A Personal Checklist for All of Us Before Leaving Earth, Pt. 5
Study Guide, February 21, 2021
Pastor Clay Olsen
One of the things I always liked about Superman was his ability to fly! Not only could he fly over cities and countries…he could also fly off into Space. But as we have been seeing in our last several studies, Superman is not the first one to do that…nor will he be the last. No, in real life, both Enoch and Elijah and, of course, our Lord Jesus, all left Earth and bodily traveled through space and time on into Paradise, into Heaven. Plus, we learned from the Apostle Paul that should Jesus return before our bodies die, we, too, will bodily travel through space and time into Heaven, in the Rapture of the Church!
But the thing is, Jesus promised return could be any day now. And His promises always come to pass. And He’s been waiting for over 2,000 years…so it’s got to be getting pretty close. And yet, either way, every day; your day and my day of leaving Earth is getting closer and closer as well. And that’s why we developed a personal checklist for all of us before we do leave Planet Earth. And today we are checking out the fifth and last of the five points in our checklist before leaving Earth. And we based our checklist upon five of the many ‘must be’ statements that God made to us in the Scriptures. And as we stated, whenever God gives us a ‘must be’ statement, that is the first and last thing we need to know about whatever it is He said. When God gives us a ‘must be’ statement, it is not open to discussion nor retraction…the only thing to do about it is to put in into action!
So remember, the 1st ‘Must be’ statement was “You ‘must be’ Born Again”; for as Jesus said, no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven without being ‘Born Again’. Next, God says to all of His Born Again children, to all of us – “You ‘must be’ Holy”, as in, we must be seeking to live holy moral lives, because our God is holy and He has commanded us to seek to be like our God. Then, the Scriptures state ‘You must be’ looking for and preparing for the Lord’s return. Even the Earth itself seems to be ‘groaning’ more and more, awaiting even its own redemption. Then, a fourth point on our checklist that we need to be checking out is Jesus’ expectation of His disciples to adopt a ‘servant attitude’ and practice serving God by serving others in our daily lives, because why again? ‘Because even the Son of Man, even Jesus Himself, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.’ Therefore, we are to serve and give our lives as servants of Jesus to others.
So now we come to our last ‘must be’ statement in the Scriptures. Besides this Superman comic book, I have some other books I brought with me to show you. And I’ll list them in the Study Guide for your use as well, because they deal with a Bible doctrine that both Leonard Ravenhill and Erwin Lutzer calls ‘the most neglected and ignored doctrine of the Church’. And yet, to the Prophets and the Apostles, and in the teachings of Jesus while on Earth, after the doctrine of Salvation, this is the most important doctrine for followers of Christ to know about and to act upon. Daniel Webster, one of the greatest statesmen of America, and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, was once asked what was the greatest thought that had ever entered his mind. And without hesitation Webster replied: “The greatest thought that ever entered my mind was the thought of my responsibility to God.” He lived his life based upon the account that he would one day give to God of his life.
The Apostle Paul stated: “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Rom 14:12 NASU And, remember, this is not a judgment for our salvation, but a judgment of our service. Jesus bore the judgment of our sins on the Cross in our place so that we will never have to be judged for that. That’s why salvation is a free gift to us because Jesus paid it all for us when He bore the penalty of our sins in the sacrifice of His own life for us. So we will never be judged for our salvation, but now, even though we are God’s children, we are also God’s servants on Earth. Therefore, God will need to judge our service and review what we did about everything He commanded us to do as His saved servants.
The Apostle Paul put it this way, and from this we see our final check in our checklist before leaving Earth: 1 Cor 3:10-15- “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 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.” NASU
So our 5th check in our checklist is: “You ‘must be’ careful how you build on the foundation of your salvation.” Every day we are building things for which we will give an account, things that our Lord will examine, as in the way we think…and in the words we say…and in the works we work, or the deeds we do. And upon examination, these will either be considered as wood, hay, and straw, since they represent unfaithfulness and therefore have no lasting value and will be dissolved or discarded, or they will be considered as gold, silver, and precious stones, since they represent faithfulness to God and, therefore, they will have everlasting value and will result in great rewards.
What we are talking about is the account that every believer will give, the examination of our life as a Christian, the review of the life of every saved child of God at the Judgment Seat of Christ to determine, and note carefully…to determine what rewards, what privileges, what service assignments, and what portion of their inheritance each believer will receive that God planned for them, all based upon their faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ after their salvation. This coming day, the day that you stand before Jesus and give an account of either your faithfulness or unfaithfulness will be the most significant day of your life, next to the New Birth of your spirit in becoming a saved child of God’s.
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Senior Teacher and Director of the former Back to the Bible radio program was once asked on the radio what was the most important day of his life. And he thought about his birthday, and day of his salvation, and his wedding day, and then he thought about the day he would die, and even the day of Jesus return. But then he said that the day that was going to have the greatest impact on his eternity (in Heaven) will be the day that he stands before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and faces his review of his life as a Christian. And then he said, and if you are a follower of Christ, that will be the most important day of your life, too.
Now, those of you that have been with us here at the Chapel know that this doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ is one that we have purposefully examined a lot over the years. And again, one of the reasons we have done so is because, as Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Woodrow Kroll, Dr. Daniel Brown, Pastor Carl Johnson, Dr. Joseph Dillow, and Pastor Randy Alcorn, and more are all saying to the Church that this doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ is the most important doctrine for Christians to know, after the doctrine of Salvation. And yet, strangely enough, it has been one of the most neglected doctrines taught. And do you think there might be some reason for this neglect, or…could it be that someone doesn’t want Christ’s followers to study and learn as much as they can about it and then live their lives based upon it?
What strategy do you think that the enemy of Christ’s followers might employ since he knows that Born Again believers are those that have come to learn that the doctrine of Salvation teaches that no one can earn salvation by their works, since good works, religious works, cannot bring anyone’s spirit that is already dead in sin back to life again. Christians have come to learn that only a sinless Person, who lived an obedient life of righteous works and was willing to die in their place as their Substitute, could then pardon their spiritual death penalty for their sins and give new life to their soul and spirit…give them spiritual life that is united to God’s own life. Again, Born Again followers of Christ have learned that good works were never intended to bring dead souls back to life again. No one can work their dead spirit back to life again. Good works cannot give life to dead spirits. Only Jesus can give new life to your dead spirit. Only a gift of Jesus’ own life can do that. That’s why we have the name ‘Christian’, meaning, one who is ‘in Christ’…one whose soul and spirit is now united to Christ’s own life.
So again, what do you think the devil would now try to cover up, since Christians know that their works could not save them…only Christ’s works could save them. Or what do you think the devil would try to get Disciples of Christ to neglect or ignore now that they know they will never be judged for their sins concerning their salvation? Exactly! What the devil has been trying to get Christians to neglect and ignore is the fact that even though God’s saved children will never be judged for their sins concerning their salvation, they will be judged for their works concerning their service after they became saved! Satan knows that Christians know that they are not saved by their works, therefore once they are saved, he tries to get them to think that they will never have to give an account for their works! He doesn’t want them to think about any coming judgment at all concerning their works or how they lived their life, otherwise, they might be careful about what they think and about what they say and about what they do, knowing that Jesus is going to examine their lives, and then, based upon what they did, based upon their good works, they will either be greatly rewarded for their obedience and faithfulness or based upon their disobedience and unfaithfulness they will suffer loss, which describes the loss of the privileges and rewards they would have had in Heaven. Satan doesn’t want Christians to realize just how crucial their everyday works are nor the consequences of how they will affect their coming destiny in the coming Kingdom.
So the question is: How has he been doing with this strategy? Church history shows he has been really successful with it, since most Christians do not know, nor have they considered just how much this examination of their life that they lived on Earth is going to affect what they will be doing or will be rewarded to do for their God and King throughout eternity in the coming Kingdom of the New Heavens and the New Earth. But the fact is, every believer has an appointment with Jesus to review what he or she did about what Jesus instructed us all to do as His saved servants on Earth.
Remember that latter part of the Great Commission where after Jesus says to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, He then says, “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” Yeah, you see, that’s the part, that last part is the part that often gets neglected. But that’s the part that is directed connected to the Judgment Seat of Christ. That part is the reason for this Judgment of Believers, to see what they did about that part; about ‘obeying all that Jesus commanded them’. Mark it down: Our obedience on Earth directed affects our destiny in Heaven.
Again, the Judgment Seat of Christ is not about our destination of Heaven, it’s about our ‘destiny’ in Heaven; like what we will be doing there, what we will get to do, what privileges and service assignments and so on that God will reward us in doing based upon our faithfulness to Him in this life. It’s about the plans and the good works God has for His children to do, not just on Earth, but in the New Earth and in the New Heavens.
Remember, sin interrupted God’s plans, but it didn’t eliminate them. God’s plans for His children to rule and manage His creation are still in motion. When we think of the question, ‘What will we be doing in Heaven’, we need to connect it with what God originally told our first parents in the original Earth. The activities in Heaven will actually be the expansion of the actions that God directed Adam and Eve to do on the Original Earth. And what was that? God created the Earth for His children to rule, to manage, to steward, to develop, to explore, and so on. This world, this Kingdom was to be His children’s dominion, and they were to share in ruling and reigning over it all with their God. But since sin broke their relationship with God, so they had to be ‘redeemed’, and thus our ‘Redeemer’; and then the world and all creation would have to be restored, and thus a New Earth and New Heavens will be made for all God’s redeemed children to then continue God original plan for His children to share in ruling and reigning over it all with their God. And what do we see God’s children doing in, first, the restored Millennial Kingdom? Rev 20:6- “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” NASU And then what do we see God’s children doing in the final Eternal Kingdom? Rev 22:5– “And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” NASU
So there it is again: God’s original plan for His children to rule and reign and manage and develop and explore will be continued, and even expanded to now include all the works of His hands – the New Heavens and the New Earth. That’s what our destiny is all about! However, and we’ll have to continue this study later, but we’ll conclude with this…However, the extent of these reigning and ruling service privileges in Heaven are being decided now by what we each are doing about our faithfulness and obedience and service responsibilities to God before we leave Earth. Every day, the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, our words and our works are either going to be revealed as those gold, silver, and precious stones, that will pass the examination and will result in great rewards, or they will be revealed as the wood, hay, and stubble of unfaithfulness and disobedience and neglect of our service responsibilities, and will not stand after examination, but will result in loss…loss of the privileges and rewards that God would have bestowed upon us if we had been faithful to Him in these things.
Remember, God is loving and gracious with all of His children, but He is also just and fair with all of His children. And that is the reason for 2 Cor 5:10- “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.” NASU
We will continue this study, but one thing we should take away is that every day that we live we should live it with this day in mind…the day we stand before Christ and give an account of our lives to Jesus about what we did about what He told us to do ever since He saved us. What works of love, in service for Him, will we have to show Him for the works of love, in salvation for us, that He showed to us by giving His life to save us?
Your Eternal Reward, Erwin Lutzer
The Account Which We Must Give, Carl G. Johnson
Facing Your Final Job Review, Woodrow Kroll
Heaven, Randy Alcorn
The Reign of the Servant Kings, Joseph C. Dillow