THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-30-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER: DEATH AND JUDGMENT”
Paul once said, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,” 1 Corinthians 14:33. How wonderful it is to come before our God of peace on this wondrous Lord’s Day!
So let me say good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God’s Living Word on this His special day! We are glad you have put God first today and that you have decided to give this time to Him. It will be our privilege this morning to sing songs of praise, to study His precious Word, and to approach the throne of God in prayer. So, at this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer? Bow with me please!
Let’s begin immediately with our songs of praise. Our first song of the morning reminds us of the attitude we should have toward our Lord and Savior. So won’t you do your part in worship to Him at this time and join in with the congregation as we sing together, “Jesus Is All the World to Me!”
(SONG # 1)
I love the passages in the Bible that remind us of the nature of God. This morning we already mentioned that our God is a God of peace. In fact, the Bible tells us that God offers to us a peace that surpasses understanding, Philippians 4:7.
However, I think that many often misuse or twist this idea of God’s peace or strive to use it in a way in which God never intended. For example, the religious world today talks a lot about God’s peace and the need for unity. These are certainly Biblical ideas and things which God proclaimed. However, most go so far as to suggest that this peace and unity must be achieved at any cost! That doesn't at all seem to add up with what Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-36, there we read, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
So what on earth is Jesus talking about here. Well, Jesus says that he wants peace and unity, but not at any cost. God must come first, and His commandments must be obeyed, whether our friends, family, or church are teaching what is right or not. Remember what our savior also said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God!” Here we have a direct command, no confusion, no exceptions, no wiggle room, for if God said it we must obey – no matter what!
Is this the type of love, honor and respect which you show God? Or do you put your opinions, or the relationship which you have with others before Christ. Maybe you need to ask the question of yourself which Jesus asked, “Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul,” Matthew 16:26? There is nothing on this earth or in this world, which is worth loosing our souls over. Whether possessions, relationships, or even desires, there is nothing we should put before our God and His perfect Will!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our lesson topic today, we will be continuing our series entitled, “What God Has Joined Together.” The specific lesson of the day will focus on the connection between, “Death and Judgment!” So, please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us now as we go to God’s Word and consider another topic in relationship to those things that God has joined together. Certainly our desire throughout this series is to show that there are things that God puts together that in order to understand one concept you certainly must understand and accept another concept. In fact they are sometimes so intricately woven together that as we have seen you cannot have one without the other. Such is the case even today.
One thing that is certain in this life is that every day, in fact every moment and every second around the earth there are babies being born on this earth and it seems that no doubt one after another life is introduced to this earth. On the other hand, as certain as there are every moment who are coming on to the earth and into the earth so to speak, there are also those who are leaving the earth. If we are to think about certainly the concept of death the reality is that as sure as one lives or is born they also die. Perhaps again we can think the reality is that every day, every moment, every second again there really are deaths taking place throughout all of the world.
With that in mind then we certainly need to be not only very conscious of life and the importance of living life and knowing what God wants in giving Him our best, but we also need to be very much aware of and ready for death, because in the Bible we find that as man was created in the very beginning, the very thing that also came after the sin of Adam and Eve was the reality of death, that they would taste of a physical death. And guess what’s happened ever since then. Man has died. We find even throughout the great genealogies of the Bible that one is mentioned and then it says that “they begot so and so and so and so,” and then it goes on to say, “They lived so many years and they died.” This is very prevalent even throughout the books of we referring to the history of Israel, such as the books of Samuel or the Kings or the Chronicles, and there again we have king after king after king mentioned who comes into reign and comes in to rule the people of God and then they live this many years and they rule God’s people and their acts are recorded here and they die.” Then it says that, their son usually is the one who took the throne, someone who was younger and brought into the world, born into the world, who as well at some point will die.
Don’t you then find it interesting then that throughout the Bible as well we have not only the great man, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 12 and other places referring then to the fact that as we have these fleshly bodies the flesh will return to the dust from where it came. That’s what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12. But yet the soul will return to God. So you see there is an incentive that we begin to look at. Death seems final. It seems complete. It seems as if there is nothing besides this, but when we think of spiritual things and we think of the reality that God is spirit and that as we have a fleshly and physical side, we have a spiritual side as well that is of God. Guess what that means. It means we are immortal. It means that we all will live forever. But now the reality is that not of a physical life but a spiritual life.
