A DEERFEET TOPICAL BIBLE STUDY
Has the bible, a message, a friend or family ever impressed upon your mind areas of life that need change? Has it caused you to think, "what happens if I donít obey the Lordís will?" As we mature, one principle comes forth, "with privilege comes responsibility." We know that our salvation is a great privilege. Letís consider, "what happens if I decide not to change something in my life where Iím disobedient to the Bible, the Holy Spirit or the wise counsel of others?" Our thoughts must go in the direction of the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ, fear of the Lord and rewards. I personally believe this is the most important doctrine for a Christian to understand after we come to know Jesus Christ as our Savior.
THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND REWARDS
Have you ever desired to be a winner? To be 1st place, receive a prize, reward, or special recognition for an accomplishment at work, school, sports, knowledge, a skill, game, craft, hobby or any other activity; even at home or church? Some of us have experienced being winners Ė some of us have not. We do the best but just do not have what it takes to win. You don't need to be be disappointed! Praise be to God, each one that repents of their sin and puts their faith in Jesus Christ is in a spiritual race. This spiritual race is much different than an earthly race, because we all have equal opportunity to be winners Ė with no preference of persons. The first and only prerequisite to enter Godís spiritual race is salvation. It is Godís high calling and desire that each one of us be winners of this spiritual race and receive rewards, crowns or recognition; from hereon called "rewards." A secondary related doctrine that some may be unsure of or confused about "the eternal security of the believer." To believe in the eternal security of the believer will help us understand the importance of judgement and rewards for the Christian, and get the right perspective of this greatest race ever.
We must understand that there is a big difference between salvation for the lost, by faith - not by our good works, and rewards for the saved Ė by faith, based on our good works. Our sins are judged at Calvary, our good works are judged at the Judgement Seat of Christ. For the believer good works and rewards cannot be separated. Sin in the Christian will minimize our good works which are only valid as we abide in Christ. "Now he that plants and he that waters are one; and everyone shall receive his own reward according to his own works." (1 Corinthians 3:8) "Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? See how faith was mixed with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" (James 2:17-22)
A reward is something we work for or earn, "God rewards them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) "God will reward openly those things done in secret; for example; giving of money, prayer, and fasting (Mathew 6:1-8). "Our reward is in heaven for being persecuted for His name." (Mathew 5:12). "Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we donít faint." What shall we reap - rewards! (Galatians 6:9) We work onto God, not man, because our witness is in heaven, "my record is on high" (Job 16:19). One way or another, on earth or in heaven, we are in the position to receive rewards.
To all seven churches in chapters 1-3 of Revelation the Holy Spirit inspired John to write, "I know thy works." The last chapter of the bible, Revelation 22:12 says, "Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." The Lord desires that each one of us have an abundant entrance into his. Seeing how important our works are, God in His mercy gives us opportunity to judge ourselves in this life. Let us judge ourselves now; if we do not, Christ will judge us later.
First, guidance on judging ourselves: "One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at nought your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:5-10) The celebration of the Lordís Supper is a great opportunity for us to judge ourselves. "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:27-32) Yes, our bodies being the temple of the Holy Ghost has privledges and responsibilities.
Second, guidance on judging others: The Bible has clearly defined procedures and purpose for judging other saints. Individuals judging individuals follow this procedure. "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why behold the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then you shall see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Mathew 7:1-6) "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20) A group judging an individual follows this procedure. "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mathew 18:15-20)At the Judgement Seat of Christ our works are tried by fire. The believer may suffer loss (not of eternal life, but eternal reward). "Our works are as gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, stubble. Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he has built upon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Corinthians 3:8-15) Will you have boldness or shame in the day of judgement? "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." (1 John 2:28) "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17) We can have an abundant entry into His Kingdom. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-11)
If we are honest with ourselves we know fairly well in this life how we will fare at the Judgement Seat of Christ. One testimony that is vivid was a man I worked with who is a Christian that saw my daily testimony and witness for Jesus. He told me to keep living my Christian life the way that I was and then great weeping and tears overcame him. He was truly saved and told of how he loved the Lord, then people of Church and life's circumstances drew him away and he did not live for Jesus for many years. This is known as a backslidden condition. Those lost years brought great sorrow to his heart and regret to this mind. My friend has repented and returned to his first love of Jesus. Still, it will take time to heal and total healing will have to wait until he partakes of the tree of life with leavers for the healing of nations foretold of in Revelation 21-22. Yes, I am sorry to say that most or all of us have lost time and not loved Jesus the way we should. The good news is that we can repent and restore that "first love." The Lord may be merciful and "restore the years that the locusts have eaten." Let's consider next what causes a Christian to backslide and lose rewards.
