Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Resolved 2008: Session #7

Steve Lawson - The Great White Throne Judgment
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:11-15

Jonathan Edwards endeavored to know the glory and the happiness as much as he possibly could. In the same way, he gave himself to knowing the horrific realities of hell as much as he possibly could. Both of these aspects of eternity shaped his view of his daily life.

This text describes the final judgment that will occur at the end of history in which lost sinners will stand before God and be forever cast into eternal condemnation. There will be no appeals. There will be no second trials. There will be no paroles.

Four truths from this passage:

1) The setting described (v.11)

This scene begins in a stark, sobering, straightforward manner as John describes what he sees. Great speaks of its power. White speaks of its purity. Throne speaks of its power. These three words—Great White Throne—describe this setting. It represents universal jurisdiction over the entire created order. It is the greatest courtroom in the history of the world. There is no injustice or partiality at this throne.

Every wrong will be presented here and judged. Every injustice will be made known and brought into account. The entire Bible points forward to this scene.

Psalm 9:7,8

Psalm 7:11

Psalm 11:6

The One who sits on this throne is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is active as He sits on this throne reigning and ready to render judgment (Acts 17:31). In this day the Lamb will become a Lion. Once a lion catches his prey, he captures and crushes his prey.

Unbelievers will try to flee from the presence of the Judge on the throne but there will be no place for them to go.

2) The summons issued (v.12,13)

This summons is unavoidable. These are all the unsaved dead since the beginning of time summoned to appear from the courtroom before the Judge. Every great leader throughout the history of the world will stand before Christ to receive judgment. Every unknown person throughout the history of the world will stand before Christ to receive judgment.

Five groups of people will be summoned to appear before the Great White Throne:

· The out and out sinner – those who have outrightly rejected Christ

· The self-righteous – those who prided themselves in being so good and so moral (the one who thinks the gospel is for the thief and prostitute only)

· The religious cult members – those who have followed after other religious leaders

· The procrastinator – those who know that they are sinners, intending to be saved one day, but keep putting it off

· Lost church members – they have their name on a church roll but their names have never been written in the Lamb’s book of life. They are attached to a church but have never become attached to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The power of the summons is one that calls the dead from the sea.

3) The sins disclosed (v.12, 13, 15)

Exhibit A: The books are opened (v.12a, c)

Exhibit B: The book of life opened (v.12b, 15)

4) The sentence delivered (v.14)

How should we respond?

1) Humility that God has saved us from this judgment

2) Increased urgency in evangelism to rescue others from this judgment

3) Those who don’t believe must trust Christ to escape this judgment

Download the audio here.

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