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The Judgment Seat of Christ - End Time Judgment Precepts and Criteria

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 -THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Adam's Creation and His
Spiritual and
Physical Environments

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons



This quick study is a sub-topic support for the foreshadows in Volume 6 - SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

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What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

The judgment seat of Christ is purposed for distributing rewards according to deeds of service while we live in this dimension of time. So, when Christ sits on His judgment seat (in heavenly glory) at the beginning of the end time, He separates those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life from the rest of the nations.

A. The first separation concerns all nations, to separate those who names are written in the Lamb's Book of LIfe from those whose names are not written in the book.

For the lost who have rejected the gospel there will be wrath -

Matthew 25:31-32 (NIV) - "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. (32) All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

John 3:36-4:1 (KJV) - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 12:47-48 (NIV) - "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (48) There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.

For those who reject the gospel, which proclaims Jesus as Savior and Lord, they will endure God's wrath after the agenda time for the ministry of the gospel is closed just prior to the sounding of the seventh trumpet - Revelation 10:7.

The purpose of the first separation is to take the church (believers) out of the rest of the world so the church can be judged. Judgment for unbelievers is reserved until after the millennium. This is referred to as the White Throne Judgment by Bible scholars.

B. After the first separation - Judgment begins with the House of God.

1 Peter 4:17 (KJV) - For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

"The time is come" - When Peter spoke these words (after Jesus ascended into heaven) the time of the Gentiles began. When Christ closes the "times of the Gentiles" at pre-trib, judgment of the house of God will occur based on God's criteria. God's criteria is made known to believer's by the seven letters in the book of Revelation.

After the "times of the Gentiles" is closed, then Christ turns back to the Jews with the gospel for their salvation. This occurs with the opening of the first seal in chapter six of the book of Revelation.

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God will reward servants whom He knows relationally

The following scriptures from the book of Timothy denotes the importance of correctly handling the Word of truth, in order to avoid destroying or hindering the Christians' growth in faith. Teachers of the Word need to live their lives in-sync with the truth of the Word in order to be useful to God and prepared to do any good work.

2 Timothy 2:14-26 (NIV) - Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. (15) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (16) Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (17) Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, (18) who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. (19) Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

Verse 15 - "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." This scripture speaks of a servant who correctly handles the gospel, in truth and Spirit. We do not have to be the best (preacher or teacher) at handling the gospel, we just need to do our best. The scripture also states that the servant is one who is not ashamed to be a witness of the Word.

Verse 19 - "The Lord knows those who are his" - This phrase encourages Christians to have a relationship with Christ Jesus. To have a knowledge of Christ is good, but Christians are to know Him relationally. I believe this is the primary factor of pre-trib judgment criteria.

Verse 20 & 21 - In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. (21) If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

The corporate church contains noble Christians (gold and silver) and ignoble religious people (wood and clay). Those who handle the Word of God must cleanse themselves of ignoble (wood and clay) things, so their teachings of the Word will prepare them for any good work.

Verse 22, 23, 24 & 25 - Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (23) Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. (24) And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (25) Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, (26) and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

The servant who lives his life pursuing righteousness, faith, love, peace and calls on the Lord with a pure heart is a servant who has a relationship with God. God will enable this servant to be kind and enable him to teach. When opposition comes because of his witness of God's Word, he must gently instruct (without debating or quarreling) in hope that God will grant them repentance and lead them to a knowledge of truth.

When Christ judges the House of God at pre-trib, He will separate between gold / silver noble Christians and wood / clay ignoble religious people in the corporate church?

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A Very Important Scripture Concerning Pre-tribulation Judgment Seat of Christ

1) 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV) - In a large house (corporate church) there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. (21) If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

In the corporate church there are noble Christians and there are ignoble (carnal) Christians. Carnal Christians can cleanse themselves from their carnality and made noble and useful to Christ to do His work in the earth. The seven letters in the book of Revelation are purposed to reveal to each Christian the things from which he needs to be cleansed. Then he will serve Christ in the noble ministry of the gospel and receive the best reward at pre-tribulation.

