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In this series of articles, we have been looking at this question: How does a Christian pray for the Church, when the Bible is clear that it will become apostate before Jesus returns?

The first answer we discovered came from Daniel’s prayer for God’s people in Daniel 9: We must pray for ourselves, not for “us” and them.” Yes, the sheep will one day be separated from the goats, but we do not know who among us is which. If we encounter a believer who has clearly gone astray, do we know what will happen in the believer’s spiritual life a week from now? A month? A year? We do not. Do we know their heart like the Lord does? No, we do not. Therefore, we find it an impossible task—and an unscriptural one, as well—to do this judging. In addition, let’s be honest. All Christians have sinned in shameful ways, and not one of us is able to walk blamelessly even in the very first commandment. Thus, we pray for “us,” as Daniel did. We have sinned. We repent. Lord, hold back Your hand of judgment, please. This is how the prophets prayed, even though the Lord had told them that Israel or Judah was going to be judged. They did not relent.

We took a brief look at one of the ways the evangelical church is in need of prayer, and that is that we have adopted—well, many believers have—a message that calls for Christians to discover the vision or dream that God has for their lives. This is simply a spinoff of the purpose-driven life error. Please allow me to make this clear. Jesus is your purpose. He is your dream, your destiny. Placing purpose/dream/vision at the center of your life sounds good to the ear, but it removes Jesus from the center. It is therefore very dangerous to hold to this position. If this is you, please repent. If you believe in and follow Jesus, please trust me: He will give you everything you need in regards to what you should be doing with Him in the earth. However, it may not be significant at all, in the way the world assesses significance.

And that should be okay. Why? Because God has clearly shown in Scripture that He chooses people who are insignificant. I refer you to the first chapter of First Corinthians to read about the kind of people He chooses.

However, there is another area about which we should pray, one that has been neglected in much of our teaching. That area is the judgment seat of Christ. Two judgments lay ahead. One is what is called the Great White Throne Judgment, where the previously mentioned sheep and goats judgment will transpire. Those who are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ will escape that judgment, the wrath of God. It will be a terrible time, one that we should not wish on anyone.

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11–15).1

The other judgment, however, is for believers, where they will be judged, not on their righteous standing with God, but on what they have done in Him on the earth. Paul wrote this:

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:9–10).

Paul also wrote of it here:

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10–12).

The rewards believers will receive will not be based upon their accomplishments. It will not be based upon how big their church or ministry was. It will be based upon how they walked with the Lord on the earth. This is a deep study, and we will not enter into it here. However, the first and greatest clue to how Jesus will reward His followers is found in the first sentence He uttered in His Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

It matters how you, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, walk with God. No, it will not affect your salvation, but it will affect your rewards in eternity. Please pray with me that the Church will wake up to this eternal reality. We should desire that no one lose their reward. Pray the we will repent of our sins, our ignorance, our laziness in matters eternal.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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