Sermon #76 Series: Matthew
Title: “WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME”
Text: Matthew 25:31-46
Reading: Office: Bobbie Estes Auditorium: Mark Henson
Subject: The Second Coming and Judgment Day
Date: Tuesday Evening - March 12, 1996
Tape # S-35
Few passages in the Bible are more solemn and heart-searching than Matthew 25:31-46. As we read it together, pray that God the Holy Spirit will graciously and effectually apply it to our hearts. I want us to read the whole passage together. Then I will show you the things plainly revealed in these verses. We will begin our reading at verse thirty-one.
This passage begins with the fact of our Lord’s glorious second advent. Verse thirty-one identifies three things for us about our Master.
1. His Coming: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory.” He states the fact of his coming again as a well-known, commonly acknowledged fact. With his disciples, Christ’s second coming is not a speculative matter. We have no idea when he will come again. But we do know that he is coming. We rejoice in the hope of it. And we know that when he comes again, our great God and Savior will appear in all the splendor, grandeur, and majesty of his glory as the God-man, our Savior. Not only is he coming, but the Son of man shall come in his glory!”
2. His Companions: When Christ comes again, he will not come alone, but “all the holy angels with him.” Elsewhere we are told that he will come with all his saints too. This will be no secret rapture, but the glorious appearing of the great God, who is our Savior. The holy angels who sang his praise at his first advent will accompany him in his second advent.
3. His Character: “Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” When our Savior comes again, there will be no more debating about his sovereignty. The throne of judgment upon which he shall sit will be “the throne of his glory.” Every knee shall bow before “the throne of his glory.” All his enemies shall be made the footstool of “the throne of his glory.” Everyone will worship before “the throne of his glory.”
We are once more reminded (vv. 32-33) of the fact that all the human race is divided into only two families, two groups, and two races, the one called “the sheep,” the other called “the goats.” You will never understand the Bible or any of the workings of God until you understand this fact. Earthly distinctions of race, nationality, social status, mental aptitude, and even religious affiliation are of absolutely no significance before God. We are all either sheep or goats. Sheep have always been sheep; and goats have always been goats. Sheep never become goats; and goats never become sheep. Some sheep are saved and some are yet lost; but all sheep shall be saved (John 10:11, 14-16, 27-30). Goats never shall be saved (John 10:26). Everything God does in this world, he does for the sheep, to save his sheep. He chose his sheep. Christ redeemed, seeks, finds, and fetches home his sheep. The Holy Spirit calls the sheep. And when Christ comes again, the sheep shall be set on his right hand, the place of highest honor and blessing. The goats shall be set on his left hand of contempt, judgment, and destruction.
Then, in verses thirty-five through forty-six, our Lord Jesus Christ describes the day of judgment, and several of its leading circumstances. Let no one be deceived. There is a day appointed by God when all men shall stand before his righteous bar, “the throne of his glory,” to be judged by him. There is a day of reckoning. Put it out of your mind, if you dare. Try to dismiss it from your thoughts, if you like. But I am here to remind you that there is a day fixed by God almighty when you and I must give account to him. It is written, “after this,” after this life is over, after we have finished our little space of appointed time in this world, “after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Therefore I make no apology for echoing in your ears that which all men by nature prefer never to hear, “Prepare to meet thy God!” Consider this sober fact:
You must soon meet God in judgment!
How will it go for you in that great and terrible day? Where will you spend eternity? Do not be so foolish as to ignore these questions. Let me show you four things taught in these verses by the Son of God himself about the day of judgment.
I. First, OUR SAVIOR ASSURES US THAT HE WILL HIMSELF BE THE JUDGE IN THAT GREAT DAY.
Understand this. Everything God does he does through the Son, for the honor of the Son, that the Son may have all preeminence and glory. The saving of men is the working of the Son; and the judgment of men shall be the work of the Son.
· John 5:22
· Acts 17:30
· II Corinthians 5:10-11
· Philippians 2:9-11
That same Jesus who was born at Bethlehem, who was raised in Nazareth, who preached and performed mighty miracles of mercy in the days of his humiliation, who was despised and rejected of men, and who was at last betrayed, beaten, scourged, stripped naked, and nailed to the cursed tree by the hands of wicked men, -- that same Jesus shall himself come again in power and in great glory to judge this world. You and I will soon be gathered before his august throne of glory to answer for our lives upon this earth.
A. Believers have every reason to look upon this august, solemn event with comfort and joy.
He who shall sit upon that throne in that great and dreadful day, is himself our Savior, our Redeemer, our Good Shepherd, our mighty Advocate, our great High Priest, our Elder Brother, and our Faithful Friend. I do not suggest for a moment that he will bend the law on our behalf. He will never do that! But I do mean for you to understand that so long as we have such an Advocate as Christ is in the court, indeed, upon the very bench of judgment, we have no reason to fear the proceedings of that bench.
