Chapter Thirteen:




'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 has done, whether it be good or bad',  (2 Corinthians 5:10).



All believers will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  This is not the Great White Throne judgment where those outside of Christ will be judged (Revelation 20:11-15).  Everyone who has received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour has already passed through that judgment.  The judgment of believers is a judgment for reward where each one's work will be seen for what it was.  I believe there will only be one question at the judgment seat of Christ, 'How much did we love Christ?'  It will not be the success of our ministries, or the greatness of our achievements that will be rewarded, but the reward will be given according to our love for Christ. 


Only the love of Christ can hold ministry together in the body of Christ.  

Worship is always motivated by love.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, 'the love of Christ constrains us' (2 Corinthians 5:14).   The Greek word 'sunecho' that is translated 'constrains', literally means 'hold together'.  The love of Christ held everything together.  Paul's ministry was held together by love for Christ. The ministry of the Holy Spirit through the body of Christ must always be motivated by love (1 Corinthians 13).   Worshipful ministry is serving one another because of love for Christ.


Peter loved the Lord and was willing to die for Christ in Gethsemane, but he failed because his ministry was not held together by ''the love of Christ'.  Peter did not understand at that time the words that Jesus said to Pilate, 'My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.'  (John 18:36).  I think we have are all been guilty of using carnal weapons in our Christian life.  We need to become weak in the flesh to be worshippers.   Peter was 'sifted as wheat' on the night that he denied the Lord, (Luke 22:31).  He was brought to a place of brokenness and wept bitterly when he failed the Lord.  We will fail if we rely on our strength, walking in the Spirit is humbling to the flesh.  Selfish ambition will always fail in spiritual warfare.   After His resurrection the Lord asked Peter three times, 'Do you love Me?' (John 21:15-17).  Peter had relied on his own strength and it had failed him.  It is not natural ability or an outgoing character that enables us to be witnesses to Christ.   Love for the Lord Jesus Christ is the only motive for ministry in the Holy Spirit and effective ministry flows out of a heart that worships.


The worshipper will endure hardship for the joy of harvest.

Jesus went to the cross worshipping the Father.  He counted it all joy to suffer the cross and its shame.  He looked beyond the suffering, and rejoiced in the harvest of souls who would be gathered together in Him.  The worshipper looks with joy to an eternal inheritance by 'Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith'. (Hebrews 12:2).  The word 'looking' is translated from the Greek word aphoran which comes from two Greek words apo meaning 'away from' and horan meaning 'to look'.  If we are 'looking unto Jesus' then we must also be looking away from something else.  Looking unto Jesus means we are looking away from the things of the world and looking unto the beauty of Jesus.  A worshipper will see that the only riches worth having are in Christ. 


The great chapter of faith, Hebrews chapter 11, is all about a company of people who worshipped.  They looked away from the world because they looked to a greater inheritance.  Moses held the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than all the riches of Egypt (Hebrews 11:26).  Moses lived over fourteen hundred years before Christ was born yet the reason he turned his back on the riches of Egypt was because he desired Christ.  He was a worshipper who rejoiced in suffering shame for Christ.  The cry of his heart was 'I count all things as rubbish that I might win Christ'.


When we compare the ministry of Paul with the 'heroes of faith' in Hebrews 11, it is easy to understand what motivated Paul.  He looked away from the pleasures of life, and held no regard to his own reputation.  He looked away from the suffering that he endured, because he looked to the joy of worshipping Jesus with the fruit of that suffering.  Paul was concerned about the spiritual well being of every believer.  He desired to build up the believers in Christ because he looked to the day when he would present them to the Lord.  Paul was a worshipper and everything he did was with the thought that one day he would be with Jesus. 'Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:' (Colossians 1:28)


When my wife and I were first married, I taught at a Bible school in Scotland.  We rented a nice home and when we went to the shops I enjoyed looking at the things we could buy to have in our home.   Later we decided that we would give up that house and be involved with missions in the Philippine Islands, the things that had been so interesting before lost their appeal.  At that time we sold many of our wedding gifts to help pay our expenses.  Now when I am in the Philippines with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I rejoice with all my heart in the investment that we made as a young married couple.  Our lives should be like this all the time.  If our eyes are fixed upon having joy on the day when we see Jesus then many things that previously appeared to be so important will lose their appeal.  There is a reward to be won for those who desire to worship, and the greatest reward is to 'win Christ'.   


The worshipper seeks to approach the judgment seat of Christ with joy.

