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Your Final Exam: The Bema Seat

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell
The Truth Network Radio
August 17, 2019 8:00 am

Your Final Exam: The Bema Seat

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell

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August 17, 2019 8:00 am

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We learn about heavenly rewards this hour. What are they? And when do we receive them?

2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 10, For we must all, and Paul here is speaking about himself, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Takes your breath away. Welcome to Understanding the Times Radio, with Jan Markell. Radio for the remnant. This hour, Jan talks to Dr. Mark Hitchcock for the hour. Mark has a new book out on the judgment seat of Christ, also called the Bema Seat. At this event in eternity, every thought, motive, and deed will be judged and rewarded. Let's join Jan Markell and Mark Hitchcock.

It's going to be an awesome day. You see, there's no possibility of any rehearsal. And what? There's no possibility of any repetition, because again, this is the final judgment. I think again of a statement Dr. Tozer made to me once.

He said, Len, you know what? He said, we'll hardly get our feet out of time into eternity, and gaze on eternity if what we bow our heads in shame and humiliation, and say, my God, look at all the riches there were in Jesus Christ, and I've come to the judgment seat almost a pauper. Master, forgive, and inspire us a new banish our worldliness. Help us to ever live with eternity's values in view. And welcome to the program, eternity's values in view.

We're going to talk about that for the hour. Do you know that we will be receiving rewards from the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and that will be at the judgment seat of Christ, also known as the Bema Seat. And my guest for the hour, Mark Hitchcock, says that receiving rewards will be a sign of God's pleasure and approval of our lives here on earth. But our entire life will be evaluated. Motives, thoughts, deeds, actions, selfish acts, lots of things will be evaluated by the King of Kings. And for the Christian, heaven isn't simply a destination. Quite frankly, it's a motivation.

Think of it this way. How you live, think, and act right now, every day, will reverberate in your existence forever and ever. God wants us to know that our labors and sacrifices here on earth, well, they're not in vain. God wants to graciously reward sacrifice and faithfulness. Probably the most obvious verse for all of this that we'll be discussing is 2 Corinthians 5 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether good or bad. Now, we are carrying a new product, and it is a book.

His latest, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Heavenly Rewards, Living with Eternity in Sight. And it actually is from cover to cover about the judgment seat of Christ. So we're going to talk about that. Hopefully, we might have time for just a couple of comments about some current events going on. Obviously, things are breaking in the news on not a daily basis, but an hourly basis.

And some of them have some biblical significance. And if time allows, we'll talk about that as well. So Mark Hitchcock, welcome back to Understanding the Times Radio. Thank you so much for having me again, Jan.

I really appreciate it. Yeah. I think we should clarify, Mark.

And by the way, I've read your book cover to cover. I think we should clarify that the judgment seat of Christ, the famous seat affects not just heaven, but also what we do in the Millennial Kingdom. Am I right? That's right.

Yes. So that's kind of the first phase of eternity, the Millennial Kingdom, the 1000 year reign of Christ when he returns. Then after that's finished, we'll go on into the eternal state. But yes, the rewards that we receive as believers at the judgment seat of Christ, which again, you and I both believe that's after the rapture. The rapture of the church will happen. Those who've died as believers will be resurrected.

Those of us who are alive will be caught up. We'll meet the Lord and then we'll appear at the judgment seat and be rewarded or receive lack of reward. And based on that, we'll have differing positions of authority and rule and reign throughout the Millennial Kingdom, the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth. What we do now and the way we live now is not only going to affect what we call heaven or all of eternity, but will affect that 1000 year reign.

And, you know, there's an old saying one of my friends had years ago, I really like you said, you know, this is training time for reigning time. So we're going to reign with Christ on the earth during that 1000 years. And Luke chapter 19 says, you know, some will rule over five cities, some will rule over 10 cities. So what we do now, how faithful we are now with the opportunities, the gifts, the abilities that God gives to us is going to affect the way we live for that 1000 year Millennial reign and on into eternity. And you highlight in the book, a lot of verses that actually use the word your rewards. And I don't know many people who do things for eternal rewards, but it's nice to know that they do await us, that the Bible talks about rewards, that God is pleased with our service. And I think it's nice to know that we will have the Lord's approval, but I appreciated all the verses you highlighted, just stating the words, your reward.

Yeah, it's throughout the scripture. And I was really kind of stunned to myself, I've studied this topic before, but I just lay out there in the opening chapter, a lot of these verses, because a lot of people have the idea, I think that somehow rewards makes our service here mercenary, where you're kind of working to get something from God or working for a reward. And they almost really deny this idea of future reward. But one of the things I point out in the book, and I think it's so important, and it was really impactful to me in writing the book is we have to remember rewards are God's idea.

This isn't our idea. We're not making this up or doing something to try to give people motivation. It's God's idea to give rewards. And so really, when we deny rewards, or somehow diminish rewards, we're diminishing something that God has told us He desires to give to us. And really what the rewards will be, ultimately, is a sign of God's pleasure and His approval with our lives.

So it's not just the reward per se, but it's what that reward signifies that we really desire, which is to be pleasing to the Lord. Yes. Let's go through, and you actually offer some basic questions in the book. Let's go through a few of the questions that you suggest here in one of the opening chapters.

