By David Wilkerson
May 25, 1992
The apostle Paul was one of God’s most faithful servants. And I believe there were three important motivations behind Paul’s faithfulness: hope, love and fear.
Paul had a blessed hope of eternal life that motivated him to faithfulness. He also had a great love for Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:14 he says, “The love of Christ constraineth us”- meaning, it constrained him to remain faithful to God.
But Paul’s faithfulness was also motivated by something else: the reverential fear of the hour he would stand before the Judge of the world on Judgment Day!
Today, the vast majority of Christians possess only the first two motivations. Virtually every believer claims to have the hope of eternal life. And many say in all sincerity, “I know I love Jesus with all my heart.”
Yet the truth of a coming day of judgment is the very thing that produces serious, godly believers. Those who put it out of mind are usually cold, careless and indulgent. But the fact remains that, sometime very soon, every person who has ever lived will be gathered to the place of judgment – to be judged by Jesus Christ: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
At this very moment, legions of angels stand ready for Jesus’ command to gather from the corners of the earth both the wicked and the righteous: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (Matthew 13:41).
All the rich, famous and powerful of all ages will be brought to stand before Him: “and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men… hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelations 6:15-17).
A famous actress is constantly talking about reincarnation. She claims she has lived many lives before, and that when she dies she’ll come back to earth in another body.
What terror awaits her and her followers! And angel of the Lord will be sent to their grave sites, uniting body and soul – and they will suddenly discover there is not another life! Instead, they will be summoned by the Judge to the last court – a court of no appeals. And the only after life will be eternal damnation for all who rejected Him.
Indeed, the angels will gather together all the “tares” – the sinners and the ungodly – and drag them “in bundles to burn them” (Matthew 13:40, 30). These will not come willingly, but with weeping , wailing and gnashing of teeth.
God Has Been Keeping Books on
Every Living Soul Since Adam!
God has recorded every passion and motive of every person – every single thought, word and deed. The motives of the Christian are entered in a “book of remembrance,” which is the Book of Life. And on the day of judgment, Christ is going to remember all who are in this book:
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often to one another: and the Lord… heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord… . And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:16-17).
If you love Jesus with all your heart and you’re cleansed by His blood, then your name is written in His book of remembrance. Such need not fear this message; in fact, it should bring great rejoicing to your heart as you see all that God has planned for those who love Him!
But there is the Book – and there are books. The Bible says each life has its own book, a record of an entire lifetime on earth:
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away… . And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened… 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 according to their works” (Revelation 20:11-13).
The wicked and ungodly will be judged by everything written in those books – one by one, before the Judge of all!
Scripture says every person will have a resurrection body at that time. The sinner will have a body “fitted to destruction” (Romans 9:22). But the godly will be given a new body, likened unto the Lord’s! And when the judgment is over, the Lamb will rise up from His throne and lead His flock into eternal paradise.
Yet before the Judge does this, He will beckon us by His side as He judges the wicked: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelations 3:21). Jesus is going to say to us, “Come – sit at My right hand as the judgments proceed!”
Try to Imagine the Scene That Takes
Place as the Judgment Begins!
Hitler cringes in agony as the Judge tells His angels to read the roll-call of names of every Jew he murdered. Six million names – those of every man, woman and child he killed! Every scream will be replayed, every cry from the ovens heard again. All his henchmen will share his terror.
Next comes the army of abortion doctors and nurses, huddled together before the Judge. They listen and shudder as the names of millions of babies are read. God has a name for every one – because according to the Scriptures they were named from eternity (see Jeremiah 1:5)!
Every scream from the womb will be replayed – and the doctors who performed those murderous acts will have to stand and endure each cry. Every mother who allowed her baby to be killed will be shown the life God planned for her child – and how her baby was robbed of that life. The Judge will expose it all!
Then there are those who neglected their salvation” (see Hebrews 2:3). They stand in great shock, not believing they are numbered with the transgressors. Listen to their cries:
“We went to church, we tithed. We were called by Your name. We were not wicked!” But the Judge will say: “All (your) righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Others will say, “We can cast out devils, we healed the sick. We did mighty works in Your name!” But the Judge will answer, “I don’t even know you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity!” (see Luke 13:27).
An angel will stand among them, repeating to them the Scriptures they heard during their lifetime: “you gave no earnest heed to the things which you heard” (see Hebrews 2:1). “How do you hope to escape, seeing you have neglected so great a salvation, which was so clearly revealed and confirmed to you?” (see Hebrews 2:3).
Also before the throne are many other faces I remember. I don’t know their names; I only remember the hate I saw in their faces – and the awful blasphemies that poured from their lips:
There are the faces of three lesbians staring at me in front of an office building in Manhattan. Operation Rescue was demonstrating in front of an abortion chamber. And those three girls stood by, cursing and screaming. “Get your Christ-garbage off the streets. Take your Jesus and crawl back into your holes!”
