WORSHIPPING WITH JOY IN ETERNITY: UNITED WITH CHRIST IN HIS GLORY
'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 -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.
Worship is always motivated by love. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, 'the love of Christ constrains us' (2 Corinthians ). 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.