My theme tonight is the Judgment Seat of Christ.
I have selected eight texts:
(Revelation 22:12. Romans 14:10,12. 2 Corinthians 5:10. 1 Corinthians 4:5. Matthew 25:21. 1 Corinthians 3:15. Revelation 3:11. James 5:9)
Together these texts read:
"And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man as his work shall be."
"For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
"So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God."
"That every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
"If any man's work [any Christian's work] shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
"Behold, the judge standeth at the door."
Before presenting the theme I shall give as briefly as possible an exposition of the Bible doctrine of judgment. I shall then lay down certain propositions to prove that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming to take the Church to His judgment seat and that Christians will there be tried not for life and salvation but for work and service as Christians. The Lord will reveal Himself as judge. Each Christian will have to render a personal account of himself. Those who have been faithful in service will take part in the joy of the Lord. Those who have failed to meet the standard will suffer loss. The imminency of the judgment is indicated by the fact that the Lord is represented standing before the door ready to judge.
The Bible is a book of judgments. These judgments are manifold and recorded in fullest detail. Some are immediate and brief. There are others extending in their course over a thousand years.
There are four great and distinctive judgments.
The Judgment of the Cross.
The cross was neither the place nor the act of a suicide. It was not a martyrdom. It was something more than a brutal murder (though murder and brutal it was). It was a judgment.
It was the judgment of God against man.
It was God's judgment against man's nature as well as deeds. It was God's judgment against the world considered as a system.
On that cross God was judging Christ His Son as the representative of the natural man and his system called the world.
From the beginning God had been pursuing sin. At the cross He came up with it and overtook it in the personal representation of it by His Son.
He dealt with Him there as very sin, as the Great Criminal of the Universe.
All the essential as well as governmental antagonism of God to sin swept forth and broke like a descending deluge upon that perfect and sinless Son. Speaking anticipatively of this hour the Lord Himself by the Spirit through David cries out:
"All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." (Psalm 42:7)
And again through David He cries:
"Mine iniquities [the iniquities of those whom He represented and whose iniquities He made His own] have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me." (Psalm 40:12)
By the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, looking forward and entering into the ordained anguish of the cross, He pours forth the soul-stirring and pathetic lamentation of His heart:
"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD [the Father] hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger." (Lamentations 1:12)
Out from the midst of that black tempest of wrath, indignation, and judgment where He suffers in the name and as the representative of sinful men, suddenly there comes the amazing cry:
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)
That uttered agony expresses a fact and foretells a condition.
The fact is, the sinless, holy, perfect Son of God and God the Son, the Son who from all eternity was in the bosom of the Father, the Son who in the flesh He assumed for the Father's glory, told Him out and ceaselessly magnified Him, that Son in that hour upon the cross was forsaken of the Father, the Father turned His back upon Him, hid His face from Him and left Him in the sunless, starless midnight of a complete and infinite repudiation; withdrew from Him every manifestation of His Fatherly love, left Him to sink under and be swallowed up by the endless, measureless billows of wrath in which every surge of every wave was a deeper and ever deeper drowning agony of helpless and hopeless despair.
The condition foretold by that cry which rent the earth, echoed to the farthest reach of the universe and pierced with pain the heart of listening angels is the condition of every soul forsaken at last of God.
A fact and a condition!
The fact—that all who have not received the salvation bought at this fearful price of the cross will be forsaken.
The condition—agony, agony uttered and expressed in one eternally repeated and eternally unanswered question, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
The aspect of the judgment of the cross is two-fold.
Because the death of Christ met the law, the government and the being of God, it has obtained a stay in proceedings against the individual sinner.
Because that cross is the demonstration of the unimpeachable righteousness of God, it has enabled Him to bring the world upon mercy ground where He can deal with it in grace, justify the ungodly and still be just. The cross has set Christ before the world as the sacrifice for sin provided of God, and as the substitute the sinner is invited of God to claim.
The moment any sinner be he never so stained, so sunken and hopeless in sin offers up Christ on the cross by faith as his sacrifice for sin and claims Him as his personal substitute, as having taken his place and suffered for him, that moment the Father accepts the death of the cross for the believing sinner, counts him to have died in the person of His Son, counts the wrath which fell upon the Son as having fallen on the believer, reckons the believer's sins as fully transferred to the Son (so that He is made sin for the believer) reckons that the righteousness of Christ's obedience unto death is freely transferred to the believer, sees the believer as having passed through the judgment with Christ on the cross, justifies him before the demands of the law and accepts him as His own very righteousness in His now risen, ascended, glorified and priestly Son.
On the basis of this divine and exact justification the Son of God in His office and function as the Second Adam, the New Head of the race, communicates of His own life and nature to the justified and accepted believer. That believer has passed out of death into life. He is one with God in Christ. He is eternally saved. He has been delivered and saved by the judgment of the cross.
So complete, so ample and so immediately available is this provided salvation that tonight, at this present moment any individual sinner here though he be as black as hell's deepest darkness and no man on earth be willing to lend him a hand, if he will in child-like simplicity take God at His Word, claim the crucified Christ as his sacrificial substitute, say believingly in his inmost soul as though he talked face to face with God, "Almighty and Holy Lord, I ought to be eternally ruined, swept out of Thy presence and denied every joy, death, endless, hopeless is my due; but I claim Thy Son hanging on that cross for such as I, accept all the judgments that fell on Him as having fallen on me and as having satisfied for every claim against me. Count His agony and damnation as mine and as completely and finally suffered there." Let any sinner here say that, mean that in honest, claiming faith and God will accept you, accept you quicker than the flash of a second. He will brush away every cloud of condemnation that hangs above you. You shall never stand at the judgment bar of doom. You shall be saved now and safe forever more.
This is the judgment of the cross and the salvation it brings.
The Judgment Seat of Christ.
This is the judgment next in order. I shall speak of it later on and in full detail.
The third in order is,
The Judgment of the Living Nations.
This will take place when the Lord descends in glory to the Mount of Olives; as it is written:
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations. . ." (Matthew 25:31-46).
That this throne will be at Jerusalem is the declaration of the prophet: "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it" (Jeremiah 3:17).
The nations gathered before Him will be the ten nations of the revived Roman empire under the last Kaiser, the demonized, Devil-led anti-Christ.
The nations will be living and gathered as armies under his leadership, against Jerusalem; as it is written:
"For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle" (Zechariah 14:2).
Under no circumstance, nor in any way is it a resurrection judgment. There is no thought nor suggestion of resurrection in the scene.
The basis of judgment will be the treatment by these nations of the Lord's brethren in the flesh—the Jews.
