INVOLVED IN MINISTRY
Matthew 23:1-25:46 November 18 2007
MINISTRY IS NOT MERELY THE DUTY OF THE FEW. IT IS THE
RESPONSIBILITY IF EVERY CHRISTIAN.
These chapters of Matthew 23:1-25:46 focus on Jesus’
ministry in Jerusalem. The mood is tense as they describe
Jesus’ encountering increased opposition and proclaiming
judgment. Jesus especially directed His message at the
religious leaders, but it also was instructive for His
The 23rd chapter is a lengthy warning about hypocrisy.
The guardians of Israel’s religion, the Pharisees and
scribes, had failed to provide genuine leadership.
Matthew 24 concerns the future. Jesus prophesied about
the fall of the temple, which took place in A.D. 70.
With the foundation of the previous chapter, the 25th
chapter focuses on readiness and service.
1. Will I Be Judged? (Matthew 25:31-33)
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and
all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly
glory. Matthew 25:32 All the nations will be gathered before him,
and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd
separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:33 He will put the
sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
The two most widely accepted interpretations of this
judgment are: 1. It will occur at the beginning of an
earthly millennial kingdom (Matthew 25: 31,34). Its purpose
will be to determine who will be allowed to enter the
kingdom (Matthew 25:34). The criterion for judgment will
be the kind of treatment shown to the Jewish people
(“these brothers of mine,” Matthew 25: 40) during the
preceding great tribulation period (Matthew 25:35-40,42-45).
Ultimately, how a person treats the Jewish people will
reveal whether or not he is saved (Matthew 25:41,46). 2. The
judgment referred to occurs at the great white throne at
the end of the age (Rev 20:11-15). Its purpose will be to
determine who will be allowed to enter the eternal
kingdom of the saved and who will be consigned to eternal
punishment in hell (Matthew 25:34,46). The basis for judgment
will be whether love is shown to God’s people
(1st John 3:14-15).
2. Will I Be Rewarded? (Matthew 25:34-40)
Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I
was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a
stranger and you invited me in, Matthew 25:36 I needed clothes and
you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in
prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:37 “Then the righteous
will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed
you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? Matthew 25:38 When
did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes
and clothe you? Matthew 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison
and go to visit you?’ Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you
the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Rewards in the kingdom of heaven are given to those who
serve without thought of reward. There is no hint of merit
here, for God gives out of grace, not debt.
The King emphasizes Jesus’ dominion and power at the final
judgment. His reign, which is no less real today, will be
complete-all of creation will be forced to acknowledge His
The notion of reward is woven throughout the Bible. even the
concept of degrees of reward and of punishment are present
(Matthew 11:22;25:21,23; Luke12:47-48; 2 Cor. 5:10). In heaven ,
how ever , we will not be concerned about who receives more
than we do. Relieved of the unhealthy tendency to compare,
we will fully rejoice with those who rejoice and will be
content with God’s blessing for us.
We spend too much time on defining who should receive our
ministry, then we risk finding ourselves in league with the
Pharisee who asked "who is my neighbor?" He asked that
question in order to limit his compassion. We seek to offer
3. Will I Be Surprised? (Matthew 25:41-46)
Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart
from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared
for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:42 For I was hungry and you
gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing
to drink, Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in,
I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in
prison and you did not look after me.’ Matthew 25:44 “They also will
answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a
stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not
help you?’ Matthew 25:45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth,
whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you
did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal
punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Interestingly , the words "prepared from the foundation
of the world" that were used in(Matthew 25:34) with the
heavenly image are absent here. Does that mean hell was
not an original part of God’s creation, that it became a
necessity for the Devil and for people who choose to
follow Him? Perhaps. Regardless, their choice means
they go to the place where god is not and suffer the
These verse highlights the danger of the "isolated moral
person" who did nothing to harm anyone. Yet by failure to
accept Christ and have a changed nature that made him or
her a servant to others , that person receives the same
verdict as the blatant sinner.
The opposite destinations underscore the finality of the
verdict that is rendered at the judgment. both are eternal.
Final Judgment (Matthew 25:31-33) Throughout the Bible
we find the teaching of a final judgment in the future. The
Old Testament often depicts this as a judgment against
nations, but the New testament definitely presents
individuals as receiving judgment. The purpose of judgment
is twofold: (1) to punish the wicked and reward the righteous
and (2) to restore creation to its original pristine condition.
Christians often wonder about the nature of judgment. Does this mean we cannot know here what our eternal destination will be? The answer, of course, is no. For Christians, this judgment will not be a trial that determines their destination. The trial is life itself and our response to gospel. Judgment for us will be Jesus’ affirmation of our choice to trust Him and the reception of our rewards.