Why We Run the Race

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 11/01/2020

Foundation Scriptures: 
And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment. Hebrews 9:27 AMPC  

Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him] or away from home [and with Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 AMPC 

1. Final Judgment.
a. Psalm 89:14a AMPC — Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.
b. ALL men will stand before the judgment bar of God. 
c. There are four final judgments mentioned in the scriptures.
d. The judgment of believers.
e. The judgment of national Israel. 
f. The judgment of the wicked dead.
g. The judgment of Satan and the fallen angels.
h. Believers will not be judged with the wicked. 
i. Genesis 18:25 AMPC — Far be it from You to do such a thing — to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously? 

2. The Judgment Seat of Christ.
a. There is a day coming when all we, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, will all stand before Him at His Judgment Seat (Bema). 
b. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for the believer, not for the sinner. 
c. The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a place of condemnation where your eternal destination (heaven or hell) is decided, but a place where you receive your pay according to what you have done, whether good or bad. 
d. It is not enough to merely (or barely) make it into heaven, but each man and woman will have to give an account for their works here on the earth as well. 
e. This is where you earn your heavenly rewards. 

3. The Fire of God Will Try Your Works.
a. Jesus Christ, crucified and raised from the dead, is our foundation and the only foundation upon which one can build.
b. 1 Corinthians 3:8-11 NKJV — Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
c. You cannot earn salvation with good works—you receive God’s grace and mercy by faith.
d. You must be born again to enter heaven and the eternal presence of God.
e. But as a believer, it is still important to do good works with right motives.
f. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NKJV — Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
g. The believer’s works will be tested by fire, as a basis for recompense of rewards. 
h. The fire determines the worth of your works, whether they are gold, jewels, and precious stones—or wood, hay, and stubble.
i. 2 John 1:8 ERV — Be careful! Don’t lose the reward you have worked for. Be careful so that you will receive all of your reward. 

4. Giving an Account.
a. We will have to give an account for, and be judged by, our works—everything we thought, said, and did.
b. Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV — For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
c. Our thoughts and motives. 
d. Our tongue: what words came out of our mouth? 
e. Matthew 12:36 AMPC— But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. 
f. We will give and account for idle, thoughtless, unproductive words—unbelief, negativity, doubt, fear, gossip, grumbling, complaining, back-biting, judging, criticizing, etc. 
g. Matthew 25:13-30 (Parable of the Talents) 
h. Your time: did you use it wisely?
i. Talents: did you multiply them or bury them?
j. Treasure: money—what have you done with yours? 
k. Our faithfulness will be judged (there is NO reward for unfaithfulness).

5. Rewards.
a. 1 Corinthians 9:24 NKJV — Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 
b. There are four crowns mentioned in Scripture, in connection with rewards.
c. Crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4; Prov. 4:9; 16:31; Isa. 62:3).
d. Crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8).
e. Crown of life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10).
f. Soul winner’s crown (1 Thes. 2:19).