“The Seven Judgments of God”
I. The Judgment of Sin at Golgotha
II. The Judgment of Jerusalem
A) On its people
- For centuries during the Old Testament, Israel was being prepared on the coming of the Messiah.
- The temple service with its sacrifices was a preparation for the final sacrificial Lamb of God (Jesus) to be the final atonement for sins.
- It is obvious that if Israel would not accept the atoning sacrifice which the Messiah brought on their behalf they would, as God’s chosen people, be under His judgements.
- Because of this they would also forfeit the privilege of being special instruments in God’s hand to evangelise the world. The Great Commission would be entrusted to Christ’s disciples among all nations.
- Jerusalem and its inhabitants, who constituted the core of the Jewish nation, were judged by God in 70 AD after the leaders of the nation had committed treason against the Messiah by rejecting Him.
- The Lord Jesus said to them: “Matthew 23:37…O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”
- In Luke He said: Luke 19:43…For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44) And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Israel’s unbelief was severely penalized.
- However, there was escape for the true believers from the judgement which ended in Israel’s dispersion from their home land: Luke 21:20…And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21) Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22) For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
- Divine wrath was poured out upon Israel and their capital city, but before that time the Messianic Jews had fled to Pella across the Jordan. They did not come into the judgement of the apostate Jews.
- Israel’s dispersion would continue throughout the church dispensation (Lev. 26:33) until, at the end of this period (The church age), they would return to their land and their city to face their Messiah again at His second coming.
- On this occasion (The 2nd Coming) the whole remnant of Israel will fully accept Him
- The prophecy of Israel fully accepting Jesus is inZechariah 12:10…And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
- I believe that God created us in His image and His Son in His image. Furthermore, I believe that Christ is a carbon copy of His Father (God) in every way.
- That said, when Israel crucified God’s Son, they crucified God! How is that? Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 25:45…Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
- This is a personal matter to God when ANYONE picks on, curses, ridicules, beats, strikes, criticizes, or anything harmful to His children, and especially to His only begotten Son…they are doing the same to God!
- Do we do the same thing? You bet we do. When someone strikes or does something bad to our children, we strike back, we defend them, we make sure justice is served.
- God will judge Israel for what they did to His Son on the cross at Calvary and what they have done to God’s children (The Jews and Gentiles) that were entrusted to them (the priests, the Sanhedrin, the scribes).
III. The Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema seat)
A) The Bema Seat
- II Corinthians 5:8…We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9) Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat (Bema 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.
- What is the “Bema Seat?” Our word “judgment” here in II Cor. 5:8 is translated from the Greek language as “bema.”
- Bema is an elevated platform where victorious athletes in the Olympics went to receive their crowns.
- The term “bema” was also referred to in the New Testament as a place of judging as when Jesus in Matthew 27:19 stood before Pontius Pilate.
- In the city of Corinth there was a bema seat (platform) where athletic rewards and legal justice were dispensed (Acts 18:12-16). So the Corinthians knew what Paul was writing about in His letter when he referred to it as the “bema seat” or judgment seat of Christ.
- In New Testament times, after the Diaspora of Israel (Jews having to live outside of Israel) due to national unbelief, the Lord does not judge nations or communities as He did in the times of Noah and Lot, and also in Egypt during the exodus of Israel. We are now living in the time of grace, not of judgement.
- That does not mean that God has relinquished the rule of judging unrepentant sinners; He will still do it, but the time of judgement will follow after the church is Raptured.
- Directly after the rapture, all Christians will appear before the judgement seat of Christ.
- The works which they (the saved/Christians) have done after repentance will be tested, and rewards of grace given to the overcomers.
B) Judge not others
- Look at what Paul said to the church at Rome in Romans 14: 10… But why dost thou judge thy brother?
- To judge someone is to condemn that person. Many times we have looked at what someone has done or said and automatically we condemn them, make them feel guilty, cause them to feel guilty. We are not to judge. Especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Verse 10b)…or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? The term “to set at nought) means to despise or look down on someone. In this case…Paul is asking the Romans (Gentile and Jew)… “Why do you look down at your brother or sister in Christ?”
- Verse 10c)…for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Paul says here that all of God’s children who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour will stand before Him as judge and answer for what we have done since our conversion.
- 11) For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
- We will confess our faults and sins to Him.
- 12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. We will have to “give an account” or “answer for what we have done” in this world.
- All through the New Testament we can see Jesus and His apostles / disciples warning and exhorting others to “NOT JUDGE.”
- Verse 13) Let us not therefore judge one another any more (This tells me that the Romans were guilty of judging people) but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Do not cause others to fall into sin by your actions.
C) Watering and planting
- All through the Bible God gives us examples, and metaphors, and instances to help us to understand what He is trying to tell us.
- Now look at what Paul tells the church at Corinth I Corinthians 3:6… I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
- In verse 6, Paul is saying the he “planted” the church at Corinth, he started the work there.
- Then Paul says “Apollos watered”, meaning that Apollos worked hard to increase the church and build it up to bring honor to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- This is like at the Silent Bible Baptist Church (SBBC) Kendall Wilcoxson “planted,” and Bro. Jim Sloan, and Ron Wilcoxson “watered.”
- THE KEY to the success and growth of the church is this one fact that every pastor must recognize… “…but God giveth the increase.”
- God gives the church growth if all the work that is done is with a good servants heart dedicated to God in seeing the gospel given to all.
D) The heart of the planter and waterer
- KEEPING OURSELVES HUMBLE: Look at what Paul reminds the church at Rome in verse 7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
- Basically Paul is reminding the church leaders here that the person planting is nothing, and the person watering is nothing. God is everything. The glory goes to Him.
