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Our Master taught that upon his Return – and following his visible parousia – he would judge the members of his Church which he compared to sheep and goats. [Matthew 24:43-25:46] What is the basis for this judgment by the King? The “righteous” sheep within his Church would be granted everlasting life based on their loving charity and hospitality to even the lowliest member of the Nazarene fellowship.
To the wicked and unrighteous goats within his Church he proclaims: “Then the King will also speak to those persons on his left-hand: ‘Depart from me, those who are cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. And, I got thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not take me in; ill-clad and you gave me no clothes; sick and in prison, and you did not look after me.’ Then the goats will respond: ‘Master, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or ill-clad or sick or in prison – and refused to minister to you?’ At this the King will tell them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you refused to do to a single one of my humblest brothers, you refused to do it to me. And these goats will depart into an everlasting pruning; but the righteous into everlasting life.’” [Matthew 25:41-45 NCMM]
The Master teaches that those goat-like Christians who are aware of the needs of their fellows are “cursed” or “doomed”. Why? Because they have committed the worst of sins – the sin of omission.
The Master's preferred apostle clearly understood these words when he heard Jesus speak on the Mount of Olives. John writes that those who refuse to come to the aid of their brothers and sisters have put themselves outside of God's love.
He says as if commenting on the Master's parable of the sheep and goats: “You realize that anyone guilty of manslaughter does not have everlasting life remaining within. Here is how we really understand what love is: our Master sacrificed his very existence for us. For this reason we are obligated to sacrifice ourselves for our fellowship. For example: if any of us has this world’s resources for maintaining life and is aware that another Christian is in need and yet slams shut the doors of his tender affections – how is it possible that God still loves that person? My little children, make it your habit to always show loving concern, not in speech or words only, but in positive and real action.” [1 John 3:15-18 NCMM Paraphrase]
Those who obey the Master's words will hear the following: “Approach, those blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the world's foundation.” [Matthew 25:38 NCMM]
Abba bless you.
— Mark Heber Miller.
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