The Judgment Seat of Christ
1st Corinthians 3,4
July 28, 2013 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
I. Introduction (2Cor 5:9-11; Romans 14:10-12)
A. It is easy to think that Christianity is a cheap way to live
1. Perfectly forgiven – that is what Salvation means!
2. No fear of hell – which is great!
3. Live as you please – which is NOT true!
B. But as Jesus said in Matthew 22:29, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures!”
C. A Christian is not free from judgment – just from condemnation – there is a difference
D. There is a judgment for every Christian, every believer, everyone who is born again
E. It is called the Judgment Seat of Christ (2Cor 5:9-11; Romans 14:10-12)
F. It is THE most serious thing ahead for the Christian
G. Yes, a born again believer is certainly headed for heaven, but when they get there, there will be a reckoning – an accounting – a judgment of our life and how we lived it!
H. Ladies and gentlemen… It matters how we live. One day, every believer, every born again child of God will “give account” to God for how we lived the life God gave us the second chance to live right!
I. And as a pastor, I aim to prepare you for that day (Heb 13:17)
II. Background (1st Corinthians 3:10-15)
A. Our foundation is the life of Jesus Christ (3:10)
1. We start with Jesus, and the amazing life HE lived!
2. Not with Mary, or the Church saints, or our own good works, but with how Jesus lived!
3. No greater life than HIS!
a. HE is our foundation
b. HE is our starting place
c. What you think of HIM, and what you DO with HIM determines your eternal destiny!
d. Trying to be your own man, or to follow someone/anyone else will end is disaster
4. The Christian Life is BUILT upon His Life
a. You don’t build your life on sand, or outside of the foundation
b. You just build UP
c. It won’t matter the weight of the structure you build – HE can sustain you
d. It just matters whether we build according to the design – the plan He has laid out
5. That’s why Christians say to everybody, “ye must be born again!” It is the only starting place for life.
B. Take Heed How You Build (3:10-13)
1. Carnal Christians have the MOST to worry about when it comes to heaven!
a. People who are persistent babies spiritually
b. Oh you may be worldly wise as far as money, business, technology, girls, guys, education…
c. But if you do not walk with God, and know how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then you will end up building your life like a blind man would build a skyscraper!
2. We will ALL have to
3. Judgment BEGINS with God’s people (1Pet 4:17)
4. Jesus Christ is our foundation and everything we do in this life builds on that foundation. We can build with gold, silver, and precious stones, or with wood, hay, and straw. In other words, we can use permanent materials or disposable materials, as we build our lives.
5. But when this life is over and we face the Lord, what we have done for eternity will last and give us rewards. What we have done that was temporal and earthly will be gone, and we will lose the rewards we could have received, had we lived our lives with eternity in mind. Are you doing things today that will matter for eternity? If not, then you are wasting valuable time.
C. There is a Reward For Doing Things RIGHT (3:14,15)
1. We worry too much about whether people notice us and appreciate all we do
2. But, God notices our labours – especially that done in secret – things done that no one else sees…
a. Mat_6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
b. Mat_6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
c. Mat_6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
3. That’s why Christians work had to be faithful in doing right even in the little things… Luke 16:10 – simple things, unimportant things (or at least what may seem unimportant)
D. What Are The Rewards At The Judgment Seat of Christ?
1. PRAISE - A WORD OF COMMENDATION from the Lord of heaven and earth (Mt 25:21-23). We all need praise! How much more, when it comes from our Saviour!
2. TREASURES in heaven (Matt 6:19-21; 1 Tim 6:19; 1Pet 1:7). The Lord Jesus has promised that treasures await those who serve Him in this world. Earthly GOLD will perish, but these rewards will NEVER rust or perish!
3. CROWNS. Actually Ruling and reigning in the coming kingdom. That’s where the CROWNS come in. This is a position of authority and service under Christ in His coming kingdom (Rev 2:26-27; Rev 5:9-10; 1Cor 6:1-3; Romans 8:16-20).
E. So, Before the Return of Jesus Christ to this planet, at His Second Coming, there will be a time of examination of our lives in heaven – A testing of OUR hearts and lives.
1. It is called, The Judgment Seat of Christ!
2. It is a judgment in the future that ought to scare you! It ought to motivate you and I to take what we do and don’t do seriously!
F. Are you ready for it? Probably not!
III. Message – What Will be Tried, Exposed at the Judgment Seat? What will be Tested? (1 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:17)
A. Our Works – what we did with the life God gave us (3:13)
1. When you accept Christ’s payment for your sin, you are born-again and adopted into the family of God as a Son of God (John 1:12).
a. When you came to Christ for salvation, you didn’t come as a SON, you came as a SINNER. Lost, empty, messed up.
b. God will never deal with you as a sinner again—He deals with you now as a SON!
c. As a Son, you should seek to live to please your Heavenly Father. That’s obvious!
