2 Cor. 5:10 THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
Intro: According to the Bible, there is a day coming when Jesus Christ
Himself will return from Heaven, will raise those who have died in Him from the dead, and
will change those believers who are living into His image. He will gather all these
redeemed saints together and will take the back to His heavenly home, where they will
abide forever with Him in a state of absolute joy and utter perfection. The Bible speaks
of this event in several places including, John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:16-18;
Rev. 1:7. We know this event as the Rapture of the Church. I look forward to the rapture
with profound joy! It is called the "Blessed hope of the believer," and by it,
millions will bypass the undertaker and leave with the Uppertaker!
Many hold the opinion that as soon as the rapture takes place, the
saints are going to go to Heaven where they will be issued a halo, a harp and a new pair
of wings. Then, they will be assigned to some cloud or the other where they will spend
eternity strumming on their harps and floating serenely through Heaven. Well, the good
news is there will be a new body, a new home, a new atmosphere and new surroundings. Yes,
there will be peace, bliss and unsurpassed joy and contentment. There will even be the
personal presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. However, before we get to
enjoy all these things, we will have to appear, one by one, before the Lord Jesus Christ
to give an account of the deeds done in these earthly bodies.
Since we are going to face Jesus in judgment, and since how well that
goes depends entirely on how we behave here, it would do us all eternal good to spend a
few minutes looking at the Judgment Seat Of Christ. I want you to understand what it is,
what will happen there and how you can prepare yourself for that hour when you will meet
Jesus face to face. So, this morning, as God gives help and liberty, let's look together
at the day when you will make your appearance before the court of Heave, The Judgment Seat
I. WHO WILL PARTICIPATE?
Ill. This will a judgment for believers only! There will no lost people
here. (Ill. They will face God at the Great White Throne - Rev. 20:11-15)
A. It Will Be Universal - (Ill. "All")
- Every believer, whether great or small will appear before the throne of Christ and will
give account unto Him of the deeds done in this body. Some think it will just be the
preachers and the Christian workers. However, we will all appear and give an account
before God - Rom. 14:12.
B. It Will Be Unavoidable - (Ill.
"Must") - Many Christians live their lives as if they think they will never have
to answer for what they do. In truth, every child of God is slated to appear at this
judgment seat. There will be no where to hide and no where to run. When your name is
called, you will stand before Jesus and you will face the deeds done in this body. (Ill. I
don't know how you feel about it, but that scares me to death!)
C. It Will Be Undeniable - Ill. There will be no
defense allowed before this judgment seat. Every deed will be exposed and will be
accounted for in front of all the saints of God. We must understand that God in Heaven
keeps perfect records, Matt. 12:36. (Ill. God sees it all, hears it all, and knows it all
- Heb. 4:13; Pro. 15:3. Nothing can be hidden from His gaze, or His judgment.)
D. For Many, It Will Be Unthinkable - Those
things that were done in secret and so carefully concealed and hidden away will be exposed
in all their ugliness. (Ill. Luke 12:3)
I. Who Will Participate
II. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?
The issues will not be:
1. Salvation - That was forever taken care of at the
moment of conversion. Nothing can ever change the state of the believer's soul. If a
person is saved, they are saved forever!
2. Sin - Sin was taken care of at Calvary. When Jesus
died, He died for the sin of the world - 2 Cor. 5:21.
Those who appear here will not be judged for salvation or on the basis
of their sins. Those who appear here are already saved. The Bible does, however, give us a
little insight into who will participate in this judgment.
(Ill. It may help us to understand a little bit about what the judgment
seat actually was. In Paul's day, in every city there was a place called the Bema, or
judgment seat. It was from this raised platform, usually in the center of town, that
announcements were made, judgments rendered and commendations handed out. All public
proclamations came from this Bema seat. So, we mustn't think that it was only a place for
fear and trembling. Certainly some were rebuked when they came here, but others were
rewarded and blessed. Christ's seat of judgment is no different!)
A. There Will Be Rewards - (Ill. The New
Testament speaks of crowns that will be given to those who earn them. These are:
1. The Incorruptible Crown - Awarded for faithfulness
to the Lord - 1 Cor. 9:25.
2. The Crown Of Life - For the person who endures and
overcomes temptation - James 1:12.
3. The Crown Of Rejoicing - This is the soul winners
crown - 1 Thes. 2:19.
4. The Crown Of Righteousness - This will be given to
those who anticipate and live in the light of the return of Jesus - 2 Tim. 4:8
5. The Crown Of Glory -This will be given to the
faithful ministers who give themselves to lead and feed the flock of God - 1 Pet. 5:4.
6. We need to understand that every deed done in the name of Jesus will
be blessed and rewarded over there. Men may not see the value of your service, but rest
assured that Jesus takes perfect note and that He will reward you fairly for your
sacrifice for Him. (Ill. Mark 9:41) (Ill. Matt. 25:34-40)
7. God will apply the fire of His judgment to our works, and those that
were done for Him and for His glory alone will pass the test and we will be rewarded
B. There Will Be Rebukes - All the motives,
methods, attitudes and activities will pass beneath the microscope of God's just judgment
and will be brought to light.
(Ill. The process that God will use - 1 Cor. 3:10-15 - Read and explain!
