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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, January 20, 2019

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:9, 10).

The judgment seat of Christ is often called the bema judgment. Bema is the Greek word translated “judgment seat” here. In the city of Corinth there was a judgment seat where crowns and rewards were given to the winners of athletic contests. Here (in verse 10) only Christians will be called to give an account of what they have done in their lives “whether it be good or bad.” “Christ who died to save us will stand to judge us” (Dr. Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church, Chicago).

This judgment will occur immediately after the rapture of Christians into Heaven. Many new-evangelicals now say that all Christians will hear Christ say, “Well done.” But Dr. Erwin Lutzer said, “If we take Paul’s words at face value [in II Cor. 5:10] we must face the possibility of a serious rebuke by Christ and a loss of rewards” (The Prophecy Study Bible, note on “The Judgment Seat of Christ”). To back up Dr. Lutzer’s statement look at II Timothy 2:12,

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (II Timothy 2:12).

Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “That all who live godly lives shall suffer (II Timothy 3:12) is certain...the sufferings of this time can be victoriously light of the certain glory that lies ahead” (The Criswell Study Bible, note on II Timothy 2:12).

What about those who follow their “feelings” and leave their church? That is covered in I John 2:19.  Turn to it.  Please stand for the reading of God's Word.

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us...” (I John 2:19).

You may be seated.  Dr. McGee comments, “‘They went out from us, but they were not of us.’ That’s a harsh statement, but it happens to be a true statement. There are many who make professions of being Christians, but they are not really Christians” (note on I John 2:19). Dr. Criswell said, “Their departure was actually to demonstrate that saving faith, and, hence, real fellowship was absent” (ibid., note on I John 2:19).

Our “enemies” say we are a “cult” because I say you lose your salvation if you leave our church. Ridiculous! I have never said such a thing in my life! I have simply said what Dr. McGee and Dr. Criswell said, and what the Apostle John said. Even the weak NIV makes it plain,

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (I John 2:19 NIV).

But we are not talking about those who leave their church tonight. We are talking about those of you who stayed. We are not asking you to do anything bad. Even those people who disagree with me should be able to see that! All I say is this –

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

What’s wrong with that? And I say,

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).

What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with obeying the Bible? Nothing! Nothing at all!

Churchill called Hitler “a bloody guttersnipe.” We have seen deacons (so-called) who were little better than that. You have seen what they did and you don’t like them. But Dr. Cagan says that you must go farther than that. Dr. Cagan said, “They are the enemies of Christ!” Men who slander a pastor that has shed blood and tears for them are enemies of Christ! Men who pretended to love us and then stuck a knife in our backs are enemies of Christ! Men who take baby Christians and mess up their lives without the slightest qualm of conscience are enemies of Christ! A man who takes the young girls that Ileana has sweat blood to save, and trashes those young girls without fear, is an enemy of Christ! The Apostle Paul said,

“I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18, 19).

They are the enemies of the cross of Christ! The enemies of the cross of Christ! The enemies of the cross of Christ! The enemies of the cross of Christ!

Please stand and sing hymn number 1 on your song sheet.

Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb;
And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.
   (“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Jack Ngann:
“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).