Sermoni

Subject 13 : The Gospel According to MATTHEW

[Chapter 25-7] What Is Done to The Righteous Of the Lord’s Church Is Done to the Lord (Matthew 25:31-46)

What Is Done to The Righteous Of the Lord’s Church Is Done to the Lord
(Matthew 25:31-46)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
 


Discernment


Our Lord said that in the last days when He comes to this earth again with His angels, He will sit on His white throne of glory, gather all nations of the earth, and divide them as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats, placing the sheep on the right and the goats on the left. And He said that He would permit the people on His right hand to inherit the Kingdom prepared for them or, in other words, heaven. The reason that He gives them the reward of Heaven is found in His saying, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me.”
That means that our Lord treats all of the things done for God’s people and taking care of them as things done to Him. And He declares that things not done to the righteous people of God are things not done to Him. Therefore, He says to the righteous, “When I was hungry, when I was thirsty, when I was in prison, when I was sick, you all visited Me and took care of Me, so you will receive a reward.” And to the people on His left hand, He says, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”
In verse 44, the people on the left hand ask, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?” These goats on the left hand, those who believe according to their own desires, ask Him discontentedly, “When did we not serve You, Lord? When did we not care for You? We did it all. We did it all for You. When did we not give You drink when You were thirsty or not care for You when You were in prison? We did it all. When did we not do it?” Actually, these goats on the left hand tried to serve God in their own way, but the Lord has nothing to do with them because they didn’t do it to the righteous; they did it to the sinners who suit their tastes. 
Things done to the Lord are things done to His children, the brothers and sisters of God’s Church, and God’s servants. Since the goats did these things to sinners and not to the Lord and the righteous, all of those merits are of no use. The Lord judges at the last day according to this saying, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” and “inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”
We feel that our hearts are renewed when we see these words. The Lord will clearly divide the sheep from the goats when He comes to this earth. The Lord puts the righteous on His right hand and sinners on His left hand, just as shepherds divide the sheep from the goats. And He passes judgment. He says to the righteous, “When I was hungry and destitute, you gave Me food, and you came and visited Me when I was in prison and sick.” Then, we the righteous will ask, “When did we do that to You, Lord?” As soon as we say that we haven’t ever served Him in that manner, He will say, “What you have done to the righteous here was done to Me, so you deserve to inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” and He gives us that reward. He gives eternal life to the righteous in that way, and sinners are sentenced to everlasting fire.
We who are born again must recognize God’s Church and know the fact that what we do to the Church (i.e. serving the Church, caring for souls, uniting with the Church to serve the brothers and sisters, and accomplishing the will of the Lord) is being done to the Lord. We will have to have this kind of faith. The work that we are doing now within God’s Church is being done to the Lord. He treats the work that the church of God does to the righteous as work done to Him and gives them rewards. We are now uniting with the Church of God, caring for the righteous, taking interest in them, and praying for them. We very frequently tell one another to unite with the Church. But these words are really important. The donations that you have made for the Kingdom of the Lord must be used for the salvation of souls and to become a profit to the people of God.
That is because all of the things that you do for the Lord are things done to Him. Therefore, we have to discern which one is God’s Church, and if you once find out the church of God, you should unite yourself with it. The Lord says, “What is done to the righteous is done to Me. What is done to one of the least of the righteous is done to Me.” All of the things that we do in this born-again Church are done to the Lord. Really, the things we do in this Church in order to serve the Lord are not done for others. They are done for the Lord. Taking care of the people of God is done for the Lord.
 


What Is the Work Done to the Lord?


