Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Right and Left (07/31/14)
TITLE: Sheep and Goats
By Edmond Ng
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- All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:32-33 NAS)
A shepherd caring for both sheep and goats knows the two do not graze well together, so frequently it is necessary to separate them while they are feeding. Sheep prefer to eat short, tender grass, weeds, and clover, while goats prefer to eat leaves, twigs, vines, and shrubs, according to Dallas small farms examiner, Cindi Hinton, in her article at Examiner.com.
This was what Jesus meant when He said He will separate all the nations gathered before Him from one another when He returns in glory with all His angels. Just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats and puts the sheep on his right and the goats on the left, He will do the same to separate the righteous from the wicked.
He will sit on His glorious throne and say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But to those on His left, He will say, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:31-46).
For to the right are the ones who are true to the Lord whose hearts and minds are one with God in loving and caring for those in need. But to the left are the ones who are not of the Lord and whose hearts and minds are filled with vile, wickedness, selfishness, pretense and the like, devoid of love or care for others.
Jesus our Lord is the great Shepherd. He knows the ones who are His and is able to separate them from those who are not. “This separation will be so exact, that the most inconsiderable saints shall not be lost in the crowd of sinners, nor the most plausible sinner hid in the crowd of saints,” described Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary. But every one shall go to his own place (Psalm 1:5; Ezekiel 34:17; Malachi 3:18).
Are we assured of our place in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior? Are our hearts poured out to God our Father with Christ in us and His Spirit guiding and working through us? Are we so in love with the Lord to want to reach out and feed His sheep to meet the needs of the hungry and thirsty, to clothe and take care of them?
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep,” Jesus said. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” (John 10:11, 14). Do we know Jesus personally and intimately?
For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation. If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our heart God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. This is the assurance that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son, Jesus. Whoever has Jesus has eternal life and will not be disappointed, but whoever rejects Jesus will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him (Romans 10:9-11; John 3:36; 1 John 5:11-12).
Let us choose life and experience a personal God who loves and cares for us intimately.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving and caring for us. You, O Lord, know every one of us who are Yours, and You know who are not. You see our hearts and know our thoughts. Protect us from those among us who disguise themselves as Yours that we might not fall prey to deceit or ill intent. Work in us every good thing that is pleasing in Your sight and give us the heart of a shepherd that loves and cares to reach out to those in need. To You be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
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