Preached at Riverview on the Evening of January 8, 2017
When I was a young boy in school I hated tests. I particularly hated “Pop Quizzes”. It seems that I was never prepared for them. When the Teacher told us we were going to have a test (Mid-Term, Final, etc) on a certain day I would try and study for it. I hated tests, but I hated more the whippings I received when I did poorly in school.
Everyone will be tested.
Every soul shall be tested.
Every person will stand before God and be judged.
The Bible is clear on this. King Solomon wrote:
Ecclesiastes 12:14 (ESV) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
The things done in the dark will be brought to the Light. The Apostle Paul writes:
Romans 2:5-11 (ESV) But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.
And to Corinth the Apostle declared:
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The unbeliever and non-follower of Christ shall be judged. The believer in Christ shall be judged. Every person’s works shall be judged in a final exam. Just as there are two types of people:
Sheep and Goats
Righteous and Unrighteous
Saved and Unsaved
Children of God and Children of this World
Holy Sons and Unholy Sinners
There are two Judgments. There is the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. Let’s read about these two Judgments and compare the two.
The Judgment Seat Of Christ Is For The Believer
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (KJV) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
We know that this Judgment is for the Christ Follower because it starts with the word “Grace”. The Bible teaches that a person is saved by Grace, not by works. I have heard it been said that “Grace” is:
The Bible declares Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Salvation is entirely a gift of God. When a person realizes that he or she is Great Sinner in need of a Great Savior – and that Jesus is that One and Only Savior – and turns to Him believing then that person is saved. The Bible declares:
Titus 3:5-7 (KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We are “Justified” or “made right with God” through the shed Blood of Christ. He took our penalty so we can become sons of God. Salvation by faith in Christ is the foundation of our works. The Apostle writes:
1 Corinthians 3:10 (KJV) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.
The Apostle preached salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the foundation that every Child of God is built on. The Apostle goes on to say:
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (KJV) …. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The foundation of every person’s faith is Jesus Christ. But once saved we begin to build on that foundation. The Foundation is Jesus Christ, and everything built on that Foundation is to be honoring to Jesus Christ. We live to bring glory and honor to our Savior. We do the things we do to honor Jesus. Christ is the Foundation of the Church. Christ is the Foundation of the Christian Way of Life. Christ is the Rock on which we are to be built. It is His Word that brings stability to the Life we have.
Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV) Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
The Foundation of salvation is Christ. The saved life is built on Christ, on His Words, on His Bible. It is His Spirit that guides us. We are not saved by works but once saved we work for Him, we build on Him.
The Judgment Seat Of Christ Grades The Christian’s Work
1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (KJV) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
The Church is the Building of God, a people working together for His Glory. The Christian is the Temple of God. We read later in this text:
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
The Christian is the Temple of God, founded on the Bloody Cross of Christ. The Church is the Building of God, founded on the finished work of Calvary. Everything we build, we build on the foundation that is Christ. The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is to make every person’s work MANIFEST (φανερός phaneros), to be plainly recognized or made known to all. A lot of the works we do look outwardly righteous but are inwardly self serving. I was listening to a Tim McGraw song this morning – a song I like – called “Live Like You Were Dying”. At one point he sang:
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again…
When we Christians stand in front of Jesus at that Judgment Seat every work we did in this life will be tested against the Foundation that is Christ. The works will be manifest:
gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble
There are six materials listed here. Gold, silver, and precious stones are QUALITY materials all found in the building of the Temple in Israel. These are materials worthy of the Foundation that is Christ. Wood, hay, and stubble are POOR materials. When wood was used in the Temple of Israel it was overlayed by gold or precious stones.
