The believer in Christ has a glorious future awaiting him. In fact, the Bible says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2: 9-10) The Holy Spirit has revealed these things to us in the pages of the Bible. The Bible is the only Book that accurately unfolds the past, present and future. It is truly a blessing to be able to read the Bible and be assured of events that are yet future.
One of the future events that the believer has to look forward to is “The Judgment Seat of Christ.” There is coming a day when every believer will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, and hear Him say, “This was your life.” At that very moment our life of service, from the day we first trusted in Christ, is going to pass before our eyes. You see, God is keeping a record of our life as a Christian. Everything about us is being written down in God’s record book. The Bible says, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” (Proverbs 5:21) One day this record will be revealed at “The Judgment Seat of Christ.”
Every Christian should realize that God’s way and man’s ways are not the same. God does not see things as man sees things. Man looks on the outward appearance and functions in the physical realm, but God looks at the attitude of the heart and operates in the spiritual realm.
Therefore, in order to be effective servants of God, we must take our focus away from the physical and concentrate on the spiritual. Our life upon earth will only make sense as we live according to the spiritual realm. For life to have true meaning it must be focused on the eternal. The Bible says, “...our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:17-18)
The purpose of this lesson is to help you keep your life focused upon the things which are eternal. This will be accomplished when you come to understand the Biblical truth of your final accountability as a servant of the Lord Jesus, at “The Judgment Seat of Christ.”
I. THE REALITY OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT
A. What Is The Judgment Seat Of Christ?
1. The Judgment seat is a place clearly taught in Scripture.
a. “Why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall_____stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord,_____knee shall bow to me, and _____tongue shall confess to God. So then_____one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12)
b. “For we must_____appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that_____one may receive the things done in his body, according to that_____hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5: 10)
c. “For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that_____me is the Lord. Therefore _____nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to _____the hidden things of darkness, and will make_____the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (I Corinthians 4:4-5)
2. The judgment seat is a place where our service to the Lord, from the time of salvation onward, will be judged.
a. We will not be judged for our sins, for no sin that has been put under the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ will ever again be brought up against us.
b. “And their _____and_____will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17)
c. We will be judged for our work as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. The judgment seat is a place where the quality of our work is judged as opposed to the quantity.
a. “Every man’s _____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 _____of what sort (what kind) it is. If any man’s _____abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s_____shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:13-15)
b. Our service to God is going to be judged according to the motive behind it.
c. The Lord is more concerned with the attitude of our heart in service than the accomplishment of our efforts.
B. What Will The Judgment Seat Be Like?
1. It will be a place of reward.
a. In the Bible, the word for judgment seat is translated from the Greek word “bema seat.”
b. The bema seat was not a judicial bench upon which a judge sat in order to pass sentence upon a criminal.
c. The bema seat was a throne upon which the judge sat to distribute medals, crowns and trophies to the winners of the various athletic games.
2. It will be a place of review.
a. The Lord will not only review what we did, but also what we attempted to do, and why we did it.
b. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing_____, I have a _____:” (I Corinthians 9:16-17)
c. The Lord doesn’t require His servants to be “successful” but He does require them to be _____. (I Corinthians 4:2)
3. It will be a place of recognition.
a. The Lord will publicly recognize His faithful servants.
b. There are many dear saints of God who are serving the Lord faithfully in some small obscure place, who may go unrecognized and unnoticed by man, but not by God.
c. It makes no difference where you serve Him, just so long as you serve Him faithfully where you are.
4. It will be a place of regret.
a. Those who have lived for themselves will sadly regret the fact that they did not serve their Lord faithfully.
b. There will be many who will rejoice, but there will be many others who will be ashamed.
c. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have_____, and not be _____before him at his coming.” (I John 2:28)
II. THE REWARDS OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT
A. What Rewards Will Be Given To Believers at The Judgment Seat Of Christ?
1. The incorruptible crown.
a. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may _____. And every man that striveth for the mastery is _____in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an _____.” (I Corinthians 9:24-25)
b. This is a crown given for temperance or moderation.
c. The context of these verses deal with temperance in all matters (mental, physical and spiritual) which would affect the believer’s ability to run the race and maintain a proper testimony before others.
2. The crown of righteousness.
a. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a _____of _____, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that _____his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8)
b. Who does the Bible say will receive this crown?
c. Our hearts should be set on our Lord’s appearing.
3. The crown of rejoicing.
a. “For what is our hope, or_____of rejoicing? Are not even _____in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (I Thessalonians 2:19)
b. This crown has been called the soul-winner’s crown, and it is given to those who win people to Jesus Christ.
c. It is called the crown of rejoicing because it procures rejoicing, not only in the soul-winner’s heart, but also in heaven when someone gets saved. (Luke 15:10)
4. The crown of life.
a. “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be_____; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou_____unto_____and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
b. “Blessed is the man that _____: for when he is______, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that _____him.” (James 1:12)
c. The crown of life has been called the martyr’s crown. It is given to those who are faithful unto death, as well as those who endure trials and overcome temptations.
5. The crown of glory
a. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the_____thereof, not by constraint, but_____; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being_____to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (I Peter 5:2-4)
b. The crown of glory is a special crown given to elders or pastors who shepherd God’s people in the word of God.
B. Why Should The Believer Be Concerned About The Judgment Seat Of Christ?
1. The judgment seat is an incentive for holy living.
a. “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the _____of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:8)
b. “And every man that hath this_____in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (I John 3:3)
c. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed_____, and glorious_____of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13)
d. “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious then gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the_____of Jesus Christ:” (I Peter 1:6-7)
2. By keeping focused on the judgment seat you will naturally develop a desire to please God rather than man.
a. The rewards we receive on earth are temporal and will one day perish. But, the rewards we will receive at the judgment seat will be eternal and will never perish.
b. We must be careful of losing rewards we might have gained if we had only lived for the Lord and not for self.
Conclusion: Always remember...In the long run, it pays to serve the Lord. (Memorize: II Corinthians 5:10)