God’s Sheep with Goat Tendencies!

With great humility and vulnerability my sermon manuscript for  Christ the King Sunday, November 2011.

 

Sermon Text: Matthew 25:31-46

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a very difficult text… it can be hard to hear the judgment that will come when Christ returns… especially for us Lutherans who tend not to focus on the end times or the judgment of God… However, we are called not to only focus on the texts we like but work to stay in the tension between the easy texts of God’s love and the difficult text of God’s judgment… So as disciples of Jesus Christ how are we to read this text… how is we to begin to unpack it’s meaning…. And why is this text read on Christ the King Sunday….

The simple answer is… For those who live in the covenant with God… life’s journey will end with the Kingdom of God…. For those who do not live within covenant with God…. According to this text Life’s journey will end with judgment …

The deeper and longer answer is as baptized children of God… we can look at the totality of Christ’s life in scripture and see the promised covenant that God has with us in our baptisms into Christ… We trust that God’s covenant is stronger than anything or anyone on this earth… then we can actively live out of that trust and hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ… and live a life found in freedom…and on that day when Christ sits in his throne we know that we will be counted as sheep… and for those who are not in the covenant relationship… well I don’t know…. I don’t know what will happen…. What I do know is that Christ is loving and abounding in steadfast love… over flowing with grace and he gave his life for  all of creation…but to live in the tension means we must acknowledge that judgment will come… but only God and the one God appoints as judge knows what will happen on that day…

So for those gathered this morning who on the Myers Briggs personality inventory… score a high J or judging… this text may speak to your need to see the world in black and white… no gray… your either a sheep or a goat…

But for those like myself tend to be a strong P – or Perceivers… we live for the grey areas… well sometimes I am a sheep and sometimes I am a goat…. I purpose that we, baptized children of God, are Sheep with Goat tendencies… both sinner and saint…

Either way you read this text… the meaning of this text is expanded far beyond the end times… I would go so far to say that the focus is not on the final judgment at all… rather the focus is more about the present… we are to read this as a lens to see our world NOW not LATER… we read this text knowing that we are the sheep who are counted as God’s children… because we know and trust that God through the waters of baptism secured our position in the kingdom forever… therefore the question becomes less about our salvation and more about who is at the center of our life… Who reigns King in our life… is it God… or is it something or someone else… could it be that we try to reign as king in our life…

This morning… Christ is holding up a mirror for us…. to examine who is at the center of our life… who reigns as King… who is our Lord…. As we begin to reflect on our own life and begin to see what lies at the center… if it is money…. then since about 2008 we know that money can fail you… dramatically… if it is friends or others loved ones in our life… then we know at times that they too can fail or take advantage of us … because we are all broken sinners….if you begin to see that God, the one who will not fail us, who will not walk all over us… who won’t take advantage of us…. who only blesses and loves us…. is not at the center of our life… then what are we going to do about it or what are we going to pray about to begin to move God from the fringe of our life back to the center… because as we move God from the fringes of your life… and back at the center you begin to experience the Kingdom of God this side of the grave… we begin to see the world in a new light… the light of Christ… and we see the world as one large mission field…

So what does all this mean….  It means… KNOW your salvation is secure… and the baptized journey you are on will lead to Heaven but the trajectory of your life still change, how you get to heaven is still up for grabs… how you live your life right now as a disciple can change… you already have the name… it is how you choose to live into that name that matters most to God…. Because when we live with Christ at the center… we live in relationship with God…

Say Christ is at the center of your life… you feed the hungry cloth the naked… visit or take communion to the sick and imprisoned… say you do all these things and know in your heart of hearts that you are serving Christ… what is this text showing you… pause… could it be that maybe God is calling you to go out and bring some goats to church… call on the lost sheep of this community…. Why not change the trajectory of your life… what have you got to loose…. You’re going to heaven… you’re going to be in the kingdom… why not bring some friends and family to join us at the feast…

Through the waters of Baptism our life is forever changed…

Through the waters of baptism we are drawn into and adopted into God’s family…

Through the waters of baptism we are sent out into the word…

Why….? Not so we can secure our own salvation…. We are sent into the world to show the world a new way to live… a way of life that puts Christ at our center… and because of the waters of baptism we need not worry about the day of judgment… we live with the freedom to work on and change the trajectory of our life now… we have the freedom to know and trust there is a seat for us at the Kings table… we have the freedom to hold Christ at the center of our life… and when we do that… our life begins to reflect the life of our king… our life begins to re-present our Lord Jesus…. Emmanuel… God with us… …. And those in our life, friends, loved ones, even strangers… they will see and experience the grace… the peace and the hope that flows from God and through our life…

When we put Christ at the center of our life we begin to help the least… not for our gain… but for theirs…. We begin to call on our neighbors, friends, even strangers… people who have never met Jesus and we being to introduce them to our King… with our life… so that they might live in relationship with God…. And be counted amongst God’s children…

 

Today we remember that Christ is our King… Christ changed our life…

     So whose life’s trajectory will you change this week… yours?

          Maybe someone else’s?

And who will you invite into relationship with your King…

Thanks be to God.

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