Bible Study: “When Did We See You?”

Here’s a simple statement to get you thinking…

From “THE OPEN BIBLE” commentary:

“When the Bible was written fully one-fourth of it predicted events future to its writers….Christians may differ about how to interpret details of the Bible’s information about the future, but they agree that it is important and that we should live lives of expectation and preparation for the Lord’s return.”

Which brings us to tonight’s passage: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”

Wondering what criteria He will use in making that separation? We don’t have to speculate about it – it’s right there in the scriptures that follow.

It will be done on the basis of how we cared for “the least of these” among us. Look it up for yourself: Matthew 25:33-40.

I am not suggesting we get into some debate about “faith vs. works” salvation. I am not saying that one particular church denomination is better than another. I’m not even speculating on who “true” Christians are and all the rest that many people argue about on a regular basis.

I am just asking that you look at the criteria listed there – and ask yourself- how are you doing?

We live in times when the richest and most secure among us are found right next to the poorest and most disenfranchised. The stock market soars – and people dig food out of the dumpsters to get a bite to eat. How crazy is that?

I know societal issues are complex. I know politics can get messy. I know religion can be complicated.

But now and then we need to remind ourselves that in the future – God’s judgement will be simple and direct and clear as a bell. How did we treat the poorest, the most outcast, the most “unacceptable” among us? Because, Scripture says, that will be how Jesus tells us we treated him.

Sobering thought – don’t you think?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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