A Great Day Is Coming!
At the Greater Greensboro, North Carolina Open Golf Tournament over the Easter weekend in 1972,
South African golfer, Gary Player failed to sign his scorecard after the third round and was disqualified.
At that point, with only one round left to play, he was but one stroke behind the leader
for the $40,000 first prize.
By failing to sign his scorecard, he was disqualified from the competition, and did not win anything.
Commenting on it afterward, Player said, "There are rules in life, and we must abide by them."
Someone then asked if there were not someone in the scoring tent to make sure
that the cards were signed.
To this, Player replied, "My friend, there are responsibilities in life.
You cannot shove your responsibilities onto the shoulders of someone else.
This was my responsibility.
I failed to meet it, so I must suffer the consequences."
Gary Player had voiced the reality of judgment.
Judgement is based on two principles: the responsibility of man and the righteousness of God.
Ray Summers said, "If God is righteous, He must exercise mercy on the obedient,
and mete out punishment to the disobedient.
He would be as unrighteousness if He left off judgment for the wicked as He would be
if He left off blessings for the righteous."
God is righteous.
God has a standard of right and wrong.
This is God's moral universe in which what one does makes a difference.
And man is responsible.
As responsible people, we are accountable for what we do with our lives, how we treat others,
and how we respond to God.
The righteousness of God imposes an obligation upon us.
We are accountable for life.
It is true, of course, that one aspect of God's judgment is the natural working out
of the results of our sin.
We know something about judgment in this life.
When you abuse your body, you will suffer the consequences.
When you are involved in a crime, you will be arrested and stand trial.
When you hurt a person, you must live with the pain.
Galatians 6: 7: "Be not deceived God is not mocked for whatsoever that a man soweth
that shall he also reap."
When you sin and break God's moral laws, you must live with the consequences.
The baby that is conceived is born.
The heart that is hardened grows less responsive.
The attitude that is calloused gets even more so.
The spirit that is cynical becomes more bitter.
The results of our sin and disobedience to God's will work themselves out in natural ways in our lives.
This is part of God's judgment.
The Bible also teaches that there is a final judgment.
There is a time when all people of all times must be judged by God on the basis
of their response to Him and their lives.
At least three main pictures of judgment are found in the New Testament.
One is the sheep and goat judgment pictured in Matthew 25.
Another is the judgment seat of Christ mentioned in Romans 14 and 2 Corinthians 5.
The final is the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20.
Every person will be judged.
Every person is responsible.
We must all stand before God and give an account of our lives.
God has made us to be responsible persons.
We must appear before the righteous God and show how we have used this responsibility.
When I was growing up, we used to sing a hymn that I don't hear much anymore.
It was called, "A Great Day Coming"
"There's a great day coming, a great day coming
A great day coming by and by.
When the saints and the sinners will be parted pride and left,
Are you ready for that day to come?
Are you ready, are you ready,
Are you ready for the judgment day?"
Everyone should face that question.
That points us to the fact that there is a great day coming when we all will meet our God.
It is a day of judgment.
It is a day of accounting.
It is a day of reckoning.
God, in Jesus Christ, will be the Judge on the judgment day.
John recorded in his vision in Revelation 20: 11-15 that he saw a great white throne
that was high and lifted up.
All of these expressions describe the sovereignty and the holiness of God.
It is the picture of the King on his throne dispensing justice to his subjects.
Got has given to Jesus both the judgment and the authority to execute that judgment.
Jesus said in John 9:39: "For judgment I came."
When Christ came into the world, it meant the separation of the good from the bad.
When that time of final separation and judgment shall come, it is the eternal Christ
who will carry out this work of division.
Jesus Christ came into the world to save people from their sins.
If they will not accept Christ as Saviour, they must know Him as their Judge.
When Judge Warren Candler was a young man practicing law, one of his clients
was charged with murder, and the young lawyer made the utmost effort
to clear his client of the charge.
There were some extenuating circumstances, and the lawyer made the most of them
in his plea before the jury.
In the court was the aged father and mother of the man charged with murder,
and the young lawyer worked on the sympathies of the jury by frequent references
to the God-fearing parents.
In due course, the jury retired for deliberation.
When they had reached a verdict, they returned to the court.
Their verdict read: "We find the defendant, not guilty."
The young lawyer who was a Christian had a serious talk with his client who was now free.
He warned him to steer clear of evil ways, and to trust God's power to keep him straight.
After some years, the man was brought into court again.
Again, the charge was murder.
A lawyer who had defended him at his trial was now the judge on the bench.
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury rendered its verdict -- "Guilty."
As he ordered the condemned man to stand for sentencing, Judge Candler said:
"At your first trial, I was your lawyer; today, I am your judge.
The verdict of the jury makes it mandatory for me to sentence you to be hanged by the neck
until you are dead."