2) Judgment is concerned with building upon the foundation of Christ - 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (KJV) - Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

This scripture centers on building upon the foundation laid by Christ. The foundation of Christ is the gospel as recorded by the apostles. When each Christian builds upon this foundation, he does so by appropriating the Word in his own life and serving in the ministry of His Word to those who need to know Him.

"The day" denotes a time of judgment established for declaring a man's service or servanthood, whether it is gold, silver and precious stones (jewels) or wood, hay and stubble. If it is declared (plainly revealed) that a man's work (building on the foundation of Christ) is gold, silver and precious stones then he will receive his reward (become a jewel in God's treasured possession). If it is declared that a man's work is wood, hay and stubble then he will lose his reward, but he will still be saved. Fire as used in this scripture means God is testing and approving each man's works of service. Both groups of Christians, gold / silver / precious stones and wood / hay / stubble servants are saved, but the wood / hay / stubble group will not receive the same reward as the gold / silver / precious stones group. So, the end time judgment will make this distinction when rewarding servants - Mark 9:35 (NIV) - Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

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Characteristics of Gold, Precious Stones and Silver Servants -

1) Servanthood -

John 15:8 (NIV) - This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. Christians who demonstrate holiness before others, wherever they go or work, are building on the foundation of Christ using "gold, silver and costly stones."

Galatians 5:22-24 (NIV) - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Christians are to show God's fruit to the world, enabled by Holy Spirit. 

Matthew 7:18-20 (NIV) - Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Mathew 6:24 (KJV) - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Luke 16:11 (KJV) - If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? Servanthood includes stewardship over mammon (money).

2. Love -

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) - "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (37) Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

All the Law and Prophets (entire word of God) hang on each Christian's willingness to love as Christ loved. The Word of God affecting one's life as a Christian depends on the manifestation of agape love. It's no mystery that God commands us to forgive those who trespass against us. Forgiveness for others is fertile ground for God's love (agape) to become rooted in our soul.  

Romans 13:10 (NIV) - Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

3. Devotion -

1 Chronicles 28:9 (NIV) - "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you....

4. Sanctification -

Hebrews 12:26-27 (NIV) - At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." (27) The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken-- that is, created things-- so that what cannot be shaken may remain. In the end time God shakes the world and the earth so that what can't be shaken will remain. 

The end time tribulation is a time of God shaking the earth and the heavens, so that what can't be shaken shall remain - Faith and Love! Gold, precious stones and silver Christians will not have to endure the end time tribulation time because their faith and love is intact. They do not need additional sanctification!

There are many other aspects to holiness not mentioned here as works of "Gold, silver, costly stones" Hopefully, the reader can ascertain works of "gold, silver and costly stones" and help in an analysis of where he/she spiritually stand today.

Author's suggestion: After completing your study of this book, read Volume 6 - The Seven Letters to the Churches to measure where you stand today.

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Other Scriptures that Validate Pre-tribulation Judgment

1) Another judgment scripture concerned with having a relationship with Christ -

This parable speaks of the pre-trib Judgment Seat of Christ just prior to His second advent - "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins".

Matthew 25:1-13 (KJV) - Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. (2) And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.(3) They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: (4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.(5) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.(6) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.(7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.(8) And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.(9) But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.(10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.(11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.(12) But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

This scripture is concerned with a number of characterizations -

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened " - This phrase is often used by Jesus to introduce a parable that will reveal things concerning the end times.

"Five of them were wise, and five were foolish" - The ten virgins represent the corporate body of Christ (bridesmaids) who prepared themselves to meet Christ, their bridegroom. They had the oil and their lamps were burning (the Holy Spirit was vibrant). But, because Christ tarried, they all slumbered and slept. They became complacent. Then came the cry that the Christ was coming! All of the virgins awoke to meet Christ. But, something is amiss because only some of them were actually ready to meet Him.

