unhappy in closet

I don’t know if this article should be entitled, “Misunderstood Scriptures,” or “Ignored Scriptures. I think it falls into the “ignored” category.

Last week we learned some very serious truths about the kingdom of God. When that kingdom comes with the return of Jesus, Christians should be ready, Jesus taught. Active in their pursuit of God. Not engaging in worldliness and inebriating themselves because they want to escape a reality that is not going according to their wishes and that offers no assurance of Jesus’ immediate return. Not judgmentally beating up on God’s servants because they are behaving as badly as they are.

This week, we’re going to delve a little deeper into that reality—because God’s kingdom is coming. It will come. We just don’t know when. Regardless, when it arrives, all believers will stand before Jesus so their works done in His name will be judged.

When my wife was a young Christian, she had a short but startling dream. Jesus was returning, and she heard a sound like everything was being sucked away in an instant. The message she received loud and clear from this was that when the Lord returns, it will happen quickly, and when it happens, it is…over.

No pause.

No “Wait a minute—I’m not ready.”

Over. Blink of an eye. Boom. Done.

Now, let me hasten to clarify that we don’t rely upon dreams or visions for truth, truth that supersedes Scripture. However, Jesus did say that He was coming “quickly.” As far as we’re concerned, Laurie’s dream confirmed this biblical truth.

Keeping this in mind, let’s consider the following passage to which I referred earlier:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. (2 Corinthians 5:10–11a).

Who is the “we” who will be appearing before Jesus’ judgment seat? Well, the verses that precede this clearly indicated the Paul is addressing believers:

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:6–9).

Please note that Paul says in regard to standing before Jesus, “…knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”

Please, reader, regard this as an article of persuasion.

And there is this:

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10–12).

Each of “us”—Christians—will give an account of ourselves to God. Are you ready to do so? God judges and will judge believers. You and I should not and will not. We Christians are to remain biblically discerning but reject condemning each other for behaviors and beliefs that may not line up with ours. But this is another topic for another time.

And there is this:

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:11–15).

These three passages should cause us to sit up and take serious notice.

This day will come. It will come as surely as the sun rises in the morning. If you are a Christian, you should seriously consider your life with Jesus. Are you intoxicated with the things of the world? Is your gathering with other believers done by rote? Is your Bible reading yadda-yadda-more-of-same? Are you willing and able to talk about Jesus or God when opportunities arrive?

I will end this article with a testimony from William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. I trust it will offer food for thought.

“Early in his Christian life, William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, had a vision of the judgment seat. He saw that every day of his life, every thought and every deed had been recorded to be evaluated, examined and judged. When Jesus approached him, he was overwhelmed by the wonder of His presence and the saints and martyrs who were gathered around. When Jesus looked at him, it was not a look of approval. Jesus said, “Thou wilt feel thyself little in harmony with these, once the companions of My tribulations and now of My glory, who counted not their lives dear unto themselves in order that they might bring honor to Me and salvation to men.” Jesus then gave a look of admiration at the apostles, martyrs and warriors gathered around Him. William Booth said that he would have died one hundred times, that he would have been willing to be torn apart by wild animals, simply to receive that look of approval that He gave to the apostles and martyrs.”2

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

2General William Booth, Is This Your Life? (The Salvation Army).

 

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