The Judgment Seat of Christ Part 1


  I.               What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?


1.      Every Believer has an Appointment at The Judgment Seat of Christ

o    Rom 14:10-12 For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ …..So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

o    2Co 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

o    Note: Every believer must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

o    There are no exceptions. This is an appointment that every believer will keep

o    Every believer will stand before Christ and give an account of how they have lived as a believer

o    At that time each believer will be rewarded (or experience loss) for what he has done during his life

o    Jesus will evaluate our lives based according to what we have done…our lifestyle

“Done”….Gk. prasso …to practice, to perform repeatedly, or habitually (not single acts)

Whatever we have regularly practiced will have consequences



2.      What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?

o    Bema”, or Judgment Seat is used in the Gospels and Acts in two ways:

(i). The raised platform where a Roman magistrate or ruler sat to make decisions and pass sentence (Jn.19:13)

(ii). The platform where a judge sat to evaluate athletic contests like the Olympic Games.

In the public games the contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed.

The victor of a given event who participated according the rules was led by the judge to the platform called the Bema. There the laurel wreath was placed on his head as a symbol of victory. 

o    2Ti 2:4  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

2Ti 2:5  And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

o    1Co 9:24  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

1Co 9:25  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

1Co 9:26  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

1Co 9:27  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

o     The Bema or Judgment Seat refers to each believer appearing before Christ to have his life and works evaluated for the purpose of determine his qualification for Eternal Rewards

o    The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ is a place of evaluation and either reward or loss


3.      At the Judgment Seat of Christ all our works will be tested by Fire

1Co 3:10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

1Co 3:11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1Co 3:12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

1Co 3:13  each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.

1Co 3:14  If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

1Co 3:15  If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

(i).   The Foundation laid is Jesus Christ

The foundation is the unseen structure upon which a building is constructed

The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ Himself and His finished work on the cross

Our salvation and standing as a child of God is based solely upon the work that Jesus did

Eph 2:8-9   For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

There is no work that we can add to this foundation to gain forgiveness and acceptance before God        

We are saved by faith in Jesus’ work, as a free gift, but are rewarded according to our works.

Our entrance into heaven is not based on our works, though our status and our role in the Kingdom of Heaven is.


(ii).   Each believer is responsible to build his life and fulfil his assignment from Jesus

Each believer is entrusted assignments in life that are unique to him

Eph 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Tit 2:14  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Every person’s gifts, capacities and life circumstances differ…so too do our assignments


(iii). There are different types of materials that we can use to build

We can build with gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, stubble

Gold, silver, and precious stones are building materials that will survive the fire

Wood, hay, and straw will be incinerated.

This reveals that Jesus is looking not just at the works that we do but the quality of the work

He looks at the motivations behind our actions…what sort it is

“Sort”…..the quality or nature of


(iv). Jesus will tests each man’s work with Fire

The Fire of God refers to the activity of the Holy Spirit exposing and burning what is of no value

“Clear” ……Gk Phaneros…to be plainly recognised or known, become evident, reveal its nature

“Declare”…to make something plain

“Reveal”….Gk. Apokalupto…to take the cover off something and reveal what has been covered

The Lord will evaluate the quality and nature of every person’s work. 


(v).  The Fire of God will test and reveal the quality of each man’s work

1Co 4:5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

Hidden motivations of the heart will be exposed to view not to condemn but for the purpose of reward

Works that originate from self-centred motivation, pride, selfish ambition, self-promotion will be exposed

Our works are evaluated upon whether we built our own Kingdom or advanced Jesus Kingdom and His concerns


(vi).   If our works endure Jesus scrutiny, we shall receive reward

Works done out of love for Jesus, inspiration of  the Holy Spirit and a pure heart will be rewarded.

The judgment seat of Christ will be an eternal judgment (Heb. 6:2).

That is, there will be no reversing the decision.


(vii)   Our rewards determine the way we spend eternity.

For all eternity we will be known by the way we lived our lives on the earth

Rev 14:13  Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'  "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

If our works are burned and we suffer loss, there will be no way to reverse this.

If we are disqualified from receiving our fullest eternal inheritance—such as sitting with Jesus on His throne and ruling the nations with Christ—there will be no way to change this.

The rewards given to the saints will be eternal and irreversible


(vii). If our works do not endure Jesus scrutiny we suffer loss

1Co 3:15  If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Suffer loss”….to experience detriment, lose or forfeit the rewards that were prepared

1Co 9:27  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Disqualified”……not approved as meeting the required standard, not standing the quality test

1Jn 2:28  And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming

1Jn 2:28  Now, little children (believers, dear ones), remain in Him [with unwavering faith], so that when He appears [at His return], we may have [perfect] confidence and not be ashamed and shrink away from Him at His coming. AMPL

“Abide in Him” means fellowship and intimacy with Jesus …to remain in close connection, union

It means to draw on His life as the source of ours and to obey Him out of that intimate relationship

Ashamed”….experience a loss of honour

The revelation of the quality of his works brings an awareness his failure and  the enormity of the loss of eternal rewards and Authority and Glory

The feelings of grief, shame and disappointment will not be permanent (Rev.7:17)



II.            How will Jesus Evaluate our Works?


          1.    We Need to find out what Pleases The Lord

       (i). Jesus constantly sought to Please His father

   Joh 8:29  And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him."

                 (ii).  Paul urged believers to seek to please Him also

     Eph 5:10  and find out what pleases the Lord.

