Sermon on Christ the King, Proper 29 for 11/22/2020
Psalm 100; Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
Rev. Jerry Lyle
Since becoming ordained, the sermon for “Christ the King” has been offered to me more often than any other. Why? Because it’s about Judgment Day! Some will say, “I’ve been forgiven, and yest that’s right, but it does not mean we are not still held accountable. None of us is perfect, but the issue is not perfection, if’s about righteous living, for this is the premise of the separation of the sheep and the goats, but more about that in a minute.
In our lesson from Ezekiel this morning, the text is centered upon God and His sheep. The Sovereign God says, “I myself will look for my sheep and as their Shepherd I will bring the scattered sheep to myself. I will rescue them and protect them and bring them into their own land.” The sheep, of course, are God’s people and He even states He will judge them. He also said, “I will save my flock they will not be plundered, I will judge one sheep from another.” I will place over them one shepherd, David, and he will tend them, and be their shepherd. “I will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them.” Simply put, God is going to care for His people and guide them in the way to live. He will give them what they need, but it is up to them to use what they are given, in a proper manner.
In our Psalm this day, it is short, but directly to the point. We are to praise Him and come before Him in song, for He made us and we are His, the sheep of his pasture. We are to enter his gates, the kingdom, praising and thanking Him for He is good and His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations. Again, we see its about faith, obedience and living as He directs us to.
In our lesson from Ephesians, Paul is once again exhorting the church in Ephesus by saying, “Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” Once again, he is urging the people in the church to gain more and more knowledge of God, because it is that important. Paul states he wants us to know the hope to which God through Christ has called us to of His glorious inheritance in the saints.
Paul makes the point that love does more than it “feels.” God’s people love one another and others come to know about this love through the actions of His people by showing this love for all of God’s people. What we do on Sunday mornings is worship, it is a time to come together to refresh ourselves in God’s Word and when able, through the Eucharist and music, when available. What we do on Monday through Saturday, is to take the Word we learn about on Sunday and express it to the world around us. There are many who have never heard God’s Word, and it’s up to each one of us. Remember, when two or three are gathered together, He comes in the midst of us. Paul made the statement that our Lord Christ has been given the seat next to God in heaven with all power, dominion and authority, not only in the present age but also the one to come.
From our Gospel this morning, we see the separation of the sheep and the goats, again the reference to the judgment again. Jesus puts all the sheep on His right and says, “Come take your inheritance.” “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, and I was a stranger and you invited me in, I need clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
The the “righteous” will answer him, “Lord, when did we do these things for You?” The king will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever yo did for one of he least of theses brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Then He turned to His left and said, “Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. All those things the righteous did in my honor, you refused me. Then, they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Beloved, St. Joseph’s has a long history of community service and activity. As I’ve said before, people regularly talk about the dynamic church, aka St. Joseph. This always has made me feel good, and I think all of you as well. This means we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. When we see someone hungry we are to give them something to eat; when we see someone thirsty, we are to give them something to drink; when we see someone that is a stranger we are to invite them in; when we see someone in need we are to give them clothes; when we see someone sick we re to care for them; when someone is in prison, we are to visit them, for when we do these things, it is as if we are doing them for Jesus Himself.
Today is Christ the King Sunday, and we are to honor Him, more specially that we do any other day. He came to this earth, to model and to teach and preach the way we are to live our own lives. He showed us how to be righteous and that’s where we all want to be. Amen!