JUDGED BY THE WORD
A long time ago, I used to watch Star Trek The Next Generation. While I have forgotten a lot of the details of the shows† watched, I remember one episode where they visit this planet where they all seemed to do was have fun and there appeared to be no rules. So, Wesley, who was the son of the doctor on the ship started having fun on this planet with the other kids that were around his age. They were playing some kind of ball game when the ball was missed and went to a grassy plot† of ground. Wesley did not think anything about it, so he went on the grass and retrieved the ball while the others stared at him in disbelief.
Wesley did not know it, but that field of grass was off limits and anyone caught on it was to be put to death. Imagine how scary it would be to be judged when you do not laws of the land especially for something as innocent as stepping on some grass.
As Christians, we should be thankful that we do not have to face the unknown when it comes to the judgement day because we have been given the Word of God. Consider the following about the Word of God.
The message we read in our Bibles is God breathed:
ESV 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,† 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.† †
It is the truth according to John 17:17 and Jesus says:
John 8:32† "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Jesus came to this earth and began to preach the words of life and He confirmed what He was teaching came from the Father:
John 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
Without the doctrine that Christ brought us, we cannot have the Son or the Father according to:
2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.† 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
The writer of Hebrews says:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Jesus affirms this about His Word:
Matthew 24:35 †"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
We are also taught in 2 Thess. 1:7-9 that if we do not know God or obey the Gospel, we will face everlasting destruction before the Lord. No wonder Paul told Timothy:
KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
No wonder Peter proclaimed:
2 Peter 3:18 †but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I want you to notice the reaction of Felix in:
Acts 24:24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.† 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."
Felix became afraid when Paul was telling him about the judgment day because he knew that he was not right with God. The judgment day will be a scary day for all those who are not prepared for it. Those who have not read and studied Godís Word will be clueless for what they will face at the judgment day, but for those of us who have loved the Lord and prepared ourselves with the Word of God, we will be ready and know what to expect when that day comes.
Before I talk more about the judgment day, I want to talk about some of the events that will happen on that day. Unlike many denominational groups that claim Jesus is coming soon because the signs are right is not what the Bible teaches. Jesus said Himself:
Matthew 24:36 " But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.† 37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.† 38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,† 39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
You can believe what man teaches if you want to, but I am going to take what Jesus said to heart. He says that no one knows when He is coming except the Father. So there is no confusion, He gives an example of how it is going to be. He said it is going to like the people during Noahís day. They will continue enjoying life and though they were warned that God was going to unleash a great punishment on them, none of them repented and they just continued living their lives. On the day of judgment, Noah and his family we are safely on board the ark, while all the others would be lost because they did not listen or prepare themselves for that day. There was nothing they could do about because that day came on them unexpectedly. The same thing is going to happen when Jesus comes back again. Yes, it could be soon. For example, He could come back today or it could a thousands years from now, but as Jesus said on the Father knows when He is coming back, but if we are not prepared, we too will like those outside the ark except it will more than death, it will mean eternal separation from God in horrible place called hell.
Letís take a quick look at some of things the Bible says about Jesusí second coming.
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.† 2 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.† 3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Jesus has gone off to prepare a place for us and He will come back and we will be where He is. Not only does this tell us that He is coming back, but that it is going to be a good thing because it means we will be Him for eternity. No wonder Paul said:
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.† 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Also consider what:
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,† 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.†
These verses also show that Jesus will appear a second time, but they also show that there are no second chances. Your only hope of making heaven your home takes places while you are living on this earth because once you die, the only thing that is left is the judgment. This tells, we better make the best use our time we have.
When Jesus returns it will not be secret because it will be a loud visible return:
Acts 1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.† 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,† 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
1 Thessalonians 4:16 †For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.† 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.† 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
These verses teach the opposite of what some denominations teach today because some of them say that Jesusí second coming will be secret, yet our verses clearly show it will be a visible coming that a noisy one. Also you will notice that the righteous will meet Him in the air. He will not be coming back to the earth to set up some supposed 1000 year kingdom because He finished His work on the earth as
John 17:4 "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
When Jesus comes back there will be no earth to setup a 1000 year kingdom because Peter says:
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.† 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,† 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
Not only do these verses show that the earth will be burned up, it points out again that Jesus will come when we are not expecting it because there are no signs for us to look for to know that He is about to come especially those found in the first part of Mt. 24, which describes signs that† would happen before the destruction of Jerusalem.
When Jesus comes back again it will not be just for the righteous it will also be the Day of Judgment when all our judged.
John 5:28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice† 29 "and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
2 Corinthians 5:10 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.
Jesus describes the Judgment scene:
Matthew 25:31 " When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.† 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.† 33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.† 34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:† 35 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;† 36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'† 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?† 38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?† 39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'† 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'† 41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:† 42 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;† 43 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'† 44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'† 45 "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'† 46 "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."†
Everyone will be raised and† judged by Jesus on the day He comes back:
Acts 17:30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,† 31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Here is the great part for all Christians who have lived faithful lives toward God because we will not be judged by opinion or manís doctrine, we will be judged by the Word of God:
John 12:48 ††"He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
Revelation 20:12 †And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
As a Christian, this should bring you great comfort because you can know exactly what you are judged by. Whether it is your words (Mt. 12:36) or your actions you can know what God is going to pleased with and what He considers as sin. While the Bible does not tell every detail about the judgment day, it tells what we need to know to make it into heaven, but if you are unprepared then you will be like the 5 virgins in the following parable:
Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.† 2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.† 3 "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,† 4 "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.† 5 "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.† 6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'† 7 "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.† 8 "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'† 9 "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'† 10 "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.† 11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'† 12 "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'† 13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
It is not enough to simply call yourself a Christian. No, we are only promised heaven when we actively follow the way of God.
Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Revelation 2:10 †Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
You and I do not have any valid excuses we can offer Jesus on the Day of Judgment. We cannot say I did not have time to read your Word or try and blame our fate on the preacher or others because you never heard the whole truth taught to you. We will stand on our own merit and be judged.
The question becomes, How does your life measure up to the Word of God? Are you a walking epistle of truth or are walking epistle of the world?
What I hope you walk away with this morning is that fact that you have Godís breathed word in your Bibles. You can know with certainty that the Judgement Day is coming. You can know that you will be judged based on what is written in the N.T. and not manís opinion or doctrine. Jesus is coming back. It could be today. It could be 1000 years from now, but what is important is that you live your life in such a way that it does not matter when you die or when He comes back because if you live each day for the Lord, you will be prepared to meet your maker with confidence. The worse thing you could do is to think that you have plenty of time because you do not know that. If you are Christian, and you have been slacking off, I hope you will change your ways. If you have never become a Christian, I hope you understand your condition because you are lost and will not make it into heaven. You will condemned to hell by the very words of the N.T. that you have ignored. So, I hope you realize that today is the day of salvation.