"Took no oil" - The virgins who took no oil with them were in a state of spiritual insensitivity to the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence and were not ready when the bridegroom came. These Christians have fallen from the place of their first works, the works they did when they first accepted Christ and He filled their lamps with the oil of the Holy Spirit. When He tarried, their works diminished and they fell into a place of spiritual complacency or slumber. They settled into a comfort zone of Christianity. A complacent comfort zone based on convenience and routine. But, they do not realize that the things of God are always inconvenient to complacency and comfort. So, some Christians are not willing to be inconvenienced.

The corporate church will be held accountable for not being ready for His return. All Christians should serve in one capacity or another in the church's ministry of the gospel, and they should not loose the oil of joy from the Holy Spirit's anointing for ministry. They should be willing to be inconvenienced for the good of others. They should keep their lamps trimmed by not allowing anything to distract them from a continual consciousness of Christ's in-dwelling presence.

How does the Christian keep a continual consciousness (mindset) of the indwelling presence of Christ? See author's comments on Door to Transformation (click here)

To slumbering Christian, Christ states, "I never knew you". Judgment is based on whether or not the professed Christian has a viable active relationship with the Lord. All Christians have a knowledge of Christ in their heads, so to speak, but some do not have a relationship with Christ in their hearts. Their relationship is based on what they know and believe to be true, but not in the heart. Absence of the heart in spiritual matters causes many to slumber and fall from their first passionate experiences with the Lord. They may not be ready for His return.

Comment: Sincere continual prayer (continual consciousness of Christ's presence) maintains relational spiritual values and overpowers slumber (ommission and carnal indifference to spiritual matters). If the anxieties of life have priority in one's mindset, mental faculties used for spiritual alertness will be hindered. This can cause Christians to ebb into spiritual slumber and inactivity. Walking by the Spirit demands we entrust God with all the difficulties we face daily and rely on Him daily for our provisional needs. Consciousness of God's presence during difficult times will keep the faith. Otherwise, we will end up with our own understanding and strength to weather the storms in our lives. Faith in the provision of God sets us free from life's anxieties. Otherwise, we become distracted by life's issues and walk by sight - Luke 21:34 (NIV) - "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.

Both the heart and the mouth are necessary to be relationally "in Christ". Matthew 15:8 (KJV) - This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. To be "in Christ" the Holy Spirit must be received by faith and love for Christ must be in the heart. When "in Christ" the Christian's profession of faith will be a heart spoken witness of gospel truths to others.   

Romans 10:10 (KJV) - For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Man confesses he is saved with his mouth, but it is in the heart that he believes and is justified (righteous) before God. Confession of God's Word alone is insufficient. Faith is professed by the mouth, activated by love and manifested in the heart by experiencing faith at work in our personal lives in ministry. Works of faith are etched in the soul through experience. Deeds of love and grace to others bring glory to God and also bring experiences etched in the soul. Thus, we are justified by contents of our hearts. A faith that worketh by love is a faith that is energized by love. Deeds of faith are deeds of love (love that expects nothing in return). Deeds of faith glorify God and bring joy to the heart.

"While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept" - Since the day Jesus ascended into heaven, the church has looked for the return of Christ to establish His kingdom on the earth. Two thousand years later, the church is still hearing sermons and lessons which denotes the return of Christ. But, Christ is tarring and many in the corporate church are in a state of spiritual slumber concerning His return and concerning their involvement in the ministry of the gospel. Who will have enough oil when He returns?

"They that were ready went in with him to the marriage" - The parable of the ten virgins is a most important parable because it is concerned with those who are ready and those who are not ready. Those who are ready will participate in the marriage ceremony. Those who are not ready will be shut out of the ceremony because they needed more oil .

This is also seen in the parable of the Wedding Banquet - Matthew 22:11-14 (NIV) - "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. (12) 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. (13) "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (14) "For many are invited, but few are chosen." To attend the wedding, Christians must be wearing wedding raiment - garments of righteousness that is by faith in Christ; a faith that worketh by love.

