It’s All Meaningless 5? Will God Judge The World? (Ecclesiastes 3:15-17)

titanic (2-21-18)

Ecclesiastes 3:15-17:Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”

Will God really judge everyone?

Will the restaurant eventually come to collect on the tab
I have rung up my whole life?

The world says focus on the meal, the drinks, the good time

but what about the check?

Someone has to pay, my friends…

But do we see this teaching of God’s judgment elsewhere in the Bible?

Many passages–here’s just one:

Romans 2:5-7: But because of your stubbornness & your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”

[Psalm 62:12 & Proverbs 24:12]

Many say, “You can’t talk like this! You’re going to scare people away from Jesus!
They’re tired of hearing about this—just focus on God’s love!”

My dear friends, what local churches over-preach this today? Is it ever brought up anymore? Are there ever really cool invitations on Facebook to a local church to check out their upcoming four week series on the LORD’s Final Judgment of Humanity?

But let’s consider this together: isn’t a warning one of the ways that you love your friends/family? Be careful the stove is hot, look out for that email—it has a virus; watch out for identity theft, don’t drive in this weather, etc.?

Isn’t it unloving to say nothing when a loved one approaches danger?

God warns us because He loves us. God’s love thru the cross is so awesome because our sin is so awful & must be judged, & because the Lord Jesus can pay our check & spare us from the judgment our sinfulness deserves & sin itself will get.

  • When a doctor catches a disease early & you’re cured,
    our gratitude & joy are richer the more we see what was avoided.
    “If we hadn’t caught this disease early, you would have suffered x, y & z…”

Hearing that brings JOY…same with teaching on God’s judgment of humanity.

Acts 24:24-25: Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish.
He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.
25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come,
Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave.
When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

Wow. Paul had a short amount of time with a Roman government official, and what main components of faith in Christ Jesus did Paul share with Felix? God’s eventual judgment of humanity is what Paul led with, not something he ignored or covered up. Yes his time with Felix would be short, but Paul didn’t hide God’s judgment,
Paul wasn’t embarrassed of it.

Hebrews 6:1-3: Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ
and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of
repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
instruction about cleansing rites, 
the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead,
and eternal judgment.
And God permitting, we will do so.

God’s judgment is elementary, part of the Kindergarten of Christianity.
Oh how we rush people into algebra and calculus but don’t teach them about 2 + 2.

As Christians, we must ask the LORD to show us our own hearts:

  • Are we ashamed of this Truth?
  • Are we embarrassed by God’s decision to do this?
  • Do we disagree with Him?
  • Are we more LOVING than Him?

Remember our passage above in Romans 2 on God’s judgment?

Here are some verses right before in chapter 1:

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes:

My dear friends, God’s eventual judgment is part of the Gospel,
not the opposite of the Gospel!

We LOVE John 3:16, and rightfully so–it’s the Gospel!

But look at the verses right after–those are the Gospel too!

John 3:18-20:Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already
because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world,
but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light
for fear that their deeds will be exposed

The Lord Jesus came to earth to give to us sinners what we don’t deserve–His grace–because without Him we all deserve God’s wrath…

2 Corinthians 5:7-11: For we live by faith, not by sight.
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body
and at home with the Lord. 

So we make it our goal to please him,
whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body,
whether good or bad.

Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord,
we try to persuade others…

God’s future judgment of humanity should lead us to tell others about the Gospel:
His plan to spare & forgive & adopt & make new
all who repent of their sinfulness & trust in His Son Jesus!

God’s future judgment of humanity shouldn’t terrify us Christians;
we are simply to prepare for it: “we make it our goal to please Him…”
not to BE saved but because He has saved His people already!

1 Corinthians 3:10-15: By the grace God has given me,
I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it.

But each one should build with care. 

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid,
which is Jesus Christ.
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones,
wood, hay or straw,
13 their work will be shown for what it is,
because the Day will bring it to light.
It will be revealed with fire,
and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 

14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 

15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved
even though only as one escaping through the flames.

When Christians stand before God’s judgment, it isnt to determine salvation—
that was already determined before time began:

2 Timothy 1:9: He has saved us and called us to a holy life—
not because of anything we have done
but because of his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” 

No condemnation for those who are in Christ!!

And yet the judgment we will face will determine our rewards in heaven,
rewards that are not about exalting us
but about showing how amazing the LORD is
that He could transform a formerly dead stick like us
and make us fruitful and ripe with some of His characteristics,
such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control!

And so it is a day that we must prepare for,
not be terrified of, indifferent to or in denial of.

Just as you shouldn’t be terrified of April 15th, tax day.

Don’t pretend it won’t happen, don’t ignore it & do nothing,
don’t shake in fear. Prepare! Get ready for the audit. Get your house in order.
Gather the info, get the numbers ready. Don’t cover up, don’t hide,
don’t fudge numbers. Be fully honest now, open & transparent.
Grow, mature in Christ! Repent, confess, be freed, read the Word, put it into practice,
take up your cross and follow the Savior.
Be alert, sober, focused on fulfilling His mission for us His people!

