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Eternal Rewards

Mike Connell

Deaf/Hearing-Impaired Audio Transcripts


Eternal Rewards

Introduction to Eternal Rewards (1 of 12)
One of the major themes of Jesus teachings was the theme of Eternal Rewards. This topic is seldom taught in churches, but it provides major motivation for holiness, personal transformation and faithful service. This message is an introduction to the theme of eternal rewards and the need to build our heart and character on Jesus teachings on the Sermon on the Mount.

Key Principles Related to Eternal Rewards (2 of 12)
One of the major themes of Jesus teachings was the theme of Eternal Rewards. This topic is seldom taught in churches, but it provides major motivation for holiness, personal transformation and faithful service.
We shall all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to give account for our stewardship as followers of Christ. At stake are position, honour and reward in the coming Kingdom of Christ. This message is an introduction to the Bible Foundations of Eternal Rewards.

Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 1 (3 of 12)
One of the major themes of Jesus teachings was the theme of Eternal Rewards. This topic is seldom taught in churches, but it provides major motivation for holiness, personal transformation and faithful service.
We shall all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to give account for our stewardship as followers of Christ. At stake are position, honour and reward in the coming Kingdom of Christ.
This message looks at the Two of the glorious Eternal Rewards that the Bible reveals are prepared for those who love Jesus, overcome in life and serving faithfully.... Eternal Intimacy and Eternal Authority.

Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 2 (4 of 12)
Eternal Rewards are an important part of Jesus teachings, both in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelation.
Eternal Rewards are Jesus generosity to us in the coming Millennium and beyond that acknowledge our love for Him, our transformation to become like Him and the service we have done on His behalf during our life on earth.
This series brings understanding of the significance and importance of Eternal Rewards. This teaching continues to explain what those rewards are, and its focus is Eternal Glory.

Garments of Glory & Beauty (5 of 12)
Jesus frequently taught about Eternal rewards in the Coming Millennial Kingdom and for the need for His disciples to pursue them and live in preparation for His Second coming.
In this series we examine what are the Eternal rewards that Jesus has reserved for those who love Him. The focus of this study are Eternal Garments of Glory and Beauty.

Victor's Crowns (6 of 12)
A Crown is given to the Victor who has won the race or the fight. It is given in recognition and honour to a person because of what they have achieved or overcome.
In this message we discover five different Crowns that are promised to believers who meet the conditions. These are the Incorruptible Crown, The Crown of Rejoicing, The Crown of Righteousness, The Crown of Life and the Crown of Glory.

Honour, Treasures and Vindication (7 of 12)
The Bible has much to say about eternal rewards. Eternal Rewards are expressions of the value and honour that Jesus places upon those who love and serve Him in this life. The rewards are eternal and will be recognised and valued in the Millennial Kingdom and ages to come.
In this study we examine the rewards Eternal Honour, Eternal Treasure and Riches, and vindication by Jesus before those who have ridiculed or persecuted us.

The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 1 (8 of 12)
Every believer must appear before the Judgment seat of Christ to give account of our life and stewardship service. Our life and works will be examined to establish what rewards we will qualify for.
For some believers this will be a time of celebration, joy and eternal honour. For other believers it will come as a shock as they discover they have wasted the life and opportunities entrusted to them, and that their life and works fail to qualify and they are excluded from the rewards that Jesus had prepared for them. Such believers are saved, but forfeit rewards in the coming Kingdom of Jesus.

The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 2 (9 of 12)
Every believer shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of how we have served the Lord and what our lives have become.
What will Jesus take into account when He evaluates our life and service? This study examines key heart qualities that Jesus is looking for that reflect His image has been formed in us, and which overflow into works that honour Him and advance His Kingdom.

The First Resurrection (10 of 12)
The First Resurrection is presented as the great hope and the prize to be won by the believer.
Believers and unbelievers will both arise together in the General resurrection at the end of the 1000-year Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
However, the First resurrection is for those believers who qualify to participate. It is possible for a believer not to qualify for this First resurrection. Some principles of selection are shared in this important study.

Abundant Entrance to the Kingdom (11 of 12)
In 2 Peter 1, Peter describes the necessity of personal transformation and fruit-bearing in the life of the believer.
Peter shares his revelation of Christ coming in majesty to rule and reign, and the necessity of the believer to be diligent in adding to their foundational faith the character qualities of Christ.
Believers who neglect to commit to personal growth, Peter describes as barren, unfruitful, blind, short-sighted, and forgetful of the work and calling of Christ.
Personal growth, heart and character transformation ensure we will never fall, will be fruitful and stable, and will have an abundant entrance into the Coming Kingdom of God.

The Need for Faithfulness - The Parables of the Talents and the Minas (12 of 12)
Two important parables, concerning the end-times and coming Kingdom, are the parables of the Talents and the Minas.
Jesus has entrusted believers with “His goods”, and calls every believer to be faithful in stewarding what has been entrusted to them. He has devised a plan to discover who he can entrust with great authority to rule with Him in His coming kingdom.
There is no limit to the faithfulness that any person can cultivate and develop over the course of our life. At stake is reward and joyful participation in Jesus coming reign on earth.

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Introduction to Eternal Rewards (1 of 12)  

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One of the major themes of Jesus teachings was the theme of Eternal Rewards. This topic is seldom taught in churches, but it provides major motivation for holiness, personal transformation and faithful service. This message is an introduction to the theme of eternal rewards and the need to build our heart and character on Jesus teachings on the Sermon on the Mount.

Introduction to Eternal Rewards (1 of 12)

Introduction

Welcome to the first series, and this series is called Eternal Rewards and this message is number one in the series and it's called: Introduction to Eternal Rewards.

Probably when you hear it, you'll think I've taught all there is to be taught about it, but I certainly haven't and today we're going to just give you a big, a broad picture and then within that, there'll be many questions arise and there'll be things that you'll want to know more about.

But in our journey, we get revelation right at the very beginning of the teachings around eternal rewards, and they become a motivator for your life. They cause you to set a course for your life that, regardless of what anyone else does, you remain focussed on eternity.

Main Message

Perhaps if I could put it like this: if I were to offer you: $2 now; or $1000 in a weeks' time - what would you take? Children will take the $2 now, because they can't conceive of $1000 in a weeks' time. But anyone who understands the value of things would say: oh man, I'll put off getting my $2 now, because I have in mind something much bigger ahead - and this is what all this teaching is about.

It's being able to lay aside some things now, because there's something much bigger that God has for you. It brings about an adjustment of what's important, so you place less and less importance on temporary things, and more importance on eternal things.

The first thing then is: God is a rewarder! God is a rewarder, and the first thing is that the hope of a reward is a motivator to pursue God. Hope of a reward is a motivator - it’s what motivates us to pursue God.

In Hebrews 11:6, it says: without faith, it's impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Notice that two things are required: 1) that we must believe that: God is present; God is real; God is interested in us; God wants to access us; God wants a relationship with us; and 2) that God rewards. He is a rewarder.

That says that's something about who He is. He's a rewarder. He rewards those who diligently pursue Him. To be a rewarder is one who pays wages generously, so God is generous in rewarding us for the activities we undertake on His behalf to represent Him. The first thing then is: God is a rewarder; and the hope is that He will reward us.

When we look at inheritance, we'll see that God's promise to Abraham was: “I am your shield, I am your exceeding great reward”. So not only is God a rewarder, but it's accessing more of Him that comes as one of the key aspects of our reward.

Secondly, Moses was motivated by the hope of a reward. Hope causes you to look forward to something. Hope causes you to anticipate something. Hope causes you to have an expectation. Hope keeps you looking forward; you know, we're hoping for this holiday, we're hoping for this raise, we're hoping for this new thing.

Moses was motivated by the hope of reward. When you look at Moses, you see his life, and how it was in the Pharaoh's Palace - he had everything possible available to him: education, a significant role, riches and wealth - anything he wanted was his. He was a valiant warrior, and he was a great man. However, he forsook it all! He gave it all up - which people would have thought was crazy, but we understand it when we read in Hebrews 11:24-26.

Hebrews 11 is the book of men who responded to God, who pleased Him. Without faith, without trusting Him, and committing our life to following Him, we can't bring pleasure to Him. Our goal is to bring pleasure to Him, but it requires that we exercise faith that: not only that He is; but if I will give my life to His pursuit, He will reward it.

In Hebrews 11:24 - by faith, Moses when he became of age, refused to be called “son of Pharaoh's daughter”, and he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures or temporary pleasures of sin - esteeming the reproach of Christ's greater riches, than the treasure of Egypt... for he looked to the reward.

We see very clearly that Moses was motivated by hope of reward, and we see several things...

The first thing is about him, is that he refused to identify with Egypt. Now Egypt is a prophetic picture of the world, with its values, its rewards, its incentives... all the things in it which are very temporary in nature. Whenever the Bible refers to Egypt, it always refers to the world dominated by Satan - its values, its culture, all that's in the world - the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh. All those things are enemies in the relationship with God.

Firstly, it says that he refused to identify with Egypt - even though he had access to privilege and position.

Secondly, he refused the convenient, comfortable life - just cruising along in sin, with the temporary pleasure; and he chose instead that he would identify with Jesus Christ, identify with His purpose, and identify with the people of God.

It was a big choice for him. It was the decision to let go a life of privilege, of position, of power; and instead to identify with God, to identify with the people of God, and with the purpose of God... and he totally embraced it! He chose to accept reproach, ridicule, and misunderstanding of his peers. He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God.

When you choose to follow Jesus, the people who knew you - they think you've gone crazy, that you've gone weird! You don't do the things you used to do, because you've chosen a different path; and that path has with it, some hardship. It usually has the hardship of misunderstandings and ridicule by people; esteeming the reproach of Christ, for a greater rich, than the treasures of Egypt - he looked for the reward.

That word ‘looked’ means ‘to have respect for’ - so he valued, or had great respect for, what God offered. He must have had a revelation of it. God must have shown it to him.

It means: to turn the eyes away from everything else and fix them on one thing.

So Moses, even though he's surrounded by everything you could buy... he had money, he had position, power, the opportunity to sin, opportunity to have anything - he turned his eyes away from it all, and fixed his eyes on something that God had shown him - an eternal reward! Something that was not temporary, something that would go on into eternity - forever, and ever, and ever, and ever! he chose the eternal over the temporal.

We find also that the Bible tells of other men and women of faith, who were also motivated by the hope of reward. In Hebrews 11:35, it says: women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

It's saying here that people, by faith, got miracles to happen! By faith, they endured suffering and even death; and what they saw was that there was a better resurrection available for them.

This opens a whole lot of questions about resurrection. The word ‘better’ resurrection implies that there's the better one, and there's a lesser one; one is better than the other! If you're going to have that opportunity to have something; or something better - you want something better! I always want a bit better for me, I want better for my children, and so on.

In this case, ‘better’, means stronger, more noble, more excellent, greater in strength or power… so clearly there are two resurrections, and one of them is a better one! One of them is stronger. One of them is more powerful. One of them has better outcomes for us.

There is the first resurrection; and we may touch on scriptures around the first resurrection, found in Revelations 20. We read on, but back in 8:52 (and we're just looking at people being motivated by reward), here is another one who was motivated by reward: Paul was motivated by the hope of reward.

Reward offers us something to look forward to, that causes us to go through hardship. If you think about saving up for a house, you first have the vision of the house. You pay a price - you sacrifice. Your eyes are focussed to something you're looking forward to, and that causes you to discipline your life, and bring it into alignment, to get the goal - and that's what Paul has in mind here.

Philippians 3:8-12 - “Indeed, I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and I count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I might attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained it or am already perfected; but I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of me.

Brothers, I don't count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind and reaching forward to the things that are ahead, I press towards the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, if any of us are mature, have this mind - let us, as many as are mature, think this way, have this mind; and if in anything you think differently, God will even reveal this.”

There's a lot in there and that's a passage, so I'll have to go through on its own and open it all up, but I want to just focus on this thought: that he very clearly indicates that there is a prize to attain to - and that he hasn't already attained it.

Notice he uses the words “that I might gain Christ”. He was motivated strongly by the promise of a reward. He said: everything I've succeeded in, all my position, my status, my record, everything I've done... in the light of the prize, I consider it to be just rubbish! Little value! It just... is nothing!

Often when you set out to do a degree, it's a kind of... if I just get that degree, then I've got everything. And then you realise when you've got it... you don't know anything! It's like, it's the other side of it - when you don't have it, it seems like it's everything; but when you have it, you suddenly realise, it's not such a big thing at all!

Paul was motivated by the promise of a reward. Notice he said, “that I might gain Jesus Christ”. Now you think, wait a minute... haven't you already received Christ? Yes, he had. He was born again, so he had received salvation. He was saved. He was joined to Jesus, and the prospect of heaven was certain. But he's talking now about gaining a prize, which is a much deeper intimacy, a much deeper relationship, much deeper connection with Jesus Christ!

He says... “if by any means I might do this”. In other words, there's a possibility I might not make it, so I'm going to do everything I can, to make sure I get it. If by any means there's a possibility I may not win the prize... and so he goes on... not that I've already attained it, or am already perfect, but I press on to lay hold of this!

He said: now Christ has taken hold of me, because he has this in mind for me. Now I need to take hold of Jesus, that I might be ready, and prepared, and qualify for it. He says: I press towards the goal, for the prize of this high calling. If there's a high calling, then there's also a low calling!

He said this is a very high calling! It's the calling of God, to every believer - and it has to do with eternal rewards; and he said: it requires that I ‘press on’ towards that. I make a determined effort; and that I forget the things that have happened, or the successes of the past, or the issues of the past... and I press on towards that goal.

What is the prize? He implies the prize is “winning Christ”; and he implies also that the prize is “by any means, I might attain to the resurrection from the dead”.

This resurrection that he's referring to here, is not the second resurrection. In the general resurrection, everyone will rise from the dead. The word used here is different to the word normally used for resurrection; it's the word “ek”, meaning: “out from”; and “astasis” - resurrection. That I might attain, or reach out and gain, the “out from” resurrection - the resurrection that will “lift me up”, and “out from” everyone else.

He's referring to the first resurrection; and it's a prize that he considers to be won. Every person will rise from the dead. He's saying this: the first resurrection... and even after all he's done, he has no guarantee he will qualify!

In Revelations, it tells us a little bit about the first resurrection…

Revelations 20:5 - “The rest of the dead did not live again until the 1000 years (or millennium) in Christ was finished. This is the first resurrection; and how blessed, and how holy, is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such, the second death has no power; they shall be priests of God, and of Christ - they shall reign with Him on earth for 1000 years.”

There are two resurrections. The first resurrection is a resurrection of reward. It's a prize to contend for, to qualify for; and the outcome of winning that, is that you are resurrected ahead of everyone else! You have a life on earth; and a resurrection body, in which you act as a representative of Christ, bringing order and change to the whole of the earth. I'll talk more about that in another teaching, where we talk about the millennial reign of Christ.

It is a great honour, it's a great blessing, it's a great privilege, it is a prize to be won - the first resurrection. Now regarding this first resurrection, I'll just make one more statement...

Much of the church does not understand that, it's a prize to be won! If you ask them, they don't even know there's two resurrections. They just consider everyone gets raised from the dead... and that's it! However, as we'll see in another teaching, the first resurrection is a prize to be contended with.

He says about the first resurrection: they shall be priests of God, and Christ and will reign with Him 1000 years. Now the promises, all the promises connected to reigning, sharing authority, bringing transformation to this world... always belong to overcomers! This is a promise given only to people who overcome - and that's another series I'll have to do - on the overcomers, what they overcome, and what's involved in all of that.

The next thing is, number four: Paul describes our life as “a race”, for “a prize” or reward.

1 Corinthians 9:24 - “Do you not know that those who run in a race - all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way you may obtain it. Everyone who competes for a prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Thus, I run not with uncertainty; and I fight, not like one who beats the air. I discipline my body, and bring it into subjection, lest having preached to others, I might be disqualified.”

Notice what he's saying. He's saying: our current life is like a race you run, with a prize in mind. Everyone is running this race, and there's an eternal prize to be won.

2 Timothy 4:7 - “I have run my race, I have finished my course, henceforth is laid up for me a crown.”

He was aware that, at the end of race, at the end of his life, that the prize had been won, and that it was for him! Of course, we have no guarantee that it’s for us until we've finished our course. He must have got revelation on it.

He was aware he could be disqualified. The word disqualified means: to be inspected, and not improved - considered unfit to win the prize. Think about that for a moment. If God is Just, then clearly, He must distinguish between people who passionately serve Him, who walk through His process of change and testing... and He must treat them in some way differently, to those who are casual, careless, where there's no prayer life. They're just casual Christians, who turn up at church, but have no commitment to serve... They're inconsistent in their walk. Clearly there's a distinction between those two kinds of people and, to be just, God must address that difference. Paul motivated people who served with the hope of eternal rewards.

Number five, Paul motivated people by pointing them to the reward. Here's a scripture: Colossians 3:22. He's talking to people who are in slavery - they've been captured, and now they're slaves. He doesn't say: rise up, and throw it off, and rebel. He says this…

Colossians 3:22 – “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters, according to the flesh... (notice this) ...not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do - do it heartily, as if you were doing it to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you really are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.”

That’s an amazing scripture there, with a lot in it. I'll just drop a few thoughts out there. He says: servants… now obey, or yield, or submit to those who are over you. He's talking about their natural serving. They were forced to serve people - and those people were quite brutal, and quite harsh.

He says: in your serving, don't do your serving with eyeservice. What does that mean? Eyeservice means that you show off, when the boss is around. It means that you act in a certain way, when you know people are watching. Eyeservice means that I look out to see if anyone's watching, and then I up my game.

He says that when you're doing eyeservice, you're not genuine, you're pretending. Basically, you're doing it as a man-pleaser. You're trying to get the approval of men; and he says: in our service, whatever it happens to be, whether it's a big job, a little job, a tedious job, an insignificant job, an unseen job... whatever you do, in all things, don't operate trying to impress people.

Rather, have a sincere heart. Do it from the heart, out of a reverence that God is watching. Whatever you do, whatever task you have, do it full-heartedly, not negatively, not reluctantly, not half-heartedly, not with a bad attitude. Do it as if you're doing it to the Lord Himself, not to people.

The reason you can do that, is because you know God is watching you, and you know that you are in the process of qualifying for the reward of inheritance.

He starts to now talk about the reward being an ‘inheritance’ that you must qualify for. It's a reward. The key thing is, there is a reward. God is watching everything you do; but more than that, He's watching how you do it.

All of us have had an experience of people who are just slack - they're inconsistent. Their heart is not in things, they don't do things well. They have no revelation that all the behaviour is noticed by God, and that its disqualifying them for eternity.

“Whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men - knowing of the Lord you receive the reward of inheritance” - now that changes the way you look at every task. Whether people acknowledge it, or don't acknowledge it; whether they are happy with me, or unhappy with me; whether they see it, or don't see it - is irrelevant! God sees it all; and I am in my process of qualifying.

As we'll see in another session, our life now is not our main ministry. Our life now is our preparatory ministry. In the millennium, and in the ages to come, we enter our primary ministry. All that you do now is your apprenticeship, it’s preparing you. No one can decide how you will respond to the preparation process.

God's got lots of things in His preparation process, including being ignored, overlooked, treated unjustly, people carrying on like you've done nothing, others getting the reward for things you've done... all that kind of stuff! It's all about the development of your heart - that your longing, and desire, is to please the Lord.

The last one then, on this theme here, on that point is that Jesus motivated His disciples by the promise of eternal reward. In Matthew 19:27, Peter answered and said: we've left everything, and followed You - so what shall we get? That's a good question isn't it? We've sacrificed. We've given up a lot. We're serving You. We're whole-heartedly following You. We've given up our business, we've given up our lives to follow You. What are we going to get?

And I said I assuredly... (In other words, you can guarantee, you can write this on your shorts, you can guarantee it) ...I say to you that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on His throne of glory... (that when Jesus, that's the Son of Man, when He comes in His kingdom, and in His glory) ...you who have followed Me shall sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.

He's saying that in the coming kingdom, you will be with Me. You'll sit with Me. There will be 12 thrones, 12 realms of authority and rulership that I will give you; that you will rule over, and govern, on My behalf - the 12 tribes of Israel.

We know that Israel had 12 tribes; and although they've been scattered, they will be gathered; and those in charge of them, who will rule them, guide them, direct them, govern them... will be the 12 apostles.

When are these rewards to come? The rewards that God has in mind are eternal rewards. That means they're not temporary.

God does give temporary rewards. We are blessed with temporary rewards. We have a house, we have cars, friends, we have blessings, and favour - these are all temporary things. In the end, they all pass away, you leave them all behind. Everything you can see; if you can see it, and touch it, then it can be left behind; but there are also eternal rewards.

Eternal rewards are given to us at the second coming of Christ, when He comes again - and that's a whole teaching of its own, what that looks like, and what that will involve. Jesus taught this directly…

Matthew 16:27 - “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father and the angels, and He will reward each, according to his works.”

He said: when the Son of Man comes, in the glory of His Father with His angels... (he's talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ, which is the great hope of the church) ...then He will reward each one. He's talking to His disciples, so every disciple, every follower of Christ, will face an encounter with the Lord; and at stake, will not be whether you go to heaven on earth, or heaven, or not. What's at stake will be: what level of reward (or not).

Revelations 22:12 - “Behold, I am coming quickly, My reward is with Me, to give every one according to his works.”

Notice there that it's our work, it's what we did; and we'll have to explore that a bit more, what's required of us, in another session. But notice the thing we're bringing out here, is that eternal rewards are connected to the coming of Jesus Christ. Both of those scriptures indicate that, and Jesus also taught the same thing in His parables.

When He taught in the parables, particularly Matthew 24 and 25, He taught about the second coming. They asked Him: when are You coming again; what are the signs of the End of the Age; what are the signs of You coming - and He gave several parables. Each one of the parables has to do with the issue of reward or loss at His coming.

The first one is the Parable of the Wise and Faithful Servant, Matthew 24:45-51. The issue there was how he handled himself in the house of God; and the issue is reward or loss. The reward is authority and responsibility in the coming kingdom.

Then from Matthew 24, it goes on to Matthew 25:1-13, the Wise and Foolish Virgins; and again, the issue of reward - some were rewarded, some lost the reward. What was the reward? Entrance to the celebration of the Marriage Supper of Jesus Christ.

The third one He mentioned is in Matthew 25:14-30, and it's about the faithful servant, or the productive servants. Again, the issue is reward or loss; and the reward offered there is authority and responsibility in the coming kingdom.

There are more like this. There's another one in Luke 19:11-27, also about the faithful servant, and the issue again is reward or loss; and the reward at stake is: authority over cities, to rule over groups of people in the coming kingdom, and establish God's order, and peace, and prosperity… in governance.

You understand then, that in being faithful over little, God responds with much. It's just like the: $2 now; or $1000 in a week. It's like, you just can hardly compare the two! All these parables are stories with a lesson, and all of them are parables about the kingdom, about the coming of the Lord, and the need to prepare. In every one of the parables there's reward. Some are rewarded; some lose their reward, and some suffer loss; but in every one of the stories, there are some actions people did, which others didn't do, that resulted in reward. All of these have in common: reward and loss; and the timing of it is to do with the coming of the Lord, the return of the Lord.

John saw it in End Times, in the Book of Revelation. In Revelations 11:15-16, he talks about the seventh angel sounding... “and there were loud voices in heaven, saying: the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ - He shall reign forever.”

It says... “We give thanks to You, O Lord God Almighty, the One who was, and is, and is to come - you've taken Your great power, and reigned. The nations were angry. Your wrath has come, the time of the dead, they should be judged. And that You should reward Your servants, the prophets, the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great.”

Notice, he connects: the seventh angel sounding, the coming of the Lord, and then... reward for the servants of the Lord. So those who have served the Lord faithfully will be rewarded. That brings us then to the next heading…

All our works will be Judged. God will evaluate the works of every believer!

The first thing is: everyone gives account of their works to the Lord - everyone! There's one appointment we will all keep, and it doesn't matter who we are. Our position is irrelevant; our title is irrelevant; our wealth is irrelevant. Every one of us must give an account of oneself to the Lord.

Romans 14:12 - “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

2 Corinthians 5:9 - “We make it our aim, or our goal, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”

This is motivating!

“I want to bring pleasure to Him, for we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the Body, according to what he's done - good or bad. Knowing the Fear of the Lord, we persuade men.”

Again, there are not only two Resurrections; there are also two Judgements. The final judgement is the Great White Throne Judgement, found in Revelations 20:11-15; but this judgement, referred to here, is called the Judgement Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9). The Judgement Seat of Christ comes at the beginning of Christ's reign on the earth, and it is where believers are evaluated as to whether they qualify to enter that kingdom, that realm, and to be rewarded.

The second thing then is that all our works will be evaluated by Jesus. He's interested in our stewardship. After we got saved... What did you do with what was entrusted to you? In 1 Corinthians 3:10, and Paul is writing. He said:

“According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I laid the foundation, and another builds on it.”

Here's the warning: “Let everyone take heed how he builds on it. No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear, or manifest, for the Day - that's the Day of the Lord - will declare it or it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test everyone's work (what sort it is).”

That's a whole passage for me to go into more detail, but if I can pick up some key things in it…

The first is, his warning: everyone should take heed how you build - what you do. ‘Take heed’ means to carefully think about what you're doing, how your life is progressing, how you're building. He says: take heed how you build - in other words, the motivation, the principles that you're using to build your life - what lies in behind it.

He warns people; you can build on wood, hay, stubble. These are temporary things. The response of people, the claim of people, temporary reward - things that are just short term; and he says: these are things which are consumed by the fire, because they're all about what I can get. Gold, silver, precious stones... these will survive the fire - they are eternal.

For example, if I serve you in order to get something back - that is wood, hay, stubble; but if I serve you with no agenda but to bless you, and to honour Jesus in doing so - that is gold, silver, precious stones. You understand? The same work may have been done, but the motivation was different.

You think of people you know - they have all kinds of agendas for what they do. God sees all of that, and it's not all the things you do, but what motivates what you do - what is being manifested in what you do. Is selfishness, and self-centredness, and ambition being manifest? Or is there just a genuine love for people and love for Jesus? He can tell the difference. Usually people can too!

He says: people may get away with lots of stuff today, but at the coming of the Lord, it'll be tried by fire, and the fire will reveal what was concealed, or covered, or that you didn't see.

People may look like they have a great ministry. They may look important. They might look successful. They may look like they've done very well… but God looks on the heart, and sees what motivated them, what's going on - and whether this is built on the foundation of love for God and people; or whether it's built on an ambition, selfish ambition and desire to get themselves ahead. He sees the very core of our motivation and judges the works accordingly. He sees each work, what sort it is, its quality.

Then of course, he goes on to say: rewards and loss are possible. If anyone's work that is built endures, he will receive a reward. In other words, if you let God test your work, if you let Him access what you do, and He views it, then what He has in mind is: His desire is to reward you.

So basically, if you were to look at perhaps, a chain that's producing something, they do what they call quality testing. They take one out, and test the quality of it; and what they're looking for is: does it meet the maker's standard, or does it fall short? If it falls short, it's disapproved; and then you must adjust the process. If it passes, then it goes on.

He said: “if anyone's work endures, He'll reward it. Anyone's work is burnt, he suffers loss, but he will be saved, yet even by fire.”

Notice that the issue here is not being saved - both people are saved. The issue here is reward or loss. If the work is burnt, he suffers loss, but he's saved. He's saved, but he's done nothing of great value that would qualify him for the things God had in mind in eternity.

In other words, he failed his apprenticeship. He didn't put in the required labour to prepare himself, that he could be qualified. Take the example of a doctor or surgeon. What if a guy goes through medical school, but he fails all his exams, and doesn't turn up for the practicals - he's away for half of the classes? When he gets to the end of the year - he won't qualify.

Not qualifying means you didn't meet what was required, to put you into a position where you can be permitted to operate on people. Even when they come to be operating on people, there's still a process of internship around that area as well - same as with a dentist, or anyone doing an important job like that. You're not going to let someone operate on you who failed, who didn't pass - that makes sense.

Neither will God put into positions of authority and responsibility, and bring into intimacy, people who, throughout all their Christian walk, were self-centred, and ambitious, and had no heart for God and for His people. Make sense? It's about our stewardship, and how we've handled it.

What are the rewards? If I can just share with you what He has in mind, what are the rewards at stake, what is it He's offering. Each one of these is very big, and it will require me taking some time to show you what it will all be about.

I note firstly, that in the coming kingdom, not everyone is the same. We like to think everyone's the same. We like to think we're all equal. We even try to equalise one another out, try to get ahead of one another; but in the kingdom of heaven, in the kingdom of God, in the coming millennial kingdom, and all through eternity - people will occupy different realms of intimacy, or closeness and companionship, with Jesus. Now that's quite stunning!

If you've got no love for His presence now, then this is not something you'd want. But the more you are intimate with Him, the more you want of Him, the greater the hunger. In the coming kingdom, in eternity, people will have different realms of level of access to Jesus. Some will be very near to Him; some will be further away; some will be far away.

A simple way of looking at that would be: you have a prime minister, who runs the country. As a normal citizen, you don't get close access to them. You get access to their representatives - it's just practical. In the coming kingdom, it will be the same.

Secondly, there will be in that kingdom, different realms of service and authority and responsibility. God has in mind that, in the coming millennial kingdom, His people will occupy positions of authority and power and influence and will guide the courses of the nations. Cities, nations, communities - someone must guide it all.

Once you start to think about that, you realise - now I see why I'm just on an apprenticeship. Right now, if I can't handle what I've got, I'm in no way going to be qualified to do anything great in the coming kingdom. If you see yourself as being in an apprenticeship, then it doesn't matter what your assignment is.

Your assignment could be just your one child at school, and that's it - and you've got very little time for anything else, so that's where your assignment is. God watches that, and that's your qualifier. He watches what you do. He watches how you do it, and why you're doing it. He watches what you do in adversity. He watches the way you manage, and handle, and bring His life into it - as simple as that!

I don't need to compete with anyone for their position, or their assignment. Everyone has their own unique assignment and, even on this earth, as you are faithful and productive in your assignment, you get your assignment enlarged.

I had a season where I gave up a career, gave up security, gave up finances, gave up reputation, in order to start a school, which had a few, just a handful of kids in it - and that was my preparation process, qualifying for a larger, global ministry. People look at the global ministry, and they think: oh, I want that! How do I get that? What can I do to get there? They don't see that there were lots of little decisions, over the little things. You know, the managing of the tea, the cleaning the building - all the little stuff, cleaning the toilets, all the stuff I did. You understand, that's all part of it.

Then the third area is that there will be different realms of resurrection glory. People tend to think of just being raised from the dead; but when we're raised, each of us will be displayed in different levels of glory, in a way that everyone can see what kind of life we've lived.

No one knows what you're doing in secret; your secret pain, your secret struggles, your secret temptations, your secret fears, the pressures you've gone through, the loneliness you've walked through… but God sees it all; and in eternity, we will be surprised that He will ascribe to people that we would never have thought of, immense glory, because of the kind of life they lived before Him.

As you understand this teaching then, suddenly you've set your eyes on eternity. Eternity is real, the rewards are real; and everything I'm doing now is either: preparing me for it; or disqualifying me from it. It's got nothing to do with what anyone else is doing; it's got totally to do with my decision to live a life with Jesus at the centre, and to honour Him.

These rewards that He promises - they begin in the millennial reign of Christ

(the 1000 years when He rules on the earth, literally), and they go on for eternity. When you come to the point where that kingdom starts, whatever He decides, regarding you, is irreversible, and unchangeable. You are what you are, and you have qualified or disqualified; or qualified to a certain level, or whatever. That gives an incentive for all of us to be faithful, and productive, and do the very best with what we have.

Colossians 3:23 - “Whatever you do, do it from the heart unto the Lord, not with eye services pleasing men, knowing this: that God is preparing you for a reward.”

The last section that I want to look at, is the Wise and the Foolish Builders. Jesus' conclusion in the Sermon of the Mount - His famous Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:6-7, in the context of this. Jesus concluded at the end of it…

Matthew 7:21-27 - “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father. Many will say to Me, in that day: Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name? We cast out demons in Your name. We did many wonders in Your name, and I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me you who practice lawlessness.

Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I liken him to a wise man who builds his house on the rock: the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew and beat on the house. It didn't fall, it was founded on a rock.

Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and doesn't do them, is like the foolish man built his house on sand; the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, beat the house and it fell down. It was a great fall.”

Firstly, the context of the teaching… this is the Sermon on the Mount. He's teaching the heart required to operate in the kingdom. He's teaching the core heart values, and lifestyle, of the kingdom. He's teaching about the heart of the kingdom.

All His teaching there, in the beatitudes, are about the kind of heart you cultivate: a hungry heart, a humble heart, a meek heart, a pure heart… Then at the end of the sermon, He finishes it off, and He starts to talk about the coming millennial kingdom.

Part of God's kingdom is present with us now. In the millennium all of it will come in its fullness, and in great power, that will be irresistible. So now, He's talking about the entrance. Notice what He said, He uses these words:

“On that day, many will say”. When the Bible uses the term ‘that day’, it's referring to the second coming of the Lord to establish His kingdom. It's also called ‘the Day of the Lord’. It's also called ‘the Great and Terrible Day’ - it's great for some; and terrible for others.

The Day of the Lord is a period of time, not just a 24-hour day. When it says ‘that day’, it's talking about the coming of the Lord; and it refers to the period of time just before the millennial reign of Christ, when He'll shake the nations, and then His kingdom will manifest. Notice what Jesus warned His disciples: He said ‘many’!

“Not everyone who says: Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom, he who does the will of my Father.”

What He's saying is: there's something required of you; and not everyone who does things in the church is going to qualify. He said: many will say, in that day... many, many... “Whoa! We did miracles! We prophesied, cast out demons! He's saying: no, you don't qualify. I'll tell you why they didn't qualify, in a moment.

Notice then, that we're all builders, of some kind of house. Every one of us is a builder. The word ‘son’, and the word ‘daughter’, both come from the root ‘to build the Father's house’. Whenever God calls us ‘sons and daughters’, He's saying: we are builders.

The first house you build is your own life - your character, your heart. You are responsible for your heart attitudes, your heart values, for your character, and the development of your life. No one can do it for you.

We are builders of marriage. Marriages must be built, families must be built, finances must be built, business must be built, churches built... Nothing just happens. Ministries are built.

Jesus says then, the wise man and the foolish man - which are you? Both were building; and both, on the exterior, looked similar. They had similar materials, but it was the foundation was different. The exterior is what you can see; and the foundation is what you can't see - it's only seen by God. God looks at your heart. You may look successful, but He sees what it really is all made of.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, Jesus (the Lord) said to Samuel: don't look at the appearance, or the physical stature, for I have refused him. The Lord doesn't see like man sees - Man looks on the outward appearance; but God looks on the heart. God always looks on the heart.

No matter what you've built with your life, it's your heart God is interested in. Your exterior success is not nearly as important to God as what motivated it; or what was in your heart, as you did it.

Notice He says then: the storms come upon the wise man, and the foolish man - so no one is exempt from the storms. He said: the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew and beat on the house. Rain refers to divinely initiated storms. Rain comes from heaven. The rain that comes means that God initiates a storm, that uncovers what's going on in your life. Some storms come from God, and they expose what our life is like.

Now He says: floods came. Floods often refer to the actions of ungodly people. Some things that come against us - unkind, unloving, and often very hurtful mistreatment by people - they're the floods.

The winds refer to spirits - the pressure of demonic spirits. We can have storms come into our life that can come from God. They can come from people's behaviour towards us, bad treatment of us; or they can come from demonic spirits directly. But the storms will reveal what the foundation of your life is like, what you're built on.

Storms will come now, currently in life, and they're to grow you. But at the end, every storm is to expose the condition of your heart, to give you opportunity to change. At the end, He's saying that in the coming of the Lord, God's going to uncover the whole deal - what you really built.

Who is the wise man? The wise man built his house on the rock; but the foolish man built his house on the sand - what does that mean? Fortunately, Jesus explained exactly what it means to build your house on the rock. Now the Bible tells us in more than one place, that God is a rock.

Psalm 18:31 - “Who is a God, except the Lord? Who is a rock, except our God?”

In 1 Corinthians 10:4, it says: “the rock is Christ”.

When it's using rock - it's something that's stable, that can stand up to storms, because it's eternal in value. But Jesus in the passage says exactly what it means.

“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I'll liken them to the wise man who built his house on the rock.”

We're not talking about everything Jesus is saying, although it can apply to that. He's saying: whoever hears these sayings of Mine. He's just concluding His Sermon on the Mount, so when He says: “these sayings of Mine”, it's referring to what He's just taught, which is about the heart values of the kingdom.

He said: whoever hears these heart values of the kingdom - what I require, to establish and build My kingdom - whoever hears, and puts those into his life, and applies them - that man is the stable man. That's the man who'll stand the test of storms.