There is the face of the abortion doctor – the man who made a fortune killing the unborn. He shook his fist at the demonstrators, the veins in his neck protruding, hate filling his eyes. He was screaming, “I’ll get you – I’ll sue you! You’ll pay for this!”
There are the faces of flaunted homosexual lust, parading past Columbus Circle during New York’s “Gay Pride” march two years ago. I watched as some 250,000 homosexual activists marched past. And just the sight of one carrying a Bible brought a chorus of jeers: “Jesus was gay! God is gay! We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re after your children!”
It wasn’t the blasphemous signs or the unbelievable arrogance that got to me. It was the hate for Christ – the look that said if Jesus were there that day, they gladly would have nailed Him to the nearest tree in Central Park!
Yet here they all are before the judgment seat, bundled together in one group – paralyzed with agony and fear! It is the day of God’s wrath and vengeance. And now, as each book is opened and every vile deed voiced aloud, what has become of their bluster! Where now are the bold blasphemies, the mockery of sacred things? Where is their cry?
I spoke at Yale University not long ago, and a group of gay activists came in carrying signs, trying to interrupt the meeting. My sermon was on hell – and as I spoke, a Holy Ghost hush fell over the place. The silence was so deafening that one reporter said, “My pencil seemed to make noise.”
Those demonstrators couldn’t move – they were paralyzed! And at that moment, I got an idea of what it is going to be like for them to stand before Jesus on Judgment Day.
Scripture declares, “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment” (Psalm 1:5). Look now at the others trembling before the judgment seat: Judges who allowed unborn babies to be murdered. Atheistic college professors who filled a whole generation full of apostasy and hate for Christ. Lying politicians who removed prayer and God from our society. Godless presidents, dictators and mob leaders. Actors and filmmakers who blasphemed Christ. Artists who depicted His Cross in a vat of urine. Bankers, business people, the rich, the once proud and powerful who had no time for Him. Now what will they do?
There they stand, listening and awaiting their turn. And the angel of the Lord cries out among them, “Be sure your sin will find you out!” (Numbers 32:23).
The Judge Will Call Forth Witnesses!
The Judge, Jesus Christ, is faithful – and He will call forth His witnesses. These will testify either for you or against you:
1. The first witness is the Word of God itself: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
For every sermon or gospel song ever heard, every Bible verse or tract ever read, account must be given. Jesus says, “Every word I have spoken to you will judge you on that day. My Word will be the witness!”
2. Witnesses shall arise such as the men of Nineveh, the men of Sodom and the queen of Sheba.
Jesus says, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah: and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:41-42).
When you stand before the Judge and your book is opened, the vast multitudes of Ninevites will step forward. Those who died in the holocaust of Sodom and Gomorrah will come forth, as will those of Tyre and Sidon. These wicked ones will gather round, incredulous as they hear the list of all the opportunities you had to receive the Word of God: Bibles, radio, TV teachers, witnesses, friends, family.
They will cry out, “This man’s judgment ought to be worse than ours! How could he reject so many opportunities and deny such powerful light? We had no Bible, no constant reminders, no second opportunity. But he had all this!”
Jesus says Sodom would have repented if they had heard what you’ve heard: “For if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day” (Matthew 11:23). The men of Sodom would have put on sackcloth and ashes if they’d heard even a fraction of the gospel preaching you have heard!
3. Preachers and pastors will be called forth as witnesses. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14).
We shepherds will have to stand and bear witness that you were in attendance in the house of God. You heard the witness of the gospel preached. And we must affirm before the Judge of all people every truth you heard – either for you or against you.
Perhaps the Most Tragic Souls Standing Before the Judge
Will Be Those the Bible Calls “Unprofitable Servants.”
These were the servants – meaning, they called themselves by the name of the Lord.
As I prepared this message, this was the one group that burdened my soul the most. You see, the “unprofitable servant” is the one who “hid” his talent. He was too lazy to invest his life and time in God’s interests, and he became “slothful” in the things of God. This was the busy man or woman who came to God’s house once a week to keep a semblance of religion.
Yet here is what the Lord will say of haphazard, halfhearted service to Him:
“Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not… Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with (interest)… . Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth: (Matthew 25:26-27, 30).
What weeping and wailing there will be when the unprofitable servant’s book is opened! The Judge will show the world how much time and effort he spent in making money, seeking personal security, building up bank accounts, fretting, ignoring family, forgetting God and forsaking the assembly of believers.
On that day God will bring forth the record of every neglected church meeting, every lazy and self-centered activity. Then, right before this servant’s eyes will appear everything he spent his lifetime accumulating: houses, cars, furnishings, boats, clothes, jewelry, stocks and bonds.
Suddenly, a spark leaps from the Judge’s eye – the spark of a Lover who has been shunned – and it ignites everything like a hydrogen meltdown! Standing before the Judge is an angel, and in the angel’s hands is a mound of dust. The Lord will turn to the unprofitable one and say, “This is what your lifetime of business amounted to! I needed you and called you, but you neglected Me. You gave Me so little of your time, until finally you pushed Me out of your life completely. You wasted your life for a handful of dust – yet you were warned it would all burn as grass in an oven!”
