Notes from a sermon by Dr. Greg Sloop, Lead Pastor of the Kannapolis Church of God, from the AM service of February 19, 2017.
Matthew 25:31–46 (NKJV)
31 “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. 32 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. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
If you understand writing, especially formal writing, you know that every document normally has some type of margins. The margins are the intentionally blank areas of a paper, placeholders, space to frame the body of the paper.
Everyone wants to read the body. The body is the meat, the normal of the paper. Notes jotted in the margins are considered stray, unnecessary, only valuable to the one who make the mark. Teachers write marks in the margins of papers showing errors. Those marks terrorize students! Children sometimes mark in the margins with crayon. People doodle in the margins. While these marks may not be malicious, they are irritating and make you uncomfortable. You ask, “Why is that here?” If those stray marks find their way into the body, they seem to be out of place. They don’t fit! Or at least that is how it seems. What should we do with these marks on our papers?
Types of People in the Margins
Those in the margins because of their sins and/or lifestyles (in prison)
Those in the margins by no action of their own (hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick)
In the Margins by Their Own Actions
Drug Dealers and Addicts
Sexual Sinners (Adulterers, Fornicators, Pimps and Prostitutes, Homosexuals, Transgenders, Porn Users)
Murderers, Thieves, Abusers, etc.
Jesus and the Guilty Margins
Matthew 9:10–13 (NKJV)
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
John 4:16–26 (NKJV)
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
In the Margins by Their Circumstances
Jesus and the Victim Margins
James 1:27 (NKJV)
27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Ezekiel 16:49–50 (NKJV)
49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.
The marginalized live on the fringe of the body of Christ.
The Church cannot ignore or avoid those in the margins.
Jesus reached to the margins. We must follow His example.
Today, we have the opportunity to reach outside the body to bring some of the margins onto the page and into the body!