Let me start with the first one. Will Christians be judged for their sins at this bema seat or judgment seat of Christ? Well, that's one of the most important questions, I think, that people wonder about, because a lot of people have this really fearful idea of appearing before the judgment seat, you know, a cringing fear that I'm going to be there and it's gonna be like a big video of my life that's going to run, everyone's going to see it, every assorted thought, every evil thing I've ever done is going to be up there on the screen for everyone to see. My view is, is that at the judgment seat of Christ as believers, we're only going to be judged for our behavior after we became a believer. So I think our life before we became a Christian will not be evaluated, because we were lost, we couldn't do anything than to please God. But after we become a believer in Christ, our service for the Lord is going to be evaluated, but I don't think our sins will be part of that. And several verses I would point to, one is Romans chapter 8 verse 1, a very familiar verse, there's therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

In John chapter 5 verse 24, Jesus said that we're not going to come into judgment for our sins. I believe there are sins won't be the issue at the judgment seat, what will be at issue is our service, what we did for Jesus Christ, and that service will be evaluated for what we did, how we did it, why we did it, so that's what's going to be under review, I believe, at the judgment seat, not our sins. I think some are wondering, is this going to be a public event? People are going to be standing around, maybe making comments?

I hope not. Well, that's a question I put in the book, because I've always wondered about that myself, you know, will this be a public or private event? Some say it'll be private, because it's no one else's business, you know, how the Lord evaluates my life. But one of the problems with making it private is we're all going to know the results of the judgment anyway. We'll all know what we received, and we'll be able to look at other people's lives and eternity and see what they received as a reward.

It seems to me that it will be public. When you look at passages like in Luke chapter 19, where the servants there that the master left in charge of his goods and his business when he went away and said, Occupy till I come, when he comes back, it seems like everyone's gathered there together and knows what's happening. Now again, you can't take everything in a parable and say that it necessarily reflects everything that's going to take place. And Luke 19 is not necessarily picturing the judgment seat, but it is a judgment scene of the Lord coming back and holding people accountable for what they've done with what he's given them. And it seems to me there that it is a public event.

He says, take from this person, you know, and give to this person. So it seems like they're there. Several people are, and they're aware of what's happening. My view is that it does seem to be a public event. Now some will say, well, boy, that's going to be really embarrassing. But I like I think it was Erwin Lutzer pointed out years ago, one of his books on the judgment seat, he said, Look, no one's going to be feeling higher than anybody else.

We're all going to be in the same boat there. So I do think it will be public. And that's interesting that you do feel it's public, because that's a little bit ominous. You may be proven very right.

I want to defer to Erwin Lutzer for a moment. And I want to talk about because one of your questions is, could we feel sorrow or remorse at the judgment seat, since every motive will be judged? I mean, sometimes mankind has some pretty selfish motives.

For instance, a teacher may be teaching for the glory of teaching, entertainers or singers may be singing for the glory they might get. And of course, all of that's going to come out. And then we're certainly going to feel regret. And I want to take it a step further and even ask, could we even shed some tears? And before I get to your response, Mark, I want to play a real quick clip of Erwin Lutzer and then come back and get your response. But you know, there may be another reason why there are going to be tears in heaven.

It's the reason that I suspect is perhaps the correct one. And that is tears of regret. When we think of how we lived in light of all the opportunities God gave us, I believe that there are going to be tears at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. Now, I have to clarify that when I speak about the judgment seat of Christ, I'm talking about you believers and me as a believer, we are going to stand there. If you're here today and you've never savingly believed on Jesus, you've never trusted him as your savior, you will not appear at this judgment. You'll appear at another judgment described in the book of Revelation, a judgment that is horrific and terrifying. But today I'm speaking to Christians. The Bible says we shall all appear. And there's some people who say, well, you know, it's no big deal because doesn't Calvary cover it all?

And the answer is yes, of course, Calvary covers it all legally. When you receive Christ as savior, you're forgiven past, present and future. You become a son or daughter of God.

I get that. But that doesn't mean that God does not judge justified sinners. For example, today, if you sin, God judges you, God disciplines you, even though Calvary covers it all.

When Ananias and Sapphira died and they arrived in heaven after lying, you know the story in the book of Acts, I can imagine they said to one another, well, what is this? Why did we get judged that way? Doesn't Calvary cover it all legally? Yes, but still we're going to be judged on the basis of what we did with what God gave us. And then you have those super spiritual people who say, well, you know, you know, these rewards are just crowns and aren't we just going to cast our crowns before Jesus anyway?

Implying it doesn't really matter how I live. Well, I don't believe that the rewards mentioned in the Bible are medallions. If we do cast our crowns before Christ, we're going to have to pick them up again because the Bible talks about those are going to rule with him forever and ever.

I believe that rewards have to do with degrees of responsibility in the kingdom and where God is going to slot you in responsibility. You're listening to Understanding the Times Radio. Jan Markell here. I have on the line Dr. Mark Hitchcock, a familiar voice on Understanding the Times Radio. We're carrying his newest book, which is titled Heavenly Rewards, Living with Eternity in Sight. You can find it in my online store at You can call my office.

It's in my various newsletters, Print and E. Sign up for those online. Dr. Mark Hitchcock, your thoughts and Dr. Lutzer's comments there? Well, that was a great quote, a beautiful quote by him. I agree with him that there will be regret and remorse at the judgment seat of Christ.

I don't see how there can't be. We're not going to know less then than we know now. We're going to know the things that we didn't do. We're going to know the opportunities we have had. We're going to know the things that we should have done, that we could have done. We're going to realize that our motives oftentimes were so tainted in what we did. So we'll know those things, and I don't see how there could be any other response there than some remorse and regret.

Having said that, though, I think it's important also to keep that in balance. And I do believe that the overall emotion that we will experience at the judgment seat of Christ, even if there is regret and remorse there, will still be joy. It talks about in 1 John chapter 2, the end of the chapter, about people who will shrink away from the Lord at His coming. I think it's talking there about believers.

