Living With Eternity On My Mind

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  3 : 10-15
Subject: Eternity; Judgment; Bema Seat; Christian Living

In Light of Eternity, Randy Alcorn, “A moment after a man dies he knows exactly how he should have lived. The absolute certainty of death gives the Gospel its urgency.”

Jim Elliott, martyred missionary in Ecuador, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose.”

The Apostle Paul told the believers in Rome that there would be a day of reckoning, a final judgement for believers, the Judgement Seat; BEMA.

Romans 14:10: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

BEMA – a step; used of the official seat of a judge; sort of a tribunal.  It resembles a throne that Herod built in the theater of Caesarea by the Sea, from which he used to view the games and make speeches to the people.

In Acts 24 and 25 it was here Paul stood before Felix and later Agrippa. Festus is mentioned in Acts 25:6, “sitting on the judgement seat.”

In Acts 25:10 Paul desiring to make his appeal in Rome, “I stand at Caesar’s judgement seat.”

Every believer will give an account of himself and the Lord will judge the decisions (choices) he made. Paul knowing and believing this, wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 5:9.

2 Corinthians 5:9: “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”

He was speaking of his ambition in life.

“well pleasing to Him” – describes slaves who were passionate to please their Master.

“I wish to live now in a way that I would have hoped I had, once I get to Heaven.” Johnny M. Hunt

An eternal perspective that will lead to an eternal impact. Remember, at the Judgement Seat, BEMA, the Lord will evaluate the believer’s life for the purpose of giving eternal rewards.

“that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” This speaks of actions (works or deeds) which happened during the believer’s time of earthly ministry. The “good” or “bad” referred to does not refer to sin, but rather to worthwhile compared to useless; in their eternal value.

The Judgement Seat of Christ is most emphatically not a judgement of the believer’s sins. These have been fully atoned for in the substitutionary death of Christ and remembered no more.

As a result of this judgement of the believer’s works, these will be rewarded or loss of reward.


A. As A Wise Worker

Matthew 25:23: “His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'”

Revelation 22:12 ; "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”

Paul often spoke of running the race, fighting the fight or building of a life.

In this text 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul uses the figure of a building and speaks of the builder, the foundation, the materials, the inspection, and the workers.

The word “master builder” (wise builder) – means builders and designers; a combination of architect and general contractor. No bragging in this text because his calling and effectiveness were only by the grace of God that was given to him.

“wise” – spiritual wisdom but also with practical wisdom, with skill.

“each one” – indicates that the principles apply to every believer. Paul was a foundation builder, a planter. He established doctrines, principles of belief and practices revealed to him by God.

“another builds on it” – Apollo in Corinth and Timothy in Ephesus.

“Let each one take heed” (be careful) how he builds on it.” Stresses continued action. All believers go on through their lives and through history building on Jesus Christ.

B. As to a Wonderful Foundation

The only foundation of biblical Christianity is Jesus Christ: God’s kingdom is built on Jesus Christ and every individual life (each man) that pleases God must carefully build on that foundation.


A. The Building 12

As long as we are alive, we are building. Building some sort of life, some sort of church, Christian fellowship, and service. “builds” – gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw. These are representative of spiritual service.

Proverbs 25:4:

“Take away the dross from silver,

And it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.”

Gold, silver, precious stone (high quality materials)

Wood, hay, straw (inferior materials)

“gold”- greatest faithfulness

“straw” – just the opposite, the least, the leftovers.

The material does not represent wealth, talents, or opportunity, nor spiritual gifts either. The materials represent believers responses to what they have, how well they serve the Lord with what He has given them. They represent our works.

Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Every Christian is a builder. God wants us to build only with the best material; He is worthy of the best.


i. Important to note that those first 3 materials are equally valuable. There is no grading. Things with different functions can be equally precious.

ii. Only the Lord determines which works are high quality and which are low. It’s not the believer’s role to grade Christians and the work they do. He alone determines the ultimate value of each man’s work.

B. The Inspection 13

“test” – as to quality

“fire” – is the symbol of testing

“evident” – clear

1. Permanent

“fruit that remains”

2. Perishable

a. Motive - PURE

1 Corinthians 4:5: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.”

b. Conduct - HOLY

2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

“bad” – worthless, useless

c. Service - SACRAFICIAL

2 Timothy 2:20-21: “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

Use the gifts God has given us.

C. Revelation 14-15
1. Reveals Good

“remains” – precious materials of their lives

2. Reveals Bad

“burned up”

“suffer loss”

“he himself shall be saved”

“so as through fire” – a person who runs through flames without being burned; but who has the smell of smoke on him, barely escaping. The useless will be burned away, but salvation will not be forfeited.


Let’s prepare and commit for this day is coming.