B. If you are without Christ, if you are an unbeliever, if you are yet unconverted, if you yet live in rebellion to our great God, every thought of this great and terrible day should fill your very soul with utter terror!
Your Judge in that day will be the very Christ whose gospel you have despised, whose gracious invitations you scorn, whose blood you trample beneath your feet! If you go on and die in your rebellion and unbelief, how great will be the wrath poured out upon you in that day! To be condemned by anyone would be terrible; but to be condemned by him who is “the Savior of the world,” who is able, willing, and ready to save all who come to God by him is unthinkable! I urge you, in the words of the psalmist, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way” (Ps. 2:12).
II. Second, OUR MASTER TELLS US THAT EVERYONE WILL BE JUDGED BY HIM IN THAT DAY.
“Before him shall be gathered all nations” (v. 32). All who ever lived shall in that day give account of themselves before the Son of God. When the King of heaven issues his summons, his holy angels, like a great hosts of deputies, will fetch you before his throne. Each one will be forced to step forward to receive his sentence from Christ himself. J. C. Ryle wrote, “Those who would not come to worship Christ on earth, will find that they must come to his great assize, when he returns to judge the world.”
In that great day, all the human race shall be publicly divided into two groups. “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left” (v. 33). In that day, earthly distinctions shall be meaningless. Rich and poor, the learned and the unlearned, black and white, religious and irreligious men and women, moralists and rogues shall all be lumped into one group -- goats. All former, earthly distinction for which people contend and strive, will then have passed away.
In that day, nothing will matter to you or to God himself except this - Are you or are you not in Christ? Grace or no grace, faith or no faith, converted or unconverted, saved or lost, are the only distinctions that will matter when you stand before the bar of God. If you trust the Son of God, you shall be seated with Christ on his right hand, with his sheep, in “the throne of his glory.” If you die without faith in Christ, you will in that day be found among the goats at his left hand.
III. Thirdly, OUR LORD HERE SHOWS US THAT THE JUDGMENT OF THAT GREAT DAY WILL BE TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS, JUST, AND EQUITABLE.
No one will challenge the proceedings of that day. When the judgment is over, even the damned will acknowledge that it was right.
A. The judgment will be conducted upon the basis of evidence.
We recognize that we are justified by grace through the redemption that Christ accomplished at Calvary. Our only righteousness before God is that which has been imputed to us, the righteousness of God in Christ. Our works have nothing to do with our everlasting acceptance with God. When God opens the books on that day, he will bring us into heaven because no sin is recorded against us; but only righteousness, perfect righteousness is recorded under our names in heaven (Rev. 20:11-12; Jer. 50:20; Num. 23:21; Rom. 8:33-34).
However, God will in that day demonstrate that grace made his elect to be truly new creatures in Christ. Their works, which follow them into heaven, shall be witness brought forward by God himself, as to why they should be admitted into his heavenly kingdom. Above all else, their works of charity, kindness, and hospitality shall beheld forth as evidences of their faith.
· Our faith is proven to be either false or true by our lives.
· Faith without works is dead (James 2:11-14).
· And the great test of godliness is love. He that loveth not knoweth not God!”
B. The day of judgment will bring great, eternal joy to every believer (v. 34).
The wages God shall give to his faithful servants shall be the full kingdom of grace and glory! The least, the lowest, the poorest, the weakest, and the youngest shall have the same reward as the greatest, the richest, the highest, the strongest, and the oldest. We shall receive a crown of glory from the King of glory!
C. The day of judgment will bring utter confusion to all unbelievers (v. 41).
You who will not heed the Savior’s call now, “Come unto me,” will obey with terror when he says, “Depart from me, ye cursed!”
D. Judgment day will demonstrate the character of all the saved and the character of all the lost in a striking manner.
1. The saved, Christ’s sheep, will be clothed with humility, never imagining that they had done anything worthy of his notice and approval.
2. The lost, the unbelieving, will yet be blind and self-righteous, never imagining that they had failed to make themselves worthy of God’s acceptance.
E. In that great day, our Lord will make all men see how highly he regards his people.
He considers anything done for them or against them as being done to him.
IV. Fourthly, THE SON OF GOD HERE TELLS US THAT THE RESULTS OF THAT FINAL JUDGMENT WILL BE FINAL, EVERLASTING, AND IMMUTABLE (v. 46).
Everything after the judgment will be eternal. There will be no changes in eternity.
A. The blessedness of the saved shall be eternal.
We shall enjoy eternal life, eternal rest, eternal peace, eternal joy, eternal satisfaction, eternal righteousness, eternal communion with the Lord Jesus Christ!
B. The misery of the damned shall be eternal!
Who can describe the woe of the damned? It is called eternal death! You who are lost shall be required to endure eternal agony, eternal separation from all that is good and pleasant, eternal sin, eternal want, eternal company with the most vile, wicked, abominable creatures!
I ask you to solemnly consider these things. Soon, you and I must meet God in judgment.
· II Corinthians 5:10-11