So when we turn to a book like Hebrews 9 and we turn to verse 27, notice what it is that is spoken of there in connection to life, death and thereafter. It says, “And it is appointed for a man to die once, but after this the judgment.” You see as sure as we live, we die as is spoken, but as sure as we die, we are judged. Now what does that tell us? Well we already know and we’ve already confirmed that this body returns to the dust. We also know that verses like 1 Corinthians 15 say that we are to be those who in the moment of a twinkling of an eye are changed into an immortal or spiritual form. We’ll look at that in just a moment. But we also know then that there has to be something that continues besides this flesh that does not, this flesh that cannot inherit the kingdom of God, also found there in 1 Corinthians 15. Why? Because John 4:24 tells us, “God is a spirit and the things God deals with are of a spiritual nature.”
Now with that in mind, I wish we could go now to the book of Corinthians. In the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5 we now begin to see not only the idea of death reaffirmed. We not only see the concept of judgment confirmed as well, but we have the idea of what we will be judged by presented here in this same text. Now if we’ll look there together in verse 10 it says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” Now if we begin to tie that with what we learned a moment ago in Hebrews chapter 9, there he said that, “As sure as we die and once die, thereafter is the judgment.” Now he says that, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” When will that be? Well it will happen in one of two ways. When we die and are then brought forth in the grave and are judged, or when the Lord comes again. This morning what we are talking about is death, the concept that death brings about a finality of the physical things and then enacts the spiritual which as we see here would be judgment.
Now go on with me there in the same verse. “We will all appear…,” Before what? “The judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he had done either good or bad.”
In the judgment, what is going to be the result? The result is going to be what I have done, whether the things I have done have been good or whether the things I have done have been bad. I determine that. Do you realize, brethren and friends, that every day we live, every action, every word is determining right now, that’s me, I’m determining the way I will be judged.
Now what is the standard of judgment? Well in the book of John there in chapter 12 guess what it is that Jesus clarifies as the standard of judgment. If you’ll notice with me there in the text, verse 48 says, “He who rejects me and does not receive My Word, the Word that I speak will judge him (guess when) in the last day.” What will judge us? The Word that Jesus spoke. What Word that Jesus spoke? Jesus said, “I did not come of My own Will, and I didn’t speak My own Words.” In the same text, He says, “I came to speak the Will of the Father and I only spoke by the authority of and the Will and Word of the Father.” So what word did Jesus speak? The Word of the Father! What Word do we have today from the Father and the Son? The Word of the God! And so what will judge us in that day? The Word! But what is that which we will be judge by? Our actions and words based on how we live within the Word. And so yes, we will all die. Yes, we will all appear before the judgment seat and yes, we will be judged based on God’s Word whether we’ve done good things or whether we’ve done bad things.
If you’ll look now with me in the book of Luke. Turn with me now to the book of Luke to an example that I think will take us to the next point that we really want to deal with for a few moments in our discussion. This example really is connected to the concept of the story or the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The only time we have really a parable that deals with the things that took place after death is this story in Luke 16 and it really gives us a glimpse as all parables as something that not only was possible but probably, that could be true to life so to speak. So when we see here what happens to the rich man as well as to Lazarus, I want you to note with me that certainly it would be a probability of those things that would happen. So we know the story of how the rich man lived and was blessed on this earth and yet was not righteous and Lazarus here had nothing in life but evidently had given himself to God and they die and the rich man goes there to torment and he is so tormented that he is begging Abraham to let Lazarus come because Lazarus is there in what is called “Paradise” in Abraham’s bosom and he is there enjoying and reaping the rewards of the life that he already lived just like the rich man was waiting there in torment already until the what? The final judgment! What do you think the rich man wanted? He wanted Lazarus or someone else to go back and to warn his family, “You don’t want to be where I am. You don’t want to go before God and finally be judged and eternally lost because this place is bad.” But what was it there that Abraham told him? That they wouldn’t hear Moses, and they wouldn’t hear the prophets, and they wouldn’t hear all the warnings before so they certainly are not going to hear one that is raised from the dead.
