Pete's Reviews and Sermons

Some of my more detailed reviews - books, films, theatre trips, software etc. I will also post the text of some of my sermons here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Darkest Hour

Whenever anything to do with WWII comes up, I am always taken back to my childhood.  Both my parents were in the war, and Mum especially like to let her thoughts about what happened be known.  As a result I know Churchill almost as well as Wilson and Heath, the prime ministers I grew up with.  It will be interesting to see how he is portrayed, I thought, and that was really the primary reason to see the film.  So I'll start with those comments.
Firstly, the make-up department need to be congratulated - Gary Oldman looks like Winston Churchill throughout the film.  There was only one scene, about mid-way through, a sideways shot from behind - just for that instance I doubted.  He acts like Churchill too, and if he gets any awards for this role he deserves them.
How 'true' the story is, I have too little knowledge to judge, but it seemed pretty realistic.  So from that point of view it is an impressive film.  I'm hoping it is accurate, if so I have learnt some things I didn't know:
  • How much Atlee was supported by his party
  • How keen the Labour party were to fight
  • How much the pressure on Churchill, and the desire to get rid of him nearly bought the war to the wrong end.
Having recently seen Dunkirk, the peril of the entire British army was very apparent, and the understanding of the need to rescue them very clear.  That was well portrayed here too, so was the loss of the garrison at Calais.  Those scenes showed the relationship between his secretary - Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) and the prime minister.
Much has been made in the media of Kristen Scott-Thomas and Clementine Churchill, however, I thought that Lily James did a better job and had more real acting to do, portraying a woman, initially scared of Churchill, to one of his greatest supporters - miming parts of his speeches.

Of course, we know the end, so I don't really have to say more.  The film simply illustrates the power of words well spoken - Churchill was a master of that skill.

Recently there have been some excellent films, and this is one of the most excellent.  Well worth a view.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Paddington 2

It seems like almost everyone likes Paddington 2.  It has the longest sequence of positive comments ever on Rotten Tomatoes.  Although I haven't put a review there, I could have and it would have been positive. In many ways the film is a throw-back to my childhood.  Someone in the film said something like "Paddington looks for the best in everyone - and finds it".  That is the flavour of the film, and it is a fitting tribute to Michael Bond's originals.  It is, what is now known as, a feel-good film, so not usually my first choice.
Paddington is rescued from a river by the bear he later calls Aunt Lucy, who gives up her planned trip to London to look after him.  So, as her 100th Birthday arrives, Paddington is looking for that special present.  When he finds it the trouble starts.  He ends up in prison and has a remarkable effect on the prisoners.  Enough of the plot, but just remember its not a who-dun-it.
The film contains plenty of action sequences, mainly involving the bear, who looks incredibly real.  This is some of the best mixed human and animation that I have ever seen.  It is seemless except for one scene where a crowd are watching the bear walk down a corridor - and some of their heads do not turn at the right time.  That's a shame because it momentarily took me out of the story.
The family and the regulars from the last film are back, and the acting is excellent, if not particularly challenging.  I especially like Sally Hawkins as the ultra-innocent credulous wife - getting it right all the time and never really seeking the credit.

I didn't particularly want to see this film, but it was definitely worth a watch and I would recommend it to all.

We saw this film near the end of its run at CineWorld in Basildon - there were just the two of us in the theatre, so no noisy children, or adults.  A very positive experience all round.

New Beginnings

Preached at Christ Church, Billericay 7 Jan 2018

New Year – New Start

Happy New year!  I hope you all have a very blessed 2018.  New year is a time when we take stock, reflect on how we’d like our lives to be and potentially decide to make some changes.  It’s an opportunity for a new start, a new beginning in a small part of our lives.
This year I’m going to:
-    get fit
-    get thin
-    get a new job
-    read my bible more
-    pray more
The bad news is that most of us will fail.
I’m happy to report that I made a new year’s resolution many years ago that I have kept ever since the day I made it.  I decided that year that I would not make any more new years resolutions ever!  … and I never have.

