Sermon Transcript – The Sheep Were Not Saved by Their Works

Series A – Last Sunday of the Church Year – Sunday, November 22, 2020 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:28the holy gospel according to saint
0:30matthew the 25th chapter
0:40Jesus said when the son of man comes in
0:42his glory and all the angels with him
0:45then he will sit on his glorious throne
0:47before him will be gathered all the
0:49and he will separate people one from
0:52as a shepherd separates the sheep from
0:54the goats he will place the sheep on his
0:57but the goats on the left then the king
0:59will say to those on his right come you
1:01who are blessed by my father
1:03inherit the kingdom prepared for you
1:05from the foundation of the world
1:07for i was hungry and you gave me food i
1:10was thirsty and you gave me drink i was
1:12a stranger and you welcomed me i was
1:14naked and you clothed me
1:15i was sick and you visited me i was in
1:18prison and you came to me
1:19then the righteous will answer him
1:21saying lord when do we see you hungry
1:22and feed you or thirsty and give you
1:25and when do we see you a stranger and
1:26welcome you or naked and clothe you
1:28and when do we see you sick or in prison
1:30and visit you
1:31and the king will answer them truly i
1:34say to you
1:35as you did it to one of the least of
1:36these my brothers you did it to me
1:38then he will say to those on his left
1:40depart from me
1:42you cursed into the eternal fire
1:44prepared for the devil and his angels
1:46for i was hungry and you gave me thirsty
1:49and he gave me no drink
1:50i was a stranger and you did not welcome
1:52me naked and you did not clothe me
1:54sick and in prison and you did not visit
1:57me then they also will answer saying
1:59do we see you hungry or thirsty or a
2:01stranger or naked or sick or in prison
2:04and did not minister to you then he will
2:06answer them saying
2:07truly i say to you as you did not do it
2:10to one of the least of these you did not
2:11do it to me
2:12and these will go away into eternal
2:14punishment but the righteous into
2:17eternal life
2:18this is the gospel of the lord in the
2:20name of Jesus
2:22all right it’s the end of the world
2:24we’ve been talking about it for weeks
2:26just going on and on and on about the
2:28end of the world don’t let anyone ever
2:29tell you that lutherans don’t have
2:31a good rich theology regarding
2:33eschatology we have
2:34three to four weeks every year dedicated
2:37to talking about it
2:38so the rumors are not true but all that
2:41being said
2:42i will continue to point out that when
2:44it comes to the day of judgment
2:46it sounds like an ominous and terrible
2:48thing and for some it will be
2:50but the point is is for those of you who
2:52are in Christ and i’m assuming that you
2:53all are in Christ
2:55that you are forgiven you believe that
2:57Jesus is
2:58the son of god who bled and died for the
3:00sins of the world then note this
3:02your judge is the one who loved you so
3:06that he laid down his life so that you
3:09live rather than perish eternally
3:13if you think about it this way when
3:15somebody commits
3:16a crime or maybe they have to go into
3:19some kind of
3:19civil litigation always and again the
3:22attorney will take into consideration
3:24which judge it is that’s going to handle
3:27the trial
3:28and it’s usually a bad sign when your
3:30attorney says to you
3:32um yeah we got that judge
3:35they call him the hanging judge you’re
3:37not you’re not so
3:38keen on that but understand this your
3:42judge is not the hanging judge
3:45your judge is the one who loved you so
3:48so much that he took your sin upon
3:52and died in your place
3:55suffering the wrath of god in your place
3:57so that the day of judgment is not
3:59something that you
4:00should fear in fact as you kind of walk
4:02through this text with me
4:04you’ll note that there’s some kind of
4:06funny things going along here and we’re
4:07going to note that
4:09one of the common ways in which this
4:11final parable of Jesus
4:13gets twisted is that people will turn it
4:17into a text that somehow teaches that we
4:20saved by how we treat the poor
4:23or the needy that’s not what this text
4:26is saying at all
4:27think of it this way is that if you’re
4:29going to take this text and turn it into