So the reality is that we have a glimpse of that which takes place after death. It seems like after we die immediately we go, because of the way we’ve lived based on God’s Word, to a place that is in the Hadean Realm, and the Hadean Realm is really different from Hell. The Hadean Realm is that realm where we have a paradise or that which holds the good people and a place which again is like torment which is likened to Hell but it’s not the final one because they will stand before God and be judged. Every man must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. That’s what we just read. “Every man,” as we see in Romans 14:10-12, “will stand before Him and kneel before Him and declare the name of Jesus Christ. Every tongue will confess Him.” So what does that tell us? It tells us that someday even those who are dead, who now are being held in the Hadean Realm whether it be the good place or the bad place, that someday they will be brought back in order that they might be (guess what) judged. As sure as we die once, there is a what? A judgment (Hebrews 9:27)! “It is appointed unto man to die but,” there in 2 Corinthians 5:10, that “we all must appear,” not some, but “we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” We know the judgment is coming from Christ according to the Will of God and it’s coming once.
Now there is also another text, I believe, that helps us tremendously in relationship to these things that we are talking about and that’s found over in the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 because here we have a lot of Christians in Thessalonica who were concerned about their brethren who were dying and what they were wondering is: If we all have to stand before the judgment and if we all have to be judged by God, and if we’re all going to receive either good, or as we would say bad, based on what we have done in this life, then what’s going to happen to those who are already in the grave and from the physical standpoint, what are they thinking knowing that their bodies will deteriorate and how are their bodies going to come back for us? How are they going to again be alive? I want you to notice with me what he begins to identify beginning there in verse 13. It says, “Men and brethren, I don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep or died in the Lord. For if we believe that Jesus rose again (verse 14) even so God will bring with Him those who are asleep or dead in the grave.” Then he goes on to say in verse 15, “For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means proceed those who are asleep.” So those alive won’t have anymore than those dead because they all will do what? Notice verse 16. “And the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
So we begin to see a beautiful glimpse of that actual judgment scene, that moment as we read in the book of Revelation that “the trumpets will sound and everyone will know that day and what is happening that day. Everyone will see God and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.” But now I want you to go with me to one more place again as we mentioned earlier in 1 Corinthians 15 because what it tells us here in verse 52 is significant that that day, that moment when we leave the flesh, when we put on the spiritual, when the Lord comes again, we can’t maintain a fleshly form of the earth because even this text tells us that flesh and blood does not inherit the earth. Look at verse 52 of 1 Corinthians 15. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, the dead,” it says there, “will be raised incorruptible and be changed, for this corruptible (the flesh) must put on incorruption and this mortal (the fleshly body again) must put on immortality so when the corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then the saying shall be accomplished that ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”
And so what is going to happen? Our Lord is going to come. What’s going to happen? The dead are going to come forth. What’s going to happen in the twinkling of an eye? We’re all going to be changed to incorruptible forms. What’s going to happen? We’re going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ? Every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess. What else will happen? We’re going to look again there in Thessalonians and we’re going to see that even those who are dead and righteous will rise to meet the Lord in the air. And then what will happen? Even those of us who are alive and righteous in that judgment scene will go and meet the Lord who are faithful in the air. To be taken where? 1 Corinthians 15:23, “To be delivered back to the Father as the Kingdom of God.” To do what? “Live eternally.”
Don’t you remember the last statement that was made there in Corinthians? He said, “Comfort each other with these words.” Why? “Because so you shall ever be with the Lord.” No more sorrow. No more tears. No more trials. No more death. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? We have something far greater awaiting us and we have a clear picture in scripture of what will happen to those who die and are judged. And then whether we die before the Lord comes again or not, we will receive the reward that is promised to us based on how well we follow the Word of God. That reward after death will be instant. And that reward after the judgment will also be eternal.
And so don’t you realize today that what you do and say affects your eternal destiny? That you will either live forever with your God under the great blessings of what is understood to be a perfect paradise where Jesus said there in John 14, “I have gone to prepare a mansion for you.” Streets of gold! What a glorious place Heaven must be! But on the other hand, we also read about those who will be lost, those who will be lost not just for a day or a month or a week but those who will be lost eternally. Why or why would you do anything or not do anything in this life to really achieve and accomplish what God has offered the faithful because we know what that is that when one dies and is judged, they will stand justified. They will have eternal life. They will live forever with their God!
(SONG # 3 - “Kneel At The Cross!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an uplifting and an encouragement to all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Are you ready to meet your God and be judged according to His Will? If not, why not obey His will fully today, that you may have the confidence found among the faithful of God.