Am I enthusiastic about God’s work or am I doing it grudgingly?
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? We’re looking, you and I, at Romans chapter 14. The last time we got together, we were right in the middle of verse 9. In order to understand verse 9, you have to go back to verse 7 “None of us,” “none” is short for “no one,” “No one of us liveth to himself,” that is for his own sake only, “and no man dieth to himself,” or for his own sake only. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s,” we belong to God, in other words.
“For to this end,” now here’s the purpose of it all, “For to this end Christ both died and rose and revived that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” You see the great common denominator in dealing with differences between people. That’s what this is all about, now, isn’t it? He says “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Don’t specialize in arguments. Don’t be in the objective case, in other words. And so this whole passage is getting along with people with whom you may disagree on things, right?
Okay, the common denominator is the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason for His coming to earth, the reason for His living that perfect life, the reason for dying that perfect atoning death on the cross, and the reason behind his triumphant resurrection—all of this is wrapped up in the statement “to this end Christ both died, and rose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” If the Lord Jesus Christ is truly Lord of my life and if He is also truly Lord of your life, we’ll get along because if we may disagree on policy or procedure, but we will never disagree on the person who rules our lives. Good idea, wouldn’t you say?
That’s the reason that often I have called a group to prayer when they were arguing about something just so that our perspective could be realigned in relationship to the Lordship of Christ rather than in terms of what any individual wanted to accomplish. “That He might be Lord.” So the question obviously is “Is He Lord of our lives?” “Is He Lord of your life and of mine?” Remind yourself that the Lordship of Christ affects different areas of life. This is review for many of you but if you just turn over to Philippians 2, you’ll see there “For this cause God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
What does that Lordship mean? What does it mean when Paul says in the text, we are now studying, “That He might be Lord both of the dead and the living. When you look at Philippians 2 and you have Lord of your feelings, verse 1; Lord of your relationships, verse 2; Lord of your motives, verse 3; Lord of your prime interests “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others;” verse 5, Lord of your mind, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;” Lord of your procedures, verse 14 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings;” Lord of your testimony, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” Lord of your lifestyle and your testimony; verse 16, Lord of your ministry, “Holding forth the word of life.”
That’s just like a little quick rundown on what we mean when we say “the Lordship of Christ” and when our Blessed Lord Jesus is Lord of your life smaller disagreements take their place where they belong — in the background. Who cares what color you paint the boiler room? Who cares what brand of shingles are purchased for the roof of the sanctuary? These things are not worth fighting about. F. W. Boreham had an essay that he wrote years ago on the gentle art of climbing down. Oh, what a gentle way he had of piercing our pompous self-esteem.
He pointed out that it’s far easier to take a position and maintain it bull doggedly than to be willing to climb down and say, “You were right. I was wrong.” Well, we have to learn that. We have to learn to let other people disagree with us on matters as long as Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives. He’ll see to it that His blessed eternal will is done in spite of our human aberrations and detours. Now he says, “Why dost thou judge thy brother?” This is verse 10 of Romans 14 “Why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?”
Here you have the two concepts that occurred previously in verse 3 “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not.” That is in parallel to the concept “set at nought” means to despise; “and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth,” in verse 3. And in verse 10 he says, “Why dost thou judge thy brother?” These are the twin tendencies of fallen human nature and they do crop up all the time. We set ourselves above people in our estimation of them and we despise them, we look down at them, and we “set them at nought” in other words we say, “Oh, he’s not worth anything.”
Gee, he’s just a big zero. You can’t count on him or her or them. This is despising them. This is “setting them at nought.” It grieves the Holy Spirit of God and it’s not scriptural because Paul says all of us are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The great leveler is not your ability by comparison with somebody else’s. The great leveler is the cross of Christ and the judgment seat of Christ. At the cross of Christ we are all equally sinners and at the judgment seat of Christ we are all equally responsible.
So he says there’s no mark-up in this. There’s no future in it. Why? Because you, my friend, and I are both heading for the judgment seat of Christ. And at that point, He’s going to turn on the tape recorder, so to speak, of the universe and playback for you in stereo and in living color your whole life and you’re going to be able to see as will all the rest who are looking on, you’re going to be able to see what has really been lived in terms of that which lasts for eternity. No, we won’t be judged for our sins. Our Lord Jesus said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed already from death unto life.”
You and I won’t be judged for our sins because they were judged in the person of Christ on the cross. Thank God for that. But we will be judged for our works in terms of rewards or loss of reward at the judgment seat of Christ. Paul speaks about this in a parallel passage in 2 Corinthians. He says, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” He says, “Because we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live for themselves, but for Him who died for them.” So there you have again a parallel passage saying “You’re heading for the judgment seat.”
The great leveler is now the cross and the judgment. At the cross you were all equally sinners; at the judgment seat we are all equally responsible. So he says there just isn’t any point either in looking down on somebody because you think you’re better than that person or in judging someone because you think that you’re doing a better job or that you know better what ought to be done.
Neither one is scriptural; neither one honors God. Both of those procedures are going to get you in trouble at the judgment. Now he’s quoting scripture here in verse 11. He says, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Paul puts the same scripture over in Philippians. “Given Him a name that is above every name that every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord.”
So there you have it. “So then,” he said, “Every one shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore-“ What’s the conclusion? “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Now, what’s involved in preparing for the judgment seat of Christ? First of all, make sure that you know that Lord Jesus is your Savior. That means that you’ll never be judged for your sins for they, thank God, are under the shed blood of Christ.
Second, remember that God evaluates your works in terms of whether or not it honors your blessed Lord and counts for eternity. Colossians 3 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him,” and verse 23, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily,” psyched up, that means, “as unto the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Now, make sure, then, that what you do honors the Lord in terms of His will and in terms of eternal values.
Paul says in I Corinthians that some of our works are going to be like straw that will burn readily in the judgment fires. Others of our works that are done for the Lord Jesus and for God’s glory are going to be like gold and silver and precious stones that will last through the judgment fires. And so the way to get ready for the judgment seat of Christ is, first of all, to be sure you’re saved and second, to evaluate your actions and your motives in terms of the will of Christ your Lord and eternal values that will last past the judgment fires, all right?
Now, what else is involved? It’s the attitude in which we do it. “Whatever ye do, do it heartily,” “psyched up” is the word; do it heartily, enthusiastically, psyched up “as for the Lord and not for people; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” And so my attitude toward life needs to be evaluated periodically and I need to ask myself, “Hey, why am I doing this and for whom and in what kind of a spirit? Am I enthusiastic about God’s work or am I doing it grudgingly?
All of these things will show up at the judgment seat, you see. So you and I want to get ready for that day, don’t we? And may God grant that each of us will live today in the light of that coming judgment where we’re judged not for our sins because Jesus bore them; but we’re judged on the basis of what we did that will last for eternity.
Dear Father today, help us to live for eternity, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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