"Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you."
As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days took his seat; His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him; a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the Word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same Word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
[Jesus said:] When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.
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. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’
Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
Then they also will answer, 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?’
Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
*Transcript was edited for readability.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Sermon text for the second to last Sunday of the church year is Matthew 25.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.”
It's a glorious scene, a fearful scene for anyone who would be outside of Christ Jesus, who would not believe his word or hear his voice or who would harden their heart against the word of our Lord. It's a wonderful scene for all those who are numbered within Christ’ Church. The last of all days with Christ Jesus coming with all of his angels to pronounce the verdict that his death and resurrection has secured, that the forgiveness of sins bestows on those who love him, that you are numbered with his church, no longer to struggle, but that you’re numbered with his church to stand with him in triumph evermore. It's a fearful scene but not for you, you're grounded in Christ Jesus and His Word, you're once again led by the Holy Spirit to repentance, once again had your ears opened up to the rich declaration of the forgiveness of sins, which makes you his own sheep, and he the great Shepherd of the sheep.
The children are taught to pray that God's kingdom would come. Whether you're praying it or not God's kingdom will come. He will not be able to be held back, won't be able to swipe this election or change these results, this Kingdom is coming. So the children are taught to pray that His kingdom would come especially to us also. We want to be in His kingdom, we don't want to be out of it. We want to be standing there with Jesus in glory, we don't want to hear horrible things from the Son of God. We want to be on the side of the holy angels, we don't want to be against them either. So the end of the church year causes us to turn our thoughts to good government. The reign of Christ Jesus, which is known this day through the preaching of the gospel, and the day when he comes again to judge all of the living and the dead, to cast out and separate those who are against them, and to put them in the place of the devil and his angels, and to judge well those who've been with Him through faith in his church, praising you for your lives for your faith, for your actions, for being found with him, and not against him.
So we sing hymns like you sang today, oh Jesus Christ do not delay. We want this day to come because it will be wonderful for us who know the death of Jesus, who trusts the resurrection of Jesus, who are looking for the day when our bodies will be like His glorious body. We sing hymns like that great hymn that comes to its conclusion, we are yearning for the day of your return.
Now good government is a gift from God. Its most powerful place is the family, the government of a father who protects his children, the government of a mother who loves and teaches her children; government is a gift from God. Who isn't thankful for the firefighter who rescues you from the flames. Government is a gift from God who rescues us from the eternal flames. Who isn't thankful for the police officer, for the soldier who protects you and keeps you safe, defends you from evil, a picture of what God is doing for all eternity, defending us from all evil and doing better still with his protection bringing us to everlasting life. Government is a gift from God. Who wasn't thankful today that they cleared off some of the roads. Who wasn't thankful today that they had a road on which to travel to the Church of God. So the Father in Heaven has put into place government to serve His son that you might be served with the gospel. The government exists for something greater and that is the Church. The state exists to serve the church. While the Church also serves the state with its preaching and its prayers. Working together in this life, what a wonderful thing, good government that God has given us, father's to teach their children the faith, mothers to help children fold their hands, officials to help us hold in an orderly way our services, that all the world might know that Jesus loves them, and shed his blood for them.
But obviously, you know that not all government is good and there's a reason that we are yearning for the day of Christ’ returning. Because with the fall into sin, the devil has his tentacles everywhere and in these last days the very orders and places that God has put into place, to serve his son, now even stand and oppose his son. Government, often times, quite frankly is an embarrassment or worse stands against the Christ and his teaching. It doesn’t promote the faith but tries to stamp it out; what a shame. Those like these will have to contend with the Lord Jesus as judge and it won't be pleasant for them. Those like these certainly cause us to pray, we are earning for the day of your return.
So you're here today to learn the place of good government, to take your part particularly in the family, but also as a citizen, to try to promote it at every cost, that the gospel might be known for you and your children and your children's children. You vote to this end as Christians. You govern in your homes to this end that your children would be able to stand on that great day with Christ and not against Christ. You pray for those who are placed over you as your authorities that they might govern well, that on the day of judgment our lives might be pleasing to Jesus, and not displeasing. And we pray especially that His kingdom would be found among us so that we wouldn't be in terrors when He comes again. How horrible the picture of the place that's been prepared for the devil and his angels in which people with hard hearts are numbered, who forsaken their baptism and faith. And how beautiful to be on the side of Christ and receive His blessing and vindication on that day for simple acts of love, that we may or may not even recognize we've been doing for Christ Jesus sake.
It's a cosmic picture that sees all of the nations gathered together, no longer warring, cheating campaigning, striving at all costs with power for control because on that day Christ will be all and all. And even though He reigns now and governs all things for the good of His church, even now as it's known by faith, then it will be known in full to everyone. Those in the Church and outside of the Church, when all knees of all nations will be bowing. It's quite a picture and quite a scene. There will be all the kings of all time, you can count them, you can number them, you can consider them, the most wretched, the most wonderful, they’ll be numbered with all the nations. Jesus won't be bowing to them, they'll be bowing to the Lord. Their armies won't be supreme, Christ Sabaoth, the holy angels, they will hold the field on that day and forever. It's quite a heavenly scene when Christ comes again with his angels to declare you on the outside or to declare you for his sake on the inside and with Him forever.
