Sermon #155                                                 Luke Sermons


     Title:               Worthy to Stand

                        Before The Son of Man

     Text:          Luke 21:36

     Subject:     Worthiness Before God

     Date:         Sunday Evening — August 7, 2005

     Tape #       Y-75a

     Readings:   Merle Hart and Ron Wood



As we bow before the throne of our great, glorious, and gracious God, we acknowledge with Jacob of old, — O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return…I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant” (Gen 32:9-10). In fact, taking our place in the dust before his throne, every heaven born soul, looking to Christ for mercy, confesses his sin to God and takes sides with divine justice against himself, declaring in the language of God’s holy law that he is altogether worthy of death, eternal death in hell. This I know


·       No man is worthy of the lest of God’s mercies.

·       Every person who has ever drawn breath on God’s earth, save his own darling Son, is worthy of everlasting death in hell.

·       Yet, this blessed Book tells us that there are some of Adam’s fallen sons and daughters who are worthy to live before God, worthy to be named the sons and daughters of God himself, and worthy to enter into and possess the world to come!


In Luke 20:35, our Savior speaks of “they which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead.” The Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the saints at Thessalonica, declared that they were a people “worthy of the kingdom of God” (2 Thess. 1:5).


(2 Thessalonians 1:3-5)  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; (4) So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (5) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.”


In the light of these things, my text tonight ought to be of tremendous interest to eternity bound sinners like us. Here, in Luke 21, our Lord is talking to us about his glorious second advent, that day when all men “shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory” (v. 27). He warns us of that great and terrible day when men’s hearts shall fail them for fear, when the very powers of heaven shall be shaken (v. 26). Our Savior warns us of judgment and eternity, warning us of the wrath to come. Then, in verse 36, he gives us this word of admonition.


(Luke 21:36)  “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”


Well might we cry with Balaam, “Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!


Proposition: Yet, the Savior’s words tell us plainly that there are some who shall escape the wrath that is to fall upon the wicked in the last day.


Watch and Pray


Our Savior says, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” The Apostle Peter, remembering the Master’s words, says the same thing, when he writes about that great day. — “The end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.


First, the Lord Jesus says, “Watch ye therefore.” — Beware of sleep. Let us beware that we not be found sleeping in that day. There are many things that tend to lull us asleep.

·       Prosperity — “The Deceitfulness of Riches!

·       Earthly Comfort

·       Religious Security

·       Carnal Care — “The Care of this World!


Let us be ever on our guard against the drowsiness that seems to constantly overtake us. Let us beware of being led into this by pleasure, or covetousness, or vanity, or love of ease. Let us watch. The Son of God says, “Awake,” to those that are asleep. He says, “Watch,” to those who are drowsy. Let us not sleep as do others.


Then, he says, “Pray always.” — While watching, let us pray. Let us watch upon our knees. “Pray without ceasing,” the Holy Spirit says in 1st Thessalonians. If we would stay awake, we must ever pray for grace, constantly fix our eyes upon Christ, and pray.


·       Philippians 3:7-15


Pray; pray always, in all circumstances, in all times, and in all seasons. It is not enough that we have prayed, yesterday, or this morning, or an hour ago. Pray in darkness and in the light. Pray in adversity and in prosperity. Pray in the day of bereavement, fear, terror, and weariness, and in the time of ease, security, comfort, and peace. Pray always. — “Pray without ceasing.” If you fear the day of trouble that is at hand, watch and pray.


(Luke 21:36)  “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”


Watch and pray that you may be “accounted worthy to escape all these things,” these things that shall come upon the world. And watch and pray that you may be “accounted to stand before the Son of Man.”


The Judgment


Pray that you may be accounted worthy to stand before him in judgment (Psalm 1:5), being acquitted at the great white throne and worthy of his approval.


There is a day coming in which God shall judge all men. And the God who shall be our Judge is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man (Acts 17:31).


