Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

Living in Light of Eternity


Living in Light of Eternity


“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10); “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13); "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. 15"And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16"Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17"In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18"But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money. 19"Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20"And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents.' 21"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.' 22"The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents.' 23"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' 24"And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground; see, you have what is yours.' 26"But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no seed. 27'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.' 29"For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30"And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:14-30); “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:7-9).


Ultimate Accountability


In this life certain things remind us that we are accountable, such as a job performance review.  Yet, sometimes people can ignore or avoid accountability.  We might tune out the lecture or advise someone is giving us, avoid those who hold us accountable, or say the things we think they want to hear in order to get them off our backs.  Yet there is coming an evaluation that we cannot miss, ignore, or avoid, that is, our standing before God at the judgment.  “I don’t know how it impacts you to know that your work today will someday be reviewed before Christ.  It hits me pretty solidly, and it makes me want to stop and consider what I’m doing” (Keeping Your Ethical Edge Sharp p. 204).  Paul felt the same sense of responsibility, “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11).


Motivation to Change


If we really believe that we will stand before Christ one day in judgment and answer for our words, our deeds, and how we treated people, and so on, then we would come to the following conclusions:  1.  I need to stop making excuses for my sins and lack of spiritual growth, for God will not accept those excuses.  2.  God is not impressed with people who quit (Galatians 6:9 “if we do not grow weary”; Luke 18:8 “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”).   Sometimes people will be living the Christian life and will be enduring various trials because of their faith and they will say, “I do not need this”.  Yet, God says that we do need such things (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4), and that we should not be offended, shocked, or surprised that being a faithful Christian will involve trials and confrontations with evil and the world (“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” John 15:18; “When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world” (1 Corinthians 4:12-13); “For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).  3.  I need to be careful that I do not develop a “who cares” attitude.  It is so easy to become calloused in this life, and simply ignore your faults and become defensive every time someone tries to help you.  It is equally easy to write off the rest of the human race and have no compassion for the lost.  4.  Remember, God will hold us accountable for our thoughts and attitudes “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  5.  There are always attitudes that God despises that are popular or justified in the world(Proverbs 6:16-19).


Motivation To Be Involved


One day we will be judged for what we actually did.  How much effort did we put into trying to teach others the gospel?  (Acts 8:4) How involved where we in the local congregation?  (Ephesians 4:16; Hebrews 10:24-25)  How did we treat others in need?(Matthew 25:31-46)  Did God’s work receive our time and efforts?  Did we use our abilities to further the kingdom of God? (Matthew 25:14ff)   In this life often people avoid responsibility.  People refuse to keep appointments, they refuse to return phone calls, or they avoid someone who wants to talk to them.  Judgment Day is an appointment that everyone will keep.  For a while in this life one can avoid God, His truth, and His people, but everyone will be present to answer for why they did not serve Him. Matthew notes that “all nations” will be gathered together at the judgment seat of Christ (Matthew 25:32), even nations that predominately rejected Him or considered themselves too advanced or enlightened for Christianity. 


Motivation To Live By A Higher Standard


We need to remember that we are not going to be judged by some human standard of right and wrong.  Neither are we going to be judged by what others did or did not do.  Remember Jesus said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others?  Do no even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47); “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (5:20). 


Motivation To Abstain From Evil


We are going to stand before Jesus, who died for our sins.  “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  And all the nations will be gathered before Him” (Matthew 5:31-32); “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).  “Knowing that we will look directly into the eyes of the One who bore all of our sins and knows us through and through, and that He will look back into our eyes and speak in our hearing whatever conclusion He wants to pronounce on our earthly existence, ought to make a radical difference in us right now”(pp. 206-207).


Motivation To Get Rid Of Hidden Sins


“The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after” (1 Timothy 5:24).  “Let me underscore that no one has any idea what the exact nature of the judgment seat of Christ will be.  Perhaps many things will be kept quiet; maybe every last moment of our lives will be laid bare.  This is certain:  We will be held accountable for the way we have lived.  Perhaps a rule of thumb to adopt as we make moral choices is that we’ll never do anything privately that we’d be ashamed to have known publicly.  In heaven, it sounds like there will be no secrets anymore.  It will be appropriate to open the files and air out the closets” (p. 206).  James says, “So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:12).   In the past God has aired the sins of even the most faithful and has not hesitated to have them publicly exposed, like Moses, David, and Peter (Numbers 20:12; 2 Samuel 11; Galatians 2:11-13).  In this life, and in this country of so many freedoms, people can do a number of evil things and never get caught.  Yet someone is watching, and we will be asked to give an account for our behavior, “all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).


Motivation For Daily Living


By “daily living” I mean the routine things and events of each day, things that we can consider unimportant in the eternal scheme of things.  Paul said, “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…Masters grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 3:23-4:1).  “We have an additional motivation to work with excellence:  you’ll be rewarded for it.  I believe the Bible’s teaching is that, in view of the judgment seat of Christ, we should do the following:  obey the authority of our employers; do the very best job we can on behalf of the company’s objectives; treat coworkers with respect and fairness and customers with dignity and honesty; resolve conflicts as best we can in a healthy manner; use our income wisely and not squander it; respect company property; give an honest day’s labor for our wages; and pray for those we work with” (pp. 205-206).  It is easy to forget that God will examine how we went about our daily work, and how we handled ourselves on the job. 


Motivation To Remain Positive


“And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22"Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23"Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24"But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25"Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26"Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:20-26).


It is easy to become beaten down in this life, especially when so many voices in the world are saying to the Christian that they are wrong.  Yet Jesus notes that persecution, slander, threats, and ostracism, because good things and they are a good indication that you are living distinctively for God. 


Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017