2. But what if the believer sins after he is saved? God commands us to JUDGE our own sins (1 Cor. 11:31-32).
a. By confession – agree with God that we have done wrong (1 Jn 1:9)
b. Repentance – dumping our way of living and our old way of thinking
3. What happens to the Christian who will not judge his own sins?
a. God chastens His children (Heb. 12:5-11). Which would you rather?
b. Chastening is not making a payment for sins.
c. If a parent spanks/slaps a son for breaking a window, the spanking doesn’t pay for the window.
d. When God chastises His child, it is not payment for sin, because Jesus already paid for them.
e. As a son/child of God, you will never have to pay God for any sin now! Only for your attitude when sinning – for your love of the sin instead of your love for God!
f. You may be chastened for sin, but chastening is CHILD TRAINING, not payment for sin.
g. Every bit of trouble, and chastening by the Lord in your life is to help you, correct you, and make you more like Christ – not condemn you!
4. Take responsibility for your actions as a believer and keep short accounts with God! By humility, loads of confession, lots of effort to do right, and a good washing in the blood!
5. What you do NOW, will be judged!
B. Our Worship (1Cor 3:16; 6:19,20; Matthew 22:35-40; Rev 4:11)
1. Seriously! Not our FORM of worship, But our love – our heart for God (Mt 22:35-40)
2. We were created to worship God, to bring Him pleasure (Rev 4:11), but do we?
a. We humans always want our worship to mean something to US – to make us feel better.
1) People are so worried about what they are going to get out of church
2) People compare the comfort of the chairs, and the fanciness of the buildings, and talent of the speakers
3) They look for what fun and activities are planned
4) But they have it all backwards!
b. Have you ever wondered if your worship, your time in prayer, your singing, your giving, your reading of the Bible means anything to God?
c. I worry if God ever goes, “Wow! Now THAT is sweet to see!”?
d. Check out these Scriptures…
1) Luke 6:46
2) Matthew 15:8
3. Meaningful worship worries about whether GOD gets anything out of our lives; Out of our time at Church! It is TOO easy to just come to church, and sit in the back, and sing just barely above a whisper, when if I asked your wife, I bet she could attest to the fact that you know how to shout!
4. Worship comes from an intense desire for God, instead of for things! (Psalm 42:1,2; 63:1,2).
a. Worship of God is a hunger, desire, thirst, dependence, just on God
b. The first commandment demands “No other gods”! NONE!
c. There is something pleasant when we desire to please Him only – to do the things that make HIM happy, that bless God’s heart!
d. Oh that men would desire to find ALL their help in Him alone – not as the last one you finally call on when everything else has failed! What hypocrisy!
e. That emptiness, and guiltiness, and shame that exists in EVERY HEART, is meant ONLY for God to fill, and fix, and fire-up with His presence!
f. Everything else, absolutely everything else will leave you worse off - period!
g. Many a relationship grows cold and stale until one of you realize what you have, and realize that you are about to lose it!
1) Many a man has lost his family, his wife because of numbness
2) Many a woman has lost her sanity because she has relied on everyone and everything except God
3) Many of us need to Confess our numbness towards God, and start starving ourselves of all the “junk food” that our hearts have been feasting on, and be assured, you will start hungering for the living God, and for the pure words of truth in the Bible once again! AND, you will start seeing God work on your behalf once again!
C. Our Holiness (1Cor 3:17)
1. Defile – to spoil, soil, dirty-up, to pollute.
a. To make it so that God doesn’t feel comfortable there
b. If our bodies are God’s dwelling place now, shouldn’t we keep it clean?
2. How would you like to come home to a filthy rubbish dump of a house with flies and dirt everywhere – where the air stinks of rotting rubbish?
a. We all like clean homes
b. So does God!
3. One day, He will expose our lives from the inside out. In front of everybody – not privately, but “at the judgment” (2Cor 5:8-11)
a. He will expose us! OUR SECRET LIFE! You had better just be real!
b. Rom 2:16
c. Eph 6:5,6 – God will expose the fact that you only did things for man’s praise
d. It is Christians only who are in view here. All that we have hidden shall be revealed. The things we have done in the body will come back to us, whether good or bad.
1) Every good and godly thought, AND every thought of sin;
2) Every secret prayer, and every secret curse;
3) Every unknown deed of charity, and every hidden deed of selfishness;
4) Even good and kind word, as well as our idle, and thoughtless words (Mt 12:36)
5) We will see them all played out in front of us again, and though we have not remembered them for years, and perhaps have forgotten them altogether, we shall have to acknowledge that they are our own.
e. If you don’t want to be thoroughly humiliated, you might as well just be real, and get growing, instead of always putting on a “show!”
f. What we do in secret is what we really love!!! Think about it!
4. Do you REALLY want to continue in sin and have it broadcast to everyone just how filthy you really were in this life? How hypocritical?
5. That’s why we plead the blood of Jesus Christ to cover over and blot out the stupidities of our lives – every day washing in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ
a. Not to be born again, saved all over again
b. But to make sure there are no stains left to have to explain one day
6. So, God takes our INSIDE life so seriously that He will not only chasten us when we keep sinning, but he will destroy your life if he has to – to show others just how serious a Christian’s life really is!