They'll be ashamed. It also says at the end of the book of Jude that we're going to stand in His glorious presence with great joy. So I do believe that the overarching emotion that we will experience while we're there, after we've been judged, after we've been evaluated, will be an overwhelming sense of joy, because I do believe that God will find something in the life of every believer to reward. 1 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 5, it says that, Don't go on judging before the time, but wait until the Lord comes. He'll bring delight to things hidden in darkness.

He'll expose the motives of men's hearts. And that sounds so ominous, but then the last phrase is, And each one will receive his reward from God. And it's in the singular there that every believer will receive a reward from God.

I think we have to balance out the idea of remorse and shame and regret we'll feel there with this idea of an overwhelming sense of joy to be there in the presence of the Lord, and that any reward we receive we're going to recognize is a result ultimately of His grace in our lives. Like you bring out, Mark Hitchcock, some people, quite frankly, they're born with less ability. Some are born with tremendous talent and skills and even intelligence, and they're going to excel far more, and they may excel in Kingdom work far more. I'm sure God takes that into consideration. And then, as you already referenced, some come to faith much later in life, so they've had perhaps only a few months to a few years compared to someone who's served the Lord 40, 50, 60 years.

No, that's right. Those issues are addressed beautifully. I've got an entire chapter in the book on Matthew 20. It's the beautiful picture there of Jesus telling the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. There's the laborers that go out at six o'clock in the morning, and another group at nine o'clock in the morning, a group at noon, a group at three in the afternoon, and then there's the eleventh-hour workers that go out at five o'clock in the afternoon and just work an hour. And they receive the same, a denarius, as those who went out early. Now, there's more to the parable than that, and I'm oversimplifying it right now, but one of the lessons is that the length of service does not determine the degree of reward. Because again, you take people that they say, well, you know, I've just, I got saved when I was 85.

I haven't had the time to serve, but the length of service doesn't determine the degree of reward. God is gracious. When we think about this, God is omniscient. God knows everything. He knows our IQ. He knows our talents. He knows our weaknesses. He knows our abilities. He knows all of those things, and God will judge us individually, but also impartially, inclusively. He'll take everything into account, and based on all of that, God will give reward or withhold reward. And we can know that when we receive rewards, since He's omniscient and knows all things, that what we received is exactly what we should have received based on who we are and what we had.

So that should be a comfort to all of us. I don't have to run your race. You don't have to run my race. We don't run anyone else's race.

We're all going to be judged for how we ran the race that God gave us. I want to go back to the timing of this event. You already referred to it. It takes place after the rapture, before the second coming, because at the time of the second coming, we return with Jesus Christ, and then we begin the millennial kingdom, where we begin to implement however we're going to be serving, and based on some of those rewards. I would be right.

Correct. It's after the rapture, before the second coming, perhaps before the marriage supper of the Lamb? Yes, that's the way I understand it. And I rely on that verse I quoted earlier in 1 Corinthians 4-5. It says, you know, don't go on judging before the time, but wait until the Lord comes. Then He's going to bring the light to things hidden in darkness, expose the motives of men's hearts. Each man's reward will come from God. So the judgment seat takes place when the Lord comes. So He's going to come someday, any day, any moment.

He could come. The dead in Christ will rise first. We are alive and remain.

We'll be caught up. We'll go and appear before the Lord. And I believe the first order of business when we get to heaven will be this judgment seat of Christ. One of the reasons I believe that is, is because when we get to Revelation chapter 19, when the bride there is in heaven, waiting to return back to the earth with Jesus, it says that the bride is wearing fine linen, which is the righteous acts of the saints.

So it appears to me by that time that the bride has been rewarded in heaven. Talking to Dr. Mark Hitchcock for the hour. He's actually been a speaker at one of my Understanding the Times conferences, many occasions, I think at least five times. And let me just quickly say again here, as it concerns tickets for the conference, and they're going quickly. So would you check in with the Brushfire Agency about your tickets? And the number is 888-338-5338. It's just $25.

That includes a lunch. And the event is Saturday, September 21st. We'll be live streamed with J.D. Farag, Dr. Robert Jeffress, Samir Sarfati, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Lori Cardoza Moore, and others, myself. Let me just quickly add that if you've discovered that you cannot attend, give Brushfire a call and just say, you know what, I'm not going to be there. Give your name or the names so that those tickets can be available for others.

Please do that 888-338-5338 or And the event will be closed captioned at the church and online. So that's kind of new this year. I'm moving on here with Dr. Mark Hitchcock. Mark, is there somewhere in the Bible that might indicate what kind of rewards folks will get? Dr. Mark Hitchcock Well, that's probably maybe the most little bit nebulous part of the whole idea of rewards. You know, what I think we can say is these rewards must be something that are magnificent because the Lord calls on us to labor for them.

They're going to affect how we live for all of eternity. Paul says, you know, forgetting what's behind, I press on toward the prize, you know, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. So there's something wonderful and beyond our imagination, but they're really laid out in the Bible, I think kind of in three main categories. We have the crowns that Klipsky played from Dr. Lutzer refers to. There's crowns and the term that's used in the Bible is for the victor's crown back in that day, someone who would appear at the Olympic Games. They didn't get medals like we get, you know, the gold or silver or bronze, but it was a like an oak leaf or parsley crown that they received, which was perishable. And of course, the crowns we receive are contrasted with that in the Bible. They're imperishable. They'll be eternal.

