Matthew 25:31
The two earlier parables of judgment refer to those who are in confessed relationship with God. The parable of the ten virgins represents the relationship of friendship, - that of people who would share in the joys of God's home, as friends at a wedding feast; the parable of the talents represents a less intimate relationship, - that of service; the talents are committed to their proprietor's "own servants." Now the scene changes, and we are brought out to the larger world of the nations; the judgment of those who do not know Christ as their Friend or consciously serve him as their Master is here typified. To Jews this would mean the judgment of the Gentiles; to Christians it represents the judgment of the heathen, with those, also, who live in Christendom, but who do not give their adherence to any of the Churches.

I. CHRIST WILL JUDGE THE WORLD.

1. There will be a judgment of the world. This is not to be confined to the Church; it will not be only for those who acknowledge Christ. We cannot escape from it by ignoring the rule of Christ. The most heedless and careless, the most worldly and unspiritual, the most sceptical and materialistic, will be brought before the bar of the universal judgment.

2. This judgment will be in the hands of Christ. It will be conducted by the "Son of man," who, even when acting as a Judge, is to be regarded as a Shepherd dividing his flocks. Therefore the judgment will be conducted with humanity and with sympathy, with the discrimination of knowledge gained in experience.

II. THE JUDGMENT OF CHRIST WILL RESULT IN A TWOFOLD DIVISION.

1. There will be two classes. All are not condemned; but all are not approved. Even Jesus with all his graciousness must reprobate what is wrong. His gospel is not a security of salvation for the sinful impenitent.

2. There will be but two. These are the main divisions. All characters tend either downward or upward. We are all either in the narrow way or in the broad way - either sheep or goats.

3. These classes will be separated. At present they are united. There will be a revelation and a division, and each man will then go to his own place.

III. THE GROUND OF JUDGMENT WILL BE MEN'S CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE. It will not be a profession of religion, nor a creed, nor a performance of acts of worship. Christ looks chiefly to conduct in the world. He takes what is done to one of his brethren as the test. This is just the same as if it were done to him, because he is so perfectly sympathetic, that he feels what is done to his brother exactly as though it were done to himself. The rule is for the judgment of the heathen and those outside the Church of Christ. More is expected of Christ's own confessed followers - lamps well supplied with oil of grace, and faithful use of entrusted talents. But such people cannot be excused from what is expected even of the heathen. We can all best serve Christ by ministering to his brethren. This is what he most cares for.

IV. THE JUDGMENT WILL RESULT IN BLESSEDNESS AND PUNISHMENT.

1. There is the joy of the kingdom for the sheep on the right hand. It is remarkable to see that the kingdom was prepared for such from the foundation of the world. From the first its blessings were for many who are not in any visible Church, for many who do not know themselves to be Christians.

2. There is punishment for the goats on the left hand. The hard and selfish are those who receive this punishment. They will not escape it because of their ignorance or their refusal to recognize Christ. It will be unbearably awful. - W.F.A.







When the Son of Man shall come in His glory.
I. WHO ARE TO BE JUDGED? — "All nations."

II. THE JUDGE OF MAN.

1. The Judge will be righteous in His decisions.

2. The Judge Himself having been the witness of all the moral actions of men will require no evidence.

3. Then why do we live so thoughtlessly?

III. THE ISSUE OF THE JUDGMENT. Final separation of the wicked and the righteous.

(R. Jones, B. A.)

I. THE PERSONAL GLORY AND MAJESTY OF THE JUDGE.

1. He will appear in that nature which He assumed as the Saviour of men.

2. The attributes of a suffering and degraded humanity will not be requisite to identify the Judge.

3. Heaven's innumerable inhabitants will accompany the Son of Man.

4. Then shall He set up the throne of His glory.

II. THE SUPREME PREROGATIVES OF THE SON OF MAN AS DISPLAYED IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE WORLD.

1. The veil has been removed which conceals His dignity.

2. His unsearchable wisdom and power is further exhibited in the separating process.

III. THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THE AWARDS OF THE JUDGMENT WILL BE DISTRIBUTED.

1. The Judge speaks from His throne as King in Zion.

2. He proceeds to assign reasons for the Father's having thus received them.

3. The language of surprise on the lips of the righteous.

IV. THE FINAL STATE OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

1. Express our solemn satisfaction in the assurance that Christ will sit as Judge of the race.

2. Let us daily demonstrate our love to Christ by abounding in works of mercy.

3. If through self-interest any Christian be undone, he will be found without apology.

(J. Dixon.)

I. THE VAST ASSEMBLAGE.

1. All the holy angels.

2. All nations.

3. All classes.

4. All ages.

5. All characters.

6. We shall be there.

7. All must obey the summons. Each must answer to his name.

II. THE FINAL SEPARATION.

1. Here, this separation is impossible. The tares grow with the wheat.

2. Here, while many unions are injurious, many separations are painful. There, all will feel that the separation is right.

3. It will be based on character. Here wealth, etc. sunders men. There, all will belong to one of two classes — sheep or goats.

