Did you know that the Bible teaches that there is more than one future judgment we should prepare for? How can you be ready to stand before the judgement seat of Christ? How will ministers be judged? Learn more in this new Little Lesson series with Bible teacher David Servant!
- Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 1)
- Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 2)
- Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 3)
- Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 4)
- How Can I Be Ready to Stand Before the Judgment Seat of Christ? (Part 1)
- How Can I Be Ready to Stand Before the Judgment Seat of Christ? (Part 2)
- The Coming Judgment, Especially for Ministers
Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 1)
Two coming judgments that all of us should prepare for.
We are going to discuss and begin to discuss the answer to a question that one of our beloved viewers wrote to us concerning the future judgment or, as this beloved viewer wrote, judgments, because he figured out, as anyone does, who reads the New Testament, that there’s not just one judgment coming. There are several, at least several. And sometimes it’s hard to figure out and theologians have been wrestling with some of this stuff for a long time, but trying to figure out, “Well, who goes to what judgment? And what’s the chronology? Will some of us go to two judgments?”
And I’ve concluded that it’s safe to say that we all should be preparing for at least two coming judgments. And the reason I say that is because it’s very clear from the New Testament that both of those coming judgements are not the same judgment, at least by all biblical appearances. But believers are going to be present and judged at both of these future judgments. Now, I haven’t figured out all the chronology of it, where it fits in. Of course, when you try to figure out chronology of things in the future, you have to understand that figuring out a chronology is something that people do who are living in the realm of time, and once time ceases, chronology suddenly becomes irrelevant. Right? Right. Okay.
Well, it’s actually a scientific fact that time does stop at the speed of light. That’s something that Professor Einstein suggested. And it has since been actually scientifically validated by the acceleration of subatomic particles and so forth and how their half-life changes as they approach faster and faster speeds. So, anyways, all interesting stuff, way beyond my pay grade and probably yours too. So let’s not try to figure out the chronology. I mean, you could rack your brain over those things, trying to figure that out. But let’s look at at least two of the judgments that the Bible says believers are going to be experiencing. There’ll be believers there. Now, will all believers be there? Well, it sure does seem like it, when you read these two passages. Okay.
So the first judgment for which we should all prepare is a judgment that I’ve been talking about for a long, long time. In fact, the ministry that I direct, Heaven’s Family, this particular judgment that I’m about to talk about is really the core revelation behind everything that motivates us at Heaven’s Family. And if you know Heaven’s Family, you know that we’re serving the Lord through our staff and through our partners all around the world, trying to serve the people whom Jesus referred to as the “least of these,” the least. Those are Jesus’s words. They’re found in Matthew Chapter 25, in what is known as the Olivet Discourse. And how I would love to look at the entire Olivet Discourse right now, but I just want to look at the ending of the Olivet Discourse, because this is kind of where it all leads. Because of all the things that Jesus revealed in the Olivet Discourse and what is to come, the New World and when Jesus Himself rules the world and there’s only one kingdom, the Kingdom of our Lord and the Kingdom of His Christ.
There’s a way to be ready for that. And Jesus has made it quite plain and clear in His word, and one of the big keys is found near the end of the Olivet Discourse. So let’s take a look there, the Olivet Discourse. I’ve got it here. This would be just the final part, Matthew Chapter 25, verses 31 through 46. You probably know it, but it doesn’t hurt to look at it again, does it, from the Word of God. So Jesus said, speaking of Himself, we all know, “But when the Son of Man…” He could have said, “When I come in my glory.” Now He said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory. And all the angels with it.” Well, how many is all? It sounds like all to me. And I studied it out in the Greek and it actually means All. “Then He will sit on His glorious throne.” So He’s coming in His glory, but He’s bringing His throne with Him. That’s interesting.
“All the nations will be gathered before Him.” Again, how many is all? All is all. “All the nations.” Now, we think of nations like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Russia, China, et cetera, of which there are, I guess, a little over 200, but the Greek word translated nations there, in most translations is the word “ethne” and you probably figure out that the English word ethnic is derived from that Greek word ethne. And it’s not necessarily always a reference to geopolitical nations, but more so to what the Bible refers to as families, people groups, ethnic groups of which there are, I think… Well they can be divided up and then re-divide and re-divided, but there are 10s of 1000s of those. And some of course are waiting for the first time to have someone come to them and share the Gospel to them, because the Gospel generally spreads and stays confined within ethnic boundaries, because people share the Gospel with my kind of people. It takes a missionary to cross a culture. That’s another subject.
He’ll gather all the ethne before him. And he will separate them from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. So this is a split of all the nations, all the people of all the nations, into one of two categories that will exist at this judgment of the sheep and the goats. And metaphorically, they’re referred to as the sheep and as the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right, Jesus said, and the goats on his left. And if you study Scripture, you know that it’s fortuitous in some ways to be on someone’s right, more so than it is to be on their left. Okay.
Not that we’re going to build any big doctrine on that, but it’s very clear that the sheep on his right got the preferential treatment here, but not because they were favored because of some arbitrary whim of the King Jesus, but because of what they did or did not do, which goes against the grain of a lot of evangelical theology, does it? Because we know and we believe, and it is true that we are saved by grace through faith, not because of works, but that very undeniable biblical truth needs to be coupled and balanced with the also undeniable biblical truth that faith without works is dead and it cannot save us. And so true living faith is validated by obedience. And so that’s why you can say that the sheep here were saved by their faith, but not by a dead faith, not just by a profession of faith, but by a living faith that resulted in the evidence of transformed lives. They were lovers.
