Doctrine of the Last Judgment - The Finality of Judgment
September 17, 2023 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Topic: Of the Last Judgment
Scripture: Revelation 20.10-13
Last week we looked at the great, white, throne of judgment and what we are to understand by its symbolism with respect to:
This week we’ll conclude this section by looking at the finality of judgment.
The Finality of Judgment (v. 11)
Revelation 20 speaks of the finality of the judgment.
Notice when our Lord Jesus Christ rises up to judgment
- the earth in the heaven flee away
Some think there will be a complete renewing of the heavens/ earth
Others say the heavens/ earth with be completely renovated and made completely new
- all the corruption will be swept away
- the world will be restored like unto and better than the originally created order
What's being spoken of here is very similar to what we saw happen in the days of Noah.
- Read the narrative of Genesis 7 and 1 and 2 very carefully…
- the Lord could be saying, I made it, and I can unmake it
- those fountains of the deep, the waters covered the earth such that the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the deep
- those same fountains were broken up during the days of Noah
- so that once again, the waters covered the face of the deep.
It could be seen as if the Lord was saying:
- I'm going to take creation a step back to where it was before I had caused the dry land to rise in the midst of the waters.
- And before I had caused the earth to grow
- And before I created animals to walk upon the face of the earth
- all except for Noah and his family
- The rest of the earth is going to look as if I have unmade what I have made.
- Earth and Heaven will flee away
That's what it means when Earth and Heaven flee away.
When Christ sits upon his great white throne
- the heaven/earth that exist now will be no more, they will flee
Whether that will be a completely new creation of God
- or a complete renovation of this existing order - I do not know
But the end result will be a new heaven and a new earth
- the old Heaven and the old Earth will indeed flee away
- but it doesn't mean that they fled away for fear
- it means they fled away
- in that they were destroyed/ remade
This is the kind of finality at the Great White Throne of Judgment
- It's that kind of finality
2 Peter 3.3ff → to the earth burning
This is an interesting relationship to Revelation 20
Peter begins by talking about scoffers
- who say, Oh, no. Judgments are never coming.
- And he says, well, they forget, judgment did come one time
- And when it came, what happened?
- Because of the sinfulness of men
- what happened to the heavens and the earth?
- They perished.
- In the days of Noah, the Earth and Heavens perished.
- Because of the sinfulness of men
The world the cosmos, perished in that day.
- But the Earth was still here
- The Bible describes that as perishing.
- The cosmos was wiped out
- God unmade what he had made for judgment’s sake
Peter says, in the same way, it's coming again, in the last day
- Except for this one, there won't be any recovery from it.
- This will be final
- and he uses fire instead of water
It is quite parallel to John 20.12
Universality of the Judgment
There is a universality as to who appears at the judgment (v 12,13)
- In short, everyone that's ever lived will be there
No one is exempted from appearing before the judgment seat of Christ
The apostle tells us clearly everyone appears at the same throne
- Everyone appears in the same judgment
- That's it
- You will stand there
We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ
We will all give an account of what we've done
This is where the meaning and purpose of life being very clear
- What kind of account will you give?
- What kind of testimony will be called forth from you?
The Judge, who will know all and require that you tell the truth
- no spin
- no coloring
- no embellishing
The judge that who has exacting knowledge
- of whom you are
- of what you believed
- of what you acted upon
- of what you did in the privacy of your own home
- and of what you didn't do
1 Thessalonians 4.13-17
The apostle tells us who will be there
- not only are the dead are going to be there
- but those also who are alive on that day.
Again, we speak of the universality of the judgment
- who will be exempted from the judgment?
- no one will be exempted
- all of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ
Not only is the universality of that judgment, true
- but the one before whom we all will stand is also consistently represented in this passage
It is indeed before God before Christ, that we will stand, who will see right through us.
The term “to stand before” means to stand up for judgment
- Christ will look them in the face
- Christ will look them in the eyes with that piercing all-knowing gaze
- Those eyes that are like a flame of fire as they burn right through the deepest part of the soul.
We might be able to fool our friends, our elders, our pastor, our parents
- Let's just honestly say that we're all pretty easy marks
But not Christ.
- No one will fool the Lord.
- He sees it all. He sees everything.
#1 Do not choose earthly comforts over eternal comforts
- There are many who choose earthly comforts
- o And doing so, sacrifice a comfortable eternity
Notice → But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receiveth thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things but now, he is comforted. And thou art tormented.
What Jesus is teaching here is that that rich man
- because he focused on his riches
- because he focused on his earthly comforts
- o and that's where he spent his best strength and efforts.
The rich man got what he wanted
- earthly comforts
And in getting what he wanted:
- He sacrificed a comfortable eternity for Torment.
