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What Will Jesus Judge? | The King Is Coming #5

All believers will be held accountable for our works, even if it leads to tears of regret. We are saved by grace, not by good works, but we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Pastor Lutzer poses the question: “Is it selfish to live for rewards in heaven?” Imagine stepping into heaven knowing you’ve faithfully laid up treasures where it matters. 

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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again as we continue our series, titled, “The King is Coming.” Now today we’re going to be speaking about an event at which all believers will have to appear. Attendance is compulsory. If you’ve been with us, you know we talked about the Rapture of the Church. You can go back and watch and listen to those episodes. You can also subscribe so that you don’t miss any of our sessions. But today we come to an event that oftentimes gives me some fear.

The Bible says that there are going to be tears in heaven. Let me ask you, why would there be tears in heaven? Now there are two answers that have been given. Number one is when we get to heaven we will find out that some of our friends and relatives are not there and we will know where they are and there will be tears. That’s a possibility. I think there’s another reason why there are tears in heaven. It’s because they are tears of regret—knowing how we lived with all of the opportunities that God has given to us. Now the Bible does say that God shall wipe away all tears and, by the way, the Greek text says that God is going to wipe every tear “out of our eyes.” I love that. It’s almost as if God is getting to the very source of our grief.

But that being said, what about the judgment seat of Jesus Christ? There are those who say, “Well, it’s no big deal. Doesn’t Calvary cover it all?” Yes, my friend, Calvary covers it all. It gives us legal status before God because the righteousness of Jesus Christ is applied to us. But that does not prevent God from disciplining disobedience saints. Think of Christians today. They have the righteousness of Christ applied to them but God disciplines them. As a matter of fact, it says in the book of Hebrews that if you’re not disciplined you’re not really a son. So there are those who object to it on that basis. I believe that there are going to be degrees of punishment in hell. We’ll talk about that in a future session but also degrees of reward in heaven. I’m speaking today about something very serious.

Then there are those who say, “Well our works have no merit in the sight of God because they’re all tainted with sin.” That’s true. But the Bible says in 1 Peter that our work, if done with the right motivation, are made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. And that’s why, throughout scripture, there is such an emphasis on pleasing God. I remember someone saying, “Well, isn’t it selfish just to live the Christian life as well as we can to receive rewards?” Well, that sounds very pious doesn’t it? But I don’t believe that rewards are medallions. If they are, we’re going to cast them at the feet of Christ. And people say, “Well, we’re going to cast them at the feet of Christ anyway.” Yes. Rewards, though, have to do with faithfulness. That’s why Jesus repeatedly motivated His disciples regarding rewards and we’re going to be looking into that in future sessions. Over and over again. If you do this, you’re going to be rewarded.

1 Corinthians 3—I had intented to get more deeply into this passage than we have time for today. But you’ll notice Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, God gave the growth.” And then he says, “He who plants is nothing and he who waters they are one. Each will receive wages according to what he has done.” God even speaks in terms of wages. Jonathan Edwards, that great theologian, said that he’s going to go for all the rewards he can possibly get. And the reason for that is when we go for the rewards we are honoring Jesus. So it’s not selfish to seek rewards because, in doing that, you glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, lay up treasures not on earth but lay up treasures in heaven. And please be with us next time. You can subscribe, of course, you can also encourage your friends to listen, because we’re going to be talking about one of the most important verses in all the New Testament regarding the judgment seat of Christ. It’s one that I’ve deeply pondered and the implications are staggering. But as for today serve Christ, go for rewards, and Jesus will be pleased. And today, yes, you go with God.


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