After the Church has been removed from the earth the Lord will send out elect and believing Jews who will testify that the Messiah, the true King is coming. It will be the Gospel, not of grace as it is in this hour, but the Gospel of the Kingdom. Many of these heralds will be imprisoned, some of them will suffer hunger and thirst and nakedness. If among the gathered armies in this hour of judgment any may be found who had dealt kindly with them as occasion offered, gave them food or raiment, took them in, treated them with hospitality or visited them in their confinement and need, the Lord will count it as having been rendered to Himself and will permit such men to remain and live in the kingdom He is about to set up.
Those who have maltreated these Jews shall die before the Lord even as the rest in the armies shall die. They shall melt away while they stand upon their feet; as it is written:
"Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." (Zechariah 14:12)
The Judgment of the Great White Throne.
This will be revealed a thousand years later, at the end of the Kingdom on its earthly and time side.
At that judgment throne the Christless dead of all ages shall be raised and stand; as it is written:
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose
face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Revelation 20:11‐13)
The dead, small and great, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the king who sat on his throne and the slave who served in his hall, the open and out-breaking sinner and the sinner secret and the best—OUT OF CHRIST shall be there.
They will be judged according to the standard of God in every age: by His handiwork in the heavens as the star written and nightly rebuke to idolaters; by the moral law which was intended to reveal the immoral helplessness of man and his need of a regenerating God; by the ceremonial law which proclaimed the way of redemption by blood and spelled the name of a Coming Christ in every offered sacrifice, in the death of every substitute victim; by conscience which leads men to accuse and excuse themselves and thus on the one side emphasize the demand of the moral law and on the other to confess, even unconsciously, that they have failed and sinned; by the Gospel which invites men to the way of salvation revealed in the cross; and by their deeds recorded and indelibly stamped upon the soul.
In all that motley throng not one shall be saved.
All will die a second time...
This is the final and Great White Throne judgment and its unspeakable consequences to all who shall be called to stand there.
I shall now consider and expound the Judgment Seat of Christ. In doing so I shall lay down certain propositions.
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming to translate the Church to heaven, take His place upon the Judgment Seat and enter into personal examination of each Christian.
2. At the Judgment Seat of Christ the Christian will not be judged in respect to life and salvation, but exclusively for work and service as a Christian.
3. At this Judgment Seat our Lord Jesus Christ will reveal Himself as very God, and each Christian will have to give a faithful and intimate account of himself or herself to Him.
4. The Christian who at that Judgment Seat is judged and determined as faithful shall receive a reward. He will be permitted to share in the joy of the Lord.
5. The Christian who shall not be found faithful will suffer loss. He cannot enter into the joy of the Lord.
6. The Judgment Seat of Christ will have a two‐fold consummation—the judgment of the Christian and the judgment of the nations.
7. Christ as judge is already imminently before the door of the Church.
It is evident no man can preach from eight texts and talk in sixthlys and seventhlys and hope to be eloquent. The most to which it may be possible for him to attain is to be informing and instructive. I desire to be both.
I shall therefore take up the first proposition:
I. Our Lord Jesus Christ is Coming to translate the Church to Heaven, take His place upon the Judgment Seat and enter into personal examination of each Christian.
This Judgment Seat of Christ comes in between the judgment of the cross upon the one side and the judgment of the nations upon the other. It will take place at the Coming of the Lord into the air for His Church.
I have told you in previous sermons that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming in glory. He is coming in the glory of the Father—as His Son.
He is coming in the glory of the angels—as their Master.
He is coming in His own glory—as God the Son.
It will be the Coming in which He shall judge the nations at Jerusalem.
All the heavens shall be filled with His glory.
It shall be as though they were aflame with His Majesty.
The earth shall own His Coming. The seas shall lift up their voices. The concourse of on-looking worlds shall fling down their wreaths of hallelujahs and intone the exultant and triumphant "All Hail"; but as already told you, before He comes in glory, before He is visible to an astonished earth He will come into the upper air for His Church as suddenly, as unwarningly as the lightning's flash; as secretly, softly and silently as a thief in the dead of night. He will call up the Church to meet Him, not the great, outward professing body calling itself the Church (so calling itself from Apostate Romanism and infidelic Protestantism through all the various offshoots, Unitarianism, Universalism, Emmanuelism, New Thought, and Christian Science), but those, rather, who are genuinely the Lord's; those who have been made partakers of the divine nature; who are indwelt by the Holy Ghost and are one in life and purpose with the Lord. He will call these. He will raise the dead who have fallen asleep in His name. He will transfigure the living. He will take them into the place He went to prepare two thousand years ago, into the third heaven, into paradise, into the city four square, the city of the jasper wall, the golden street, the wide‐flung gates of pearl and the river of crystal, the free flowing river of life. There He will set up His Judgment Seat and require a personal accounting from each Christian.
II. At the Judgment Seat of Christ the Christian will not be judged in respect to life and salvation, but exclusively for work and service as a Christian.
And this in the nature of the case,
Primarily, because the death of Christ has met the judgment originally due the believer. When the believer claimed the death of Christ as his sacrifice for sin and claimed Him as a personal substitute the believer was at once delivered from his standing and place as a sinner under doom of forfeited life, accepted as not guilty, justified and reckoned as righteous in the righteousness of Christ and in Christ as his actual righteousness; that is to say, he received not only an imputed but, imparted righteousness.
So clear and clean is this transaction between the believer and a once‐crucified Christ that were I with other believers at this moment summoned to that Judgment Seat, did justice appear before me with a naked sword and in stern and merciless tones say unto me that my life was a sinful failure, or infraction of divine law, and that I must pay what I owed with my life, that rightly and fittingly I deserved to be banished from God and the glory of His presence forever I would turn and point to that great crimson blot uplifted on a cross between two thieves and I should say:
"O Justice, as much as you know of all the sin in my nature, all the sin I am and all the sin I have done, I know it too; but, Justice, yonder on the cross I was judged, punished, executed and done to death in the person of my substitute, the substitute whom the infinite and Almighty God Himself provided. I have paid all the debt I owe to the law, the government and the being of God. I have not fallen short in one jot or tittle of the law's demand. I have paid to the last element of my being every thing the conscience of God could require. God has not winked at any debt I owe or have partially paid. He has required it all. He has got it all, and He got it all in my substitute, in every drop of blood His Son, my Substitute, shed for me. The conscience of God is satisfied concerning me and my conscience is at rest in the satisfied conscience of God."
I would say that,
When I said that, Justice would sheathe the double‐edged and gleaming sword and turn away.
No matter who you are, worst or best of men the moment you turn and claim the crucified Son of God as your sacrificial substitute you are safe. Safe because Justice cannot demand payment twice, once from your surety and then from you.
But, that Christians cannot be judged for salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ is corroboratively demonstrated and proved by the immense and indisputable fact that when they are there it will be in their glorified, immortal bodies, bodies whose very immortality will be the seal they have passed out of alienship and condemnation into sonship and fellowship with God forever.
