It is that time of the year, when students at all levels are looking forward to wrapping up another school year or even better, graduating! I am sure that most of us remember the joy of getting done, but also the burden of completing the last task. Those tasks could be a project, a paper, other requirement or probably a final exam. I do not know many people that enjoy final exams. Yet, these intentional milestones, believe it or not, serve a good purpose in motivating us to learn and grow!
I have been on a mission over the last year exploring the depths of God Word related to what He has revealed about the future. It has been a mentally strenuous journey that has rewarded me with a number of Biblical perspectives that flood me with hope, courage and light during this dark times. I will continue to unpack these insights over the summer in our series on Revelation. This is one insight that I wanted to share related to the believer in Jesus’ “final exam.” Apostle Paul uses this reminder to encourage and motivate the Corinthians believers when he writes, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) I touched on this briefly in my sermon, “What does it matter?” questioning why should we be concerned about Biblical prophecy. This verse reminds us that is matters because we must give an account for how we have spent our lives. Now, before your mind races off to false conclusions, let me point out a few brief insights. First, this even is only for those that have surrendered their lives to Jesus. It also applies to every Christian from the birth of the church until Jesus’ return at the Rapture. The judgement spoken of here is not a trial to convict us of sin but to reward us for obedience. One use in the ancient world for the “judgement seat” referred to the podium when those that completed the race according to the rules would be rewarded. We know that at this event what we have done for the Lord will be tested. The good will be reward and the evil will not be rewarded. It behooves us then to be intentional about how we spend our lives. This is one of the great values of a final exam.
Just like a teacher or professor that tests based on the lecture and reading, the Bible reveals at least 15 areas that Jesus will be looking at in your life and mine. Here is a quick list of what is on the exam from “The End” by Mark Hitchcock:
- How we treat other believers. (Mt. 10:41-42; Heb. 6:10)
- How we use our God given talents and abilities. (Mt. 25:14-29; Lk. 19:11-26; 1Co.12:4,7;
2 Ti. 1:6; 1Pe.4:10)
- How we use our money. (Mt.6:1-4; 1Ti.6:17-19)
- How we endure personal injustice. (Mt.5:11-12; Mk.10:29-30; Lk.6:27-28, 35; Ro.8:18; 2Co.4:17; 1Pe.4:12-13)
- How we endure suffering and difficulties. (Ja.1:12; Re.2:10)
- How we spend our time. (Ps.90:9-12; Ep.5:16; Col.4:5; 1Pe.1:17)
- How we live our lives. (1Co.9:24; Phil.2:16; 3:12-14; Heb.12:1)
- How we control our fleshly appetites. (1Co.9:25-27)
- How we share Jesus with others. (Dan.12:3; 1Th.2:19-20)
- How my we allow the Rapture to motivate us. (2Ti. 4:8)
- How faithful we are to God’s Word. (Ac.20:26-28; 2Ti.4:1-2; He.13:17; Ja. 3:1; 1Pe.5:1-2; 2Jn.1:7-8)
- How we treat strangers. (Mt.25:35-36; Lk.14:12-14)
- How faithful we are to our jobs. (Col.3:22-24)
- How we support others in ministry. (Mt.10:40-42)
- How we use our tongues. (Mt. 12:36; Ja.3:1-12) (
The great blessing is that if Jesus knows you, you will pass the class. The challenge is how good will you do? Now that you have the questions, it is time to work on living out our faith in a way that really matters today and for eternity!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson