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2 John 1:8 by Robert Dean
Series:2nd John (2002)
Duration:50 mins 4 secs

Characteristics of the Judgment Seat of Christ; 2 Jo 8

2 John 1:10 NASB "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into {your} house, and do not give him a greeting; [11] for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds." Doctrine in important, not simply because doctrine is the answer to everything in life and the only way to really make it through life in success is to learn and apply doctrine on a consistent basis, but because if we have wrong doctrine and assimilate wrong ideas at the level of basics then what is going to happen is a break of fellowship with God and we end up operating on the sin nature and that ultimately will destroy our spiritual life. John says don't have anything to do with anyone who is off on their basic doctrine because they may have some influence on us eventually. This is tantamount to the principle that Paul articulate in 1 Corinthians 15 that bad company corrupts good morals. Don't hang out with people who have bad theology, they may influence us and it is not worth the risk. When we become distracted by sin in our life, by the details of life so that doctrine is no longer a priority, and when we get distracted by some false doctrine, then what happens is the spiritual momentum that we have developed, the spiritual growth that we have achieved, the spiritual maturity that has developed, is put in jeopardy. It can be reversed and we can lose it. So John warns in verse 8 NASB "Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward." John is not talking about salvation here.

It is our understanding of the judgment seat of Christ that is to provide the tremendous motivation to press on to spiritual maturity. The importance is to understand that we are living today in light of eternity. The reason we assimilate doctrine into our soul is so that we can grow and mature and advance so that the character of Christ can be produced in our life because God is preparing us today for what we will be in eternity. What happened in the Old Testament is that as those Jews collected the manna the manna that appeared today was like the manna that appeared yesterday, and the manna that appeared the day before, and so on. It was the same manna and the people got bored and complained, they were no longer grateful for the fact that they had this supernatural food that provided all of their nourishment and sustained them completely and they didn't have to do anything for it, and they began to treat it lightly. That is exactly what happens to believers. When a person is first saved there is a certain amount of curiosity about the Bible but after they get past a certain level of growth and they are breaking through that maturity barrier, through spiritual adolescence to spiritual maturity, their basic questions that perhaps drove them and motivated them when first saved are now all answered. Now the issue is simply living for eternity, making decisions today in preparation for eternity, and one of the most significant elements of maturation in life is to be able to postpone gratification and do things today, even though we may not see the benefits of it, for another 30 or 40 years, or maybe into eternity. And this is where most Christians fail. They go through spiritual childhood and start breaking into spiritual adolescence and then can no longer be motivated by something that is in the indefinite future. They begin to fall out, they become distracted by the events and stimulation of here and now. So the judgment seat of Christ is designed as a motivation for us to realise that there is something real and tangible that will take place in the indefinite future and that every decision we make today impacts what happens at that event, and that will determine who we are and what we do through eternity—not where we are but who we will be in terms of our roles and responsibilities in heaven.

Seven general characteristics of the judgment seat of Christ

1.  2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." This is not salvation, this is talking about the judgment seat of Christ and about rewards for what we do in the body as believers during this life. It is at this time that we are going to be evaluation on the basis of our performance in the spiritual life during our time on earth. At the instant of salvation we are given everything we need for life and godliness, 2 Peter 1:3; we don't need anything else. We have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and with the combination of these every believer has the opportunity to advance to spiritual maturity. The one thing that makes the difference is volition. You determine whether or not you reach spiritual maturity. It has to do with how you apply the Word of God on a day-to-day basis in your life. The believer who lives his life on the basis of divine viewpoint in the soul, applying the doctrine that he has learned, produces good—the Greek word agathos [a)gaqoj] which has to do with good of intrinsic value. This is what we call divine good to distinguish it from human good which is simple morality, it may involve charity, altruism and many different things. This is not meant to disparage many different kinds of functions that benefit society in a good way. The only difference between divine good and human good is that in divine good one is operating under the filling of the Holy Spirit. In human good one is operating according to the flesh in our area of strength, and this produces human good. The issue involved is the filling of the Spirit and the sin nature, not the activity itself. There is nothing wrong with getting involved with different events that benefit the community, the society as a whole, but it is not in and of itself good of intrinsic value. So we will be evaluated according to what we have done, whether good or worthless, phaulos [fauloj], which has to do with sin or human good, that which has no value. So we are either producing good which is divine good or we are producing human good or sin. The person who produces divine good has something that will be rewardable. A person who lives a life under the control of the sin nature and is producing sin and human good, and that is all he does, then that results in a loss of rewards. This passage indicates that the believer is accountable for his decisions, and this is covered by the word prasso [prassw]. It is more the concept of practice, what is done on a regular basis; what the person has practiced, not on what he has done, poieo [poiew]. The purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is to evaluate believers' performance in life.