Readings - Beginnings

Our readings this morning are both about beginnings.  Genesis is about the very beginning of the Universe, and Mark is about the beginning of the second phase of the Universe.  This morning I am going to look at the Mark reading and see what it has to say about new beginnings.

Heralded

Sometimes new beginnings are heralded, so that we know that something is coming in advance.  John was the man who had the news about Jesus starting his ministry.  So before we get on to the new beginning lets take a closer look at the start of it.

John the Baptiser

John’s ministry is prophesied in Malachi 3:1 ‘“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.’
John in the dessert dressed in camel hair and eating locusts sounds a bit odd to us, but his dress was quite intentional. It was a signal, to those who knew their scriptures, of who he was.  Camels hair and a leather belt signified that John was the promised “Return of Elijah”.  2 Kings 1:8
They replied, “He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

Elijah will return

Elijah’s return is also prophesied in Malachi, in chapter 4 verse 5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.”  John, is the man who is Elijah, as Jesus says in Matthew 11:14 “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”

To see John and repent.

To go to see John was not a simple journey, it was likely that he was based in the wilderness in the valley outside Jerusalem.  If he was always based near the Jordan river, as he must have been if he was always baptising people – it is the only water in the area, - then it is at least a 21 kilometres walk.  The road out of the city takes a steep descent, and if you have to go off the road through the wilderness the climb is even more difficult.  That is to say nothing about the climb back up to Jerusalem.  A visit to John is at least a day trip – and quite a long day’s trip.
Despite this, John was getting a lot of visitors and what he was doing was similar to the prophets – calling for repentance and a new turning to God and offering forgiveness of sins.  But John included baptism in water – something that had previously been a requirement only for Gentile converts to Judaism.
John, we are told would not baptize anyone without a clear statement of repentance.

John’s Message.

His message is clear “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Along comes Jesus

And one day, Jesus is there waiting to be baptised.  If we look at Matthew’s account we will see that John had a problem with the idea that Jesus should seek his baptism.  After all, why be baptised for the forgiveness of sins when you are not a sinner.  Jesus tells him “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15).  John consents and Jesus is baptised.

Public Declaration

The baptism will have taken place in front of the crowd that was already there listening to John, and others who were there to receive baptism, or who had just been baptised themselves.  It is Jesus’ public declaration of His ministry.  He has gone from being someone who is preparing to someone who is ready.  It is a new beginning, a change of lifestyle, time to get started.  He has accepted the plan – that he has come to die for the sins of those who trust in Him.

What did it do? - align with Humanity

By going through with His unnecessary baptism He has aligned himself with all of us – those who DO need to be baptised and forgiven.  He now has that experience that His followers will later share – something in common with our humanity.

What did it do? - Holy Spirit

As Jesus comes up out of the water he sees heaven being torn open.  I doubt that this means something like a strip of wall paper being torn of a wall, it is more like the whole wall being removed so that Jesus can now see things clearly from His fathers point of view.  This reminds me of Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6.  Elisha is being chased by the King of Aram. From verse 14: Then the king sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.  “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Truth was that Elisha was not outnumbered at all.
Jesus’ vision after His baptism has shown him the truth – the spiritual truth of how things are.  He can now see clearly and understand His fathers perspective.

What did it do? - Holy Spirit

After the vision, a voice is heard from heaven “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  Matthew reports it slightly differently, and leaves us in no doubt that the voice was heard by all those present.  Matthew reports the voice saying “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  Hearing this must have been very encouraging for Jesus.

The temptation – a new beginning.

And encouragement was exactly what he needed.  If we read the next verse (12), we see that immediately the Holy Spirit sends him out into the desert to be tempted for forty days.
That story is for another day.  For today we must remember that Jesus a long time ago made a decision to follow His father, and now he has made a public declaration by His baptism that he is going to follow through.  The next phase of His life has started, it is a new beginning for Him.

Tom Wright

In his commentary “Mark for Everyone”, Tom Wright says: “Any early Christian reading this passage would also, of course, believe that their own baptism into Jesus the Messiah was the moment when, for them, the curtain had been drawn back and these words had been spoken to them.”
[Repeat quote]
Why any early Christian? Surely he means any Christian?

