When the Son of Man Comes

When the Son of Man ComesText: Matthew 25:31-46

Different people look forward to different events in their future. But one event that is the same for all of us is the return of Christ at the end of the world. What will happen then? How can we prepare for this day? Let us consider our text.

His Arrival (v. 31-32)

  • He will return in glory – coming with the clouds (Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 1:7); will descend from heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16); it will not be secret
  • He will return with the angels (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)
  • He will sit on His throne – position of authority; Jesus has been given authority to judge (John 5:25-27)
  • All nations will be gathered before Him – not a limited/localized judgment; for everyone (2 Corinthians 5:10)

The Separation (v. 32-33)

  • He will separate them from one another – He is the one who passes judgment (James 4:12; Acts 17:31); He will judge righteously (Romans 2:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:8)
  • There will be just two groups (a recurring theme in Jesus’ teaching) – narrow/broad way (Matthew 7:13-14); do God’s will/lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23); wise/foolish (Matthew 7:24-27); eternal life/perish (John 3:16); resurrection of life/judgment (John 5:29); saved/damned (Mark 16:16)

Those on His Right (v. 34-40)

  • Welcomed into the eternal kingdom– this is the eternal inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:4); prepared from the foundation of the world; this was God’s eternal plan (cf. Ephesians 3:11)
  • Their reward was based upon what they did in this life (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:9)
  • This work mentioned is just one among many required of us by the Lord – we are to do all (Matthew 28:20); helping others but being otherwise corrupt will not allow us to enter heaven; sometimes godless, unbelieving people do good things; just being a good person will not save
  • We are to treat others as we would treat Christ – principle attitude (James 3:9-10)

Those on His Left (v. 41-45)

  • Sentenced to the eternal fire – place of torment (Matthew 25:30; Mark 9:47-48); prepared for the devil and his angels, yet others will also be sent there (Revelation 20:10, 15; 21:8)
  • Their punishment was based upon what they failed to do in this life – no excuses for disobedience (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Romans 1:20)
  • This work is just one possible way in which someone can be condemned – keeping part of God’s law and breaking another makes us a transgressor (James 2:10-11); the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
  • Though absent, Jesus is perfectly aware of what happens in this life (Hebrews 4:13)

The Final End (v. 46)

  • The wicked will go to eternal punishment (Mark 9:48) – no second chances
  • The righteous will go to eternal life (1 Thessalonians 4:17) – no danger of losing this reward


  • When the Lord returns He will judge each of us – that judgment will be final
  • There are only two possible destinations – eternal punishment or eternal life
  • We need to be sure we are prepared to meet Him on that last day so we can gain eternal life

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