Okay. I don’t want to give it all away here. “Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”” And so this is the culmination of an eternal plan. From the foundation of the world, God has been preparing a kingdom for this group of people who are metaphorically referred to as the sheep. And so these are the people that are here at the kingdom, so they’re Christians, right? They’re Christians.
So I told you, we’re going to talk about judgments for which we all must prepare. It seems like this would be a good one to prepare for, because it’s all the nations, and not just saying the leaders of the nations, not to saying representatives of the nations, but all the nations, obviously people. And some of them inherit the kingdom. Some we’ll read, as we can do this in a future Little Lesson, are cast into the eternal flames. Okay. So this would be a good one to get ready for if you’re a Christian. And even if your eschatology somehow precludes the fact that you will be at this judgment, and let’s say that you’re right, is it safe to conclude that your judgment will be by different criteria in that somehow God’s going to be unfair in all of this? And this is an exclusive judgment with exclusive criteria just for this group of people at that time and then everybody else is judged on a different criteria. And on that criteria, they’re cast into hell. That wouldn’t be logical, would it? Nor would it be consistent with the character of God.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.
Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 2)
Two judgments for which we all should prepare. Part two.
Hi. Welcome to today’s Little Lesson. Thank you so much for joining me. It is my delight to share with you and answer as best that I can possibly give with the help of the Holy Spirit and my peanut size brain, to a question written to us by one of our viewers about the future judgments and how does that all fit in. So, if you didn’t see the first, part one of this, you ought to go see part one, because I’m not going to spend all the time reviewing. Okay, we’re just going to get right into it.
So we were studying the first judgment, which clearly the New Testament mentions that there’ll be believers present. That is the future judgment of the sheep and the goats, in which Jesus solemnly declared that there’s coming a time when all the ethnic, all the people groups of the world, all of the languages, tongues, and tribes, no one’s going to be exempt. They’re all going to be brought before his throne. And he will separate them like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. There’ll be two categories, the sheep on the right, the goats on the left. So every person watching this little video right now, and the person giving this video right now, is either going to be in one category or the other.
So you say, “Well, which category will I be in?” Well, I’m glad you asked that question because Jesus clearly reveals that. And so you can know which category in. Now, I will warn you that Jesus doesn’t always follow the teachings of the modern church. I guess he has that right, seeing as how he’s Christ and Christianity kind of has his name in it, and he started it, and he is God, by the way. So Jesus never mentions to the sheep here that you’re saved by grace through faith. I guess that’s okay. You okay with that? A lot of preachers aren’t okay with that for some reason. So they have to invent all kinds of theological concoctions to explain away what is so obvious here.
This is so easy to understand, only a theologian could misunderstand it and then come up with nutty things. I heard one sermon, one time about a guy who said that Jesus talks about the judgment of the sheep and the goats notice and all of the discourse that follows the tribulation period, so that’s when this will happen chronologically. And he gathers all the nations. And then he separates them sheep and the goats. And he says, “You did it to the least of these, my brethren,” well, Jesus was Jewish. And so he’s talking about how each individual nation, this is the judgment of the nations, they bring that out. He’s talking about which nations will be permitted to enter into the millennial reign in which nations will not be. And it’s all dependent on how they treated their Jewish brethren, the Jews living in Israel during the tribulation.
Now, if that isn’t the most farfetched, unnatural, perverse interpretation of this part of the Olivet Discourse, I don’t know what is because you have to ignore so many facts. Listen, Jesus, didn’t say blessed are you to get the end of the millennium, and depart from me, you wicked ones, you don’t get to enter the millennium. This is heaven or hell. This is eternal life or eternal damnation.
And think of how stupid it is to think that if you happen to be living in a nation that during the tribulation period was a little bit friendly toward Israel, you get eternal life. But if you are a God-fearing, Jesus-loving Christian who happened to live in a nation that politically aligned itself against Israel during the tribulation, you get the eternal flame. It doesn’t really fit the rest of the Bible that well, does it? Isn’t it amazing that people that call themselves preachers and teachers could even advocate such nonsense as that?
Your call, but to me, it’s just like, golly, is that perverse. But when you’re a perverse, you have to come up with perverse explanations to things that don’t agree with your perverse theology.
This is going to be Matthew 25:44. “Come, you who are blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Oh, I love that kind of stuff, man. God’s been thinking about this from before he created the world. He planned a kingdom for a certain group of people, identified here as the sheep. Now why? What’s the criteria? That these people get eternal life, why? Jesus said the next sentence for, F-O-R, not F-O-U-R, but for, or simply it would be because I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. You gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. You invited me in. Naked, you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.
Never mentions faith, never mentions grace, never mentions praying the sinner’s prayer, never mentions cigarettes, tithing, going to church, reading the Bible. All these things are good and important, but Jesus, the head of the church, reveals what’s important here. What characterizes Christians?” By this shall all men know you are my disciples,” Jesus said, and disciple is synonymous word with the word believer or Christian, at least true believer, true Christian. “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” John wrote 1 John 3:14. “By this we know we pass from death to life,” spiritual death to spiritual life, “because we love the brethren.”
And so that’s what Jesus is saying here. Your works validated your faith in me. And you were transformed, born again by my spirit. Blessed. And it was evident in your life. Jesus never mentioned doctrine, nothing about theological belief. Didn’t say, “Oh, you had it right about the Trinity, unlike those folks down the street. You belonged to the right church. You were baptized according to the proper formula. You listened to the right people on the radio.” No, no. All, at this judgment, completely irrelevant.
No, you cared for the “least of these”. Actually, he said, “You did it for me,” he said. That’s an incredible revelation right there. Well, the righteous will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?” The King, Jesus is going to say, “I will answer and say to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine..”
