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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - The Criteria of the Judgement

Tony Evans - The Criteria of the Judgement

Tony Evans - The Criteria of the Judgement
TOPICS: Judgment, Eternity

Any NFL player will tell you that during the season, Monday is judgment day because that's the day where the tape is revealed from Sunday's game. And you go in with your position coach and the position coach analyzes the tape from your position to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of your performance on the previous day, on Sunday. Many will tell you they weren't excited about that day if they knew they hadn't performed well the day before and the tape would reveal it. There's coming a day when you and I will be with the Lord and he is going to show you your tape. This will be the tape from the time when you accepted Christ to the time of your transition to glory, either by death or by the rapture. It will be a review of your life as a Christian.

It is not a review to determine salvation, you don't even get to this judgment unless you are a Christian. It is a examination to determine the gain or loss of reward. That is, how did you function as a Christian? Over and over again, the Apostle Paul in particular, but other New Testament writers, talked about this day. Because he wanted to inform Christians not only to understand the day, not only to recognize the importance of this judgment day, but to begin to orchestrate our lives in light of that day. Of course, his goal as we said, is to present every man perfect or mature or complete on that day. So the greatest compliment that could be given to this church is that all of the majority of its members on that day, came through with shining colors because they understood the truth of that day and learned to live in light of that day, because that is the day in court that will not be rescheduled, you have to attend.

Paul begins this section of our study by using a framing of a building to describe our lives. He calls himself the wise master builder or the chief architect of this building. That's because he laid the biblical foundation for the truth that we ought to learn about this and of course all of our truth that is in Scripture. Ephesians 2:20 says that "The foundation of the church was laid by the apostles and the prophets". That is those who God authorized to write Scripture. So the first thing you need to know about this foundation is that it was established by the truth of God's Word. The written Word gives the documentation or the architectural drawings of the building that God once built with our lives. He starts off with discussing the foundation. He says, "The foundation of the architectural enterprise of your life and my life is to be based on the Word of God and it is to be centered on the person of Jesus Christ".

He makes it clear when he says in verse 11, "For no man can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ". He is called in Scripture, "The Cornerstone". The Cornerstone is the alignment stone where all the rest of the stones of the building were to be in connection to and aligned with. So Jesus Christ is to be based on the written Word of God, the point of reference for all of life. Your agenda must be subject to Jesus Christ. Your race must be subject to Jesus Christ. Your class must be subject to Jesus Christ. Your politics must be subject to Jesus Christ. Your economics must be subject to Jesus Christ. There is no part of life that is not to be aligned with the Cornerstone that is with the person of Jesus Christ. The moment you do that, you've shifted foundations and the moment you shifted foundations means you have an illegitimate building because he says "This building must be centered on the foundation".

A foundation determines the shape of the building, the scope of the building. It is the point of reference for anything you wanna build on top of it, so Paul wants everybody to know if things are not right in your life it's not 'cause there's a faulty foundation. He says, "Your foundation is Jesus Christ". That's a perfect foundation. The issue is what kind of building are you building on a foundation that is without a flaw. He calls it by the grace of God that was given to him. Grace is God's unmerited favor. Jesus paid a high price on the cross and what he doesn't want is us to build a building, a life that doesn't appreciate the price tag. He's never gonna take away what he gave when he died, but he wants to know what was the value you gave it and how you lived.

Did you live in appreciation of the high price, or did you not care about the high price that was paid that gave us the free gift of eternal life, which he promised never to take away. All of us knows what it is to deal with people who don't appreciate what you did and the price you paid and the cost it was, in order to get the gift you received. Paul says, "By the grace of God given me, Jesus Christ is to be your foundation". He goes on to say, "Peter's not your foundation," 'cause there were some people saying in Corinth, "I'm of Peter". Paul says, "I'm not your foundation," 'cause there was some people in the church who were saying, "I'm of Paul". He said, "Apollos is not your foundation," 'cause there was some in the church who were saying, "We follow Apollos".

And as far as Oak Cliff is concerned, Tony Evans is not your foundation, Jesus Christ is your only foundation. He says, if you're going to build your building, your life, on the right foundations, it all depends on the material you use. He gives two types of material. He says, "A man can build on gold, silver, precious stones, or a man or woman can build on wood, hay, and stubble". He gives two different classifications of building material. What is the difference between gold, silver, precious stones/wood, hay and stubble? One is destructible and the other is indestructible. One is permanent, the other is temporary. He says, "You and I are to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ using that which has eternal value attached to it".