For, let me repeat what I so often say, "immortality" does not apply to the soul. There is no such thing correctly speaking as an "immortal soul." No such term can be found in Holy Scripture; nor is such a thing in the nature of the case possible, since the soul is immaterial, and immortality has to do with that which is material. In saying the soul is not immortal and that the word is never so applied, it is not intended to suggest even in the most remote possibility that the soul could ever cease to exist. This is not true. The death of the body does not touch it, makes no essential impression on it. You may kill the body, you cannot kill the soul. Once created the soul continues and will continue forever. The words "immortal," and "immortality" in Scripture are applied only to the body and signify a deathless, incorruptible body. A deathless and incorruptible body belongs only to the sons of God saved with an everlasting salvation and wholly beyond the possibility of any judgment for life or death.
The Christian will not be judged for salvation at all, but for work and service done down here as a saved person in the name of Christ.
As Christians we are not saved by works.
You might be the best person who ever walked the earth. No mortal being might be able to bring a charge against you. All the shadows might be under your feet. You may be free from any arraigning footstep of the past, but if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, if you do not accept Him by faith as your personal Substitute you are lost, hopelessly and forever lost. You are lost under inherited nature of sin and original condemnation passed upon all; for, by one man sin entered the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men. The worst man on God's earth who does not believe on Jesus Christ is lost and the best man on God's earth who does not believe on Jesus Christ is lost. Added to this, if when you hear the Gospel you do not immediately own the estimate of God concerning you and accept His Son as your only Saviour, you violate a command given to all, become a sinner if never before, and vitiate any work no matter how good you may seek to offer to the Lord. You cannot be saved by anything you do. You cannot buy salvation by anything you give. It is wholly on the basis of the finished and accepted work of the cross and can be received only by simple and surrendering faith in Jesus Christ. In no wise, in any direction, nor under any circumstances can you be saved by good works; as it is irrevocably written:
"Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:9)
We receive salvation through faith by and because of the unconditional grace of God.
We receive it as a gift, pure and simple.
We receive it by faith and nothing more.
As saved persons we are as much witnesses to omnipotence as the widespread creation about us. God and God alone could and did save us. If in any fashion we respond to and own Him as our Lord and God, it is because He fashioned the way by which we might be brought into union with Him and has wrought the work which gave our souls the impetus toward Him.
". . . it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100:3)
And again it is written:
"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus . . ." (Ephesians 2:10)
I like to take up that word "workmanship," and repeat it again and again; for, that word means, literally, "poems."
Old Horace in his song of the Alban hills and the fair Sabinian farm never wrote such hexameters as the living Spirit has wrought in having wrought us. God intended us who are Christians to be full of measured, syllabic, songful harmony, the revelations of divinest grace and infinite perfections.
The Greek called anything that had harmony and unity of form a poem. A statue, a work of art of any sort, a temple, a perfect piece of literature even though it were the straitest prose, was a poem. The gold and ivory statue from the hand of Phidias was a poem. The Parthenon dismantled and in sorrowful ruin as it is today is, nevertheless, the fragment of a poem in stone.
God created us as Christians to be poems, to be beautiful in all the terms and forms of spiritual life, of living faith and in every word and thought to bear witness to the hand of grace and love which has so wondrously and unerringly wrought us.
Let it be remembered! let it never be forgotten! We have done nothing as Christians to save ourselves. God has done it all. The work of salvation is all His and none of ours, and though the natural man lived the whitest life and lived it a thousand years without a single mistake nothing he could do, nor any character he might establish of morality and truth would avail to save him—Salvation is not and never can be by any work that man can do.
But while it is true that we as Christians have done no work, nor could do any that would save us, we have been saved that we might do good works; as it is written:
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
"What wilt Thou have me to do?" was Paul's first question. (see Acts 9:6)
It is typical, suggestive and all revealing.
We are here, as Christians, for service, we are here to take the place of witnesses.
There are many Christians who imagine if they just live what they call the Christian life and never say a word about Christ they are efficiently and satisfactorily witnessing for Him.
It is a great and grievous mistake.
Before all else we must speak of Him.
Our lips must give clear and vibrant testimony concerning Him. We must tell about the death of the cross. We must talk of the empty grave, of a risen, ascended and Coming Lord; we must assure those about us that there is a present salvation in His name and we must be clear and strong to say there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. (see Acts 4:12)
This is what the early disciples did.
This is what Paul did.
Think of him going into the synagogues every Sabbath day and testifying to the Jews out of their own Scriptures that Christ must needs suffer, die and be raised again and that this Jesus whom he preached unto them was Christ.
Look at him going yonder to Athens, the city of culture, of intellectual power, of artistic refinement, and not only in the synagogue but in the market place, as Socrates before him hailing the passers‐by, arresting their attention and talking to them of Jesus and the resurrection until moved profoundly the very philosophers hailed him to the Areopagus that they might the more fully know of his doctrine.
What a record he leaves in Corinth where his eyes even as he spoke could look upon Parnassus and the Castalian Spring; but where, turning his back upon any temptation to preach with "enticing words of man's wisdom," he set the Gospel of the Crucified before them in "demonstration of the Spirit and of power." (see I Corinthains 2:4)
Surely in all history nothing is more dramatic nor more appealing than the scene in Herod's judgment hall at Cæsarea where with manacled hands and guarded by Roman soldiers he stands before the dissolute king and his beautiful paramour, speaking with unfaltering lips and divine passion to the astounded and brilliant throng of that Christ of God whom blinded Jews had hung upon a tree; whom God had raised from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heaven far above all principalities and powers, higher than the heavens as the Redeemer and Saviour, not only of Jew but Gentile also, even the very Romans before him; and speaking in such fashion, with such deep set convictions and consciousness of truth that he wrenched from the lips of Agrippa himself the involuntary cry, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." (see Acts 26:28)
Not only Paul, not only the called apostles spoke, but Christians in the quiet of private life. Wherever they went and in whatsoever occupation engaged mind and heart were full of the wondrous truth that God had so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son to die for men. (see John 3:16) The light from an open grave so flashed upon them that they could not hide it in the dark of silence. Their hearts were so full of the wonder, the glory and the benediction of a risen Lord that out of the abundance thereof their lips spoke with gladness the joyful tidings.
Testifying of Christ with the tongue, that is the function of the Christian. This dispensation began with tongues. Pentecost was the risen Lord's declaration that He would have His disciples go forth and tell the story of His death and resurrection.
This is the function of every Christian, to talk of Christ, not the Christ who lived and walked among men and blessed them merely, but Christ crucified, Christ the sacrifice for sin, Christ the substitute for the sinner, Christ risen, glorified, the present Saviour of every believing sinner.
You need not wait for the preacher to tell it. You can tell it. This is your obligation as a witness.
But a witness must have a character.
