This is our final day spent on examining this passage of scripture (Matthew 25:31-46). Some of you are probably giving a huge sigh of relief! As in part 3 (see also part 1 and part 2 if you missed them), I want to conclude today by looking at the last three commands from the parable, and do so by looking at them from a spiritual perspective.
Clothe those in need. Often we help lead someone to Christ and never check back with them. We figure we’ve done our part; we’ve gotten the gold star and done the happy dance, so it’s time to move on and look for the next “target”. This is wrong behavior and we should instead be nurturing the growth of the one who has just come to Christ. Their unrestrained passion is infectious, and I guarantee you will learn something from them. Otherwise it’s like leaving them naked in the wilderness and telling them “good luck” as we drive away. They are unprepared to face the spiritual challenges ahead. Our job is not to see how many people we can lead to Christ; rather it is to tell everyone about Him and feed and clothe those who do know Him. These are your brothers and your sisters. Do not leave them unprepared. Instead, instruct them in the ways of Christ. Prepare them for the battles they will face so they will be able to stand firm, clothed in grace, humility and the power of Jesus.
Care for the sick. We all are infected with the disease of sin. Some who have accepted Christ have fallen away and are in terrible condition. We must gently, and without judgment, care for their needs. We must help them through their trials and point them back to Jesus. Satan will poison our minds with doubt and lust and greed. He will pollute our thoughts with inaccurate teaching. Jesus is the antidote; we are His hands, responsible for administering it. Never judge an ailing brother or sister, but rather encourage them with wisdom and nurse them back to full spiritual health.
Visit those in prison. Finally, there are those who have closed their minds to anything spiritual. They believe man has the answers for everything or perhaps that there are no answers to be had. Their hearts are locked behind iron gates and stone walls. Yet we must never refrain from demonstrating love and kindness to these individuals. The Bible tells of angels opening locked doors (Acts 12:6-10), and they are still in the business of doing just that. By engaging those who want nothing to do with Christianity, we are able to bless them by simply being a friend. Perhaps someday angels will unlock the door to their heart and we can then share the good news of Jesus. Our call is to the sick, not the healthy. Never grow discouraged when speaking to those in great spiritual bondage. We have the Creator of all things on our side. Be gentle, loving and persistent. Pray that God would unlock the door to the heart of that person.
I hope you have found something useful in this series of posts. It is vital that we grasp the things we are to be doing, for Jesus made it quite plain that these are the very things that will determine whether we join Him in Heaven or spend an eternity apart from Him in Hell. I cannot stress enough that our salvation does not end with Ephesians 2:8 and 9. Once we have accepted the Gift of God, we must work out our salvation by doing the very things He created for us to do, as explained in Ephesians 2:10. That’s the whole package; stopping at grace is simply removing the bow. We have to dig in and put in some effort to unveil what’s inside the gift. This year, let’s move beyond the simple profession of faith. Let’s get in there, get our hands dirty and wage spiritual warfare. The sidelines are for spectators, we need to be in the game. Gear up, get engaged, and throw yourself into all that God has made for you to do.