Summary: This message is about the Judgment Seat of Christ and it's implications for believers.
“A Date with Destiny”
2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat 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.
It would be difficult to understand Paul’s thoughts without remembering what he has been talking about in the preceding verses. He has been concentrating on the nature of the ministry, the minister’s work, the duties that are laid upon him, especially as it relates to others. Verse 8 provides the background for our message today. In it he speaks of being in the presence of the Lord and the use of “wherefore” to begin verse 9 leads naturally to a desire to live in such a way as to please the Lord. “We labour…” is a word that literally means (to be ambitious for, to seek a goal that one regards as worthy) The one honor that Paul seeks is to be “…accepted of him” to be well pleasing to the Lord Jesus. That is the Apostle’s overriding ambition and should be ours as well! This brings us to the point of today’s message. Paul is especially concerned that he must give an accounting to the Lord at His return. It is that accounting that I want to speak about today. First, let’s consider;
I. Our Appearance at the Throne
a. It is co-extensive
This judgment seat experience will occur at the coming of Christ. There will be a day of reckoning for all men when the Lord returns. There is much debate about how this will occur and at what time it will occur but the one point of universal agreement is that all will be judged. Also, most Bible scholars agree that there will be a judgment of the saints and the “aints,” that there will be separation of the sheep from the goats, and the wheat and the tares. Those who are saved will stand at the judgment seat of Christ and those who are lost at the great white throne which may be one and the same. That’s not a point that I’m going to debate this morning. The judgment seat is Gk “bema” and refers to a platform for a judge to sit on in order to hear a case and from which to render a verdict. A literal translation of the GK reads like this; “It is necessary for us all to appear before the “bema” of Christ.”
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
b. It is commanded
Romans 14:10 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.
The phrase command performance came into usage during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the 1st when she called for a theatrical performance. The idea behind this phrase is that when a monarch or royalty commands a performance it cannot be refused. In our text Paul declares that we “…must appear…” so this is an imperative. We will have no choice but to appear.
c. It is comprehensive
“We all…” must appear means that this command to appear includes not only Paul himself but all of us as well! No one is excluded. “Appear” is “to make manifest.” Everything we have done will be laid before Him! This would also include but not be limited to our attitudes, motives, beliefs and behavior (things done in our body.” The sobering truth then, is that even when salvation is not the issue that Christians must stand before the “righteous judge” to be judged and to receive good or bad according to what we have done good or bad.
“Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account."
Matthew 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.
Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
II. Our Adjudicator on the Throne
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
a. He is insightful for he possesses the capacity to see clearly and intuitively into the nature of a person.
Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts…
John 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.