4. Viewed from our present standpoint, many of those separations will be painful,

III. THE SOLEMN SENTENCE.

1. Even to the good.

2. Still more to the wicked. There will be no reversal of the sentence.

3. Execution will promptly follow the sentence.

(J. C. Gray.)

Contrast the first and last coming of Christ.

I. Its great revelations.

II. Its great account.

III. Its great separation.

IV. Its great decision.

(D. Gerok, D. D.)

I. ITS AUTHOR.

1. His ability.

2. His prerogative.

II. ITS NATURE.

1. Its exactness.

2. Its completeness.

3. Its consequences in respect to place and employment and interest.

4. Its duration.

III. ITS PRINCIPLE.

1. On the ground of character.

2. The test of character being the state of mind and heart toward the Redeemer.

3. The evidence of a right state of mind and heart toward the Redeemer being the treatment of His people. "If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged."

(G. Brooks.)

Expository Outlines.
I. THE IMPORTANT PERIOD REFERRED TO. "When the Son of Man shall come."

1. What this statement implies. It is the certainty of the Saviour's second coming; no intimation given of the precise time.

2. What this statement announces — It tells us how He will come.

(1)The manner of His appearing — "in His glory."

(2)His numerous retinue — "and all the holy angels."

(3)The dignified position He will assume — "Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory."

II. THE SOLEMN TRANSACTIONS DESCRIBED.

1. The persons who will appear before Him — "all nations."

2. The division that will take place — "and He shall separate them."

III. THE SEPARATE AWARDS PRONOUNCED.

1. The righteous.

(1)The ineffable welcome they receive.

(2)The special reasons adduced.

(3)The questions which the favoured throng propose.

(4)The explanation which is given in reply.

2. The wicked.

(1)Their awful doom.

(2)The grounds on which it rests.

IV. THE FINAL ISSUE DECLARED — "And these shall go away," etc.

(Expository Outlines.)

I. LET US CONTEMPLATE IT AS A REVEALED FACT.

II. THE NATURE OF THIS SEPARATION.

1. It will be made by the Judge Himself.

2. It will be made wholly on the ground of moral character.

3. It will take place at the judgment day.

4. It will be a separation in place and residence.

5. It will be a separation in interest and employment.

6. It will be eternal.

III. ON WHAT GROUND IT WILL BE MADE.

1. Upon our moral character formed in this state of probation.

2. This has an important bearing upon our earthly friendships.

3. What must be done in order to avoid being separated with the wicked.

(G. Coad.)

I. The coming.

II. The sitting.

III. The gathering.

IV. The separating.

V. The convicting.

VI. The sentencing.

VII. The executing.

(Dr. Bonar.)

The Judge of this world is Jesus Christ. Let us inquire —

I. How Christ cometh to be the world's Judge; and with what conveniency and agreeableness to reason this honour is put upon Him. To a judge there belongeth these four things —

(1)Wisdom;

(2)justice;

(3)power;

(4)authority.

II. Why is Christ the Judge of the world rather than the Father, and the Spirit, who made us and gave the law to us? These have one common nature, and the operations that are with the Divine essence, are common to them all. There is also an order and economy, according to which all their operations are produced, and brought forth to the creature; according to which order their power of judging fell partly to the Father, and partly to the Son.

(T. Manton.)

Doctrine. That Christ's appearance for the judgment of the world shall be glorious and full of majesty.

I. His PERSONAL GLORY

1. The dignity of His person.

2. The quality of His office.

3. The greatness of His work.

4. The foregoing appearances of Christ. Why will He come in this great glory?

(1)To take off the scandal and ignominy of the cross.

(2)To beget a greater reverence and fear in the hearts of all those that shall be judged by Him.

(3)For the comfort of His people; for Christ is a pattern and pledge of what shall be done in them.

II. His ROYAL ATTENDANCE — "Holy angels with Him."

1. Partly for a train.

2. Partly that, by their ministry, the work of the day may be more speedily dispatched.

(T. Manton.)

A shepherd among men is not lord of the flock, but a servant to take charge of them.

I. CHRIST IS A GOOD SHEPHERD.

1. Known by His care and vigilancy.

2. Shown by His pity and wisdom, to deal tenderly with the flock, as their state doth require.

3. Seen in His constantly.performing all parts of a shepherd to them.

4. Proved in His giving His life for them.

II. CHRIST IS A GREAT SHEPHERD.

1. Great in His person; the Son of God.

2. Great in regard to the excellency of His gifts and qualifications.

3. Great in regard of His flock; He is the Shepherd of souls, millions of them are committed to His charge, and one soul is more worth than all the world.

(T. Manton.)

1. Sheep are such kind of creatures as naturally gather themselves together, and unite themselves in a flock.

2. They are innocent and harmless creatures.

3. They are obedient to the shepherd.

4. They are poor, dependent creatures

(a)because of their erring (wandering)property;

(b)because of their weakness.

(T. Manton.)

They are as goats both for their unruliness and uncleanness. Unruliness; they have not the meekness of sheep; are ready to break through all fence and restraint; so a wicked man is yokeless. They are also wanton and loathsome — 'tis a baser sort of animal than the sheep — therefore chosen to set forth a wicked and ungodly man.

(T. Manton.)

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