And they're given for different types of behavior. And again, as Dr. Lutzer said, we're going to cast those crowns at the feet of Jesus. But I agree with him, it doesn't mean that we're giving the rewards up because the effect of those rewards will carry on in our lives for all of eternity. What I think that simply implies there of casting the crowns at Jesus' feet is that we're giving him the glory for what we have. And to me, that's a beautiful thought is, you know, God comes and saves us by his grace, apart from anything that we've done or we've not done. Then he gives us his Holy Spirit, who empowers us to do things for him that are pleasing to him. And then God is going to reward us for those things.

So to me, it's just a beautiful picture of God's grace. Another reward is ruling with Christ. We have crowns, then we have co-ruling with Christ. And again, I alluded to this earlier, but Luke chapter 19, we're going to rule and reign with Christ.

Some will rule over ten cities, some will rule over five cities. How faithful we are now with whatever responsibilities God gives to us will be rewarded in the future with greater opportunities to serve the Lord. Again, we don't know what that will be, but Revelation 22 5 says, And they will reign forever and ever.

So we're going to reign. We do know one of the things we'll do is we're going to judge the angels. That says that in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 2 and 3. I don't think when it says we'll judge angels, it's as if they're going to do things that are wrong and we have to judge them for that.

But it just simply means we will be in authority over them. Now, I think the other reward is some people have a greater capacity to reflect the glory of God than other people. I get that from Daniel chapter 12, verses 1 and 2, where it says that those who bring the many to righteousness will shine like the stars in their brightness.

And I love a quote from Warren Wiersbe years ago that's really blessed me. He said that in heaven, everyone's cup will be full, but some people's cups will be larger than others. And so none of us will feel deprived in heaven, like, oh, my cup is just half full. Our cups will be full, but some of us will have larger cups than others. We'll have a greater capacity to reflect God's glory, kind of like in a chandelier.

You may have a 25 watt bulb and a 50 watt bulb and a 100 watt bulb. We'll have a greater capacity to reflect the glory of God. And that will be a wonderful and estimable privilege, I believe, for all of eternity for us as God's people. One more clip by Dr. Erwin Lutzer about will we be judged fairly and only judged on the second birth, not the first? First of all, we're going to be judged fairly. We're going to be judged fairly.

You say, well, where is that in the text? This is, after all, the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, the one who died to redeem us, the one who loves us, the one who became our brother. He's going to be doing the judging.

And of course, he would like to have us do well. He is going to be eminently fair. And standing there in the presence of Jesus, we will all have to deal with reality, nothing but reality.

No attorney to tweak it to make ourselves look better. No fact will be overlooked. If you were brought up in an abusive home, it affected the way in which you lived and so forth. All of those things are going to be taken into account. And when your judgment is over, nobody is going to dispute it because we'll know that the judgment was indeed fair and just. And you'll be judged on the basis of what you did since your second birth, not your first birth.

Some of you perhaps were converted later in life and you have a very sordid story. Well, after we get saved, we are saved unto good works. And those are the works that we are going to be judged for.

And in a few moments, I'll help you understand what that means. Talking to Dr. Mark Hitchcock for the hour, because we're carrying his newest book, Heavenly Rewards, Living with Eternity in Sight. And it's obviously, as you've now heard for almost a half an hour, it's about the judgment seat of Christ, also known as the Bema Seat. And a fascinating topic because all of us are going to be facing this judgment seat of Christ.

Everyone who is a believer. It's an ominous thought because every motive, every thought that we've ever had is going to be judged by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But Mark Hitchcock, there's another judgment that's going to go on probably around the same time. I'm not sure we know the timing. The Great White Throne Judgment.

Why don't we discuss that for just a few minutes, then I'm going to have to take my first break. Yes, everybody that's listening right now is going to appear really at one of these two judgments, either as a believer at the judgment seat of Christ, or as an unbeliever at the Great White Throne Judgment. Now my view is that the Great White Throne Judgment is all the way at the end of the millennium, because it's there in chapter 20 of Revelation verses 11 through 15, after the thousand year reign of Christ. So after we've reigned with Christ a thousand years, all those who've died, all the lost of all the ages are going to be brought before the Lord Jesus Christ to judge. The issue there is not going to be being judged on your works and the things you did for Christ, but it's going to be a judgment based on whether one received the Lord Jesus and then did works based on that that are pleasing to God. In fact, if you go and read in Revelation chapter 20, 11 through 15, they are going to be judged based on the things they've done. It says the book is going to be opened. I take the book, they're singular, to be the book of life, the Lamb's book of life, and says if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he's cast in the lake of fire.

But it also says the books will be opened, plural, and I believe those books contain the deeds of those who are lost. And so just as there will be rewards in heaven, differing degrees of reward in heaven, there will be differing degrees of punishment for those who are lost in Hades and ultimately in the lake of fire based on what they've done. Because again, as the quote of Dr. Lutzer just gave, Christ is fair.

He's just. So there'll be degrees of punishment. Jesus said it'll be better for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than it would be for Capernaum and Chorazim and Bethsaida, the cities he did his miracles in. That's a very sobering thought for people who are listening today who maybe don't know Christ, who've heard the gospel, who've lived in a place like America where the gospel is so accessible and they reject that message. God is going to hold people accountable for the light that they've rejected. And so that's a very sobering thought. So there's going to be rewards, degrees of reward in heaven, degrees of punishment in the afterlife for those who don't know Christ. Mark Hitchcock says, One day our diligence will come to light.

He will reward us for every act of faithfulness done for him, no matter how small, right down to the cup of cold water we gave to the needy in his name. I'm coming back in just a couple of minutes. We're going to continue our discussion on the Bema Seat or the Judgment Seat of Christ. Again, the book is in my store, Heavenly Rewards by Dr. Mark Hitchcock, or call my office if you'd like to do that or get on my various newsletter lists. Be advertised in those products. I'm coming back in a couple of minutes. Don't go away.

