This is the first message in a two-part series on the Bema Seat
In this series, Pastor Miles looks at how all believers will be examined as stewards of the gifts God gave on earth.
1. We are examined in Heaven.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, Paul the apostle was intense about looking into the future reality of Heaven. He described our Heavenly bodies as clothing - inferring that our earthly bodies are insufficient to "clothe" us in immortality. Death unlocks our souls to be given new, everlasting bodies.
Paul also uses the metaphor of a tent versus a building. This life, then, is a "camping" trip - the bare necessities - compared to the luxurious life we will have in Heaven.
He closes the metaphor of dwellings with the idea of faith versus sight. When we come into Heaven, we will finally see all that we have believed in by faith.
Likewise, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Paul encourages people that whether they have died when Christ returns or if they are still alive, ALL PEOPLE will be brought before the Lord at His coming. There will be a gathering of all humans across time - and it will be the most amazing gathering ever; Jesus will be there.
2. We are examined by Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:10 makes clear that Paul's intention is to remind the Corinthians that all those who serve Christ will have to give an account of what they have accomplished for the Lord, not how they have increased their own reputation.
This passage can seem scary if we are not in the mindset of seeking to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. But, an examination by Jesus can be a welcomed, even hopeful thing when we are living our lives in a relationship of love with Jesus.
John 5:22 further makes clear that Jesus, the one who loved us enough to die for our sins, will extend that same love to us when we are before Him in Heaven.Romans 14:10 removes the "comparison mentality" from our thought processes. We will not be judged by a standard of each other.
As the parable of the talents makes clear, some of us have greater gifts and in more abundance than others. Whatever God has entrusted us with is all we are responsible to manage in the Kingdom of God.
God has made each of us for a purpose here on earth, and our reward will be our new purpose in Heaven.
3. We are examined on an individual basis.
Reread 2 Corinthians 5:10 and read Romans 14:12. Both passages illuminate the idea that each person is responsible for his or her life.
God never created a person to be responsible beyond him - or her - self. We are finite in our abilities and finite in our individual nature. Being an individual is what makes our mission in this earthly life so valuable to God.
In a very real sense, we have a specific mission for our lives. You have things to accomplish for the Kingdom and so does everyone else.
4. We are examined by the refiner's fire.
1 Corinthians 3:13 clears away any confusion about judgment and rewards. MOTIVES are what God will examine. Why did you do the good deed? Where was your heart-motive? Were your intentions true?
God wants people who are following Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. If that was your motive for doing the things your did, you will have great rewards in Heaven.
5. We are examined, not to determine salvation, but to determine rewards.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 is a great picture of the reality of God's love in all this. Even if we are found wanting, our salvation is still secure, "as one escaping from the flames." But, the Lord wants so much more for us.
He wants the greatest riches of Heaven that He has to offer. They are there for each and every person in God's Kingdom. But, our motives must be pure. We must truly want to follow God's calling on our lives.
6. We are examined for fingerprint evidence which is left when.
1 Corinthians 3:13-14 - his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
If we are in a relationship with the Lord, we can expect to be tested. Who would not want to know exactly what God's view of him or her is? The more we are in relationship with God, the more we can look forward to the testing.
a. Your heart's intent is to glorify God in what you do.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 shows that we are made for honoring; Honoring God AND honoring ourselves (our bodies). Jesus said to "ask, seek and knock." As we approach our relationship with God we are called to 1) ASK Him how to live for Him. SEEK a relationship with Him. KNOCK on His door and keep knocking till He answers.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
The best way to anticipate your Heavenly rewards is do everything to the glory of God.
b. Your actions are based on faith.
Romans 1:17 - We are called to live by faith. Faith is the only way to realistically live in a way that God wants us to. The just shall live by faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 - Transformational thinking and Holy Spirit power allow for the change of one's vision from the tangible, visible things of this world (which are passing away) to the intangible, invisible things of the world of Heaven (which was here BEFORE this world and will be here AFTER this world).
7. Judgment calls for preparation. Surrender you whole self to Christ.
For many Christians, the idea of a Bema Judgment brings forth feelings of fear, dread and "what's the point in trying" thinking. This is nothing but a lie of Satan. A good God can only give good gifts to His children. Good children only need to trust in their good God.
However, there are those Christians whom God is convicting and they are not responding to His conviction. These people still want to live life their way, with their own ideas of about God, obedience and Kingdom living.
Total surrender is a way of life. A daily response to God's call on our lives. What is God calling you to today? What are you saying to Him in response?