As we begin a new year, my heart is drawn to 1 Corinthians 4:20, which says: “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
Warren Wiersbe writes “the church has known for 2,000 years that Jesus is coming again, and yet many believers have become lethargic and drowsy. They are no longer excited about the soon-coming of the Lord. As a result, there is little effective witness given that the Lord is returning.”
Is this you? Be honest here — are you an effective witness for the Kingdom of God, or are you just a lot of dull talk? Do you have an excitement for sharing about the good news of God’s love with others? And have you ever truly responded to the good news of God’s love for you?
The final part of the Matthew 25 addresses the final judgment of the entire world. Leading up to this, there are four parables (Matthew 24:43–25:30) that have all alluded to judgment, and have concentrated on right living in this life. So, although this last part is told using illustrative language, like a parable, with the final judgment being compared to a shepherd separating sheep from goats, it’s not a parable. Jesus ends his teaching here in Matthew 24 and 25 with an emphasis on the eternal judgment of the entire world.
It reads almost like an exact description of what’s going to happen when Jesus comes again, as if Jesus wants to make explicit what’s implicit in the parables. This is a moving and solemn passage. It reminds us of certain things that are going to be true about the return of the Lord. From this passage there are four things we learn about the return of the Lord. First, he returns in glory (verse 31). Second, he returns as the judge and jury for final judgment (verses 32–33). Third, he returns to bring us into his presence for eternity (verses 34–40). And fourth, he returns to confront wickedness (verses 41–46), a truth that should compel us to not delay in seeing others come to know Jesus Christ personally — to be fully committed to daily living the Kingdom experience this next year.
So how do we do this? We have to actually apply these truths from Matthew 25 to our lives. Start by pointing others to his glory by living a vibrant, holy life. Secondly, let God be God — let him be the judge of others. And lastly, we must not forget others need to know the truth about eternity in his presence. Much like the first truth we learned from Matthew 25, we must also recognize with all of our holy living the conversation about eternity must still happen. Being “Christian” is just the start to this — sharing Christ consistently with others is what makes the good news of Jesus Christ powerful, real and authentic, so share your story!
We must not forget what 1 Corinthians 4:20 said: “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” When you and I are living by God’s power, there should be an infusion of the Holy Spirit within us that makes us and our way of living refreshing and exciting to those around us. Are you an effective witness for the Kingdom of God, or are you just a lot of dull talk? Are you living the Kingdom experience daily?
What Jesus shares in Matthew 25 was meant to clearly communicate what it means to be ready for his return and how to live until he comes. We must be an effective witness for the Kingdom of God, and we must not waste our opportunities. You may feel as if you may not have a great deal of ability to reach others, to impact them, but you can choose to be faithful with what you do have — for all of us must be faithful, as we daily seek to live out the Kingdom experience by pointing other to his glory by living a vibrant, holy life; to let God be God — to let him be the judge of others; and to be faithful to share with others their need to know the truth about eternity in his presence forever.
May you live the Kingdom experience throughout this year and may those apart from God, see your action, your desire to live by God’s power each day, and praise him for it — drawing closer to the Lord as their savior, their creator, their healer and redeemer!
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Faith.