The leaders are really taking care of you in the Church, but it really isn’t just that they are taking care of you; they are doing work for the Lord. You, too, watch out for the Church, supply the insufficient parts in it, and take care of the brothers and sisters, but those things actually become things done to the Lord. After you receive salvation, you must decide to unite your hearts with God’s Church by recognizing it and discerning where you ought to serve, whom you should serve, and whom you must unite with to work. I think that the person who has made up his mind thusly has chosen a really blessed path.
Brothers and sisters, even if a person who has received salvation goes to a church of sinners, donates money, and is loyal until he dies, it is worthless. If you have really become righteous, you have to unite with God’s Church. After you are born again, you are taken care of more by the Church than serving the gospel at first. However, no matter how weak and insufficient you are, you get a lot of opportunities to be able to serve the Lord if you are in the Church. It is truly a blessing for you to be able to serve the Church of the righteous. Since we have come to be able to serve the Lord, it is truly a blessing to us. The Lord said that He would do this in the last days, and this is what He really does.
We have been born again and live out our faith now. So when you do something small to the brothers and sisters in the Church, you are doing it to the Lord. You are not doing it to others. It is all done to yourselves and the Lord. Yes, it is. All of those things being done in the Church are not our personal works but are the work of the Lord, and since I believe that the things done to the brothers and sisters are also things done to the Lord, I have absolutely no desire to receive people’s praises. There is no need to receive acknowledgment from them. When I do it to the Lord, He will give me a reward, and since I am one of the Lord’s people, it is natural for me to do things for His people so that they may prosper. It doesn’t matter whether you get a reward or not; it is proper for the born-again righteous to work for the righteous. You and I don’t do it for sinners; we hope that the righteous fare well, and it is proper to put our hearts in that. Therefore, you and I are actually a blessed people.
Those who received the remission of their sins but whose hearts are crooked and who hate submitting their hearts are prone to leave God’s Church. And they go to the wrong churches, donate money there, and do preposterous things while people there call them “deacon.” You have to know how stupid it is to do that. That is really stupid. I can’t describe how stupid it is. How wrong is it to be people who do not work for their own family, or how wrong is a life of faith that isn’t for the Lord? 
There are two types of people in this world. There are sheep, and there are goats. There are people who are born again, and there are people who are not. And there are also two kinds of churches. There are churches of the righteous, and there are churches of sinners. And there are two kinds of service in Christianity. One is serving God, and the other is serving the devil.
God gives eternal life to the righteous, and He gives eternal fire to those who serve the devil or, in other words, sinners. He gives the righteous eternal life. If we look at today’s Scripture passage, it is more certain that all of the services done in the Church are actually services done for the Lord. When you take care of souls in the Church and spread the gospel for them, those things are also all service to the Lord. Doing so is supporting the Lord’s will. It’s good for a soul to receive the remission of his sins. One can wonder if it would be of no good for the Lord, but their receiving the remission of sin is actually doing His will. Therefore, working for the gospel is serving the Lord. Spreading the gospel and doing God’s work are all for the Lord. We have to know how blessed a path we have entered and how blessed a life we are living. I am very thankful to God that the Lord enabled us to do God’s work, allowed us to live in the Church, and has enabled us to live for the gospel.
Truly, if we had just wrongfully missed the mark a little, we could have served the devil until we received everlasting fire, so how lucky are we? How lucky is it that we serve the Lord, and that all of the things we do are in service to Him? Isn’t it lucky and worthwhile that whatever you and I do, it isn’t for people but for the Lord? Where else can we go to do this kind of sure work? 
What are the people of the world like? They don’t treat others as an end; they treat them as a means. If there is value in using them, they treat them well, but if they think there is really no profit to them, they treat them coldly and end their relationship with them. But the born again do not do that. Even though those who are born again also have the same selfish nature, since they have the Spirit in their hearts, they want to protect people who are weak when they see them, they want to comfort people who have wounded spirits, and they want to help people receive salvation by spreading the gospel when they see people pressed under sin.
Brothers and sisters, I hope that you know that all the work that we do in the Church is done to God. Living lives of faith, spreading the gospel, and serving the Church are all done to the Lord. It is that way for you and me. They are not done to people. The Lord establishes the righteous on His right hand and says, “You served Me this way and visited Me.” The thing the Lord is most pleased with is proclaiming the gospel. He says, “You fought with liars for Me and worked for Me. So enter and inherit the Kingdom that I prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” At the last day, He gives us that Kingdom. We enter that Kingdom to live there after receiving it. It seems like a story from a fairytale, but how can we deny it now that we have come to believe it?
It is written, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). If you believe it is real, it is really fulfilled. We now are holding a revival meeting by the title of “Remission of Sins by Word Only.” Long ago, we had used this title for a while. This is true. The Lord says for us to inherit the Kingdom prepared for the righteous from the foundation of the world. That Kingdom is Heaven. It is the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a holy city prepared for the righteous and God’s people by Him. That city is Heaven.
 


