"LIFE AFTER DEATH" What Do We Know Concerning The Judgment? INTRODUCTION 1. In his sermon at the "Areopagus" (Mar's Hill) in Athens, Paul concluded with a reference to the day of judgment - Ac 17:31 2. While in one sense people are judged in this present life by the response they make to Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 3:18 ), the Bible clearly speaks of a day in which God will judge the world [The focus of this study will be to ascertain from the Scriptures what we can about the "Final Judgment". Beginning with...] I. THE "NECESSITY" OF THE JUDGMENT A. WHY HAVE A JUDGMENT? 1. From the story of the rich man and Lazarus, it is apparent that one's "destiny" is determined by the time of one's death - cf. Lk 16:22-23 2. If the "destiny" of each person is determined by the time of his or her death, why the need for a day of judgment at the end of time? B. THE PURPOSE OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT... 1. Bear in mind that there is a difference between a "human trial" and the "Divine trial" of which we speak... a. A "human trial" is primarily a process of INVESTIGATION, in which the judge and jury are trying to learn the truth b. The "Divine trial" is presided by an omniscient Judge with perfect knowledge, so the purpose of this judgment is one of PUBLICATION and EXECUTION of the sentence - cf. 2 Co 5:10 ("that each one may receive...) 2. Another purpose is to "glorify" God for His grace, and to "vindicate" God for His justice! a. Why is it that some sinners are lost, and other sinners are saved? b. How can God be just in condemning lost persons who never heard the gospel of Christ? c. At the judgment, those currently ignorant of the answers to such questions... 1) Will be made aware and come to see that God has been both just and gracious in His efforts throughout the history of mankind 2) Those condemned will come to fully realize they can blame no one but themselves! [So it will be a time in which all will be made known, and the sentences executed. Exactly when will this occur?] II. THE "TIME" OF THE JUDGMENT A. SOME BELIEVE IN A SERIES OF SEPARATE JUDGMENTS... 1. Dispensational premillennialists, for example, believe there will be... a. A judgment of the believer's works at the time of the "rapture" b. A judgment of individual Gentiles just before the millennium c. A judgment of Israel just before the millennium d. A judgment of the wicked dead after the millennium 2. But just as we saw in the previous lesson concerning the resurrection, the same may be said about the judgment a. There will be but one bodily resurrection, and that at the "last day" b. So there will be just one "day of judgment". B. THE FINAL JUDGMENT WILL OCCUR... 1. At the end of the present age, at which time the "heavens and earth" will be no more - 2 Pe 3:7 , 10-14; cf. Re 20:11-12 ; 21:1 2. At the end of "this age", as Jesus taught in His parable of the tares - Mt 13:36-43 3. At the coming of Jesus "in that Day", who will give "rest" to His disciples and "vengeance" to unbelievers - 2 Th 1:7-10 [We turn next to consider...] III. THE "CIRCUMSTANCES" OF THE JUDGMENT A. WHO WILL BE THE JUDGE? 1. The New Testament clearly reveals that CHRIST will be the Judge a. As claimed by Jesus Himself - Jn 5:22 ,26-27 b. As proclaimed by Paul in Athens - Ac 17:31 c. And as written by Paul to the church at Corinth - 2 Co 5:10 2. In some way not fully revealed, even the "saints" (i.e., Christians) will have a part in the judgment - 1 Co 6:2-3 B. WHO WILL BE JUDGED? 1. The "angels" will be judged, as is clear from 1 Co 6:2-3 ; 2 Pe 2:4 ; Jude 6 2. All "human beings" will be judged, as evident from passages like Ro 2:4-6 ; 3:6; Re 20:12-13 3. Even Christians will be judged - 2 Co 5:10 ; Ro 14:10 ; cf. 1 Pe 4:17 ; 1 Jn 4:17 C. WHAT WILL BE JUDGED? 1. All "deeds" done during this present life - 2 Co 5:10 2. All "words" spoken in this life - Mt 12:36-37 3. Even our "thoughts"! - 1 Co 4:5 4. Indeed, there is nothing "hidden" that will not then be "known" - cf. 1 Ti 5:24-25 D. WHAT WILL BE THE STANDARD WHEREBY MEN WILL BE JUDGED? 1. Jesus said, "the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" - Jn 12:48 a. As He will be the Judge, so it will be by His "words" that we will be judged! b. I.e., it will be the words of the New Testament 2. And that "standard" is a strict one! a. One sin makes one guilty of all! - cf. Ja 2:10 b. And it declares that all are sinners! - cf. Ro 3:23 E. WHAT HOPE IS THERE TO SURVIVE THE JUDGMENT? 1. The only hope one can have is made clear in the judgment scene of Re 20:11-15 2. That hope pertains to having one's name "written in the Book of life" a. It is called the "Lamb's Book of Life" in Re 21:27 b. Those Christians who persevere have their names in this Book of Life - Re 3:5 3. Indeed, only those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb are in the "Book of Life", but only if they persevere to the end! CONCLUSION 1. Contemplating the reality and circumstances of the coming Day of Judgment ought to cause every person to humbly consider their relationship to God and His Son Jesus Christ 2. There is no way we can hope to "pass the test" based upon ignorance, or on good works... a. God now commands all men everywhere to repent - cf. Ac 17:30-31 b. But only by the mercy of God can we be saved, and that "through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" - cf. Ti 3:4-7 c. Only by being justified by His blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God to come - cf. Ro 5:8-9 3. For those who will respond to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, they can have their names in the Lamb's Book of Life, and not fear the day of judgment! IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN THERE?