The objective of entering into a study of the judgment seat of Christ is to influence Christians to live a life now that will matter for eternity; to live a life now that will count for something at the judgment seat of Christ; to approach people and places and situations and decisions with an eternal perspective. That is the theme of this second introductory lesson.
I. GOD CALLS US TO AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
Amos 4:12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
· Saved or lost, it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
· We may stand at different judgments, but every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).
· We are often shocked at the failure of the lost to prepare for eternity by getting saved. We must ask what we as believers are doing to prepare for eternity by way of serving Jesus Christ.
· God calls us to look past the here and now to a day when we will stand before Him in judgment, and to invest this life in preparing for the next.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
· The temptation of youth is to live for today and put off any thought of final judgment.
· But there is no better time than NOW – in your youth – to start preparing for eternity.
· Because now is all we have (Proverbs 27:1).
Financial planners put a lot of emphasis on the time value of money, urging wage earners to start saving for retirement as soon as possible. For example, assuming an investment $200 a month at a 10% annual return and a retirement age of 60 (very hypothetical, just trying to illustrate a point)…
· If you start at 20, you will invest $96,000 and have an ending account balance of $1.26 million.
· If you start at 30, you will invest $72,000 and reduce your ending account balance to $450,000.
· If you start at 40, you will invest $48,000 and end up with just $150,000.
The moral of the story is to start saving NOW for retirement. How much more important to start NOW laying up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest theologians of American history. His preaching helped to shape and influence the First Great Awakening. His famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of Angry God,” was so powerful that people fell off their seats and clung to the pillars of the auditorium, crying out in despair. His constant prayer was this: “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyes.” He prayed for an eternal perspective.
II. BECAUSE WHEN WE DIE, WE WILL LEAVE THIS ALL BEHIND
1 Timothy 6:17 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
· What will matter 100 years from now?
· That is what matters now.
· So let us devote ourselves to that.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
· If you were to die right now, what about your life would you want to go back and change?
· Are there things you have done you would like to undo?
· Are there things you failed to do that you would do if you had another chance?
· Obviously, we do not have that opportunity now and will not have that opportunity when we die.
· But what we can do is live from this point on in the same manner that we would live out the past if we had the opportunity (Philippians 3:13-14).
Luke 12:15-20 …But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
· The passage does not say this rich man was a bad man or a wicked man.
· But he was a fool because he laid up treasure himself and was not rich toward God.
· As well as he prepared for life, he did not prepare for his death. And it came suddenly.
Mark 8:36-37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
· Another passage we use in witnessing that applies equally to saved and lost.
· If a man gained all there was to gain in this life but died and left it all behind, what would it matter?
Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
· “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” (Jim Elliot).
III. BECAUSE THE REWARDS WILL MATTER
1 Corinthians 3:14-15 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
· At the judgment seat of Christ, some will receive rewards, and some will suffer loss.
· I believe if God offers rewards, they will be worth receiving.
“I’ll just be glad to get to heaven.”
If you went home tonight to find your house and everything in it burned to the ground, you might find some solace in the face that you are alive and did not burn with the house, but to say the least, you would be upset about the loss.
I am afraid there are millions of Christians who will face the judgment seat of Christ and see their entire lives go up in flames. They may very well find solace in the fact that they are saved (so as by fire), but the loss is something the Bible says they will SUFFER.
1 Corinthians 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
· We will expand on this idea in future lessons, but for now let us simply state that the idea of equality in heaven is a myth.
· Do you not want to hear your Savior say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)?
· Do you not want to cast a crown at the feet of the one who paid your sin’s penalty and purchased your soul’s salvation (Revelation 4:10-11)?
IV. THERE WILL BE SHAME ON THAT DAY
· Some will be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28).
· At his coming, the Son of man will be ashamed of those who were ashamed of Him (Mark 8:38).
· God does not wipe all tears from our eyes until after the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 21:4).
CONCLUSION – write down your answers:
· What are you doing today that will matter for eternity?
· What about your life would you want to go back and change if you died today?
· What can you start doing right now that will matter for eternity?