The moment you live only with earth and without an eternal connection, you're operating with wood, hay and stubble. That is, you're operating with materials that have no value in the life to come. That's why we are to live our lives with an eternal, heavenly, God-centered perspective. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God".

God wants to be involved in all the idiosyncratic elements of your existence. He wants to be involved in all the decisions, he wants to be involved in all of the choices, in all the directions, in all the relationship. He wants to be involved in the whole thing so that it has eternal value attached to it, so that it has the value of gold, silver, precious stones which is indestructible. One of the reasons why so many people even Christians live lives without values, is they're operating with the wrong material. They are earthbound. And once you are earthbound, that is, you have no spiritual eternal perspective attached, then you are operating on that which will not stand the test on the day at the judgment seat of Christ. At the judgment seat of Christ, when he rolls my tape and rolls your tape, he's going to discuss with you and me four things.

The first thing he's gonna discuss are our works, the deeds that we did. He talks about the works, "Each man's work". Verse 13, "Each man's work". Those are the deeds you performed. Whether the acts that you did were of value to eternity or they were only earthbound. They were temporal, they had no eternal attachment to it. God wasn't attached to it, your faith wasn't attached to it, what God said based on his Word, wasn't attached to it. It was just how you thought, how you felt, what you want. There was no work done that had eternal value attached to it. He says, "Of those things" he's gonna look at your deeds. Not only is he gonna look at your deeds but he's gonna look at infinitesimally. That is, he's gonna look at them in minute detail.

According to Matthew chapter 10 verse 42 it says, "He will not even miss a cup of cold water given in his name". So if you offer a person a cup of cold water and attach God to the cup, he says, "That is a rewardable work". So he is not gonna miss details of things done to which he was attached, okay? So he is going to look at works done or works not done that should've been done when he rolls your tape. The second thing that he's going to look at, are your desires and your thoughts. I know how you feel. Romans chapter 2 verse 16 says, "On the day when according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men's thoughts through Christ Jesus". He is not only gonna judge what you did but what you were thinking, what you were thinking. This judgment is so precise, so intense.

Luke chapter 12 verses 2 and 3 puts it this way, "But there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and whatever you whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the rooftops". So there will be no hidden desires, the people you wish were dead. I mean, all of those will be part of the fodder of the judgment. It will include the secrets of the heart. Another thing that will be judged on that day are our declarations. That is, what we actually said. Matthew chapter 12 verse 36, "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for in the day of judgment. For by your words, you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned".

So every cuss word and every curse word, two different things. Cuss, C-U-S-S, profanity; curse, C-U-R-S-E, wishing evil upon people. He says every one of those have been recorded. And on the day of judgment, he says, "Every careless word will be brought forth". This is a scary situation. He's gonna judge your deeds, he's gonna judge desires, he's gonna judge declarations and then he's gonna judge dependability. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, "It's accounted unto a steward to be faithful". Could he depend on you? We don't want people working with us who you can't depend on; showing up and not showing up. Your boss doesn't want that. If you're an employer, you don't want that you want something that you can count on, something that you can depend on.

And so, he says, "It's accounted unto a steward to be depend", I should be able to count on you, you should be a dependable person, your word should matter. He says it's on tape. It shows up at the judgment seat of Christ. "On that day," he says, "And it will be revealed". Revealed means to turn it inside out to see the real deal. On that day, he will know whether it was gold or gold plated. Because if it's gold plated, people can think it's gold, when only it's camouflage and it shows up not to be gold. God has got a lot of fake Christians who look Christianese on the outside, but on that day when he turns it inside out, it will be Christian knockoff, not the real deal. The real deal on Sunday in church, but not the real deal as a lifestyle with their works and their words and their consistency.

And so, he says on that day it will reveal it. He wants to know, did you value gold, silver, precious stones the free gift of salvation. He tells you how this is gonna work in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 13. "It will be revealed with fire. The fire itself will test the quality of each man's work," okay. This is quality assurance. He will test the quality of each man, nobody's an exception, of each man's work. The fire is the discerning eye of God's judgment. And the discerning eye of God's judgment will reveal what was legitimate, what was illegitimate, what was fake, what was real, what was acceptable, what was not. And out of that judgment it will determine what God can use because it had eternal value attached to it or what was useless. "If a man's work which he built on remains," verse 14, "He will receive a reward".