(Acts 17:31)  “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”


Every man will be judged according to exact truth, righteousness and justice. The standard by which we shall be judged is the holy law of God himself. We shall be judged according to the books of God, in which are recorded all our earthly thoughts, words and deeds (2 Cor. 5:10-11; Rev. 20:11-12; Matt. 25:31-46).


(2 Corinthians 5:10-11)  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”


(Revelation 20:11-12)  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”


In that great and terrible day of the Lord, everyone will receive exactly what is justly due to him. None will be punished who do not deserve to be punished. And none will be received into heaven’s eternal glory who do not deserve to enter in. Those who are found guilty of any sin, or infraction of God’s holy law, shall be cast into hell. Those who are perfectly holy, holy as God himself, shall enter into heaven (Ps. 24:3-4; Rev. 20:6; 21:27; 22:11).


·       Isaiah 28:17


(Psalms 24:3-4)  “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? (4) He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”


(Revelation 20:6)  “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”


(Revelation 21:27)  “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”


(Revelation 22:11)  “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”


In that day the Judge of all the earth, who must do right, will do right. He who sits upon the great white throne will not show any lenience, partiality, or favoritism. He will not bend his law. At the bar of God there will be no mercy and no grace. The judgment seat is not a place of mercy. It is a place of strict, unbending, unwavering, immutable justice. Only the facts will be considered when we stand before God. Guilty or not guilty, righteous or unrighteous, holy or unholy, these will be the only matters of consideration in that day. — “Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed” (Pro. 13:21). — “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:20). — He that “hath done that which is lawful and right shall surely live” (Ezek. 33:16). God will by no means clear the guilty. And he will not punish the righteous.


In the light of these facts, most plainly set forth in the Word of God, it is obvious that the only hope any sinful person, any child of Adam, has of eternal salvation and acceptance with God is that he might be saved by the infinite merits of an able, all-sufficient Substitute. And that Substitute is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Christ, by his precious blood, has completely washed away the sins of his people, so that they are no longer recorded in the book of God’s law and justice against us (Isa. 43:25; 44:22; Jer. 50:20).


(Isaiah 43:25)  “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”


(Isaiah 44:22)  “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.”


(Jeremiah 50:20)  “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”


And his righteous obedience to God is imputed to all who believe on him, making us worthy of eternal life (Rom. 5:19; Col. 1:12).


(Romans 5:19)  “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”


(Colossians 1:12)  “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:”


Heavenly Glory


Not only does our Savior speak of a people being accounted worthy to escape wrath and worthy to stand before him in judgment, but he declares that they who are accounted worthy to escape the wrath of God and to stand before him in judgment shall also be “accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man” in everlasting, heavenly glory! (See Revelation 7:9, 14:1, 5, 15:2, 22:4.)


(Revelation 7:9)  “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”


(Revelation 14:1)  “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”


(Revelation 14:5)  “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”


(Revelation 15:2)  “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”


(Revelation 22:4)  “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”


Salvation is not merely deliverance in that day of judgment, not merely escaping God’s everlasting wrath in hell. Salvation is everlasting glory and triumph in the presence of Christ the King, the Son of Man!

·       Salvation is seeing his face forever, and having his name in our foreheads eternally.

·       Salvation is standing before him as part of his glorious entourage, his honoured ones, his chosen ones, his blessed ones.

·       Salvation is reigning with him forever.

·       Salvation is being “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ!

·       Salvation is possessing the very glory which the triune God has bestowed upon the Son of Man as the reward of his obedience unto death for his people (John 17:5, 22).


(John 17:5)  “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”


(John 17:22)  “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.”


Accounted Worthy


Do you ask, “Bro. Don, How can a worthless, unworthy sinner like me be accounted worthy to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ forever, worthy to stand in his presence, and worthy to stand in his glory?” Let me show you from the Word of God. If you and I are accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man, our worthiness will be altogether in Christ himself, who alone is our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption.


1.    Our worthiness to stand before him is the fact that the Lord God accepted us in him from eternity, accounting us worthy to stand before him, when he wrote our names in the Book of Life, before the world began (Rev. 20:14-15; 21:27; Eph. 1:3-6; Rom. 8:28-32).


