Summary: What should motivate us to have a burden to see people come to faith in Christ?
When you search the Scriptures for a model of individual commitment to reaching others for Christ, you need look no further than the Apostle Paul. Paul’s passion is heard loud and clear when he says:
“Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” - Romans 10:1 (NLT)
“I am speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying; my conscience [enlightened and prompted] by the Holy Spirit bearing witness with me that I have bitter grief and incessant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off and banished from Christ for the sake of my brethren and instead of them, my natural kinsmen and my fellow countrymen.” - Romans 9:1-3 (Amplified)
Paul’s commitment to reaching others for Christ becomes profoundly clear when we grasp the meaning of the word, “accursed.” The word means “to be banned” or “devoted to God for utter destruction.”
Paul was so burdened to see people go to heaven, that he was willing, if it would help, to be sent to hell! For Paul, the burden to see people know Jesus was so great, that to think of them being without Christ was hell for him! What brought about such a burden in Paul’s life for those without Christ?
In our passage for today, the Apostle shares three reasons with us for his deep commitment to seeing others come to faith in Christ. As we examine what things cause Paul to be burdened to see people come to Jesus in his day, perhaps we will come to share a similar burden to see people come to Jesus in our day. Paul was motivated to share his faith because of . . .
1. The Reality of Judgment - vs. 9-11
“It is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment.” - Hebrews 9:27 (Amplified)
“Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, And they shall come out--those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence].” - John 5:28-29 (Amplified)
Jesus spoke of two judgments - the judgment of the believer and the judgment of the unbeliever. Paul mentions the judgment of the believer in our passage. But before we consider that judgment, let’s first think together about the judgment of the unbeliever.
A. The Judgment of the Unbeliever -
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” - Revelation 20:11-15 (NIV)
In verse 11, John speaks of a “great white throne.” This throne is “great” for three primary reasons: (1) Here each unbeliever’s eternal destiny is determined and declared with ample proof and reason. (2) It is great because it is the final judgment putting an end to all judgment for all time. (3) It is great because all the unbelievers of all time, from Cain to the final revolt at the end of the millennium, will be here assembled to face God’s perfect justice.
It is called “white” because it will be the supreme, undimmed display of the perfect righteousness, justice, and purity of God.
It is called a “throne” because here the Lord Jesus Christ will sit in absolute majesty and sovereignty.
In verse 12, John says that the dead before this throne are the unsaved of all ages that now stand resurrected. They come from all classes and groups of humanity.
We are told that there will be books that are opened in connection with this judgment. Verses 12 and 13 state that the unbelieving dead will be “judged according to what he had done.” The idea here is that Jesus Christ died for their sins, for their evil deeds, to forgive them, and to provide them with a righteousness from God so that they might have a perfect standing before Him. But when men reject the knowledge of God and His plan of salvation, they determine to stand on their own merit or in their own righteousness. This judgment proves them sinners and in need of Christ’s righteousness by faith.