Friday, June 11, 2010

Works of Faith: The Sheep and the Goats

                                                                        http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/

Have you ever watched someone while they didn’t realize you were watching them? Often, we are privy to seeing the actual person behind the facade they choose to reveal.  Now before you think I’m pointing fingers, the fact is we all do it. We all want to put our best face forward and perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that -- most of the time. We all have to get along; we all have good days and bad days, and that’s okay -- as long as our bad days don’t reveal the person whom we are most of the time.

So it is - and this is the difference, between the sheep and the goats. First a few observations:

1. The distinction here isn't between sheep and wolves.
2. Both the sheep and the goats believe they are doing what's right.
3. Both are surprised by the Lords words.
4. Neither are given a change to speak, at this point their fates have been decided.
5. Their outcomes are dependent on their works of faith or love.

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By the reaction of the sheep, it seems they have no immediate knowledge of ever doing the right thing. They have done it out of a heart of love. They have responded to the needs that were presented to them because something needed to be done, and they had the ability to do it. They heard the cries of the hungry, the lonely, the poor and those needing help, and they acted upon that. No big deal. This is why, with a surprised look, they sincerely ask, ‘Lord, when?’

The goats are even more surprised at the Lords words. Aren’t these the very things they had been doing?(I hear the echo of another scripture verse...”but Lord, did we not drive out demons in your name, did we not heal the sick in your name?” ) Had they been so busy doing what was right in their own eyes that they passed alongside the man lying in the street needing help. Had they ignored the beggar, the prisoner, and the poor man because they were too busy doing the ‘Lords’ work? Yet these reply in honesty when they ask, ‘Lord, when?’

Selah!

Deeds done for the eyes of men (they already have their reward), or deeds done for private satisfaction or merely to ‘win the prize’ are in the same category. This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’  If we are truly living the christian life, we are living a life of love out of concern and appreciation, not to get something in return.

Godly good deeds are an automatic response of a heart indwelt by Jesus Christ. Good deeds that are contrived to make one look good, or those done in the hopes of receiving a reward are not done out of love.

The test comes through our instinctive unplanned response through works of a faith in the living God.
 I have often told you that much of my writing is looking inward. Am I truly living in a loving response to those around me? Am I filling the needs around me that I am able to fill? Am I truly reflecting Christ?  

Thank you for visiting!         
Until next time..

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Works of Faith: The Sheep and the Goats

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 Most people would agree that the church is at an important junction right now. The times we live in are amazing times. Knowledge has increased, and with that we are becoming aware of a sinister undertow at work. The news of natural disasters seem to intensify with each passing year. There are wars, rumours of impending wars, and a world that is focused on a tiny speck of land with increasing hatred and intolerance. Then there’s the church in contrast to that. Or is it? Even the church is affected by the world we live in, though it should be the other way around.

My husband and I run a small home based audio visual company on the side. A lot of our customers are churches. We sell projectors and large screens which they use to project the words of songs, scriptures, and sometimes to play videos. I think it’s wonderful that we have this type of technology available to us. My only concern is that it has made us lazy. There are so many versions of the bible available today, that people will put down their bibles opting to rely on what’s on the screen.  In short, many people don’t check up on the content of what they’re told.

This may be the downfall of the individual christian today! On my facebook profile, under religious views mine specifies ‘read your bible’ and I mean that with a passion!  We have a responsibility to know that what we believe is the truth! There is ONE mediator between God and man—the Lord Jesus Christ.  Anyone else that pops in between there is to be treated as a man with an opinion. Please, read your bibles and see if it is so!

To get back to the church-- I’m not referring to the church as a whole but am specifically referring to the individuals which make up the church; the sheep and the goats. Have you ever wondered about the portion in Matthew that speaks of the two? I sure have. It’s one of those passages that keeps rolling around in my head.

 What does it mean?

I believe it is a test of the works of faith, and a crucial test--a deciding factor. This is a passage we don’t want to glean over. It is too important.

However, this post is long enough for today, so I will be back in a couple of days with the rest of this post.

The works of faith; the sheep and the goats. Matthew 25:31-46

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