- WE ARE TO BE ONE (UNIFIED): 8a) Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: This means that their doctrines (What they believe) should be the same. Their responses and thoughts and discipline should be the same. There is not room for favoritism in leadership or in the members.
- Verse 8b…and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. In other words… everyman is judged individually. Not compared to.
- Also know that not every pastor will be rewarded the same. Every church member will not be rewarded the same. All work is rewarded “according to his own labour.” Not every person is a hard worker. Not every person is sincere about their work. Not everyone works for their own benefit.
- WE ARE LABOURERERS TOGETHER; Look now at verse 9a) For we are labourers together with God: Everyone in the ministry is a worker for the Glory and benefit of God’s will and Divine plan.
- Verse 9b…ye are God’s husbandry (a metaphor).The word “husbandry” means to till or cultivate (to prepare land for growing crops). In other words… the church is a land that God developed or prepared for growing people who will produce good people that will produce more good people and so on.
- The church is God’s work not the pastor’s work.
- Verse 9c…ye are God’s building (a metaphor). In other words… God is the Architect of the Church. The pastors are the contractors. The church was designed by God
E) Be careful how you build
- If a house or building is not built right is will easily be destroyed, or it will fall because of poor construction or lousy materials used, and it can become a waste of time in its construction.
- Look at what Paul tells the Romans in verse 10) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. Paul warns them to “Pay attention as to HOW you build.”
- Paul warns the church to e careful how you build your house (Metaphor) meaning your personal life, your family, your church your government.
- THE FOUNDATION IS KEY: Paul said that he had laid the foundation. Meaning that he had already put the ingredients into the cement that will allow the church to be able to stand forever. The ingredients being Jesus Christ, the doctrines of Christ, the love of Christ, the sacrifices of Christ, the words of Christ, the embodiment of Christ.
- It is those ingredients that hold the church together, that support the weight of anything that tries to tear it down.
- The proof of Jesus Christ being that foundation is in verse 11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- This verse is actually saying that no matter who teaches or preaches in the church they must be careful what doctrines are taught, what love is brought, what disciplines are brought and so on. It must be that of Jesus Christ and not Satan or of themselves and their theories, or philosophies.
- And I tell you men of SBBC the same thing…no matter what you teach or preach, it must be the doctrines of Jesus Christ. WHY?
- Because Jesus Christ who established the church, and built the church will judge you at the Bema Seat!
F) The Judgment at the Bema Seat
- 12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
- We have to be careful HOW we build SBBC…
- “…gold, silver, precious stones,” Things that represent dedicated service, fellowship, and worship that are of value to God in the church.
- “…wood, hay, stubble;” These are materials in the church that are of no value to God. It’s a lack of activity, or lack of care, or a lack of responsibility or support of the church where you worship.
- THE BIGGEST MISTAKE of most Christians is that they do not believe it is important to join a church and work in it, give to it of your money, time and talents. These people will be at the Bema Seat facing the judge Jesus Christ and will have to answer for their lousy building materials (works).
- THE JUDGMENT…
- 13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: Everything that a Christian has done after becoming saved and after they have repented will be examined at the Bema Seat. All the evidence of your salvation will be examined to issue out the judgment of Jesus Christ upon your life’s works.
- “…for the day shall declare it,” This is the day you are hauled into the court room of Jesus Christ.
- “…because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. Christ will take everything that represents your work, all the evidence of Christ in your life and the reasons that you did what you did and throw it in a fire.
It will depend on how fast it burns up or if it burns at all.
– The Gold, Silver and Precious stones will not burn because they are valuable. The things you did with the right heart, the right doctrine, the right frame of mind based on the righteousness of Christ…these things are valuable and give to you a favorable judgment.
– The Wood, Hay, and Stubble will burn quickly because they are cheap imitations, fake, worthless activity that God abhors. At the judgment it will not be pretty.
G) The Verdict
- The word “verdict” means the decision reached by the judge and jury after the evidence has been represented (or burned).
- At the Bema Seat, Jesus will give to you what you deserve.
- Look at the positive results of the Judgment…Verse 14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
- If your work “abides” means to live or survive the fire, meaning if your works are not burned up…you will receive a REWARD.
- Now look at the negative results of the Judgment…15) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
- If your work “shall be burned up,” you will “suffer loss.”
- This is not a judgment or punishment of your sins! That was taken care of on the cross. This is to determine your eternal reward.
- To “suffer loss” means there will be no reward. No praise for your worthless works.
- Our world today wants to reward everyone for everything.
- But notice what Paul said… “…but he himself shall be saved” meaning that no matter how worthless your works are, you as an individual will be saved from eternal damnation to hell.
H) Warning to those who oppose God
- 1 Corinthians 3:16…Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
- Every person is to be very careful what they do to their own body, to the church, to their brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ because it all belongs to God and His Spirit lives within us.
- Verse 17) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
- This is a warning to people who choose to defile (ruin or destroy) God’s temple, His work, or His foundation.
- What is the Judgment? “…him shall God destroy;” God will severely punish the person who destroys the church by their wrong doctrines taught, their gossip or rumors that cause a church split or ruin, their ridicule and criticizing of the church, and definitely anything they say negative about Jesus Christ Himself.
- IN CLOSING: Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:5…And whoso shall receive one such little child (a member of the church) in my name receiveth me. 6) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones (weak members of the church) which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
- Christ takes is personally when any of His children are attacked or mistreated. They will be judged by Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat!