What are some things that we know could happen to us in life, yet we always think it will happens to someone else... Then, BAM?!
And in that, "Oh-my-gosh!" moment, everything changes instantly...You are in a totally different circumstance than you were moments ago...And there is no going back now! Well, not meaning to sound morbid, but how many people in this room are going to die someday? Duhh... All. And do you realize that just as easily and quickly as some have had an unexpected event or accident... Some of us will leave this earth? In an instant, that thing we thought would never come, IS HERE! And everything has changed... And there is no going back!
On top of this, as we will see in the next two weeks after today…God has every piece in place and He is due to return for His people at any moment!!! Between these two possibilities, the countdown could end abruptly for any one, or all of us, at any moment...If that countdown ended RIGHT THIS SECOND... What would happen next?
Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)
Romans 14:10-12 (NKJV)
Now, we often get the mindset from comics and jokes that we will be standing in front of Heaven awaiting a judgment to see whether we get in the Gates or not! But, this is not the case...You will not be standing before God to see whether you have made it into Heaven or not...That will have already been determined...
The Two Judgments!
Scriptures repeatedly say that ALL MEN, Christian and non-Christian… WILL stand before God in judgment! We will stand before Him in one of TWO DIFFERENT JUDGMENTS, depending on whether we are His child or not! Final Judgment - If we are NOT His child…We will not be brought before Him until the end of the 1000 year reign of peace in the end of time... “Great White Throne Judgment!” To accept sentencing!
First Judgment - If we ARE His child…
We will stand before Christ just after the Rapture (Calling home of the Saints), in a Judgment called "The Judgment Seat of Christ", or also, "The Bema Seat"! This Judgment will take place while the world is going through their Tribulation Period here on earth...Before we return with Him to rule and reign…And before the Last Judgment of the damned!
The term, "Bema Seat" comes from Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, as a term they knew very well! Bema, is the Greek term for judgment seat... And in the city of Corinth, a stone platform was constructed to set a large judgment seat for local officials...There, they often gave out awards to athletes, and also brought individuals for legal charges...Paul was brought here for charges himself! So why are Christians, and Christians ONLY, brought to this "Bema" seat for judgment? (Basically for two reasons)
One - Not to show whether we have worked to deserve salvation...We know, salvation is from Christ alone! And if we are here, at THIS Judgment…We have received His Salvation as a DONE DEAL already!! We will be there first to acknowledge before all of creation that our faith and love for Christ IS REAL!
Two- This Judgment will show the varying depths of love and devotion given by His disciples...
Thereby showing the reason for different levels of reward and position to each disciple!
So few people even think about, or prepare for the life after this world! Even fewer, ever think about or prepare for the Judgment we will stand in after this world...Even for those who DO think about the Judgment to come…They often are misled over how they will fair, when the time comes! If the countdown DID end right here and now... How would YOU look at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Let's find out, shall we?! Because WE cannot begin to fathom the importance of this moment… Your whole life will lead to!! When I write a Funeral- I review whole life with the family and try to summarize it in one talk- Like a BOOK!)
Standing Before the Throne!
Just think for a minute... Everything that you have ever done or said, good and bad, completely laid bare in front of this sweet, caring, righteous God!
Luke 12:2-3 (NKJV)
No matter how good you are at justifying or explaining HERE ON EARTH…There will be no secrets, no sweet talk, no manipulation, no hiding behind false motives or explanations… And no arguments or excuses!! Think, for a minute, how it would feel to have some of the things you've secretly done shown to this crowd alone!!! Now, imagine going through these things with Christ!
Now, imagine Him reviewing all of these things with the goal of proving whether we have really loved Him or not!!! When we get there, and it won't be that long...Here is what we are hoping and betting on hearing at the Judgment:
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)
This servant has been obedient, in love for Christ! Regardless of how much talent, money, or health they had...They have used what they had sacrificially, and in joy! And Christ is rewarding them by making them a ruler in His Kingdom! Even though most of us are hoping and betting on coming through the Judgment like this...The reality is that many today may not fair so well! Often without realizing it themselves in life...Often without anyone around them having any idea either!
Let's look at the testing God will apply to each of us as we stand in Judgment...And give an honest answer on how we might do...If the Judgment were today! In hopes that it may be a wake up call to how we live…And even how we work for Him!!
1 Corinthians 11:31 (NKJV)
Here is the Test God will apply to us on that day:
If you have to escape by "running through a wall of flames" that you are already behind...How close are you to dying in the fire? You are practically consumed by the fire!!! God says that is how close some are, and His Judgments will show it! And even though, to have made it to this Judgment we are saved and eternally secure...Many will, none the less, "suffer a great loss!!" Why?! I mean, we made it! Why the feelings of loss?! Do you realize that what we do in this short, short, short time span will determine many incredible things for eternity??!!! You may say it is not fair to judge an eternity on a few short years!! But, just the opposite is real Truth!
(Faithful in the small things… Shows true desires and heart!)
Some of us will realize that we have traded an eternity of greater blessing and a better position to be near and serve Jesus Christ...For a few short years of empty, temporary, selfishness!
So, the test begins by placing all of our life works on the table... All the chips we’ve earned in a lifetime…To finally CASH IN! Everything in word and deed since birth...Next, let's remove all of the bad works...Because they have been forgiven and cast away! And will not be brought against you This Day! Now, look at all of the good works we have left, that have been done for Christ! Or, so we think...Let's put the rest of our works through the test of fire... And see how they fair!! In order to do this, we must see what this "fire test" consists of in Scripture! This fire that tests the "Value" of each work! Let's see what God's Word says...