So he is gonna reward that which he can use because it had an eternal value attached to it. To the smallest thing, a cup of water, to the big things. He says, "You will receive a reward". But then he says, "If any man's work is burned up in the fire of his judgment, he will suffer loss". So his eyes, the fire of his eyes zeroes in and he will suffer loss. Two things: he'll lose something he should've had, she'll lose something she should've had 'cause you can't have a loss unless you lost something. So something you should've gotten, you won't get but you will also suffer loss. Now this is a whole 'nother point about a misgiving of heaven. You're gonna define out in one of the later sermons, "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth of Christians in heaven". Okay? 'Cause you suffer loss, in other words, you gonna feel a loss. Just won't be a loss that you have, it'll be a loss that matters, okay?

Now we live on earth, we can't be so spiritually minded, we're no earthly good, we live on earth. God is not against earth, he's not against you maximizing your potential but he wants it done in connection and in reference to the foundation. He doesn't want you building a building on no foundation or the wrong foundation, he wants to be the foundation or the basis of life. And so, everything burnt up. He shall suffer loss. The question is, what are you giving God that he can use on a daily basis in what you say, what you do, how you relate. So, the idea is that your tape is rolled, the fire of his discerning eye sets it a flame, and what is left is rewarded. When you and I stand at the judgement seat of Christ, he's not just looking at our highlights. The time we did something good here and did something there, good there, good there, good. That's all there, that's all gonna be in the tape, but he's looking at the whole program to decide what he can use 'cause it has eternal value attached to it.

And so, now you know why Paul said, based on last week's sermon that he says, "I live to please him". It's my goal to please him. Now we're not perfect people. We flawed; we fall short every day. That's why it is very important that we have a mindset that says when I get up in the morning, "Lord, today my goal is to live in a way that pleases you," that that is my goal. When I fall short, when I fail, I will acknowledge that, I'm not gonna skip it, I'm gonna acknowledge it so I can get back to the goal of pleasing you now that I know what's on tape. Now I know the question for many of us is, "Well, what about all 'em past tapes"? Does God erase 'em? No, the tapes are the tapes. But the beautiful thing as you'll see later on, is that the grace of God, since he still left us here, will allow us to make new tapes.

And so we can make new tapes. Can't cancel old tapes, but we can make new tapes and if we can get enough time and enough effort to make new tapes, we can still have enough on that day to get a reward. He says, "But he shall be saved just as so by fire". "Just as so by fire," means by the skin of his teeth. Means, I'm not gonna take his salvation away, I am gonna take away his reward. What God wants us to do, is to begin the process of knowing that our full tape is out there, so we begin the process of editing new tape as we go along. Now that you know that that day is coming and it is inescapable, you will be there. If you're not a Christian, you won't be there because you got a whole 'nother judgment.

This judgment determines how much heaven you get, that judgment determines how much hell you get. Two different judgments. Everybody doesn't get the same amount in heaven. It's not an equal opportunity experience. You'll see that. But now living in light of this day and beginning your day saying, "Lord, I wanna please you in my walk and my talk and my work today and when I fall short, which I will, I wanna acknowledge it to you so I can get back on track". If that becomes the mantra, the mindset that we move forward with. We can have what John calls confidence at his coming. So no matter how good we think we are, no matter how on target we feel we are, no matter how we were raised or what our people say, what our pastor talking about, no matter, God is using his standard based on Jesus Christ, tied to his Word, to determine his radar. And that's why we must build our lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

The criteria of rewards for the judgment seat of Christ is the quality of our commitments; gold, silver, and precious stones. In other words, we valued our salvation, we valued our redemption, we value the gift of eternal life to the degree that we gave Jesus Christ, our quality of heart, our quality of life, and our quality of love. Wood, hay and stubble is that which does not last, it does not have intrinsic long-term value, but the preciousness of gold, silver, and precious stones which Paul calls the quality of our commitment is what God is gonna measure. None of us is perfect but what we can give God is quality and that's what he's looking for as we serve him. It's the quality of life that Jesus Christ is looking for.
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