A witness whose character is not good is of no avail. He may tell the truth, but his testimony does not count. Yonder is a man on the witness stand. He has told the truth, the exact truth in the case, nothing less and nothing more than the absolute truth; but if the attorney who is against him is keen enough he will summon those who will declare this witness is not to be believed upon his oath; that his reputation for dishonesty is widely known, he can be bought and sold. Let him do this and the testimony of that witness will be ruined, the jury will pay no heed to it.
A Christian who lives an inconsistent life, whose speech is full of unbelief, of doubt or worldliness, carelessness and open sin; a Christian who continually does things no Christian ought to do and who goes where a faithful and devoted Christian ought never to go, becomes sooner or later in so far as the world outside goes a worthless witness. No matter how much truth he may tell, nor how well and earnestly he may tell it, the world will not believe him; they look upon him as a fakir, a hypocrite, an unworthy betrayer of the Lord whose name he wears.
In order to be an efficient witness for Christ so that our testimony shall have a hearing and the work of the Spirit be unhindered, we are under bonds as Christians to build up individual character, a character that shall verify what we profess and preach.
And do you think this is an easy matter? an easy thing in this world, here in this city where ten thousand forces are seeking to drag you from the path of Christian consistency and faith, and when the coordinate and resisting power of evil and unbelief come from within yourself.
You never know what depths of sin and wickedness of hell are in your nature till you turn and start to walk the path that leads to God and Christ, the path that is paved with righteousness and truth, but bordered with grinning fiends or smiling serpents who stretch out hands to help the traitor in your soul; a path in which some times the Devil meets you arrayed as an angel of light and in the name of righteousness seeks to guide your feet into the way of enticing sin.
I have had earnest genuine Christians come to me filled with heart‐aches and lamentation. I have had them say to me, "We never knew what sinful and perverse natures we had till we tried to serve the Lord."
You cannot escape from that nature. Like Saint Anthony you may flee from the city and hide in the cave, but sin and shame and Devil and beautiful wantonness will be there in vision of a thousand‐fold quickened imagination with whispered word and pictured form to tempt, to fool and lead you all unwillingly astray.
I say to you it is a fight, a battle fierce in which all the powers of darkness will rise up within you and about you to pull you down and away. Neither by tongue of orator nor pen of logician could the super—naturalness, the absolute divinity and Heaven birth of Christianity be more overwhelmingly and unanswerably demonstrated than by this upheaval of evil and wicked antagonism and this internal revolt of human nature in the regenerated Child of God. To live the Christ life, the life of spirituality and heavenward aspiration, to say "no" to material appetite, to rebuke passion, offer love for hate, purity for impurity and unselfishness for selfishness; in short, the dethronement of the flesh and the enthronement of the Spirit, surely this is not natural, it is not of man nor of earth, but of Heaven and God alone.
If you are a Christian this is the conflict into which you are called and this is your work, to meet assault and resist, to go forward, fight the good fight of faith and to win. The supernatural life must be uppermost in you; as it is written:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (II Corinthians 10:3‐5).
This is a part of our function, if we would be faithful and truthful witnesses
for Christ, to so live that we win for Christ and Christ wins for Himself
in us in the life we live.
As Christians we are each one of us called to be good "ministers" of Christ. But ministering in its true sense means serving others in the name of Christ. We are to minister to the saints, to look after the "household of faith," to visit the sick and the fatherless in their affliction, to take care of the needy, comfort the troubled, build up and strengthen the faith of others.
We are to give of our substance.
Do you imagine that God prospers any of us in this world that we may wholly spend our substance on ourselves? The only time I recall the Son of God applied the epithet "fool" to anyone was when he spoke of the man who laid up treasure for himself and "was not rich toward God" (see Luke 12:21) so He said was everyone like him who made his own life the deposit of his wealth and had nothing for God—a very fool, a fool of fools.
Again and again God pours the sunshine of prosperity upon Christians. In spite of their mistakes, their blunders and follies He combines ways and circumstances over which they have no control and brings them unexpected comfort and blessing,—comfort and blessing they never could have obtained if left to their own efforts. And then, when after repeated warnings, a little touch of disaster here, a loss there, they still refuse to be great hearts and liberal with Him, He causes their riches to take wings and flyaway.
I have said to you the Son of God never wasted a moment of His time. He was no idler finding a place of rest in some unoccupied and empty moment. No! I assure you, No. It was therefore not idleness nor loitering of curiosity which led Him to take His seat one day in the temple where He could look at the great chest with its trumpet‐like mouth into which the people put their contributions, their offerings unto God. That He should sit there and watch and carefully note how the people gave, the manner of their giving; that He should do this so that the record of His observation has been written in all the languages of earth, that the rich gave of their abundance without an element of sacrifice and that a poor widow gave only a mite, giving it out of her deep poverty, but gave all that she had; and that the mite in His mind outweighed in moral value the whole sum of what the rich had given; this stopping aside to view and comment on the attitude of the people to the treasury in the temple is the clearest and most definite testimony He could make of the interest He feels today in the spirit and manner in which Christians hold their substance from His hand, how far they feel it to be their privilege as well as obligation to deny themselves and be liberal and rich with Him.
The matter of giving is at bottom a moral and spiritual test.
Many Christians count it no sacrifice to give largely for that which gives them the return of satisfaction, of personal comfort or joy. They spend it on themselves, considering self always first, giving self the benefit of lavish expenditure and economizing on God.
The Christian who refuses to give to the Lord, who holds back on the plea of economy bears witness that his heart is not right with God and that his appreciation of the salvation which for a while robbed heaven of its glory, goes no greater length than the lip which professes what the heart does not feel.
We are here as the stewards of God. We are here to give liberally and that liberality is measured not alone by the amount but by the impulse of the heart, the quickness of the hand and the spirit in which the gift is made.
We are here to win souls for Christ, to bring them to Him that He may save them. As of old wherever He came they sought out the sick, the lame, the blind, the leper and the halt that they might but touch the hem of His garment and be healed, we likewise are to seek the sin sick, the spiritually blind, the morally paralyzed, the social leper, those who are undone and lost and bring them with the hands of faith and prayer and lay them at His feet. We are to speak the simple word and tell them to touch Him with the touch of faith, to believe and "only believe" and they shall be saved.
We are to speak this word of hope and invitation on the street corner, in the seat of cars, in the office, in the store, wherever and whenever the door of opportunity is opened by the Lord. A word spoken in season how good it is. It is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (see Proverbs 25:11)
We are here as Christians to do whatever our hand finds to do. We are to do it with all our might, for the night cometh when no man can work, we are here to mean business for God, and we shall be examined at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the way in which we have endeavored to fill our mission as Christians.
It is for this we shall appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
III. At this Judgment Seat our Lord will reveal Himself as very God and each Christian will have to give a faithful and intimate account of himself or herself to Him as such.