We always enjoy hearing from listeners. Write us through our website, That's Call us Central Time at 763-559-4444. That's 763-559-4444. Write us at Olive Tree Ministries in Jan Martel, Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. That's Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. Your tax-deductible gifts in this summer season are always appreciated. We'll return to the discussion with our guest in just a moment.

Understanding the Times 2019 is around the corner. Saturday, September 21, just outside of Minneapolis. You have your tickets yet. If not, call the Brushfire Agency at 1-888-338-5338. That's 1-888-338-5338.

Or just go online to We are selling general admission tickets for $25, and that includes a lunch. If you have purchased a ticket and cannot attend, please turn in your ticket to Brushfire so others can purchase them. Speakers include Dr. Robert Jeffress, Amir Sarfati, Pastor J.D.

Farang, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Jan Martel, and Lori Cardoza-Moore. We begin at 845 a.m. on September 21 and conclude at 5 p.m. The destination is Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, near Minneapolis. Even hotels are selling out, so visit our website,, and go to our conference page for hotel information.

If you cannot journey to Minneapolis, the event will be live streamed at no cost. Consult our website for details. Come and meet 5,000 like-minded remnant believers on Saturday, September 21.

Learn why things aren't falling apart, they are falling into place. We hope this discussion of eternal heavenly rewards is helpful. What we do in this life counts in the next. We have an active online store with many products that will help you understand the times, intend for the faith, and become watchmen on the wall. Check it out at Let's return to Jan Martel and Dr. Mark Hitchcock.

Mark is pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Well, it's always exciting to see the launching of a space shuttle and all of that fire and all that smoke and all of a sudden there it goes into orbit. Well, one of the most exciting things about it to me is the countdown. Do you realize that the moment you were born, the countdown started on your life. A countdown to the judgment of God. The moment you became a person, the countdown started. You may live 10 years, 50 years, 100 years, but the countdown started. At every single tick of the clock, you're that one second closer to that moment of an inescapable, predestined, planned, unavoidable appointment with Almighty God. There are a lot of people who say, I don't believe in life after death. That doesn't make a bit of difference.

I don't believe the Bible matters not. There is a countdown going on in your life right now. You're going to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ. You're going to give an account for your life.

And whether you believe it or not is not the issue. The issue is how ready are you to meet Him? And the next time you look at your watch and you see the second hand, you count it.

One, two, three, four, five seconds closer to liftoff. Because when He calls our name, we're going. And I want to remind you that no doctor, no matter how skilled he is, can keep you here.

No prayer meeting, no matter how powerful the prayer meeting may be, can keep you here. There is an appointed time, a predestined time, for the simple reason, that's what the Word of God teaches and there are multitudes of reasons for it. Now, the title of this series is Countdown to Judgment. But the title of this message is simply this. The title of the message is our unavoidable, our predestined appointment. We have an appointment with Almighty God.

We all have one. You say, well, I didn't sign up for that. You didn't have to. He signed you up. You will be there. You will be on time.

There'll be no delay. God knows exactly this moment when you and I will breathe our last breath and we'll be in His presence. The Bible says, absent from the body, present with the Lord. That is for all of us who are believers. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad. And we're not going to stand before him in a crowd.

Listen to this. Each one, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may be recompensed, that is rewarded for his deeds in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Our unavoidable predestined appointment with God cannot be changed. And welcome back. Familiar voice of Dr. Charles Stanley talking about the subject matter of the hour.

Heavenly Rewards is the name of the new book, Living with Eternity Insight. Dr. Mark Hitchcock, he's my guest here for the hour. Mark, you're doing some prophecy updates online. I actually post them almost every time you do so. And they're also appearing on your website and give that, would you? My website's You can find his prophecy updates there.

They're very short, five, six minutes. I post them to my headlines usually once a week or at least every other week for sure. Real timely, what's going on in the world and Mark, we'll take a quick look at it. So you might want to look into that. You say this, Mark, the Lord will turn us inside out at the judgment seat. That's a little bit ominous. It's a little bit foreboding. What do you mean he's going to turn us inside out at the judgment seat?

Well, what that means is he's going to examine our motives. There's a verse I quoted earlier. Again, it's a sobering verse. Don't go on judging before the time.

Wait until the Lord comes. He'll bring the light to things hidden in darkness. He will expose the motives of men's hearts. Again, as I said, that all sounds so ominous, but then it ends with that positive. Each man's praise will come to him from God. To me, that's a staggering thought that the Lord of the universe, the shepherd of the stars, the Lord of the ages is going to find something to praise in my life. But he is going to turn us inside out.

And that's what that word, that's what that idea carries there. He's going to expose the things hidden in darkness. He's going to expose the motives of men's hearts. And even at the statement in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 10, where it talks about we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that word means more than just kind of just appear like show up. It means he's going to disclose.

He's going to reveal what's in our hearts. So that's a very sobering thing, because I think about that a lot. I do a lot of things that other people look at and they think they're good things that I do. No one else knows my motives.

I know my motives. And sometimes I think as human beings, we're sometimes in our fallen state. We may not even be totally aware of what our motives are. But sometimes I catch myself in my own motive and I know my motives not right for what I'm doing. And the Lord knows, he's not only going to evaluate what we do and how we do it, but he's going to evaluate why we do it, the why that's behind it or underneath it.

I think that's part of what makes this sobering. But it's wonderful for us to know this before the time. We don't want to appear before the Lord someday and say, I had no idea this event was even going to take place or that I was going to actually be judged for these things. So it's good for us to know this so that we can be preparing for it. It's kind of like God has a final exam out there on the schedule. It's on the prophetic calendar.

