Summary: By realizing that we live in a tent, the Spirit of God lives in us, and that we will live with God, we can face the judgment with confidence.
WHAT MUST I DO? WE MUST APPEAR AT THE JUDGMENT
Big Idea: By realizing that we live in a tent, the Spirit of God lives in us, and that we will live with God, we can face the judgment with confidence.
We are asking ourselves “What Must I Do?” and looking at the New Testament for answers. We have discovered that “Whatever God’s Word says I MUST do, God knows I CAN do!”
Paul said: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
It is with the confidence of Christ’s help that we approach these Biblical charges.
Today we will read 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. You will notice the “Must” statement that is found in verse 10.
1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Are you afraid? Does it make you nervous when you think of meeting God face to face? When you think about giving account?
I get it if it does. Meeting a holy God is a sobering moment and to take it lightly would be foolish. Paul mentions it here because it is a big deal and he is not trying to downplay its gravity.
The judgment seat is literally the “bema” seat. This is not what is referred to as the “Great White Throne judgment” of the book of Revelation. The bema seat was located in the center of the town square and was, among other things, the place where rewards were handed out after the Olympic Games. As Warren Wiersbe says, the bema seat is not the place where Christians will face the penalty of their sin – that penalty has been paid and judged through the cross of Christ (John 5:24; Romans 8:1). The bema seat is the day of reckoning for our works of service. It is here that the character and quality of our service will be revealed. Passages like 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and1 Corinthians 4:1-5 would support this.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Cor. 3:10-15)
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (1 Cor. 4:3-5)