Gold, Silver, Precious Stones - represent that which is
valuable, permanent, beautiful and hard to come by. It requires sacrifice to acquire these
Wood, Hay and Stubble - represent that which is
temporary, ugly, cheap and easy to obtain. What a difference there is in the things that
honor the Lord and the things which honor men!)
There will be many who will come before Jesus expecting great rewards,
but will instead receive great rebuke. They will witness everything as it perishes before
their very eyes. It will not affect their salvation, but it will affect the rewards they
will receive. (Ill. No doubt, many believers will enter eternity smelling as if they were
purchased at a fire sale.) (Ill. Lot is the perfect picture of a believer who allowed
loose living take everything he possessed. He was saved from wrath, but he lost everything
else - Gen. 13-19.)
C. There Will Be Reaping - Galatians 6:7-8 will
be fully realized in the life of every believer on that day. You see, there are things
that we think are hidden, and covered up, but God knows all about them an He will drag all
those secret things into the open. Many Christians have wronged others and never made it
right, have taken things and never made restitution, lied and never set the record
straight, etc. God knows about ti all and will bring it to light at the Judgment Seat of
D. There Will Be Revelation - (Ill.
"Appear" - To reveal) When we arrive here, all pretense will be taken away! We
will finally be seen for what we really are. Down here, we are able to pull the wool over
people's eyes. Many times people will have an image of us that is false and forewing to
that which we really are. However, when we stand before Jesus, we will be seen inall our
ugliness. We will be exposed.
(Ill. It is much the same as going to the doctor. He can look at the
outside and not tell too much about you, but if he can do an x-ray, a CAT scan or an MRI,
then he can see what's going on inside and make a more accurate diagnosis. Well, Jesus
doesn't need high tech gadgets to see our hearts. He knows us perfectly and will expose us
to the light one day.)
(Ill. The Judgment Seat of Christ may be compared to a commencement
exercise. Certainly there will be sadness and remorse over not doing as well as one could.
However, the overwhelming emotion will be one of joy at having completed the race down
here and having graduated into Heaven. To overdo the sorrow aspect is to make heaven into
hell and to underplay the sorrow aspect is to say that faithfulness doesn't matter in our
walk of life.)
I. Who Will Participate?
II. What Is The Purpose?
III. HOW CAN A PERSON PREPARE?
(Ill. First and foremost, a person wants to be sure that they will
appear here. As bad as this judgment may be, it will be nothing compared to standing
before Jesus and hearing him send you to Hell. Be sure you are saved. If that is settled,
then your greatest preparation tactic is to practice self-judgment - 1 Cor. 11:31. I am
not talking about judging your brother. It is none of your business what he does, your
primary concern is to look at your own life and heart and see how they measure up against
the revealed will of God.) There are several area where we need to practice this
A. In Our Motives - Why do we do what we do? The
Bible tells us there is only on valid motive for doing what we do in life - 1 Cor. 10:31.
Everything should be done for the glory of the Lord. If whatever it is you are doing
cannot be done for His glory, then it will burn up in the judgment!
B. In Our Methods - How do we do the thing we
do? The Bible teaches us that we are to be like lights shining forth into the darkness -
Matt. 5:16. If the world cannot see Christ in what we are doing, then we can be sure it
will burn up before Him. (Ill. We should look at everything we do and ask ourselves,
1. Is this pleasing to the Lord?
2. What kind of message is this sending out?
3. When I say that, or go there, or wear this, what statement am I
making about Jesus Christ and His church?
C. In Our Manner Of Life - Every activity must
be laid alongside the Word of God. We must understand that the Word of God is like a plumb
line. If we are out of line with this Book, then we will experience loss at the judgment.
If we are in line with it, then we can expect rewards when we arrive there. How does your
life stand up under the scrutiny of the Book?
D. It all boils down to this, we are called to lived the best lives for
God's glory that are humanly possible. If we do, then we need not fear meeting our deeds,
or the Savior at the Judgment Seat. After all, if we are living for the Lord, then we will
be rewarded and not rebuked!
Conc: A husband and wife didn't really love each other. The man was very
demanding, so much so that he prepared a list of rules and regulations for his wife to
follow. He insisted that she read them over every day and obey them to the letter. Among
other things, his "do's and don'ts" indicated such details as what time she had
to get up in the morning, when his breakfast should be served, and how the housework
should be done. After several long years, the husband died. As time passed, the woman fell
in love with another man, one who dearly loved her. Soon they were married. This husband
did everything he could to make his new wife happy, continually showering her with tokens
of his appreciation. One day as she was cleaning house, she found tucked away in a drawer
the list of commands her first husband had drawn up for her. As she looked it over, it
dawned on her that even though her present husband hadn't give her any kind of list, she
was doing everything her first husband's list required anyway. She realized she was so
devoted to this man that her deepest desire was to please him out of love, not obligation.
Doing things for him was her greatest joy.
So it should be with us in our relationship to Christ. because He loves
us, we love Him and want to serve Him. That's the law of love!
This is the bottom line. If you love Jesus, your life will show it. You
will do the right things and act the right way. When your love for Him is the motivating
force behind all you do, then you can expect blessing when you meet Him.
If you were to face Jesus today in the judgment, what would be the
outcome? Would you see all your works and deeds go up in smoke? Would you hear Him have to
rebuke the way you lived? Or would you hear Him say, "Well, done thou good and
faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."? What can you expect over
there. If it isn't what you want, now is the time to make the changes that are necessary.
Will you do what you need to do this morning?