4:31a text that teaches that we are saved by
4:33our works
4:34well that’s like having a toilet that’s
4:36backing up and all the sewage is coming
4:37out the wrong way
4:38that’s a bad thing you don’t want to do
4:40that with this text and we’ll pay
4:42attention to some of the details because
4:43when you see it
4:44it’ll actually be quite comforting so
4:47here’s what our parable says Jesus said
4:49the son of man when he comes in his
4:51and all the angels with them he will sit
4:53on his glorious throne
4:55before him will be gathered all the
4:58and he will separate people one from
5:00another as a shepherd separates the
5:02from the goats and a lot of people miss
5:05this even exegetes who are
5:06careful to try to rightly understand
5:08god’s word and the point
5:10is this is that once this happens the
5:13has taken place it’s over it’s done with
5:17it’s like when you go to you know the
5:19cvs pharmacy to get your annual flu shot
5:22i know i don’t like getting shots
5:24and so have you ever noticed that people
5:25have like me they have a tendency to
5:27turn away i just don’t even want to see
5:29because if i see it i’m all anxiety
5:31written and so what ends up happening
5:33when i go and get a shot
5:34what over and again i avert my eyes i
5:37talk about the weather so how about the
5:40how about them vikings how oh well
5:41that’s a terrible topic let’s talk about
5:43something else
5:44and while i’m looking away the
5:47the woman gives me the shot oftentimes i
5:50don’t even feel it she says all done and
5:51i go that’s it
5:52it’s all done i feel like a
5:54five-year-old kid i want a lollipop
5:56but anyway you get the point is that
6:00the judgment has already taken place
6:02Jesus says all right all you sheep over
6:04that way that way okay you goats you
6:06over there
6:08the judgment’s taken place you you are
6:11either a sheep
6:12or you are a goat and those who are in
6:16who trust in him for the forgiveness of
6:19their sins
6:20through the mighty working of the holy
6:21spirit through his word and sacraments
6:24have been brought to penitent faith in
6:26Christ they have been transformed
6:28from sheep from goats into sheep
6:32if you remember our epistle text talking
6:35how in adam everybody has been brought
6:38into death and to sin not one of us is a
6:41good person not me not you not anybody
6:44with the exception of Christ as in adam
6:46all die so also in Christ shall all be
6:49made alive and so you’ll note then that
6:52being born dead and trespasses in sin
6:54it’s god who has to raise you to life in
6:57and so that being the case once he’s
6:59done that you’re a sheep
7:00and once you’re a sheep well on the day
7:02of judgment you got nothing really to
7:04to fear and you’re going to note this
7:06that sheep aren’t exactly the brightest
7:08animals out there in the animal kingdom
7:11goats are pretty clever they’re very
7:14sheep not so much so
7:17then the king will say to those on his
7:18right his sheep
7:20come you who are blessed by my father
7:24the kingdom prepared for you from the
7:26foundation of the world that’s an
7:28important word by the way
7:29inherit i’ve said it before and i’ll
7:32continue to say it
7:34an inheritance is not something you earn
7:37an inheritance is something that is
7:39given to you as a gift
7:41and we always hear stories you know
7:44oftentimes it’ll show up in a movie or
7:45in a book
7:46of some fellow who has a rich uncle he
7:48didn’t even know he had
7:50who was a bazillionaire you know rich
7:52beyond his wildest imagination
7:55and upon his uncle’s death his uncle has
7:58the entire estate to him
8:01what is he going to do with that and
8:02what do you know it’s an amazing gift
8:04so think of it this way and part of the
8:06job of a pastor
8:08is i get to do the job of one of those
8:12attorneys who well
8:16divvies out the the will the inheritance
8:20and so think of us right now we’re
8:22gathered around the conference room
8:24and maybe i’m wearing a tie rather than
8:26a collar and so
8:27i’m looking at the will and uh well i
8:30got good news
8:31for you who are in Christ you’re in
8:34your names are right here you’re and
8:36you’re in cinema going really yeah yeah
8:38your names are in the will and um i’ve
8:41got even better news for you