The Life of Proclaiming the Gospel Is a Spiritual Life


Brothers and sisters, spread the gospel for the Lord, support His will, and spread the gospel to your families, too. Spreading the gospel makes the Lord the happiest. The purpose for our living on this earth after you and I receive salvation is in order to spread the gospel. God, intending to save even just one more soul and allow him to enter the holy city, now keeps you and me living in this world. While you and I live, therefore, we must support God’s will and do the work for the Lord that makes God glad: That is, we have to spread the gospel to our families and also those who have no physical connection to us.
Since the Lord wants to save even just one more soul, we must spread the gospel for the Lord to even people whom we have nothing to do with. The work of spreading the gospel is the most blessed work and the greatest work. One of the things that the Lord gives the most rewards for is the work of spreading this gospel. It is the work of repatriating the people of God that have been taken by the devil. Therefore, God looks on this work as the most precious of commitments and gives the most blessings to the people who live for this gospel.
Brothers and sisters, we must proclaim the gospel, save souls, and make every effort for this precious mission while we are living on this earth. Every time we have an opportunity, we must spread the gospel to souls. We must save souls. If we did not do the work of saving souls, there would be no meaning to our lives. Since this is a really precious work, we have to place our purpose for life to the saving of souls by spreading this gospel and live worthily. While we are living and in this time that God has permitted to us, let’s spread the gospel to even just one more soul. 
I think there really is nothing more evil than you and I not spreading the gospel while we are living. Didn’t the person who received one talent bury it in the ground and just give it to the Lord saying, “Here it is” when He came? The Lord passed a sentence upon that kind of people, “Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That you received one talent but you have hidden it in the ground is receiving salvation only for yourself and never showing that you had received it. That kind of person is a thorn in God’s eye.
Brothers and sisters no matter how physically weak we are, let’s live by clearly setting up our purpose. You and I must live for the gospel. Let’s live by clearly deciding that in the end that “we must live for proclaiming the gospel, for God’s Church, and for the profit of the souls all over the world.” Actually, you and I are physically weak, but God guided us to the blessed path of the righteous. And He prepared a righteous life for us so that we could live worthily. More than can be expressed, God gave us the Church, let us do work in the Church, and gave us our duties so that we could perfectly live righteous lives, and He prepared everything so that we could work for the gospel. 
Your and my lives are the most blessed ones. If I, too, had just pursued my own profit after receiving salvation, I would have just been in the house of my family who managed a huge retreat center. I would have become the leader of that retreat center, physically eaten and lived well, extorted money from people by laying my hands on them. But that kind of life is a cursed one. A life of not working for the others’ salvation after receiving one’s own salvation is a cursed life. If one doesn’t live a life of saving souls, that life is a cursed life. God guided us to live for the salvation of others’ souls. God who guided Abraham also guides you and me in order to live for the Lord. God saves us so we can work for the Lord’s gospel, and He placed us in the Church. I can’t explain how sure a blessing this is; I believe that God has given us large blessings.
 


Brothers and Sisters, Are You Living a Blessed Life?


Sometimes, we are afflicted because of our weaknesses. That is because of our individual weaknesses. However, the Lord is so great that He completely saved us even from such weaknesses so that we could live by suitably serving Him even though we are insufficient, and He opened the way for us to live righteous lives. That is the Church, God’s Church. Only when in God’s Church, only when living by uniting with the Church did God permit us to live this blessed and righteous life. If we only have the thought that we have to live just for the Lord and the gospel, God gives us the Church and His Word in order for us to live for the Lord, and He gives us all the circumstances that enable us to serve Him. I am really thankful for that.
I believe that you are really blessed people. I believe that I, too, am a really blessed person. Some people curse me, and my friends look down on me and call me a fool. They say, “You are an idiot. You are really an idiot. Why? You throw away all of the stuff you have. Say you hate it, then go out and plant a church as you like. Why do you get called names by people, and get persecuted. If you aren’t either an idiot or a mental patient, how can you do like you do?” 
But I am not an idiot. Since this is a certain blessed path, since this is the path that receives blessings before God, since this is the path that hands down blessings to other people, since it is the work that shares blessings, I have chosen it. Sometimes, people who have the gospel also call me names. They say, “That dude is an idiot and a fool,” and they look at me and say, “I don’t know why he’s doing that. I don’t know why he says he will only do according to the Word and ministers to his church so stubbornly. If he ministers rigidly like that, a lot of people won’t gather. And they won’t donate a lot of money. And people of other denominations will really hate it if he gives such sermons.”
People in our Church who have recently received the remission of their sins hate me, too. People in the Church misunderstand and ask why I make people who just received the remission of their sins and used to come out to Church stop coming by my yelling when I give sermons. Since we all serve the Lord, not people, it suffices for me to just do according to what the Lord says and what makes Him happy. It is sufficient to just please Him. If you just make Him happy, it doesn’t matter afterwards if other people like you or can understand you. Why? That is because it is not people who give eternal rewards to me. That is because I don’t hope for their reward, either. And they are actually people who have to obtain their own profit from me, and if they think I am no benefit to them, they are people who will someday abandon me. Since you and I don’t do things for people or serve them, we are very blessed.
 


Brothers and Sisters, Are You Really Living for the Lord?


