THE ACCOUNT WE MUST GIVE.
The Positive Side of the Judgments of the Lost and Saved.
2 Corinthians 5:10-15
1. The Bible clearly teaches there will be a day of accounting for every man,woman, boy and girl.
Heb. 9:27 clearly says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
The Bible's message of judgment is not popular today, and many denominations and churches never preach on the subject. They fail to understand that God's negative message of a coming judgment for us all, is in fact presenting the positive message of God's Grace and Mercy. Every time in the Bible God tells of his wrath and judgment on sin, it is always accompanied with the positive message of God's forgiveness to those who heed His warning and turn from their sin. God says, in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
The negative message of judgment is a loving warning to all mankind and a positive message of possible forgiveness and redemption. Clearly that it why God warns us of the coming judgment because He want us to be forgiven and avoid condemnation. God gives every man a choice as to whether he will spend eternity in heaven or hell. God's love is shown in that the way to heaven is impossible for a man to earn or merit because he is a sinner and because of his sin under the condemnation of sin. Therefore God, Himself, came to this earth incarnate in man, the man Jesus Christ and He suffered and died for our sins. He paid the debt we could not pay and offers salvation...which means forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who will be faith believe and receive it. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
2. The Bible tells us of two judgments:
(b) The judgment of the saved: I Cor. 3:10-23, II Cor. 5:10-11. It is called the BEMA judgment, which is the Greek word for "Judgment Seat." It refers to the Greek Olympic and the place where rewards were given. There would be at the end of the competition a giving of rewards. Three rewards would be given: First place for the best athlete, second and third rewards for those that came in the next two places. It was not a place of condemnation, but only a place where rewards were given. God's judgment of Christians is the same. No one at this judgment will be condemned because they are forgiven of their sins and saved, but here all will be judged accounting to their works for Christ. As Paul put it we will judged according to how we ran the race of this Christian life.
3. It should be understood that everyone will appear before God at one of these two judgments.
Which judgment one stands before is determined simply by one fact: Whether one has believed and trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior or not. Neither judgment is to determine whether one goes to heaven or hell! That is determined now while we are living. Many people have the false idea that after we die we stand before God and He weighs our lives. If we did more good things that bad things we can go to heaven. In other words we by our good deeds can earn heaven. However, this is absolutely false.
If we believe God's word and receive Jesus as our Savior, we be judged at the BEMA judgment and will go to heaven. Everyone at the BEMA goes to heaven.
If we refuse to believe and die without receiving Christ, we will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and everyone there is cast into the "Lake of Fire" or Hell and eternally separated from God.
What one does now determines where he will spend eternity. It is not determined after death. There is absolutely no judgment after death of one's works or deeds to determine whether they go to heaven or hell! That is a totally false idea and not taught in the Scriptures. No one, after they die, stands in judgment to determine if they go to heaven or hell.
4. This message, however, is addressed to those who profess Jesus Christ as their Savior. We will take a close look at the BEMA judgment of believers.
5. The emphasis today in many churches when they teach about heaven and the BEMA judgment is to stress that it is a place of reward. We speak of mansions in heaven, and of how wonderful it will be to see Jesus, "Face to face." All these things for many are true and are wonderful and reassuring. However, it is a message off balance when there is little or no mention of any condemnation at the BEMA judgment.
We are taught it is strictly a place of getting reward. We view it much like taking part in a contest where the main prize is a million dollars. However, we don't think we will win the grand prize and therefore we are content if we win anything at all. All we suffer is a little disappointment that we did not get the million. That is not a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches about the BEMA judgment. There will be people at the BEMA judgment who stand there with NO reward....nothing at all.
I. THE MISSING DOCTRINE (TRUTH) CONCERNING THE BEMA JUDGMENT OF CHRIST. 2 COR. 5:10-11.
A. In modern Olympic games there is a ceremony and place of reward where those that did well receive rewards. The Gold, Silver or Bronze metals are awarded. Many participated in the games yet only the few who win receive any reward.
1 John 3:3, tells us that those who are truly looking of the return of Christ, are purifying themselves now in preparation of Christ's coming.
"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 33).
Lots of folks talk and sing about Jesus coming back, but the test of whether one truly in looking to Christ's return is determined by how they are presently living their lives! Hebrews 13:17, instructs the churches to obey their pastors, which means to receive God's word when they teach it. Why? Because these pastors watch for your souls and will have to one day give an account to Christ for what they did. Every message we heard preached that abmonished us to live for Christ and then went rejected....will be answered for. Every time God brought conviction to our hearts for some sin or unfaithfulness to the Lord will one day be brought back before us and we will have to give an account.