8:43he’s given you the whole estate he’s
8:46given you
8:46land property he’s given you a place
8:50in a world without end all of this he’s
8:52given to you for free
8:54you see think of it this way Jesus
8:56knowing that he was going to die
8:57and die for our sins took advantage of
9:00one of those loopholes
9:02that we have here in this world that
9:04people who die can and
9:05can will their things to others and
9:07since Jesus is king of kings and lord of
9:10and he is the one who possesses and who
9:12has made and who owns
9:14the heavens and the earth he has chosen
9:16as his
9:17last will and testament to make it so
9:19that you by grace
9:21through faith can inherit the world
9:24without end
9:25and so he’s given it to you completely
9:27free and when he returns
9:29that will be the day when you will first
9:32see your inheritance and you will first
9:34see your great benefactor face to face
9:37and this kingdom has been prepared for
9:40from since the foundation of the world
9:42those are interesting words because you
9:44recognize then if this has all been
9:46prepared for us
9:47since the foundation of the world that
9:49when adam sinned and fell into sin
9:51god didn’t have come up with plan b he
9:54knew all of this was going to go down
9:56long before it ever happened and then
9:59having declared to them that they are
10:02receiving an inheritance
10:03having separated by what they are now
10:07then good works come into play and we
10:09have to make a distinction here
10:11the good works being mentioned here are
10:14of a unique
10:15type not a general type so when i talk
10:18about a general type of good work
10:20note this that scripture is clear that
10:24we are tasked by god to
10:27not only care for those who love us but
10:32we are to pray for
10:33and meet the needs of even those who are
10:36avowed enemies so scripture is clear
10:40when your enemy is hungry you feed him
10:44when your enemy is thirsty you give him
10:47something to drink
10:49when your enemies ox has strayed and
10:51gone off his property and
10:53is out wandering the highways of oslo
10:57you help your enemy to recover his
11:01that is the general thing that we are
11:02called to do we are called to love our
11:05as ourself and if you’re not sure who
11:07your neighbor is
11:09just anybody who’s breathing will do
11:12period but these works here are unique
11:16they’re different because this gets at
11:18the heart of the matter
11:19what do you do with those who bring the
11:22gospel to you
11:23with those who are the saints the ones
11:25who have been made holy by the blood of
11:28what is your disposition towards those
11:31who confess
11:32humbly that they are sinners and trust
11:34Jesus for the forgiveness of all of
11:36their sins
11:37and for life eternal given as a gift
11:39what is your disposition towards
11:41them Jesus says to them i was hungry you
11:45gave me food
11:46i was thirsty you gave me drink i was a
11:49stranger and you welcomed me i was naked
11:52and you clothed me
11:53i was sick and you visited me i was in
11:55prison and you came to me
11:58and boy that’s quite the litany here and
12:01then listen to this next part
12:03then the righteous will answer Jesus
12:06don’t let that word pass you by either
12:09the sheep
12:11are righteous not
12:14because they have done good works enough
12:17to earn salvation
12:18and have made themselves righteous but
12:22again i remind you scripture is clear
12:24that by grace through faith we receive
12:26the righteousness of god
12:28the righteousness of Christ which covers
12:30up our unrighteousness and our sin
12:33and here it says Christ says of the
12:35sheep that they are the
12:37righteous so the righteous will answer
12:40and this is kind of dumb sheep talk well
12:42when do we see you hungry and feed you
12:44or thirsty and give you a drink
12:46oh boy yeah it’s hard see
12:49when sheep do sheepy things they kind of
12:51forget that that’s kind of a unique
12:54sheep do sheepy things because they’re
12:55sheep goats do goatee things because
12:57they’re goats
12:58but here you got the sheep doing the
12:59sheepy things and Christ is rewarding
13:01for the sheepy things
13:02they’re going huh huh all right
13:06so when do we see you hungry and feed
13:07you thirsty and give you a drink when do
13:09we see you a stranger and welcome you
13:11naked and clothe you
13:12when did we see you sick or in prison
13:14and visit you
13:16and the king will answer them truly i
13:17say to you as you did it to one of the
13:19least of these and here’s the important
13:21my brothers you did it to me
13:26who are the brothers of Christ well
13:28earlier in the gospel of matthew
13:30Jesus makes that very clear those who
13:32believe in him those who are
13:34his disciples those who trust in him are
13:37brothers and so as you did it to the
13:40least of these my brothers you did it to
13:43so a good way to think of it then is how
13:45then are you sheep fulfilling this and
13:47doing this
13:48well by how you care for each other and
13:51i would even note
13:52that as a pastor i come to you and my
13:55needs have to be met
13:56by you and so because of your generosity
14:00and your disposition towards the one who
14:02brings the word
14:03of god to you and preaches the gospel to
14:06you you give me money
14:07so that i can clothe myself and my wife
14:11and when my kids lived
14:12with me my kids were clothed as well and
14:15so you’ll know that
14:17this is how we treat each other and you
14:20are already
14:20doing these good good works
14:26and so you’ll note that when we treat
14:28the brothers and the sisters
14:31with kindness meet their needs when they
14:34are hungry and naked
14:35when they are thirsty when they are
14:38or when prison or when they are sick
14:41that you’ll note that the good works
14:42that we do for each other
14:44Christ takes it personally
14:48and he rewards his sheep as if they
14:51were the ones who were ministering
14:53directly to him
14:55but now we get on to the scary part
14:59those are the goats the ones on the left
15:02to the ones on the left Christ says
15:04depart from me
15:06you cursed into the eternal fire
15:09and do not think for a second that hell
15:11is not eternal
15:12it is the whole point of the fire being
15:14eternal is the description
15:16of the length of time in which
15:19hell lasts and that should sober us up
15:22because we recognize then that what we
15:24have been saved from
15:26is the just and i do mean just
15:29the just punishment for our sin and
15:31rebellion against god
15:33and our sin and rebellion against god
15:35has earned for us
15:36an eternity in hell in all of the ways
15:39in which we
15:40have not obeyed god where we have not
15:43loved god with our whole heart mind soul
15:45and strength
15:46where we have worshiped false gods that
15:48are not gods at all who cannot save
15:50where we have taken god’s name in vain
15:52or where we have despised the preaching
15:55and the hearing of god’s word
15:56or even despise those authorities whom
15:59god has put over us and dishonored them
16:01or in our different ways in which we
16:03murder and don’t think for a second that
16:05just because you haven’t killed somebody
16:06with a gun
16:07or with a knife or with a rope or maybe
16:10you know you can say it was done by
16:12professor plum in the library
16:14with a hammer it doesn’t matter how you
16:16do it
16:18you know if it even if it’s physical
16:19it’s done even in your heart when you
16:22hate another human being and i want you
16:24to think about that
16:26murder is so deep of a sin and it’s
16:29ingrained in us
16:30that we’re all guilty of it to one
16:32degree or another
16:33when we say of that particular group
16:35over there they are despised they are
16:38dogs god hates them and i hate them well
16:41you are guilty of murdering them of even
16:44committing genocide within your own
16:46it doesn’t matter which group it is
16:48maybe it’s maybe it’s those illegal
16:51maybe it’s it’s the germans or maybe
16:53it’s the jews or maybe it’s the
16:56or the you know name the group right
16:59so you’ll note the Christ says that when
17:01you hate somebody you’re guilty of
17:03murdering them how many of us are guilty
17:05of doing that
17:06and then all of the different ways in
17:08which we commit adultery
17:10and sexual immorality even with our
17:12physical bodies
17:13and with our minds and then don’t even
17:15get me started on the way in this in
17:17which we
17:18lie and steal and covet things that do
17:21not belong to us don’t think for a
17:23second that somehow
17:24you stand guiltless before god you