We recently printed 3,000 copies of our new book and it cost about US$3,200. This is just the cost of the printing, and of course, there were a lot of expenses that were not in the budget. Since our literature department directly did all of the work from the cover design to all of the typing and editing of the contents and preparation, if we had done it by giving all those parts to outside workers, there would be several times as many expenses. Anyway, we used that small amount of money and made 3,000 copies of our books. If there are 3,000 books, we can share them with 3,000 foreigners in the English-speaking world. We can share those books with everyone whether they believe in Jesus or not. 
Isn’t it a really blessed work? God permitted us to live lives of being able to serve the Lord. The Lord permitted us to be able to live this blessed life. Then, why would anyone abandon this kind of life? If we live this kind of life, our own lives and others’ lives become abundant, and we receive love from the Lord. So we are sometimes misunderstood and get called names by our families, friends, the people around us, and sinners in order to live a blessed life after we have received salvation.
But we don’t care at all. Why? It is because this life is a proper life. After we die, also, the Lord will bring us back to life to put the righteous or sheep on His right hand and the sinners or goats on His left hand. Brothers and sisters, do you believe that the Lord will place you on His right hand whether you are living or maybe died, sleep for a while and get up? Yes, I am sure you do. What will the Lord say to us at that time? He will tell us to enter the Kingdom that was prepared for us from the foundation of the world. And He will say to you and me, “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” Then what will we say to Him? We’ll ask, “Lord, when did we visit you or give You food when you were hungry?” The Lord will say, “What you do to the least of these that received salvation while you are on this earth is done to Me. What you do to people and to God’s Church is also done to Me.”
Aren’t we going to be dumbfounded when we hear those words from Him? We might even say, “No, there isn’t anything that I did to You, Lord.” But we clearly did those things to the Lord. Whether we do something to the least of these or to the biggest of these, everything we do to care for the brothers and sisters through love and to spiritually intervene in their lives is done to the Lord. The Lord says, “If you live this kind of life, you will receive My love, I will get more and more glory, and you will receive more blessings.” All of the work we are doing is done to the Lord. We haven’t died yet, and we don’t yet stand at the right side of the Lord’s judgment seat, but we are living a blessed life before God by faith. We live a life by faith that makes the Lord happy.
We awaken to the fact that, “Oh, our Church is God’s Church! The Lord is our King and the Word of God is life to us. God hopes that we seek His Word and live according to it, even though we are insufficient. That kind of life makes Him happy.” A life of seeking after that awakening through faith is a blessed one. You and I sometimes have difficult and hard times, too, because of our individual situations, our greed, and our weaknesses. However, we must live for the Lord by uniting with the Church. If we live for the Lord, our future is guaranteed and the Lord receives glory. People receive salvation. If you don’t live for the Lord, it is really opposing the Lord. We must believe that every single thing that we do is for the Lord.
Do you work for the Lord? You do, don’t you? Yes, we do it for the Lord. That is proper faith. It is proper belief. Our sisters among you do that, don’t they? And I think that living this kind of life is blessed. It is really blessed. Even though we are insufficient, we spread the gospel to souls and intend to live a life that supports them working for the gospel. This life of living for the gospel and for saving not just our own people as well as all sinners in the world is a blessed life. The person who is born into this world and lives the most blessed life is a person who does the work of saving souls with the Church and lives for the other people of God by uniting with them. God gave us this kind of life. The time will have already passed for the work of spreading the gospel when the Lord says, “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was in prison and you visited Me. Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” This is the time He makes the final judgment.
Our Lord said that the person who spreads the gospel will “shine forth as the sun” (Matthew 13:43). And the Old Testament also says that the person who helps people receive the remission of their sins and turns many to righteousness shall shine like the stars (Daniel 12:3). Those who are faithful to the Lord are described as the ones who “shine forth as the sun” in the New Testament and “shine like the stars” in the Old Testament. This means that the righteous shine forever. The Lord gives that kind of reward to those who work for the gospel. 
God enabled you and me to live this kind of life. I hope that you believe this and live by faith. And I hope you live for the salvation of souls. No matter how well you treat people temporally, it does not last long. Let’s say that you filled the stomach of a beggar once. That is over after he uses the bathroom just once. But if you spread the gospel to people and help them receive salvation, this will shine forever. It is something that will be remembered.
The woman of ill repute in the neighborhood came before Jesus, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and poured it on His head. She broke the bottle of costly oil of spikenard and anointed Jesus with all of it. Jesus said that what the woman had done would be a memorial to her wherever the gospel is preached (Matthew 26:13). This woman lived a life that is most blessed. She broke the bottle and anointed Him. The bottle was all the things she had gathered. So this meant that she broke herself and served the Lord. She lived a life for Him after receiving the remission of sin from the Lord. 
We must not look at only our physical weaknesses; we must live lives of denying ourselves for the gospel. And we must perceive that this generation is the end time, discern what is spiritual and what is physical, and become people who use more of our strength in the spiritual things. We must consider that God gave us blessings and be grateful for that, have faith in the part that He gave us very blessed lives, and go to the Lord after living the remainder of our blessed lives.