Not any Christian

Well perhaps not any Christian.  For me baptism occurred at a very early age – I was far too young to remember it.  I expect that there are a number here who share the same experience, perhaps even most of us.  The C of E and the Roman Catholic church provide confirmation - a special service where someone who has been baptised as an infant can claim the faith they have been bought up in as their own.  For me that was a flat service where I sensed nothing – it did however serve very well as a public declaration of my faith – and that is one of its roles.

What baptism provides

Our baptism provides us with a link into Jesus.  It gives us the Holy Spirit, a sign and seal of His love for us.  The Holy Spirit also provides us with power, and helps us to see things as they really are – to lift the veil that evil puts over the world, so we can see things with the heavens opened.  Our faith, which we declare in our baptism, or confirmation, means that God looks on us in the same way that He looks on Jesus.  So God, the father, can say to us “You are my Son or Daughter, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Adore Jesus

Last week, Dan was asking us to adore Jesus, and we sang “O come let us adore Him” multiple times.  We can only adore Jesus, if we first know that He love us.
That is what these final words of the reading allow us to do – to know that God loves us, so that we can respond with adoration.

You are my …

There doesn’t always have to be a resolution (new year’s or otherwise) to have a new beginning.  Sometimes a new appreciation of what we already know can change our approach and herald its own new beginning.
So as I finish lets take a minute to repeat these words slowly, but lets put our name at the start, so we can be sure we know who God is talking to.
This is what God says to me: “Peter, you are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
So now lets echo those words of God for each of us, don’t just say it in your head, say it under your breath, whisper it, say it out loud, I don’t mind, but as you say it remember whose voice said it first.
[Practice – leave them to it]

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

I'd heard good and bad things about The Last Jedi, so I went with an unusual sense of anticipation.  In some senses I was not disappointed.  There is plenty of Star Wars type action, there are the familiar characters, and some new ones.  Not yet having seen "The Force Awakens", I may have missed a few of the on-going story lines, but the Star Wars universe appears to be consistent - very important for me in a series of films like this.
I did think that perhaps the ebb and flow of the rebels verses the empire was getting a bit predictable.
That aside there are several other stories going on.  They are also familiar parts of the Star Wars series.  The young Jedi (female this time, a requirement in 2017) refuses to take the advice of her trainer and goes her own way.  This may or may not have been disastrous.  There is also a love story involving turning a Jedi from the dark side.
The special effects are good, but if they weren't it wouldn't be Star Wars, the action sequences are long and detailed which is great, but ...
It didn't feel enough like a Star Wars film.  There was just too much poking fun at itself - rather like a Roger Moore Bond film it just wasn't quite serious enough.
However, I enjoyed it and would recommend you see it if this is your sort of film.  If you're a proper Star Wars fan you will have seen it already, more than once.  Let me know what you thoughts.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Change the Stars

Preached at Christ Church, Billericay 24 Dec 2017 23:30

New Babies

New babies are always exciting.  We’ve recently had an addition to the Fisher clan, when Elizabeth gave birth to Thomas about 12 weeks ago.  After a very short time we were telling the world, anyone who would listen, that we have a new grandson.  Of course he’d been expected for a while, and we’d been telling people about his coming.

After his birth ...

All the details – big, weight etc
After all this we naturally begin to see who he looks like – that changes quite quickly – after the first weeks we could clearly see Ray (his dad) in him.
Babies are a blank canvas – they could develop into anyone – a genius, a hero, a talented sportsman, an A-list celebrity, the speculation begins almost immediately.  Of course some things are more likely than others – it depends a lot on the inherited traits from the father and mother, and also how the child is bought up.