From all eternity He was God, God the Son and God the Word. From all eternity He was in the "form" of God, and therefore the visibility, the outgoing and forth putting of God; so that a prophet writes:
"Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
He was ever the utterance of the eternal silence as He had been the revelation of the eternally unseen. He was the commanding energy which vocalized creation and sent the universe upon its course. By Him were all things made, and without Him, apart from Him, was not one thing made that was made. (see John 1:3) He is and was the reason of all things. By Him all things were and are upheld. In Him all things subsist. He was and is the accent of Godhead. The Father originates, the Spirit executes, but the Son translates the will and the purpose of Godhead. Incarnation was one of His mightiest acts.
As Son He took of the seed of a virgin woman and created a human nature, a nature consisting of spirit, soul and body. He united this nature to His unchangeable, eternal personality. Thus constituted He had two natures distinctly human and divine in one body and one person forever. In this embodied humanity He walked the earth God manifest in the flesh, serving the Father unfailingly as His eternal Son and yet, always, as actual man, real man and true God.
He was a man among men, eating and drinking with publicans and sinners, showing forth His interest in and compassion for men; and yet, there were times when the deity in Him revealed itself unconsciously through the thin texture of His spotless flesh. If as God He lived in humanity, as God He died in that humanity. By virtue of His humanity as God He was able to know and understand humanity. By virtue of His humanity He was able to taste the bitter draught of death for man.
Only God can atone to God; but as the atonement is in behalf of man it must be by man. Therefore although He was God He became man that through His death as man He might atone as God for man.
As God and man He rose from the dead. As God and man He ascended to heaven. As God and man He took His seat upon the throne where at the Father's right hand He had sat from all eternity, clothed Himself with the glory He had had with Him before the world was and sits on that throne today as the God who is real man, as the man who is true and very God.
In the hour when His Judgment Seat is set each Christian will be summoned to meet Him, not only as the crucified and risen man, the Saviour of all who own Him, but as living God and eternal Judge.
Each Christian must give an account to Him.
You cannot give an account for me.
I cannot give an account for you.
You must give an account for yourself.
I must give an account for myself.
That word "account" means "speech," "narrative," "reason."
We will have to make our speech to Him, give a narrative of our lives as Christians. We shall have to give a reason for what we did and what we did not do. We shall have to tell Him why we neglected His Holy Word, the exercise of prayer, the house of God; and why again and again we refused to meet the responsibility of the profession we made or the service into which He called us.
Everything will come out in that all searching light.
The good and the bad will come out.
In that hour our souls will be like the wax cylinder of the phonograph. The slightest accent of the voice is marked on the cylinder. Long after the voice has ceased, after the lips are turned to dust, the very word and the very tone in which it was spoken may be reproduced and heard in all its original force and clearness. Every word you have spoken in your life is recorded on your soul, every deed and lack of deed and word every thought, impulse, intent and purpose.
Now and then the yesterdays come back to you, the outline of a landscape through which you have passed, the breath from off a mountain peak gleaming with the touch of morning light, or a draught of salt sea air blown in by ocean winds, a face that looks at you across the crowd and passes on, some roadway, some sylvan spot where you drove or walked in company with those you loved, a careless word you spoke on easy tongue, some impulse that rose but never moved beyond the half veiled purpose and the plan—this is not mere memory, the kaleidoscope turning of the brain, but the soul rising up to witness for or against itself as its own indelible recorder.
But stop! Note this! You can take the wax roll and shave off the impressions so that they may no longer confront you.
There is a way in which the sins and failures, the short‐comings and the mistakes of your life as a Christian may be removed from your soul. One way in which these things may not be known, may not confront you at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and that way—Confession; as it is written:
"If we (Christians) confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)
Confessed sins will not appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Unconfessed sins will be revealed and will weigh the scales of judgment in relation to our work and service. O that I could impress you as Christians with the necessity of confession.
The Romanist goes to confession. He bares all things. He pours all out in the ears of the listening priest. The priest gives him what he claims to be full and complete absolution.
You need to go to confession. You need to pour your heart out into the ears of the listening priest, not in the ears of any priest on earth, no such confession is warranted of God. The doctrine is the invention of man. The claim to give absolution is treason to God and wicked blasphemy. You have a priest. That priest is in heaven. He is your risen Lord and Saviour. He is in heaven within the veil, seated upon the throne a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. He is there to act on your behalf. This is His great and ever unfinished work. The work of redemption was finished, but His work as priest, as intercessor and advocate for His Church, for individual Christians is unceasing. His ears are ever open to hear. He is waiting always to take up our slightest petition and present it before His Father's throne. He is anxious to hear our confession. He is ready to make that confession turn to our welfare and peace.
The mode and way of this action is very simple.
Come to Him. Confess all that is upon your heart and soul. Keep nothing back. Make no attempt to exculpate or justify yourself. Give up the idea of seeking scapegoats for your own responsible failure. Tell the truth at any cost to your pride. Take sides with the Lord against yourself. Put your confession free and full into His hands and leave it there. He will take that confession and spread it before the Father. He will say to the Father:
"O Father, long ago and anticipatingly I died for these very sins here so fully confessed. The confession bears witness of the believer's faith in me, his sorrow over sin and his desire to walk in fellowship with Thee. I claim the forgiveness and the cleansing of this believer, not as an alien and rebel, but as a stumbling child of Thine. I claim forgiveness and cleansing in the value of my blood and according to the terms of the everlasting covenant wherein Thou didst pledge to give them unto me and fulfill my will concerning them."
The Father hears the priestly and interceding plea and because He is faithful and just to His covenant He will forgive the confessing believer and cleanse him from all unrighteousness, as it is written: "If we confess our sins, he (the Father) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
There is immense moral and spiritual value in this act of confession. As you confess, as you bring to light the evil in you and judge it with the judgment of God you will learn more and more to hate it and turn away from it.
At this Judgment Seat all things will be adjusted by the Lord. All things will be righted and regulated.
If anyone owes you a debt, it will have to be acknowledged and paid. If a Christian has wronged you in any fashion, hurt you by an idle word or the spreading of a false and irresponsible report, such an one will have to apologize to you before high heaven and the assembled host; and all this is in the nature of the case, for the Son of God Himself has said here in relation to this world:
"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest
that thy brother hath ought against thee;
"Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matt. 5:23,24)
If reconciliation and adjustment must be made here, how much more in that hour when everything is to be settled and the crooked made straight.
At that Judgment Seat no good thing you have ever done in the name of Christ and for His sake will be forgotten; as it is written:
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." (I Corinthians 4:5)
The kindly smile, the cup of cold water in His name, the cheery word spoken in the fitting season, the clasp of hand by which you lifted another to firmer footing in the way of faith; all this will be remembered.
IV. The Christian who at the Judgment Seat of Christ is judged and determined as faithful will receive a reward. He will be permitted to enter in and share the joy of the Lord.
The "joy of the Lord" is twofold.
