Summary: This is the fourth in a 7-part series on The Apostles Creed. I used this as a way to give folks in my new churches an understanding of my beliefs and our common ground as Believers.
Sermon Series “Belief and Faith Coming Together”
Week Three – “Here Come da’ Judge”
Pastor John Bright – delivered 8/04/19
2 Timothy 4:1-8 “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Our culture has gone lawsuit crazy! Here are some examples from 2018 I found at facesoflawsuitabuse.org
A woman in Illinois filed a lawsuit against Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries over the packaging of its popular Junior Mints candy. The woman claims boxes of Junior Mints have almost as much air as candy, leading consumers to believe they are getting more candy than is actually in the box. But the amount of candy is listed right on the packaging. Her lawyer says the label is misleading and now wants to represent everyone who buys Junior Mints in a class action lawsuit.
Two South Floridians don’t want cheese on their Quarter Pounders, and they think they should pay less for their Quarter Pounder orders when they visit McDonald’s restaurants. Their lawyers claim the customers have “suffered injury” for having to pay the full price for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and that McDonald’s is “unjustly enriched” when people who don’t want cheese pay full price for a burger. And they’re suing McDonald’s for $5 million dollars over it.
A 69-year old man has petitioned a Dutch court to let him legally change his age to 49. He claims his birth certificate does not reflect his emotional state, and his real age makes him less desirable on dating apps.
Anybody remember the old Flip Wilson skit – “here come da’ judge, here come da’ judge, order in the court cause here come da’ judge”
There are lots of judge shows on tv and we are still fascinated by celebrity trials – 25 years since the OJ trial.
The Apostles’’ Creed continues: “the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sittith at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead.”
We find in this description of Jesus exactly what is declared in Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday (arose/ascended), today (sittith), and forever (shall come to judge).”
We don’t always think of Jesus as a judge, but that is one way He described Himself:
John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
2 Timothy 4:8 “…which the Lord, the righteous Judge…”
As soon as we start talking about the return of Jesus – folks have one question… what is it?
(When?) STOP IT!
The Church seems to have become obsessed with when Jesus is coming back and neglected the WHY – “to judge the living and the dead.”
This final judgement of Christ is one part of the great saving work of God. In this we see His great mercy…
Mercy and Judgement are two sides of the same coin – We often put different parts of God’s character (attributes) into conflict. If we declare God as merciful, can He still bring righteous judgement? Let me share an example to help you understand the connection between mercy and judgment. If you were on trial for murder and the jury came back with a verdict of NOT GUILTY, would you then “throw yourself on the mercy of the court”? Of course not – there is no need for mercy without a guilty verdict. There is no mercy without judgment (or the threat of judgement).
We will be judged. The question is this – is one single act of salvation enough to save you from all judgement? Look at scripture for your answer – the gospel of Matthew had two examples of judgement - Matthew 25:31-46 Sheep and goats and Matthew 7:13-14 Narrow gate (few) / Wide gate (many).