July 14, 2019 The Judgement Seat of Christ Part 8

The Judgment Seat of Christ Part 8

 

Our scripture reading this morning is 2 Timothy 4:1-8. READ. PRAY.

 

This is Paul’s second letter to a young preacher named Timothy. Although there are some matters in this letter that are specific to the calling of a leader in the church, most of Paul’s commands to Timothy are applicable to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul never call Timothy a preacher, rather a child in the faith and a servant of the Lord. This shows that Paul’s view is relational as opposed to positional. He had a relationship with Timothy and that relationship of love was the springboard for Him to provide instruction and guidance which would take Timothy from effective ministry here all the way into the kingdom of Christ.

 

Paul loved Timothy. This is evident in the first few verses of this epistle. He writes, “To Timothy, my beloved child.” In verse 3 he says that he remembers Timothy constantly, night and day. In verse 4 he says that he longs to see him. And Timothy loved Paul because he shed tears on his behalf. This mutual love is the mark of genuine faith. Oh how we need to love one another more! I believe this church has more love in it than most. But that doesn’t mean we cannot do better. We need to love one another as Paul and Timothy loved one another.

 

Verse 1 begins, “I charge you…” This is a charge, a command, something that must be obeyed. In order for Timothy to know the seriousness of Paul’s charge Paul adds “in the presence of God.” Paul is telling Timothy, and us, that what he is writing is not just his advice. He is writing under the authority and presence of God Himself. The Spirit of God was in him and it was this Spirit who guiding his pen.

 

He was also writing in the presence of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who will be the judge. Jesus came to earth the first time to bring salvation. He came in great grace. His second coming will not be with respect to salvation of the soul but His second coming is for judgment. He will come with great justice.

 

Paul is so serious about his charge to Timothy that he also charges him by the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you see what Paul is doing here? He is reminding Timothy that the Lord Jesus is going to appear one day and that we, His believers, His followers, His lovers will have to be judged by Him. When he returns we will not be judged with respect to eternal life. That judgment took place 1,980 years ago at the cross. He is reminding Timothy that we will be judged for the way we lived since coming to faith for the purpose of reward or discipline.

 

I was reading one commentary about this passage and the commentator was rather bold in his statements. He said:

 

Do not listen to the superstitious and superficial teachings which tell you that as long as you saved you cannot have any problems with the Lord at his coming. You may have great problems when you meet Him at the judgment seat. Every believer in Christ, every genuinely saved person, must stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged by Him not concerning salvation or perdition, but concerning reward or punishment.

 

That author is exactly right.

 

Paul commands Timothy to “preach the word” and he is to do this in season and out of season. The English word "preach" has an almost exclusive connotation of public preaching, but the underlying word in the original language simply means to proclaim. Proclamation, Communicating the word of God, can and should be done not only by those accustomed to public speaking but by all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It can be done privately and informally as it often is. The vast majority of those who come out of self-service and into new life comes through the companionship and sharing of the word of a friend or relative.

 

For this to happen we must "Be ready" to proclaim it. Now, is it not obvious that one of the things that will make us ready is to know it? Yet, how can we know it if we do not read it, if we do not meditate upon it, if we do not let it become a part of us, inscribing it upon our minds and hearts? We must! Do not let the enemy of God's people steal your readiness.

 

To proclaim in season and out of season means to communicate whether the situation is opportune or inopportune, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether you're welcome or unwelcome.

 

We must be sensitive to the place in life that people find themselves in. Sometimes the Word, which is not our words but God’s word, is one of blessing and exhortation and sometimes it is one of rebuke. Our problem is that we allow our natural inclinations to guide us rather than the spirit of the living God. We sometimes bless when we ought to rebuke and we rebuke when we ought to exhort.

 

We don't rebuke because we are afraid of being rejected. That is natural but must be resisted. We sometimes rebuke when it is not called for if someone has already rejected us. We rebuke just to get back at them. That is equally wrong. Most often, though, God’s people are afraid to rebuke.

 

So Paul commands Timothy to reprove. This means to correct someone else with a view of their conviction. There is the sense that the words that you speak will make a difference to them.

 

He commands Timothy to rebuke. This is to correct in stronger terms without a view to the conviction of their wrongdoing. There is the sense that the words that you speak will not make a difference to the offender but you are faithful to speak them anyway as was Isaiah to an unrepentant Israel.

 

He commands Timothy to exhort. This word means, literally, to stand alongside. It is the same word used to describe the Holy Spirit. It means to comfort and to encourage. The encouragement is not to simply know God's love and do nothing, but to know God's love and do something. The exhortation is to action. This is our big, big problem in the church: inaction. This is why Paul brings up the judgment of Christ in his charge: to get Timothy himself out of inaction as well as those under the influence of Timothy.

