Let Us Prepare for Judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
1. Ecclesiastes is a very interesting book that deserves our careful attention. 2. According to the opening verse, Solomon wrote this book. a. As a young man, he demonstrated great wisdom. b. Unfortunately, with the passing of time, Solomon lost sight of what is really important in life. c. Throughout Ecclesiastes, Solomon showed how he got sidetracked. d. After pursuing many things, he determined that they were all "vanity and vexation of spirit." e. Thankfully, something caused Solomon to realize that "the whole duty of man" is to "fear God and keep his commandments." 3. It seems from vs.14 that the judgment caused Solomon to regain his focus. 4. If we are not careful, we can get sidetracked just like Solomon did. a. A number of issues can cause us to lose our focus, including terrorism, crime, natural disasters, the economy, health care, etc. b. We must never allow issues such as these to prevent us from being ready for the judgment. 5. In our lesson we are considering a number of important principles that relate to being prepared for judgment.
I. LET US FIRST OBSERVE THAT JUDGMENT IS A REALITY
A. In Ecclesiastes 12:14 Solomon showed that the judgment will occur. B. The reality of the judgment is also declared in Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10.
II. SINCE JUDGMENT IS A REALITY, JESUS WANTS US TO BE READY
A. We need to listen to Jesus because: 1. He is the judge (John 5:22) 2. His Word is the standard by which we will be judged (John 12:48). B. At the judgment there will be a separation (Matthew 25:31-33). C. To those: 1. who are prepared, judgment will be a time for rejoicing 2. who are unprepared, judgment will be a time of great sadness. D. When Jesus returns, it will be too late to get ready -- the time to prepare is now. E. Jesus wants us to get ready and stay ready (Matthew 24:42, 44; 25:13).
III. LET US TURN OUR ATTENTION TO SOME SPECIFIC MATTERS THAT RELATE TO BEING READY FOR THE JUDGMENT
A. First, we will be judged on whether we are members of His church. 1. We learn from Acts 2:47 that Christ adds those who are saved to His church. 2. We learn from 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 that those who do not obey the Gospel will "be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." 3. We learn from Revelation 2:10 that the faithful will receive "a crown of life." B. Each person will be judged by: 1. his judgment of others (Matthew 7:1-2; John 7:24) 2. his words (Matthew 12:35-37; Colossians 4:6) 3. his works (Matthew 16:27; 1 Corinthians 15:58) 4. his assistance of the needy (Matthew 25:31-46; Galatians 6:10) 5. what is written in the books (Revelation 20:12).
1. These matters are extremely important -- the way we approach them will affect our standing at the judgment. 2. Let us go back to where we began. a. Solomon got sidetracked concerning what is really important in life. b. However, the reality of the judgment brought him back to his senses. 3. Many things can cause us to get sidetracked, but the reality of the judgment will help us to get back on track and to stay on track. 4. Are you prepared to face Jesus in judgment? (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)