Verse 14 - "Many are invited, but few are chosen" - All who hear the gospel are invited to the wedding supper, but only a few are chosen. This phrase denotes Christ judging the corporate church. Those in the church who wear the correct clothing will be chosen.

'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?" - Christ uses the word "friend" to address Christians who have the knowledge of God that Christ taught them - John 15:15-16 (NIV) - I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. Christians become friends of Christ because Christ has made known the will of God to them by demonstrations and deeds of love for them. Apparently, there's a difference between knowing the will of God and doing the will of God. Knowing and doing the will of God is correct clothing.

"Throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Some in the church believe they are wearing wedding clothes, but will be rejected as unacceptable participants. They will be bound by hand and foot and thrown outside the wedding banquet into darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

"The man was speechless" indicates he had no defense for wearing incorrect clothing. Whatever the state of his relationship with Christ, he knows his rejection is just.

If Christians are ready and watchful when Christ returns to judge the corporate church, they will be wearing the correct clothing. The correct clothing is the glory of God given to them by Christ - John 17:22 (NIV) - I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

"The door was shut" - Christ shuts out the foolish as He judges the church. This scripture does not say the foolish are condemned. I believe this is a distinction Christ makes in the church. When Christ judges the House of God He will make a distinction between those who are ready and those who are not ready; between those who have oil and those who have no oil; between those who serve and those who do not serve. This distinction of readiness is seen in the letter to the Church of Philadelphia - Revelation 3:7-8 (NIV) - "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (8) I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

2) Another Parable Concerning Christians' Relationship with Christ

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV) - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' (23) Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

"On that day" - This phrase refers to the day of judgment of the church because this scripture speaks of who will enter the kingdom of heaven when the House of God is judged. There will be those in the church who prophesy in His name, drive out demons in His name and perform many miracles in His name. But, their relationship with Christ is amiss because He never knew them.

"I never knew you" - This phrase emphasizes the need to have an active and passionate relationship with Christ today. Christ knows when Christians are not spiritually sensitive to His presence. He knows the motivation of each Christian's heart when He judges their works of service.

3) For the saved judgment is concerned with readiness for His return -

Matthew 25:13 (KJV) - Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Christ is calling for the church to be watchful concerning its relationship with Him, because the time of judgment (His second coming) will come at a day and hour unknown by the church.

"Watch" (Strong's Concordance - Greek) #1127 gregoreuo (gray-gor-yoo'-o); from #1453; to keep awake, i.e. watch (literally or figuratively).

#1453 egeiro (eg-i'-ro) - collecting one's faculties; to waken (transitively or intransitively), i.e. rouse (literally, from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively, from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence).

Christ's instruction to "watch" goes beyond mere observation. Watch means to be alert, keep awake by collecting one's faculties concerning the present time and the end-times, including judgment of the church. One's faculties are collected through knowledge and wisdom from God's Word. However, love and passion empowers and activates knowledge and wisdom.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-7 (NIV) - Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, (2) for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (3) While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (4) But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. (5) You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. (6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

2) Judgment is also associated with servanthood -

John 12:25-26 (NIV) - Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Matthew 25:32-40 (KJV) - Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (35) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (36) Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? (39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

This scripture speaks of the time when Christ shall gather all nations before Him for judgment. His judgment in this scripture is associated with servanthood. Those who have faithfully served in the ministry of grace to those who are needy will be put on His right side (sheep). All others will be put on His left side (goats). Serving the Lord in the ministry of the gospel to others is paramount for the whole Christian experience.

3) Servanthood is associated with being first and the greatest of all

Mark 9:33-35 (NIV) - They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" (34) But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. (35) Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

This scripture reveals the greatest in the kingdom of heaven shall be the least on the earth today, spiritually placing all others above himself and serving them. This is the truest definition of the ministry of grace and love. Serving in the ministry of grace is as much a part of the complete Christian experience as salvation and the building of faith. Serving is an outward selfless expression of love for the Lord and for others. Apart from ministering to others, how can we experience God's love in our hearts?