Born to …

In the case of some babies we already know what they will be when they grow up.  Their destiny is set for them.  Prince George, for example, will one day be king, just like his father Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and his grandfather Charles, Prince of Wales.
Each of their births was greeted with a huge amount of publicity so that we all knew that the succession was secure.
As Shakespeare said “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Most of us though will not do anything in our lives that the world will find remarkable.  Our destiny is to be average and unremarkable.  I doubt any one will write my biography when I’m gone, it just wouldn’t be that interesting.  Perhaps they’d call it Born to be average.
Many, of course, are born into poverty and their destiny is to stay that way for their entire lives.

God’s Son

This baby though is a different prospect altogether, but His parents are just as excited by His birth as any other parents.  So much so that His father has been going on about it for thousands of years.  We heard just one of the prophecies in the Old Testament reading, then there is the announcement.  An angel lighting up the sky, telling the shepherds “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”. Then a whole host of angels appear praising God and telling the shepherds what good news it is.

Arrangements

So much has had to be arranged – a census to force his earthly mother to visit the right town is perhaps the simplest.  Look in the previous chapter and you will find the story of Elizabeth and birth of John the Baptiser, all timed to perfection.  Look in Matthew and you will read about the star put up to guide the Magi to visit the child.  If you want to know how God works in His world read through the accounts of Jesus birth and see how all the pieces fitted together – that was not luck, or coincidence – that was God’s careful planning.

What’s it all for?

All this is because the birth is not only the most important birth in history, but also because it is the Son of God, born as a man.  This was recognised by the prophet Simeon in the temple when the baby Jesus was taken there for the purification rites as required by the Law of Moses.  Simeon said “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Jesus destiny, or at least part of it, is clear right from the start.

Shared Destiny

All of us, Jesus included, share one destiny.  I remember sitting in a training class a long time ago, and the trainer asked “What MUST you do?” We thought about it for a bit.  “Pay Taxes” someone said. “No” she replied, there are consequences to not paying taxes, but it’s your choice.”
Breath was the next idea, but that too is a choice albeit a much more difficult one.  The only thing we must do is die.  We are all born to die – that cannot be avoided.
Everything else though is optional.
Cannot avoid sinning?
[Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8artJcUSEo
That was a clip from “A knight’s Tale” where William asks “Can it be done father, can a man change the stars?”  His father replies “Yes William, if he believes enough a man can do anything?”

Belief

I’m sure that statement is encouraging for a child, but for an adult it provokes at least two question:
“Believe in what?” and “How much belief is enough?”
The film’s answer to “Believe in what?” is believe in yourself.  William does go on to become a knight, partly with the help of his father, but also by taking the opportunities (legal or otherwise) that are presented.
To the question “How much belief is enough?” the answer seems to be that only absolute belief is sufficient.

Our own efforts

There are some things though, that belief in ourselves and our own efforts cannot help us with.  When we are stood in front of God and asked to give an account of ourselves, we will inevitably fall short, and fail to pass the test.  When everything we have ever done is brought into the open, and our motivations exposed, none of us will have lived up to Gods perfect standards.

Important Birth

That is why this birth that we are commemorating today is so important and such good news.  Jesus, God’s son, was born as a man and his destiny was to die for our failings, our selfishness – all the things that are separating us from God.  All the things that would prevent us from gaining eternal life.  Jesus has paid the price for us, so that we, when we stand in front of God, have our names already written in the Book of Life, and will be granted Eternal Life.
All we have to do is to accept that He died for us, and believe, not in ourselves, but in Him, and that belief will save us, that belief, more than any other will change the stars forever.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Hothouse - Brian Aldiss

ISBN:978-0-141-18955-0

HothouseHothouse by Brian W. Aldiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was a very long time ago that I first read Hothouse. I remembered a little about the world that the children initially find themselves in. The dumblers and running along the branches of the great banyan. I remembered Lily-yo and Gren, but beyond that I had forgotten much of the adventure.