(Revelation 20:14-15)  “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”


(Revelation 21:27)  “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”


(Ephesians 1:3-6)  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”


(Romans 8:28-32)  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”


2.    Our worthiness to stand before the Son of Man forever is his own precious blood shed for us for the remission of our sins at Calvary (Rev. 7:13-15).


(Revelation 7:13-15)  “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? (14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (15) Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”


3.    Our worthiness to stand before the Son of Man is his perfect obedience unto God as our Surety, Representative, and Substitute, his righteousness imputed to us in justification (Jer. 23:6; 33:16; Rom. 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21).


(Jeremiah 23:6)  “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”


(Jeremiah 33:16)  “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.”


(Romans 10:4)  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”


(2 Corinthians 5:21)  “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”


4.    Our worthiness to stand before the Son of Man forever in heaven is the fact that we have his righteousness imparted to us in the new birth by God the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:9).


(2 Peter 1:4)  “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”


(1 John 3:9)  “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”


·       No more I, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

·       Thou knowest that I love thee.”


Be sure you understand what I am saying. The only grounds of righteousness is the finished work of Christ at the cross. Our experience of grace in salvation is not the grounds upon which God accepts us and declares us righteous before him. But the new birth is as necessary to our everlasting salvation as the blood of Christ by which we are redeemed and justified. — “Ye must be born again!


(John 3:3)  “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


(John 3:5)  “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”


(John 3:7)  “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”


The basis of our hope is what Christ did for us at Calvary; but until Christ is in you, you have no hope (Col. 1:27). We have both the imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness. Christ’s righteousness imputed to us in justification is the root of the matter. Christ’s righteousness imparted to us in sanctification is the fruit. Because we were justified by Christ’s imputed righteousness at the cross, we are sanctified by his imparted righteousness in the new birth. — “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10). “If you would have righteousness,” Ralph Erskine said, “you must have it in and from Christ. He has to give you both an imputed righteousness for justifying you, and an imparted righteousness for sanctifying you.” As J. C. Philpot put it, “If once I catch by the eye of faith this glorious truth, that Jesus Christ is of God made unto me ‘righteousness’ — the moment I see that by the eye of faith, a measure of imparted righteousness flows into my heart. The soul receives internally what Christ has done externally. In a word, when Christ is received as ‘wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,’ he becomes all these in vital manifestation.”


5.    We are counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man in heavenly glory when we trust him (Acts 15:9; Rom. 4:25-5:2; Heb. 11:6).


In Acts 13:46 we read that the Jews, by their unbelief, judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life. Believing on Christ, we are accounted worthy. Again, understand what I am saying. Our faith in Christ is not the cause of our justification or our regeneration, but the result. Yet, faith in Christ is as necessary to the salvation of our souls as election, redemption, and effectual calling.


(Acts 15:7-9)  “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. (8) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; (9) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”


(Romans 4:25)  “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”


(Romans 5:1-2)  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”


(Hebrews 11:6)  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”


None are fit for heaven except those trust the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 1:3-4, 12-14, 28-29).


(Colossians 1:3-4)  “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (4) Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,”


(Colossians 1:12-14)  “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”


(Colossians 1:28-29)  “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (29) Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”


Discerning the Lord’s body by faith, knowing what Christ has accomplished by his incarnation, life, and death as our Substitute, we are worthy!


6.    And we shall be made worthy to stand before the Son of Man in eternal glory forever when, in resurrection glory, this mortal has put on immortality and this corruption has put on incorruption (1 Cor. 15:51-58).


For now, as long as we are in this body of flesh, we must constantly struggle with sin. The warfare between flesh and spirit shall never cease, while we live in these mortal bodies. We cry continually, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me fro the body of this death?” And lifting our eyes to heaven, we rejoice to sing, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord deliverance is at hand!”


(1 Corinthians 15:51-58)  “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”


(1 John 2:28)  "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."