Sunday Sermon – Meeting Our Maker – Growing in Christ Series

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Have you ever heard someone refer to death as – ‘Going to meet their Maker’? We all have and I suppose that’s a good way to put it. One day each of us will stand face to face with the One who made us. We read from the book of Ecclesiastes –

Ecclesiastes 12:7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

The dust spoken of here refers to our physical body. The Bible teaches us that God created man’s body from the dust of the ground and at that moment we call death, the body dies and begins to decay and the spirit, or the God-given life within that man, returns to the God who gave it.

The Bible teaches us that life comes from God, therefore life belongs to God. Because our life belongs to God, we are accountable to God for how we live it.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

The Apostle Paul agreed with this and therefore wrote in the book of Romans-

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Paul wrote that every one of us shall give an account of ourselves to God. The words Paul used actually indicate that every one of us shall give a verbal report of what we have done with the life God gave us. This may come as a shock to some, especially to those of us who are Christians, for many of us have the tendency to believe that our careless living doesn’t matter. We think that grace excuses us from any accountability. However, we must note that when Paul wrote this passage, he was writing to Christians. When he said ‘every one of us’, he was using a pronoun which included himself. Paul expected to give an account of his life to the Lord.

What does all of this mean and how does it affect us? First of all, we need to understand that standing before God means something very different for the believer versus the non-believer. How I will have to answer to God now as someone who is saved and forgiven, is very different from how I would have had to answer to God before I became a Christian. Before I became a Christian, I would have had to stand before God being accountable for my sins. Now that I am a Christian, all of my sins have all been forgiven. However, that does not mean that I am no longer accountable to God. In many ways I am now even more accountable. I have been given a second chance and I have the Holy Spirit and the Bible to guide me. Whereas before I was accountable for my sins, I am now accountable for my service.

This is a big subject and it will take more than one sermon to explain it. So where do we start? Perhaps the best place for us to start is to consider how I would have had to answer to God before I became a Christian. Look with me at Revelation 20.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

What a terrible, terrible time this moment of judgment will be. To understand what is happening, we will examine it from three angles:

  1. The Judge
  2. The Judged
  3. The Judgment

I. The Judge

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Who is this judge? Obviously it is God. It is our Maker. Some people try to excuse their sinfulness by saying that their God is to kind and loving to judge men for their sins; however, that is not what the Bible says. From this passage of scripture we learn that there will come a day when God will judge every man according to their works. How will God know what we have done? First of all we have to recognize that God always knows what we are doing. There is nothing hidden from His sight. In addition to His knowledge, God has a record. Verse 12 says ‘…and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ Sometimes life is so complicated that it’s hard to know the truth. Yet God always knows the truth. God knows not only our actions, but also our attitude. The Bible says that when man stands before God to be judged, ‘every mouth will be stopped.’ (Rom 3:19) There will be no arguing back or debating. The supreme God of this universe will be the One bringing to light everything that has been concealed and hidden.

Note what the Bible says about His appearance.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Here is one time the word ‘awesome’ could rightly be used to describe something or someone. The awesomeness of His appearance will be so great that it will override everything else in heaven and on earth.

We know that this is God, but is it God the Father? Scripture teaches us that it is God the Son. This is Jesus Christ in all of His glory. Jesus said in John 5:22 ‘The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.’ (ESV)  What do we expect to see when we see Jesus? Scripture seems to indicate that how Jesus appears today is much different than how He appeared as He walked here on earth. Isaiah the prophet says that the earthly Jesus has an appearance that caused no one to take special notice of Him. He was very average. Yet that is not how Jesus appears today. An average Jesus is not what men will see when they stand before their Maker. The passage we have just read says – “…from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away…” At the very beginning of the book of Revelation, John saw Jesus in all of His glory. John said that – “His face was shining like the sun at midday” (Rev 1:16)  Think about staring into the sun at high noon. Staring into the face of the SON is going to be even greater than staring into the face of the SUN. Why such an awesome appearance? This is God. This is the sovereign Lord of all the universe. The Bible says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. I would not be honest if I did not tell you that this will be a fearful and terrifying moment.

II. The Judged

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God…

Who will be the ones standing before God at this moment? Will it be all of mankind? Some think so; however, even though all of mankind will be present, the Bible describes the ones being now judged as – ‘the dead.’ Who are ‘the dead?’

