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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Dec. 16, 2008

  • 2008 Dec 16
  • COMMENTS
 

Corinth - the Bema Seat

When asked later in life what kept him going in Bible teaching, translation, and church ministry Martin Luther said this simple truth:

"I have but two dates on my calendar today and the day of the judgment seat of Christ!"

 In other words he lived each day like he was on his way to explain what he did with his life to the One who gave him life – Jesus Christ.

Are you ready this evening to appear at Christ's Throne? When we take pilgrims to Greece, the most moving spot of all is in the city of Ancient Corinth. I have seen travelers who were just tourists the whole trip until they reached that spot. And there beneath the raised stone platform called in Greek the bema suddenly the awesomeness of the moment overtakes them and they see themselves at a future day standing at Christ's Throne. Often tears, often deep silence – and always reverence fills each one as the scene unfolds before their eyes.

Will you come with me to that Throne? Will you let the Holy Scriptures transport you out of this world and into God’s?  

THINK OF GOD’S THRONE:

  • Ezekiel 1:24-28 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings. 26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
  • Daniel 7:9-10 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
  • Revelation 4:1-4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
  • Revelation 5:8-14 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

THINK OF YOUR APPOINTMENT:

Each of us have an unavoidable appointment. This appointment  should constrain our flesh and motivate our spiritual hearts.  

  • Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
  • 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
  • So, its going to be first of all a very public event: fanerwqh`nai which means more than just to appear, it means to make manifest. Before the God of the universe and all of creation, we will be made known before all. And bhvmato" is the judgment seat of the rulers of old. It is raised for all to see. That is the place all will appear one by one. Secondly it is also a very personal event pavnta" must appear in order that each one individually which is the literal meaning of ‘may receive’. Our lives amount to either good or fau`lon translated bad does not speak of evil but ‘good for nothingness.’ The believer is either going to have to answer for the good things done faithfully for the Master, or for the rest which was good for nothingness. This is ‘light, unstable, blown about by every wind’. Oh, to stand before all in that day and to answer to Him.

One day each Christian will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10–12). The Greek word for “judgment seat” is BEMA, the very same word used to describe the place where the Olympic judges gave out the prizes! If we have disciplined ourselves to obey the rules, we shall receive a prize.  

THINK OF THE FIRE  

 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.  

Bible history is filled with people who began the race with great success but failed at the end because they disregarded God’s rules. They did not lose their salvation, but they did lose their rewards (1 Cor. 3:15).

  • It happened to Lot (Gen. 19),
  • Samson (Jud. 16),
  • Solomon (I Kings 11), and
  • Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). And it can happen to us!  

It is an exciting experience to run the race daily, “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:1–2). It will be even more exciting when we experience that “upward calling” and Jesus returns to take us to heaven! Then we will stand before the bema to receive our rewards! It was this future prospect that motivated Paul, and it can also motivate us.  

THINK OF THE REWARDS  

In the ancient Isthmian games of Greece, a pedestal stood at the finish line, and on it hung a wreath-the winner’s prize. No one runs a race without some expectation of reward. The Isthmian races and the race spoken of in Hebrews 12, however, were not run for exhilaration. This type of race is the agoµn, the agony race, the marathon, the race that seems never to end. It is not a race you run simply for the pleasure of running. If you do not have something important to look forward to at the end of this race, you will likely not start it and will certainly not finish it.

  1. The CROWN OF LIFE to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ and persevere to the end. GOD CROWNS THOSE WHO LOVE HIM: James 1:12
  2. The CROWN OF REJOICING is also called the soul winners crown and it consists of people won for Christ. I Thessalonians 2:19; Phil 4:1.
  3. The UNFADING CROWN OF SELF-CONTROL is for Steadfast Racer that consistently  brings the flesh under the Spirit’s control, resisting all that disqualifies. This one gets Imperishable Crown in I Corinthians. 9:25-27.
  4. The CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS goes to those who faithfully watch for Christ each day living with eternity’s values as their own. These get the Crown of Righteousness in II Tim. 4:8.
  5. The CROWN OF GLORY is promised to those who live as an Example to the Flock. Faithful under-shepherds get the Crown of Glory in I Peter 5:1-5.

THINK OF THE GLASSY SEA:

Revelation 4:5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”  

   


 

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