As Jesus called Rob up to the judgement seat, Moses, Noah and Mary all stood in awe at the amazing things Rob did for the kingdom….
In light of the holiness of Elijah, Rob did a pretty good job…..
Ridiculous! ridiculous! ridiculous…..
“Rob, I think that God had this conversation happen for a reason, I think He’s up to something bigger than either of us know” You ever say something like that? That’s something that I’ve heard a couple of times, and in the grand scheme of things, I tend to discount the overall “epic-ness” of my role in God’s kingdom.
I can be really susceptible to fixing far more meaning and value to the role of my life in the Kingdom of God than I should. In the grand scheme of things, I’m pretty insignificant, and I’m a WRETCH for sure. But I think there’s a strange tension that followers of Jesus need to grasp.
I wanted to write this thought about this weird tension that exists for those of us elected as God’s children through faith: It’s not about us in one sense, but it is about us in other ways.
The mindset of a follower of Jesus matters a great deal.
We are God’s children, and part of His story. When we convert time, money, words, thoughts, and efforts to be in obedience to Christ and His commission, we are then intimately involved in God’s kingdom.
On one hand, we see that we are nothing but dust, a speck that matters nothing in the grand scheme of things without God – but I’m valuable because, through faith, I’m a child of God. How does my holiness, my work for God’s kingdom, and my behavior, compare to all the saints that have ever existed? When I think like this, I’m left defeated and overwhelmed about how hopeless it all is for me.
On the other hand, I have God’s word that tells me that while it’s all about Jesus, He takes thought of me. Read this beautiful verse written in Psalm 8:3-4:
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4
Another verse that should cause us to take note of our importance to God’s epic story:
“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17
While we can sinfully make life, history, and God’s work all about our own glory, it’s important that we tension our “humble walk” (Micah 6:8) with knowing that God’s plan is for us to play an integral part in the story – no matter how mind blowing that can be and ridiculous it could sound, in light of the Billions and billions of people that have lived since Adam and Eve.
Everyone will give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken – Jesus (mt 12:36)
A couple of months ago, I had a religious experience.
I was having some deep communion with God and His word, and I was totally wrecked and convicted about the verse in Matthew 12:36, where Jesus tells us that we’ll give an account for everything, down to even the empty words we speak.
That verse is one of those that cause us to realize that we are intertwined into the epic story of Jesus more than we might think – and we need to think about what that really means.
In a way, we’re a character – with our own act – to which we are the lead actor. We have a mission and a purpose, or a COMMISSION. We are commissioned to go out and make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey – to be the Church on earth. But are we actively participating, practicing, and taking that role serious?
At the end of the age – Jesus says that our role in our personal commission will be examined. He’s going to play the movie of our pursuit of the commission, and he’s going to call out every word that didn’t align with His commission.
In other words, the verse in Matthew 12:36 that says: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” part of that means we need to realize that we are in a leading role in our own commission or story, even though it’s actually all about Jesus. He’s going to sit down in front of everyone – and I mean everyone – and we’re going to watch the video of our performance. And every word is going to be intimately judged for it’s idleness.
This makes me fear God. This makes me shake. It quickens me.
It’s really hard for us to imagine what it will be like to suddenly be participating in the epic-ness of being with Jesus. But we can more easily imagine what it would have been like for the disciples, because it’s found in their testimony. Imagine how they found out that they were in the second act of the entire story of the universe!
They were talking with the author of everything – and Jesus was sometimes subtle and sometimes quite frank. Sometimes He was just a friend and sometimes He was a teacher.
The religious experience I had involved me listening to these verses on the bible app, with no distractions, in the dark, while meditating upon Him. And I was overwhelmed by a vision.
I suddenly had a vision of what this might have looked like for the disciples hearing Jesus tell them that every word will be judged in the future. I also had a vision of what it would be like for the witnesses to then be standing before God, watching them be told about that very moment, and how they are truly a deep insider in the whole event. Imagine if you were the ones who were told , in person, that the most grandiose, the most epic, and the most permanent event in all the universe is going to unfold… and then you’re standing trial before God and watching that moment unfold and being one of the primary witnesses…. WEIRD!
Two things really hit me about it:
1 – Imagine the epic-ness of being around Jesus back then
I gloss over this so much, because we only see the world through the lens of our own reality and time/space. Part of why this verse hit me, was because I was vividly seeing a pre electricity, pre industrial revolution and pre second century world.
I had a vision of how intimate every conversation, interaction, and hour of day would have been back in the first century. There was no other way to communicate with people other than hand-written letters (which would have carried a deeper cost to obtain the paper and ink than today) and personal conversations.
Everything was more intimate back then I imagine. People were riding horses, donkeys, carriages or walking to their destination. Which meant that their daily interactions with people were quite intimate and took on deep meaning.
This intimate connection with life, and people, was sitting in my mind, and then
I imagined what it must have been like to sit there, and have THE ONE, the one and only Messiah, that all of creation was meant to glorify, standing before you and talking to you.
Jesus knew their thoughts. Jesus spoke truth that was foundational to the degree of every scientific law of physics. His words spoken in conversation to these people was as foundational & perfectly tuned as music and science. Every word spoken to the people that interacted with Him, had that creepy and eerie feeling associated with conversations with people who are hiding their foreknowledge of a situation – like when you start talking to someone about how much fun a concert was, and they politely nod their head and start asking how you liked this part and that part, only to find out that they were part of the audio production crew for the band and were like orchestrating the whole thing.
Jesus’ words to these guys were like a perfectly tuned frequency to their lives – and to the eternal truths of the universe for every life that would hear His words read aloud for all eternity.. Imagine the awe and wonder, REALLY, that would have captivated the disciples when he would speak into their lives! The story I think of is when he calls one of the early disciples, for example, Nathanael.