It's not going to be a pop quiz. We know it's coming. And so we can be living our lives now in preparation for that day so that, Lord willing, we can hear those beautiful words, you know, well done, thou good and faithful servant. It might sound like we're talking about salvation and works and we're going to have our salvation is going to be based on works.

You quote C.S. Lovett, who says salvation gets us to heaven, but works just determines what we get after we are there. We've got to be careful here that salvation has nothing to do with works.

So we're talking about works here at this hour. Good works to gain rewards and salvation by grace do not go together. I think we need to emphasize that. That's right.

It's like oil and water. There's so many places in the Bible, like Ephesians 2, 8 and 9, for by grace you've been saved through faith, that not of yourselves. It's the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. But then the very next verse goes on and says, For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. It's God's prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. We're saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but unto good works.

And so I like to say it like this. Our redemption is by belief, whereas our rewards are based on then our behavior after we become a Christian. It's our faith in Christ that determines where we will spend eternity. It's our works after we become a believer that will determine how we spend eternity. So those two lines of truth, redemption and rewards, are very important to keep distinct from one another, because the human mind and our fallen condition always wants to somehow inject some kind of works or merit into our salvation. We're saved completely by Christ's mercy, not by our merit. We're saved by his dying, not by our doing. But once we become a believer, then we have the Holy Spirit and we're energized then to do good works that please our Father. Mark Hitchcock is a pastor of the Faith Bible Church, Edmund, Oklahoma, Faith Bible Church, quoting you again here, at least quoting you with the book, I believe. And there you say, no one can steal your crown, but you can lose your heavenly reward by default by failing to seize the opportunities presented to you.

I think you need to kind of unpack that. I'm going to quote it one more time. No one can steal your crown, but you can lose your heavenly reward by default by failing to seize the opportunities presented to you.

That's right. I think rewards can be lost. In 2 John, verse 8, it talks about losing reward. I don't think when it talks about in the Bible as losing reward, it means that when we get to heaven, God's going to give us a reward and then take it away from us. What I think it means is there's things here now that we're not doing that we could be doing, where we're defaulting on certain opportunities and responsibilities God is giving us. And in that sense, we're losing the opportunity to gain a reward. So again, losing reward doesn't mean God takes it back from us. But by default, we can fail to receive a reward that we would have received. I've got a couple of stories in the book, one from about H.A.

Ironside. It's a really good old story about a man who defaulted and it felt like that he let someone else take his crown. No one can steal your crown, but you can lose it by default by failing to seize opportunities that God gives to us. So I think we can also lose rewards by defect, by our service being defective, as we just talked about a few moments ago, by having a wrong motive or doing it in a wrong way. We can also lose rewards by disqualification. Even someone as great as the Apostle Paul, he said, you know, I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

And the word he used there, adakamos, the word, the Greek word for disqualified, doesn't mean to lose your salvation, but it was a word used in the games of that day for someone who was competing in the Olympic Games who was disqualified from receiving a reward. There's a lot more in the Bible about rewards, probably than most people realize, and kind of some of these details really about them and how we get them and how we can forfeit them as well. Again, the book is called Heavenly Rewards.

It's in my store,, And I said, I want to allow just a few minutes for some discussion on some current event issues. We'll do that as we head into the closing minutes of the program.

And Mark, again, I got lots of pages and notes here. I think a lot of believers don't give it a lot of thought, which is why I'm glad you've written the book. I think you've given some messages on it too. I've seen at least one message of yours online about the topic.

I don't think folks are giving it a lot of thought. I hope they will because of some of the things we're talking about and what they're going to be reading. What we do, I think, in heaven is going to be intriguing. I think we're going to have assignments in the Millennial Kingdom.

I think that's pretty obvious. We're probably going to be doing some things that we're really going to enjoy doing in the Millennial Kingdom. And again, some of that depends on some of the rewards that we get. You know, we're only in heaven, I think, about seven years during the time of the Tribulation. Will we be perhaps doing some things constructively in heaven as well?

I don't think there's a whole lot that might indicate that. What are your thoughts? You know, there's always the question that people ask, well, how long is the judgment seat going to take? We have millions of people.

Well, millions upon millions. Right. And that's one of the arguments that people use against the pre-Trib rapture. They say, well, you know, people are going to get caught up to heaven. It's going to take more than seven years to judge all these people to come back. But God is able to do things with an economy of time that we're not able to do. All the nations are going to appear before Jesus when he returns at his second coming of the sheep and the goats. And we know that's not going to take 50 years or a thousand years to do that. In fact, there's a 75-day period between the second coming of Jesus and when the millennium starts, when I believe those judgments will be carried out. We don't know how long the judgment seat will take. We don't know exactly how that's going to occur.

God views time differently than we do. We don't know how all that's going to play out. But I think it's going to happen in a brief period of time, and then we'll be judged at the judgment seat.

The bride is going to make herself ready. So we'll have these rewards. We'll be clothed in fine linen, the righteous acts of the saints. And then we're going to be making preparation as the bride in heaven, in Revelation chapter 19, to return back with Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, back to this earth. We'll be undergoing, when we're in heaven during that time that the tribulation is raging on earth, we'll be being judged. We'll be preparing for the marriage of the Lamb when we're presented to Christ. And then we'll be preparing for that marriage supper when we return back to him, with him back to the earth. Those are some of the things that we will be doing. I'm sure when we get there, it's going to seem much, much greater and more magnificent than anything we can ever imagine here now on earth. You know, there's a verse that's a little bit ominous, quite frankly, for folks like you and me, talking to Dr. Mark Hitchcock for the hour.