Most do not understand that for pastors there will be joy or grief experienced at the BEMA judgment. God is saying that the pastor will stand and watch as his congregation comes before Christ and will experience joy with those who faithfully served Christ, and grief over those that did not. Note how the verse is worded: "they must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."
We should rightly be afraid and terrified at God wrath! But today, God's love is stressed with little mention of the fact that God hates sin, and will absolutely judge it! God is pure and righteous and holy. He will not condone sin and its destructive effects on us. The fact that God will condemn men to Hell because they rejected His provision for their salvation is proof enough that God deals harshly with the sinner. Yes, Jesus Christ is our dear friend and our loving Savior, but that does not mean He is not also our righteous Judge.
Hebrews 10:25, speaks of not forsaking attending church, which means worshiping, fellowshipping and studying the Bible with other believers. We need to be exhorting one another (building each other up). How can a believer help his fellow brother or sister in Christ when he is unfaithful and a poor testimony. The day of Christ's return is coming and Paul begged the Corinthians to receive the promises of God, and to "... cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the FLESH and SPIRIT, perfecting holiness in the FEAR of God."
In 2 Corinthians 7:2, Paul begged them to "open your hearts to us." He explained in verse 3. "I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you."
With all my heart, I want it to be a good account that honors the Lord, but if they do not change...it will be a sad time. It might even be as Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
A. The Bible says we do not have to stand ashamed at Christ's coming. Paul was not. 2 Tim. 4:6-8 He was ready. He knew he would receive reward. Why? Because he knew he had "fought the good fight, he had finished the race, and he had kept the faith." He emphatically states: "...there IS laid up for me a crown of righteousness..the Lord will give when He appears."
Paul urged them strongly saying 2 Timothy 4:1, "I CHARGE you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who WILL judge the living and the dead at His appearing." Verse 3 says there will come the time when believers will not endure sound doctrine. I believe many are in that state now. They know the truth, but will not live by it. They claim to know and love God, but He is not very important in directing the way they live.
Folks the BEMA is the place of setting things right before be presented to Jesus Christ as the "chase" Bride of Christ. C. The unfaithful Christian will suffer greatly at the judgment seat of Christ. He will stand having to look into the eyes of the One who suffered and died for his personal sins. Who went through great torment on his behalf. Many will stand there ashamed, fearfully so because they did not "...discern the Lord's body" 1 Cor. 11:29.
They that made little of Christ's suffering for them as those that sin and are not faithful to Him. There will be two groups there at the BEMA.
One rejoicing receiving crowns and reward that they in turn lay at Christ's feet in worship and thanksgiving to Him. They will honor and glorify the Lord Jesus who is worthy! (Rev. 4:9-10)
The other group will stand, ashamed, heads down with nothing to offer. Having received salvation they made little of it. They will suffer great loss. How terrible to stand face to face with Christ who gave His all for us and have nothing or very little to thank him with. We will see Him as He is the One who desires all our Honor and love. Yet, many will stand there acheing inside wanting with every fiber of their being to show their love for Him who suffered that they might have eternal life and heaven....but they will be emptied handed with nothing to honor Him. It will be a terrible day for many. BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE!!!!
It will not be pleasant for the latter group. In Hebrews 10:30, after begging believers keep the faith and abide in the Lord we are warned..."Vengeance is mine says the Lord...THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." Please note that the verse says God will judge HIS people. This is certainly not a reference to the lost, but to the saved.
This is surely not an idle meaningless threat. If there is not a serious negative side for those who have been unfaithful, the these Scripture have no meaning. It would be like the way so many parents today try to discipline their children. Many is the time we hear a parent say, "Don't do that, you will get a spanking!" Yet, the child knows the parent hasn't spanked him in that past and has said it a thousand times without taking any action. So, the threat has no meaning.
Surely God is not making an idle threat here. He means what he says! Verse 31 warns believers, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" Yet all this does not have to be, all we need do is to turn from the sin of unfaithfulness and live for Him.
Those that repent, which means to be sorry and to turn from sin. GOD FORGIVES! Thank God...He forgives......
B. Would you do that now? Admit the sin that is surely in your life. Some more that others.
1. The secret things only you know about.
2. The unfaithfulness in your life.
3. The bitter or unforgiving spirit you harbor toward someone, maybe even a relative, ex-friend?
4. Your unfaithfulness in:
C. "I beseech your therefore, my brethren, by the mercies of God, that your present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
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