Well, the foolish interpretation of this is to say that Jesus is talking about the Jewish nation. One time, they brought Jesus’s physical brothers and sisters to him, and they wanted to see him. And he said, “Who are my brothers and my sisters?” I think he said my mother. He explained, those who do the will of God. So to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even to the least of them, you did it to me.
Christ lives in everyone who believes in him, including those who are suffering. And oftentimes, these kinds of sufferings are experienced by believers because they believe in Jesus. That’s why they go hungry and thirsty at times and are sick and in prison. And so true believers care about their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ, period. End of sentence. End of story.
So are you a sheep or are you a goat? Well, there’s the answer. We just read it. If your life isn’t characterized by any of that, and then you’re not a sheep. When I first saw this, as a pastor, I brought it up to my congregation. Oh my goodness. And I was emboldened to forthrightly say that if your life resembles the goats here more than the sheep, even though you’re sitting in church this morning, you’re a goat. And if you died, you wouldn’t inherit eternal life. You might be listening to these sermons of mine, you might be teaching Sunday School, who knows what you’re doing. But if your life resembles the goats, this is what Jesus said. I didn’t write this. This is not my thing. I’m just a newspaper delivery boy in this case.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.
Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 3)
Two judgments for which every one of us should be preparing, part three. Hi, welcome to today’s Little Lesson and thank you so very much for joining me. We’re going to build on the foundation that we laid in our last two Little Lessons and we know that there are at least very clearly two judgments that are yet to come. Judgements, I mean not by cataclysmic judgments, like the judgment of God falling on Sodom and Gomorrah, I’m talking about judgments where God the great judge has people stand before him and they give an account. He judges them based on standards, which he himself has set and revealed and one of those judgments at which the New Testament makes very clear is one in which there will be believers and at the same time unbelievers at that judgment and there’ll be separate is that future judgment of the sheep and the goats. Believers are metaphorically referred to as sheep and unbelievers are metaphorically referred to as the goats.
Now, I don’t know a lot about sheep and goats, but I know a little bit about them and I’ve asked some people who actually owned sheep and goats, the differences and there are some differences in their basic demeanor and attitude. Generally speaking, the goats are not so cooperative whereas his sheep love to follow and so no doubt, that’s part of what Jesus was intimating even in choosing those metaphorical terms. The true Christians follow Jesus, let me add to that. The true Christians love Jesus and if you love Jesus, you’re going to love him seated at the right hand of God and you’re going to love him incarnated in dwelling other believers. If those other believers in whom Christ is dwelling are suffering and you have the means to be able to do something to relieve their suffering, you’ll do something.
That’s what the judgment of the sheep and the goats is all about. It’s a revelation of the truth of who’s really saved, so we already covered the sheep and the sheep were a little bit surprised that they had done all these things for Jesus when in fact they’d only been doing them for each other. Jesus says when you did it to these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you’ve done it unto me so what a privilege. Think about it, if Jesus was on the earth right now and you knew Jesus was thirsty I bet you’d want to bring him something to drink and if he was sick, I bet you’d want to go visit him. If he was in prison, I bet you’d figure out a way to go see him.
Well, here’s what Jesus is saying to all of us, whoever read Matthew 25 verses 31 through 46. Jesus is here, he’s within, he indwells all believers by the holy spirit and so our love for Jesus is actually measured by our love for each other. In particular, those within our ranks who are suffering well, so many people who are watching this video like me are living in nations where there is no real overt at least governmental or powerful persecution of believers, but many parts of the world believers are suffering and they’re even suffering these kinds of sufferings that Jesus talked about. I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was naked, I was a stranger. I’ve had to run for my life, I was sick, been exposed to the elements, I was in prison.
Yeah, it’s illegal to serve Jesus here and so, Jesus was saying true believers. Those who love me give the evidence for it by how they relate to these folks called the least of these and so that’s the reason that heaven’s family, the ministry that I’ve been blessed to direct now. We’ve got lots of wonderful people who work for us, I’m just the nobody that was the first one here, but working all over the world to relieve the sufferings of our persecuted and disadvantaged, marginalized brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. We’re trying to build God’s kingdom, what we’re doing as a drop in the bucket and we’re thankful for every other ministry that’s got the same kind of focus. Every Christian should, that should be a component of every Christian’s life and if it’s not we have to ask the question am I a Christian?
Now, it’s possible that you could just be ignorant of this and therefore there is mercy and grace for you, but if you’re watching this video right now you’re not ignorant any longer, are you? Okay and it’s amazing how little Matthew chapter 25 verses 31 through 46 are mentioned in modern pulpits because it’s not attracting great crowds, but Jesus didn’t say go into all over the world and attract great crowds. He said, go into all the world and make disciples, a disciple is someone who follows Jesus and obeys him. We’ve gotten through about half of this judgment, this future judgment and I think we should all be prepared for this because even if somehow you could escape this coming judgment. You could say, well this is really just for the people who are living judged right after the tribulation period.
Okay, so maybe you’re right, I wouldn’t want to bet eternal life on that. But, even if that is the case, don’t you think that we ought to heed what Jesus said here? Because, the criteria for which he set for these people that we’re reading about, that now maybe you’re claiming that you’re not going to be a part of them. Do you think the criteria for them is going to be different than the criteria for you? He’s going to say to you, “You prayed a little sinner’s prayer and you never evidenced any kind of living faith. You live just like people who don’t believe live, but because you prayed the prayer and you went to ABC church, and the pastor told you you’re going to go to heaven. Well, come on in, we make an exception for you.”