There is the joy which enabled Him to endure the cross, despising the shame; as it is written:
". . . who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame . . ." (Hebrews 12:2)
What think you was it which made Him press forward to Jerusalem in that last and awful Passover time when He knew He was Himself to be the chosen and eternal victim? What held Him in the heart‐break of that last supper when all the shadows were deepening round Him? What made Him bend His will in Gethsemane and yield it wholly to the Father's claim, drinking the cup the Father gave Him to the very dregs even while the blood sweat dripped from His brow? What sealed His lips in the hour of trial and made Him withhold the power by which He had raised the dead and stilled the storm? Why did He not use that power in His own defense and scatter His foes as by the blast of a whirlwind? What led Him to restrain the prayer for the sixty thousand tall, strong‐limbed angels the Father was ready to give Him, had He but asked it? Why did He hang in such amazingly apparent helplessness upon the cross when with but a word He gave salvation to the repentant thief dying by His side and opened paradise to the fresh believing soul? Why did He endure the agony, the horror, all the untranslatable woe but partially expressed in the universe‐splitting cry as of one forsaken? What gave Him impulse and furnished Him strength whereby He not only endured the cross, but rising in moral grandeur and balanced conscience above its shame, endured it, despised it, and counted it as naught?
There is but one answer.
And this is the answer—"The joy that was set before Him." The joy through that agony, that anguish and shame of becoming your Redeemer, your Saviour and mine.
It must be a joy no tongue can tell, no mind conceive—the joy of unlimited power. To be able to speak and by a word create a world, or send a lot of shining systems flashing on their course; but to Him such a joy is not comparable to the joy of recreating a human soul, filling it with divine life, the divine nature, linking it to the eternal Godhead and making that soul one with Himself in eternal Sonship before the Father's throne.
This is the joy He saw might be His on the other side of the cross, the joy of taking the place of the First man, becoming the Second man and the new, the perfect, the eternal life‐giving Head of the fallen race of man.
For the sake of that joy He endured the cross, endured the agony, the hiding of the Father's face, rising above all the stinging, smiling, mockery of the crowd and all the shame, the piercing sorrow of the bloody and torturing gibbet.
He has illustrated this joy that held Him fast to the course He chose and all the horrors He at last endured in the wondrous threefold parable which He spoke.
He has illustrated it in the shepherd who having lost his sheep went out to seek it, found it, placed it on his shoulder, carried it back to the fold, then called together his neighbors to rejoice with him because he had found the wandering sheep he had mourned as lost.
He saw you as the wandering sheep out on the mountains cold and bare, the mountains of sin and shame. He saw you wandering amid the deep defiles, He heard the growl of the seeking wolves and the hiss of the hooded serpents of sin; He saw the precipices, the sharp rocks, and the bottomless pit whither your footstep led and He came down to seek you. The thought of finding you, lifting you to the shoulder of His strength and bearing you home to the Father's fold filled Him with joy, hastened His feet to find the cross and gave Him strength to be nailed thereon for you.
He illustrates His joy in the woman who lost her piece, lighted her candle, swept the house diligently, found the missing coin, then bade her neighbors come in and rejoice with her because that which had been lost had been found again.
He saw you as a coin of the realm, as an infinite value of God, stamped with His image, but no longer a medium of exchange or circulation for Him, fallen into some by and hidden corner, a lost value, lost to God and the best uses of yourself. To die and on the basis of His death to found a Church, send it out like the woman with the lighted candle of the Word in the energy of the Spirit and in His name to seek for worthful but lost and helpless souls, find them and make them of infinite value to God that they might pass and repass revealing His image and be returned at last to the treasury of heaven, that was the joy which held Him where nails otherwise would have had no power. This was the joy that despised the shame.
He illustrates His joy in the story of that father whose son turned his back upon the goodly home, spent all he had in riotous living, sank down amid the swine, and lower than they, came to himself, thought of the father and the far away home, turned his face thitherward with beating heart and trembling step to seek no better place than that of a hired servant amid the servants he once had ruled and suddenly beheld that father coming to meet him with outstretched arms and loving kiss; that father who said so that all the world in every tongue has heard it since: "And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." (Luke 15:23,24)
You who now believe were that anticipated son He foresaw. He saw you as one who had turned his back on the Father's house; as one who had no higher function than to feed the swine, the beast appetites and passions which throng and crowd and thrust their hungry demands of the flesh upon the soul. To die upon the cross, pay your debt to justice; yea, all the debt you owed, rise again and have power to arrest you, awaken you, bring you to yourself, give you vision of the Father's house on high, make your soul to turn and seek the Father's face in willingness to be a servant amid all the servants of His will, and then fling round you the embrace of the Father's love, bring you into fellowship with Him on the basis of that sacrificial death of the cross, clothe you with the seamless robe of the divine righteousness, give you the ring of the endless life and cause you to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, this was the joy He would drink out of the dregs of agony the cross had in store for Him.
Never forget it! the joy set before Him, the joy which made Him endure the cross and despise the shame was the joy of being your Saviour and mine.
But there is yet another and climacteric joy set before Him, the joy which has enabled Him to endure with patience His exile to the Father's throne. That joy is announced in the Father's promise.
After His resurrection and ascension to the throne the Father bade Him sit there till He should make His enemies His footstool.
He promised Him He should come back to this world and sit upon His holy hill of Zion as King of the Jews as it is written in the second psalm:
"Yet have I set [that is, I will set] my king upon my holy hill of Zion." (Psalm 2:6)
He was crucified as the King of the Jews. He will come back to be enthroned as the King of the Jews. Not only of the Jews but of the Gentiles; as again it is written in that second psalm:
"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [Gentiles ] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psalm 2:8)
Consider what a joy it will be for Him to come back as the King of the Jews!
Recall that scene in Herod's guard room where they threw an old cloak upon His shoulders, a soldier's used and soiled cloak, bowed the knee before Him, mocked, spit upon and abused Him. Think of the people, His own people whom He came to save, repudiating Him, sending Him to the cross, clamoring for a robber and honoring him in His stead.
Think of that writing above His head: ". . . JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS." (John 19:19) and placed there not for coronation but as accusation.
What a joy will it be for Him to come with all His cohorts of splendor to make that writing not a shame but glory, not an accusation but a verification.
What an hour that will be when the elect and repentant Jews delivered from the tyranny and terror of the wild beast King and His merciless scourging shall look upon Him whom their fathers pierced and own Him as Messiah, Lord and God, the Holy One of Israel, their own anointed King. What a joy it will be to Him who was whipped and gibed and hung on a robber's cross to come back, not only as the Son and heir of David's throne, but as King of kings and Lord of lords, the God of all the earth.
What joy it shall be to enthrone Himself at Jerusalem, to sit on Mount Zion and for a thousand golden years to administer righteousness and truth to the glory of God the Father, and to the far-reaching and measureless blessing of men. This will be the consummate joy of the Lord.
The Christian who has passed his civil service examination at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be invited to share that joy.