2.  The emphasis at the judgment seat of Christ is the development of Christian virtue or the character of Jesus Christ. We see this in Romans 14:1-13 NASB "But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? 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 GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way." The problem here begins with arrogance and arrogance is the most destructive of all sins and the most subtle of all sins. Arrogance is the root of most sins of the tongue and it is the root of judging one's brother. When you are putting yourself in a position of judging someone and condemning them negatively to cheapen them. There is a difference between discernment on making a value judgment decision about someone. There are many times we have to evaluate someone legitimately. There is going to subordination, submission and worship of God at the judgment seat of Christ and at that time each one of us will give account. Everything will be evaluated at the judgment seat of Christ and for those who have failed to advance in the spiritual life there will be shame and embarrassment. The issue isn't salvation, the issue is our role and responsibilities in the kingdom.

3.  We are evaluated for bringing God's plan for the spiritual life to completion in our own life. God's plan is to conform us to the image, i.e. the character, of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to live inside that soul fortress made up of those ten stress-busters, the ten problem-solving devices. We have to learn to live inside that soul fortress, to spend maximum time there, and that means that with every adversity we don't first try the human solution and then the divine solution, but we first try the divine solution—claim a promise, stay in fellowship, and keep on abiding inside that soul fortress. This is the principle of 1 John 2:28 NASB "Now, little children, abide in Him [stay there] so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming." This is the same principle as James 1:25 NASB "But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the {law} of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer [one who is consistently applying the Word], this man will be blessed in what he does."

4.  Those who are successful will be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ. Revelation 22:12 NASB "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward {is} with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done."

5.  This means that at the judgment seat of Christ we can have confidence today. 1 John 4:17 NASB "By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world."

6.  In contrast to this, those who are failures will be ashamed at the judgment seat of Christ. There will be shame and misery for a time, a shameful feeling that is the result of being conscious and fully aware that we have done something dishonourable or wrong or sinful, and there will be a time of regret because we will see all of that lost opportunity, all of that time being concerned about things that had no real value, they were simply enjoyable or stimulating but had no long-term consequences. The failure believer will be filled with shame and sorrow. But in the eternal state every tear will be wiped away, there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, these things are passed away. In the meantime there are many believers today who are failures because they do not make doctrine the number one priority in their life.

7.  The loser believer, the believer who is a failure in the spiritual life, will lose rewards but he will not lose salvation. He will experience shame and misery at the judgment seat of Christ. That will be temporary, it will be wiped away after a while. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NASB "each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is {to be} revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." So the loser believer doesn't lose his salvation, he loses his rewards, he loses everything that God would have blessed him with for eternity, he has sacrificed that just as Esau did by selling his birthright which was a position in the kingdom for a mess of pottage. He was more concerned with satisfying temporal appetites and sensual desires than living his life in light of eternity.

So John warns us not to become distracted by false doctrine, not to put at risk all that we have worked for in the spiritual life by becoming distracted by some kind of false doctrine, false systems of thought, or physical or emotional stimulation. Unfortunately this is what happens to many believers. There is the need to stick with it, which is why there is the emphasis in Scripture on endurance, staying with it no matter how tough it gets.