Is that possible? I don’t think that’s possible, if I know God at all. He’s fair, he’s just, he shows no partiality and so the criteria that he sets for these people to inherit eternal life, how could they be different for anyone else? Definitely doesn’t make sense, well just to make it crystal clear Jesus then will say to those on his left. Now, this is the goats, “Depart from me accursed ones into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” I think the implication there is that God never really wanted any people to go to hell, when hell was originally created. It was prepared, Jesus said, for the devil and the rebel angels who followed him. What a tragedy it is that anybody’s going to go there, but according to Jesus there’s going to be people who are going to go there to the eternal fire.
Now, some folks interpret that as meaning that you’ll be eternally tormented and some interpret that as meaning you’ll just be … The fires are eternal, but the suffering is not because you’re annihilated. It’s not my purpose to go into all that, but either way you’re not getting eternal life if you’re with the goats and why? Does he say because you smoked cigarettes, you didn’t go to church, you didn’t pay your tithes, you didn’t subscribe to a certain doctrine about the trinity? No, because for I was hungry, you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, you didn’t invite me in naked. You did not clothe me sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Nothing about grace, nothing about faith, only about works because works are what validate that a person has received the grace of God and has a living faith, and the goats didn’t.
That’s why the Bible says that we’re judged by our works, because the works show have we been transformed, have we been born again. Do you love the brethren and is it evidenced by sacrifices that you make to relieve the sufferings of those within the body of Christ who are facing the toughest times?
Until next time, may the Lord richly bless you.
Two Coming Judgments That All Of Us Should Prepare For (Part 4)
Two judgments for which we should all be prepared, part four. We’re looking at two judgments that the new Testament reveals, that there will be believers present. And I’ve already shared for three little lessons details that I think will be relevant. And if you’re interested in this topic and you haven’t seen those three, well, why don’t you just stop right now and go back and watch those three and then come watch this one, because you’ll be so much better off.
So we’re currently looking at this first judgment, commonly known as the judgment of the sheep and the goats. There are believers present, because there are people here who inherit eternal life after Jesus pronounces their judgment based on the criteria that they gave evidence for their living faith, by their love for the least of these in whom Christ lives. Okay? So we’ve covered all of that.
And now, we’re just in the thick of the last part of Matthew chapter 25, verses 31 through 46, where Jesus the King was coming with his throne and all the angels, and he’s addressing the goats who he put on his left. And they, they didn’t realize it perhaps at the time, but they were doomed, but it suddenly dawns on them. And he says, “Depart from me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire,” which wasn’t even prepared for people. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. It’s a shame that any human being has to go to the eternal fire.
And why are we not giving you eternal life? Why are you being cast into the eternal fire? Because I was hungry and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, you didn’t give me a drink. I was naked, you didn’t clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you didn’t visit me, and so on. And so, I have said, and I wish every preacher would say this rather frequently, because it’s true. One day Jesus is going to say to you and every person who’s ever lived it, if the scripture means anything, he’s going to say one of two things, either I was hungry and you fed me or I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink, or he’s going to say, I was thirsty and you did not give me a drink. That’s it.
And so, it’s very easy to figure out whether you’re in the category of the sheep and the goats. And it’s also easy to switch categories. If you’ve discovered you’re a goat, well, you can repent, ask Jesus to cleanse you from all your sin and come to live inside of you and have mercy on you. And he will. Oh my goodness, that’s the Gospel. That’s the Good News. And he’ll put his Holy spirit in you and transform you. You’ll become a lover, particularly a lover of other people like you who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. And when you find out about those that are suffering within our ranks, you’ll be willing to make sacrifices to try to relieve their sufferings. That’s the message of this part of the Olivet Discourse.
So like the sheep, the goats here were also kind of baffled about, how did we not do that for you, Jesus? And they themselves will answer. I’m reading now from the 44th verse of Matthew 25. “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not take care of you?” They’re scratching their heads. And no doubt, some of these folks, if not a lot of them, were like churchgoing people. Listened to a lot of sermons, claim the Bible’s promises, and whatever else people do who don’t really understand what it means to believe in the Lord Jesus. It means to repent. And it means to give him your life and start serving him and obeying his commandments with the help of his Holy Spirit. That’s what it means.
So the implication and their objection here is, Lord, if we would have seen you suffering like that, well, of course we would have done something. We’re your people here. We’ve read the Bible, we believe in you. But Jesus says, “Then he,” or he could have said, then I, speaking of himself, “will answer them, truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did not do it to me.”
And so, they showed by their lives, by their actions that they didn’t have faith in Jesus. They might have had faith in American Jesus, or some version of Jesus. But they didn’t have faith in Bible Jesus, because Bible Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s coming back to judge the earth in righteousness and reign, rule over all those who have repented of their sins and believe in him. And so, if your Christianity is nothing more than you prayed a little prayer and you accepted Jesus as your personal savior, that’s not enough.
Here’s one more proof of that undeniable fact. I wish it could be a shouted from the housetops. I wish it could just be preached in the pulpits. So rare that it ever is. But here’s the most tragic part. Jesus then says, very solidly, no doubt, “These will go away into eternal punishment.” But then, the good part is, going back to the sheep, “but the righteous into eternal life.”
And so, there’s the choice for every human being. That theme is consistent throughout the scripture. You’re either righteous or you’re not righteous. You either love Jesus or you don’t love him. If you do love him, you obey him. Doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but you’re concerned about pleasing him and you’re striving to obey him, and there’s fruit and evidence in your life.
And some of that fruit is, you have love for the brethren. By this we know we’ve passed from death to life, 1 John 3:14, because we love the brethren. “By this shall all men know you are my disciples,” Jesus said, I think John 13, what, 35. If you have love one for another. So that’s the telling thing, love for the brethren and not just, we pass out handshakes and hugs in church and that’s how we show our love, and pass the peace during those five seconds. No, no. You’ll invest your time and your money to relieve the sufferings of persecuted and suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.
