We have been looking at the topic of 'Faith for the Future' in our studies on Sunday evenings. The last time we considered the next event on the prophetic time line: Rapture. Tonight, we want to consider what takes place following the Rapture.
Remember that when we looked at our chart of dispensations we pointed out that we are in the last days of the church age. The Bible reveals that there are some things that will take place on this earth right after the Rapture, and that there some things that will take place in Heaven at the same time. Tonight I want us to focus our attention on Heaven.
Ro 14:10-12, "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Though the Bible doesn't say specifically when this event will take place, I believe it will happen at some point just after the Rapture. Paul is talking about why we should judge each other…because there is a future time when Jesus Christ will judge all believers. There are three passages that deal specifically with that future time of judgment.
I. An Introduction to the Bema (Ro. 14:10-12)
A. Judgment is a prominent biblical theme.
1. The term is used 72 times in the NT alone.
2. While there are many judgments discussed in the Bible, two are basic:
3. the "judgment seat of Christ," the bema and the "great white throne" judgment.
4. The "judgment seat of Christ" is for believers.
5. The "great white throne" judgment is for unbelievers.
B. In order to understand the "judgment seat of Christ," let's look at some basic truths:
1. Only believers will be at this judgment.
2. It will likely take place immediately after the Rapture.
3. And it will be before the Lord Jesus in heaven.
4. It is NOT a time for sin to be paraded.
a. Some have suggested that in heaven there will be a giant movie screen where all our secret sins are paraded.
b. That will not happen! Why?
c. God not only forgives the believer's sins He forgets them.
Ps 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
5. It is NOT a time for us to see if we get to stay in heaven…that is determined the moment we place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. It will be a place of rewards and not punishments. Why?
7. Jesus paid the price of our sin on Calvary, and the Lord will not double-bill us!
II. An Explanation of the Bema (2 Co. 5:10)
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
A. This Judgment is CERTAIN.
1. Paul says, "We must." There is no option or choice.
2. We can get out of a lot of things on earth.
a. You might be excused from court duty, a traffic ticket or homework…
b. You might postpone a trip to the dentist or the exercise room…
c. However no believer will be excused from standing before Christ.
d. This is one appointment that we must keep.
B. This Judgment is UNIVERSAL.
1. The word "All" in the original language means ALL!
2. Every person who has ever placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ will be there.
3. No one is exempt.
C. This Judgment is INDIVIDUAL.
1. "Every one" will stand alone before Christ.
2. No one can stand in for us, and we will not be able to stand in for anyone else.
3. Husbands can't appear for wives.
4. Parents can't appear for children.
5. It is an individual judgment before the Lord.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
6. That verse tells us we will not hide anything at this time of judgment.
D. This Judgment is ILLUSTRATED.
1. The phrase "judgment seat" comes from the Greek word bema.
2. The bema was a raised platform in the center of the track of competition where the judges sat.
3. History tells us the winner of the games would stand before the platform of judges and receive the reward for how well he had run the race.
4. Paul refers to this when he writes to Timothy.
2Ti 4:7-8, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
E. This Judgment has a JUDGE.
1. This is the "judgment seat of CHRIST" and He alone will be our Judge.
2. Aren't you thankful for that?
3. We live in an imperfect world where the judges are all sinners like us…therefore they don't always make the best judgments.
4. Jesus is the perfect judge; He knows our motives and He will be fair and balanced.
5. There will be no gray areas…no questionable decisions!
6. We will all be rewarded " according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
III. An Evaluation of the Bema (1 Co 3:11-15).
A. The ANALOGY of our Work for God (v.10).
1. In v.9, Paul says, "Ye are God's building." This is one of many metaphors for God's people.
2. In v.10, Paul describes himself as a "wise master builder."
a. He was the architect.
b. He gave them the gospel, "the foundation" of Jesus Christ.
c. "Another," Apollos, had built on that foundation by his teaching and preaching.
d. Paul then warns, "let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon."
e. Keep this analogy in mind as we continue.
B. The FOUNDATION of our Work for God (v.11).
1. "Jesus Christ" is the only foundation that will count in eternity. He is our Rock, the chief Cornerstone!
2. Jesus gave us an illustration of this principle with His parable of the two men who built houses, one on the sand and another on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27).
C. The CONSTRUCTION of our Work for God (v.12).
1. Some of the materials with which we build our lives are indestructible materials.
2. Paul likens them to "gold," "silver," and "precious stones." If you put fire to "gold," "silver," and "precious stones" they will remain.
3. Other materials with which we build our lives are destructible materials.
4. Paul likens them to "wood," "hay," and "stubble" 5. If you put a fire to "wood," "hay," and "stubble" they will burn up.
D. The INSPECTION of our Work for God (v.13).
1. Every building must be inspected before it can be used.
2. Following this analogy, the quality of each person's work will be suspected. It will "be made manifest" or become clear.
3. Why? Because "the Day shall declare it."
4. What day? The day of the "judgment seat of Christ," the bema.
5. Each man's work will brought to light…and inspected for quality.
E. The JUDGMENT of our Work for God (vv.14-15).
1. There are only two results of this judgment.
2. Reward or Loss!
3. The determination we have already seen will not be based upon our sincerity or effort.
4. The standard of judgment will be Jesus Christ and His Word.
5. With God it isn't not how much we did but why!
6. This will not only include our ministries in the church but every facet of our lives.
Mt 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.