Summary: We may age and get old on the outside, but we can grow ever younger and more alive on the inside...if we are IN CHRIST! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
If Any Man be in Christ
This is the judgment seat, literally, the bema. There is still a bema in Corinth. This was the place where the judges of the city would meet the citizens and would judge them for certain things -- there was no question of life or death. At the judgment seat of Christ only believers will appear. It is not a judgment of the believer's sins, which Christ fully atoned for on the Cross. The judgment is to see whether you are going to receive a reward or not.
When Paul says, "We must all appear," remember that he is writing to believers. All we believers will be judged, that we may receive the things done in the body. We will be judged on the way we lived the Christian life, how we have lived in these bodies down here. When we go into His presence, we will be finished with these old bodies. The question He will ask is how we used these bodies. How did we live down here?
Paul faces this question when he writes to the Philippians. He says in Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Then he talks of his desire to go to be with Christ but also of his desire to live longer so that he can minister to the Philippians. He wants to stay so that he can preach the gospel of Christ a little longer. And though none of us would complain if the rapture happened now, we have something to live for down here, and we want to see God do more too.
ill--The preacher asked one night, "How many want to go to heaven?" Everybody put up his hand except that one boy. The preacher looked down at him and said, "Don't you want to go to heaven?" The boy answered, "Sure, I want to go to heaven, but I thought you was gettin' up a load for tonight." Like that boy, I don't want to go right away necessarily. Paul didn't want to go. He said he wanted to stay in his body and preach a little longer. He wanted Christ to be magnified in his body that he might be accepted of Him and that he might receive a reward. This is the way I feel. I want to stay in this body and do as much for the Lord as I possibly can.
Here is the first motivation for believers: We are all going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and we will answer to the Lord for our lives. We are going to give a report to Him. Let me make it very clear that this is not the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 where only the unsaved will stand. If you are a believer, your name is written in the Book of Life, and you have eternal life. However, you will stand before the bema, the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged for rewards. You and I will stand before Him. This should motivate us to serve Him acceptably. Then when we come into His presence, He will be able to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences [2Cor. 5:11].
I think the word terror could better be translated "fear." There is a great deal said in the Bible about the fear of the Lord. We are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (see Prov. 9:10).
One of the tenets of liberalism is that we don't need to be afraid of God. They characterize God as a sweet, indulgent old man whom you can treat most any way. Liberalism teaches the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man, which is one of the most damnable doctrines abroad today. Do you know that the Word of God says: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31)? Let us not preach a watered-down, sunshiny gospel. Our God is a holy God, a righteous God. It is this holy God who loves you. It is this holy God who wants to save you. But, if you don't come to God His way, you will have to come before Him in judgment. "Knowing therefore the terror [fear] of the Lord, we persuade men." There is many a pulpit from which is never preached a sermon on hell. There are few sermons on punishment, few sermons on judgment. As a result, God's judgment is almost a lost note today. We need to fear the judgment of God. We need to recognize that we are going to be held accountable to Him.