Summary: When Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom, He will first judge the works of believers where some will receive rewards while others suffer loss.
Once again open in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and the subject that we are going to be looking at this morning is the judgement seat of Christ or as it is called in Greek, the Bema which refers to a raised platform. You think of a court room, where the judge sits on a chair that is elevated higher than everyone else in the room. That is the judgment seat!
In 2 Timothy 4:1 The Apostle Paul tells us that when Jesus appears to set up His Kingdom He will judge the living and the dead. And as we pick up in verse 9 you may remember how we ended last we how to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Look at 2 Corinthians chapter give starting in verse nine - “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
So I’m going to break this mornings sermon down into three points. -In regard to the Judgement seat of Christ
Point # 1 Who will participate?
Point # 2 What is the purpose?
Point # 3 How Can a person prepare? So, participation, purpose & preparation.
So point # 1 Who will participate? What does Paul say here in 2 Corinthians 5, He says “we must all appear” so that means everyone right? All means all, every human being will stand before the judgment seat of Christ……wrong! The word all must be taken in context, all of what? All human beings who ever lived, all believers? All of who? Turn to Romans chapter 14. Romans 14 is the only other place in the English Bible where we find this phrase “Judgement seat of Christ” so if the answer of who will participate is not clear from 2 Corinthians 5, it should be clear here in Romans 14.
So who will stand before the judgement seat of Christ?
Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the LORD,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God
So who will participate, who will be present at the judgement seat of Christ? We get the context here in verse 10, when Paul says “we” he is referring to brothers. The brethren, he is talking about fellow believers so point # 1 who will participate? The judgement seat of Christ is for believers only. Therefore, this is different from the Great White Throne judgement mentioned in Revelation chapter 20. Only the damned appear at the Great White Throne judgement for they all are cast into the lake of fire, so this leads us to point # 2 what then is the purpose of the Judgement seat of Christ?
If the Great White Throne is a judgment unto condemnation, we could say the judgment seat of Christ is unto commendation and rewards. How much commendation, and how many rewards, well that depends. Paul says in verse 12 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
To illustrate this….
Many people in their places of employment are familiar with annual reviews. You maybe have to fill something out, and or go before your supervisor, before your boss and they evaluate you based on your conduct and job performance. With the Great White Throne judgement you would be getting fired (no pun intended) but the judgment seat of Christ you could think of it as a review of your performance. If you’ve been saved for “X” amount of years the judgement seat of Christ will be an examination of how well you did during those years.
Back in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 Paul says “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” So since you’ve become a Christian you’ve done some good for the right reasons and you’ve done some good for not so much the right reasons. Or maybe you thought you were doing good but perhaps you were misguided, and it turned out bad.