The Lord will say to him:
". . . Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:23)
Here as plainly as language can put it, the Lord's power and authority to appoint rulers on the earth is His joy. That appointment of rulership is the declaration that He is acting in His office as King; that the region and sphere of appointment is the kingdom. Acting as King on the earth then is His joy.
The faithful Christian will share this joy by being appointed a ruler in the earthly or millennial kingdom.
Thus it is evident that rulership with Christ on earth is not a common but restrictive privilege, restricted to those who are faithful, to whom the Lord can say specifically, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
One of the joys in that joyful sharing of the joy of Christ will be the privilege, not only of rulership, but sitting at the feet of the King Himself, and from time to time, listening as He shall unfold the written Word which long ago, He Himself as the living Word, inspired; for in letters of light I read this rare and wondrous affirmation:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the
LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall
be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
"And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2,3)
Who can measure the joy of listening to His divine and human voice as He shall unfold the first chapter of Genesis and tell the story ... of His creative activity; that hour when with His own spoken Word, and as Himself the Word, He set the heavens and the earth in their course ... the six days making this world into the dwelling place of man and the long ordained arena of redemption, the revelation of the love of God.
What a joy to have Him take up the book of Daniel, verify each written prophetic word, the deeps of meaning in each impacted symbol, and on the dust of broken empires make manifest how through all the tortuous and bloody cycles of their history His hand was steadily guiding the march of events till they culminated in that kingdom of stone of which He Himself is basic rock and apex.
What joy to hear Him expound the Gospel of John and from every gleaming splendor of His now fully manifested deity justify the opening words of that Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1); hear Him affirm the truth of John in that wide open and bottomless phrase: "No man hath seen God [the Father] at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18)
What a moment when He shall fully reveal the book of Revelation, the apocalyptic radiance of fulfilled and still fulfilling glories.
O the joy of walking with Him through the sacred ways of Palestine, sitting with Him as did the disciples of old, and with those very disciples again upon the brow of Olivet, listening while He unbares the deeper secrets of the cross, the countless eternity, the mysteries and the endless wonders of redeeming grace.
Think of it! The joy of being fed with knowledge, of having veil after veil of mystery taken away and finding the reason, the wisdom, the love and the glory in all the providences of God, seeing the good always behind the evil, finding the straightness, the directness and the perpendicularity of the divine dealings behind all the complications of the wrath of man, the ingenious malignancy of the devil and the apparent contradictions of the way.
Surely this will be entering into His joy and sharing it. Beyond question this will be rich and royal reward, to reign as kings, to rule with Him, to take the place of associate and interceding priests, to be the chamberlains who shall attain access for others to His welcoming and enriching presence.
Ah! to be kings who shall rule creation's ways and priests who shall lead and intone creation's praise; to be the sharers of His earthly kingdom and to rejoice with joy exceeding in His joy.
V. The Christian who shall not be found faithful will suffer loss. He cannot enter into the joy of the Lord.
Those who have preached and by their preaching have built nothing better than wood, hay and stubble on the foundation of Christ will be judged as unfaithful stewards of the Word of God.
At that Judgment Seat the preachers who have been willing to make the Church a rubbish heap will be fully revealed. Men who have mixed law and grace, the righteousness of God with the righteousness of man; who have preached prohibition, socialism and state legislation; like Lot, have endeavored to clean up Sodom, and like Lot in Sodom have vexed their righteous but unspiritual souls with their daily and manifested inability to keep it clean.
O what rubbish heaps some churches are!
Everything under heaven preached but the Gospel of the Grace of God. The life of Christ proclaimed, but not His death, evolution from below instead of regeneration from above, the first birth and not the second, appeals made to the inhering, self‐redemptive powers in man instead of exhortation to claim redeeming blood. Everywhere the watchword, "Toleration." The right to think and go as you please in matters of religion; modern thought and not first century thought, the word of man and not the Word of God, goodness taught and not Godliness; the present life the only life worth while, one religion as good as another: Romanism which teaches an earthly priesthood and a continually sacrificed Christ as good as Protestantism which teaches one sacrifice once for all and one priest alone and in heaven; Judaism which denies the deity of Christ and looks upon Him as a cool deceiver or a weakling failure, and Christian Science which denies the Trinity, the personality of God, the fact of sin and death and owns Jesus simply as an idea and no longer a fact, just as good as any other system that makes use of the name of God; Christ Himself owned as a moralist, at best a reformer and never a personal and only Saviour of men, the Bible not the exclusive Word of God and by no means the only revelation of God to man.
O the rubbish heaps some churches are!
All sorts of means used to draw the people, street cleaners with their band, base ball experts to talk on the benefit of physical sobriety, regular habits and cleanliness, lectures, moving show pictures, ice cream suppers, dramatic entertainments, social clubs, military companies, minstrel shows, burlesques and dancing.
All this is wood, hay and stubble.
Like wood, hay and stubble, it is big, bulks greatly, gives the idea of being busy, occupied, doing things; but like wood, hay and stubble, the bigger the bulk the bigger the bonfire it will make; for all such religious rubbish will be burned away on the day of the Lord. Not only so, multitudes of those who are brought into the churches, who become its members give no sign of a change of life, give no evidence of spiritual income and spiritual outgo, who are in reality as lifeless as wood, hay and stubble; who have swelled the list of "conversions" and have made a good numerical showing in annual reports, these will be shown on the day of the Lord as elements of churchly rubbish, and witness of the worthlessness of the work of those who "added" them to the Church.
The preachers who in spite of all the blindness and blundering of their wood, hay and stubble work have been really regenerated, have had some element of divine life, the foolish and deceived workers who have mistaken quantity for quality, will in that hour when they stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ be accused of unfaithfulness to their trust and shall suffer loss. None of these shall enter into and share the joy of the Lord. They cannot take part in the kingdom on the earth.
Christians who have refused to give of their substance; who have been willing to spend it on themselves, but not on God; that class of Christians who are always revolting against "expense" in the Church and Judas‐like are continually talking of "this waste," these shall miss the joy of the Lord.
Christians who live notoriously and intentionally inconsistent lives; who openly dishonor the name of Christ; who are impervious to spiritual appeal; who claim the assurance of salvation; who no doubt really believe, but refuse to bring forth the things which accompany salvation, these shall suffer loss. Amiable Christians, decent Christians, Christians who always go to church, but never do anything for Christ; who sit still on the cushioned seats of easy security and repeat to themselves as complacent justification, "not of works, lest any man should boast" (see Ephesians 2:9)—
Think of it! Redeemed by blood, made partakers of the divine nature, indwelt by the Holy Ghost, linked up to a risen Christ, claiming all the guarantees of salvation; and yet, never doing anything for Him who has done all things for them.
O the pitiableness of it. Redeemed and doing nothing for Christ.
And these all shall suffer loss, the loss of what they might have had. They will miss the "well done." They cannot enter into the joy of the Lord. They will have no part in the kingdom of the thousand years on earth. During the thousand years they will be in the kingdom, but in heaven, in the Holy City, and not on earth.
