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Living for “The Day”

 

Course Objective:

This three week lesson plan is designed to bring about specific life changes in those who participate.  It is designed to focus each person on living for “The Day” versus “today”.  “The Day” refers to the judgment that believers will ultimately face at the Bema seat of Christ.  It is designed to provide each student with the knowledge of what this judgment is, to prepare them for how they will be judged, and to motivate them to focus their efforts on the works on which they will be judged.

 

Target Audience:

The lessons are for those who will appear before the judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema seat. New Testament Scripture teaches that there will be a judgment for those who by grace placed their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives and those who did not.  The Bema seat judgment is a judgment of rewards, not sin.  Each individual person who has placed their faith in Christ will appear before the Bema seat and Christ will evaluate and reward that person based on their “works” (things done while in the body, whether good or bad).  .

 

2008 Crossroads Leadership Goals Supported:

Elevate- By educating and motivating people to serve Christ through the “good works for which they have been saved” and by which they will be judged.

 

Accommodate- By adding servants and matching up service opportunities at home, at work, and at church.

 

Illuminate- By doing a self-assessment (“The Final Exam”) to reveal each person’s current works each person will know where they stand as of that point in time.

 

Invigorate- By developing individual action plans for the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months each person will be expending energy on the right works.

 

Accelerate- By each person executing their plans, there will be a sharp increase of good works as time moves forward in that person’s plans.

 

Celebrate- By having accountability partners, each person will be able to celebrate the fruits of the works they put in place and the church as a whole will be able to celebrate the corporate increase in those works.

 

Teacher Resources:

The New Testament

Existing “Contributing to Crossroads” course material

Book “The Bema” by Tim Stevenson of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship

4 CD sermon set by Tim Briscoe of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship
Course Outline:

Lesson 1-  Seven Biblical truths about the Bema seat judgment (“The Day”)

1.      We are saved for works, not by them (Eph. 2:8-10)

2.      Our attendance at the Bema seat is mandatory, not voluntary (2 Cor. 5:10)

3.      We will be fully known, not partially known (2Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 3:13)

4.      Each of us will be evaluated individually, not corporately (Rom. 14:10-12)

5.      We will be rewarded graciously, not retributively (Matt. 20:1-16)

6.      Future rewards are a challenge, not a comfort (Lk. 12:48)

7.      Bema is a motivation, not a description (2 Pet. 3:14)

 

Lesson 2-  Ten categories of judgment (Take the “Final Exam”)

1.      Resilience (Matt. 5:11-12)

2.      Investments (Matt. 6:19)

3.      Secrecy (Matt. 6:3-18)

4.      Jesus Love (Lk. 6:32-26)

5.      Benevolence (Lk. 14:12-14)

6.      Work (Col. 3:22-25)

7.      Doctrine (2 John 1-8-11)

8.      Ministry (1 Thess. 2:19)

9.      Watchfulness (2 Tim. 4:8)

10.  Motives (1 Cor. 4:5)

 

Lesson 3-  Developing Action Plans

1.    Prioritizing your Final Exam results

2.    Planning based on your prioritization:

3.    Making a personal improvement plan

 

Acknowledgements:

Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, Carrolton, Texas

Executive Pastor Tim Stevenson

Senior Pastor Tim Briscoe

From the series preached at Bent Tree  

 


 

Introduction

 

As a person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ and so has been “saved”, do you know what you have been saved for and saved from and saved to?

 

When you die, you know that you will be with the Lord but did you know that the Lord will still judge you?  Do you know what that judgment will be like?  Do you know on what basis you will be judged? 

 

Do you know that you will also be rewarded?  Do you know how Christ will reward you?  Do you know what you can do starting right now to earn those rewards?

 

In this four week Lesson called Living for “The Day”, we will learn what scripture has to say about all those things. 

 

In Lesson 1, we will examine the scripture about “The Day” of judgment and learn what Jesus said about it and also what Paul said about it.

 

In Lesson 2, we will each do a self-assessment (The Final Exam) to take a look at how Christ might view your life if you were to be judged “this day”.

 

In Lesson 3 we will prioritize the results of your self-assessment and begin to identify the kinds of works that you will want to do so that you are better prepared for that judgment.

 

And in Lesson 4 we will formalize your plans and match up the works you have identified with serving opportunities at home, at work, and at Crossroads.  We will also put time frames around those things you commit to do so that you will have a twelve month plan to go by.


 

Lesson 1-  Seven Biblical truths about the Bema Seat Judgment (“The Day”)

 

1.    We are saved for works, not by them

Eph. 2:8-10 Made Alive in Christ

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

Teacher’s Note:

It is important to point out that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Salvation does not come as the result of something we have done, but rather because of what God has done.  In this lesson we are not saying that your salvation is in any way related to works.  It is a free gift that cannot be earned or deserved (Rom. 6:23).  We receive that gift by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Because we have been “saved”:

We have been saved from the wrath that God will have for those who were not saved.  Those who were not saved will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and will be cast into Hell for eternity. 

