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Revelation 4:1-11
Stephen Caswell © 2004
Not Home Yet
Henry C. Morrison, after serving for 40 years on the African mission field, headed home by boat.
On that same boat also rode Theodore Roosevelt.
Morrison was quite dejected when, on entering New York harbor, the President received a great fanfare as he arrived home.
Morrison thought he should get some recognition for 40 years in the Lord’s service.
Then a small voice came to Morrison and said, /Henry —you’re not home yet./
/ /
Last Sunday we looked at the rapture.
Today we will continue on from there.
When John arrived at God’s throne he saw 24 elders seated on 24 thrones.
They were clothed in white robes and had golden crowns on their heads.
*/Who are these 24 elders?/*
These 24 elders represent the saints before God’s throne.
There were 24 courses in the OT priesthood.
*/The song they sing tells of their own redemption.
Angels aren’t redeemed./*
*Revelation 5:10:*/ And the 24 elders sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And *have redeemed us to God* by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And *have made us kings and priests to our God*; And *we shall reign* on the earth./
These 24 elders have already been judged by Christ and rewarded.
Today, we will see the */when, why, how /*and */what /*of the */Judgment Seat of Christ./*
/Firstly,/ When Will This Judgment Happen?
The 24 elders have received white robes, golden crowns and authority, for they are seated on 24 thrones.
This shows us that God has honored these servants.
They have received  rewards and authority.
The Bible tells us that every believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
*/He will judge our Christian service.
/2 Timothy 4:1:* /I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: /
/ /
*/Firstly,/*/ /Paul says that God will judge the living at His appearing.
The living refers to believers.
*/Secondly,/* He will judge the dead or non Christians at His kingdom.
The kingdom commences after the Second Coming when He returns to the earth to judge the world and rule.
Other passages tie Christ’s return with rewards for the saints.
*Revelation 22:12:* /And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work./* 2 Timothy 4:7-8: */I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Finally, there is laid up for me the *crown of righteousness,* which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me *on that Day*, and not to me only but also to all who have *loved His appearing.*/
*1 Thess 2:19 *and* 1 Peter 5:1-4 *
On The Stadium
In races, athletes are not rewarded right below the stadium, but called up to the stage for their reward.
*/In our Christian race, we are rarely rewarded on earth, but will be later!/*
/Secondly,/ Why Will This Judgment Happen?
After we meet Christ in the air at the rapture we will proceed to His Judgment Seat.
*/Is this necessary?/*
*Yes!* Believers aren’t ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb when we first meet Christ in the air.
We need to receive white wedding robes first.
So Christ will judge His bride first.
*Revelation 19:7-8:* /Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife *has made herself ready*.
*And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.*
/The judgment seat is a necessary preparation for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
*/This judgment will remove all blemishes from the bride./*
*Ephesians 5:25-27*: /Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, *that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.*/
/ /
/Tragically, some believers won’t be ready when Christ comes.
/They will be embarrassed when Christ catches them up because of how they have lived.
*1 John 2:28:* /And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
/So,/ /Christ will restore such believers before the Marriage Supper.
This judgment provides fine linen for us the bride.
It removes the spots and blemishes.
*/Brides spend a lot of time before the marriage ceremony getting ready/*
/Thirdly,/ How Will This Judgment Unfold?
Like Olympic Games.
Such games have /judges, athletes, rules and tests/.
It makes it fair.
The Judge/  
* *
*Romans 14:10b, 12:* /For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God./
The Bema Seat
The term */Judgment Seat/*, *βῆμα**,* comes from a Greek word /bema,/ which was the platform in Greek towns where speeches were made and decisions handed down by the rulers.
The platform was raised a step above the ground.
/It was the place where the awards were given out in the annual Olympic Games.
The *judges* sat on this platform and observed the athletes competing in the games.
After each contest they would crown the winning athlete with a crown of laurel leaves.
The *judges* observed the athletes performance to see who won the race according to the rules/.
Disqualified athletes weren't condemned to death or jailed, but they were put to public shame.
*/Jesus/* */Christ is our Judge!
He wants to reward believers for their faithfulness to Him.  /Revelation 22:12:* /And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
The Race/
/ /
The Christian race is like a marathon.
In our race God gives us many opportunities to serve Him.
We have all received time, talents, spiritual gifts and possessions.
One day  God will evaluate how we used these things for Him.
Some examples are */giving, prayer, witnessing, serving, helping others, hospitality/*, etc.
The Bible speaks of these.
*/Sharing the Gospel.
/*Leading people to Christ, from children through to the elderly.
·    *1 Corinthians 3:6, 8: */I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
\\ Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and *each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
·    *1 Thessalonians 2:19:* /For what is our hope, or joy, or *crown of rejoicing*?
Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ *at His coming?*/
*/ /*
God’s Ministers, The Saints, The Needy/*/ /
·    *Matthew 10:41-42:* /He who receives a *prophet* in the name of a prophet shall *receive a* *prophet’s reward*.
And he who receives a *righteous man* in the name of a righteous man shall *receive a* *righteous* *man’s reward*.
And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a *disciple*, assuredly, I say to you, *he shall by no means lose his reward.*/
*/Giving to God’s Work.
For God’s Servants, God’s Work, For the Needy/*
·    *Phil 4:15, 17: */Now you Philippians know when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
Not that I seek the gift*, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
·    *6:19-21:* /Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but *lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven*, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
\\ \\ /
*/Suffering for Christ’s sake.
Ridicule, Persecution, Martyrdom./*
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