Sheep Versus Goats

I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.

I wanted to focus on ways that we can help those in need. To throw on a goofy nerdy spin, I gave the lesson an odd title.



  • What do you think are some of God’s priorities for church ministry?
  • What gets in the way of us following them?


When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and with all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered, and he will separate people as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.

He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

He will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Take your inheritance: the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me; thirsty and you gave me water; homeless and you invited me in; naked and you clothed me; sick and you tended to me; in prison and you visited me.”

The righteous will ask, “When did we see you like that and do that stuff you said?”

The King will reply, “Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.”

To those on his left he will say, “Away with you, cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry and thirsty, homeless and naked, and you gave me nothing. I was sick and jailed, and you did not visit.”

They will ask, “When did we not help you?”

He will reply, “Weren’t you just listening when I told the sheep? Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.”

Then he will send the wicked to eternal punishment, and bring the righteous to eternal life.

(Matthew 25:31-46, the unauthorized “Dave’s summary of stuff so it all fits well on slides” translation)


The sheep/goat story was the unifying conclusion of several stories that Jesus told in (apparently) a single sermon.

  • The end times will come (Matthew 24:1-35)
    WATCH — there is a deadline to all of this
  • Unknown hour (Matthew 24:35-51)
    WAIT — you won’t know when it’s coming
  • Ten bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
    PREPARE — be ready to act
  • The talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
    GIVE — to whom much is given, much is required
  • Sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
    GET — we’ll all get what’s coming to us


This was not the only time that Christ’s return and judgment were brought up. Here are a few others.

  • The Son of Man will come in his Father’s glory with his angels to reward each person for what they have done. (Matthew 16:27)
  • The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
  • Enoch* prophesied, “See, the Lord is coming with thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone and to convict them of all the ungodly acts they have committed and the defiant words they have spoken.” (Jude 1:14-15)
    • Enoch was old school Old Testament, from the pre-flood days, and went to heaven without dying first.


  • Share your food with the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless. When you see the naked, provide them with clothing. (Isaiah 58:7)
  • Share with the Lord’s people in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
  • If your brother is without clothes and food, but you do nothing about his physical needs, what good is that? (James 2:15)
  • If you see your brother in need, yet close your heart against him, does God’s love truly abide in you? (1 John 3:17)
  • God will remember the love you have shown to him by helping his people. (Hebrews 6:10)
  • When you host a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind, who cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection. (Luke 14:12-14)
  • Remember those in prison as if you were together with them, and those who are mistreated as if you suffer with them. (Hebrews 13:3)
  • Visit orphans and widows in their suffering, to keep yourself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
  • Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none. (Luke 3:10)
  • A young man followed Jesus wearing nothing but a linen garment. When the soldiers seized him, he left his garment behind and ran away naked.* (Mark 14:51)
    * Say what? Yes, there was a streaker with Jesus when he was arrested…
  • It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
  • God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Oppressing the poor scorns their Maker, but kindness to the needy honors God. (Proverbs 14:31)


“For I was hungry and you fed me; thirsty and you gave me water; homeless and you invited me in; naked and you clothed me; sick and you tended to me; in prison and you visited me.”

  • After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:2)
  • Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
  • Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
  • Once the soldiers crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. (John 19:23)
  • Jesus prayed fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.* (Luke 22:44)
    * Luke (a doctor) described a medical condition known as hematohidrosis. Blood vessels are all around our body, including near the sweat glands. Under stress these vessels constrict. In rare cases of extremely intense stress, they constrict so much that they close off. When that happens, the pumping blood escapes into the sweat glands and mixes with sweat.
  • Then the soldiers arrested Jesusand bound him. (John 18:12)


  • Who are the least of these?
  • How can you help them?