 

We are saved for works God prepared in advance for us to do”, how do we know what those works are?  New Testament Scripture tells us as we will see later.

 

We are also saved to everlasting life with Jesus Christ where we will rule and reign with Him in His eternal kingdom.

 

 

2.    Our attendance at the Bema seat is mandatory, not voluntary

2 Cor. 5:10 Our Heavenly Dwelling

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

 

Teacher’s Note:

The “Bema Seat” concept comes from the ancient Olympic Games where a judge would sit at the finish line and would determine who finished first, second, third, etc. and then would also give out the appropriate rewards for that finishing place.  Similarly, at the judgment seat of Christ, He will judge each believer and give out His rewards.

 

 

3.    We will be fully known, not partially known

1 Cor. 3:11-13 On Divisions in the Church”

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his 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 man’s work.  If what he built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

 

Teacher’s Note:

This judgment is not a judgment for our sins.  Because we were “saved”, our sins were atoned for by Christ’s shed blood on the cross never to be remembered by Him again.  However, Christ will lay us bare before Him to show us what we have done with the resources He gave us from the time we were saved to the time of our death or the rapture of the Church, whichever comes first for us. 

 

All of our works (from the time we were saved until the time of our death or the Rapture) will be evaluated by Him.  He will show us exactly what we did and did not do.  All the works that do not pass his evaluation will be burned up in fire and only those works that do pass His evaluation will be rewarded.  It will be like a fire that separates precious metals from the dross. 

 

4.    Each of us will be evaluated individually, not corporately

Rom. 14:10-12 The Weak and the Strong

“You then, why do you judge your brother?  For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written: “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

 

Teacher’s Note:

The evaluation Christ does will be one on one.  You will be before Him by yourself.  No one including your wife, husband, pastor, lawyer, or friend, will be there with you.  You will not be judged as part of a group, a congregation, or a denomination.  It will be just you and Him.  You will give an account of yourself and no one else based on what resources He gave you and how you used them for His glory and honor.

 

5.    We will be rewarded graciously, not retributively

Matt. 20:1-16 The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.  He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.  About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around.  He asked them. “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”  Because no one has hired us, they answered.  He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.” The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more.  But each one of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  These men who were hired last worked only one hour, they said, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.  But he answered one of them, “Friend, I am not being unjust to you.  Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go.  I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.  Don’t I have the right to do what want with my own money?  Or are you envious because I am generous?  So the last will be first and the first will be last.”

 

Teacher’s Note:

The parable gives us some insight as to how Jesus will reward.  It will not necessarily be a one for one deal.  It is not a contract that says “if you do this, I will give you that”.  In the parable Jesus establishes that He owns it all and how He decides to reward people is up to Him.  Since He has limitless resources He can reward us however and with however much He wants.  We do know that from scripture, “Our God is a generous God” and that He loves us beyond our human understanding.  

 

 

6.    Future rewards are a challenge, not a comfort

Lk. 12:48 Watchfulness

“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

 

Teacher’s Note:

Because we are “saved”, we are secure in the knowledge that we will be with the Lord forever and never face eternal punishment.  That is certainly comforting.  But this does not mean that since we are saved that we should just sit down and wait for the end.  Christ has challenged us in so many ways to follow Him. As Paul said about running the race we should be running to win, not just finish.  Why not “go for the gold” doing the things God has set out before us? Additionally, Christ tells us that if He has given us many resources here on earth, He will expect much in return.  Also, He will demand much more from those whom He has entrusted much. As men and women living in this country, one of the most wealthy and free countries, we have so much that we have been given.  Christ is talking to us when He says that He will expect much and demand much from us.

 

Also, Matt. 25:14-30 (The Parable of the Talents) would be an excellent parable to discuss.  This parable illustrates the tragedy of missed opportunity.  The man who goes on the journey is Christ and the slaves represent believers who have been given different levels of responsibility.  Faithfulness is what Christ demands of them but the parable suggest also that all who are faithful will be fruitful to some degree.  The fruitless person is unmasked as a hypocrite and utterly destroyed.

 

7.    Bema is a motivation, not a description

2Pet. 3:14 The Day of the Lord

“So then friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.”