(Illustration from World Aflame by Billy Graham)
Today Jesus is willing to be our advocate, our lawyer, and our Saviour.
He is willing to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from our sins.
There is a day coming when He will be our Judge.
God in Christ is the world's Redeemer.
God in Christ is the world's Judge.
Who are to be judged by God in Christ?
Everyone will face judgment.
Notice in that account in revelation we see that the dead "small and a great"
will stand before the throne.
The sheep and goat judgment scene of Matthew 25 indicates that
"all nations" will appear before the divine Judge.
Neither the position held in life nor the accident of his death will prevent any individual
from appearing before God in judgment.
All people of all nations of all times will stand before God and give an account of themselves.
What will be the basis of that judgment?
The basis of judgment is one's total life and works as reflected in his relationship to Jesus Christ.
What did you do with Jesus?
Unbelief in Christ is the basis for judgment.
In the final analysis, this is the real reason for condemnation.
What have you done with Jesus?
Wicked living, disobedience, and even rebellion are forgiven when a person comes
to make his peace with God through Jesus Christ.
Failure to trust Christ as Saviour is the supreme failure -- the supreme sin.
God can, and will forgive all who believe and trust in Jesus.
He will not forgive if you do not believe and trust in Jesus.
The words of John 3:36 makes this very clear:
"He that believeth on the Son have everlasting life;
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."
W. C. Fields, the famous comedian, was once seen reading from a Bible.
Since this was not considered a normal pastime for him, a friend asked him what he was doing.
He replied, "Just looking for loopholes."
But there are no loopholes.
Everyone will be judged by God.
Is your name written in the Book of Life?
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven
fled away; and there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened:
and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things
which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead
which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
(Revelation 20:11-15, KJV)
If your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that is all that is necessary.
If you have received Christ, as your Saviour, then your name is written in the Book of Life,
then you will not be judged.
To those who are not Christians, the sentence of judgment is horrible and final.
They're separated from God and from His love.
They will be sent to an eternal hell.
The place called hell is describes in terms that should haunt us, terrify us, and repel us.
It is pictured as a lake of fire.
Into this lake of fire are cast all those who have not received Jesus Christ as Saviour;
those whose names who are not written in the Book of Life.
This is called the "second death."
This means separation from God eternally into that eternal Lake of Fire that burns forever and ever.
But that does not have to be anyone's destiny.
Those who are found written in the Lamb's Book of Life are promised a life forever with Jesus in heaven.
This is the fulfillment of God's grace.
It is the peace and the rest and the security that come in living eternally with God.
The great day of judgment will be of day of gladness or a time of sorrow.
It will be a time of peace or time of pain.
It will all depend on what you have done with Christ.
A potentate of ancient Asia presented his court jester with a beautiful wand, and said:
"Keep this until you find a greater fool than yourself."
The jester, good-naturedly accepted the emblem of magic, and used it on several occasions.
Some years later, the ruler was dying, and asked to see the jester, of whom he had grown fond.
"I wanted to say goodbye; I'm going away on a long journey."
The jester asked: "Where are you going?"
The ruler replied: "I have no idea."
The jester then asked: "How long will you be gone?"
The ruler answered: "That I can tell you -- it is forever, and I know nothing more
about this journey I'm about to take."
The jester asked: "What have you done to provide for your well-being on this great trip?"
The king answered: "Nothing whatsoever. I have made no preparation."
The jester said: "Since you have made no preparation for such a journey, then take this wand.
You are greater fool than I."
The Bible says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment."
There is a great day coming!
It is a day of judgment!
Are you ready for that judgment day?
The Great Judgment Morning
"I dreamed that the great judgment morning
Had dawned, and the trumpet had blown;
I dreamed that the nations had gathered
To judgment before the white throne;
From the throne came a bright, shining angel,
And he stood on the land and the sea,
And he swore with his hand raised to Heaven,
That time was no longer to be.
The rich man was there, but his money
Had melted and vanished away;
A pauper he stood in the judgment,
His debts were too heavy to pay;
The great man was there, but his greatness,
When death came, was left far behind!
The angel that opened the records,
Not a trace of his greatness could find.
The widow was there with the orphans,
God heard and remembered their cries;
No sorrow in heaven forever,
God wiped all the tears from their eyes;
The gambler was there and the drunkard,
And the man that had sold them the drink,
With the people who gave him the license,
Together in hell they did sink.
The moral man came to the judgment,
But self-righteous rags would not do;
The men who had crucified Jesus
Had passed off as moral men, too;
The soul that had put off salvation,
"Not tonight; I'll get saved by and by,
No time now to think of religion!"
At last they had found time to die."
"And, oh, what a weeping and wailing,
As the lost were told of their fate;
They cried for the rocks and the mountains,
They prayed, but their prayer was too late."
-- Lyrics by Bertram H. Shadduck, 1894
Sermon by adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White