Actually that term is used four times in this passage. To understand what is meant by describing them as the dead, we have to go all the way back to the very beginning of the Bible. We read in the book of Genesis that in the very beginning, God warned Adam and Eve to not eat of the forbidden fruit. The consequence of their disobedience would be death. “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:17) When Satan came to tempt Eve to disobey God, he told her – “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen 3:4) Either he was implying that Adam had incorrectly heard God, or that God was lying.

As you well know, Adam and Eve did disobey God and the Bible says this about the consequences of their disobedience –

Romans 5: 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

That ‘one man’ spoken of here is Adam. Adam was the first man God made and therefore he is the human father of us all. We all have Adam’s blood in us. Because we all have Adam’s blood, we all have Adam’s nature. The moment Adam chose to disobey God, he became a sinner. His human nature was corrupted. What’s more, he then passed that corrupt nature down to all of his ancestors. We all are naturally sinners because we all are born with Adam’s nature which is a corrupt, sinful nature.  The Bible says – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin…” As the head of the human race, Adam’s choice affected us all. It made us all sinners. And therefore, it made us all susceptible to the consequences of sin – death.

Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930, and then he died. However, Adam actually died long before the age of 930. God told Adam – “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  (Gen 2:17) Adam died the day he disobeyed God. How so?  There is more to our make-up than just our physical bodies. The Bible calls our physical bodies a ‘tent’ or temporary dwelling place for which the real person resides. Contained within our physical bodies is a soul which was created by the breath of God. A question that has longed puzzled those who believe that we came about as a part of the process of evolution, is the existence of the conscience. How did the evolutionary process develop a conscience? It didn’t. God did. The human conscience is a part of the soul created by the breath of God. Something very dramatic happened to Adam on the day that he disobeyed God. Before that day, the Bible says that Adam walked and talked with God daily. However, once sin entered into the heart of Adam, he no long ran to God; he now ran from God. He and his wife, Eve, made coats of fig leaves to cover their nakedness. In addition, the Bible says that “…Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Gen 3:8) No longer did they feel free and confident before God. They were now afraid. When God asked them why they were hiding, Adam responded by saying – “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Gen 3:10) The nakedness that Adam was referring to meant more than just a physical nakedness. It was a spiritual nakedness. The Bible says of God – “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:13) In a great sense, what happened with Adam in the very beginning was a preview of what would happen with mankind in the end. Adam tried to hide from God because he was sinful. The spiritual part of him was no longer living. It was dead. ‘The dead’ spoken of in Revelation 20 are all those who are spiritually dead because they have never been born-again. They are as the Bible says – ‘dead in their trespasses and sins.’ (see Eph 2:1-4) I would imagine that at this moment, they would wish that they could run and hide from the awesome presence of their Maker; however, that will not be possible. Note what the Bible says –

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

III. The Judgment

What will be the judgment of sinful mankind? The Bible indicates that there are two facets to their judgment. Number one, they will be held accountable for the sins they have committed. “…and they were judged every man according to their works.” Is everyone equally sinful? In one sense we might say yes; yet in another sense we must say no. All sin is sin; however, the sins of the kind, little old lady are not the same as the sins of someone such as Hitler. The Bible teaches us that there are degrees of sinfulness. Jesus said, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Matthew 10:15) Because there are degrees of sinfulness, there will be degrees of punishment. Jesus also said, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48) Exactly what all this means I am not sure. That’s why the Bible says that I need to leave all judgment up to God. Only He knows all the facts and therefore only He is able to make a righteous judgment.

The dead will be judged for their sins. However, the real issue at hand is not how much they have sinned, but have they ever been forgiven of the sins they have committed. You see, even one sin disqualifies someone from entering into a holy heaven. The Bible says that nothing shall enter into heaven that would defile it. There will be a number of books present that day to verify the sinfulness of mankind; however, there is one book that more important than all the rest.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life… 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

What is the book of life? We read from the Bible-

Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, (pollute) neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: (foul, detestable) (lie – falsehood vs. truth) but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Not even one single sin can abide in heaven, for it did, heaven would become defiled. Its purity would become polluted. Who then can go to heaven when they die? Can anyone? The Bible says that those who go to heaven when they die are those whose names are written in the ‘Lamb’s Book of Life.’ John the Baptist looked upon Jesus and said – “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Why did John call Jesus ‘the Lamb of God?’ It’s because, like a sacrificial lamb that was slaughtered in the Old Testament temple for the sins of the people, Jesus was slaughtered on the cross for the sins of the world. The Bible says – “Christ died for our sins.” The Lamb’s book of life is a record of the names of everyone who has saved because they received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Have you? Where will your name be found that day? Will it be found in the books of death that bears a record of our sinfulness, or will it be found in the Lamb’s book of life that bears a record of our salvation? Is your name in the Lamb’s book of life? Here’s a sad truth. Some, who have their names somewhere on a church’s record, do not have their names on Christ’s record.  Jesus said –