 

All of this must be done with "complete patience." I like the way the KJV puts it: "With long suffering." When you reprove, rebuke, and exhort, even when your words are exactly what they need to hear, more often than not they will not receive what you have to say. That is why patience is needed. They may even attack you. That is why it can be a kind of suffering. But this is the Christlike life. Take it! Commit to it! Get off the couch and embrace it!

 

After a warning to Timothy that his efforts will be scorned and some words of encouragement, Paul writes in verse 6:"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come."

 

The drink offering in the OT was an additional offering to the basic animal sacrifices which typified Christ. It was offering of wine to the Lord. What Paul is saying is that he is pouring out his blood as an offering. Not for forgiveness of sins, as Christ did, but as an offering of his life as to please the Lord. The time of his departure, meaning his death, has come. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy during his second imprisonment at Rome. During his first imprisonment at Rome he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon but he expected to be released and he was. This time he knows that he will be put to death and he wants. This was his last letter before he was beheaded.

 

The word he uses for “departure” was a word that was usually used for a boat about to sail as it left the mooring dock. By using this word he alludes to the fact that death is never final. It is actually the beginning of a journey. Some boats are on their way to glory and other boats are on their way to the place you do not want to go.

 

Paul is certain that there is a crown of righteousness laid up for him. His confidence in the receiving of this reward differs greatly from what it had been previously. In his first letter to the Corinthians he had compared himself to racer in training. He kept his body under subjection, lest having been a herald to others he himself should be judged unworthy of reward (1 Cor. 9).

 

After that, writing to the Philippians, he tells them of his desire to pay any cost to be a part in the "out-resurrection" from the dead. In neither of those two letters was he confident of his gaining the prize. But one thing he did: he did not look backward. No racer looks backward. They look forward, forward to the goal, forward to the prize.

 

What gave Paul his confidence? He tells us in verse 6.

 

I. He fought the good fight. The Christian life is not a pleasure cruise. It is a fight. We sometimes lose sight of this because of the abundance we have in this land and the many conveniences of life in this age. The only way a believer cannot be involved in the fight is if they intentionally, or unintentionally remove themselves from the battle. But what do we call a soldier who avoids the battle, who goes the other way? I think we call that person a coward.

 

Our fight is not a physical fight. It is a spiritual battle. However, because it is spiritual does not mean it is any less real. It is no less real and it is no less dangerous. Greater things are at stake than an earthly medal and even our physical life.

 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) there is a real battle going on! Paul was in it. Are you?

 

3 For though we walk in the flash, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

 

The way that Paul fought the good fight was by the divine power. This is the way that we will fight the good fight: by divine power which the Lord will give to those who ask.

 

II. He finished the race. The games of Greece rose out of love for human praise. The contest which Paul was victor was sustained by his desire for the glory and praise from God. It is hard to imagine, but it is true that the Lord himself will give praise to those who run the race with the prize in view and who complete the race. To run the race requires that we exercise self-discipline, self-restraint, and press forward when the time is right. But even more than these, we need the right coach. [Illus: the coachman and the horses] the coachman is the Holy Spirit. We must allow the Spirit through the word to drive us and not we drive ourselves. Yes, Paul says that he disciplines his body any keeps it under his control, but it was all under the power of the Spirit.

 

III. Finally, he says that he kept the faith. Last week we saw that keeping the faith does not mean hiding it in the corner of our mind, But to live it and speak it. We keep the faith by protecting the faith, both within our own hearts and from the onslaughts of opposers.

 

The reward that Paul looked forward to was the crown of righteousness. The crown of righteousness is rulership granted to the faithful believer that has come from being united to and cooperating with the righteousness of God in its operation in the present.

 

Are ideas about rewards inconsistent with true views of salvation of sinners by Grace? No, an emphatic no! The scripture plainly speaks of reward according to works as well as salvation by grace. Therefore, we should hold both truths.

 

There is not a shadow of opposition between the two understandings.

 

  • They respect different objects.
  • Eternal life is the gift of God from faith by grace.
  • The kingdom, and glory In it, is a price to be won by those who were already justified by faith.

 

We see, then, that the Lord holds out many rewards to incite us to joyful service:

 

1. eating of the tree of life

2. Hidden manna

3. A white stone with a new name

4. Not being hurt by the second death

5. a rod of iron

6. the morning star

7. White garments

8. never having one's name blotted out of the book of life

9. having Jesus confess our name before the Father

10. Being made a pillar

11. Having the name of God written upon us

12. Having the name of the city of God written upon us

13. Having Jesus' new name written upon us

14. Sitting upon a throne

15. Crown of life

16. Crown of righteousness

 

This is gory! Not man's glory, but a glory that comes from God and bestowed on those who love him and live for him. Keep your eyes on the glories to follow and do not look back. Look ahead. Even this very day begin looking ahead and live for Him in a higher way.