The Judgment Seat of Christ
Keeping an eternal perspective Part 2
by I Gordon
'In the choir of life it is easy to fake the words, but one day we
shall all sing solo before God.' Author Unknown.
In part one of this study, we looked at some introductory scriptures
which detail the fact that we shall all stand before the Lord Jesus to
have our life as a Christian examined. We saw the need that we have to
live our life with an eternal perspective. This study will carry on
from there and will look at what exactly we are rewarded for, what
God's standard of measurement is, and whether we can lose our rewards.
It will close with an Old Testament example from the life of David.
What are we rewarded for?
There used to be a bumper sticker that said 'Look busy, Jesus is
coming!' This sticker is obviously humorous (and it makes me laugh!)
but I don't think anyone is going to be able to trick the Lord so
easily! Our whole life will pass through fire, as we saw in the first
study, to see what will last and be rewarded for eternity. So an
obvious question you may be asking is 'Well, what gets rewarded then?'
Good question. Let's go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and see what it
1 Cor 3:5-8 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only
servants, through whom you came to believe - as the Lord has assigned to
each his task
. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God,
who makes things grow.
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and
each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
Straight before discussing the judgement seat of Christ, Paul gives two
activities that will be rewarded by God at that time. They are pretty
simple... Planting and watering. Simple enough so that anyone could do
them... in fact, even you may be able to!
Planting - We plant or sow seeds through our witness for the Lord
Jesus Christ. This witness is in the true sense of the word of
course... not just with words, but with actions as well.
Planting seeds in the natural isn't so hard, and neither is it in
. God says that the sower of spiritual seed will be rewarded in the
age to come.
Watering - What do you think this involves? In the context of this
passage, it meant teaching, exhorting and encouraging. Paul had
come in first to the Corithians and planted the seed. But it was
Apollo's' job to follow it up and make sure there was growth by
watering the seed.
John 4:35-36 Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes and behold the
fields, for they are already white to harvest. He that reaps receives
wages and gathers fruit unto life eternal
that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.
In a similar passage, Jesus showed how in the reaping of souls,
everyone has a part to play. And what's more, in the age to come they
will rejoice together! There will be the sower of the seed, the
waterer, the gardener, the harvester, and the one harvested in the
Kingdom of God... all rejoicing together. And it will all be worth the
Five different crowns are also mentioned in the Bible for those that
are to be rewarded. Can you name them? Or do you know of any passages
that speak of them? (If you can't answer the first two questions, try
this toughie - 'How many crowns are mentioned in the Bible concerning
rewards?') Check out the footnote for the answers.
We should always remember however that '
neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God,
who makes things grow
.' And any crowns received are not for our own glory or boasting, but
ultimately for the glory of God and the worship of the Lamb (see Rev
Having looked briefly at what is rewarded, let's talk measurement. It
is always important to remember that God's standard for measuring our
lives is not necessarily our own. We look at people in the natural and
think 'wow, hasn't that person succeeded?' And yet God says that many
who are first (in this life) will be last (in the age to come) and many
that are last will be first. For -
'The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks
at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.' (1
Secondly, God doesn't look so much at how much we do, but what we
do with what we've got
. It was on this basis of measurement that Jesus could say of the
poor widow (who only put two small coins into the offering)
'I tell you the truth,
this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the
They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty,
put in everything - all she had to live on.' (Mark 12:41-44)
Losing your rewards
While a true believer cannot lose their salvation, they can lose their
rewards. A few verses are necessary to point this out.
Rev 3:11 'I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no
one will take your crown.'
2 John 7-8 'Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as
coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person
is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose
what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
From these two verses it is clearly important to make sure that you are
not falling into spiritual deception, which will lead to a loss of
reward. Also, it is important that our 'works' as a Christian come from
a true heart and are not performed to be 'seen' by others. If that is
the case then it truly is a 'performance', an act, and the words of
Jesus to the Pharisees would apply to us -
'I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.'
Matt 6:2 - 'their reward' being the applause of men! Some reward
Old Testament Example - David's Faithful Men.
Now, there is an awesome example in the Old Testament (like there
always is!) which we would do well to follow. The example occurs in the
life of King David, and especially relating to David's faithful
followers. Here is the abbreviated background - David has been anointed
as King by the prophet Samuel, though he is not yet reigning in his
kingdom. Instead, it is Saul, who despite being rejected by God, still
reigns temporarily over Israel. While in exile, a small band of misfits
rally around David and become his men. Here is where we are introduced
1 Sam 22:1-2 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When
his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down
to him there.
All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered
around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were
A more raggedy bunch of men you wouldn't find... distressed, in debt, and
discontented with life... yet they believed in David and where willing to
follow him though it meant hardship for them. And David accepted these
men and trained them as his own. He knew that if they were willing to
side with him in the day of his trouble, then they would make faithful
leaders when he reigned and became King of Israel. It wasn't an easy
decision for these men to make however, as King Saul didn't make life
very easy for those who aligned themselves with David. At times they
had to run for their lives. At times they went hungry and were forced
to live in caves as they tried desperately to escape from the clutches
of Saul. Yet despite this, they looked forward. They looked forward to
the day when David would reign... they looked forward to the day when
the difficulties they had encountered for the sake of David would be
rewarded. And rewarded they were. You see we read about these 'misfits'
again in 1 Chron chapters 11-12 where, after David received his
kingdom, all of their deeds are recorded. No loyalty to David was
forgotten. No faithfulness to the king went unrewarded.
Now, I'm sure you get the picture, but I'll spell it out anyway. Like
David, Jesus has been declared by God to be the true King. But we do
not yet see Jesus reigning in His kingdom on this earth. Instead, we
know that Satan is currently 'the god of this world' even though, like
Saul, he has been rejected and will be overthrown. Now, until this
happens, Jesus is gathering to himself those that long for His kingdom
- that raggedy munch of misfits like me (and hopefully you!) who are
discontented with what this world has to offer and long for the true
King to come into His Kingdom! And on that day, those that have
faithfully followed Jesus will be fully rewarded.
And don't you just wish that would come quickly!
A simple parting thought...
Let me just close with a simple, yet true story. It is the story of a
man called Henry Morrison. Henry had been a faithful missionary in
Africa for 40 years. When he finally headed home he found himself on
the same boat as the American President, Theodore Roosevelt. As they
entered New York harbour, Morrison began to feel quite dejected as he
saw the great fanfare that Roosevelt was receiving. 'Surely I should
get some recognition after 40 years in Africa', Morrison thought to
himself. It was at this stage that Morrison heard a still small voice
say to him - 'Henry, you're not home yet!'
You see, there is a 'fanfare' coming for those that are faithful to the
Lord. And it comes when we truly 'arrive home'. Nothing has been
overlooked, nothing has been forgotten. Your life has been noted and
recorded. So make the most of 'today' by living for 'tomorrow'.
'Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to
everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.' (Rev 22:12-13)