The Part 1 and Part 2 sermonettes today are loosely connected as usual, there will be some who agree with my points and there will be some who do not. Choice is one of the great things that we have in this life. (Dylan’s take on the matter) Actually its one of the few things that are guaranteed, but I admit that in some circumstances, the choices are narrowed by circumstances. I had some mild trepidation over the order. Considering that there will be a couple of dozen people who read them, how critical can the order be? Ok here we go:
There are plenty of Hollywood movies out there that are ready to show the full force and destruction of “God’s judgment” but they never seem to ask just what it was that people did to deserve the “judgment”. If the movie does try to ask that question the answer usually is a nebulous “we were doing evil, like polluting the earth”. This always makes God’s judgments seem arbitrary and capricious. But I think that the worst judgment that God can pass on us is that we have to live with the consequences of our actions. We cannot escape the world we create for ourselves.
Usually, if we were to think of the things that God might judge us for we tend to think of the big and drastic things, like murder or blasphemy. But I think that in the end, the things that God cares about the most are how we treat our own children, because how we treat our own children, who are wholly dependent on us, is a greater indicator of who we are, both individually and as a society.
It is well known in psychology that how children are raised can make a big impact on the later life outcomes of the children. It is also well known that if there are too many broken families that cannot adequately provide for their children in a certain area or city then crime rates will soar and society as a whole will suffer. When most people look for God’s judgments they look for fire from the sky and plagues of locusts everywhere, but they fail to see that high crime rates, a general breakdown of social order, and well-being are just the indicators of God’s judgments that they should be looking for.
In “the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil” the great determining factor in God’s judgments will be how all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people have treated the least of those among them because how they treat the least among them will determine what they will become. That is, how a society treats its children will determine what kind of society they will become. It determines what will be transmitted to the next and subsequent generations. If they fail to care for those who come to them naked and a stranger to this world then they will fail to continue and God’s judgments will be upon them. This test of how a society treats its children is the great determiner of the success or failure of that society.
Once a society forgets this and places present pleasures over eternal pleasures then begins the process of decay and a loss of stability. It is not something that happens overnight. It may take a generation or two, but eventually, the judgments of God will come, not in the form of fire from heaven or rivers of blood, but in manifestations of man’s inhumanity to man that will make people wonder, How did we get to this point? In a sense, it all started when we ignored “the least of these my brethren” (Matt. 25:37–40).
So if we take the time to reconsider that famous passage from the Book of Matthew, and realize that our children come to us as strangers, naked, hungry, thirsty, and in need of our constant care, and we must clothe them, feed them, give them drinks, and care for them when they are ill, we can see that one of the things that will divide the righteous from the wicked, those nations, kindreds, tongues, and people that will continue on and those that will not, the eternal societies from the temporal societies, is how we treat the least of those among us. How we treat the most vulnerable among us is how God will judge us.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
And remember to “suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
From the feature film, The Kingdom of Heaven:
“Remember that howsoever you are played or by whom, your soul is in your keeping alone, even though those who presume to play you be kings or men of power. When you stand before God, you cannot say, ‘But I was told by others to do thus,’ or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.”
It’s not scripture, but it was well written.