This book is a science fiction classic and because it is such a good imaginative story set me reading science fiction for years. The story is set millions of years in the future when the rotation of the moon has slowed the earth to almost a standstill. The earth now has one face to the sun and one face from it (the dark side), just as the moon does with the earth. Vegetation has taken over, although a few insects and animals still exist - man included, the humans then are not like the humans now they have evolved to live in the new environment, and de-evolved in some senses too. Gren is an intelligent child and this attribute causes problems, and that is what makes the adventure so fascinating. Gren leaves the forest through various (mainly poor) decisions, but it is nor entirely his fault. This plot line give the opportunity to bring in new species of plant and animal. There are new dangers to overcome and new opportunities to be exploited. Eventually, through some tragedies (which are not greatly dwelt on) and through some comic scenes he makes it back to the forest.

Only one thing in the book did not work for me. They find what would not be described as a talking drone. Quite how that is supposed to have survived, power supply in tact, for thousands of millennia is not explained and for me the scene ruined the timeline that had been so carefully constructed and explained. It is only a small criticism of what is rightly a masterpiece.

The plot is a simple adventure story but the world it is set in is amazing.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Sins of Omission

Preached at Christ Church, Billericay on 26 November 2017
Title: Sins of Omission
Reading: Matt 25:31-46

Christ the King

Today we are celebrating the Feast of Christ the King.  As this is the last Sunday of the church year it is fitting that we remember Jesus has taken his seat in heaven and is king of the universe, and king for eternity.  Next week is the first Sunday in Advent, the start of a new year, when we will begin again looking at the promises of that a Messiah would come.
The feast of Christ the King is a relatively new addition to the church calendar.  It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, and has been adopted by many Protestant churches.

King

I imagine that most of us don’t think about Jesus as king very often.  That’s probably because we no longer really understand the power that a king or queen has.  Perhaps our only understanding of that power is from Alice in Wonderland where the queen of hearts shouts ‘off with his head’ a number of times.  This gives the idea of the king and queen a pantomime feel, and takes away the seriousness with which kings and queens used to be treated.
In medieval times, if the king had arrived in your village and needed to stay the night, his entourage would simply have commandeered the best house in the village and chucked the occupants out.  Anyone who protested would end up on the gallows.  So as the king arrived there would have been a lot of justifiable fear, but also a lot of work to make him feel as at home as possible.  Of course, as easily as the king could ruin your life, he could also improve it, by giving you land, or riches, or a position in society – but that didn’t happen very often.

King = Justice

The king was also the final arbiter in any argument - his say was final.  In that respect he defined justice.  His approach to justice shaped everyone in his kingdom’s approach to justice.  If a dispute was heard before the king it was judgement day for the people concerned.

Matthew 24 & 25

In Matthew 24 & 25 Jesus is talking about the final judgement that will happen at the end of the age.  He warns the disciples that they must be ready and watchful and to continue to do Gods business as they wait for His return. 
Each of the stories makes a point about the coming judgement.  The wicked servant at the end of chapter 24 who mistreats the servants in his charge will be cut to pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites, where there will be  weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
The story of the ten virgins at the start of chapter 25, reminds the disciples to be adequately prepared in case the wait for Jesus’ return is longer than they expect.  The ones who failed to be prepared are not allowed into the wedding feast, which represents the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus says to them “I do not know you”
The parable of the talents, which we heard Margaret talk about last week reminds us to keep our faith, and do the work that God has given us gifts for.  And not to bury Gods truths.
Then there is the illustration of the sheep and the goats, which we heard this morning.  It’s not really a parable, although many of the commentaries treat it as one.  It provides an end to this discourse, and should be seen in that light.

Understanding Judgement

Here Jesus had returned and Judgement is in progress.  The view here is similar to the “Great White Throne” judgement in Revelation 20.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Here is a picture of Robbie, Karen and I in front of a great white throne.  This is the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC.  The words above the sculpture say “in this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”.  We are facing the wrong way, of course, if this were the actual great white throne we would be facing it, not a camera man.  I hope it helps give an impression of just how incredible this scene is.  Billions of people in front for God, being separated into two halves – one half being welcomed to their inheritance (stood on the right), and the other half condemned to eternal punishment. 
I suspect that the crowd in the first half, those on God’s right, will be smaller than the crowd on God’s left.

One of many.