God clearly warns us about what causes loss of reward in three occasions.
(1) "Brethren" in the "church" can deceive us after the commandments and doctrines of men and cause us to lose reward. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?" (Colossians 2:16-21)
(2) Churches and doctrines that say they are "spiritual Israel or Jews" can take your crown. "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:9-11)
(3) Deceivers, psychology or philosophy may cause you to lose your full reward. "And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." (II John 5-8)
The above 3 reasons are why Bible study, faith and prayer are so important. We must earn rewards and can lose them. The choice is ours. "Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:14-17)
There are no excuses at the Judgement Seat of Christ. We shall be judged by the Bible. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall last forever. We will be judged by the eternal, perfect word of God, every jot and tittle. Let us learn it, meditate on it, study it, pray over it, trust in it, and especially obey it. Satan is out to keep people from being saved. If you are saved, he is out to keep you from being useful to God and take away or diminish your rewards. Letís take a closer look at the 5 rewards the New Testament speaks about:
To the believer who finds strength to endure temptations and trials. How? To count it all joy to suffer for Christís sake, to glory in tribulations. As the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, trials and temptations can not cause a Christian to become bitter and critical, and lose the crown of life. We must "be faithful until death", Revelation 2:10. This crown is for those who live for Christ and endure trials and temptations in the power of the love of God.
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
|Corruptible Crown||Incorruptible crown|
|physical race||spiritual race|
|Greek citizen born of Greek parents, non-Greek not allowed to enter race||Godís citizens, born of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, unbelieverís not allowed to enter this race|
|Denial of personal pleasures, comforts and desires; sacrifice, conditioning, discipline, constant attention Ė work to win.||Denial of personal pleasures, comfort and desires; sacrifice, conditioning, discipline, constant attention Ė work to win|
|1 winner||Possible for several or all winners|
A wonderful movie about running this race is "Chariots of Fire." Do not be a spectator! This is not a spectator race; all are called to be winners. Enter the race - stay in the race - get back into the race, and run to win the incorruptible crown. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (Hebrews 12:1-4)
This is the soul winnerís crown. To believers
who turn others to the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the
righteousness of God. This takes preparation and training as a soldier
for war. By faith, witness the gospel. Lead others to believe in the
Lord Jesus Christ to receive the Crown of Rejoicing. "For what is our
hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the
of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy." (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great
prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a
time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same
time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be
found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and
everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the
brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the
stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and
seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and
knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:1-4)
To the believer who looks for and loves the 2nd coming of Christ. You must be living right and growing in grace to look for and love his 2nd coming to have the crown of righteousness.
"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do
the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now
ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at
that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his
appearing." (2 Timothy 4:5-8)
This crown is for the faithful, obedient elders. All may share in this reward by loving the elders with prayer and trust. Are we a joy or sorrow to our elders hearts? Mathew 10:41 says, "Receive a prophet and you shall receive a prophetís reward. We must be faithful and obedient to God and those that oversee our souls to receive the crown of glory.
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing
that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:1-9)
JUST IMAGINE THAT DAY
There will be a day when we stand before our Lord with the works we have done since the day we received Christ as our savior. If we die, then it is the works done up to our death. If he takes us up to be with Him before we die, it is the works we have done up to that time. On that day, judgement shall be administered with justice in Gods eyes, according to His word, with no respect of persons.
This day will be a most awesome and solemn event for us. We shall stand before Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. We will be in glory with our Lord, fully comprehending the greatness, riches, and majesty of His salvation and the things He has prepared for us.
Multitudes of believers from all backgrounds will go before the Judgement Seat of Christ. Each one of us will go before the Lord individually, we will fall at His feet and worship him. We will see Him in His full glory, the nailprints in His hands and feet, the hole in His side; possible the same as the Apostle John saw in Revelation 1 "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Nothing will be hid, all brought to the light of His glory, majesty, power and holiness. He will give us crowns and rewards according to our works. Others will receive little or no crowns or reward, saved from the fire of eternal hell. It is a promise that this day will come upon all that are saved. Yes, itís better than hell, but it is still a terrible day. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 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." For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:10-21), "The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)
My desire is that this will sober me first, then each person hearing or reading this lesson, to walk as children of light. Take serious the Christian life and be zealous of good works, which will glorify our father in heaven. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25)
THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST AND THE FIRST LAST
An important Biblical spiritual law is that there are internal rewards for obeying the leading of the Spirit and the Holy Scriptures in this life, here and now, practical and real. This reward is from the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ in me. To experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives and have the fruit become more and more real and natural as we grow in Christ and He grows in us.