And I think that’s just common knowledge around the world where Christians are suffering so much for their faith in Christ. In nations like the one I’m living in, it’s not just always a given that you’re going to suffer a great deal. Now, we all have to suffer some. You’re going to be rejected by some friends and family members when you believe in Jesus, normally, but those are small sufferings compared to people in some nations where they’re executed or their lives are threatened and they have to flee for their lives because they believed in Jesus.
And so, regardless, but I don’t think Jesus is saying here, this doesn’t apply to the people that lived in North America in the early two thousands because they just didn’t know. No, I think we all know that our brothers and sisters around the world suffer for their faith and you ought to be involved. And there’s many excellent ministries. I’m fearful of naming some of those ministries, because by the time you watch this video, they may not be as excellent as they were at one time.
But as I’m speaking right now, there are some excellent ministries that minister to the persecuted church around the world. They’re doing a great job and they’ve been doing it for years. Not that they’re perfect. There’s no such thing as a perfect ministry. And the ministry that I direct, Heaven’s Family, definitely, we are involved in that. And as I’m sitting here right now, I can vouch for Heaven’s Family, because I’m watching it very closely. But that’s a way that people who live in non-persecuted, non-suffering nations can get involved with the suffering church around the world. Okay?
So I’ll close as I often do with our Little Lessons. And again, by the way, next time we’ll get into the second judgment that the new Testament teaches, that all Christians will be a part of. This one seems like there’s a pretty good chance that all Christians will be involved in it. And if not, certainly, if they’re not, they’ll be judged by the same criteria. But we’ll look at a judgment, there’s no escape from the Bible, that all Christians are going to stand at that judgment seat one day. And so, we’ll learn how we can get ready for that. Okay? It’s similar to how we get ready for this one. Okay? Obeying Jesus.
Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus, and ask him to forgive you. And he’ll give you eternal life and you’ll be transformed. You’ll want, you’ll get a new desire, a new heart, okay? That’s the blessing of the gospel and the grace of God. Jesus said to the sheep, “Come, you who are blessed of my father.” Once again, the father’s getting the glory and the credit for the transformation and the future of the sheep. Okay?
Till next time, may the Lord richly bless you.
How Can I Be Ready to Stand Before the Judgment Seat of Christ? (Part 1)
How can I be ready for the judgment seat of Christ? This is going to be a continuation of the four previous little lessons in which we began to talk about scriptures referenced to two future judgments at which Christians will be present. We’ve covered the first of those two. The future judgment of the sheep and the goats of which Jesus talked about in Matthew 25:31-46.
We’ve gone to that in great detail. The sheep and the goats were judged by their deeds. They were repaid according to their deeds. That’s a theme that is just inescapable regarding any future judgment because God is fair. God is just. Things that people think they got away with during their earthly life, they’re going to discover that they didn’t get away with it at all.
Those who realize that you can’t get away with anything before God, hopefully most, if not all of those people, repented of their sins and turned away from sin and started serving Jesus. Because they believed, truly believed in him. The Bible makes it very clear that their sins are forgiven. They will not have to suffer receiving what they deserve but they will still be judged according to their deeds.
That’s the theme we want to explore on this Little Lesson and perhaps one or two others that will follow it. I’m going to start off today in a passage of scripture near the end of the Paul’s epistle to the Romans. He’s talking about Christians have different views on various issues. Is it okay to eat meats that are sacrificed to idols or not? That was a big deal in the early church.
Should we practice Sabbath keeping and following the festivals and feast days found in the Mosaic law as new covenant believer? These are things that the early church wrestled with. You’ll find those themes surfacing in the epistles. We’re breaking in the middle of something. I’m not going to go into all that because we want to talk about the future judgment that you’ll be standing at and that I’ll be standing at.
Paul wrote in Romans 14:10. “But you, why do you judge your brothers?” See, because someone’s saying, “They’re wrong. “No. You’re wrong. We’re doing the right thing.” “No. You’re doing the wrong thing.” These are issues of personal conviction and not necessarily clear biblical revelation. Why do you judge your brother? Again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?
We will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Paul’s point is you don’t need to be judging anybody. It’s not your thing. We’re all going to be judged by God. He knows everything unlike us. He’ll do a good job. Don’t worry. Paul quotes from the Old Testament. He says, “For it is written.” In the New American Standard Bible from which I’m reading this, this is in all caps. Making it clear to us that this is a quotation from the Old Testament.
“As I live,” says the Lord. “Every knee shall bow to me. Every tongue shall give praise to God.” Everyone’s going to bow one day. Hopefully, you’ve already bowed willingly. In the future, you won’t be bowing unwillingly. Paul then derives from that. “So then, each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”
He doesn’t see that promise of every niche abound, every tongue give praise to God as being simply a time where you say, “I praise you, God. I bow my knee before you.” That is going to be much more elaborate than that. We actually have to give an account of ourselves to God. That’s pretty sobering. One day, I’ll stand in front of God and give an account. Based on what? The opportunities that he gave me, the gifts, the talents, the time he gave me.
What did I do with it as a steward of his manifold grace? All right. Looking at another scripture and this one is actually in 2 Corinthians 5:9. Similarly, Paul also wrote, “Therefore we also have as our ambitions.” This is what they’re all about. We have as our ambition, whether at home or absent. If you read the context, it’s not talking about being in your physical house, your residence or out on a trip somewhere, on a vacation.
Whether you’re at home, that is spiritually you’re living in your body or you’re dead or you’re out of your body. Either way, we have as our ambition. Whether in our body or out of body to be pleasing to him. That’s the definition of a true Christian. Okay. Because we must all appear before his judgment seat. Rather before the judgment seat of Christ. Now, listen closely. So that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body.
You’re going to be judged when you’re out of the body but you’re going to be judged. It doesn’t just get erased. Okay. I’m out of my body now so that has no relevancy. No. What you did in your body will have relevancy what you receive when you’re out of your body. Okay? Each one may be recompensed or repaid for his deeds in the body according to what he has done. He goes on to say, “Whether good or bad.” All right. Food for thought there. Right?
Again, the theme surfaces is that God is a righteous judge. People reap what they sow. God repays them according to their deeds we read in Romans 14 and now again in 2 Corinthians Chapter Five. A lot of interesting rabbit trails we could follow here. Let’s try to stay on the main trail. Everything that we did prior to our repentance and belief in Christ, we are forgiven that. You don’t have to worry about those deeds being brought up.
Things that you’ve done as a Christian that you’re ashamed of since you believed in Christ, if you’ve confessed those sins, the Bible makes it very clear. God forgives you of those sins. Those things are not going to be brought up. Okay. You may realize and if you don’t, I hope I can help you realize that as Christians go through their lives, they’re not always 100% devoted. They’re not always 100% on track. Their motives aren’t always 100% pure.
They’re not dealing with it the way that they should. Because if we dealt with it correctly and are forgiven, that wouldn’t be an issue when we are judged. So many of us, we’re not dealing with everything. There are unresolved spiritual issues, motives, sins of omission as well as commission that we’re not confessing and not making it right. I’m not pointing the finger. I know that I’m in that same category. Okay.
It doesn’t just get erased when we die. It’s still an issue. We’re going to hear what God has to say about it all. We’re going to be repaid. There’s rewards. You say, “Are there punishments?” Well, yes and no. The punishments are the loss of the reward. That’s often how God works. Okay. I could go into more detail on that. I’ll stop. This is a judgment seat where God’s going to deal with us. Things that are hidden are going to come to light.
We’re going to make it right. We’re going to miss out on things that we could have been blessed with, whatever the rewards are in heaven. There’s obviously different degrees of authority given to believers who are faithful in the future. Different levels of authority, different rewards. Those who have made greater sacrifices are going to receive greater rewards. Because God repays everybody according to their deeds. Okay.
If you don’t get anything else out of it, get this. Your deeds, what you’re doing. Every prayer, every act of kindness, every act of obedience, every resistance of temptation, every cup of cold water given. God’s keeping track of it and he’s going to reward it. By the same token, neglected responsibilities, wasted opportunities that are gone. God’s keeping track of that, too. All right.
This is so important. Good for me to hear myself say this stuff. It’s just good for me to hear it, too.
There’s a book I wrote on my website that you could read for free called The Great Gospel Deception: Exposing the False Promise of Heaven Without Holiness. Okay. It’s a look at the modern gospel that has unfortunately tricked so many people to thinking that they’re okay. When according to the Bible, they’re not okay. Okay?
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.
How Can I Be Ready to Stand Before the Judgment Seat of Christ? (Part 2)
How can I be ready for the judgment seat of Christ? Part two.
We’re looking at a sobering topic, the future judgments, that is when people stand before God and specifically those months before which Christians will stand. And we’re now into the second of those judgments that scripture makes so clear, and that’s the judgment seat of Christ.
Some who teach on this are often quick to put out that in the Greek, it’s the Bema seat, and quick to point out that that was a term derived from the ancient Greek Olympics. When all the runners in a race came up to the stands as you see them in the modern day Olympics. And they have a first, second and third prize, and they’re quick to point out that this is only a judgment that passes out rewards.
And I fundamentally agree with that, but I think that sometimes that teaching is this misleading because we just read in our last lesson on this topic from 2 Corinthians 5:9, where Paul says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds done in his body, according to what he has done.” Paul says. And then he has these words, “Good or bad.”
And so, the bad things, and again, the word in the Greek, can be translated evil or wickedness. Foul loss is the Greek word there, bad, foul loss. I think we got our modern day word foul from that English word. So, God’s not just going to be patting us on the back. It’s not going to be, “Oh, well done good and faithful servant.” If there’s issues unresolved, because we didn’t confess them, didn’t get them straightened out before we stood there. They’re going to be brought up. Okay?
Okay. So, this is sobering and a lot of it deserves our meditation. Now, then the theme that keeps recurring when you study the future judgments is the theme that God repays everyone according to their deeds. And, Jesus himself said in Matthew chapter 16 and verse number 27, I’m reading it now from the New American Standard, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his father and his angels, and will then repay every man,” and woman, of course, “according to his deeds.”
And so what people thought they may have gotten away with all their lives. No. No, you don’t get away with anything. And, this is the wonderful message of the Gospel. The only way to escape what you deserve is to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus and be forgiven. And then, because Jesus took upon him our sin and he was the propitiation, the one who took the wrath of God for our sakes.
That’s the only way to in this sense of escape what we deserve, but no Christian that I have ever met, is perfect. And, we’re all on a spiritual journey, as the Holy spirit is working within us. And, as we devote ourselves to, to try to obey God and do what his word says and so forth.
But I haven’t met anyone yet that I felt, including myself, I know myself pretty well, who’s really reached it yet. So, we’re working out our salvation with fear and trembling as the Apostle Paul wrote. So, it’s not just going to be pats on the back. It’s going to be, “David, I told you to et cetera, et cetera. Why didn’t you?” That type of thing.
