Your November 26th, Sermon & Ministry Resources
These resources are published free weekly for all who desire to use them.
Lectionary Readings — 26th Sunday after Pentecost, November 26, 2023
Ezekiel 34:11-16,20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46.
Call to Worship (based on Psalm 100)
Leader: Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
People: We will serve the Lord with gladness; we come into His presence with singing.
Leader: Know that the Lord is God. It is He that made us, and we are His.
People: We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Leader: Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.
People: We will give thanks to Him, bless His name.
Leader: For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever.
People: And His faithfulness to all generations. Amen.
Opening Prayer (based on Ezekiel 34:11-16,20-24)
Let us pray.
Gracious and Almighty God, as we gather in Your presence today, our hearts are moved by the words of the prophet Ezekiel, where You reveal Yourself as the Good Shepherd, seeking and saving Your scattered flock. We are comforted by Your promise to look after Your sheep, to rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Lord, in Your mercy, You have pledged to seek the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the injured, and strengthen the weak. We are grateful for Your compassionate care, which never fails to find us, heal us, and restore us to Your fold.
In this time of worship, we ask that You would guide us to the green pastures and still waters of Your sustaining grace. As You judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats, instill in us a spirit of humility and justice. May we, Your people, reflect Your heart for the lost and the least, caring for one another in the same way You have cared for us.
We lift up those among us and around us who feel lost, scattered, or broken. May they experience Your loving presence and find solace and strength in Your care.
Help us to trust in Your sovereign guidance, knowing that You are our God and we are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture. Lead us, O Lord, in the paths of righteousness, and help us to follow You faithfully, embracing the peace and unity You offer under Your eternal kingship.
We offer this prayer in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Good Shepherd of our souls.
Sermon Outline: [NOTE to Paid subscribers — scroll down for the full manuscript sermon].
Purpose: To provoke a heartfelt self-examination about living out genuine faith through tangible, compassionate acts, emphasizing that our responses to others' needs have eternal implications. The goal is to inspire transformative change in how believers view and engage with the world, moving them to adopt a lifestyle of active compassion and care as an essential aspect of discipleship and a reflection of God's Kingdom on earth.
Title: Compassion in the Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46)
Introduce the context of Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
Highlight the importance of this passage in understanding Jesus' teachings on caring for those in need, compassion, and the nature of God's Kingdom.
Set the stage for an introspective look into how this parable challenges modern believers in their daily lives.
1. Divine Declaration (Matthew 25:31-33)
Explore Jesus' description of the Son of Man's glorious return and the gathering of all nations.
Discuss the separation of people into two groups, likened to a shepherd separating sheep from goats.
Application: Reflect on the certainty of Christ's return and the reality of judgment, emphasizing the importance of living in readiness.
2. Criteria of Compassion (Matthew 25:34-40)
Consider the criteria Jesus uses to welcome the righteous into the kingdom: feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting the prisoners.
Highlight how these acts of kindness are seen as direct services to Christ Himself.
Application: Challenge listeners to evaluate their daily actions and attitudes towards the needy, underscoring the call to active compassion as a hallmark of true discipleship.
3. Neglect's Notice (Matthew 25:41-45)
Contrast the righteous' actions with the neglect shown by the 'goats,' emphasizing Jesus' declaration of "just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me."
Address the dangers of indifference and inaction in the face of others' needs.
Application: Encourage self-examination regarding the sin of omission and the need for intentional, compassionate involvement in others' lives.
4. Eternal Echoes (Matthew 25:46)
Conclude with the sobering reminder of the eternal implications of our choices: eternal life for the righteous and eternal punishment for those who fail to show compassion.
Stress the ongoing impact of our earthly actions in the light of eternity.
Application: Urge the congregation to live with an eternal perspective, making choices that resonate with God’s heart for compassion and care.
Summarize the key themes of the parable and its relevance to modern believers.
Invite the congregation to respond to Christ's call to compassion, not out of fear of judgment, but out of love for Him and those He loves.
Close with a prayer for the heart transformation and courage to live out the call to care for "the least of these" in our daily lives.
Full Manuscript Sermon Below for Paid Subscribers
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Lectionary Link to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.