Be as a Simple Child - Don't be concerned about other groups - be concerned about yourself and your group
"And he sat down, and called the twelve, and
saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of
all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in
the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto
them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth
me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent
me. And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils
in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth
not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do
a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is
not against us is on our part." (Mark 9:35-40)
The Parable of the Laborers makes it clear that Time as a Christian is not a factor
"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." (Mathew 20:1-16)
Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet as an Example of Servanthood
Our Lord Jesus at the Upper Room washed His
disciples feet. The theme of being a servant and honoring others above
ourselves is consistent in the Scripture, and is an integral part on
how to earn rewards. "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his
garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth
water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with
the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and
Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and
said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know
hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus
answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter
saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is
clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should
betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had
washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said
unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord:
and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed
your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you
an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say
unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent
greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye
do them." (John 13:4-17)
Now we shall look at some events in our lives; past, present and future; To show how servanthood, judgement and rewards are inter-related.
1. Past: Jesus suffered and was judged for our sins on the cross. "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3)
Our old man was crucified with Jesus on the cross and we may now live by the power of His resurrection. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:1-11)
1. Present: Judge ourselves, internal reward.
2. Present: Judge Other Saints, internal and external reward.
How we practice judgement in the present determines how we are judged after we die and for eternity.
When Christ returns to earth several events occur of which the Judgement Seat of Christ must be one of the first and then the following:
1. Future: When we cast our crowns that we have earned in this present life before our Lord Jesus, the last will be first with the most crowns and the first last with one or no crowns. "The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:10-11)
2. Future: We shall judge angels. Our function in this role depends on how we judge ourselves and those in the body of Christ during this life. Will the last be first and the first last in the role of judging the angels? I believe so.
"Dare any of you,
having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the
saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?
and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the
smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much
more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of
things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in
the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man
among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the
unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye
go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not
rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud,
and that your brethren." (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
3. Future: At the marriage Supper of the Lamb there will be a seating order, the last shall be first and the first last. (Revelation 19)
Parable of the Position at the Wedding Table
"And he put forth a parable to those which
were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto
them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the
highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And
he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou
begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou
art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade
thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt
thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with
thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he
himself shall be exalted. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:7-14)
4. Future: At Christ's reign on the earth during the 1000 years after the 70th week of Daniel. Whatever our place is during the reign of Christ over this earth. Will the last be first and the first last? I believe so. Over how many cities will we reign? (Revelation 20)
Parable of the ten servants with ten pounds each
"And as they heard these things, he added and
spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that
the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A
certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and
to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them
ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens
hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to
reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having
received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to
whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by
trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten
pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast
been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten
cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five
pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five
cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound,
which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art
an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou
didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge
thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up
that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then
gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required
mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him
the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said
unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every
one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath
shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that
I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19:
5. Future: At the New Jerusalem that holy city he shall there is a "tree of life that bares 12 manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of nations." (Revelation 22:2) Since there is healing every month it seems that not all are healed at once and there is a sequence or priority. Could it be the last shall be first and the first last? I believe so. He shall "bring his reward to give to every man according to his works" (Revelation 22:12)
The Apostle Paul Ties it all Together: Rewards, Servanthood, and Judgement
15 But I have used none of these things:
neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for
it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying
void. 16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for
necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my
will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 18 What is my
reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of
Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 19 For
though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all,
that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I
might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I
might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as
without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I
might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I
might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means
save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker
thereof with you. 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all,
but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man
that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it
to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so
run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I
keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I
have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians
To conclude this lesson, let us consider that how we live in the present affects our internal and eternal future. To live one day at a time as the evil in that day is sufficient for that day. If we look back, look to the suffering death of Jesus for our sins, and continual brokedness, repentance, confession and cleansing; then to the power of the resurrection for victorious Christian living. When we look ahead, let it be for His kingdom, glory, majesty, power; and rewards that Jesus brings with him.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.