The Christian who desires to be first will ready and prepared for the return of Christ. He / she will have a pure heart and active in the ministry. 

4) Judgment is also associated with making a distinction

Apart from ministering grace and love to others, the Christian would not have an opportunity to be a yielded vessel. God never gives anything to be hoarded. A vessel is not for hoarding it is for transporting God's grace to others. The church is called to be vessels, not vats of storage. All His favor to each of us is to be sent forward to others in love, in the form of witness or good deed. Judgment of the church is an evaluation of the body of Christ, judging between those who serve Christ and those who do not.

Malachi 3:17-18 (KJV) - And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. (18) Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. This scripture denotes the jewels (treasured possession) of God are His sons that serve Him by serving others. God's gathering together His jewels is a judgment of distinction. This distinction in Malachi provides discernment to the body of Christ about the end time.

Christians are building upon the gospel as they are engaged in the ministry of the gospel and grace of God. Building denotes 1) seeking truth revealed by the Holy Spirit and 2) personal application of faith in life's circumstances and 3) personal ministry of grace to others. First, you get the truth, then you apply it personally and then you minister truth to others. Then you are a builder for God.

Personal transformation is a matter of applying God given faith to life's circumstances. Servanthood is a ministry of faith under the power of the Holy Spirit to those in the body of Christ who need encouragement and teaching, as well as, preaching the Word to the lost.

Servants are entrusted with God's Word (truth) under the power of the Holy Spirit. The gift of faith in God's truth is given to each Christian and is metaphorically represented as a talent of gold in the Parable of the Talents. Christ is seeking to reward those ("well done thy good and faithful servant") with the greatest talent as well as those with the least talent when He returns for the church.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:19-21) the one who was given the one talent was required to put in on deposit so it would produce interest. Meaning, to be on deposit is to personally live as a Christian should live and be active in ministry, a personal witness of God's grace by sharing with others as the opportunities arise. But, in the parable the one with the one talent (least gift) failed to put the gift of faith on deposit (in his own personal life and applied in ministry of grace to others) because he was afraid. So opportunities to grow spiritually and serve others passed by him due to fear - Matthew 25:26-29 (NIV) - Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. (28) "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. (29) For everyone who has will be given more and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This Christian did not serve the Lord as he was called and equipped to do.

On the other hand, the one who was given more talents (greater gift) put his faith in action and served others. His service produced a return that was greater than the talent given to him. Matthew 25:19-21 (NIV) - "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. (20) The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' (21) "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

The servant who failed to put the one talent on deposit in his own personal life of ministry metaphorically represents Christians who fall into fear, spiritual complacency or slumber, which are obstacles to their involvement in the ministry of "good news" to others. This precept is validated in the previously mentioned scripture - Matthew 25:5 (KJV) - While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

"Slumbered and slept" (Strong's Concordance - Greek) #3573 nustazo (noos-tad'-zo); to nod, i.e. (by implication) to fall asleep; figuratively, to delay.

Nustazo reveals Christians who fall asleep and delay the advancement of the kingdom through the ministry of the gospel. And delay the advancement of personal spiritual growth by falling into inactivity.

Matthew 25:5 (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary) - They all slumbered and slept - the wise as well as the foolish. The word "slumbered" [enustaxan (NT:3573)] signifies, simply, 'nodded,' or, 'became drowsy;' while the word "slept" (NT:2518)] is the usual word for 'lying down to sleep;' denoting two stages of spiritual declension - first, that half-in-voluntary lethargy or drowsiness which is apt to steal over one who falls into inactivity; and then a conscious, deliberate yielding to it, after a little vain resistance. Such was the state alike of the wise and the foolish virgins, even until the cry of the Bridegroom's approach awoke them. So likewise in the parable of the Importunate Widow: "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).