1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT)
Psalm 139:1 (NLT)
1 Chronicles 28:9 (NLT)
Romans 2:16 (NLT)
Revelation 2:23 (NLT)
1 Corinthians 4:5 (NLT)
The TEST OF FIRE… IS THE MOTIVE AND HEART behind deeds! Based on these Scriptures - Let's remove all of the good deeds which have been done for the wrong reasons... Because they will burn up! Because we felt obligated or guilty...Because we wanted to impress others and feel good about your status...Because we were jealous or competitive & didn't want to be outdone...
Because we wanted benefit from them in position or status...Because we wanted to bribe God...
Many of the Pharisees did great things...Gave money, fasted, prayed, worked hard all their days...
All for the show... Or all to feel good about themselves! Jesus said, they have their rewards already (Matt 6)...The rewards of the impressed men and women around them… And that was all they'd ever get! When you get to the heart of all the deeds you've done, & are doing now...
Truly & simply because you love God... And others! Because you want to serve Him in gratitude...
Because He is worthy of your time and effort...And you have done them willingly and lovingly...
How many of your works are really going to count in the end?
Some with pyramids of works, who amaze people with their "holiness", will be spiritual paupers one day...And some who seem to have done little in our eyes. Will have done what they were called to do with a pure and obedient heart for God...And they will be greatly rewarded! And some of you, know that you have almost nothing on the table to be tested anyway... Because you have done almost nothing for God or others...You have been lost in your own propped up, selfish world... And you will hopefully be "Saved through the wall of fire!"
Only YOU and God know your heart today...Based on your actions up to this day...Based on your REAL motives behind them...Would you be humbled by Jesus as He said you have done well?
Or cringe as your works burned away? Works the world saw as awesome...Would you feel terrible loss over all of the worthless things you worried over…Rather than serving the One that loves you so much? Would you feel agony over a few short years wasted that effected an eternity?
Standing Before Another Judgment!
Salvation is 100% paid for by Christ's Blood!! But, just as this test of fire shows...A true heart for Christ WILL have works that reflect that heart for Him! Some of you, after seeing how you might fair in this test of fire...May realize that you have done almost nothing for Christ, in true love since you supposedly gave your life to Him...In all reality, that may very well mean that you DIDN'T REALLY GIVE YOUR HEART TO HIM AT ALL! If that is the case, you will NOT be at this "Bema Seat" Judgment...But instead, you will be held for the Second Judgment we talked about earlier!
You will not get to see the loving, gentle face of our Savior...You will have to see the awful face of disappointment, rage, power and judgment...As you are brought before the Throne of the God, King and Judge of the Universe…And imagine the unthinkably dreadful days spent waiting until the end for this time of Judgment as your soul is held in Hades!!
Revelation 20:11-15 (NKJV)
You will be judged by the "books" written about your life…Because the bad deeds of your life will NOT have been erased...Every sin will still be there to glaringly say, “You are not worthy!” You will be shown that YOUR NAME is not in the Book that could save you! Because, in reality, you always lived for yourself over Christ! You're life, your sins, your goals...Always more important than God...So you never truly gave everything to Him, and accepted His Gift!
13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
In this moment of complete terror...Just like in an unexpected accident or event that changes life forever...One that cannot be undone...Some will realize they can't blow Him off and go back to their cozy home again... Because they no longer have one...They won't have to worry about leaving to meet up with their friends or lovers, because no one will be there to love them anymore... They won't go back to their spouse, because they won't have one...They won't go back to their family, because they won't have one...Then, they will have to hear the words that Jesus Christ dreaded saying SO desperately... He was tortured, forsaken and murdered for the CHANCE not to say them to YOU! Nevertheless, you will have to hear them...And have the realization...The Truth for the first time in your life...Of what you have turned away...Of the love lost, and the rejection you've chosen...When Jesus Christ has to say to you...
Matthew 7:23 (NLT)
Matthew 25:30 (NLT)
How would you feel knowing you had a chance for eternal excitement and adventure, and love...
And now you will have to be thrown away and forgotten? As you stood there at the Throne, how desperately would you scream for another chance to show Christ you wanted to live for Him?
If you could only go back... Only have another chance...Well, BAM! Here you are... You have another chance!!! Not to fake love, or jump through hoops...But to know how much Christ wants to have you with Him, and accept His love! To choose to love and serve Him over yourself, and have a new reason to live each day! (As He does for you!) And for others of you who know you are His... How would you have fared in the Judgment if He came today? Honestly? Are you living for Him?
Are you living in real devotion and joy? Or do you more times than not, lose your reward in pride, necessity and legalism? Just come to a point of total, intimate, personal love for HIM as your motivation... No one, nor nothing is as important in life!
We do not give our lives to Him just to win Salvation! We do not even do it just for the reward and position we will receive that will last an eternity!! Although we need to ponder that awesome thought!
We do it all to hear the Voice of the One who GAVE EVERYTHING HE HAD TO WIN OUR HEARTS AND BRING US HOME say…
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)
BUT IF YOU KNOW THAT YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE TO HEAR THESE WORDS FROM OUR KING…
WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE WAITING FOR?!
That one, “What just happened?” Moment could be a breath away…
That unfathomable sound of the Trump could echo in our ears at any moment…
And the time to contemplate will be over!!
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