    2Co 5:9  Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

       (iii)  Pleasing God requires we walk in faith

     Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

        (iv). Pleasing God requires that we are led by the Holy Spirit

               Rom 8:8  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


  2.    God’s Eternal Purpose is His Plumb line for Evaluation of our Works

o    Amo 7:7  Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.

o    A Plumb Line is a weight attached to the end of a cord. Gravity pulls the weight straight down

o    Plumb lines are used in building construction  for judging whether a wall or building is upright

o    God measures the quality and success of our works by their alignment with His Eternal Purpose

o    The Lord never deviates from His standard for measuring success…His Eternal Purpose

o    Two Key aspects of God’s Eternal Purpose

(i).    Jesus Christ the Son will be at the Centre of everything in Heaven and on Earth

(ii).   Father is Extending His Kingdom through a family of Overcoming ChristLike sons


  3.     The Importance of the Heart


o    1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."    

o    Pro 16:2  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.

o    God looks not just at what we have done or how we look. He evaluates the heart, the motives


  4.     God’s Sonship Design is Foundational for His Evaluating our Works


o     Jesus is the Pattern Son  

Col 1:15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Heb 1:3  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

o    Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone

Act 4:10  let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.


Act 4:12  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Isaiah 28:16. Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily."

Building on the Cornerstone

Historically, the cornerstone was the most important part of any building.

The total weight of an edifice rested on this particular stone, which, if removed, would collapse the whole structure.

The cornerstone was also the key to keeping the walls straight.

The builders would take sightings along the edges of this part of the building. If the cornerstone was set properly, the stonemasons could be assured that all the other corners of the building would be at the appropriate angles as well.

Thus, the cornerstone became a symbol for that which held life together.


o    We are being Conformed by Holy Spirit  to become like Jesus

Rom 8:29  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.


III.               Intimacy: Having a Surrendered and Pure Heart


            1.     Surrendered and Pure Heart

·         Works motivated by intimacy with Jesus, surrender to His Spirit and from a pure heart

·         Surrendered Heart… yield power or control to another

In worship and intimate relationship we surrender to Jesus and His will

This is an expression of humility, humbling ourselves to yield to Jesus

·         Pure heart….No hidden self-centered agenda, hidden expectations, or impure motives

We can be motivated by so many different reasons other than sacrificial love:

·         Heart Motivations that Defile:

Guilt, False Burden of Responsibility, Fear of rejection, Duty, Resentment, Religion, Performance Orientation, Rejection, Pride, Desire to look good,

The Bible calls these works “Dead Works” (Heb.6:2)

·         They lack the life giving presence of God because they are not motivated by faith and love

·         Intimacy with God means an exchange of life through worship and surrender.

We experience and receive His love. This moves us to respond in faith and obedience

·         Only out of Intimacy can we discover the will of God and what He has called us to


             2.    Example of Jesus

·         Jesus modeled intimacy with Father God

Mar 1:35  Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.


·         Jesus Surrendered to His Father’s Will

Joh 6:38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Luk 22:41  And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed,

Luk 22:42  saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."


·         Jesus taught an Intimate Surrendered life

Mat 6:9  In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name(Intimate)

Mat 6:10  Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.(Surrendered)


    3.  Jesus looks for works motivated by love for Him and response to His Spirit

·         We Need a Personal  Intimate relationship with Jesus

Example: The parable of the five Wise and five Foolish Virgins (Matt.25:1-13)

Mat 25:8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

Mat 25:9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

Mat 25:10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

The Five wise virgins paid a price (works) to ensure they were ready

They committed time and energy and made sacrifice to “buy the oil of intimacy”

Every believer is called to be a Priest to God.

Our priesthood is an important part of our Kingdom work…Prayer, worship and intercession.

Every believer is called to the work of the priesthood….to make themselves ready for His Coming

We are also called to works of service that bless people


·         Without love motivating them our works have no eternal value

1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1Co 13:3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Paul identifies clearly how essential our works be motivated by sacrificial love (Agape)

We are called to be loving people like our Heavenly Father

We are called to love people as Father loves us with no hidden agenda


·         Without Love our works are no different to an unbeliever

Luk 6:32  "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.

Luk 6:33  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

Luk 6:34  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.

Luk 6:35  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

Credit”….the word used is Charis…Grace…the enabling power of God

People in the world return a favor…..they love those who love them, and do good to those who do good to them

People in the world do favors so they can receive something in return

Works motivated and empowered by love establish two things:

(i).  Reward in Heaven

(ii). Identity as Sons who represent Our Heavenly Father


·         Many Christians will find their works rejected as having no value

Mat 7:21  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Mat 7:22  Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'

Mat 7:23  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Jesus teaching refers to entrance to the coming Millennial Kingdom and accompanying rewards

“Many”….this applies to multitudes of believers in Christ

These are believers who have experienced supernatural ministry, the power of the Kingdom

Jesus uncovers the lack of an intimate and surrendered heart

Jesus uncovers that their motivation: Pride, independence and self-promotion



IV.               Personal Reflection and Action


1.      What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you about in this teaching?

2.      What actions to you need to take in response?

3.      How does this teaching on the Bema Seat of Christ challenge what you do?

4.      How does this teaching on the Bema Seat of Christ challenge your motivations?

5.      Are there any of the defiling Heart Motivations that you identify with?

6.      What changes do you need to make?

7.      What areas do you need to surrender to Jesus?

8.      In what ways do you need to deepen your intimacy with Jesus?