And in the end, it doesn’t mean you don’t make heaven. Okay? And we’ll talk about that more in a future little lesson. Now here’s a great passage from the second chapter of Romans. Paul’s great Magnum Opus, of his gospel. And it’s full of logic. It’s addressed to all the Jewish objections that he was running into back in his day and so forth.
And this is so beautiful because he says, “Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you, who judge practice the same thing.” Let me just sum it up. When you point to someone and say, “Oh, look at that terrible adulterer.”
You’re confessing that you know it’s wrong, because you’re condemning them for it. And, you yourself have committed adultery on some level. Okay? Even if it’s just lust, Jesus said you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. Okay? So, you’re without excuse.
When you condemn other people, you testify before the court of heaven, “I know right from wrong.” So Paul goes on, “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, Oh man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things, and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”
Well, that would be quite illogical to think so. Or, “Do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and tolerance and patience.” That is, God has had mercy on you. He hasn’t made you a french fry, because he’s giving you time to repent, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance. All right? Great verse.
Now, listen to this because this fits our theme of how to get ready, be prepared for the judgment seat of Christ. “But, because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart,” see you got to repent to be a Christian. You have to repent, “but because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself, in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will…” And now this is all in caps in my Bible indicating he’s quoting from the old Testament. “Who will render to each person, according to his deeds.”
This is like the cardinal, bedrock, foundational truth of the future judgment. God is going to repay everyone according to their deeds. Now, listen to the two categories of people then that Paul breaks this down to.
So, you can understand, no judge your own self. What kind of deeds do I have? And, what can I expect to be recompensed for? “To those who by perseverance,” that is people who are tempted to quit, but keep on going. “To those who by perseverance in doing good.” So they keep doing what’s good, and they persevere in it. “And who seek for glory,” nothing wrong with seeking for glory for yourself, from God. Glory from God, not glory from man.
“Seek for glory and honor.” So, there’s nothing wrong with seeking, hoping, wishing, longing, striving to receive glory and honor from God. And when God says to people, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That’s receiving honor from God. Isn’t it? And being rewarded, that’s receiving honor for God. But, listen, “To those who by perseverance and doing good seek for,” the three things, “glory, honor, and immortality.
I want to live forever. What do they get? He said, “eternal life.” Now, notice he never said anything about believing in Jesus, grace, faith. No, it’s all about works because you’re going to be repaid according to your deeds. Now, where does faith and grace and the gospel fit in all this? It’s only those people who have believed the gospel, who have repented of their sins and who are doing good.
Nobody else is really doing good. Even the good that unbelievers do oftentimes is, if not all the time motivated from some selfish motive. They want people to see them, how good they are. It’s a virtue signaling, “Look how moral I am.” But they hate God. How can you hate God and be a good person? You’re a pervert. You’re a rebel without a cause. You need to repent.
So, that’s what people who persevere in doing good, and that’s only the Christians really. The true Christians, not the phony Christians. Those who in perseverance in doing good, seek for glory and honor and immortality, they get eternal life. Those are the saved people.
But, “to those who are selfishly ambitious,” and that’s the cardinal characterization of the unbeliever. They’re selfish. It’s me. It’s all about me. “Selfishly ambitious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,” what will they receive? They’ll receive wrath and indignation.
So in case you didn’t understand that Paul summarizes it in the next verse, and this is the one we’ve got to close on for this Little Lesson. “There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil of the Jew first and also of the Greek.” And it doesn’t make any difference if they go to church. Doesn’t make a difference.
There’ll be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil. So, you’re either characterized by doing good or doing evil. It’s black and white, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good. And then he says, “To the Jew first and also to the Greek,” for there is no partiality with God.
We are out of time. We’re way out of time on this Little Lesson, but I hope you’re seeing the obvious truth, that just saying I’m a Christian because I prayed this little prayer to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. And, if there’s been no transformation, there’s really been no faith. If there’s no good works, a good life.
Characterized by obedience, doing good. You’re not yet a Christian. Okay? Not yet a Christian, but you can become one. It’s very simple. Repent, and you will no longer be storing up wrath, but you’ll be storing up blessing for yourself. Okay?
Until next time, may the Lord bless you richly.
The Coming Judgment, Especially for Ministers
The future judgment, especially for ministers.
In the last few Little Lessons, I think five or six, we’ve been talking about the future judgment, judgments at which people stand before God and give an account, and He reacts and He rewards and He condemns. And we’re looking specifically at judgments of which scripture speaks of, judgments that will be attended by Christians. And today is going to be the final judgment we’re going to look at. I initially talked about two future judgments, and this third one could be the same as the second one. Or, it might be a judgment exclusively reserved for those whom God calls into vocational ministry service, people that God has called and appointed to be, for example, pastors and teachers and evangelists and prophets and apostles and missionaries and there are other categories as well, people that serve God in a vocational way.
And the truths that we’re going to look at and try to unpack today, I’m sure also have application to those who are not called to vocational ministry, simply because they’re principles that emanate from the character of God and what He’s revealed in general about Himself, His fairness, His righteousness, and the future judgments that are coming, okay? So don’t think as I talk about this judgment that all ministers are going to experience one day, and if you’re not called to be a vocational minister, that somehow doesn’t have any application to you. Actually, I have no doubt it has application to you, and so listen closely, okay? Because we’re all … God has prepared good works from the foundation of the world that for all of us, that we should walk in them. You just may not be called to full-time vocational service, but all of us are called to specific good deeds, so what we read today from the Bible has application.
In Corinthians, Corinthians was a problem church that Paul had planted, and one of the problems was there were divisions. They were fighting over who their favorite teachers were. Some were saying, “I’m of Apollos,” who was a great teacher. Some were saying, “I am of Paul.” And so, in trying to straighten out their thinking and give them the right perspective, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3 in verse number 5, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed. Even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one, I planted, Apollos watered.” And so Paul came and founded the church, Apollos came in afterwards and encouraged the saints and taught, and so he watered those seeds, those gospel seeds.