Salvation is often regarded as a passport to heaven, but every Christian should be seeking to be a worshipper with the goal of entering eternity worshipping.  Peter spoke of being zealous to have an abundant entrance into eternity, he wrote: 'Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.'  (2 Peter 1:10-11)


I worked for one and a half years at a baker's in the Faroe Islands.  When I walked to work early in the morning, I was often reminded of the scripture 'His mercies they are new every morning'.  But one day I thought 'what will I be trusting in when I enter eternity?'   That day I answered that question once and for all in my heart, it is 'Christ and Christ alone'.   I will not even be trusting in how much I loved Christ; this has got nothing to do with my salvation.  I am trusting one hundred per cent in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me.  My sin has already been judged because Jesus took my sin upon Himself on the cross.  Now I am free from condemnation, and I am free to be holy.


But how we approach the judgment seat of Christ will be determined by how we answer the higher call to worship.  How we approach this judgment is entirely dependent upon our love for Christ.  Paul wanted to enter eternity worshipping, and his ministry can only be understood in the knowledge that Paul was a worshipper.  Why did Paul and Silas allow themselves to be beaten by rods in Philippi when they were Roman citizens and could have stopped it from happening? (Acts 16:23).  They were worshippers suffering shame for the Lord.  Look at them in the prison with their feet in stocks, what do they do?  They worshipped, and while they prayed and praised God the Holy Spirit shook the prison with an earthquake, (Acts 16:24-25).  Look at Paul determined to go to Jerusalem even though the Holy Spirit testified that he would be put in prison.   The believers tried to stop him, but nothing would stop Paul.  Why?  He was a worshipper.  He had no concern for his own life only that he would finish his course with joy. 'But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.'  (Acts 20:24)


Paul loved the Philippians because they were his joy and crown.

Paul's love for the believers was linked directly with his desire to worship in heaven.  He called the Philippians his joy and crown because he saw them as treasures that he would present to the Lord.  This is how we should regard other believers in Christ because the body of Christ is His eternal treasure.  Our joy and crown in heaven will be the reward of our love for Christ that we have expressed through ministering to the body of Christ.  Every believer is called to ministry, and one day we will present what we have invested in the body of Christ to the Lord.  'Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.'  (Philippians 4:1)


The desire of Paul was to enter heaven worshipping on the highest level.  He was willing to face any trial in order to enter heaven with joy.   He longed for the day when he would present to the Lord the believers that he had won for Christ and built up in the Lord.   This was the fruit of his worship on earth.  He had suffered shame to win them; he had gloried in God's eternal purpose and died to all his own ambitions to win them.   His love for Christ was revealed in them.  Only worshippers can truly understand Paul's words, 'For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us', (Romans 8:18).


The difference between men and women who have lived their lives for Christ, and the men and women who have reached great heights in the world, is most clearly seen at the end of their lives.  Those who reach great heights in politics will one day have to step down and allow others to take their place.  It is pitiful to watch films of some of the great leaders as they stepped down, and to see the pain on their faces as they leave the offices of power for the last time.  It is not like this for the worshipper who seeks to know Christ through his or her life.  He or she just carries on worshipping into eternity.


The worshipper is assured of a great reward.

Saul of Tarsus had been the persecutor of the church.  He consented to the death of Stephen.  He was filled with hate for the believers.  But this was the man who became a worshipper of the Lord.  One encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road was enough to show this man with a brilliant intellect that nothing else mattered except to win Christ.  He was willing to be spoken against, imprisoned and finally executed to win the reward.   He was willing to lose everything in order to gain the highest reward that he could win.  Paul told the Philippians that he counted everything as rubbish that he might win Christ. 'Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ;'  (Philippians 3:8).


The desire to build a big ministry can be motivated by carnal reasoning.  We must always desire Christ more than a successful ministry.   Even in missions we must learn to die to our own ambitions.  It is the Lord who leads and we are to follow Him.  Some people are well known in ministry, but the majority are not well known.  It does not matter, everyone is important and no one should be seeking his or her own glory.   We are called to worship and to let the Lord do His work through us.  We must learn to enter into His rest.  Our greatest joy should be found in using our lives and ministries to please the Lord. 


Worshipping with joy in heaven is a continuation of our worship on earth.  The worshipper just carries on worshipping from time into eternity. How we enter into heaven depends upon our love for the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we desire to worship like Paul in heaven then we must worship the Lord to the highest levels on earth.  We must seek to enter heaven with the joy of having loved the Lord above all things, and with the crown of service.  This joy and crown is given to those who love the Lord, love His word, love His people and are willing to serve the Lord with joy.   



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