17:28don’t i don’t
17:32and you’ll note that the just penalty
17:34for our sin
17:36is an eternity in the lake of fire with
17:38the devil and his angels
17:40and so when we talk about salvation
17:44what we’re being saved from but the
17:46amazing thing here
17:47is that although hell is an eternity god
17:51according to scripture has laid on
17:52Christ the iniquity of us all
17:54and in six hours on a friday morning on
17:57into the afternoon
17:59the son of god suffered and bled and
18:01died for your sins and for mine
18:03and met the just requirements
18:06of a holy god so that we can be forgiven
18:10he accomplished in six hours what no
18:12human being can accomplish
18:14in any eternity and so you recognize the
18:17depth and the magnitude of the salvation
18:19that we are given in Christ
18:21and now Christ turns to these goats
18:24and explains to them and again this is a
18:26very specific type of
18:28omission of good works and this has to
18:30do with their disposition towards those
18:32who bring the message of Christ to them
18:35i was hungry you gave me no food i was
18:39you gave me no drink i was a stranger
18:41you did not welcome me naked and you did
18:43not clothe me sick and in prison
18:45and you did not visit me it kind of kind
18:48of harkens to
18:49those words that Christ spoke to saul of
18:52tarsus while he was on his way
18:54to damascus in order to round up arrest
18:57and then beat flog persecute maybe even
19:01the Christians who were confessing
19:03Christ in the city of damascus
19:05while on his journey Jesus himself
19:07appeared to saul of tarsus and said to
19:09him saul
19:10saul why do you persecute me
19:14who are you lord i am Jesus
19:18whom you are persecuting so note then
19:23when we as Christians are persecuted for
19:26our faith our confession of Christ
19:28and we are made to be hungry or thirsty
19:31we are
19:31cast out and driven away in such a way
19:34that we become strangers to everybody
19:36we are even stripped of our own clothes
19:38and made naked or sick or in prison for
19:40our confession of Christ
19:42that Jesus takes it personally
19:46and he will repay well
19:49then the goats answer saying lord when
19:52do we see you hungry
19:53or thirsty or a stranger or naked
19:57or in prison and did not minister to you
20:00and then Jesus will answer them truly i
20:01say to you as you did not do it to the
20:03least of these the least of who
20:04the sheep he’s pointing to the least of
20:07these you didn’t do it to me
20:10and very firm words these will go
20:13away into punishment
20:17eternal that’s how long
20:20it lasts and here’s the thing i don’t
20:22have to convince you of that
20:24we all already know that we all already
20:27have those
20:28fears those night sweats those times
20:31when we wake up in the middle of the
20:32night with a start
20:34and we take that deep breath and we
20:36recognize that we’re going to have to
20:37stand before god someday
20:39we all already know this
20:42this isn’t some revelation that has to
20:44come from outside of us we all know that
20:46this is what we’ve earned but the
20:48righteous those who have been
20:50gifted the righteousness of Christ these
20:53into life eternal
20:56well brothers and sisters this is an
20:58ominous text but i would remind you
21:01what is said in psalm 95 psalm 95 is a
21:05wonderful psalm and it says these words
21:07you might be familiar with them oh come
21:09let us sing to the lord
21:11let us make a joyful noise to the rock
21:14of our salvation you’ll note that praise
21:18go goes up to our lord god to yahweh
21:22because he is the rock of our salvation
21:25the worship continues let us come then
21:28into his presence with thanksgiving
21:30ah thanksgiving that’s this week isn’t
21:32it but we’re coming into his presence
21:34with thanksgiving for what reason
21:36because he is the one who has saved us
21:39so let us make a joyful noise to him
21:41then with songs of praise
21:43and the reason why is because the lord
21:44he is a great god he is a great king
21:47above all gods
21:48and in his hands are the depths of the
21:50earth the heights of the mountains are
21:52his also
21:53the sea is his for he made it and his
21:56hands form the dry land
21:58so come let us worship and bow down
22:01and let us kneel before the lord our
22:03maker for he is our god
22:06and we are the people of his pasture
22:09and we are the sheep of his hand
22:12brothers and sisters
22:14if you believe that Christ has bled and
22:16died for you then you are
22:18the people of his pasture you are the
22:20sheep of god’s hand
22:21and notice it’s already now we are not
22:24sheep in potentia hoping that someday we
22:27can be transformed from goats into sheep
22:29we’re not like pinocchio hoping someday
22:31to become a real boy
22:34we are who are in Christ we are now
22:37his sheep and so consider then our old
22:40testament text in this context
22:41for thus says yahweh elohim behold i
22:45myself i will search for my
22:47sheep and i will seek them out as a
22:50shepherd seeks out his flock when he is
22:52among his sheep
22:53that have been scattered so i will seek
22:55out my sheep
22:56i will rescue them from all places where
22:58they have been scattered
23:00on a day of clouds and thick darkness
23:02note then that your good shepherd Jesus
23:05has made it clear
23:06that on the day of judgment he
23:08personally is going to seek out
23:09each and every one of his sheep and you
23:12who are in Christ
23:14are already that and he says i will
23:16bring them out from the peoples gather
23:18them from the countries i will bring
23:20them into their own land ah this is a
23:22good bit too
23:23by the way i know we’re all americans
23:25here i think we’re all americans at this
23:28but we serve some people online who are
23:30joining us from the united kingdom and
23:31other places from around the world
23:33and you’ll note here that this reveals
23:36to us
23:36that although we might have passports
23:39that say one of the nations
23:41from the world that we live in right now
23:43on the passport but our true land is the
23:46one that is coming the world without end
23:48and in that world without end in the new
23:50earth there are no borders the whole
23:52thing is the kingdom of god
23:54you won’t need a passport to travel from
23:56one area to another
23:57because there will only be the kingdom
24:00itself and this is our true homeland
24:02god goes on to say i will feed them on
24:04the mountains of israel by the ravines
24:06and all the inhabitant places of the
24:09i will feed them with good pasture and
24:11on the mountain heights of israel shall
24:13be their grazing land
24:14and in the book of revelation we learn
24:16one of the things that’s on the menu
24:18for us in the new earth is that we will
24:20be permitted to eat of the fruit of the
24:22tree of life itself
24:24which yields its fruit once a month 12
24:27times a year that’s what’s on the menu
24:30life eternal for us
24:31they shall lie down in good grazing land
24:33on rich pasture they shall feed on the
24:35mountains of israel
24:37i myself will be the shepherd of my
24:41sheep and i myself will make them lie
24:44declares the lord these are good
24:48words and so brothers and sisters we who
24:50are in Christ
24:52we have nothing to fear on the day of
24:56we’ve already already been sheep is that
24:59a verb can you make sheep a verb
25:01we’ve been sheeped we’ve been sheeped by
25:03Christ himself we are already his
25:06and so he then ends with these words i
25:08will rescue my flock they will no longer
25:10be a prey i will judge between the sheep
25:13and the sheep
25:14and i will set over them one shepherd my
25:16servant david and that’s Jesus
25:18the one who is the descendant of david
25:20who will sit on the throne of david
25:23he shall feed them he shall feed them
25:25and be their shepherd
25:26and i yahweh will be their god and my
25:29servant david shall be a prince among
25:32i am the lord i have spoken
25:35so bad self-righteous preaching at this
25:38point would say
25:39well what are you doing to make sure
25:41that you you can become a sheep
25:43ba humbug i declare to you what the word
25:46of god already says
25:48you have received the inheritance you
25:50who trust in Christ you are already his
25:53and so the day of judgment is not
25:54something we should fear it’s something
25:56we should look forward to
25:58so congratulations you have once again
26:00survived the end of the world
26:02in the name of Jesus amen
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