What About the Goats?

I have been taking the children on a journey though the last week of Jesus’ life. One of the stories I was thinking about teaching them was the Sheep and The Goats which is found in Matthew 25.

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

I have taught this story before on Wednesday nights but there were only two children in the class. We only focused on the sheep on that Wednesday night and I wanted to look at the goats this time. I started to think and research the Bible because as a pastor I have to look at all of the scriptures to see what other passage say about the subject. I also read some other books and several commentaries on this passage.  Most of these sources told me that the goats were the unsaved.  When you look at the Bible, there are other passages that could serve as a warning to Christians.  There is a possibility that the goats are those who don’t live out their Christian life as Christ has commanded.

In James, we hear these words.   14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.

James points out that if we believe in God and do not do good deeds our faith is dead. He brings up a good point that the demon believe in Jesus but they are not saved. Now I am not saying that works will get us in Heaven because they will not, we can read thought out Romans that it is by faith not works that we are saved.  David Platt in his book “Radical Together” says “we were saved from works to be saved to work. God has command us to take care of the needs of others.  If you read though the Bible you will see that taking care of those who are in need is very important to God. When you read James 2:14-46, James is telling us that doing good deeds is a sign of a healthy Christian life.  The Bible speaks of the ways we can tell if our Christian life is healthy. In Galatians 5:22 and 23 we have the fruits of the Spirit.

”But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

One of the ways we show the fruits of the Spirit in our lives is to take care of others – love, joy, kindness, gentleness are all needed when we take care of others.  If we don’t have the spiritual fruit in our life, we will not have the passion to take care of others and if that passion isn’t there, it could be that your faith is dead.


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