2 Peter 3:9-13: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,
as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The heavens will disappear with a roar;
the elements will be destroyed by fire,
and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way,
what kind of people ought you to be?

You ought to live holy and godly lives
12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

[not look away from this Truth, but look forward to it
as the LORD completes His plan of salvation!!!]

That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire,
and the elements will melt in the heat. 

13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward
to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

By not believing in hell/judgment day,
humans aren’t making God more awesome—
shining the light on His awesomeness—
we’re making us less awful—
dimming the light on our sinfulness.

Belief in divine judgment shows that we humans don’t need polish—
a little behavior modification—
but that we need propitiation–
complete atonement for our sins…

1 John 4:10: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

In Ezekiel 14, after listing how God will judge His people,
He tells Ezekiel in verse 23:
“You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions,
for you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause,
declares the Sovereign Lord.”

If we truly saw what sin is
we would agree with God’s ultimate response.

Part of why the worship in heaven will be so amazing
is that we will fully realize how horrific our sins were
& thus how amazing Christ’s grace thru the cross really is—“everything laid bare.”

Many say, “But how could a loving God judge like this,
how could He give such punishment?”

My dear friends, how could He NOT judge sin like this?
How could He not eventually clean up the sin that has caused so much
misery & suffering & pain?

  • How criminal it would be if there were asbestos in a school &
    school officials did nothing to clean it up, nothing to protect the students/teachers/staff from its deadly effects?
  • How criminal it would be for a judge to not eventually
    take away the driver’s license of a driver who repeatedly
    hits pedestrians & won’t admit it is wrong &
    won’t receive training to drive safely & wont show remorse &
    ask the judge for mercy & driver training?

We must not throw out this Truth because we dont like it or agree with it,
we must not sit in judgment of God Himself!
He didn’t spare His own Son. The LORD is all-in on salvation & mercy…

Revelation 16:1, 5-7: Then I heard a loud voice from the temple
saying to the seven angels,
“Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”…

 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
“You are just in these judgments, O Holy One,
you who are and who were;
for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”

And I heard the altar respond:
“Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

My dear friends, how would you react if cancer was cured?
Either a vaccine so you’d never get it, or a pill to take if you did get it,
like antibiotics that get rid of strep throat.

How would you feel, what would you do?

Even if you’d never had a loved one suffer with cancer, wouldn’t you celebrate? Wouldn’t it rightfully be a national holiday?

Not only would the cure itself be celebrated,
but everything that needed to be done to cure it,
all the hard work /sacrifice/money/time…
all of that would be part of the celebration.

When the LORD judges humanity & forever rights all wrongs,
it will be both the cure for cancer & the cure for all evil:

  • the cure of betrayal,
  • the cure of abuse,
  • the cure of unforgiveness,
  • the end of war,
  • the cure of racism,
  • the cure of homelessness & starvation:
  • God destroying destruction itself.
    “No more mourning or death or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).

If we would celebrate the cure of cancer,
how much more should we celebrate the death of death!?

And so we Christians must not treat God’s Judgment
as the room of the house that we lock up
because we don’t want anyone to wander in & see it,
as if it’s something to be ashamed of.

It isnt.

It is the natural response of a holy/just/righteous God, & loving God,
to eventually destroy destruction,
to clear out the asbestos of sin from the world
by destroying the world & making a new one,
to eventually make it so His children will never suffer again.

May this spur us to tell everyone of the future judgment &
the past suffering & death that the Lord Jesus endured
to take our punishment & receive our penalty & spare
all who surrender to Christ,
to spare anyone from the Judgment to come.

Closing Challenge

In its present form, the ship of this world is sinking
& will be rightfully scuttled/sunk by the LORD Himself…
as well as those who relentlessly cling to the ship & refuse the rescue boat Captain.

Like man man in hurricane Katrina who repeatedly refused
boats & helicopters offering rescue…he eventually died.

Like Anakin in StarWars episode 3:
When Obi-Wan finally defeats Anakin,
Obi-Wan cries out, “I loved you like a brother!”

I weep at this scene. It stirs my soul.

Yet what is Anakin’s response in defeat?
Humility, crying out for mercy & forgiveness,
taking responsibility for his grotesque acts of rebellion & murder & treason?

No. Anakin cries out from deep in his soul: “I hate you!”

At Judgment Day, humanity’s polish will be sandblasted off,
the veneer of our external politeness will be stripped away,
& the LORD Himself will reveal the depths of the human heart
for what it really is:

hatred for God, enmity against Him.

God will judge this, & He will be right to do so.

May we therefore cry out, to anyone who will listen, 
to get in Captain Jesus’ rescue boat, it is free and there is plenty of room on board!

May we implore non-Christians to not be stuck
with that dead and diseased and poisoned heart forever;

may we gently, respectfully and boldly share with anyone who will listen
to present that very poisoned heart to Christ
in repentance, in faith,
and He will not only forgive,
He will not only spare them from the Judgment Day,
He will give them a new heart of true compassion, true faith, true love
that joyfully submits to God & lives for Him—

He will love them like a brother & BE their brother forever!

Oh the Gospel!!!

rescue (2-21-18)