But Paul gives the glory and credit to God, but he says, “But God was causing the growth.” So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything but God who causes growth. That’s a great message. I’ll pause right here just to say, too many times, Christians are enamored by their favorite teachers and they need to realize that your favorite teachers are nothing. Give glory to God. If you’ve got a teacher that you like, who helps you understand something and is anointed or whatever, well, then give praise to God, because it’s all … that’s where the praise belongs.
Now, “He who plants and he who waters are one,” Paul said, so why are you chopping us up and picking favorites? We’re on the same team. But he says, “However, each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” That’s based on the fact that God is fair and He’s not really dealing with anybody, generally speaking, as a group. He deals with us as individuals.
But then Paul uses this metaphorical analogy. He says, “For we are God’s fellow workers, but you, the Corinthians, are God’s field.” He’s already talked about how he planted and Apollos watered. Then he brings up another analogy, “You are God’s building,” and he’s going to build on that building analogy in the next paragraph. He says, “According to the grace of God, which was given to me,” which again, Paul’s always saying, “Give God the glory, give God the credit. We are nothing.” But, “According to the grace of God, it was given to me, like a wise master builder,” he’s like the general contractor, “I laid a foundation.” That’s what apostles do, plant churches, “and another,” probably speaking here of Apollos and a few others, “is building on it.”
But Paul says, “Each man must be careful how he builds on it, that foundation, for no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Now listen to this. This is where it gets very interesting. “Now, if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, or precious stones,” actually, he didn’t say or. He said, “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident, for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire.” And the fire will test the quality, not the quantity, interestingly enough, but the quality of each man’s work.
Now, I don’t know if you notice in those building materials, there were six that Paul listed there, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, three are very valuable things, gold and silver and precious stones. The other are relatively common things and not near as great as value as gold and silver and precious stones: wood, hay, and straw. The three that are valuable are non-combustible, incombustible, and the three that are not survivable are very combustible, wood, hay, and straw. You light a match, they’re burned up.
And so he says, “God’s going to test the quality of each man’s work the day, that day, when He tests it.” It will reveal the quality because He’s going to put it through a fire. So he said, “The day will reveal it.” It’s not evident now so much to those who are not so discerning. They think there’s a lot … these certain ministers are doing a great work, because look at the size of their church, for example, or look at how many followers they have, or how many views they have on YouTube. Wow, they’re popular. They must be the great ones. But maybe not so necessarily in the eyes of God, and it may not be evident now, but it’ll be evident later when those works go through God’s fire.
So I always kind of like to imagine this conveyor belt that when ministers die and appear before Jesus, which all of us must, there beside us are all of the things that we’ve done, all our ministerial works, all of our building of the kingdom, quote unquote, sometimes. So we put it on the conveyor belt and Jesus pushes the button and that conveyor belt lurches to life and it starts taking all of our works towards this flaming furnace, and in our works go. And then we walk around to the other side, when the conveyor belt brings those things out of the furnace and we see what’s left. Well, we’ll find out then, if we built with wood, hay and straw, all that comes out is ashes. “Wow, buddy, you thought you were doing something, but you really weren’t doing much of anything.”
But if it comes out the other side, gold and silver and precious stones, well then, whoa, it endured the fire. The quality was tested and it was proven to be good, and so you are rewarded. Now I’ll keep reading so I don’t get ahead of the Bible. “If any man’s work, which he has built on, it remains,” that is, after it goes through the fire, “he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss.” Loss of what? Loss of reward, loss of honor, loss of, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from the Lord.
But listen to this, here’s a little bit of encouragement, “but he himself will be saved.” So yeah, this is not a salvation judgment. We’re not trying to judge your salvation. Now, you believed. You were doing some stuff, but maybe your motives weren’t pure. Maybe you weren’t teaching the truth, and so you’re teaching manmade doctrines just because they were more popular and they got you more views and more money, and so forth. So that all got burned up. Sorry, but come on in. You’re saved.
Paul says, “Yet so as through fire,” we can say by the skin of your teeth, okay? So that’s a bit sobering. And as I said at the beginning of this little lesson, don’t think that just because you’re not called to vocational ministry that this has no application to you because like I said, we’re all supposed to be doing good works. And so your motives aren’t important, that building on the foundation is important with the truth. There are so many that are out teaching their own ideas because they’re popular and it builds their ministry, and it all looks great now, but when the work’s through the fire, it’s going to be a big disappointment.
So ministers are supposed to teach the oracles of God. That is what God says. That’s what ministers ought to be saying, pastors, preachers, teachers, evangelists, even the gospel has been so corrupted. You so rarely hear anyone even mention repentance and so forth anymore. What kind of gospel is that? Well, it’s no gospel at all. When it goes to the fire, bunch of ashes come out the other side. All those converts who prayed that little prayer at the end and accepted Jesus as their personal savior, it all comes out as ashes. Well, too bad, but at least you get a ticket into heaven.
All right, so this, like I said, could be the same as the second judgment that we talked about in this series, but it could be an exclusive judgment just for ministers. And in this context, that’s kind of how it sounds, doesn’t it? Sure it does. Okay. So many who are first now will be last then. And many who are last now will be first then. People you’ve never heard of who have served God faithfully in hidden and seemingly insignificant ways, their quality is so precious to God, it’s gold and silver and precious stones. And they’ll be hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant. And you were faithful in a few things. I’ll put you in charge of a lot here. Rule over 10 cities.” All right.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you.