Eternal Judgment 5

The aim of this devotional study is to remind oneself of how God rewards our everyday acts of kindness.

To prepare your heart with visual images for the Scripture reading, enjoy this beautiful demonstration of kindness in action by Thai Good Stories.

 

Scriptures

Matthew 25:31-46

31  “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  32  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  33  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  34  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  35  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  36  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  44  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

45  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Observations and reflection

  1. How many people does one need to do an act of mercy / kindness before God notices? (v40)
  2. How do you know Jesus takes the acts of kindness to people in need very personal? (v40)
  3. List the types of kindness Jesus highlighted in this text. (v35-36) Which similar acts do you think Jesus would also reward that are not listed here?

Application

  1. What do Jesus call people who showed kindness to people in need? (v37, 46).  Why?  How does that change the perception of the acts?  (hint: we commonly refer to “acts of kindness” as “social justice”… why?)
  2. Prepare time, a gift and a kind word, and confident faith today to show kindness to someone TODAY, knowing Jesus will reward you in eternity for it as if you did it to Him! To whom and when will you do it today?
  3. How can you prepare yourself every week / every week to do kindness to people in need, so that you “store up for yourself treasures in heaven”? (consider signing up at soup kitchen / hospital or prison ministry; also reminders on cell phone, weekly routines, someone to do it with you…)

Prayer

Prayerfully reflect on David’s Psalm below and ask God to give you the heart of compassion and kindness so you can receive these temporal and eternal blessings:

Psalms 41:1-3

1  To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.  2  The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. 3  The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.

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Eternal Judgment 4

The Aim of this devotional study of to reflect on the eternal rewards believers will receive because of service to God and his people.

Scripture

1 Corinthians 3:5-15

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  7  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.

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.  11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 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.

14  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

15  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Observation

Note: The background to the portion of Scripture is that Paul is defending his apostleship, stating that both he and Apollos serves Christ and Christ will test and reward both their labors in Corinthian church.

  1. Write a short point-by-point description of the rewards one will receive according to this Text. (hint: focus on v8-9, 10, 13, 14-15).
  2. Will we all be measured and rewarded according to the same scale one day? Clarify. (v10)
  3. How can we be certain that this judgment is (or these rewards are) only for believers? (hint: v5-6, v12, and especially v15).
  4. What is “the Day” that Paul speaks of in verse 13?
  5. What could it mean that “[one’s] work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he will be saved – yet as through fire.”? (v15)

Reflection

  1. Are you one who is motivated by positive or negative rewards? Do you work harder because you fear failure or punishment, or do you work harder when someone promises a pleasant reward for you?  Why?
  2. Consider Jesus’ encouragement to “store up treasures in heaven.” [Matthew 6:19-21] Would you agree that Jesus aimed to inspire his disciples to do righteous / benevolent deeds?  How does that make you feel?
  3. What can you do today that will ensure a reward for you in heaven?

Prayer

Jesus said to “pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” [Matthew 6:6] So take time today and press for whatever pressing need there is in the world, country, city, community of your family that presses on your heart.  If you are clueless what to pray for ask God to show you what is on his heart, and perhaps even go to www.News24.com or pray through the newspaper.

Eternal Judgment 3

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the nature of eternal judgment based on our contemporary thought.

Scripture

Matthew 18:2-11

2  Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3  and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5  Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. 6  “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  7  Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

8  “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

10  “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11  For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Observations

  1. List the possible outcomes to the eternal judgment as mentioned in the end, and group it sensibly.
  2. According to this Text, what lead to these eternal destinations / circumstance? In other words what dictates one’s eternal destination based on this Text?

Reflection

  1. What do you understand about the terms “enter the kingdom of heaven” or “enter in life”?
  2. What do you understand about Jesus’ words “cast into eternal fire” or “hell fire”?
  3. How do you feel about fallible humans someone being “cast into hell fire”? How does this shape your view of God, and your view of grace?
  4. How do you feel about fallible humans graced to “enter into life”? How does this shape your view of God, and your view of grace?
  5. What is the intent of this teaching of Jesus? How should one respond?

Prayer

Ask God to open your eyes giving you eternal perspective and opening your eyes to know God as Judge and God as Savior.  Also, take time to pray for someone you love or care for who is in rebellion against God.

Eternal Judgment 2

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding of the permanency of eternal judgment.

Scripture

Hebrews 9:27-28

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Observations

1. Which phrases in the Text above highlight the permancy of the judgment of God when Christ returns?

  1. Read the text above again and identify the hopeful promise contained in this Scripture.

Reflection and Application

    • Why is man destined to die once?
    • Why will man appear before God as judge?
    • Why was Christ sacrificed once for the sins of many?
    • Why will each man appear before Christ when he returns?
    • Why does the text say Christ will bring salvation only when he returns?
  1. When you read “judgment of God”, do you have a negative or positive association? Why?
  2. This Text emphasizes the seriousness of our earthly lives and eternal consequences. What do you understand of “eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:2) referred to in this text?  What do you expect to hear / receive from God’s eternal judgment of your life, should Christ return today?  Why do you think that way?

Prayer

Consider the people you love and live with.  In light of the promised eternal judgment of God, pray with urgency for those who ignore or reject the graceful call of God to repentance.  And pray for a sober moment to plead with them to accept this generous offer of life in Christ.

Eternal Judgment 1

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding of Biblical concept of judgment.

Scripture

Romans 14:1-23

1  Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.  2  For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.  3  Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

5  One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6  He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.  7  For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8  For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10  But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11  For it is written: “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD.” 12  So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

13  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

14  I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15  Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16  Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18  For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19  Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.   20  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21  It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

22  Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.  23  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Observations

  1. What does Paul teach about “judging one another”?
  2. Why does Paul argue we should not judge the religious (dietary) observance of another believer?
  3. What does Paul teach here concerning eternal judgment? (v10-12)
  4. Who will judge us one day? (v11-12)
  5. What does Paul write here about judgment and the conscience towards God? (v14-23)
  6. In one sentence summarize this chapter’s teaching on judgment.

Reflection and Application

  1. Do you have the inclination to find fault with the religious observation or beliefs of other Christians? What does the Lord say to your to you in this chapter?  Is there someone you must apologize to?  Send a message now to make an appointment.
  2. “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” How do these words make you feel?  [Picture yourself before God the Judge].  What do you think God will say to you about your life in all its aspects? What will he judge?  Write some thoughts down.

Prayer

Do you have confidence in your eternal salvation?  Why / why not?  Settle that in prayer now with God, and perhaps make an appointment with a counsellor or pastor now if you feel uncertain.

Then bring every judgmental tendency and thought before God as you reflect on the truth “Who are you to judge another’s servant?”  If needs be, repent to God for judging his children and servants – confess that he is your judge and their judge.