Summary: The Judgment Seat of Christ. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Matthew chapter 25 verses 14-30.
• 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 9-10.
• Two dads were having a drink together;
• And conversation turned to their children and their children’s school-work.
• The first dad said; “I helped my daughter today with her religious homework”.
• “You did what?” replied the astonished second dad.
• “But you don’t know anything about religion;
• In fact, I bet you don't even know the Lord's Prayer,"
• The first dad angrily replied; "Why everybody knows that,"
• The second dad said; “Well, what is it then?”
• So the first dad paused for a moment;
• And after racking his brains for several minutes replied:
"It's, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."
• His friend looked at him astonished! And said,
• "You win! I didn't know you knew so much about the Bible."
I am assuming tonight that your knowledge of the Bible is better than those two dads:
• But one topic that many Christians are ignorant about;
• Regards our topic tonight ‘The Judgement seat of Christ’.
• To some here tonight you may not even be aware that there will be such an event.
• I guarantee that you will not hear many sermons on it (ill: count on one hand)
(1). What is the judgement seat of Christ?
• The term ‘judgment seat’ comes from the Greek word ‘bema’,
• At the time of Paul most Greek towns had a ‘bema’.
• And Corinth where this letter was received and being read out;
• Had a large, richly-decorated rostrum (ill: remains are they today for tourists to see!)
• It was an elevated platform;
• And was used for civil matters and also for sporting ceremonies.
(A). FOR CIVIL AFFAIRS:
• The important rulers and leaders of the city used this ‘bema’;
• To make public speeches and declare official decrees to the citizens of Corinth;
• War heroes were honoured and rewarded at the bema.
• A person on trial could be condemned or acquitted at the bema.
(B). IT WAS ALSO USED IN THE CONTEXT OF SPORT.
• It was the place where the winners in the annual Olympic Games.
• Would received their awards; they were publicly honoured and rewarded.
• So in the apostle Paul’s day:
• The ‘bema’ or ‘the judgement seat’ was a familiar concept:
Now notice how Paul takes this very familiar image and applies it to Jesus Christ.
• By saying there is coming an actual day in the future;
• When every Christian (like every winning athlete).
• Will stand at God’s ‘bema’;
• (That is the ‘the Judgment Seat of Christ’.)
• And at this judgement seat ALL God's people;
• Will have their lives judged, evaluated and many will be rewarded.
It is important to understand the correct meaning of the word "judgment" in this passage:
• When used in the New Testament,
• The term "judgment" means two things to two different groups of people.
(1ST GROUP): THOSE WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIANS.
• Judgement means condemnation.
• Ill: A judge passing the guilty verdict to a guilty criminal.
• The most famous verses in the Bible, quoted by Jesus himself say;
• John chapter 3 verses 16-18 testify to this fact
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Jesus himself said; that those who refuse to trust him as Lord and saviour:
• Stand condemned already.
• And one day when they stand before God they will hear those sad and tragic words:
“Depart from me, I never knew you!”
• This judgement will not take place at he bema.
• The Bible makes it clear this will take place;
• At what the Bible calls ‘The Great White Throne’
• And we read about this in Revelation chapter 20 verses 11-15.
• God has done everything he possibly could;
• So that no one need face this judgement, this condemnation.
One day, when Vice President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate,
• One Senator in his anger told another Senator to go “straight to hell.”
• The offended Senator complained about this remark to Coolidge the presiding officer,
• Calvin Coolidge had been leafing through a book at the time;