Matthew 7: 21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

What happened? How could this be? How could someone think that they are going to heaven, but not? Jesus said it’s because that person professed something with their mouth that they never possessed in their heart. For whatever reason, they claimed to be a follower of Christ, but they weren’t. In their heart they had never come to Christ and cried out, “Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner.” They have never repented of their sinfulness and truly sought His forgiveness and cleansing. They wanted enough of God to keep them out of hell, but not enough of God to change their lives. Yet, even though they deceived many, they never deceived God. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. God knows what is in the heart. And His records bear witness to what He knows to be the truth. Either your name is in the Lamb’s book of life or it’s not. It’s not kinda there. You’re not sorta saved. Either you have chosen to turn from your sin and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or you haven’t. And on this final day of judgment when men meet their Maker, the truth will be revealed.

Have you been saved? Have you been forgiven of your sins? Is your name in the Lamb’s book of life? Dear friend, on that day, nothing else will matter but this. The Bible says – “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Anyone and everyone who has not truly been born-again by the Spirit of God will spend eternity in hell. Will that be you? It doesn’t have to be. You can be saved today and delivered from that terrible Day of Judgment. How?

A –          Admit that you are sinful and in need of forgiveness.

B –          Believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior.

To believe in Jesus as our Savior means more than to just believe that was someone called Jesus who walked upon this earth. It means to believe that Jesus is God’s Son, sent to this world to die on the cross for our sins. It means to believe that there is no other way to heaven than through Him. It is to come to Him, asking for and receiving His forgiveness.

C –          Come to Christ and Confess Him as your Lord and Savior.

Jesus said, “All that come to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” Jesus will not turn away anyone who comes to Him in faith and asks for His cleansing and forgiveness. Yet we must come. Part of the people who will stand before God that day to be judged, will be those who knew the truth about salvation. And the Bible indicates that they will be the ones judged most severely. Hell will be the hottest for the man who knew in his mind that Christ was the Savior, but refused to receive Him in his heart.

If you need help in your relationship with Christ, please contact me at: pastorterry@twinoaksbapt.org.

You may also click on: How to Become a Christian for additional information.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction:

1) Meeting Our Maker

Ecclesiastes 12:7

2) Accountable to our Maker

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Romans 14:11-12

A. Giving an account before I became a Christian (accountable for sins)

B. Giving an account after I became a Christian

i. No longer accountable for sins

ii. Now accountable for service

Sermon

I. The Judge

A. God

B. Jesus Christ  (Jn 5:22)

II. The Judged

A. All mankind?

B. ‘The Dead’

1. The Promise of Death  (Gen 2:17)

2. The Penalty of Death

a. Adam died eventually    (Gen 5:5)

b. Adam died immediately    (Gen 3:7-8)

3. The Passing Down of Death   (Rom 5:12)

a. Adam, our father, gave us a sinful nature

b. Adam, our father, doomed us to die

c. ‘The dead’ of Revelation 20 are those who are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-4)

III. The Judgment

A. Degrees of sinfulness     (Matthew 10:15)

B. Degrees of punishment     (Luke 12:48)

C. One Sin Disqualifies Us From Living in a Holy Heaven     (Revelation 21:27)

D. The Significance of the Lamb’s Book of Life     (Revelation 20:12, 15)

Conclusion:

1) Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

a. Not every person’s name is there

b. Not every church member’s name there  (Matthew 7:21-23)

i. People who professed with their mouth what they never possessed in their heart.

ii. Their Christianity was all a game.

iii. It was pretending to be someone they were not.

iv. Trouble is – most knew it all the time.

2)  Either our name is there or it’s not

a. Not sorta saved

b. Not kinda a Christian

c. Our salvation is either real or it’s not

3) How Can I Know For Sure?

A – Admit that you are sinful and in need of forgiveness

B – Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior

C – Come to Christ and confess Him as Lord and Savior

– Anyone can be saved, but not everyone will be saved

– Each of us have to make our own choice

– Perhaps hell will be the hottest for the one who knew the truth but willfully rejected it

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