goats.

4. That division will be keen and sharp. The husband torn away from the wife.

5. It will be very wide as well as keen. The distance between happiness and misery.

6. The separation will be final.

II. THE DIVIDER. "He shall separate." Jesus will be the Divider.

1. This will assure the saints of their right to heaven. He said "Come."

2. This will increase the terror of the lost, that Christ shall divide them, Christ, so full of love, would not destroy a sinner unless it must be. He also has power to carry out the sentence.

III. THE RULE OF THE DIVISION. The great division between the sons of men is Christ. He is the divider and the division. The rule of the division is —

1. Actions.

2. Actions about Christ.

3. The actions which will be mentioned at the judgment day, as the proof of our being blessed of the Lord, spring from the grace of God. They fed the hungry, but sovereign grace had first fed them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. There is much of teaching IN THE SURROUNDING CIRCUMSTANCES. "When the King shall come in His glory." Then we must not expect our reward till by and by. When the King shall come in His glory, then is your time of recompense. Observe with delight the august Person by whose hand the reward is given — "When the King." It is Christ's own gift. The character in which our Lord Jesus shall appear is significant. The King. He will come in His glory; the cross is exchanged for the crown.

II. THE PORTION ITSELF. The reward of the righteous is set forth by the loving benediction pronounced by the Master, but their very position gives some foreshadowing of it. The righteous the objects of Divine complacency, revealed before the sons of men. "The welcome uttered — Come. It is the gospel symbol, "Come ye blessed," which is a clear declaration that this is a state of happiness; from the great primary source of all good — "Blessed of My Father." It is a state in which they shall recognize their right to be there; a state therefore of ease and freedom. It is "inherit the kingdom." A man does not fear to lose that which he wins by descent from his parent. It denotes full possession and enjoyment. The word "kingdom" indicates the richness of the heritage of the saints. It is no petty estate, no happy corner in obscurity; but a kingdom. Your future joy will be all that a royal soul desires. According to the word "prepared" we may conceive it to be a condition of surpassing excellence.

III. THE PERSONS WHO SHALL COME THERE.

1. Their name — "Blessed of the Father."

2. Their nature. Sons to inherit.

3. Their appointment.

4. Their doings.Actions of charity selected —

1. Because the general audience assembled around the throne would know how to appreciate this evidence of their new-born nature.

2. They may have been chosen as evidences of grace, because as actions, they are a wonderful means of separating between the hypocrite and the true Christian.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When you read "for " here, you must not understand it to be that their reward is because of this, but that they are proved to be God's servants by this; and so, while they do not merit it because of these actions, yet these actions show that they were saved by grace, which is evidenced by the fact that Jesus Christ wrought such and such works in them. If Christ does not work such things in you, you have no part in Him; if you have not produced such Works as these you have not believed in Jesus. Now somebody says, "Then I intend to give to the poor in future in order that I may have this reward." Ah, but you are very much mistaken if you do that. The Duke of Burgundy was waited upon by a poor man, a very loyal subject, who brought him a very large root which he had grown. He was a very poor man indeed, and every root he grew in his garden was of consequence to him; but merely as a loyal offering he brought to his prince the largest his little garden produced. The prince was so pleased with the man's evident loyalty and affection that he gave him a very large sum. The steward thought, "Well, I see this pays; this man has got fifty pounds for his large root, I think I shall make the Duke a present." So he bought a horse and he reckoned that he should have in return ten times as much for it as it was worth, and he presented it with that view: the duke, like a wise man, quietly accepted the horse, and gave the greedy steward nothing. That was all. So you say, "Well, here is a Christian man, and he gets rewarded. He has been giving to the poor, helping the Lord's Church, the thing pays, I shall make a like investment." Yes, but you see the steward did not give the horse out of any idea of loyalty, and kindness, and love to the duke, but out of very great love to himself, and therefore had no return; and if you perform deeds of charity out of the idea of getting to heaven by them, why it is yourself that you are feeding, it is yourself that you are clothing; all your virtue is not virtue, it is rank selfishness, it smells strong of selfhood, and Christ will never accept it; you will never hear Him say, "Thank you" for it. You served yourself, and no reward is due.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If I might so speak, God's common gifts, which he throws away as though they were but nothing, are priceless; but what will be these gifts upon which the infinite mind of God has been set for ages of ages in order that they may reach the highest degree of excellence? Long before Christmas chimes were ringing, mother was so glad to think her boy was coming home, after the first quarter he had been out at school, and straightway she began preparing and planning all sorts of joys for him. Well might the holidays be happy when mother had been contriving to make them so. Now in an infinitely nobler manner the great God has prepared a kingdom for His people; He has thought "that will please them, and that will bless them, and this other will make them superlatively happy." He prepared the kingdom to perfection; and then, as if that were not enough, the glorious man Christ Jesus went up from earth to heaven; and you know what He said when He departed — "I go to prepare a place for you."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Do not judge amiss of others. God's people are a poor, despised, hated, scorned company in the world as to visible appearance; and what proof of Christ is there in them? Who can see Christ in a hungry beggar? or the glorious Son of God in an imprisoned and scorned believer? or one beloved of God in him that is mortified with continual sicknesses and diseases. A pearl or a jewel that is fallen into the dirt, you cannot discern the worth of it till you wash it, and see it sparkle. A prince in disguise may be jostled and affronted. To a common eye things go better with the wicked than with the children of God. If you see the image of Christ in them, you will one day see them other manner of persons than now you see them, or they appear to be.

(T. Manton.)

Wells are sweeter for draining; so are riches, when used as the fuel of charity.

(T. Manton.)

The poor cannot requite thee; therefore God will.

(T. Manton.)

The judgment will go according to our serviceableness or otherwise. "Every man according to his works, whether they be good or evil." We are apt to imagine that true religion consists in extraordinary frames of mind, ecstatic moods. It consists in nothing of the kind, but in the faithful discharge, in the spirit of Christ, of the human duties of our every-day existence. Many are the legends concerning the Quest of the Holy Grail, the traditional Cup of Healing from which the Saviour drank the sacramental wine the night He was betrayed. But the prettiest of them all, prettiest because truest, is that which represents a bold knight of the Round Table travelling far over mountains and through deserts in search of the mysterious Grail. His protracted and exhaustive journeys, however, turned out fruitless. At length, wan in countenance, depressed in spirit, and fatigued in body, he resolved to return to Arthur's Hall, a sadder but not a wiser man. However, as he was nearing the gate of Camelot, he saw a poor man writhing in the ditch, evidently in the last agonies of death. Moved with compassion, the sworn defender of the rights of the poor and the weak dismounted from his steed, sought a cup of water, and handed it to the suffering man; when lo! the cup glowed as if it were a thing alive, flamed as if it were the sapphire of the New Jerusalem. The knight at last saw the Holy Grail, not, however, in traversing barren wildernesses or performing deeds of prowess, but in succouring the poor and forlorn. "Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of these little ones, ye have done it unto Me." "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." A little gift to a little one — it will be honourably mentioned in the judgment day.

(J. C. Jones.)

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