… if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1Peter 4:16b-19)
THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF JUDGMENT FROM GOD, judging one another, and judging ourselves. We don’t like for someone to tell us we are pitching too high or too low or not swinging the bat just right. Truth is, there is something vital in us that feeds off the approval of others and if we don’t have it, we languish on the vine. If someone burns the beans, puts a scratch on the new car, forgets a birthday, or we get to school/work wearing a shoe of a kind, we’ll need some “closure.”
TRUTH IS, WE REQUIRE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF HUMAN APPROVAL because our sense of significance rests upon it. That’s why the Bible speaks of “one another.” That’s why “political correctness” has been so successful as a tool in the hands of the self-appointed elites. Most people don’t worry much about how it’s going between us and God. He ought to be proud of us for showing up in church one Sunday last month. Ok, the month before?
WHEN CHRISTIANITY WAS JUST BEGINNING, Ananias and Sapphira conspired to commit a sin that resulted in their instant death, only minutes apart. The Lord saw fit to put the brakes on such a disrespect for the Spirit of God. (Acts 5:1) It made its point and great fear fell upon a lot of people who knew about it. That event was a public spectacle.
DURING THAT TIME, A MORE PRIVATE KIND OF JUDGMENT from God was also taking place. Individuals were getting sick and some of them died because they partook of the Lord’s Supper/Communion without judging themselves and repenting of their sins.
Today, when it’s time for the local church to observe the “Lord’s Supper,” or “Communion,” it is common practice to include reading a passage of Scripture that reminds us of the origin of that ordinance.
Usually, the reading is done by the pastor and he presides over the ceremony. As a pastor, I did that for many years. I settled on reading: I Corinthians 11:23-34. Verses 23 & 24 conveniently describe the bread and verses 25 & 26 describe the wine (which is unfermented grape juice).
ATER A FEW TIMES, I BEGAN TO READ THE OTHER VERSES in this passage and noticed that a very important part of the ceremony was self-examination of the soul and a warning about failure to carry out self-examination before the Lord. It had exacted a toll of sickness and death upon those who were careless.
THE FIRST TIME I SAW THIS, I WAS STUNNED! I had never realized that the Bible was warning people who take Communion that we had better pay attention to what we are doing. This is no place to be casual and let the mind wander off on next Saturday’s fishing trip. There could not even be a next Saturday’s fishing trip. Better not to participate in this special service than to disrespect it.
THE INSTRUCTIONS FROM GOD ARE: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (condemnation, judgment) to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (1Corinthians 11:28-29)
The verses that caught my attention are: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (Are dead.) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged (1 Corinthians 11:30-31)
Then, He explains what happens when we are judged of the Lord: But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1Corinthians 11:32) God is going to judge the world, as a group, at a later time and the result will be their eternal doom.
BUT THE LORD DEALS WITH HIS OWN IN A SEPARATE SETTING. He wants us to judge ourselves here and now. If we do not judge ourselves, God will lay His chastening hand on us. This may result in sickness or it may result in death. There is a sin unto death for the Christian. Another situation involving a sinning Christian came up at Corinth and Paul instructed them: To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1Corinthians 5:5)
THERE IS A SPECIAL JUDGMENT FOR CHRISTIANS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST; For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2Corinthians 5:10)
This judgment will be attended only by saved people who are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). This judgment is not to see if people are going to be saved. This judgment is for evaluating the works and service of Christians and will result in the receiving or loss of rewards given for faithful service. We are saved by grace and do not earn salvation so that is not part of this judgment of rewards. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)
THIS DID NOT MEAN THAT HE WAS COMING SOON FOR THEM, but when He does come, it will be sudden. This is the bema seat, much like the rewarding stands in the Roman games. They understood what it meant. Don’t let someone influence you to not be the Christian God wants you to be. Hold on to what you have. It’s not talking about your eternal salvation. It’s talking about your faithful service to Christ after you are saved.
WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT THE SEPARATE JUDGMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN. It is not part of the Great White Throne that lost people will be brought to and sentenced to eternal doom. At the Great White Throne Judgment, the lost dead people are raised from the dead to be judged and sentenced. No saved people will be in this judgment.
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 them. (They tried to run away but there was place for them to run.) 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. (Revelation 20:11-12)
IN CLOSING, LET'S SWITCH BACK TO OUR ORIGINAL THEME: Judgment beginning at the House of God. The Apostle John explained it this way: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (1John 5:16-17)
CONCLUSION: Judgment at the House of God has been going on from the beginning of the church in the Book of Acts. Peter talked about it in the present tense: “is come.” Then he said that if we “suffer according to the will of God” to commit the keeping of our souls unto Him who is a faithful creator.
Suffering may be at the hands of persecutors, at the hands of our Heavenly Father who is chastening us to obtain a better behavior in this life.
We also may be allowed to suffer from accidents or sickness that may come upon us unexplained and not understood. These things are not from judgment and the explanation is known only to the Lord. Trust God as a faithful creator who loves us. We are only here for a short time. Determine that you are going to walk with God all the way to the gate of Heaven! Got it? Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 18, 2018 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. 1Samuel 25-26 P.M. Luke 16:19-31
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Please note: If you are behind in your reading, you may want to link in today and go back to where you have been reading. This will help you to eventually catch up. I read here on Bible Gateway and read YouVersion on my iPhone.
Good Memory Verse:
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1Peter 4:10)
Song for Today:
Now I Belong to Jesus (2:25) – (Haven of Rest Quartet)
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