TEXT: Matthew 25:41-46
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
— PRAYER —
Practical Duties for the Christian in this Present Evil Age, Part 6
James Burton Coffman said, “This overwhelming word from man’s only Redeemer is shocking. The soul draws back from the contemplation of anything so terrible as eternal punishment. Only a fool could fail to be moved by the dreadful thought that such a penalty as eternal punishment can be incurred. No wonder men have sought to soften this doctrine; and yet, the theological and philosophical grounds for this doctrine are profoundly overwhelming and convincing.”
Jesus ends the description of the judgment of the sheep and goats with a summary of the destinations of these two groups of individuals. The goats “go away into everlasting punishment.” And the “righteous” sheep enter “into life eternal.” We usually do not have a problem accepting the doctrine of “life eternal.” It is the “everlasting punishment” that troubles us more — likely because, deep down, we do not want to accept even the possibility that we might end up enduring it. We may pretend to be jealous of God’s compassion or capacity for mercy, but what really makes us question the concept of “everlasting punishment” is the fear that it is actually a real possibility.
However, the doctrines of everlasting life and everlasting punishment (or death) are not separate. When Jesus speaks of them in this verse, He does not qualify either. They are two sides of the same coin. In fact, the very same word in Greek is used to describe them both. It is the word “ai-o-ni-os” which means: “without end, never to cease, everlasting.” The goats enter eternal punishment just as easily as the sheep enter everlasting life. John MacArthur said, “Punishment in hell is defined by the word ‘ai-o-ni-os’, which is the word eternal or everlasting. There are people who would like to redefine that word and say, ‘Well, it doesn’t really mean forever.’ But if you do that with hell, you’ve just done it with heaven, because the same word is used to describe both. If there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven. And I’ll go one beyond that. The same word is used to describe God. And so if there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven, nor is there an everlasting God. It is clear that God is eternal; and, therefore, that heaven is eternal, and so is hell.”
In keeping with the theme of this mini-series — “Practical Duties for the Christian in this Present Evil Age” — the real question is, what are we, the sheep of today, going to do about the dire consequence of eternal punishment? What is our duty? Our duty is to behave like the sheep Jesus describes and treat all of our neighbors with Christ-like love — and the greatest display of that love is telling them about the danger of eternal punishment and the gift of eternal life.
Penn Jillette, a professed atheist, once said, “I don’t respect people who don’t tell others about Jesus. If you believe there is a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward — how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
It is not enough to say we love God and love our neighbors. We must show that we love them by warning them of eternal punishment and inviting them into eternal life. That is our duty.
Alice M. Batchelder wrote:
Tell me, brother, worn and weary,
Toiling over life’s pathway dim,
Are you shedding light for Jesus,
Are you witnessing for Him?
Are you seeking for the sinners,
Those whom Jesus died to win?
Are you pointing to the fountain
That can wash away their sin?
Are you watching by the wayside
For the fainting ones who fall?
Do you take them to the Savior,
Who has promised rest for all?
Does it bring a heavenly blessing
With God’s people to abide?
Do you love to tell of Jesus
More than all the world beside?
Now, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge you to trust in Him because He is coming again and you do not want to be left behind. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and the consequences of sin.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.