This, though is just one of many images of judgement in the Bible, and to understand it fully we cannot look at it in isolation.  We cannot even be sure that this passage and the revelation passage are the same judgement.  Whether or not they are is interesting but not that important.
What is important is what the judgement teaches us, so lets have a look at this passage in a little more detail.

Sheep and Goats

Jesus starts by using a very familiar image of separating sheep and goats.  It is not a straight forward process unless done by a skilled shepherd.  Sheep and goats look fairly similar and were often allowed to graze together during the day.  At night time, however, they had to be separated because the goats need more protection from the cold than the sheep.  The way to tell them apart is to look at their tails – goat’s tails go up, sheep’s tails go down.
Separated
Having separated them, Jesus then begins to speak to the sheep telling them to take their inheritance that was prepared for them from creation.  The word inheritance implies a relationship, so the sheep are getting only what is their due.  The reason they are getting it is because they have behaved just as their father would have them behave. 
The goats on the other hand, have not behaved in the way their creator would have them behave.

Same Question

Notice that both the sheep and the goats ask exactly the same question. 
(v38-39) “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
and again in v 44, but in a slightly truncated way.

Address the question to Lord

They both start with Lord.  There can be no denying God here.  There are no atheists now.  There are no agnostics now.  This is the time mentioned in Philippians 2:10-11.
 … at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It is obvious who Jesus is, the creator of the universe, the son of God, the judge of mankind.

Brothers

Notice though that the way the Lord responds is different.  To the sheep He says (v40) “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”, but to the goats he says (45) “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”  Which leaves us with the question who does Jesus say are His Brothers?
Generally, we are called adopted children, and are therefore brothers and sisters of our Lord.  So, when there is a conflict in relieving suffering, or providing for a need,  I believe that fellow Christians should take priority over non-Christians.  Paul says a similar thing in Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
We, the western church have recently had a great failure in supporting our brothers and sisters, as we have stood by and allowed the Christian refugees in Syria to be overlooked and left with nowhere to go, because many of the refugee camps are not safe for them.

Second Nature

The things that the sheep have been doing are so much second nature that they haven’t even realised that they are doing them.  There actions are just a part of who they are. 

Salvation by works

This passage is sometimes used to suggest that salvation can be bought.  That good works can get you into heaven.  There are two problems with that.  The first is just how many good works?  How much do I have to do to be saved?  There is no clue in this passage, or elsewhere in the Bible.  The second problem is that there are plenty of places where the Bible says the exact opposite.  The most memorable of these are:
James 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  and Ephesians 2:8-9 “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Faith is shown by action

The truth is that it is the other way around.  You do not do good works to get into heaven, you do good works because you know you are already accepted in heaven.  If you say you are a follower of Jesus you will do what he did, and have the same attitudes as Him.  If you say you are a Christian you cannot ignore God’s people, or any of God’s creation.  If you think that Jesus came with some wonderful teaching and some good ideas, then be very careful how you try to implement those good ideas.  If they end up ignoring the plight of the worst off, you will end up with the goats.

The goats

That seems to be what has happened with the goats.  Their main sin seems to be one of omission, in their busyness, their greed, or their complacency they have simply overlooked those who are in need, and lived their lives for themselves.  They have used their strength to make their own lives comfortable and have left the needy to fend for themselves.
Some of them have used their strength and resources to exploit those in need and to make their lives even harder than they would otherwise be.  Which ever it is, come judgement they will find themselves in eternal punishment.

Sum Up

Finish with

British statesman and financier Cecil Rhodes, whose fortune was used to endow the world-famous Rhodes Scholarships, was a stickler for correct dress--but apparently not at the expense of someone else's feelings. A young man invited to dine with Rhodes arrived by train and had to go directly to Rhodes's home in his travel-stained clothes. Once there he was appalled to find the other guests already assembled, wearing full evening dress. After what seemed a long time Rhodes appeared, in a shabby old blue suit. Later the young man learned that his host had been dressed in evening clothes, but put on the old suit when he heard of his young guest's dilemma.