The Test After The Second Coming
- Tuesday, September 09, 2003
"For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. 11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
The Word of God clearly teaches that after transformation, there is going to be an examination. The Bible clearly teaches that after the resurrection of the saints, the rapture of the survivors, and the reunion in the sky, that there is going to be a reckoning for God’s servants. Every believer will have to give an account for our Christian life upon this earth. There are three judgments for the believer.
First, We Were Judged Yesterday as Sinners—When Jesus gave His life for our sins, we were judged at the Cross. We were judged as sinners. That’s why Paul could write in Romans, "There is now therefore no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus." Our sins were judged on the Cross. We were judged yesterday as sinners.
Next, We Are Judged Today as Sons—The Bible says in Hebrews 12:6, "For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son who He receives." We were judged yesterday as sinners, we are judged today as sons, and in the future we will be judged as servants.
Third, We Will be Judged in the Future as Servants—We will be judged in the future by the way we have used our talents and treasures the Lord has given us. We will be judged according to what we did with what we had. We are going to be judged as stewards and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There has been a mentality in the Church recently that I feel is most alarming. That mentality says, "It doesn’t matter how I live, how I act, or what kind of life I live here on earth. All that matters is that someway, somehow I make it into heaven by the skin of my teeth." Now, I ask how much skin you have on your teeth? If you’re like me you don’t have very much. If you think you’re going to make it into heaven by the skin of your teeth, you are probably not going to make it in at all. Many Christians think they will never have to give account for how they have lived.
I believe in the imminent return of Jesus, that He could return tonight. The Bible indicates that the first thing that happens for Christians after the rapture is that we will give account for the kind of Christian life we lived upon the earth.
FIRST, THE PLACE OF THE JUDGMENT
I draw your attention to two major lessons about the Judgment Seat of Christ found in our text. The first lesson concerns the place of the judgment for Christians. Later, there will be a judgment for sinners, found in Daniel & and Revelation 20. Daniel saw the Ancient of Days seated upon a Great White Throne judging millions upon millions of people. I believe the saints will be at the Great White Throne to see the judgment of the Lord upon people who rejected Jesus as Savior, and hear Him say, "Depart, I never knew you."
In the text, Paul is talking about the bema judgment. Bema means "raised platform." What Paul is doing in Corinthians is drawing some things from normal lifestyles of his day and his time for comparative purposes. At the Olympian Games, the judge would sit on a raised platform from which he could look down upon all the athletes. Those who were victorious would receive a floral wreath that would last a few days before it would perish. Paul is saying those athletes were being watched by an earthly judge as the Lord is watching us. The Lord watches how we perform, how we run the race. And, at the end of life’s journey, we too will be rewarded for how we ran the race.
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