So, am I looking forward to the Day of Judgment? Yes! I know all too well that I will be denied many rewards because of a lack of action or a wrong motivation or any number of other things. But, I believe that there will be many rewards for me to obtain and enjoy. I want to live this life in light of the fact that one day, I will see Jesus look at me, smile, applaud and say, “Well done! Well done!” (Matthew 25:23). And I want to take as many folks with me as I can!
I was told recently that I bring the topic of the Day of Judgment into my sermons quite often. I appreciated the comment because it made me reflect upon whether or not it was true. But, it also caused me to question why I was motivated to do that.
It only took a few moments of reflection to realize that the statement was true. I do talk much about the Day of Judgment. Here are a few reasons why:
I want to be motivated the same way the Apostle Paul was motivated:
He kept going. He didn’t give up. Why? Because he wanted to receive the prize at the end of his life.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”
Jesus entices us to live holy lives by promising rewards:
Is it wrong to follow Jesus, in part, because of the rewards we will receive on the Day of Judgment? Apparently, Jesus didn’t think so. As Jesus gave instruction on how His followers are to live, He said “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” three separate times in Matthew 6:4, 6 & 18. I want to live this life so that I get as many rewards as possible on that Day.
Focusing on rewards keeps us focused on Heaven:
Instead of getting bogged down in the details and discouragements of life, we can keep our head up and live in light of eternity. When we focus on earning heavenly rewards, we’ll think of Heaven often.
Matthew 6:19-21 (New Living Translation)
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Thinking about our heavenly rewards keeps us from becoming worldly minded:
Many people, even believers, do not think about the Day of Judgment (I am guilty of this more often than I would care to admit). We often live for ourselves and for the moment. Or, as the Apostle John warned us:
1 John 2:16-17 (New Living Translation)
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
Simply stated, when our primary focus is on earthly things, we are acting like unbelievers. When we focus on our eternal rewards, we are acting like followers of Jesus.
Looking to the Day of Judgment short-circuits our desire for revenge:
I have a confession to make. Some may read this motivation and think that it’s really the primary one. It’s not. But I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge it as one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to the Day of Judgment. While I strive to love and pray for my enemies (those who have deeply hurt me) and while I genuinely pray for their salvation, I am looking forward to the day when the Righteous Judge will right all wrongs. I can abstain from revenge or even finding satisfaction in simple thoughts of retaliation because I know that the Apostle Paul said there is coming a day when God will deal with all wrongs.
Romans 12:19-21 (New Living Translation)
“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the LORD. Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Thinking about Judgment Day motivates us to be certain of our eternal destination:
A terrifying truth is that many people who think they are headed to Heaven are only a heartbeat away from Hell. Many of them will not realize their error until it is too late.
To satisfy their hearts and minds that they are saved, they look around at how their peers are living, compare themselves to those who claim to be saved, assess that they are at least as good as their peers if not better, and come to the conclusion that their eternity in Heaven is secure. On the Day of Judgment, they will fall to the ground in terror as they realize their error … but it will be too late to remedy their doom.
Matthew 7:21-23 (New Living Translation)
Jesus said: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.'”
Do you want to read more about what this terrifying Judgment will be like? Simply turn to Revelation 20:11-15. It’s described in enough detail to keep your imagination busy all day.
Many people who think they are headed to Heaven are not. This is another reason why I speak on the Day of Judgment. I desire to entice the saved to pursue holiness like Jesus and Paul did. But, I also desire to warn the lost like Jesus did.