You can learn more at And that is, some folks are going to be judged a little bit more sternly. Teachers, pastors, perhaps judged a little bit more seriously, a higher standard for them.

If someone is a teacher or a pastor listening, what would you say to them? Well, that is, it's a sobering thing that the judgment is going to be impartial. God is an impartial judge, but there is one group that the Bible does single out that's going to receive a stricter judgment. We get that from James chapter three and verse two. You know, don't let many of you become teachers, knowing it's such you will incur stricter judgment.

That's James chapter three, verses one and two. And so as teachers, we're held responsible, I believe, according to Matthew chapter five, not only for what we teach and whether we're accurate in what we teach, but I think we're also held accountable. Do we live out what we teach? Are we faithful to live that out? And obviously, none of us live that out perfectly. And none of us have perfect doctrine and perfect theology.

But it's something that every teacher should have in mind constantly. It should be a very sobering thought. Have I put the time in to be sure that what I'm saying to the very best of my study and ability and standing on the shoulders of others who've gone before me, that it's accurate that I'm not a hypocrite in my life, or I'm not living this out? I heard someone say years ago, you know, when you get to the judgment seat of Christ, and you see some lines there, and you see one line with a bunch of preachers in it, go get in another line, because it'll go quicker. And that's true, there's going to be a stricter judgment. That's not saying that if you have the gift of teaching that you shouldn't do that in fear. But what it is saying is if you have that gift, and you're going to assume some type of teaching office, that you better be very serious about what you teach. But again, also, do we live it out in our own lives?

Are we faithful to strive by the power of the Holy Spirit to be faithful and align our life with what we're teaching? And that's a sobering thing for all of us who are teachers to consider. And play one more clip that happens to be Leonard Ravenhill again. And then when we finish with this clip, we're going to spend the remaining few minutes talking to Dr. Mark Hitchcock about some current events. They're all going to stand one day, can you imagine it?

At the judgment seat of Christ, to get an account for the deeds done in the body. This is what? This is the king of kings. And he's the judge of judges. And it's the tribunal of tribunals. And there's no court of appeal after it.

The verdict is final. Listen, when you see Jesus, you're not going up and say, hey, buddy, I'm glad you died for me. When you see Jesus, you'll be almost paralyzed with fear unless you have a glorified body and a glorified mind. You say, well, Mr. Ravenhill, I won't be in serious trouble because, you know, I don't have a good memory. Well, I'll tell you what, you'll have one that day.

In Malachi, it says that God has a book of remembrance. And I think it would do you good before you go to bed every night this week to ask God, what did you put in your book this today from my life? Did you get up this morning and thank God you are pure? Did you thank him that that devilish fever you used to have for sniffing cocaine or drugs or something, that he brought the fetter of it? Are you really glad you're not a prostitute now? You're going to be a part of a bride of the lamb? Are you glad he's removed from your heart covetousness and bad temper and all those creepy, horrible things that used to master you? I think sometimes we think we're going to march up and say, well, you know, Jesus, do you know how many years I served you and how many souls I won for you and how many sermons I preached for you?

Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Well, what will he be like in heaven? Well, I'll tell you what the book says he'll be like.

It says his hair is as white as snow. His feet are like burnished brass. His face is like the sun in its strength. His eyes are living coals of fire.

His tongue is a sharp dredge and sword. And here is John, who used to lean his head on the bosom of Jesus and hear that divine heartbeat. The man that I believe knew more about Jesus than anyone else. And when he saw Jesus there on his throne in his majesty, with his face brighter than the sun, with his feet like burnished brass, with his eyes like flames of fire, with his tongue majestic and light and his voice like the sound of many waters. John the man who had walked with him and talked with him for three years says that when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.

What do you think what do you think you and I are going to do? We must stand at the judgment seat of Christ. You can't send your lawyer.

You can't send a representative. You can't send a preacher who says, well, I understand this, this person who's always falling up and down and in and out and even the way they were. I'll explain it to you. And the Lord says, you won't do anything of the kind. You say, well, I'm not quite sure about this.

You know, my, no, your memory isn't faulty. Everything you've done, every idle word you've spoken, every action, the things that I missed, we're not going to be judged just because of what we've done. We've got to be judged for why we did it, not for the action, for the motive, what motivated your giving. So you'd have a plaque with your name on or you'd be the top of the list for giving money. Why, why, why?

What's the motive behind it? God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing. The secret archives of our hearts and lives are going to pass before.

That was Ken Leonard Ravenhill. Powerful moving words there. And that's been the subject matter of the hour, Heavenly Rewards, Living with Eternity in Sight. Dr. Mark Hitchcock's been my guest. Mark, I want to ask you about a couple of things going on in the world. By the way, find that book in my store, Views as in viewpoint, You can get my office a call. You can find them in my newsletters, et cetera. Mark, I want to ask you about some events going on in the world.

We're living in some pretty perilous times. I want to read an email to you and I'm shortening the email. There's a sentiment in this email I want you to hear. And the word might be a little bit called despair. The writer says, I have heard you say that things are all falling into place.

I think so too. My question is how to stop from despairing. And the writer says, I feel like a lot who grieve daily. We saw the advancement, proliferation, eventual saturation of the decline of the culture. And the writer says, we see tons of other things going on in the perfect order of Romans 1, but I can't help but believe even Christian attitudes are changing into outright acceptance of some of the things going on in the culture. He references homosexuality, especially in light of postmodern churches, which brings me to my final point.