Jesus’ words were like magic, and the story of Nathanael is a perfect example.
Jesus is being introduced to this skeptical jew Nathanael, and Jesus says something about seeing him under the fig tree.
“I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you” – John 1:48
Whatever in the world was going on in Nathanael’s life caused a total, epic meltdown of his skepticism. He went from thinking that this guy was just some teacher, to suddenly blurting out “Rabbi, you are the Son of God – the King of Isreal!”
Whatever kind of freaky and epic situation Nathanael found himself in, is kind of shrouded from the story. Jesus’ way was attuned, so perfect, that the epic narrative of Jesus was unfolding before them and they were astounded to find themselves weaved into the tapestry of the story of God. Nathanael dropped everything and proclaimed this guy THE ONE SON OF GOD because of a quick conversation.
There is a conspiracy out there – the intertwined epic of Jesus, which involves all humanity.
The story isn’t about any of us. In the grand scheme of saints and sinners, our story seems piled on the heap of insignificance – because the epic of the universe is written about Jesus, not ourselves.
But in Matthew 12:36 – Jesus reminds all of us that our stories are more intertwined to the epic of the universe than we might think.
Jesus tells us that at the final judgment, every person will have every word accounted for by Jesus.
That causes my heart to thump and my soul to tremble as I write that.
The idea of every person who’s ever existed EVER, standing before God and having Him examine every word EVERY UTTERED by each of these people, seems ridiculous and unfathomable.
Until we remember some truths about our God – He’s the author of unfathomable.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts says the Lord, and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. As high as the heavens are from the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55
This means that there is a complete and utter unfathomable epic-ness to our God. The only thing in the universe that He can even slightly use as a metaphor for His holiness, is “the heavens.” Few in the first century could have predicted, that the cosmos would be proven to be, an ever-expanding cosmos that spans trillions of light years and is actually continuously growing. The red-shift finding shows us that the universe is expanding – which the bible alludes to many times in scripture when it says:
Verses where the Bible Alludes to the Cosmological Red-Shift, or Ever Expanding Universe:
Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.
The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
Those verses allude that God used the expansion of the universe as a key tool to show his majesty. Anyone who studies a bit of cosmology, will come to the conlusion that:
the cosmos is faith inducing: Either in God or in the Universe as creator….
Here are these regular people talking to the creator of the COSMOS!
It’s just crazy how epic that would have been for the disciples and people of the first century, WHEN they actually believed it. Most people didn’t know exactly how epic everything was until He rose from the dead, and appeared to them. Ultimately, Jesus was doing miraculous things on earth in front of people. These miracles would have startled most faithful people into baptism or deeper faith; even while much of His grandiose marvel was hidden until He resurrected.
But still – I’m dumbfounded at what it would have been like to interact with the author of the universe, who was connecting on a very personal level with these guys.
We are going to have a more-epic encounter with Jesus, and He’s going to hold us intimately accountable to our actions here on earth.
2 – The Judgement is Going to Be Brutal – even for the elect.
Now this idea is weird. We are all guilty, but doesn’t God totally forgive us and forget our sins? Well, yes and no.
We are taught that we are all guilty because of sin (Romans 3:23) All have sinned, and none of us do any good at all (Psalm 14:3) that God loves us, blots out our sins, and remembers them no more (Isaiah 43:25) and then we’re told that every idle word will be judged…. (Mt 12:36).. All that seems to contradict itself.
These concepts DON’T contradict themselves, in fact, they make total, exact, and complete sense.
We are all guilty of breaking the law. We will all stand before God at a judgement and be found guilty. We all have the penalty of death upon us, but Jesus pays our penalty when we turn from our sin, and place our faith in Jesus, as the atonement for our sin.
It’s not our faith, or lack of sinning that justifies us, we are justified through faith, by Christ, alone. But we are all found guilty in the beginning – we definitely broke the speed limit, we definitely got a ticket and a fine, and we are TOTALLY guilty. But Jesus pays the penalty. That’s how it works.
But that’s justification through faith, Jesus paid our penalty, and He lets us have the free gift of atonement if we believe on Him and become His disciple. That’s the first part of faith – justification.
Then there’s a second part to faith: Sanctification and living out the commission.
The Bible is filled with verses that show us how to live. Now that we’re saved, we’re supposed to be good stewards of the time, money, and life we’re given.
What does it mean to be a good steward of all that God has given you? It means to live according to His word. Living according to His word means to live a holy life, live at peace, seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. It means to feed the poor, hungry, outcast and to bring about the way of the kingdom of God down to earth. It means to live out the great commission of evangelism, and making disciples of Jesus that have mature faith. It means showing respect, obeying God’s calling on your life, being a great person in terms of getting things done and relationships, and it means communing with God. It means we need to have a deep and personal relationship with God – actually talking to Him and being with Him. So when we say “it means obeying the Bible,” that statement wraps up a great deal of instruction for good.
We get to go to heaven because of what Jesus did for us, and then the free gift of eternal life is given to us because of faith. But sanctification, is obedience and good works done for Him.
There are rewards in heaven. The things that reward us are found in the Bible, and if we understand that we’re going to give an account for how well we obeyed, worked, and executed, we start to realize that there’s like a “heavenly financial opportunity ahead of us”
Bottom line – I’m realizing that my judgement in heaven for my STEWARDSHIP of the time He gave me, is going to be personal, intimate, and brutal.
I waste time, I sin, I definitely have idle words.
These thoughts quicken me, and I know that everyday is an opportunity to steward my thoughts, time, money, and effort toward HIs great commission.
The time, efforts, money, and words that are not aligned to His great commission, will be brought to light in heaven, and I will have lost out on the true LONG TERM INVESTMENTS into eternally satisfying rewards.