#2 Do not choose earthly pleasures over eternal pleasures
There are many who choose earthly pleasures
- And in doing so forfeit a pleasurable eternity.
James is talking about the rich men who have gained their riches by defrauding others out of their due pay. He says,
- You have lived in pleasure
- You have focused on your pleasures
And in so focusing on your pleasures
- you have forfeited the pleasurable eternity
- you have fattened up your hearts as for a day of slaughter,
Instead, there are many who refuse to judge themselves now and prepare themselves to be condemned for eternity
- if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
#3 Do not run thoughtlessly in this life as you will have an eternity to be think of your thoughtlessness
1 Kings 8.46-50
There are those who run thoughtlessly in this life and will have eternity to think about their thoughtlessness in judgment.
#4 Do not only think about what this world has to give
Even though they have gotten all this world has to give
- they will lose their soul
1 John 2:15-17
There are those who spend their days gaining the things of this world
- and they lose it all
When this world passes away, when Heaven and Earth flee away at the great judgment
- they will lose their soul with it
2 Corinthians 5.1-3
There are those who strive to be full of the things of this world
- And at the last day will find themselves empty
Remember the word to the Laodicean church:
- They said: I'm Rich, I am full.
Christ says “No”
- You are miserable, wretched, poor, blind, and naked
And then there are those who seek the world and will find it.
And yet in finding it
- they will find it a poor shelter against the wrath of God
- and they will pass away with the world
Think on the coming judgment
1 John 2.15-17
Why is the coming judgment spoken of in Scripture?
Why is it such a fearful thing?
What is the design of the Lord teaching us about it?
What is the right response to this teaching of Scripture?
Those are important questions.
Why would the Lord in His kindness and grace and fatherly care, tell us about the coming judgment?
- Is it because we like to sit around campfires and hear scary stories?
The Lord is telling us these things
- so that at the judgment we will be found in Him
- so that we will be found in Christ
This boils down to a diligent use of every means that God has given us that we may be found in Christ in that day or not in ourselves
2 Corinthians 5.10-11
The Apostle says, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ
- that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to which he's done
- whether it be good or bad
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.
Paul is saying that he is all about my duty because he knows that judgments are coming
Are you about yours?
- Because you know the judgments coming?
Am I about mine?
- Or are we doing what Christ said in the Gospels?
What should we not do?
- twiddling our thumbs and wasting time pretending as if he won't come back.
What is the reality of it?
What are you preaching with your life?
This is why the Lord has told us about the judgment
- so that we can in these days build up a hedge against it
1 John 3.3
Christ is the standard of purification toward which we strive.
Every man that has this hope of being like Christ in the Day of Judgment
- purifies himself
- confesses his sin
- forsakes his sin
This is what the Apostle means.
- And this is the use of thinking of the coming judgment.
This is why the Lord has warned us about the coming judgment
That we may use it rightly
- to repent of our sins
- to purify ourselves
- to diligently use the means of grace and profit from them
It is very clear why the Lord has warned us of the coming judgment.
2 Peter 3.4
Where is the promise of His coming?
- For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue, as they were from the beginning of creation.
- it'll never happen.
- Judgment is not coming.
- Or, if it comes, it's not something we need to concern ourselves with.
- It's so far down the road.
- They are willingly ignorant that God already destroyed the world for sin.
- And He will do it again.
When the psalmist looks upon the wicked, he sees something that they're saying to themselves, they say,
- How does God know?
- How does he see?
- There's no knowledge in the most high
- There's no judgment
And so, they use the long suffering of the Lord sinfully.
- they use it against themselves instead of for themselves
God gives space for repentance
- space to turn to him
Instead, people take that long suffering of God
- and they say he's unconcerned
- He'll never come.
Don't make that use.
Don't make that use of God's long suffering and patience.
Make the use that God intends for his people.
- And that it is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance.
It's the goodness of God that that rings and resonates in your heart
It’s the goodness of God that gives you those yearnings for repentance
- and to please Him
- and to OBEY Him
- and to follow Him.
That is the only right use of thinking on the judgment to come
We must take these uses home and use them.
Let us not take this and just leave
Let us not be like the man looking in the mirror and then immediately forgets what he looks like.
Let us be doers of the word and not hearers only
Let us stop deceiving ourselves
Let us take the knowledge of the judgment that scripture sets before us…
Let us take the knowledge of who judges us, our Lord Jesus Christ…
Let us fly to him as our advocate and surety that we may be saved in the great and terrible day of the Lord.
More in Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
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September 3, 2023Doctrine of the Last Judgment
August 13, 2023Doctrine of Church Censures: Areas and Application of Church Discipline