Jonathan Edwards - The Gospel Minister Standing Before Christ
Edwards in his sermon entitled The Minister Before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Luke 10:17-18), found in the publication The Salvation of Souls, preached concerning the joy of faithful and successful ministers of the gospel, as they stand before Christ on the last day. He declared that Christ will rejoice in the success of his ministers because those saved are objects of our Savior's great love. Of the end of that great love, Edwards preached:
Herein these are redeemed from a most miserable, doleful state and condition that Christ had bowels of pity and compassion to. They are called out of darkness into marvelous light. They are brought out of cruel bondage. Their prison doors are opened, and they are taken out of the horrible pit and miry clay and saved from everlasting destruction. They that were lost are found, and they that were dead are alive again. And those whose welfare was dear to Christ, and that he prized as it were more than his own precious blood, are brought into happy circumstances ,are washed and cleansed and sanctified, are become the children of God, and do become excellent, beautiful and blessed persons; they have their souls adorned with the richest ornaments, are possessed of the most invaluable and durable riches; are brought to union with Christ with their whole hearts, to close with him and to love and choose him and follow him; are brought to a right to eternal pleasures and delights, and at last brought into paradise of God, to have tears wiped away from their eyes by him and to be feasted with Christ, and to be led by him to the living fountain of water. (79-80)
Of faithful ministers, he preached in the same sermon:
Faithful ministers of the Gospel will labor hard for the salvation of souls, and will deny themselves, and will be willing to undergo hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They will be of a spirit to spend and be spent for souls. But what are the labor of the most faithful and laborious of the ministers of the Gospel, and what is their self-denial in comparison of the labors and sufferings that Christ had gone through for souls, who has waded through a sea of blood and gone through a furnace of wrath for their salvation? He has purchased them with his own blood. No minister of Christ was expended and was spend for souls as their Master was. (p 80)
And of their joy in meeting with Christ, Edwards proclaimed:
And then how joyful will it be to them to consider that they have been instruments of so advancing the kingdom and glory of their Lord in the world and bringing home those to him that he has purchased with his blood. (81)
Edwards reminds us then of the goal, the manner and the joy of the work of the minister, as he serves the purposes of his Master. May these thoughts be impressed upon our minds.