We should be afraid to fall into sin. We should be afraid to harden our hearts against this. We should be afraid if we walked away from our baptism. We should be afraid to consider as sinful things that tantalize and entice us. We don't want to be apart from Christ in the verdict on the day of judgment. We want to instead be with Him. We want to hear Him speak beautiful things to us. We want to be numbered with the heavenly throng, with the Church which He loves and those we love. We want to stand in Christ glory that it might irradiate also through and in us. We want to be in the place of bliss with our children that know no end. We don't want to be separated forever from those we love, even though it'll be good and right if they're outside of Christ, or if heaven forbid we would be, we want to be with Christ. So here we come and here we pray and we put all of our lives towards this glorious day, that Christ would bless and not curse us. And we give our attention then to His word and we study it well to know how we'll be found with him and not outside of him.
We especially may do well to note today what Jesus says, come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. On that day salvation will be Jesus’ to give. He has secured it, he has won it, he has bestowed it, especially in the supper of His body and blood, if you're afraid, listen then to these words, come blessed by My Father inherit the kingdom. Your place on that day won't be of works, your place will be a gift of God to stand with Him. Inherit what has been true and certain and secure and irreversible from the beginning of the world, received, but God in Christ gives to you, take your place as sons in the great courts of the Father in heaven. You won't be on the outside if you just trust the Savior's word, come, inherit what has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
I've been scared before to consider this day, to consider my life, my fallen person, with the thought that Jesus is coming with his scales to put me in the balance. Sin causes you to be somewhat, quite frankly, terrified; it probably ought to. So if you've ever been there because of what you do and what you think and what you say, well then note well these words, come, inherit what has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world. If you're scared consider that Jesus has died for you, that he's taken the Father's punishment into himself, put it in His very body, was crucified on the tree, that you might not inherit punishment on that day. Consider especially the words of the supper where Jesus gives you his very body and he gives you his very blood as a gift, that you might inherit His death and His life as your own, that He might make you holy, that you might stand in glory in those white robes, palm branches in your hands singing salvation to the lamb because He’s fed me, salvation to the lamb because He's washed me, salvation to the lamb, not because I've done everything well, but because He's loved me, and from the beginning of the world and the beginning of my baptism He's given me a place in his kingdom.
It's kind of strange how obsessed we are with the government, how it captivates our lives and our thoughts. How you find people that are just supreme political junkies, how their lives come and go in emotional waves over every election and every happening and decree of presidents and congresses and kings. It's kind of wild how you think the sun wouldn't rise if something political doesn't go your way. It's kind of wild, you think your life's nearly over, and as though Christ hasn't secured that he's coming again to judge the living and the dead, with his angels, if this election just doesn't pass or that thing doesn't happen. His government is over all right now and he's reigning over you with the forgiveness of sins. He doesn't decree important huge, monumental things are what he's pleased with but simple actions lived out in the Christian family such as feeding and clothing and befriending. Jesus has done this for us and Jesus does this through his Church.
You're numbered, you have a place, a glorious place in this government, you matter there, what you do, and what you think and what you say and who you are. And Jesus has made you his own, his son that your prayers would indeed be important, the prayers of sons with Christ to the Father in heaven, that your actions would indeed matter in this Kingdom because he's baptized you, he's joined you to his death, he's joined you to his life, through faith he hasn't put you outside but through faith and this washing He’s put you inside on the greatest and most glorious Kingdom there ever has been and there ever will be. Where Christ is the judge to punish all evil forever and Christ is the judge to rewarded the Church that's been blessed with His death and His life forever more. Indeed we are yearning, we are praying, we are trusting and looking forward to that great day when he comes again and may we not be out but may we be in for Christ Jesus sake.
Hymn of the day:
THE DAY IS SURELY DRAWING NEAR (LSB 508)
Our hymn is written by Bartholomaus Ringwaldt, a Lutheran pastor who died in 1599. It is based on the historic Medieval Latin poem, Dies Irae (Day of Wrath). Its historic usage and its nineteen stanzas were associated with and used at the time of a Christian’s death. Some say it was written in the thirteenth century though others ascribe its origins with Gregory the Great (500s)! It comes from various portions of the Scriptures including St. Matthew’s separation of the sheep from the goats St. Luke’s description of the last days, and Paul’s descriptions of the final day with the trumpet sound in 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15. Many of these texts you can still hear at the grave during the Christian committal, pointing to the hope of the great resurrection of all flesh.
When listening to the historic rendition of the Dies Irae one hears a powerful, foreboding, and, perhaps, even terrifying sound. Our hymnal’s setting is concerned with a balance of warning and comfort from God’s Word, terror over unbelief and joy for Christ’s sake. The first four stanzas tell the events of the last day, emphasizing the final judgment and the punishment for being without faith. The final three stanzas deliver those who sing from the terrors of hell, beautifully proclaiming the work of Jesus: writing the singer’s name in the Book of Life, interceding for His own before the Father, and hearing His children’s prayer and hastening their salvation. (Pastor Adrian Sherrill for Logia Online)
November verses to remember:
November 4 – Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.”
November 11 – Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
November 18 – Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
November 25 – John 14:6 – “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”