 

Teacher’s Note:

We should live our lives today anticipating that it could just as well be The Day” of judgment.  We should do all that is in our power to do the works that He has prepared for us.  Today is our opportunity to do those things- not tomorrow or the next day.  We can begin right now knowing what is to come.  As a saved person, hopefully you are doing good works today and if you are not, it is time to get started.  You may have already taken your “Spiritual Gifts” test and know what your gifts are.  It is these gifts you should be emphasizing and finding opportunities for application in your daily life.  Be motivated knowing that the Holy Spirit gave you those gifts for a specific purpose and also empowered you to use them for good.  If you are not “saved”, that is the first step.  If you are saved and not baptized, that is the second step.  And if you are saved, baptized, and not serving, that would be the third step- applying those gifts given specifically to you.

 

Homework

  1. Give your life to Christ today if you have not already.
  2. Get baptized today if you have not already

  3. Take your spiritual gifts test before next Sunday if you have not already or you don’t remember what your gifts are (available in the Choosing Crossroads material- teachers may want to have a few copies available)

  4. Give some thought to what “works” you have been doing before next week’s class.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten you about those things.

 

 


 

Lesson 2-  Ten Categories of Judgment


The Final Exam

The Ten Categories of Good Works

Are you living for “The Day” or today?

Never

Once or twice

More than a few times

Frequently- way of life

Resilience (Matthew 5:11-12)

Were you persecuted for your faithful witness to Christ? Were you mocked and persecuted and lied about because of Jesus?  Fired, ostracized by family/friends, faithful to the point of death?  Boldly witnessed for Jesus?

 

 

 

 

Investments (Matthew 6:19)

Did you store your treasures in heaven not here on earth?

Two bank accounts (earth and heaven) are there more deposits in heaven than on earth?

 

 

 

 

Secrecy  (Matthew 6:3-18)

Did you seek the praise of Christ or people? 6:3 Did you give your financial gifts to the needy in secret?  6:6 Did you pray to your Father secretly? 6:17 Did you fast in secret? You will be rewarded by the person whose praise we seek.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Love( Luke 6:32-36)

Did you only love the lovable or did you love the unlovable as well?  Did you “Love your enemies and did you do good to them”?

 

 

 

 

Benevolence ( Luke 14:12-14)

Did I care for the disadvantaged?  Did you do things for those who cannot repay you? 

 

 

 

 

Work (Col. 3:22-25)

Did you do your work as if you were working for Jesus? Did you obey your employer at all times?  Did you obey your earthly masters in everything you did?  Did you try to please them all the time?  Did you work hard and cheerfully at whatever you did? Are you a disciple of Christ cleverly disguised as a plumber, executive, etc…………..?

 

 

 

 

Doctrine (2John 1:8-11)

Did I guard Biblical doctrine and grow in its knowledge and passionately defend it. (Doctrine is what the Bible says about a given subject.)

 

 

 

 

Ministry ( 1Thess 2:19)

Did you invest your human resources for Christ or spend them on myself? What did you pour into people (did we shepherd people) small group leader, youth minister etc? 

 

 

 

 

Watchfulness (2Tim. 4:8)

Did you live for “The Day” or today?  Did you live your life longing for and anticipating the day you would be with Christ forever? Did you make yourself fully available for Christ?

 

 

 

 

Motives (1Cor. 4:5)

What was the motive for each of the works you did? Were they pure motives based on Christ’s love? If your motive for doing something was wrong, Jesus will not credit it to you.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Lesson 3-  Developing Action Plans (Planning Your Works)

 

  1. Prioritizing your Final Exam results

    1. Identify your lowest three areas (these may be the ones where you have checked the box for “Never Done” or “Done Once”.)  This is a good place to start your planning.  Then move to the next lowest areas and so on until you have prioritized all ten areas.

 

  1. Planning Based on your prioritization:

    1. Identify “works” that you should start doing, stop doing, do more of, do less of.  Use the Personal Improvement Plan worksheets provided.  N.B. Make sure you go through all ten of the worksheets to find additional opportunities even though they may not have been your lowest scoring areas.

 

  1. Making a Personal Improvement Plan

    1. List those improvements you plan to make in the next three, six, nine, and twelve months on the Personal Improvement Plan worksheets.

 

    1. In filling out your plans, you might want to note whether the opportunities you listed are to be done at home, at work, and or at Crossroads or wherever else you might do them.

 

    1. Exchange your Personal Improvement Plan worksheets with someone else in our Life Group Class who will become your accountability partner. This could be your spouse or friend or someone you don’t even know very well who is willing to help you be accountable to your commitments.

 

    1. Pray about these commitments you have planned and discuss them with your spouse or someone who knows you really well

 

    1. Review your Personal Improvement Plan worksheets with your accountability partner every three months.

 

    1. At the end of the first year, take the Final Exam again and start the process over.

 

 

NOTE: DO NOT OVERLOAD YOURSELF

 

 

 
 
 
 

 The belief that does not save is the belief that does not change the person who believes. Jesus said that if you believe in Him, you would be changed