John 5:19-24

 

I tell you the truth.

 

That is the way Jesus begins his words to us this morningwords that  talk about Judgment Day.  He is going to be telling us the truth about Judgment Day.  Many are inclined today when Jesus talks to say, “You are lying, Judgment Day is not really going to happen.”  If people hear about the Judgment Day and don’t have it make any difference in their lives, they really have to be saying to God, “You’re lying.”  

 

Judgment Day is really going to come.  There will be one last sunrise and sunset.  The clock will stop.  The alarm will start.  Judgment Day is really going to happen.  As inconvenient as that might be to those who don’t believe the truth, it is going to happen.

 

This is the day that unbelief counts on not happening.  The re-po people are going to show up.  There is going to be a knock on the door of an armed officer taking the person to jail for a stack of untended traffic violations.  The printing press in the newspaper shop is poised to print the obituary.

 

Judgment Day is really going to happen!

 

JUDGEMENT DAY IS REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN

1. God’s Saving Work Ends

2. God’s Judging Work Begins

3. God’s Eternal Care Continues

 

1. God’s Saving Work Ends

Jesus is like a child mimicking his Father…The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

 

This is all about God’s work.  Jesus said in verse 17 just before our reading, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”  Jesus sees his Father working…hard!…and he works.  He works hard too.  

 

Jesus learned his work ethic from his Father.  He worked hard!  He worked himself to death.  He worked his fingers to the bone.  Actually in his case, he worked his fingers to the nails.  Not finger nails but nail nails.  Those fingers got enmeshed in our sins…tangled and twisted in them as he took them and lifted them and struggled with them and forgave them.  His work left its mark on his hands.  One day soon you will see it all.  One day soon Judgment Day will come.

Jesus’ work of preparation for this final day was a frantic and consuming work.  To those who watched him and patterned their lives after his, he said, “Work hard before the night comes when no man can work.”  When someone is dying and you are the only one to save them, you have to be working right now.  You can’t wait.  Jesus couldn’t wait to save you and me.  He couldn’t wait to do his work.  In fact, we could say that God has trouble with slackers who want to take their sweet time when it comes to souls being saved.  There isn’t much time.  There is work to be done.

 

This is a great one-word description of our God.  Working!  This separates him from all other gods.  They don’t work.  They demand work.  But our God is the God who works hard for us and who gives us salvation freely.  This work of salvation will one day cease and end.  One day the sun will set on this work and all work will cease.  We call this day Judgment Day.  It is really coming.

 

2. God’s Judging Work Begins

On the day we call Judgment Day, God’s saving work ends and his judging work begins. It really does.  It really will.  Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the  Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.  Jesus will be the one t o do this incongruous work of judging all.  That’s what the words say.  It doesn’t seem right that meek and mild Jesus will be the Judge.  “Depart from me you evil doers to hell,” doesn’t seem like something he would easily say.  To see Jesus banging the gavel down on the bench…well, it isn’t the way we would like to see him.  But it is right and good that he should be the Judge.  Everything Jesus does, he does well.  All his work is perfect and right…even his judging work.  

 

On the Day of Judgment we’ll all get the “Your Honor” right too…that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.  All people will honor Jesus.  There isn’t a terribly lot of honor around today for God.  But even the most calloused in this world have some kind of idea about decorum when the approach a earthly bench and see the judge sitting there with his (or her) robe on.  When they know that this one who is about to speak is going to forever alter their lives, they are forced to say, “Your Honor.”  The judge has the power to send them away for good.  With a word they won’t be able to assail or contradict or escape.

 

We honor God when we know what he says and believe him that 100% of people who don’t believe him will be declared, “Guilty!”…and 100% of people who do believe in him and his day will be declared “Not Guilty!”  Honoring God is knowing that he will have the last word.  Honoring God is believing that Judgment Day is really going to happen.  

 

3. God’s Crossover Care Continues

When we talk about Judgment Day really happening, we think of it most naturally as a threat.  When those people carry those boards strapped on front and back in train stations or bus stations or on busy city corners that say, “Repent,  Judgment Day is coming!” we usually think of a threat.  But don’t miss the great promise and joy of the words, “Judgment Day is really coming.”  Don’t miss what God would have you understand and believe and embrace about the Day of Judgment that is really going to happen.

 

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and has crossed over from death to life.”

You have crossed over from death to life.  Because of the cross of Jesus you are going to live forever.  Because of what Jesus did with this cross you are going to hear that wonderful verdict…”Not guilty!  Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter the rest God has prepared for his people!”  This is the great “cross-over.”  We celebrate it today.  

 

We put that cross in the front of our church.  Christians put one on their steeples.  They put one in their front yard where they and everyone can see it.  This is their hope.  This is where their lives forever crossed over from death to life.  Jesus never lost a case.  His reputation as Savior is perfect.  He saves 100% of the people who trust him and believe him and what he did on his cross.  

 

Our hope and joy this morning is even better than our believing in a real good lawyer.  There are no doubt people who have good lawyers in this world and they trusted them implicitly…they believed in them…and yet sometimes the case was lost.  The lawyer had to look up at them over his half-glasses and say, “I’m sorry.  We tried.”    Not so with Jesus.  He has never lost a case, nor will he ever.  It must be that way for us to trust.  Never a lost case!  Think of that…and rejoice!

 

The judgment of Jesus is a very wonderful thing.  It is really going to come.

 

If you knew that in a certain case the Judge was absolutely going to declare in your favor in a huge settlement that would assure your future and happiness, you wouldn’t dread the coming of the day.  You wouldn’t cringe at the thought that your case was on the docket.  You would welcome it.  And you do!  You have crossed over from death to life.  Jesus is your defense attorney.  On this Day of Judgment that is coming you will hear the Father say to you, “You are going to receive the inheritance prepared for you because my Son died in your place and completely won this case.  

 

His eternal care continues.  We are living in his favor now.  We are living with this verdict of “not guilty” already our certainty.  It isn’t that the outcome of the Day is uncertain.  It is certain all right.  The crossover has already happened.  Amen.