The church has begun to chase what were once confirmed heretical teachings, which is also a sign of the times. But Jan, he says, but I really do despair for this lost world. And Mark, I think what I heard in this email and dozens and dozens of others I get is that people are almost worn out by some of the things they're watching and listening to and reading, be it online or other places. They're despairing. They don't know what to do. We've got violence going on. We've got some events in the Middle East that are alarming.

Certainly Iran could launch a Mideast war before we finish this program. Give me your thoughts on all this. Well, I think there's a real tension for us as believers because we live in a fallen world.

It says about Lot that the writer referred to, his righteous soul was vexed day after day in the city of Sodom. There is a tension that we have. Certainly we live in a fallen world. We see the sin that's around us.

We see the apostasy that's happening within the church. And these things sadden us deeply. But if we know the Bible, though, they shouldn't surprise us because the Bible tells us these things are coming.

They're going to happen again. We don't have a joy that these things are happening. We're not glad they're happening, but we see them happening. We realize they've been foretold and prophesied in Scripture. This world is going to have to go through a terrible time of tribulation before the Lord Jesus comes. The whole book of Revelation is telling us, look, the kingdom's coming. The king is going to come. But before the king comes, there's going to be a time of great trouble this world will go through.

So when people ask me, you're an optimist or a pessimist, I'm the ultimate optimist, but this world is going to have to go through a time of judgment before the king ultimately comes to set up his kingdom on the earth. And that's what the Bible presents to us. So I think as believers in Jesus Christ, we're certainly saddened by things we see. But we also have to remember that part of the fruit of the Spirit is joy.

The fruit of the Spirit is love and joy and peace and patience and kindness. And so God doesn't want us, I believe, here on this earth as his people to go around morose and in despair and discouraged and depressed about everything that's happening. God wants us to be joyful people in the midst of what we see that's happening. And we can only be that way by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. We can't create that joy on our own. But as we depend upon the Spirit, even in the midst of a lot of difficulty and struggle and pain that we see in this world around us, we can be joyful people. And I think that's one of the best things that we can do, and one of the greatest testimonies and witnesses that we have is, as the world is falling more and more in despair, to see a group of people who in the midst of that have an unexplainable, unassailable joy in our great Savior and our great God. So I hope that maybe will encourage someone. That's the way I try to live my own life. Yeah. Well, and I just hear from a lot of people, you get worn out by some of the events of the day, you want to stay up on some of the things going on. And you even want to try to connect some of the biblical dots.

But the process of doing that can be very painful. And like you said... But one thing I always think of too is, you know, ultimately as believers, we want to be focused on Jesus Christ. He's our Savior, we're to be focused on Him. And I think sometimes we can get our focus on the difficulties and troubles in this world. So every morning or every night or sometime during a day as a believer, it's good to go get along with the Lord and pray and reorient our heart and mind and have a deep love and a deep affection for Jesus Christ.

And I think as we do that, that can help us hold these other things in attention where we can still have a joy in the midst of the difficulty, sorrow. I saw a headline here right before we began the program, really not alarming in light of kind of the way the Iranians are talking at all times, boasting about things. Their President Rouhani warns war with Iran will be the mother of all wars. And he went on to call for some peace and security. That's what came out of Thessalonian passages when I read it. But the mother of all wars. I think some of the things going on in the Mideast are at a level higher than ever in my lifetime.

And I've been watching for quite a few years. Your thoughts on that? Well, there's a lot of false bravado that comes out of a lot of these leaders in the Middle East.

They say these things to kind of come off with a lot of bluster. But behind all of that, of course, Iran has been testing medium range ballistic missiles. They're trying to get to the nuclear finish line in spite of what I think some other people are saying. I just read an article not long ago, you know, Iran is right on the northern border of Israel now. They claim to be right on Israel's northern border. You've got Hezbollah, which is up in Lebanon, which is basically a proxy of Iran. And if a northern war erupts, which the reading I've been doing, they say in the next two years, it's much more likely that Israel will have a war with Iran than not. Hamas, which is down in the Palestinian territories in Gaza, in that area, they're saying that if Israel gets into a northern war with Iran and Hezbollah, they're going to open up a southern front down against Israel, obviously, to distract them. So Israel's in a place where they cannot allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. And Iran is showing no signs of abating that program at all. In fact, they're going full steam ahead. Obviously, they're over there trying to control the Strait of Hormuz, where 20 percent of the world's oil passes every day. And so to me, Iran is a major flashpoint in the world today and a major prophetic flashpoint as well. They're mentioned in Ezekiel chapter 38 verse 5 as a key player in the end times. And so that's something that is there that I agree with you.

I think it's reaching a point that's beyond anything we've seen in the past. Mark Hitchcock, thank you so much for spending the hour with me again. We carry his book, Heavenly Rewards.

Find it in my bookstore. Thank you for all you do for the kingdom. Let me just go out of the program, just a thought or two, because we've had a discussion about issues surrounding basically an eternal perspective today with eternity's values and view. And where you spend eternity depends on a decision you will make to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or to reject Him. To reject Him sends you to the great white throne judgment and from there to a very dark eternity consisting frankly of literal flames and torment. Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ today, won't you?

Secure a place in eternity with all of those who name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and King of Kings. And I want to thank you for listening this week. We'll talk to you next week. We know you lead busy lives, so we have this program posted electronically each week. You can download the mobile app and have it downloaded to your devices every Saturday. We have a very active YouTube channel to which the program is posted each week, and you can stream Understanding the Times radio at our website at Complete Archives. There are 10 years of programming at Won't you join us next week when we will encourage you to redeem the time and to look up for our redemption draws nigh. Know that things are all falling into place.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-07 14:48:25 / 2023-05-07 15:13:02 / 25

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