Understanding the Sheep and the Goats

The sheep and the goats is one of the most striking and the most controversial statements made by Jesus regarding the final judgment. It is a time when the genuine believers (the sheep) will be separated from the non-believers (the goats).

Now over the years, this has caused a lot of fear and confusion, as I have heard people express to me their fear that they might be a goat and not know it. After all, what exactly is a goat, and how do we tell a goat from a sheep in the spiritual sense? There are some who say that a genuine sheep will be the hardest worker for God, while a goat will slack-off on their spiritual duties and responsibilities.

Is that true?
If so, how do we know when we’ve worked hard enough to merit sheep-hood? And afterwards, can we fall back to being a goat?

In order to have any real assurance and security, these questions must be answered – and thankfully, God hasn’t left us wondering about the answers; Jesus spoke plainly about them.
This is what we will be examining today in this study, and by seeing this, you will not need to be confused or afraid about the sheep and the goats any longer.

Speak Victory, Not Defeat

Many people have heard the famous quote from Proverbs 18:21, that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”, and countless sermons have been preached over the years about the power of positive confession – even the secular world understands that speaking (and thinking) positively can have a benefit.

The scriptures however take it deeper than what most people realize. Positive thinking and positive confession without a foundation on the truth of Jesus Christ, is empty. It is just words without substance, it is clouds without rain if we don’t understand exactly why we can speak and think positively – and have it be more than simply nice words or pleasant thoughts.

Many people, including believers that I have talked to, are trying to get the benefits of positive thinking and positive confession, without the foundation… putting the cart before the horse; and without the basis of Jesus Christ, it all falls flat.

So what I want to share with you today, are some examples of how this was used by the people in scripture, about the very specific positive confessions that they spoke, and how they actually obtained results… and by seeing this, you will be able to speak and think positively, with confidence and substance, because you will know why it is true for you.

Are You Trusting in the TEXT or in the PERSON?

It seems like a strange question at first: do you trust the text of scripture? If you are a believer the answer is of course, yes – and I’m sure this study is going to raise a few eyebrows. However I want to to share with you something that God has recently shared with me… and it is precisely the difference between trusting in the text of scripture versus trusting in the person that the text is speaking about. It seems almost like semantics or hair-splitting at first, however I believe that as you begin to see this difference and what it means, it will open-up new levels of belief on Jesus Christ, and security in Him.

It may surprise you to also learn that this idea did not originate with me… This distinction is not my invention, but it began with Jesus Himself. He was the one who first spoke of it, and with good reason… this is actually a fundamental issue of both faith and belief. And again it is my privilege to share this with you today.

Don’t Let the Tares Spoil Your Harvest

A popular phrase, is that “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” It’s a bit simplistic. My mother managed to simplify it even further to “Don’t be a downer!”. And there is no place that this advice is needed more, than in the realm of the spirit. I remember one time when I was in a small group and we were having a time of prayer, specifically for healing; we were praying for a specific person who was sick and not able to attend that meeting, and it seemed as though a were achieving breakthroughs, but then as our prayer time came to an end, one lady spoke up and said “you know, my friend had those same exact symptoms and she died.”

As soon as those words were uttered, the atmosphere completely changed. The hearts of everyone became somber, and their spirits were all moved from “Yes God is a great Healer!” to “Well, maybe He doesn’t heal.” – all of the belief was sucked out of the room.

My friend, this is not always just blind ignorance. There is a deliberate strategy of the enemy at work here to sabotage the faith and belief of God’s children. Jesus spoke about this exact thing, He taught on it, and the disciples and apostles also warned against it. And today I want to share with you, what Jesus said about the wheat and the tares, and how to not let them spoil you from receiving everything that God has given to you.

Jesus is the Source of Your Confidence

Do you have confidence? I’m not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. Many people today just aren’t sure. They aren’t sure of God, they aren’t sure of His motives, they aren’t sure of His intentions, nor His character. Many people are afraid that God will strike them down. And they are afraid to ask God for help or provision or just plain fun because they are afraid that He will think they are being greedy or unholy. And then when they do manage to find the courage to ask God for something, they are on shaky ground, because they mostly expect Him to deny their request for a variety of reasons – from God trying to teach them a lesson, to having sin in their life – basically any reason mankind can come up with as an excuse for God not granting their request.

This kind of thinking about God has caused a lot of pain over the years. It is easier for our natural mind to assume the worst about God, than to see a God that actually wants to grant our requests. Our default mindset is “We can ask God, but don’t get your hopes up!”

However today I want to share with you the truth about God straight from the scripture regarding this issue. Not what man has said about God, but what He says about Himself. And the truth may surprise you.

God Simply Wants You To Be

Do you have a nagging feeling that you need to do something for God? A lot of believers have this feeling, and it causes them a lot of distress because they feeling as though they are somehow “letting God down” or not living up to their full potential. It’s actually a huge mental trap to get stuck in – especially because churches always tell people that they need to find “God’s Perfect Will” for their life; and so people are left wandering around and stumbling about looking for this mythical unicorn of “God’s Perfect Will” – I know because I’ve lived that way, and it is very discouraging and disheartening thinking that there is this magical path you need to go down, but not knowing where it is; and having so many Christian brothers and sisters telling you that you need to find it, but no-one seems to be able to help.
Well, if that happens to describe you today, then I’m going to share something with you that’s going to be very freeing… you don’t have to do anything for God! Now I know that right away some people will want to scream blasphemy! Heretic! Yet the Biblical truth is that God only wants you to do two things, and neither of them are what we could consider to be “works of service” He wants us to: Believe, and Live.

Live in the Power of the Spirit (Part 1)

One of the most overlooked areas in the life of a believer is the area of power. It is often not even mentioned in sermons, nor is it brought up in connection with the Holy Spirit. In some Christian circles it is considered wrong to think of ourselves as having any power at all, and others that it it is possible to operate in power, but only once-in-a-while when God feels like it – and therefore it is not reliable or consistent. All of these different ideas and opinions on the power of the Spirit have given rise to generations of believers who are quite literally living in defeat and confusion, and feeling helpless against the advances of the enemy in their life.

In this study today, we will be examining the truth of what the scripture says regarding the power of the Holy Spirit, and specifically the power that Jesus came to give us. It is important to see that it is not wrong to look at these things; in-fact they were written down for us precisely so that we would know and understand them. And by seeing the truth directly from scripture, we can start living in the power which Jesus paid for us to have.

Your Reality in Christ, and Why Some Never See It

God’s will for you is nothing short of perfection. That fact must be completely understood right from the very start. His will for you is perfect and that is exactly what He has given to you as a gift. Perfection. He has given you Himself. He has given you Jesus, and through Jesus, you are madeperfectly justified, perfectly righteous, perfectly redeemed, perfectly holy, perfectly whole and perfectly healed. He paid for these things to be yours in Christ, and for all of those that have received Jesus, this is actually your reality today, as amazing as that sounds.

Why is it then that some never see this reality for themselves? Why is it that for some this reality seems to be nothing more than a fleeting wish. Why do some shrug it off as a fantasy. These are questions that many believers struggle with, these questions have even shipwrecked the faith of some people. And so we will be examining these questions today, and see what God’s Word says about them, in the light of the finished work of Jesus Christ, so that these questions will not stumble people any longer.

Let God’s Word Determine Your Future, Not Your Experiences

Many times when trying to determine the outcome of a situation, we look to our past experiences. I find that this is true in many places, but especially in Christian circles, and often in prayer as well. I have been in prayer groups, where we would pray for someone who had a debilitating condition, and we would pray, but then someone would say, “you know, there was a great Christian who had this condition, and they died”… and the moment that was said, it was as if it sucked all of the belief out of the room. People’s thoughts were moved from, “Yes God is a great Healer”, to, “Well if that great Christian died, I guess God doesn’t heal”.

We tend to allow our experiences to determine our future, even without being consciously aware that we are doing it. And we also are influenced by all of the negativity floating around from all of the other people who do the same. So today we will be looking at what God Himself says about your future, about His outlook and forecast for your life… unlike the weather, His forecast is always one-hundred percent reliable and trustworthy.

Rejoice in the Deliverance of God

Often times when experiencing a negative situation, we are told to rejoice. Rejoice! Rejoice! Just Rejoice and everything will be okay. Yet that’s very difficult to do if we do not see that we have any reason to rejoice. If we don’t see why we can rejoice it simply sounds like mindless pretend joy – a “fake it till you make it” mentality… just fluff. Even worse, if we express those sentiments to our believing brothers and sisters, they will look at us funny, as if we don’t have enough faith or we don’t trust God enough.

The Bible though, does not leave us lacking any real and substantial reasons why we can rejoice however. In-fact it goes into extensive details about precisely that – because God understands the feelings and emotions that we have, and He does not disregard them. He foreknew the scenario that I just described, about needing to see the reason why we can rejoice. And this is what we will be looking at today.