When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ it is not the QUANTITY of works that are judged but the QUALITY of the works. When you look at this list it can be divided into two categories:
Fireproof or Inflammable
Eternal or Temporal
High Quality or Made In China
Worshiping Jesus or Pleasing Men
Willing Service or “Let Others Do It, I Don’t Want To”
Generosity with God & His People or Stinginess & Self Centeredness
Honoring God From The Heart or Doing It To Be Seen Of Men
Ministering After Bathing It In Prayer or Doing It In Your Own Strength
A wealthy woman died one day and went to heaven. An angel then took her to her heavenly abode, which was a plain old ordinary building. Right next door to her was her gardener who had a palatial mansion. She said, “How did my gardener get a mansion and I get a plain old ordinary building?” The angel then said, “Well, we only build with the materials you send us.” If you’re sending to heaven junk, junk is then what God uses. He uses only what you send Him! Thus, the time to prepare for tomorrow is today. (Keith Krell)
The Christian Work Is Tried By Fire
1 Corinthians 3:13 (KJV) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the FIRE shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
What is the “Fire” that judges our work? It is the intense gaze of Christ at what we have done. When the Apostle John first saw Jesus he described Him as …
Revelation 1:14 (ESV) The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,
The One Who died for you and I will gaze intently at what we did in His Name on this earth. John saw Jesus:
Revelation 19:12-13 (KJV) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Jesus said (John 5:22) “The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.”. He Who was pierced with nails and beaten with whips and hung shamefully and nakedly shall judge the works of His people. He shall gaze upon all that we have built on the Foundation of His Sacrifice. Some of our works will – like gold and silver – become more pure under His gaze. Other of our works will burn like wood, hay or stubble.
1 Corinthians 3:14 (KJV) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
The works that glorify Christ the Foundation will abide. Abiding works receive a reward. Those who have honored Christ will hear … Matthew 25:21 (ESV) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
What a blessing that will be to see Jesus, to be commended for honoring Him Who saved us. The Bible tells us:
Colossians 3:23-25 (KJV) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
What we SOW we shall REAP. If we build Christ honoring works on the Foundation of Christ Who is our salvation then we will one day be rewarded for our obedience. But the Apostle says:
1 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
If the work is destroyed by Christ’s gaze, He nonetheless still looks on those He has saved with love. I have heard people say “Well, at least I will be saved”. Will you? If you are saved you will still be saved because of Christ. But if your heart right now is so flippant on serving the Lord then why do you think you are saved? If you have no concern for loving Jesus or honoring Him then what makes you think that you will stand with the Saved in glory? To the workers of lawlessness Jesus says:
Matthew 7:23 (ESV) …. then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
The Great White Throne Judgment Is For The Unbeliever
Revelation 20:11-15 (KJV) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The Judgment Seat of Christ judges the works of believers. The Great White Throne of Christ judges the works of unbelievers. We are told …
Revelation 20:12 (KJV) And I saw the dead, SMALL AND GREAT, stand before God;
All judgment is given into the hands of Jesus, but here He is not called “Jesus” but “God”. These people – small and great – it doesn’t matter how they were viewed in this life – they stand equally before God. These people rejected the Cross of Christ, the finished Work of salvation. They ignored God or if they perchance thought of God they thought their works would grant them entrance into Heaven. There is no foundation laid but that which is of Christ. You cannot walk the streets of God if you have rejected the Son of God.
Revelation 20:12 (KJV) …. and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works
Those who stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ are THE LIVING because CHRIST MADE US ALIVE. We have been “born again of the Spirit, redeemed by His Blood”. We have the Promise of Everlasting Life and the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Those who stand before the Great White Throne are The Dead. They have rejected the Gospel of life, and wallowed in their death. The Dead are judged OUT OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN in the Books ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. Everything they did, God saw and recorded. Every work of the flesh done in the dark is brought to the light. According to THEIR works.
Revelation 20:13 (KJV) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
No one is exempt. No one is missed. Every person who ever lived stands before God, and are judged according to their works. Do their works save them? No. The Bible tells us that:
Revelation 20:15 (KJV) And WHOSOEVER was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
“Whosoever”. The Bible tells us that John 3:16 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
These people heard the WHOSOEVER Gospel of Christ and rejected it. They turned from Jesus to themselves, from the Foundation of Rock to the bed of sand. Rejecting Christ, they stand before God having nothing to rely on but their sinful and selfish works. And now
These Rejectors Of The WHOSOEVER Of Salvation
Have Become The WHOSOEVER Of Damnation
It didn’t have to be. Jesus Christ gave Himself for them as well as for us. But they relied on themselves, which is the same as relying on nothing. Oh Beloved One, do not reject Him that calls you. Come unto Christ. Cling to the Foundation of Everlasting Life. Cling to Jesus.
May God lead you to a deeper love of Christ through this Word.