VI. The Judgment Seat of Christ will have a twofold consummation.
It will continue for three years and a half and then Satan, the Devil, will be cast out of heaven.
There need be no astonishment at the suggestion of the Devil being in heaven. He is the prince of the powers of the air, the head of the hierarchy of evil spirits and angels who occupy the dark void surrounding the earth.
That Satan has access to the presence of the Lord is revealed in the first chapter of the book of Job. He comes into the presence of the Lord and accuses Job. This is his role. He is both an accuser and a slanderer. He is prosecuting attorney for righteousness. He will be there to accuse the brethren. Then will be seen the advantage of confessing to the Lord down here. Whatever has been so confessed down here cannot appear up there. But Satan will bring to light every unconfessed sin and failure on the part of the Christian. Those who have been faithful, against whom he can bring no accusation will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. They will meet the charges he shall make by an appeal to the redeeming and cleansing power of the blood and to the record of their faithfulness in testimony when here. He will be finally cast out into the earth and his angels with him; as it is written:
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil,
and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth,
and his angels were cast out with him.
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Revelation 12:9‐11)
That the Judgment Seat of Christ will last three years and a half and that the casting out of Satan is the terminal point of the Judgment Seat of Christ is demonstrated by the fact that Antichrist, the man of sin who will be reigning on the earth after the Lord has translated the Church to heaven and set up the Judgment Seat, will enter into a covenant or alliance with the Jews in Palestine for seven years (called in the prophecy of Daniel "one week" (see Daniel 9:27); that is, a period of seven, and by the context signifying years). In the midst of the seven years (that is at the end of three years and a half) he breaks his alliance with the Jews; now it is at this very point of breakage he exalts himself with greatest power. An examination of Revelation thirteenth will show that it is after Satan has been cast out that he himself gives all his own power to the "beast," or Antichrist. The casting of Satan out of heaven then is coincident with the exaltation to power of the man of sin; and as this exaltation takes place in the midst of the week or at the end of three years and a half and during that three years and a half Satan is represented in heaven accusing the brethren, and this accusation implies and includes a trial before a judge, then evidently during that three years and a half the Judgment Seat of Christ has been in session; that long at least, and as much longer as may be the lapse of time between the moment when the Church is taken up and the Antichrist enters into his seven years covenant with apostate Jews.
During the final three years and a half on earth Satan will sway the whole world through this man of sin, the son of Perdition, the world's last Kaiser, the Antichrist.
Then will come the climax. Christ and His translated and adjudged saints will descend in manifested glory to the Mount of Olives to execute judgment on the kingdom of Satan, overthrow iniquity and set up the reign and rule of righteousness.
All the saints will come with Him; for it is written ". . . this honour have all his saints." (Psalm 149:9)
But, after the judgment of the nations, those who are not to share in the earthly kingdom will, and in the nature of the case, return to the upper city and remain there during the thousand years.
Rulership and participation with Christ during the thousand years on earth is wholly and altogether a matter of reward. It is for those to whom at the Judgment Seat our Lord shall say:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant:" (Matthew 25:21).
VII. Christ as Judge is already imminently before the door of the Church.
This is the Divine and Holy Ghost way of saying that the coming of Christ for His Church is imminent.
So imminent is it that the Holy Ghost says He is before the door. If the door should be opened the Church would find herself face to face with Him, not only as her Saviour but as her righteous Judge.
And this is the announced order; as it is written:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:" (I Peter 4:17).
While many predicted events are between us and the appearing of Christ in glory, many things which form the burden of prophetic warning and find their amplified accent in our Lord's discourse and are uttered and illuminated for us in the parenthetic chapters of Revelation, those terrible chapters which extend from the sixth to the nineteenth, between us and the coming of the Lord for the Church, there is not a single fore-announced event.
It may be at any hour and therefore at any moment.
He has only to speak, the door will be opened.
According to the Word of God the testimony of the Son of God and the corroborative and unbroken testimony of the Apostles, there is not the thickness of tissue paper between us who are Christians and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
In the light of this tremendous judicial immanency the corollary of the present opportunity is immensely self‐evident.
As Christians we ought to arouse.
We ought to make our calling and election sure. (see II Peter 1:10)
What an unspeakable experience it would be if before morning we should be summoned to the Judgment Seat of Christ and learn sooner or later that we could not pass the examination with honor to ourselves nor glory to the Lord!
The Apostle John speaks of being put to shame in that hour.
O what disaster, what shame if for the sake of a dance, a game of cards, a glass of wine, a night in the theatre; what a disaster if for the sake of self pleasure, self gratification of any sort, an unwillingness to be strong and steadfast and to stand for truth, a compromise and failure by the way; what disaster, what indescribable shame if we should find we were shut out from that golden hour, that splendid sweep of a thousand heaven illuminated years.
It is time to awake and let go the grip upon the things of earth; time to let the vision of heaven and heavenly things enter in and possess the soul; time to let go the handfuls of dust we call our plans, plans already slipping through our loosening fingers and falling into the ever opening trench men call a grave; time to realize God in our daily experience, be as conscious of God as we are of the winds that blow or the heat that burns, or the circumstance that disturbs, hinders or makes us turn; time to arouse because should the voice call and the hand of power lift us to the judgment seat we should be ready without hesitation and wholly unafraid to answer and say:
"Here Lord am I."
To you who are unsaved listen to the word of warning: If Christ should come tonight, or tomorrow you would be left behind to certain woe and sorrow which even the symbols given of God fail fully to reveal. At the last you would die. For a thousand years you would be held in the prison house of the underworld. Then would come the second resurrection, the second death. As a forever disembodied soul you would pass out into eternity where the cry of anguish would ring through the endless and hopeless darkness, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
Hear me, I pray! Get into Christ, let Christ get into you. Take God at His Word, believe the record, stand on the promise, offer Christ as your sacrifice, claim Him as your substitute; say, "O God, death is my doom and death is my due; but, Thou hast given Thy Son for such as I. Accept the judgment which fell on Him as though it had fallen on me. By His bloody pains, His anguish and His woe, let me go free. Accept me in His name, make me Thy child and Thine forever more."
Say that and mean it, and quickly as you say it God will accept and save you.
God forbid you should trifle! God forbid anyone of you here in spite of the love of God, the blood of Christ, the call of the Gospel, the conviction of the Spirit and the prayers of those who love you, God forbid you should be among those in eternity who shall take up the cry, not the cry of adoration and praise from the lips of the blood‐washed and enraptured hosts, but the cry wrenched from the sunless souls of the unredeemed, that unspeakably awful cry which shall make a universe to quiver—"Lost! Lost! We are forever lost"—God forbid it.
From Ten Sermons on the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ by I. M. Haldeman. New York: Charles C. Cook, 1917.
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