Oh, the regret there will be on that day for a man who has no time for God now! He attends the obligatory Sunday morning service with his wife and children, because it’s “the American way.” But he has no heart for God! You never see him in a prayer meeting or enjoying the true fellowship of the saints, encouraging and being encouraged in the Lord, as the Word commands.
Yet on Judgment Day, the Judge will say, “Take that unprofitable servant and cast him out of My presence! His heart is not with Me; it never has been. He left his first love long ago. He has not made Me the Lover of his soul. Otherwise, in every waking hour I would have been on his mind – in his business, his family, all his doings. He would have put My interests first in everything!”
Oh, who will not be afraid on that great day of judgment?
What does Judgment Day Mean for the
Overcoming Children of God?
The first thing on the Judge’s agenda will be to separate His sheep from among the goats. He will not allow His righteous ones to be numbered with the transgressors. Instead, He will call on His angels to gather His flock at His right hand:
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep form the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:32-34).
The Bible is very clear that those who have been abiding in Christ and looking for His appearing will have boldness and confidence on that day:
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (I John 2:28). “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
How can you have such boldness on the day of judgment – such joy and confidence? It comes only through knowing the Judge – as your friend, brother, redeemer-kinsman, Lord, high priest, propitiation, advocate, intercessor, the love of your heart – your very life!
There is a test that will show whether or not you are prepared to go to the judgment as a sheep – with joy, confidence and boldness. The Bible says, “for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31). Are you willing to take the test – and to judge yourself?
If you are willing, ask yourself these three questions:
Have you been longing and yearning for the coming of the Lord? Do you look forward to His coming? Do you yearn for the day when He will appear?
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
This world is not our home. But I ask you: Are you putting down roots? Or are you pulling up roots, praying, “Jesus, keep my heart awake!”
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the God…. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:12, 14).
Jesus said, “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13). We all must go ahead with our daily lives and work. But in every waking hour, our hearts should cry, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelations 22:20).
Have God’s enemies become your enemies? Are you engaged in the battle against those who oppose God? Have you taken up His fight against the flesh, the world and the devil? Or have you left the battle in the hands of other members of Christ’s body?
If you’re going to stand before the world and judge God’s enemies on Judgment Day, you have to make them your enemies now. David said, “do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And an not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Psalm 139:21-22).
Yes, Jesus said we are to love our enemies. But what about His enemies – those who hate Him, refuse His grace and mercy, and defame His name and drag it through filth? We are not to hate men – but we are to hate the sin that is in their hearts and the demonic powers that rule them. We are to hate the wickedness that is in the world!
Yet do you say in your heart, “This world has been wicked all along, and it’s only going to get worse. But what concern is that to me? I’ll just keep my garment clean before God.” No – you can’t! We are all in a battle, in warfare! The gates of hell are coming against the church of Jesus Christ in these last days like never before – and you cannot remain neutral!
God issues a call: “Who will rise up for me against the evil doers? (Psalm 94:16). And when Judgment Day comes, I want to say with Paul, “I fought a good fight!” I want to go out fighting – to be on my knees, full of holy hatred toward sin in my life and in the world.
Have you not made a habit of forsaking the house of God? “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
It is no accident that the very next verse in this passage refers to “willful sinning” after the truth has been revealed. Indeed, it is a proven historical fact: People become most careless and neglectful just prior to judgment and calamity!
Always before any society spun completely out of control, people turned to security, money-making, pleasures – everything but God. And at the last moment, things got worse: Believers began neglecting the house of god. Paul warns us: “Now that the day is approaching so soon, make sure you do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as so many have done! This is no time to drift or to stay away from God’s house. It is time to assemble with true overcomers!”
If your church on Sundays is nothing more than a TV program, then beloved, you are not assembling with believers. You are not getting or giving encouragement, as God commands!
What is the judgment, but the final assembling together of His flock? Will you be there – faithful, expectant, willing and joyful? The Lord knows those who love Him so much they can’t stand to be away from His body. I tell you, the books will be opened on that day – and the Judge is keeping an account right now!
Did You Pass the Test?
If you know in your heart you’re not ready to stand before Jesus – and that time is coming very soon – then you have to answer for what I have written here. This one message is enough to damn you to eternal hell if you reject it. It will stand as a witness on Judgment Day!
Have your interests – your work, your possessions or even your ministry – become more important to you than the Lord’s interests? Have you neglected your family? Are you satisfied because you go to church on Sunday and say, “I’ve done my part for God”? God’s Word to you is clear: It is not enough!
If you have judged yourself and come up short, then pray this from your heart:
“Jesus, I need You. I need to be forgiven and to be loved by You. I confess all my sin and stubbornness. I’ve neglected You Lord – I’ve not put You first. And from this day on, I make You my life – my everything.
“Consume me, Jesus. Amen.”
Used with permission granted by World Challenge, P. O. Box 260, Lindale, TX 75771 USA.