7. It is not condemnation – but it is judgment – an early death, or a ruined life!
D. Our Humility (1Cor 3:18-21; Luke 12:1-3)
1. Don’t be proud and think you are above all this
2. Become a fool in the world’s eyes
3. God will catch you out!
4. God knows your thoughts, and WILL humble you one day if you do not humble yourself first!
5. That’s why we Bible believers take our humility seriously!
E. Our Focus (1Cor 3:21-23)
1. Our REASON for doing things
2. Do we do things to be seen of men? Or for the Lord Jesus?
3. Do we seek rewards from this world? Or from the world to come?
4. What is our motivation, our focus? What keeps our attention?
a. Everything already is ours
b. We belong to Christ
c. And Christ belongs to God
5. What has all your attention these days?
a. Your problems?
b. Your worries
c. Your fears?
d. Your friends?
e. Your future?
6. Lift your eyes off of this life, and back on the Saviour you once walked with and worshipped and loved supremely!
F. Our Faithfulness (1Cor 4:1,2)
1. Oh this is important
2. God’s concern is not with our success, but our faithfulness
3. No home can stand that has no faithfulness to it
4. No church can grow that has no faithfulness to it
5. And no life can be blessed that is not faithful to Christ and His will!
6. We are STEWARDS, Caretakers, Managers of our lives
7. What we faithfully do with it is serious
8. It is as if someone entrusted us with the care of a child
a. Would we neglect them and only give them attention for a few minutes a day?
b. Or would we not give them our faithful, and undivided attention?
9. Your life is no different – you are I are stewards of our lives!
10. Don’t neglect them spiritually, emotionally, or physically!
G. Our Worries (1Cor 4:3,4)
1. Oh how we worry about what other people think of us
2. When people sit in judgment of us and mock and laugh, it hurts
3. It often causes so many Christians to quit altogether out of embarrassment
4. The Apostle Paul decided to NOT worry about people sitting in judgment of him
5. He ONLY worried about what the Lord Jesus thought of Him
6. If you spend most of your time complaining about what other people say about you and what they think of you, and you worry mainly about whether people like you, then you one day will see all that as WASTED time!
H. Our Attitudes (1Cor 4:5-7)
1. Notice how we should not worry about other people judging US
2. AND, we should not waste so much of our time judging others!
3. People are not so different
4. We spend far too much time being hyper-critical
5. It is a cover for the messed up lives that we do not want to admit to having
6. One day we WILL have to own up to it – and it won’t be pretty!
I. Our Reactions (1Cor 4:9-14)
1. Are you willing to take last place…? God will take notice!
2. Are you willing to be made a spectacle of? Mocked? I find it hard!
3. Are you willing to be weak and seemingly useless, while others are so given so much honour and respect?
4. How do YOU react…
a. When you are hungry and thirst?
b. When you are without necessary things like clothes and shoes?
c. When you don’t own a home, or even HAVE any place to sleep?
d. When all you do is work and work and work, and no one helps?
e. When you are reviled (verbally attacked)? Do you bless back?
f. When you are persecuted? Do you put up with it?
g. When people DON’T honour you, and instead defame you (humiliate you)? Do you intreat, or treat with respect and honour?
h. When you are treated like filth, and offscouring, constantly?
5. All of that is noticed by God, and will be revealed!
6. Listen to the Scriptures...
a. Hebrews 6:10–“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
b. Matthew 10:40-42–“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
c. Matthew 25:40–“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. “
A. This message is meant to motivate the believer
To be spiritual instead of carnal
(1 Cor. 3:1-3). Paul taught on the judgment seat of Christ in the context of
warning the brethren at
2. To be busy and faithful (1 Cor 3:9-10). When we recall that we must stand at the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for our lives, we are motivated to use our time wisely and fruitfully in His service.
B. You see now, that a Christian is not free from judgment – just from condemnation
C. There is a judgment for every Christian, every believer, everyone who is born again
1. A testing of OUR hearts and lives.
2. It happens in heaven. BEFORE the Return of Jesus Christ to this planet, at His Second Coming,
D. It is called, The Judgment Seat of Christ! It is a judgment in the future that out to scare you! It ought to motivate you and I to take what we do and don’t do seriously!
E. Are you ready for it? Probably not!
1. How’s Your Works – what we did with the life God gave us?
2. How’s Your Worship?
3. Your Holiness will be examined and the lack of it exposed!
4. How’s Your Humility?
5. What is Your Focus? Your REASON for doing things?
6. How’s Your Faithfulness?
7. What Are Your Worries?
8. Do You Want ALL Your BAD Attitudes brought Up in heaven?
9. And Then There are all Our Reactions?
10. Will we not be so, so ashamed?
F. Is this not a good warning, and helpful reminder to take our lives, our labours, our words and our hearts so much more serious?
G. How much of our life will be only a vapour, a whiff of smoke from a ire that will not last in heaven? And how much of what we do will actually last?