The teaching He's referring to are the core heart values of the kingdom. In other words, there is a need for a transformed heart.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

If you want to receive from God expansion to your life, and your influence, develop the quality of meekness. Put focus on developing a meek heart. If you want to be lifted, and given greater promotion, God says: develop a humble heart - humble yourself, and He will lift you up.

There's all kinds of things through the teachings there, that are heart issues; so in other words, in the teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, you find constant reference to the motivation; not just What people did, but the Why they did it.

Matthew 5:46 - “If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Even the sinners will do that.”

Notice he said: if you love those who love you; so basically, you're doing a payback. They gave to you, and you don't want to be indebted to them, so you're paying them back. He said: if that's all you do, there's no reward! There's no eternal reward in that.

In Luke 6:35, he says the same thing. He said: “if you love your enemies, and do good, and lend, and hope for nothing in return, your reward will be great.” Your reward will be great! In other words, he's saying that giving, and kindness, that has no personal agenda will be rewarded by God, because it carries the heart of the kingdom. It carries the heart of the King! It represents the King!

He talks the same thing about giving - “take heed you don't do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen of them, otherwise you have no reward, of your Father in heaven.”

Notice here: gave money to the poor. Was that good? Was it bad? I don't know - why did they do it? If we do it so people will notice, and say: man, that's great - then you've already got your reward. But if we give, and we don't announce what we've done, if we don't try to get approval from people - we just secretly give, as God directs us, as God leads us, and guides us... He said: I see it! I will reward you!

Remember, you can't have the reward both ways. If you try to get it by impressing people, you can't have it from God. If you want it from God, then don't worry about impressing people. Unfortunately, what happens is that we do things, and we serve, and we give - and often it's overlooked. It's not even noticed - and that tests out whether you are doing it for the Lord; or are you doing it to have someone acknowledging you; someone that's saying: oh, you're great, you're wonderful. And always, it will be withheld. Always, if that's what you're looking for, you'll never get enough; and eventually you get offended - and that's what happens to many people. They get offended, because of what they were looking for - they were not giving, they were not loving - they were trading! Trading means: I give you this, but I expect something in return. They gave something, but they wanted something in return - they just never said When it didn't come - they got upset!

It's the same for praying. “When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who like to pray, and stand in the streets to be seen by men.” Notice that the motivation here is to be seen by men, rather than be seen by God.

When we come into the age of the kingdom, we're going to be amazed at people who are honoured by God. They were praying, and giving, and doing things... we never saw them. They never had a position in the church. No one ever noticed them, everyone just walked past them; but they quietly got on with serving God and doing what they were called to do - and God noticed.

He refers to it too again, in the motivation for fasting. “When you're fasting, don't be like the hypocrites, who put on a sad face and announce everything; but rather, do it secretly, that your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Notice then, that the whole issue here of the foundation, is the motivation for what we do. The motivation flows through, like a river, everything you do. If there's love, generosity, humility, kindness - the characteristics of the kingdom, then it touches everything you do, and it brings God's favour on it.

When you work hard, give, and serve, but always you're looking for something, and trying to get something in return - somehow it never cuts it. It never seems to get a return. It's like, what is wrong? I've done everything. Why is nothing happening? And we haven't seen it's a heart issue.

Then he continues... and who's the foolish man? Well, he didn't align his heart with God. He didn't let his heart be transformed; and his works were all built with people in mind. Jesus laid it out very, very clearly.

He said: “many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, did many wonders in Your name.” Notice there is prophecy, miracles, and deliverance - but what was missing? What was missing was the heart motivation.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2 - “If you prophesy, and know all these things, but there's no love, it is like empty and clangy, it profits nothing.”

Many are like that! Many use God's gifts, God's grace, and God's resources to impress people, and gain recognition; and he said: all of that will count for nothing!

Then He says: what's going on?

1) I never knew you;

2) You practice lawlessness.

What does he mean by that? He means these things: First, I never knew you. He means they lacked real intimacy with Jesus, and heart transformation. Relationship with Jesus is designed to bring progressive change in our heart. The more we're loved, the more loving we become. The more He touches us, the more we want to touch and bless people.

When He says: “I never knew you”, the word ‘knew’ is the word used to describe the intimacy of a husband and a wife - it's a very deep intimacy. The first priority we have is an intimate relationship with Jesus - to know Him. It's like a life-long journey, deepening my connection to Him, bringing the little things in my life to Him, having it invade the little parts of my life. And it results in heart transformation.

God is looking for people who want to know Him, and want to find what He wants; so you can either live your life pleasing everyone, doing what everyone else wants - oh you're a great person, doing this, doing that - but the key question is: did you do what God designed you to do; or did you fit someone else's plan? It really will always come down to that and so the first reason they were rejected was because of a deep lack of ongoing intimacy that led to transformation of their heart.

Jesus in contrast, in John 17:4 said - “I have brought honour to You, I finished the work You gave me to do and I manifested Your name or revealed Your heart.” We see it all in there.

The second thing he says is: “you're workers of iniquity”. That word means: to be distorted from God's original intention or plan. Probably, it means: to promote yourself. What He's saying is: you never made Me your first priority, and grew in the knowledge of Me, and had a transformation of heart, so you become like Me. What you did instead was: you promoted yourself, and used the gifts for your benefit, and for your advancement.

You can see then, that the labours had no eternal value, because of what motivated them. Their heart remained; and He said: great will be the fall. The key challenge then is, as we just go through it very simply, just an overview…

1) Eternal rewards are real. God is a rewarder; and people throughout the Bible have been motivated by that hope.

2) God's eternal rewards are rewards that go into the millennium. They start at the millennium, go into the millennium, and right through to eternity. They're given at Jesus' coming, and Jesus taught it directly - that He would reward people at His coming. He also taught it in His parables indirectly. John saw it in His teaching, in His revelation, in the Book of Revelation.

3) God is going to evaluate each one of us. Every person will give an account of themselves; and what we'll give account of ourselves for, is how. What sort of work we've done, and what was the motivation in it? He will check all our work - what sort, or what value, there was in the work.

If it's motivated by love, and the desire to honour God, and love people, then it's work that lasts the fire. If it's motivated by self-promotion, and self-interest, then it won't last.

4) We saw then that rewards are at stake, and the rewards involve increasing intimacy with Jesus. It involves authority and responsibility in His kingdom. It involved realms of glory in our resurrection body.

5) Finally, we can choose to be a wise, or a foolish, builder. The wise builder understands that the teachings of Jesus, in Matthew 5:6-7 (the Sermon on the Mount), are designed to show us the heart characteristics of the kingdom that will cause a stable life, that will be rewarded.

We saw also when Jesus spoke, that at the Day of the Lord there will be a massive shaking that will uncover everything that people have built. God will see to it that everything we've done will be brought to the light.

The wise one will have built his life on a revelation of Jesus Christ and obedience to Him. The foolish man will have heard all this stuff, but there's been no transformation, no change. He basically still does his own thing. The key thing is: he that does the will of My Father.

Doing the will of My Father - first thing, is His desire for intimacy; and second, His desire for us to change; and thirdly, His desire to discover and fulfil our assignment.

So, there it is: kingdom rewards - the introduction to it. I've just started you off, and once you start, you see it's a huge thing in the Bible. There's many topics that we could just branch out from, in all these areas.

We can go into the area of the Day of the Lord.

We can go into the area of the second coming.

We can go in to look at the area of: what are the rewards?

The different rewards of the...

- Wedding feast

- Ruling and reigning with Christ

- Different realms of glory

- Different resurrections.

We could go on to look at some of the things around…

- The motivation.

- How do you become intimate?

- How do you become faithful?

- How do you qualify

...all of those areas, and that's the theme around eternal rewards.

Summary Notes

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ER1: Introduction to Eternal Rewards

I. God is a Rewarder

1. The Hope of Reward Motivates Us to Pursue God
* Heb. 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
* “Rewarder”…..One who pays wages generously
* Our faith is demonstrated by our consistent pursuit of God for encounter and breakthrough

2. Moses was Motivated by the Hope of Reward
* Heb. 11:24 - By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, v26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
* Moses refused to identify with Egypt (The World System)
* Moses refuses the comfortable and convenient life of sin with its temporary pleasure(enjoyment)
* Moses chose to identify with Jesus Christ and His purpose for His life and His people
* Moses chose to accept the reproach, ridicule and misunderstanding by his peers and friends
* “Looked to”……to have respect for, to look towards, to turn the eyes away from everything else and fix them on one thing
* His heart was set on the eternal reward revealed and prepared for him by God

3. Men and Women of Faith were Motivated by the Hope of Reward
* Heb. 11:35 - Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not
accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
* “Better”….Stronger, more noble, more excellent, greater in strength and dominion
* There are two resurrections. The first resurrection is a stronger, more powerful resurrection

4. Paul was Motivated by the Hope of Reward
* Php 3:8 - Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
* Php 3:12 - Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
* Paul was motivated strongly by the promise of a reward
* “Gain Christ”…..To Acquire, to win a prize that is offered
* “If by any means”…this implies that there is a possibility of not achieving his goal and the need to do all he could to win the prize
* “Resurrection from the Dead”….literally…the “Out From” resurrection
* Every person will rise from the dead. Paul is referring to the First Resurrection
* Paul does not consider even after all he had done that he would attain the First Resurrection
* Rev 20:5 - But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
* He considered that it was a prize to be contended for and won

5. Paul Describes our Life as a Race for a Prize or Reward
1Col. 9:24 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus, I fight not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
* Paul considered life is a race to be run with a prize in mind…an eternal prize
* He was aware of the possibility of becoming disqualified for the prize
* “Disqualified”….inspected and not approved, unfit for the prize in view

6. Paul Motivated Servants with the Hope of Eternal Reward
* Col 3:22 - Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ
* “Eye-service”….Acting in a certain way only when you know people are watching
* “Sincerity”….singleness, without self-seeking, hiding under a false appearance
* “Reward”……recompense, reward or pay someone,
* He is encouraging servants to do their work as if they were personally serving watched closely at every moment by Jesus Christ Himself
* “Reward of the Inheritance”...We each have an inheritance set apart for us but must mature to qualify

7. Jesus Motivated His Disciples by the Promise of Eternal Reward
Mat 19:27 - Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore, what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
* Jesus response to Peter’s question was to reveal the reward of intimacy and ruling with Him in His coming Millennial Kingdom
* There is an inheritance laid up for every believer




II. Eternal Rewards are Given at Jesus Second Coming

1. Jesus Taught This Directly
* Mat 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
* Rev 22:12 - "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
* “Reward”…….The rewards that God will bestow on believers in acknowledgement for their works

2. Jesus Taught This in His Parables
* The Wise and Faithful Servant
Matt. 24:45-5 - Reward or Loss…..Authority and Responsibility in His Coming Kingdom
* The Wise and Foolish Virgins
Matt. 25:1-13 - Reward or Loss……….Entrance to the Marriage Supper of The Lamb
* The Faithful Servant
Matt. 25:14-3 - Reward or Loss….Authority and Responsibility in His Coming Kingdom
* The Faithful Servant
Luke 19:11-27 - Reward or Loss……Authority and Responsibility in His Coming Kingdom
* The Wedding of The King’s Son
Matt.22:1-14 - Reward or Loss……..Entrance to the Marriage Supper of The Lamb
* Parables are stories with a spiritual lesson contained within the story
* Each of these Parables is about The Kingdom of God with a focus on our need to prepare
* Each of these parables is a story of Reward and Loss…some are rewarded and some suffer loss
* In each story it was the actions or lack of action that resulted in Reward or in Loss

3. John Saw This in His End Time Revelations
* Rev 11:15 - Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
Rev 11:16 - And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."


III. God will Evaluate the Works of Every Person

1. Each of Us Must Give Account of our Works
* Rom 14:12 - So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
* 2Co 5:9 - Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
* There are two places of Judgment:
a. The Great White Throne… Rev. 20:11-15
b. The Judgement Seat of Christ… 2Cor. 5:9

2. All Our Works Will be Evaluated by Jesus
* 1Col. 3:10 - According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
* Note Paul’s Warning: “let each one take heed how he builds on it.”
* “Take heed”…. To carefully consider and weigh up
* “How”…In what way, the motivation, and principles that we build with
* He warns each of us regarding how we go about building our lives and ministries
* “Wood, Hay, Stubble…materials that are consumed by fire…temporal
* “Gold, Silver, Precious Stones…materials that survive fire...eternal
* “The Day”…refers to the Day of the Lord, the time of Jesus return
* “Reveal”…disclose, make bare, bring out into view what has been covered
* Fire refers to God himself
* Heb. 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. In Revelation Jesus is described and “having eyes like a flaming fire”
* Rev.2:18 …eyes that see and penetrate into the very core of our heart and its motivations
* “He sees each one’s work, what sort it is” ( The quality or nature or kind)
* He sees into the very core of motivation behind our works and judges them according to the standard of His nature

3. Reward or Loss are Possible
* 1Col. 3:14 - If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (Pay, wages, recompense) If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
* The issue at stake is: Rewards or Losses that Jesus distributes for our labours in advancing His Kingdom
* If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire
* The issue here is not whether we are saved or not…..”he himself will be saved”
* It is not about Salvation …..it is about our Stewardship after we are saved
* What have we done, what have we become that would qualify for reward?

4. What are the Rewards at Stake here?
It refers to different realms of reward in the Coming Millennial Kingdom:
• Different realms of Intimacy with Jesus…closeness and companionship
• Different realms of Authority and Service assigned
• Different realms of Resurrection Glory visible to all men
• Rewards are for the Kingdom Age and for eternity…..they are irreversible and unchangeable




IV. The Wise and Foolish Builders

1. Jesus Conclusion to His Sermon on the Mount
* Mat 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Mat 7:24 - "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house;
and it fell. And great was its fall."

2. What is the Context for this Teaching?
* Jesus is teaching His famous “Sermon on the Mount”
* His sermon teaches the core values and lifestyle of the Kingdom of God…
* He is teaching on The heart of the Kingdom
* At the end of His sermon He talks about Entrance to His Coming Millennial Kingdom
* Some will enter…some will be refused entrance

3. What is meant by “That Day”?
“That Day”…..
* The Second Coming of the Lord to establish His Kingdom
* Also called “The Day of The Lord”
* Also called “That Great and Terrible Day
* Joe 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come
* Zep 1:14 - The great day of the LORD is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness,
* Isa 2:11 - The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts Shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up —And it shall be brought low—
* “That Day” refers to the period of time before the millennial reign of Christ on earth when He will shake all the nations.

4. Jesus Warning to His disciples
* Mat 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
* This is a parable….a story with a clearly visible truth to give understanding of the truth Jesus has just taught
* He is warning people of the requirements to enter and experience His Coming Kingdom

5. We are all Builders of Some Kind of House
* Sons & Daughters… both words come from the root…”To Build the Fathers House”
* House = Life, Heart & Character, Marriage, Family, Finances, Business, Church, Ministry
* Jesus describes a wise man and a foolish man….WHICH ARE YOU?
* Both men were builders….Both men built a house
* The Exterior or outside of the house was clearly visible to all
* The Foundation undergirds and supports the whole building
* The Foundations of each house built are unseen….seen only by God who searches the hearts
* 1Sa. 16:7 - But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

6. The Storms came upon the House of Both the Wise man and the Foolish man
* Mat 7:25 – “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beaten on that house;
* Rain…Divinely initiated storms
Deu. 28:12 - The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its
season, and to bless all the work of your hand.
* Floods…Actions of ungodly people
Psa. 18:4 - The pangs of death surrounded me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
* Winds…Pressure of demonic spirits
Eph. 4:14 - that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine
* The storms uncovered and exposed the hidden foundation underneath each building
* The nature of unseen foundation of the building was revealed by the storms…stable or unstable.
* This happens in our life now….giving us opportunity to repent and make changes
* This will happen at the Coming of Christ and the assessment will be unchangeable and irreversible

7. Who then is a Wise Man?
* Wise: Thoughtful, discreet
* Pro 24:3 - Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established;
* Pro 13:1 - A wise son heeds his father's instruction(correction), But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
* The Wise Man Built his House upon a Rock
* Jesus Himself is called the Rock….something substantial and unshakeable
* Psa. 18:31 - For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
* 1Col. 10:4 - and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

8. What Does it Mean to Build your House Upon a Rock?
* Jesus explains exactly what it means to build your house or life upon a Rock
* Mat 7:24 - "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
* Note: “These sayings of mine”…refers directly to His teaching on Kingdom values and lifestyle, that preceded this story
* These teachings are on the Core Heart values of the Kingdom…The Need for a Transformed Heart
* Jesus teaches that it is not just our actions but our heart…the motivation behind the actions
* Eg. Motivation for Kind Acts
Mat 5:46 - For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
* Eg. Motivation for Giving
Mat 6:1 - "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
* Eg. Motivation for Prayer
Mat 6:5 - "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
* Mat 6:6 - But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to
your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
* Eg. Motivation for Fasting
Mat 6:16 - "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
* This story identifies two kinds of followers of Christ at the end time
* This story points out the consequences of our choices: Reward or Loss

9. Who then is a Foolish Man?
* Foolish….Moros….from which we get the word Moron
Dull, stupid, little or low understanding
* He built upon a foundation of sand
* Note: When an earthquake comes sand will liquify and the building collapse
* He heard the teachings of Jesus on the Kingdom and its eternal heart values
* He did not surrender to the Lord to do what Jesus directed
* He did not align his heart with the will of God but carried on …busy but unchanged in heart
* When we hear the Word of God and do not do it we deceive ourselves Jam.1:22
* “Deceive”….mislead, cause to believe something that is not true
* Hear….but fail to respond, to assimilate and to act on
* He persuades himself that he is doing ok and not required to do anything more
* Pro 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.
* Pro 15:5 - A fool despises his father's instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.
“Instruction” = correction, discipline,
* Mat 7:27 - and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
* “Great fall” ……all that he had invested his life into was exposed and revealed as unstable and ruined

10. Jesus Teaching (Instruction)
* Mat 7:22 - Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
Mat 7:23 - And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
* Many….a great multitude or great number of people
* They are operating in the supernatural power of God…prophesy, deliverance, miracles
* They call Jesus Lord… they recognize Him
* These are spirit filled believers who are serving and ministering
* Jesus knows the works that they have done….but refuses them entrance to the coming Kingdom
* Jesus refuses to reward their service, but uncovers its foundation as being sand. 
V. Why were they Rejected?

1. Lack of Intimacy with Jesus and Heart Transformation
* “Never Knew you”
* “Knew”…… is the word for a husband and wife being intimate
* Our first priority is intimacy with Jesus to know Him and become known by Him
* Intimacy is a lifelong progressive revelation, the goal of which is heart transformation
* It is to discover His heart and will for us and to surrender and do it
* David: “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID THE SON OF JESSE, A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART, WHO WILL DO ALL MY WILL.' Act 13:22
* Jesus: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do…I have manifested your name…revealed heart and character of God”. Joh 17:4
.
2. Self-Promotion
* “Workers of iniquity”
* Iniquity…twisted , distorted from Gods original intention
* It originated in Lucifer himself….I will ascend
* They used the gifts and resources of God to advance their own will, and for self-promotion instead of fulfilling the purpose and will of God for their lives
* All their labours had no lasting or eternal reward personally because of the motivation of their heart
* Their heart remained not transformed …their works unacceptable

This is a Time to evaluate our life and service for the Kingdom…Time to Reset!

Action:
1. What are you building your life upon?
2. Are you cultivating ongoing intimacy with the Lord……
Becoming vulnerable before Him?
Seeking to Know Him… Hear His word?
3. What is God speaking to you about?
4. What do you need to Surrender?
5. What changes do you need to make?



Key Principles Related to Eternal Rewards (2 of 12)  

Sat 13 Jun 2020 « Back to Top

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One of the major themes of Jesus teachings was the theme of Eternal Rewards. This topic is seldom taught in churches, but it provides major motivation for holiness, personal transformation and faithful service.

We shall all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to give account for our stewardship as followers of Christ. At stake are position, honour and reward in the coming Kingdom of Christ. This message is an introduction to the Bible Foundations of Eternal Rewards.

Key Principles Related to Eternal Rewards (2 of 12)

Introduction

We're looking at our series called Eternal Rewards. Eternal Rewards is the name of the series, and this is Session 2, on: Key Principles Related to Eternal Rewards. We'll find in the series as we go through it, that we'll undoubtedly overlap, and there's no problem overlapping, because what happens is you then you're reminded of them... reminded of them... reminded of them... and then gradually it just gets into your spirit. So here we are, ready to go!

Main Message

First, I'm going to give you a number of principles. Here's #1, and this one we've touched before, but we're going to go back to it again.

The first one is: we must all give account of our works to God. All of us must give account of our works. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and here's the first point under that: every believer must stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 - “We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so every one may be recompensed for his deeds in his body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Now this is not the great white throne judgement that takes place at the very end of the millennium. This is a judgement for believers - and it's not a judgement for punishment. It's a judgement for rewarding us for faithful service. As we have served the Lord, and walked with Him, He is looking for the opportunity to acknowledge our love for Him, and acknowledge our walk with Him, and this is a great incentive for us.

It means whatever we do, whatever we put our hand to, God is watching all of it; and He has in mind, has in view, that He can acknowledge it in a much greater way in the coming kingdom. Notice that scripture says: we must all appear - so that's every person; and everyone gives account. There's no one who doesn't give an account.

Sometimes we'll get discouraged. We see people do things, and we see people treat us badly, and it's even more miserable when it's Christians that treat us badly, but we must understand that God is watching every action. He watches their actions against you. He watches your response; and every response, every action that we take, God takes notice of. Jesus will evaluate our life, based upon what we have done.

Notice, He said: He will recompense us for the deeds in the body, whatever he has done, whether good or bad. And the word there for ‘done’ is the word ‘prassa’, meaning to practice, or perform repeatedly, or habitually. It means to practice, continually practice, or perform repeatedly, or make a habit of it. You notice then what He's looking for are the things which become a habit; not just the random: “hey, I blew it this time”. Those kinds of things really are not important. It's the trend of where our life is going, is what counts - whether the trend is moving in a certain direction. The fact there's ups and downs are not a problem to Jesus. It's where the trend of our life is, what we have practiced, or what we have done habitually. If you judge people constantly, then that's something that turns up in your life as someone - you've been a person who's judgemental. That will be considered.

The second thing we saw, as we looked last time, in the scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, is that, at the Judgement Seat, all our works are tested - so there's a Fiery Test!

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 - “No man can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident, or become manifest, for the day will reveal it, or expose it or uncover it. It shall be revealed by fire, the fire will test the quality, what sort of work each man does. If any man's work is built on remains, he will receive a reward; any man's work is burnt up, he will suffer loss; even though he will be saved, yet so as by fire.”

We touched on this scripture last week. The first thing we see in this again, is that Jesus Christ forms the foundation of what our life is about - what we do. He said it's like building a house. You lay a foundation, and then you build on the foundation. The foundation that's laid... we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We have a faith in Him; and the goal of our covenant with Him, is that we would walk with Him in ever increasing unity in life, and outwork His plan. That is, our lives would reflect what He's like, and we'd do what He calls us to do. So therefore, that determines then, how our works are evaluated.

They're evaluated! Did we build our kingdom, or did we build His? Did we do our own thing, and use the things of God to help us get ahead; or do we genuinely and authentically, because we love Him, desire to do something?

He says that there are different types of materials that you can use - temporal and eternal; and it says: “the Lord will try every man's work” - what sort it is. The word ‘try’ means literally, “to put it to the test, to see its quality” - like on a manufacturing line, they'll take a sample out, and they'll test it. Now they're not testing it to destroy it. They're testing it to see whether it meets the manufacturer's requirements, so it can go on to then be sold. In this situation, He says: He will try our works, or look at the quality of what we have done.

We can fool people, but we can't fool what God sees. God sees!

Hebrews 4:13 - “There is no creature, or no person, hidden from His sight; but everything is naked and open to the eyes of Him, before whom we give account.”

Everything - God sees everything! He doesn't just see what you do, He even sees why you're doing it, and what you're thinking as you do it. All of it is open before Him, which is quite extraordinary, isn't it? Then that causes you to start to rethink then - actually, my life is under observation all the time. It is a motivation then to challenge our thoughts, challenge why we're doing things, and so on. It says: “the fire will test the quality of every man's sort”.

Here's another scripture in 1 Corinthians 4:5 - “Don't judge anything before the time, until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels (or motivations) of people's hearts.”

That's when people will receive praise from God - 1 Corinthians 4:5. So He says: when we look at what people do, and how they behave, we really don't know what's going on. You don't know why they do what they do. You don't know what's going on in their heart. Sometimes actions which hurt us are not intentional at all. They may come from a person who's just got something else going on in their life. But the Bible says that when the Lord comes, He will bring out to light everything that's hidden, even the motivations of the heart. People who have got away with a lot of stuff - you can't get away with it before Him. He sees it all!

He sees why we did it; sees if there was a hidden agenda, a hidden motive, or so on. Notice then, the quality of what we're doing is based on our heart - which is why it is important to have heart healing and heart development. Everything flows from the heart. Jesus' interest and focus was on the heart. The Bible says: “out of the heart, flow the boundaries (or borders) of our life”.

What God will be looking for is: is there a love for Jesus burning in our life? Are we on fire for the Lord, and do we love Him? Has the Holy Spirit inspired us; or have we been willing to surrender our works to the Lord, so we're doing the things He calls us to do? The works could be burned up; and the ones who are ‘burned up’ are self-centred. There's pride, there's ambition, there's self-promotion - and you see heaps of that around, with so many people.

They may look good now; but will they look so good when He comes, when He puts the light on it? You will see that most of what was done - it looked great before men; but from God's eyes, He sees it was done out of pride, and self-promotion. It's all about them! Our works can be burned up, if they're motivated by pride, and self-ambition, and promotion; but our works can also pass the test, and then we receive reward. Our works pass the test if He looks into our heart and sees: actually, there's a motivation of love, genuine love; not trying to get something back, is what motivates us - and whether we've been responsive, and obedient, to what the Holy Spirit said to do.

You can be busy doing a whole heap of things, but they may not be what God called you to do. They're all just your own stuff. He can tell the difference between the two! That's why He calls us, really - #1, to have a love for the Lord, and love for people; and #2, to be surrendered to what He wants us to do.

So that means, it's not whether it's a good idea or a bad idea - it's whether: is God directing me that way? In another place it says: those who are led by the Holy Spirit in their choices, decisions and actions - they are the ‘sons of God’. So ultimately, if our works pass, they determine then, our Eternal Rewards.

Notice He said: “if any man's work abides, he'll receive reward; any man's work burned up he'll suffer loss, even though he's saved. Notice: reward; or loss - and that's what this whole thing of eternal rewards is about. It's about our activities now, and how we show up when God looks at them. I've found that as I've gone through this study, it just has caused me so much more to sharpen again, my own thinking about my life, and so on.

Here's the second main point then... Rewards are given, according to Works. Rewards are given, according to our Works. I touched on this last week and I'm going to put a bit more in on it this time, because I think it's really important that we don't get caught out - struggling to perform, and striving to do this, and do that; but that we actually see what God is looking at. Perhaps in another teaching session I'll share how God evaluates what we do. That's very powerful! There's a lot of things that I’ve just started to see around, related to that. I knew of three, but now I've found a lot more.

Firstly, rewards are given, according to our works. Some Christians don't understand that; and others react to it. But nevertheless, Jesus used that word. Jesus Himself, used the word ‘reward’.

He said in Matthew 16:27 - “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, He will reward each one according to his works.”

Jesus talks about reward.

We saw this scripture last week too: Revelations 22:12 - “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according to his works.”

Luke 6:35 - “Love your enemies, do good, not trying to get something back. Your reward will be great.”

Reward is something you receive, because you've done something right, or done something good, or done something. Rewards are an evidence that God is really kind - because what He rewards us with, is bigger than what we did - far bigger! It's like... there's no comparison!

Second thing: we're rewarded for the acts we do in this season in our life - acts that are right. We're rewarded for acts of righteousness.

Revelations 19:8 - “Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour to Him, for the marriage supper of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. To her it was granted she would be arrayed in fine linen, for the fine linen are the righteous acts of the saints.”

Notice then, you start to see that, in the coming kingdom, what you have done in this life will be visible to people. In other words, even if you did it, and no one saw it - in the coming age, and for all eternity - everyone will see it!

1 Corinthians 3:8 - “everyone will receive reward according to his own labour”

What are the works that are involved? The works mean: our actions, the things we did; things we said; our attitudes; how we spent time and money; what we did with our wife, our family, those near to us; how we handle our relationships - all those things are included.

James 2:17 - “If we have no works, then our faith is considered to be dead”.

Faith, by itself, if there's no works, is dead! The Bible is very strong on this - we are saved by faith in the work of Jesus Christ; but we qualify for rewards by demonstrating our faith is genuine – how we live out our life. If your faith is genuine, then it should show a changed life. It should show in what you do; the way you treat people; what you do with your life - your priorities all should show.

Titus 3:8 - “This is a faithful saying: I want to affirm that those who have believed in God, should be careful to maintain good works, which are good and profitable to men.”

He's exhorting us: now that you're saved, don’t just sit back and just do whatever you want - be careful to maintain good works.

Titus 3:14 - “Let our people so learn to maintain good works, to meet needs, so they may not be unfruitful.”

You just need to make it a priority to be proactive for the kingdom; and you'll see that lots of Christians aren't, but this is contrary to what God says.

Titus 2:14 - “God has redeemed to Himself a people who will be zealous for good works.”

God's plan means that not just we get saved, but now we join with Him in becoming passionate, in what He's passionate about - which is people, and changing society, making things different and better. Our faith reveals then, our works.

If you look at our life, you'll see clearly: something mobilised us, and motivated us; and it's these teachings on the kingdom.

Our works include even small things. Sometimes we think works are the big things - going and planting a church, doing some big preaching, something like that; but the works are usually small things.

Hebrews 6:10 - “God is not unjust (or unrighteous) to forget your work, and labour of love that you did in His name, in that you ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

God is not unrighteous - it would be wrong for Him to not acknowledge, or reward, what we do. When you look, and see so many slack Christians or believers around, it can be very discouraging. But when you have this truth in you, you know that God is not unrighteous - He sees what we do. He will reward those who do; and there'll be loss for those who don't.

As you start to look around the church, you see that people are asleep! People have got wrong motives, they're not understanding! There's a lot for them at stake - eternity, for them, is at stake!

Most of our faithfulness is manifested in very little decisions. Most of our decisions are very little. Most of our actions are very little; and our works include all the little things: kind words, a small attitude change, a little act of service. You helped someone; you did this, you did that. You turned up, when you didn't feel like turning up; giving something, to help someone. It's all the little things! No, it's not the big things, it's lots of little things. What did you do; and why did you do it?

In Luke 21, Jesus looked up, and He saw the rich man putting big gifts into the treasure; and He also saw a certain poor widow, putting in just two mites. And He looked - in other words, He saw it all - saw what she did; and He said: “this poor widow gave more than everyone”.

You'll see that, when we touch on how God evaluates. He evaluates not just on what we do, but: what did that represent in your life. He said look here, you've got all these big shots, and they're all putting in a lot of money; but there’s this little woman, and for her, what she gave was her very life itself.

He said: I notice that she gave more than everyone! Notice then, God’s measuring, is different to our measuring. We tend to measure: there's $1000, and there's $10; but God looks at it in relationship to: what did that mean to you? So, for the $1000, perhaps he made a million - so for him, this is nothing; but for the woman who gave $10, perhaps that's all she had left over - she can't buy something now. There's more in this than just the action you do; it's what it means in your life. That's why, if it's not a sacrifice for us, it doesn't mean much to God either.

God is attentive to every little thing. He watches; every little deed is seen by God; and no matter how unnoticed people have been.

Matthew 10:42 - “whoever gives just a cup of cold water to this little one in my name shall by no means lose their reward”.

A little cup of cold water - now that's so little! But God says: I watch all of that, and if I see that it's done out of love for people, and a love for Me… I will reward that. When you hear this sort of teaching, you realise how Just God is.

I think it's a thing that people struggle with is injustice - it doesn't seem fair, I've done all this, and I haven't done any of that; but actually, you're just looking too close - you're not looking at the long picture! When you get the long picture, and you come to the Judgement Seat of Christ, you think, wow! Did I get all of that, just for that little thing? Man, you're so generous! You're so kind! God will see all those things.

Our works also include the secret intentions of our heart. God sees *why* you do what you do.

1 Corinthians 4:5 - “don't judge anything before the time, the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and the motivations of the heart.”

Matthew 7:22 - “Many will say in that day: Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy, and cast out demons, and did many wonders in Your name? And He said: ‘I never knew you’”

There's been no intimacy, and you practice lawlessness. You just do your own thing, your own way, to promote yourself.

Then finally, our words will be evaluated, because our words reveal our heart.

Luke 6:45 - “a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things”.

So out of the abundance of the heart, you speak. Your words can bless people. Your words can hurt people. Your words can bring life; your words can bring death - all our words are noticed.

Matthew 12:36 - “By your words you'll be judged, for every idle word that men speak, they'll give account of it, in the day of judgement.”

By your words, you'll be justified. Every idle word, every unprofitable word. Think of how people talk, and chitter-chatter, and gossip, and complain, and run people down - God is hearing every conversation! The words are all registering; and carry weight to bless, or to bring about loss.

Here's another principle then, related to eternal rewards - all our words are written in God's books. I don't know whether they're literal books, or books of some kind, but it’s very clear from the scriptures, that God keeps a written record of everything! In a moment of time, you'll see all your life; everything you did, why you did, it and the effect it had - just like that!

The first thing then is: the works of people are important, and they have a lasting impact.

Psalm 139:16 - “Your eyes saw my substance, being unformed. And in Your book was written all the days You prepared for me, when there wasn't even one of them.”

God obviously has a book; and in the book, He writes out every day of your life. You're not going to die before your time; you're going to die in time, and God has planned every day for your life - He keeps a record of every day.

Daniel 7:10 - “the court was seated, and the books were opened”.

He’s talking about the coming of the Lord, and now there's books (plural). So clearly, books, or records, are kept of our actions, and words in our life; and our motivation.

Revelations 20:12 - “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened.”

There it is again – books (plural); and it says…

“Another book was opened, called the Book of Life, and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things written in the books.”

God keeps a record, and even our conversations are recorded.

Malachi 3:16 - “those who feared the Lord spoke to one another; and the Lord listened and heard them. A Book of Remembrance was written before Him, for those who fear the Lord and meditate on His name.”

There's lots of books - the ‘Book of Life’; and now there's another book called the ‘Book of Remembrance’!

Matthew 12:36 - “Every idle word that a man speaks, he gives account of”!

God keeps a track on our conversations!

The next main point is that our works follow us for eternity. Our works follow us, for all eternity! We will be known by our works.

Revelation 14:13 - “I heard a voice from heaven saying, write: blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours - and their works follow them.”

Their works follow them! For all eternity, we'll be known by how we lived in these 80 years. Our works will ‘follow us’. That word ‘follow’ means: ‘to accompany you on the journey’.

For all eternity, we'll be known for the passion we had for the Lord, and the purity of our motives; or whether we did our own thing and built our own empire - it will be known forever! It's not like, you get to heaven, and everyone's equal; everyone's the same; and no one knows what went on, it's all covered or concealed... Nope!

Notice here, he's talking about people who have loved the Lord; so it's the positive aspect that is being remembered - those actions and activities that earn acknowledgement by Jesus - those are the ones that we will be seen to have done. The failures, the mistakes... none of that will be visible, or seen. It's the way Jesus has seen, and evaluated our life, and chosen to honour us.

Imagine passing into eternity, facing judgement, and the Lord brings back to memory all the little things you did all through your life - and those things accompany you.

It's not that your works can come from heaven to earth; or from earth to heaven. No, what will happen is: the honour of them, is going to be carried in your life, and will be recognisable to people.

He talks about us having ‘wedding garments’.

Revelations 19:7 - “Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready - and to her was granted she'll be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen are the righteous acts of the saints.”

Notice it says that in the glory of the coming kingdom, we will be ‘clothed with white garments’; but the nature of the garments reflects the acts that we have done, which have served God. Any works that were not consumed by fire at the judgement time; that survived the fire, because they were operating out of love, and out of being led by the Holy Spirit, then they will form the foundation of our clothing - for eternity!

Such a short time that we have, so you want to be busy... don't you? Our clothing will reveal to everyone how we lived our life on earth. When people look at your clothing in eternity, they will know you've maintained the First Love for Jesus. It'll be obvious to everyone, that you kept your first love. It'll be obvious to everyone, that you did many things, that were motivated by love, to bring honour to Him. It'll be obvious to everyone, that you were a person who was walking with God.

Now that's a great encouragement! A great encouragement, to see that it's not just now, and it'll all pass away... that we'll just forget all about it. No, God has a way of dressing us, and clothing us in glory, which will reflect the measure of what we were like, and what we did on the earth.

Revelations 16:15 - “Behold, I am coming like a thief (or I'm coming secretly)! Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

Jesus warned us; and frequently talks about watching and praying. Watching and praying… that you don't fall to temptation; watching and praying… that you're ready for His coming; watch and pray… overcome temptation - all these things.

It says: “watch and pray”, and: “keep your garments, lest you walk naked, and they see your shame”. “They” - that must be other believers. He's saying: we must be careful to keep our lives passionate, or ‘on fire’ for the Lord; and not become complacent and apathetic, or passive and shut down - or ‘lukewarm’. Otherwise, it will be revealed to all.

If you were a believer who came to Christ and started out good; but then slowly slacked off, and ended up pretty slack, then it will be obvious that you have no clothing that would bring honour to you.

1 John 2:28 - “Now little children, abide in Him (maintain intimate connection with Jesus), so when He appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming and shrink away from Him at the shame of His coming.”

It's another version of it! What it's saying is: when the Lord comes, you want to be bold and confident, because of how you lived your life; and not: oh my God, I've been caught out, and embarrassed - that now you're in a bad state.

It says: “He will come at a time when no one knows” - so you've no idea when the coming of the Lord is. When He comes, you want to be passionate - on fire, full of the Holy Ghost, and doing good things for the Lord! It doesn't mean we won't have our ups and downs. Remember, it's the practice; it's the trend of where our life is going.

The next main point is that these rewards are Eternal. They're irreversible; and they never diminish. The rewards are Eternal - they're called Eternal Rewards. It's called ‘Eternal Judgement’.

Hebrews 6:2 – “…Eternal Judgement”.

Once it's made, it's made for eternity. There's no reversing the decision. Once you arrive at that point, there's no turning back. There's no: ‘give me a bit longer’. There's no second chance! At the judgement seat of Christ, whatever reward we get, is ours for eternity - and our rewards determine the way we spend eternity!

The second thing is: the rewards are irreversible. You can't change what the judgement is. You can't reverse it! If our works are burned, and we suffer loss, there's no way to reverse it! If we are disqualified from ruling with Christ, and being near to Him in eternity, there's no way you can reverse it.

When we look at more detail on the prizes, you realise that the prizes are out of proportion to anything we do, because of the generosity of God. If God is so loving, that He gave His only Son, then how much more will He reward us, who serve God - who serve Him Faithfully?

The third thing is that the rewards will never diminish! They can never be taken away, once you've got them.

Matthew 6:20 - “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth nor rust destroy, does not corrupt, and where thieves can't break in and steal.”

Whatever treasure you have in heaven can't be stolen or taken away. The Bible talks about people being rewarded with crown; and the crowns are imperishable, they don't fade away.

1 Corinthians 9:26, Paul writes about ‘running the race’ and ‘run to obtain’. He says: in the natural world people do everything in order to get a crown, to get an award; and he says: that's a perishable one! Ours is an imperishable one - it can never fade. Heavenly rewards are eternal, and they're imperishable. They never go, they never perish, they never diminish.

Let's have a look at the next key principle then. We find that Jesus Himself was motivated by rewards; and He also motivated other believers. Jesus was empowered to live His life, because of what He saw ahead. He was motivated by an eternal reward.

A temporary reward would be… what do people think of me now; how well am I living now; what income have I got now; what house do I live in now? An eternal reward is something completely different. It's not temporary, it's eternal - and He was motivated by that.

We find in Hebrews 12:2, Jesus endured the shame of the cross, and it says: “...for the joy set before Him”. ‘Set before’ means: ‘to lie in front of you’ - as a reward! To be constantly in your mind!

So Jesus, in facing the cross - with all its shame, and the pain, and the difficulty, and the rejection of people... all those things, it says: “He endured it, because of the joy that was positioned, or set before Him” - the opportunity to receive reward in the coming kingdom. It was the joy of what He saw ahead - and that's how we need to live our life.

If you’ve got no vision of what lies ahead, then you've got no motivation for being sacrificial. People look, and they say: you do this, and you've given up this, and you've given that…. We see something else here - and we're paying a price for that! We're making an investment... of our lives! If you don't see what is set before you, then you've got little motivation to keep going.

Understanding this issue of eternal rewards... then you realise: I'm willing to let Jesus transform my heart. I'm willing to bring out the broken places, the hurt places. I'm willing to humble myself, to let Him bring healing. I'm willing to work on my heart attitudes. Why? Because of something that lies ahead for me!

I read somewhere that Jesus gave 50 references to Eternal Rewards - so it's a big, big thing! There are many things that He taught about that - but He did teach His disciples, over, and over, and over again, about Eternal Rewards.

He called them to ‘become great’, called them to ‘receive rewards’, called them to ‘become a ruler over much’, to have ‘authority over nations’, to ‘sit on thrones’, and ‘gain crowns’. He was constantly moving them with this prospect.

His teaching on the ‘Five Wise, and the Five Foolish Virgins’ - it's all about entering into a ‘marriage feast’; about ‘eternal intimacy’, and a ‘close relationship’, and a ‘joy’ with Jesus. He taught a parable about the man with the ‘talents’ - how he'd been faithful over little, but much is given to you. In Matthew 25, He said: I'll make you ‘ruler over many things’.

So constantly, He's moving His people, saying that. The most important thing of all, is that we walk in love; that we love Him passionately, and love people.

Everything you can see; you will leave behind. What's left that's valuable? It's the things which you can't see; the things which are invisible - things of the kingdom!

The next thing then, is the eternal rewards are Glorious. It's hard to describe them, but there are many pictures of it through the Bible. The rewards that God has in mind, are beyond our imagination!

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 - “The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

He said: you've never seen it! No matter what you've seen, that's been magnificent - it's still small! You've never heard it spoken, and you haven't been able to even imagine the possibilities that God has ahead; he says, but the spirit reveals them to us.

The Holy Spirit, as you hunger for more, will gradually, little by little, reveal more of the wonderful things God has prepared, for those who love Him. Notice it said: ‘those who love him’. Also, “If you love Me, you'll keep My commandments”!

Paul is praying, and he prayed that…

Ephesians 1:17-18 - “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, you might know what is the hope of His calling… (and here it is) ...what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”..

There's a Glorious Inheritance. The word ‘riches’ - it's abundant, magnificent. It's full of glory, and it's within us! It's the formation of Jesus' life, and what will become. It's spectacular!

When you have a look at, say, Buckingham Palace; and you look at all the buildings - the detail, how ornate... and there's gold, and jewels, and all those things. When you look at the way that royalty carry themselves, the clothing, and everything that's there... Well, whatever God rewards us with, that's just only a little pale thing, compared to what He has.

1 Peter 2:9 - “you're a chosen generation, a royal priesthood”. ‘Royal’ means that you're descended from a king. You're part of a royal family.

Exodus 28:2 - “God appointed special garments for Aaron, the high priest”

He called these ‘garments of beauty and glory’. Aaron, who was the high priest, who had access to the presence of God - they made special garments for him, with gold and jewels - all kinds of things; so whenever you saw him, his garments were beautiful, and they covered him in glory. They shone; there was a magnificence about them; such that, the high priest wearing these beautiful garments, is a picture of us, in eternity.

A second picture of it that you can find is in the story of Jesus, on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Matthew 17:2 - “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light, or brighter white than anyone could make”.

When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration - as He was praying, the glory that was within Him, began to shine forth, and all His clothes changed. His countenance changed. He began to shine.

“His countenance was like the sun, in all its magnificence”.

There's a glory that has been put into us. Christ has been put into you, and although it can't be seen yet, there is a day, when what God has been doing, will shine out of our lives.

Matthew 13:43 - “the righteous (that's us) will shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father”.

God has reserved rewards for us, and they're shown, in different ways.

Another place it shows up is in Solomon's temple; and you remember in the Kingdom age, when Solomon built his temple - it was magnificent! It was the most amazing, beautiful thing. It said: there was so much silver, they didn't bother to count it. They had gold everywhere.

1 Kings 10:4-13 - “when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house he built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters, their clothing, the cupbearers, the way he went up to the house of the Lord, she fainted.”

There was no more spirit in her; and she said: wow! It's a true report, that I heard in my own land, about your words and wisdom. I didn't believe it, so I came and saw it with my own eyes - and half of it wasn't even told to me! Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of what I have heard. Happy are your men, and happy your servants, who stand before you, and hear your wisdom.

Jesus is obviously much greater than Solomon, and yet this is what the Queen of Ethiopia said: Oh! I've seen kings, and I've seen glory... amazing things; but she said: I have never seen anything like this! This is stunning.

We'll get to the last couple of key points now...

There are different degrees of eternal rewards. There are different types of eternal rewards. ‘Different degrees’ means ‘more or less’. There’s no ‘equal field’. The only equal field we have is here on earth - when everyone can aspire to be great. That's the amazing thing - all of us have a call to greatness - all of us can be great!

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be great. It's wired into you, to be great. It's wired into you, to want honour. It's wired into you, to desire glory, because you're made in the image of your Father. However, it's how you get it!

In the coming kingdom... the Bible, in many ways, indicates that not everyone will be the same. There will be some who are first; and some who are last. Some who are first - and first means: most important; and last means: least important.

Matthew 19:30 - “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

There are degrees of eternal rewards. Some will be first in authority, and glory, and intimacy; others will be last. Some will be in the throne with Him, others will be watching and praising around the throne - there's a difference! There will be the least; and the greatest.

Revelations 19:5 - “...and a voice came from the throne, saying: praise God, all you His servants - those who fear Him, both small and great.”

There are some ‘great’ servants of God; and there are some ‘small’ servants of God. There's greatness, and smallness; some will be small, some will be great.

Matthew 5:19 - “In the kingdom of heaven, there are ‘least’, and there are ‘great’. Whoever breaks the least of these commandments, and teaches men, shall be called ‘least’ in the kingdom. Whoever does, and teaches them, shall be called ‘great’ in the kingdom.

Even Jesus said: some will be called ‘great’, and some will be called ‘least’; and it has to do with whether you live out what you're saying.

What makes a person ‘great’, and what makes a person ‘least’, is their life choices. It's got nothing to do with your family of origin, your money, your job, your talents, your gifts... your anything! It totally has to do with the life choices that you made. Did you make ‘great’ choices? Did you make ‘bad’ choices?

Here's another comparison that the Bible points out. Some will sit with Jesus, ‘in’ His throne room; others will just be saved, they'll be ‘around’ the throne. We saw in 1 Corinthians 3:15, it said there: “they will be saved, yet so as by fire they'll lose their reward. Yet others will sit with Jesus on His throne and rule the nations with a rod of iron.”

Revelations 2:26-27 - “...to him that overcomes, will I give to sit with Me in My throne, and he shall ‘rule the nations’ with a ‘rod of iron’.

Notice there, overcomers are ‘ruling’ with Jesus, in His throne - sharing His governance, in the coming kingdom; and then there's others, who barely scraped in! Who do you want to be - a ‘barely scraped in’; or do you want to be in a position of great honour, great authority?

Here's another one:

“...and some believers will shine like the sun, and others will not”.

In Resurrection Glory, there will be a difference.

1 Corinthians 15:41-42 - “One star differs from another in glory, and so will it be in the resurrection.”

Go out at night and look at all the stars. There’s bright, shiny stars; and little ones, very faint ones - he uses that as an illustration. For example, there's one star there, the Pistol Star, which is 10 million times brighter than our sun! That's really big, its mass is 100 times greater.

Just as the stars vary from one another, in their brilliance and their glory, so it will be in the resurrection. The degree of honour, and glory, and majesty, that we have in the resurrection - that will be determined by the life we live now. It will be directly related to what you do, and what you overcome, in life.

No two believers are going to be the same. Everyone, while you're in this life, have got an equal chance; but once you get to the gate... then you can't make any more decisions on that one! Some believers will enter the wedding feast; some will not. We saw that in Matthew 25:10-13. Some go into a time of celebration and joy and intimacy with Jesus; some do not.

In another verse, Matthew 25:21 - some believers will be commended; some will not. Some will hear the Lord say: well done, you were faithful in a few things - I put you in charge of many; others will hear: you were ‘wicked’, and you were ‘lazy’ - and you can't be here!

Here's another one, in Luke 14:10 - some believers will receive ‘great honour’; and some will not. “When you're invited in, go and sit in the lowest place; and when he who invited you comes, he can say: ‘friend, go up higher’. Then you'll have glory in the presence of those at the table with you.” He's saying: just start off serving, and let God lift you up.

Some will be considered worthy; some will not. Some will attain the prize of a high calling; some will not. In the coming kingdom, there will be different responsibilities, and positions of authority. Everyone will have their own assignment.

Think about this... In the nation of New Zealand, how many cities are there? How many towns? There's many! All of those will require people in roles, and positions, to bring about reformation and transformation. There's going to be millions and millions and millions of roles to fill; and the role you fill will be determined by how you live on the earth now. Everyone has an opportunity! Everyone has the opportunity!

Matthew 20:26 - “If you desire to become great, become a servant. If you desire to be first, be the servant of everyone. Just like the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many.”

What will make you ‘great’ in the coming kingdom, is: your heart attitude - a heart of humility, and meekness, and serving… and everyone can do that! Everyone is unlimited in their faithfulness - you determine the limit. If it's a gifting, like music; or gifting with business; or gifting with finance - if it's something like that, then we might feel: “oh man, that's not fair, I haven't got enough, and others have got more”. But when it comes to the issue... it's just about your heart; and about your faithfulness - then everyone's in the running.

Finally, there's different kinds of rewards, in the millennial kingdom. There are many! There's about 18, mentioned in the Book of Revelation; so rather than do a list of them, I felt I'll just touch on them in a bit more detail in another place, another time. Many of them are mentioned there; but perhaps the three most important ones, would be these:

1) Eternal Intimacy with Jesus - a deep intimate connection; and our level of intimacy, or connection to Him, and fellowship with Him, will be determined by our life here.

In Matthew 25, we saw the ‘wise virgins’ - some went into the feast; some didn't.

2) The second, and this one is a major one, that is spoken of, is: Eternal Authority. Of course, that also means: Eternal Responsibility, as well. Eternal Authority; and what that means is that, in the coming kingdom, God has responsibilities for us. Your life now, is just your preparatory service. Your real assignment comes in eternity - in the millennium! Whatever you're doing now - it's all about your preparation; you can handle disappointments, the setbacks.

You invest in people... and they fail away, or they fall away. You can get very overwhelmed and say: I don't see any results; or you can be doing it unto the Lord, and just maintain your joy, and your happiness, despite the disappointments. God is watching all of that; and the Eternal Authority, and Responsibility... it's out of proportion to anything we did!

In Luke 19:11-27, it talks about the wise servants - faithful over little; ruling over much. One was faithful over little - then ruled over 10 cities! Can you imagine being given responsibility for 10 cities - for their reformation and restoration; proper governance; reshaping the culture, the finances - that's a big responsibility! So obviously, there's various levels of responsibility.

3) The last one is: Eternal Glory. Eternal glory; Resurrection Glory. In Revelations 3:5, it talks about how they'll be ‘clothed in white garments’. It's indicated that it's a ‘reward’. There are: rewards of Intimacy; rewards of Authority, and with it, Responsibility; and rewards of Glory.

There are other rewards that are mentioned... Perhaps one that I'll mention is the Honour; an Acknowledgement of your life pleasing God. There’s quite a few that come to mind, as I think about it... That God will ‘honour’ you: “well done, good and faithful servant” - well done! You did well, with what you had.

Remember, it's not about us working hard, to try and get something. It's about our love increasing; and the passion overflowing, in our desire to serve the Lord - and He sees our love for Him, our love is expressed by obedience to Him. He says: I just want to do all I can to acknowledge that - far more than you can ever imagine; I'm looking to reward you! He's not looking to punish us! He's looking to see what, in our life, that He can acknowledge - that requires honour in the coming kingdom.

Of course, the last thing is that some will suffer ‘loss’, at the Judgement Seat. Some will suffer loss at the judgement seat!

1 Corinthians 3:15 - “...if their works are burned, then they'll suffer loss, but they'll be saved, yet so by fire.”

So ‘suffering loss’ - it's not physical suffering; it's just the forfeiting of rewards. In other words, it's saying: there was a cheque being offered, of $1 million; but I mucked around - I didn't get to the bank on time, and now I can't cash it! That's sad - that's suffering loss! That really is suffering loss. You didn't do it in time, and now it's been taken away from you!

2 John 1:8 - “watch out, that you don't lose what you worked for; but you may be rewarded fully.”

He warns us: make sure that you don't be ‘cheated out’ of what God is wanting to give you. Jesus warned people too....

Revelations 3:11 - “...hold fast what you have, that no man take your crown.”

There are warnings in there, in a number of places, about suffering loss! The ‘loss’ means: not that I'm going to be in pain, I’m not going to be hurt - it's nothing to do with that. No, I will experience the love of God - I'll experience many things in the coming kingdom. However, the thing that will be sad is: the loss of what I could have had.

We must believe that God is able to reward people brilliantly. It's His nature to be generous. It's His nature to be kind. It's His nature to be gracious. It's in His nature to be Just - to give what is deserving and will be recognised.

As you look around the world, you can see that people are dying for their faith, in some countries. Then you see in the west, for the most part, that people are passive, lukewarm, and indifferent. For many people, the core problem is that they have no passion going on, in their life for Jesus. There's compromise of all kinds; and this is what Jesus talks about, in the Book of Revelation. He talks to the Seven Churches of Revelation, and identifies what's good, and what is lacking, in their lives; and HE encourages them to overcome - and then offers many rewards, for those who overcome.

This topic is a very big topic. There is a lot more in the Bible, about the nature of the rewards; and there's also quite a lot in the Book of Revelation, about the actual challenges that God calls us to overcome. At some point, we'll look at each of those... What are the specific challenges that will come that you will need to overcome in your life?

For example, with one of the churches, He commended them for many things; but He said: I've got this against you - you've left your first love. In other words, they're busy in church, and busy doing things... but the passion, the fire, the love... their first commitment to Christ had gone; and you see that with many people!

Our desire is that we understand Eternal Rewards; and that we are greatly motivated by the prospect that everything I do is seen, and visible. Therefore, because it's all visible...

What words am I saying? Are they bringing life or destruction?

What are the motivations I've got going on? Is it love of God flowing through me, or am I reactionary, reacting, retaliating?

Is there unkindness in my heart? How am I serving the Lord?

Am I connected to Him in passionate worship? Am I serving Him to the best of what I can?

Remember, it's not ‘perfection’ that He's looking at. He's just looking at a heart that's towards Him. He's not looking at the individual acts as much as - although they're all recorded. He is looking at: what is the arc of your life? If you keep getting up, keep moving back, keep reaching out, keep going forward... then you qualify for reward.

God, who knows our lives, knows what we've done in secret; and will reward us openly, before all people, and everyone will then know what kind of life you lived on earth - what kind of passion you had for the Lord, and how faithful you were in what you did.

It's an incredibly motivating teaching, around eternal rewards, because you realise then... if you're hurt, knocked back, set back, disappointed, things go wrong... then it's okay, I can turn to the Lord. He will comfort me and strengthen me. I will deepen my relationship with Him, and I'll carry on. What people do, won't stop me. If failures come, I'll just get up and keep running again. Amen!

Closing Prayer

Father, we just pray right now, that the words we've spoken, will find a resting place in good ground; that Lord, each one that hears this message, will feel the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in them - to renew their first love; and to passionately serve You; and to the run the race - to win the prize, that's laid before each of us.

I pray, Lord, for every member of my family; that Lord, they'll catch a grip: that there's an eternal prize to be won; and will live a life that honours You, and qualifies them for: “well done, good and faithful servant”. Amen!

Summary Notes

Formatted » Back to Top »

ER2: Key Principles Related to Eternal Rewards

I. We Must All Give Account of our works

1. Every Believer will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
* For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
* We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
Every believer will stand before Christ and give an account for the way they lived.
* At that time, we will be recompensed - or rewarded - for the works that we did while on earth.
* Jesus will evaluate our life based upon what we have done.
The Greek word for done is prasso, which means ― to practice, perform repeatedly or habitually.
That is why it is important to form Christ- exalting, kingdom-building habits now—before it‘s too late.

2. At the Judgment Seat of Christ our Works will be tested by fire.
* For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
* Jesus Christ is the Foundation for all that we do.
Our works will be evaluated on whether we built His Kingdom or our own
* There are different types of materials we can use for building… Temporal or Eternal
* The Lord is looking and the quality or motivation for what we have done
“Try”….To test or examine the quality of something so it can be approved
* The Fire will test the quality of each man’s work…what sort it is, its nature and motivation
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb.4:13)
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.
Then each one's praise will come from God. (1Cor.4:5)
* The Quality of our works will be based upon Heart issues:
Our love for Christ & Whether we were led by the Holy Spirit, our motivation
* The outcome is Reward or Loss for Eternity
* Our works can be burned up… i.e.. not survive close inspection of the motivation
If they were self-centred, coming from pride, selfish ambition, and self-promotion…
We built our own Kingdom instead of His
* Our works can pass the test….
We will be rewarded for every action no matter how small that flowed out pure motives because of our love for Christ and obedience to the Holy Spirit
* The Judgment seat of Christ does not determine whether we go to Heaven or hell. It is to determine our stewardship… what Eternal Rewards we shall receive
* It determines our eternal rewards, such as our degree of Intimacy, Authority, and Glory.


II. Rewards are Given According to Our Works

1. Jesus Himself Used the Word Reward
* For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matt.16:27)
* "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. (Rev.22:12)
* “Love your enemies, do good...and your reward will be great”. (Lk. 6:35)
* “But when you give a feast, invite the poor...the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection”. (Lk. 14:13-14)
* “Reward” …fruit that results from tools and labor’s, wages
* Rewards are really evidence of Gods abundant mercy and generosity…they are completely out of proportion to any work that we do

2. We are rewarded for our acts of righteousness done in this age
* To her [Bride] it was granted to be arrayed...for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Rev. 19:8)
* Each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor [work]... If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (1 Cor. 3:8, 14)
* Our works include our actions, words, attitudes, and how we spend our time and money and care for our families and others.

3. Faith without “works” is considered to be “dead faith”
* Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (Jam. 2:17)
* ‘This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Tit.3:8)
* ‘And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful”(Tit.3:14)
* We are saved as a gift by faith in Jesus’ work, but we are rewarded according to our works.
* Our entrance into heaven is not based on our works, but our role in the Coming Kingdom is.
* “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit.2:11-14)
* The Grace of God is His goodness and power freely given by faith
* Grace is not only to save us but to transform us and empower us to godly living and to good works
* Some misunderstand the value and importance of their works;
Since no one can be saved by their works, they falsely conclude that their works do not matter.
* I will show you my faith by my works. Do you see that faith was working together with his [Abraham’s] works, and by works faith was made perfect? …so, faith without works is dead also. (Jas. 2:17-26)

4. Our Works include Small Deeds
* Heb. 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
* Our faithfulness is manifested in our life choices — 99% of our godly choices and deeds are small.
* Our works include the small things that we do: Speaking kind words, Small attitude adjustments, Little acts of service (in our family), and sacrificially giving small amounts of money (Lk. 21:1-4).
* Luke 21:1 - And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."
Jesus evaluated the giving not by the quantity….but by the quality, what it represented to them
* Because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities. (Lk. 19:17)

5. Jesus Remembers every small act of love,
* Every deed that we do is seen and rewarded by God, no matter how unnoticed it is by men
* Even giving a small cup of water is noticed by Jesus
* And whoever gives... only a cup of cold water... he shall by no means lose his reward. (Mt. 10:42)
* God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints. (Heb. 6:10)

6. Our Works include the Secret intentions of our heart to love and obey God
* 1Col. 4:5 - Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
* Mat 7:22 - Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
Mat 7:23 - And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

7.Our Words will be Evaluated on the last day since they reveal our Heart
* Luke 6:45 - A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
* For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Mt. 12:36-37)
For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
* Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father. (Mt. 10:32)


III. All our Works are Written in God’s Books

1.The works of human beings are important and have a lasting impact
* God keeps detailed records of what each person does
* Psa. 139:16 - Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
* Dan 7:10 - A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
* Rev 20:12 - And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
* Rev 13:8 - All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

2.Even our conversations are recorded
* Mal 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. conversations
* But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 - For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
* God’s books contain the names and actions of all believers


IV. Our Works Follow Us for All Eternity

1. We Will Be Known by Our Works
* Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Rev.14:13)
* For all eternity, we will be known for the way we lived the seventy to eighty years of our life.
Our works follow us”….
‘Follow“….Accompany in the same path, associate with as a disciple
* For all eternity, we will be known for building the kingdom with pure motives or for building our own empire out of selfish motives.

2.The Wedding Garments that we will receive in heaven will testify to everyone how we lived our life on the earth.
* Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
* NB: The fine linen in which we will be clothed ―is the righteous acts of the saints.
* The works we have done that are not consumed by the fire at the judgment seat form the foundation of our clothing for eternity
* Our clothing will reveal to everyone how we lived our lives on earth
* In eternity people will be able to look at us and immediately know:
i. We maintained our First Love for Jesus
ii. Our works were motivated by a true desire to bring Glory and Honour to Him
iii. Our works were done under the leading of the Holy Spirit and obedience to Him

3. Jesus Warning:
* Rev 16:15 - "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."
* Jesus warned us about staying awake and keeping our wedding garments unstained
* If we allow ourselves to grow complacent, apathetic, indifferent, and lukewarm, our works will be burned at the judgment seat of Christ and the ―shame of [our] nakedness will be revealed
* And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (shrink away from Him in shame at His coming) (1 John 2:28).
* Jesus paid a great price to redeem us, and to position us for honour. Our daily choices affect our spiritual condition when He returns
* We can “love His appearing and receive a crown”…. Or …”be ashamed before Him” because of our condition


V. These Rewards are Eternal, Irreversible, and Never Diminish

1.The Rewards are Eternal
* The judgment seat of Christ will be an ―eternal judgment (Heb.6:2)
That is, there will be no reversing the decision.
* At the judgment seat of Christ, the rewards that we receive will be our portion for all eternity.
* Our rewards determine the way we spend eternity…, the intimacy, the authority, the glory
Eternity will be better for some believers than for others.

2.The Rewards are Irreversible
* If our works are burned and we suffer loss, there will be no way to reverse this.
* If we are disqualified from receiving our fullest eternal inheritance—such as sitting with Jesus on His throne and ruling the nations with Christ — there will be no way to change this.

3.The Rewards Never Diminish
* Treasure in heaven can never be destroyed or stolen
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mt. 6:20)
* The Crowns of the saints are described as imperishable—not fading away
...to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (1 Cor. 9:25)
* Heavenly Rewards are eternal and imperishable—they will never diminish
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mat.6:20)
* Our Resurrected Bodies will shine like stars forever. Their brightness will never diminish.
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.” (Dan.12.2-3)


VI. Jesus Was Motivated by Eternal Rewards.

1. Jesus was Motivated by Eternal Rewards
* Jesus was empowered to live a consecrated life and endure the suffering of the cross because He was motivated by eternal rewards.
* … looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb.12:2)
* Jesus endured the shame of the cross by looking at ―”the joy set before Him”
“Set before”…to lie before in view, to stand forth as a reward, to be present in the mind
“The joy set before Him”…a multitude of sons & daughters ruling creation with Him
* Jesus was moved by love for His Father, and desire to Honour and obey Him
* “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (Jn.17:4)
* He also was moved by the Eternal Reward that would follow His committed, faithful life
‘And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Phil.2:8-9)

2. Jesus Motivated His Disciples by Teaching on Eternal Rewards

* The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus repeatedly used eternal rewards to motivate people to a life of meekness, purity, and righteousness (Matt. 5-7).
e.g. ”Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth” (Mat.5:5)
e.g. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Mat.5:8)

* The Kingdom Parables: Jesus repeatedly used eternal rewards to motivate His disciples
“And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” (Lk.19:17)

* In Revelation 2-3: Jesus offered the churches eternal rewards to motivate them to righteousness and to empower them to overcome compromise and complacency.
e.g. Gain Eternal Authority:
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Rev.2:26)
e.g. Gain Eternal Glory
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Rev.3:5)
e.g. Gain Eternal Intimacy
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev.3:20)
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21)

3. What God considers First and Greatest.
* You shall love the LORD...This is the first and great commandment. (Mt. 22:37-38)
* Loving God with all of our heart is the first emphasis of the Spirit in our lives, and it is the greatest calling on anyone’s life.


VII. Eternal Rewards are Glorious

1.Eternal Rewards are Beyond our Imagination
* “But as it is written: "EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1Cor.2:9-10)
* …that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe,(Eph.1:17-18)
* They are spectacular and far more glorious than anyone imagines—exceedingly abundantly beyond what we think (Eph. 3:20).

2.These Rewards are Appropriate for God’s Royal Family
* 1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;
* We are a priesthood…Royal…descended from a King
* E.g. God appointed special garments for Aaron the High priest …garments for Glory and Beauty
* And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.(Exod.28:2)
* E.g. Jesus Garments altered on the Mount of transfiguration
* His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (Mt. 17:2)
* The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Mt. 13:43)

3.These rewards are glimpsed prophetically in Solomon’s temple
* And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However, I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! (1Ki.10:4-13)
* Jesus is greater than Solomon…He will manifest His majesty in His Household

4. The glory of the Royal daughter in Psalm 45 symbolically points to the glory of the Bride of Christ.
* The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; her clothing is woven with gold. (Ps. 45:13)
* We must not limit God’s power and creativity in preparing rewards for those that love him
* “it has not entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for the next that love Him” (1Cor.2:9)
* Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Phil.3:21)


VIII. There are Different Degrees of Eternal Rewards.

1. Some will be will be First …Others will be Last
* Speaking of eternal rewards, Jesus said ―many who are first will be last; and the last, first (Matt. 19:30).
* This shows us that there are degrees of eternal rewards.
* For all eternity, some will be first in authority, glory, honour, and intimacy while others will be last.

2. Some will be Greatest…Others will be Least
* That is, their life choices will be “called great”—by God, the angels, the saints.
* Jesus described a great diversity in how the saints’ life choices will be viewed in the age to come.
* In the kingdom of heaven, there are the ―least and the ―great (Matt. 5:19).
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt.5:19)
* “Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" (Rev.19:5)

3. Some will sit with Jesus on His Throne…Others just be Saved
* Some Believers will sit down with Jesus on His throne and rule the nations with a rod of iron
(Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).
* Many Believers will be saved but with No Reward
Many believers will barely make it into heaven—they will ―be saved, yet so as through fire
(1 Cor. 3:15).

4. Some Believers Shine like the Sun…Others will not (Resurrection Glory)
* Some believers will shine like the sun, others like the moon, and others like a faint star
(1 Cor. 15:41-42).
* There are many billions of stars, and each is unique.
* The Pistol Star is 10 million times brighter than our sun and has a mass 100 times greater.
* In the age to come, there might be several billion people in God’s family.
* The realm of “the resurrection” includes our body, garment, thrones, crowns, and more—each area of our life in the resurrection will express a measure of the glory of God.
* The degree of glory that we will have is based upon the way we live on earth.
* The degree of glory in our resurrected bodies will be directly related to what we overcome in this life and the amount of Christ- likeness that has been formed within us.
No two believers will have the same measure of glory.

5. Some Believers will Enter The Wedding Feast…Some Will Not
* Some believers will go into the wedding feast while others will not be allowed to enter
* “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. (Matt. 25:10).
* “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' (Matt. 25:11-13).

6. Some Believers will be Commended…Some will not
* Some believers will hear the Lord say, ―Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will put make you ruler many things; enter into the joy of your Lord
(Matt. 25:21).
Others will hear Him say: You wicked, lazy slave-assign him a place with the hypocrites (Matt. 25:26; 24:51).

7. Some believers will Receive Great Honour… Some will Not
* In heaven, there are ―places of honor, people who are ―more distinguished and there is ―the last place
* ‘If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn.12:26)
* Based upon how we live on the earth, we can ―move up higher (Luke 14:10).
* But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. (Lk.14:10

8. Some Believers will be Considered Worthy…Some Will Not
* Jesus said that some will be ―considered worthy to attain to that age [the Millennial Kingdom] and the resurrection from the dead‖ while others will not be counted worthy (Luke 20:34-36).

9. Some Believers will attain the Prize of the High calling…Some will not
* Paul said that there is ―the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, suggesting that there are lesser callings for those who do not
* It is a ”Prize to be won”…..prizes are for the victor
* I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14, KJV).

10. In God’s family in the New Jerusalem, there will be different positions, responsibilities, capacities, and experiences.
* We see similar differences in this age.
* The distinctions in the age to come are related to our faithfulness, humility, obedience, and diligence, not to our gifting, position or money in this age.

11. There will be different Positions of Authority, Responsibility, Experience :
* We will all have different work assignments with varying measures of authority and responsibility
* There are many different roles in the infrastructure of a nation.
For example, in the USA, there are over 22 million people employed in the infrastructure—federal, state, and local.
* “...because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.”
And the second came... likewise he said to him, “You also be over five cities.” (Lk. 19:17-19)
* “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nation” (Rev.2:26)
* Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" (Rev.19:5)

12. Everyone has the opportunity to be called great in the age to come.
* Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant, And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mat 20:26-28)
* The desire to be great, to have honor is in the heart of every person…we are called to this.
* Jesus did not rebuke the disciples for their desire to be great but for their understanding of what it means and how to obtain it
* Every person can become great in the Age to come


IX. There are Different Types of Eternal Rewards

1.There are very Many Eternal Rewards Mentioned
* These are mentioned in the teachings of Jesus especially in Revelation
* The three Most Important of these are:
a. Eternal Intimacy (with Jesus)
Math.25 1-13 The Wise Virgins………. the Wedding Feast
Deep relationship and personal intimacy with Jesus and the Father
Great joy and celebration and fellowship together

b. Eternal Authority (and Responsibility)
Luke19:11-27. The Wise Servant………Ruling over Ten Cities
The joy of partnership with Jesus in restoring and rebuilding his creation
Deep friendship and access to His wisdom and supernatural power

c. Eternal Glory ……Rev.3:5,18. White Garments
Garments of beauty and glory that display the life we lived on earth
Great honour and affirmation by Jesus
“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Rev.20:6)


X. Some Will Suffer Loss at The Judgment Seat of Christ

1. Some will suffer loss of rewards that could been received
* (1 Cor. 3:15; 1 Jn. 2:28; 2 Jn. 8; Rev. 3:11, 18; 16:15).
* Suffering loss does not mean physical suffering but forfeiting potential rewards. Imagine discovering what could have been yours but through foolish choices you were disqualified from it
* Loss of Eternal Rewards comes by neglecting God’s will, refusing to repent of sinful activities, and not persevering in our calling.
* If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved. (1 Cor. 3:15)
* Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for but that you may be rewarded fully. (2 Jn. 8; NIV)

2. Jesus warned believers not to allow anyone to take their crown
* “Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11)



Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 1 (3 of 12)  

Fri 19 Jun 2020 « Back to Top

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One of the major themes of Jesus teachings was the theme of Eternal Rewards. This topic is seldom taught in churches, but it provides major motivation for holiness, personal transformation and faithful service.

We shall all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to give account for our stewardship as followers of Christ. At stake are position, honour and reward in the coming Kingdom of Christ.

This message looks at the Two of the glorious Eternal Rewards that the Bible reveals are prepared for those who love Jesus, overcome in life and serving faithfully.... Eternal Intimacy and Eternal Authority.

Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 1 (3 of 12)

Introduction

We're starting again on Eternal Rewards #3, and this study's going to be called: Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 1. There'll be two parts to this part, because there's quite a lot of teaching on eternal rewards, and I think it really helps if you do understand them. We start at the introduction, and we just cover a little bit of familiar ground, and in this study I'm going to actually list for you the main categories of rewards, and then we're going to look at two of them and go through them in more detail. Next time round we'll go through some of the others.

Main Message

One of the great things that Jesus had was the teaching on Eternal Rewards. He constantly talked about it, because it motivates us to look beyond temporary, and to eternal.

Matthew 16:27 - "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father and with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."

The word reward means to recompense, or to pay what is appropriate and what is due. What he's saying then, is that there is a day when the Lord will come, and He'll come in power! He'll come in glory; and that will be a time when He will reward, or acknowledge in a very specific way, the labours that we've done in serving Him.

The second thing is, there's many different kinds of rewards. When you start to read through the Book of Revelation and then through other places in the Bible, you find many rewards that are listed are different kinds - and it makes sense. God is extremely creative, and if He can create the universe, and create all the details of creation, then He's got unlimited resources to find ways to reward us, which are appropriate for us, and to recognise what we've done. In Revelations 2-3 He describes a number of rewards. He talks in Revelations 2-3 to the churches, and firstly He reveals Himself, an aspect of His character; then He talks about knowing their works, and honours them for the works they've done; then He points out the bit they need to come to grips with or overcome - and then makes promises to the overcomers!

If we're familiar with the significance and importance of different rewards, then it's a huge motivation; becoming aware of it requires a response. Once you're aware of it, you then need to actually then do something - having the information won't be enough! It's meant to change our life and give us motivation.

In Colossians, for example - Colossians 3:22-24, we saw this verse last week: "Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. For whatever you do, do it heartily, as though you were doing it to the Lord and not to men, knowing... (and here it is - you do it this way) ...knowing that from the Lord you receive the reward of inheritance, for you serve the Lord Jesus Christ."

What he's saying there in the verse is that, when we know that God is watching every detail of our lives, every aspect of our heart and thoughts and motivation, and that He will recompense us, then we can boldly face up to the difficulties that we have with people, with working with people, with serving people. He's talking to slaves, people who are constantly, or frequently, abused by their masters. He didn't address the issue then, of the slavery or the injustice. He put in their heart an eternal perspective, so they could overcome in the midst of their difficulty.

Third thing is, rewards are not given automatically. There would be many Christians who would like to think, well: we'll all be equal; or everyone's the same. But actually, although we're of equal value to God, nevertheless He relates to us differently based on our response, so rewards are not automatic. They come if we fulfil specific conditions.

Revelations 3:21 - "to him who overcomes I'll grant with him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and am sat down with My Father on His throne."

John 12:26 - "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and where I am My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour."

Notice there, in both of those passages there is a promise to someone who does something - to him who overcomes, I'll give this place of authority with Me. The second passage there, in John 12 - anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and then He says My Father will honour him.

He talks then about Authority in the first passage, and then He talks about Honour in the second passage. God desires to raise our level of responsibility and authority in the coming kingdom. God desires to honour us in the coming kingdom. Notice there in that first verse, to 'overcome' means to 'subdue' or 'get the victory over' something. At some stage we'll go and look at the Churches of Revelation, but in each one, there was something to overcome; and the last one of all, was the church that was lukewarm. If you look of course at the church now, you will see Luke-warmness is a significant problem, but one of the greatest promises are to those who overcome Luke-warmness, passivity and apathy.

Number 4, the small sacrifices made now have a huge recompense in eternity - small things. It may seem big to you, and for some people little is very big, but this is what Jesus:

Matthew 25:21 - "If you are faithful over small things or few things, I'll make you ruler over many things."

Notice the contrast: few things, many things. The key is being faithful. Here's another one in the Parable of the Pounds:

Luke 19:17 - "Well done, you were faithful in very little, have authority over 10 cities."

Notice: very little... 10 cities! Wow, that's just no comparison right there. What He's trying to do is, using the stories to say, the recompense will far outweigh any sacrifice. When you understand what He's offering, it so overshadows the cost and sacrifice, that people are motivated and willing then to lay down things.

In Hebrews 11:6 we saw before that God is a Rewarder. That means He recompenses, or He is extremely generous and extravagant. We can trust that God is going to give a big pay day. You know how people at work - they look forward to getting a big bonus at the end of the year? Well for a believer, we get blessed in the journey, but then there's a massive bonus at the other end, a massive bonus, and it’s out of proportion to everything. Even though we may have temporary difficulties, we are persuaded because of what we know to persevere, because today's not my pay day - it's still coming! Jesus promised the disciples…

Matthew 19:29 - "Everyone who has left houses, or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life”.

Notice He said, 'a hundredfold', meaning the maximum possible return. He's trying to convey to us that if we have to sacrifice, if following the Lord means alienation from people, if following the Lord means we lose or leave behind things, He says: nevertheless, there will be a hundredfold return! Frequently there's a portion of it is in this life; and we see, if you look at our lives you can see the blessings that abound, the blessings are tangible, and visible in lots of different ways. However, they're not the real rewards. The big ones are to come. That's what makes you then excited about living every day, and not afraid of death, because how could you be afraid of death when your big pay day's ahead? You can't be! So now we've talked about the rewards, I want to give you a summary of them.

This is an overview and it's just one way of grouping them together. There's so many mentioned, somewhere between 18 and 30 in different ways, that they do cross over and connect with one another in different ways. So here they are…

#1 - Eternal Intimacy, which means that there is a realm of intimate relationship with God that's reserved for those who overcome.

Revelations 3:12 - "He who overcomes, I'll make him a pillar in the temple of My God, he shall go no more out. I'll write on him the name of My God, the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven from My God. I'll write on him My new name."

When He talks about writing the name on someone, He's talking about having a deep intimacy with God as a Father, and a deep intimacy with Jesus Christ.

#2 - the second significant reward that's offered is Eternal Authority. What that that means is that, we are given different work assignments with different levels of Authority and Responsibility and Power - and that will be forever! It's not a temporary thing.

Right now, what you have is temporary, and it keeps changing, and when you see that what you do now is just your assignment for now, it's your training assignment. Every time your assignment changes, it's just more training, different assignment and how we fulfil our assignments determines then what God entrusts in eternity.

When I look at my journey, there was an assignment to teach in a high school, and run Christian outwork there, among the children. Then there was a new assignment, so I had to leave that behind; to have an assignment with a Christian school; and then the time came for that to end. There was an assignment pastoring, and then that time came for that to end. There was a new assignment then, that involved starting and planting another church; and there was an assignment leading a movement... and then the assignment shifts - it comes to an end.

If you understand your life is just a series of assignments, then you stick with your assignment until God says it's time to let it go. Then when you let go, it's easy to let go. It's just so simple. It's just having the right perspective; but if your identity is tied up in your assignment, you can't let it go. You just use everyone to make yourself feel better, because you've got a lack inside that God wants to meet.

#3 - we saw the scripture in Luke 19:17 - if you're faithful over very little, you'll have rulership over cities. So thirdly, Eternal Glory. God intends to manifest His glory. It'll be in several ways. One will be through a resurrection body. There'll be other ways God will manifest His glory, but it'll be in different measures.

Matthew 13:43 - "the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

Reward #4, the Bible describes Eternal Garments. There's quite a number of scriptures that refer to garments of different kinds, and the garments will vary in glory depending on how the believer lived. If you go to a special function, you'll notice how everyone dresses up - they dress up in their best.

If you go to a graduation for example, you'll notice how they dress up, and they have different kinds of aspects to their clothing, and when you look at it, you know: oh wow, oh that's a Master of Science. Oh wow, that's a PhD in arts. You can recognise it from the different clothing they're wearing, and so it will be that in eternity we will be clothed in garments - garments of glory, and they will probably have different kinds and styles and colour, and God's creative in all of that. But they will indicate the life we've lived on the earth.

Revelations 3:4 -"he who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments".

We're not clear exactly what the garments are, but they will be aspects of God's nature and His glory.

Reward #5, the Bible describes Victor's Crowns. We'll look into this next week, but a crown is a reward, or an acknowledgement, that you've run a race and won - you're the victor. You've won! Always with a victor's crown, there was something you overcame. Some will receive crowns because of their private victories.

James 1:12 - "Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he's been approved, he will receive the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

Our love for the Lord is demonstrated by obeying Him and overcoming temptations which are frequent in life. Each temptation is a chance to prove the quality of our love, and our faith, so when we overcome or endure temptations and pressures, then God's approval comes, and we receive reward in the next life.

Reward #6, Honour and Praise. In the eternal kingdom, or millennial kingdom, we will receive varying degrees of praise from the Lord. God doesn't say "well done" to everyone. He will actually be quite specific and acknowledge each person's life.

1 Corinthians 4:5 - "Don’t judge anything before the time, until the Lord comes, then each one's praise or affirmation will come from God, because God knows the hearts."

He knows the intents. He knows what's really going on. What he's saying, or the context of it is: don't judge people. Don't think that you know what's really going on in their life. You don't really know their heart and intent - but God does, so leave judging to Him, and when the time comes, then everyone will receive the praise that's appropriate, because God, who sees all, will reveal and acknowledge what's worthy of acknowledging. There are varying degrees of praise, and we saw in Luke 19:17-19 how the man's commended: "well done good and faithful servant, you're also over five cities". There's honour and praise. In other words, God will publicly, and openly, honour each of His children for what they've done.

Reward #7 is Riches and Treasure, or treasure in heaven. Jesus spoke about laying out for yourselves treasure in heaven, which is incorruptible. Neither moth nor rust destroys it, and it can't be stolen - Matthew 6:20. Jesus called us to lay out for ourselves treasure in heaven, so what that must mean is: there's things you can do, which cause an accumulation of wealth or reward from God in heaven.

It's quite good to study the scriptures: what are the true treasures then, what are the real treasures of life - and you'll find that they're not what you think they are. The real treasures are usually not what you can touch with your hands, because you've got to leave them behind - they're corruptible; they're the things that can't be touched. For example, wisdom is better than riches and gold, because if you have wisdom, then wealth and whatever will come to you. That's a whole other series of studies that we'd have to look at, as to what are the true treasures in the kingdom of heaven, because if you'll labour for the true treasures, then you'll gain other things as well.

Finally, then, Vindication. There will be vindication before one's enemies.

Revelations 3:9 - "Indeed I'll make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and they're not but lie, I'll make them come and worship before your feet, and know that I have loved you."

People misunderstand us. People shame us. They accuse us, they criticise, they laugh, they mock, all these kinds of things. Some people actually persecute and oppose Christians and believers.

What He's saying is that there will come a day when God will vindicate, or He will validate, the choices we have made, before those who have made fun of us, or laughed at us, or belittled us, or even persecuted us. That means, it doesn't really matter what people are doing - you can bless them - because there's one day you'll stand in a place of honour; and they'll be in a place of shame, and God will be saying: well, you had your day, and you laughed, but here I want to tell you My opinion, which is an eternal opinion. This enables you then to... if you get the concept of these rewards in your heart, you can walk through all kinds of stuff, because they just run off you - they're not important.

In looking at the rewards, the first three deserve special attention:

* Eternal Intimacy

* Eternal Authority

* Eternal Glory

They require us we have a look at them especially, because they are things particularly related to our original design as sons. When God designed us to be a son or a daughter, when He created man, He created us for these things:

(1) Intimate Relationship - notice then, one of the major rewards is intimacy with Him.

(2) Secondly, He created us to exercise Authority and Dominion on His behalf; and in the coming kingdom one of the rewards is the level of authority and dominion that are appropriate for what we've done on the earth.

(3) The third one is Glory. We're called on the earth to represent the Father, or show His nature, what He is like; and doing that now on the earth, allowing Him to transform us so we represent Him in His nature. In the age to come, there'll be a glory on our life. We'll go into those in more detail.

We have an overview of the seven kind of broad categories of rewards, and now we want to look at the first two rewards, and I want to go into them in a bit more detail. The first one we're going to look at is the issue of Eternal Intimacy.

Eternal means: it goes on, with no time limit on it. It goes on, and it does not cease, it does not stop - it is forever ongoing. Intimacy means a close personal relationship, where you become known by someone, and they become known by you. There's a revealing of hearts to one another at a greater depth.

In all relationships, intimacy or close connection grows and develops. Even when you think you know your wife... you don't really know her. There's more to learn! With God, no matter how much we think we know of Him, there is more to know. Paul describes it as the 'unsearchable riches of Christ', or the 'excellent knowledge of Christ'.

In looking through this area of Eternal Intimacy then, it's clearly related to our preparation now, so I want to go through several descriptions of it. In the Bible they don't just have a heading 'Eternal Intimacy', and then explain it all underneath - no topic is like that! The way God lays out the Bible is, He puts a little bit all over the place, like seeds in a bag - and you've got to hunt for it; and when you hunt for it, and bring it together, you'll find there's a bit on it here.

There's a bit on it there, there's a bit on it there, there's a bit over here, there's a bit - in fact there's been a bit right through the whole Bible, if you just knew what to look for. They use often (because this is a spiritual concept), stories to help you:

If you look in the Old Testament, there's stories like the story of Isaac and his father, who sent out the servant to get a bride for him. There are all these details about the bride, and the finding of the bride, which is a referral to God Himself searching to find people who'll have a love relationship with Him, and there's all sorts of characteristics about the bride.

Then you find there's the story of Ester; and Ester's a story about a bride, about a person who was selected. Why was she selected? There must have been some reason for being selected for the role of greatest intimacy with the King.

You see many stories like that; and there's the natural story, and then, when you look beyond it, you see it's a prophetic picture of something in the future. All through the Bible they've got these stories. One of the stories we've already seen, so I won't go into it too much, is the Parable of the 10 Virgins…

Matthew 25:1-13 - "Then at the end times, when Jesus comes, the kingdom of heaven shall be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom, five were wise and five were foolish..."

I've taught a little bit on this, but the parable reveals that some will be given access to great intimacy, into the marriage feast; and some will be excluded. The things that we need to see in that story: they were all virgins - they were all believers. They all had lamps, they all had oil, they all were waiting for the bridegroom. The lamps are our life that we live before men. They are the overflow of the life of God within us - the oil represents the presence, tangible presence of God in our life.

The bridegroom is Jesus. The wise ones were wise because they prepared ahead of time and paid the price to have oil. The foolish ones were foolish because they failed to anticipate the coming of the bridegroom, they failed to prepare. The key issue in the parable is really simply this: there is a need to prepare for the coming of Jesus - and if we are prepared, we enter into the marriage supper of the lamb, into a season of rejoicing, celebrating, festivity, of honour and communion with Him. If we're not prepared, we don't enter - it's as simple as that!

The key thing in that was, the foolish one said: give us what you've got; and they said: no, we're not going to do that - you must pay the price to have the oil. There's a price to prepare your heart. It's a price you pay daily, little by little, when you keep your heart right before God, you remain soft and tender and responsive to Him. There's the price in prayer, the price in surrender to Him, and becoming filled with His presence, so you become a presence carrier. So that's one story, and clearly, if you look in that story: some entered; some did not. There was a distinction between people who were believers.

There's another one here - another promise is found in the Book of Revelation, and it's found to the Laodicean Church. In Revelation 3, Jesus spoke this.

Revelation 3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears My voice and opens the door... I will come in to him, and I will dine with him, and he with Me."

What is He saying there? Clearly, this is a church. There were things to overcome; He's talking to people who overcome, who respond to Him. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock" - so the key thing here is, the door represents our heart or our life - do we hear Jesus speaking? Notice the strange thing is: Jesus is outside of the church, when He should be inside the church. He's seeking access to come in. Believers can live a life where they're living, and they're in church, and they're doing whatever - but they're not in intimate relationship with Jesus. He constantly is seeking access to our heart, access to different areas of our life.

It says, the promise here is: "I will come in to him, and dine with him" - so what does that mean, to dine? Again, frequently, if you look at just the natural thing, and what it would mean to you, you then get insight of what He's saying. Dining with others, if you think about it - it's an opportunity to relax. You laugh together, you enjoy one another. People talk, they open up their hearts, they build relationship around a table - and the early church was really built around a table - so Jesus said: I will dine with them, and them with Me. What He's saying then is: He's promising one of increased access and intimacy to Him - and we have that now, to some degree; but in the millennium, we will know Him in a much greater way. He will reveal more of Himself.

Ever know when you can be with someone, and they don't give away much; and then they suddenly one day, open up and let you know a whole lot of things? You think: oh my, I thought I knew you, but I hardly know you at all! He's talking about something like that. The word 'dine' that's used there is the same word in Revelation 19:9 that refers to the marriage supper of the lamb. The word 'supper' - it comes from that same word, dine. When He says: I will dine with him, He's saying: I will bring you into the marriage supper, where there'll be celebration, and a place of intimate conversation and friendship. He's really offering the opportunity for us to enter into a deeper intimacy with Him - and that requires that we overcome something.

It's hard to describe what that will be like - it's hard to find words for it! You can think of the happiest meal you've had, the funniest time you've had at a meal, and maybe that gives an indication. But this is... let me give you a couple of things. Firstly, David. David said this... He said that intimacy with Jesus is an indescribable pleasure.

Psalm 16:11 - "You will show me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness or extreme joy, and at Your right hand, or sitting next to you, there are pleasures that are forevermore."

You'll find many of these verses in the Bible. He's saying... and he's obviously experienced a measure of it on the earth. He said: when you come into the presence of the God, there is an immense joy that comes. There is a deep sense of pleasure and fulfilment that comes that makes everything else seem very, very trivial. Here's another one that he wrote...

Psalm 36:8 - "They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures."

He's saying: God's ability to bring pleasure to us is like a river that can't be stopped. You can see the trouble in finding language to describe the depths of intimacy, and what it will mean to be in His presence - most amazing. Now when Paul writes about it, writing about intimacy, he writes and says: it's a prize that you win. So yes, we're given a relationship with Jesus now, but you can neglect that relationship. You can take it for granted. You cannot really do anything to build it - or you can pursue a greater intimacy.

Philippians 3:8 - "I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ my Lord, and I've suffered the loss of everything and count them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."

Notice two statements in there: the excellence of the knowledge of Christ; and everything else is just junk. I want to win this prize of gaining Christ! The key thing in there is that intimacy is given to us in a measure; but the fullness of it is a prize to be won. He says... and he's just listed all his achievements, and how great he was, and then immediately he says: but really - that's all junk, compared to this! It's all comparative. People looked at him, and he looked like he had his life all together; he looked like he's really reached the peak. He's a Rabbi - highly respected. He's got a high place in society, and in the system; but he said: it's all junk compared to this. This is really something! I've had a taste of this - and this has ruined my life; that the more we taste the Lord, the more it ruins our life.

There's an example of it there, and another scripture that refers to intimacy is found in the promise to the church at Pergamon. This promise is made also to overcomers - they had to overcome something in that church; and this is what he said: "he that is near to here, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches" - which is really a common statement in the Book of Revelation. What he's saying is: you need to develop a heart that listens and responds to God.

Revelation 2:17 - "To him that overcomes, I'll give him some of the hidden manna to eat".

Now you see again, the use of a picture language. If you're not familiar with the pictures or stories in the Bible, then it doesn't mean anything. But when you look, just look up 'manna' in the Bible. Notice he says: I will give him 'hidden manna' to eat. You've really got to ask the questions: what is manna; and what is hidden manna? What does he mean by it?

Well, the first reference to manna is found in the Old Testament, in the Book of Exodus 16:15, and manna was a food that was supplied supernaturally by God, to nourish the people of Israel. It was supernatural food. Jesus is saying: I'm offering supernatural food to you. In Exodus 16:15, when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another: what is it, because they didn't know what it is; and Moses said: it's the bread the Lord has given you to eat.

In Psalm 78:24-25, the manna was called: 'the bread of heaven'; and 'angels food'. In other words, whatever it was they ate supernaturally sustained them. It was a provision of God that kept them healthy, kept them alive, kept them vibrant in a difficult journey through a wilderness. Jesus Himself said: Moses gave you that manna; but actually, I'm the real manna. He uses this story of manna, saying: actually, the real manna is a person - I'm the bread of life! He's talking then about intimacy with Him - it’s like a supernatural food for us.

What's hidden manna? Is there any reference to 'hidden' manna? Well, the word 'to hide' - hidden means just 'to conceal'. So, is there any place where manna was hidden or concealed? It tells us that, after the manna was gathered up, they put a portion of manna in a pot - and they concealed it, or hid it, in the Ark of the Covenant - in the Holiest of Holies of the Tabernacle. It was a reminder to Israel, of God's miracle provision. So in the Ark of the Covenant, which was a wooden box covered in gold, in which were placed the 10 Commandments (the word of God) - the hidden manna, secret food, hidden supernatural food - and Aaron's rod that budded supernaturally; all of these things are supernatural. The tablets were supernaturally given, the manna was supernaturally given; and Aaron's rod was a dead stick that suddenly leaved, and had fruit and budded, budded and had fruit - so all of that is supernatural.

And the only place it was to be found - no one saw it, because it was hidden! It was hidden in the Holiest of Holies - in the furthermost part of the Tabernacle, where the glory of God dwelt. When he says: I'll give him 'hidden manna' - everyone who was listening understood what that meant. Oh man, hidden manna! That means He will take us into the very throne room of God, and we will have fellowship, and will be fed and nourished supernaturally there. This is a promise... and it's a promise to overcomers! Notice then, he's using different pictures to describe an important promise.

Here's another promise also to Pergamon and this is the promise of a 'white stone', in Revelation 2:17. It's virtually the same verse again. He says:

"I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written that no one knows except him who receives it."

Again, to us that has little reality. You look at it, and it doesn't have any meaning. But the people there knew exactly what it was; we've got to ask the questions then: what does the white stone refer to; and what does it mean to have a new name written on it? "I'll give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, and no one knows it except the one who receives it". This is a secret! What he's going to get... it's got an element which is open, the white stone; and there's a part of it which is secret - the name that's written on it. It's a new name!

So what's the white stone? Well, to the people who were listening to this, they were aware that there were competitions. There were the gladiators and the competitions and so on. Anyone who won a great victory in the races, or a great victory in the competitions, or a great victory in the games or the battles - they were given a white stone. Probably the best thing you'd say is: they got an Olympic medal. You've all seen an Olympic medal - the guy gets the gold! You want to go for gold! When you go for gold, you're put up on a dais, the medal's put on, they sing the national anthem... and it's a very emotional, moving thing. Here's a thought: Why is it when, in New Zealand, our country wins a gold medal, and you see them on the dais, and our national anthem's sung... why does it stir something in our heart? What is it in our heart? I mean just a person won a gold medal, what the heck?

And yet when you watch it and hear it there's an emotion stirs in us, because deep in our spirit there is a knowledge of a day to come when you will stand on a dais and be given the white stone, that will acknowledge what you have done. It was given as an award of honour; and people who had the white stone were given privileged access to special events, and to special meals. If you had won a white stone, or won an Olympic medal - if I use that language, if you'd won your Olympic medal - then everyone knows who you are! Everyone wants to have their picture taken with you! Everyone wants to connect with you; and the access, or 'having the stone' gave them access to games. It gave them access to festivities, all kinds of things.

That word 'white stone' - the 'white' means to 'shine', or 'glisten', or to be brilliant white. Probably, the different stones will be different degrees of honour. Even if you look now at stones, you see different sized stones, and different quality of diamonds. I can tell a good diamond - You can tell it! Its colour... its sparkle... you can see it! So clearly, the stones themselves will acknowledge - they're a form of honour; and it says: He has a 'new name' written on it. What does it mean, that God's written a new name on the stone? Firstly again, you must ask: the 'new name' - what does a 'name' mean? Then when you look at what a 'name' means, then you can go back and then work what a 'new name' might mean.

Your name is the means by which you're identified. Steve, there's Steve. There's Dave. There's Josephine and so on. We call your name, Steve, you'll know who we called. Everyone knows who we called. You're identified by your name. In the Bible, names always signify the character of a person, or something to do with their destiny - both for good and for bad! There was a Nahash - that meant: 'the serpent'! He was an Ammonite, who came against the people of God - so names meant something. There was Jephthah, the one that 'breaks through'. So frequently names meant their character, what they're like - Peter, the 'rock'; or their destiny - what they were called to do. Names then, have a meaning.

If God gave a person a new name, you ask the question: a new name means a different name. Did Jesus or God give new names or names to anyone? Yes, He did. What did that mean, when He gave them a new name? A new name means a change in relationship, or a change in status, or a change in role in the kingdom. If God gave a person a new name, it meant there was a change in relationship, a change in status, or a change in their role in the kingdom. Think about the stories we know - you'll know them straight away...

* Abram was renamed Abraham, meaning father of a multitude.

* Sarai was renamed Sarah, meaning princess.

* Jacob was renamed Israel, meaning prevailing with God.

* Simon was renamed Peter, meaning the rock.

Notice that each time we saw someone in the Bible that got a new name, there was a changed status; or there was something to do with the destiny that they were called into - so quite amazing really. Now here's a thing: Jesus Himself was given a new name! Wow! So again, you look up 'new name', and every time you find 'new name', you'll see some insight on it.

Philippians 2:9-10 - "Therefore God has highly exalted Jesus, and given Him a name which is above every other name - that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those in heaven, of those in earth, of those under the earth"

Notice that Jesus humbled Himself, and became obedient to death. He's humbled Himself, and served the purpose of His Father; and now, there's an exalting! What is the exalting? The exalting is being given a new name. He's lifted up, and given a new name; and it says: we'll still know Him as 'Jesus', but the new name then refers to His status. Notice what it says: He's given a name above every other name. In other words, the name of Jesus, or His name, has been given a high new ranking or status - that at the name of 'Jesus', every knee will bow - in heaven, and in earth, and things under the earth - everyone will bow and acknowledge who He is. In other words, God has taken Jesus, who has humbled Himself, become obedient to death - and now elevated him up to the highest possible place that could ever be had, in authority and ranking. The 'new name' that He receives then... His name is still known as 'Jesus', but His 'new name' then refers to His new exalted status.

He is the King of Kings! He is the Lord of Lords! He is Emperor over all of creation; and He has won that, because of His death. He's the Eternal Emperor! For God to give you a 'new name', it will reveal to people - giving you a new name means a change in your status or character, or God's destiny to you. Interestingly, it says a 'new name' that only He knows. That means that God has a secret with you. Secrets are a part of friendship. The giving of a new name is an altering of status and friendship.

Here is #5: Jesus made this promise…

Revelations 3:12 - "I will write on him My new name."

What does it mean: 'write' on him? My new name? To 'write' means you take a pen, you write something down.

2 Corinthians 3:3 - "you are an epistle, or you are the letter ministered to by us, not written with ink but written by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is the heart." Notice he's saying that: you've become the letter, because God wrote on your heart his life, or his character. To 'write on your heart' means: the Holy Spirit gives revelation to you. Things you didn't know, God writes in your heart.

Jesus' new name and identity and rank is: He's now the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, He's the Emperor. He had a name that no man knew except Himself. In other words, He was also awarded a prize for the victory, the white stone. We are following Him. What it says, when He says, "I'll write on you My new name when you overcome", He's saying I will share with you a deeper level of intimacy. I will lift you to a greater status, and I will share some of My authority with you. So again, a lot of these pictures or images overlap with one another, but it primarily speaks of a much greater intimacy. "I will write on him My new name" - so He will impart revelation to us, of who He is; and not only who He is, but also a deeper revelation of Father God. One of the prizes to be won is a much deeper revelation and intimacy - both with Jesus, and with the Father.

Here's another promise - and again, all of these are to do with intimacy.

Revelations 2:25-28 - "I will give him the morning star".

It's the promise of the Morning Star. What does it mean, the morning star? Again, just ask the question, what could that possibly mean? Firstly, in nature, what does it mean; and secondly, is there a reference to it in the Bible? So firstly, in nature, the morning star is the brightest star in the sky. You see it just before the dawning of a new day. It's usually the one lowest on the horizon, and it's the beginning of the new day. But the morning star in the Bible is a reference to Jesus Christ Himself.

Revelations 22:16 - "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."

Jesus Himself! In other words, He's saying that He Himself is your reward. What does it mean - He is your reward? It means: a greater level of intimacy, and relationship, and knowing. He will reveal more of Himself. You can see then, if one of the significant rewards in eternity is a much deeper closeness, intimacy, knowledge, and revelation of Jesus, that brings fulfilment and honour into our life - now's the time to develop intimacy. If intimacy with the Lord is not your passion now, it's hardly ever going to be a reward, because you won't seek it. I put this one first, because rather than just wanting this and that from God, He wants us to want Him.

He said to Abraham: I am your Shield. I am your Exceeding Great Reward. Abraham had just given up everything, and He said: it's okay, I'm your reward. When you've got Me, you've got access to everything; don't seek the everything, seek Me! I've put a few questions in the study to get you think about your relationship with the Lord and intimacy; and that brings us to the second one.

The second one that we mentioned is the area of Eternal Authority. So eternal again - what does eternal mean? Eternal means: there's no time limit on it. It never expires. It goes on and on and on and on, once you're on that journey. Right now, we're in time; but when you go into the millennial kingdom, you're in eternity - then it never stops. It just goes on. So right now, we're ruled by time; then we're not ruled by time.

The Bible makes it clear that believers will rule with Christ for 1000 years. I saw thrones and the saints; they sat on them, and judgement was given to them, and they lived and reigned with Jesus Christ for 1000 years. Revelations 20:4-6 - "...they shall reign with Him 1000 years". In the Book of Revelation, it says there is a 1000 year period, a millennium; it means a 1000-year period, and Jesus will come to the earth and rule over the earth - but it's not just on His own. It will be in partnership! When we understand more about the millennium, and what will happen, and what will precede it, and then our part in the millennium, it inspires us then to actually overcome the trials of life.

The first thing to see about the millennium is that: it’s a 1000 period. The second thing to see is that Jesus, in that period when He returns, will be King over all Kings. He will be King over all Kings. That means He will exercise rulership over all the kings of the earth. Right now, we don't see that. Right now, He has the title to it, but when He returns He will exercise it. In Ephesians 1:21 it says, after His resurrection... "He's been raised far above all principality and power, might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, the one that is to come." In other words, He's being made King over everything.

Revelations 19:16 - "He's King of Kings, and Lord of Lords."

Psalm 72:11 - "All kings will fall down before Him, all nations will serve Him."

Now you look at the news, you look at all the things that are happening in the world, you think: wow, something dramatic has got to change for that to happen - and it is! We'll touch on it tonight; and it says: Jesus, right now, is at the right hand of God; and rules, but His leadership in the earth is not fully manifest yet. It’s like when we cast demons out, then there's a little of His leadership is seen. When we see miracles, a little bit of His leadership's seen. When people's lives are transformed, saved and healed and delivered, you see His kingdom advancing, and so on - but we haven't seen what it will look like when it manifests fully!

When He comes, His authority - He will manifest authority with consequences. We're not used to seeing that, but when you look in the Bible, you will see it. What I mean is this: authority with consequences means He has the power to enforce His will on the earth. Now right He's demonstrating that His kingdom is a kingdom of love, and He draws people into a love relationship - to honour Him, and serve Him, and become like Him; but when He returns, it will be with power, and it will be with majesty. He came to earth the first time as the lamb; but He will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. There is a change! He's still the same person, but there's a change in the aspect we will see of Him; and that means all will yield to His authority, and His right to rule, or they will face the consequences.

That's an extraordinary thing to consider. If you look at the paper, you see all these people, and you see their pride, the arrogance, the posturing, the manipulation - you see all the injustice. But there is a time when all will yield to His authority... or face consequences!

Psalm 110:5 - "The Lord is at your right hand. He shall execute kings in the day of his wrath."

That means: if leaders of nations won't yield, they'll die!

Psalm 110:6 - "He shall judge among the nations. He shall fill the places with dead bodies. He shall execute the heads of many countries."

Notice that He's talking there about, not the aspect of God which is the kindness and mercy and compassion. He's talking now about how He's coming to impose His kingdom in the earth. He's coming to exercise His right to rule. He won the right to rule - first by creating. He won the right to rule by His death on the cross; and by God honouring Him, and giving him that right. He holds it back to grow a people who will work, be prepared ready for Him. And int that time in His coming, there's going to be manifestations of power we haven't seen before.

That brings us to the next thing, point #3. He says: before His coming there'll be a time of great tribulation on the earth.

Matthew 24:6-8 "You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not come. Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places. These are just the beginning of the sorrows. For then there'll be great tribulation, such as never been seen since the beginning of the world until this time, and shall never ever be."

He's saying that, before His coming, there will be a period of vast destruction; and suffering in the earth, before He comes. The Bible describes in Revelation: He will open seals in heaven, and this will unleash on the earth all kinds of devastation. The Bible talks about a third of the earth's population being destroyed by the things that come on the earth. Now that's another whole teaching of its own, when we teach about the day of the Lord.

It's hard for us to comprehend that, until you go into the Bible, and see. Have these things ever happened before? When you go back and ask: did these things ever happen before? Did God ever bring judgements into the earth like that? The answer is: yes, He did! In the days of Noah, which is also a picture of the coming of the Lord - "As in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man." He said: "the flood overtook them all". In the days of Noah, the whole earth was covered with a flood, and a handful were saved. There are other examples of that as well. Because there's a period of vast destruction, there's going to need to be a period of restoration - that's where we come in. We are part of the judgements in the earth; and we're part of the restoration!

When Jesus returns, as I mentioned before, He'll come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelations 5:5). In the Book of Revelation, it describes Him coming.

Revelation 19:11-16 - "I saw heaven open and behold, a white horse and He who sat on him was Faithful and True (that's Jesus), and in righteousness He judges and makes war."

So when He comes back next time, it won't be peace to all men - it is war! So, good to be on His side; not good to be not on His side. He said: His eyes were a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no man knew except Himself; clothed with a robe dipped in blood, His name is called The Word of God. See - it's very clearly Jesus!

Now look at this: "...The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses". The armies of heaven, white linen, clean and white - that's what the bride is given, in Revelation 19. "...Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword (that means: His word), that He should strike nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron." That means His rule will be unbending, people will have to yield to it. "He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God. He has a robe and on His thigh a name written: Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords".

Notice then, He's saying: there will be an inevitable confrontation, and conflict with anyone who resists Him. When He came the first time, it was to demonstrate the 'lamb' nature - meekness, humility, the suffering servant. When He comes back again, He will come as the 'lion'. He will come to confront kingdoms; He will come to transform the earth.

There's a couple of examples, more than one example, in the Bible of it. Here's one: Moses' confrontation and conflict with Pharaoh over the release of God's people from bondage. Pharaoh was a natural ruler, of the most wealthy and influential empire in the world; yet one man forced him to bow and let go everything. How did that happen? He carried Sonship Authority; he carried Sonship power! The guy had to yield or lose everything. We see it in Elijah's confrontation with the false prophets of Baal - he called fire from heaven! You understand, when God is backing you, and supernatural power is available at this kind of level... people can't say no! If they say no, there's a big problem! You understand that? Once you start to look in the Bible, and start to see the stories then, of these confrontations of kingdom against kingdom - they all have pictures of the end time of kingdoms in conflict; and Jesus Himself will overcome all resistance to His rule, and establish His kingdom on the earth. He will partner with believers to do that.

Here's the fifth point, #5 and it says: Jesus will establish His rule over the world - over a worldwide kingdom. There will be a one world government; it will be in Jerusalem; it will be Jesus in charge - and He'll have a team! He'll have a people who help Him administer His government - all governments require people to administer it. He has a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In Revelation it says: "Jesus Christ was the faithful witness, the first born from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth". He will establish rulership over two types of kings. There will be resurrected kings, resurrected believers - so that'll be you and me, resurrected in a resurrection body; can't be hurt, can't be killed, can't be even captured. Can you imagine? You're living in a resurrection body - in an earth where people are not resurrected. There's nothing can harm you! There's nothing! You can move, transport from one place to another - there's nothing can hold you back. No sickness can touch you, no one can kill you. It's like impossible to cause any problem to you! You understand then, Jesus will have a company of people in resurrection bodies; but then there'll also be natural kings, and they will be guided by and directed by people. They may not want to yield to them - but they will have to, just like all kings have advisors.

Isaiah 61:4 - "They will rebuild the old ruins, raise up the former desolations, repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations."

In the season of the millennium, every aspect of society will be changed. Now just think about the task of doing that, the task of changing government just alone: laws, the legal system, the financial, economic systems (which are manipulated), the education systems, the media systems, the entertainment, the sports, community, religion... Think of all the aspects that make up a society - someone has to change all that! Who is going to change all of that? Well, God is preparing believers! He has them from every age since the beginning. He will have people prepared. The thing that will differ will be: what role you have.

#6: Jesus' government won't be instantaneous; it will be progressive, will progressively increase. He's not going to click His fingers and make everything change. He could do that now; but He doesn't want to do that. He wants to raise you up. He wants to raise people up. He wants to raise people up, who He can share His authority with, who will partner with Him - and they'll come from every generation that have ever lived! There will be people arise; some resurrected, and some changed, now that they're alive. In Isaiah 9:7, it says: "of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end." In other words, His government or His kingdom will increase without ever stopping; so that opens up the prospect that, even what we see is not the limit of what God is going to create, or have for us to rule over.

In Daniel 2:35 he says: Daniel had a vision of the end times, and it was a vision - an image he saw; and he saw a stone come and shatter the image, and he said: the stone that struck the image became a great mountain that filled the whole earth. That stone is the kingdom of God. In the vision that Nebuchadnezzar saw (he was the ruler of Babylon), there was a vision of a head of iron and so on, silver and gold, right down through to feet of clay and brass... Then he saw a picture of a small rock come and shatter the feet of this image, and the whole thing collapsed. So when you look historically, every one of the parts of the body that were mentioned represent a kingdom; except when we get to the last ones, which refer to a kingdom originating in Europe from Rome, probably made up of 10 countries, that hasn't yet come into being. Many people thought it would be the EUC, then the EU and so on; but it's a collaboration of nations that hasn't yet come. And he says: in the days of those kings, God will set up a kingdom, and it will invade the whole earth. In other words, there's going to be massive conflict; massive, massive, massive conflict - there's no other way! As David was saying, if you can't run with the footmen, how are you going to handle the horsemen? This is really little stuff compared to what's coming!

Daniel 7:27 - "Then the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High; and His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him."

He's saying that all of the kingdoms will become His kingdom; and every dominion, every realm over which anyone rules, will become His domain; and they will serve and obey Him. So we get then to the applications of this, and of course, faithfulness in this life determines the level of authority you'll carry in the millennial reign. So everyone of us has got a different responsibility and assignments in the millennial kingdom - everyone, everyone. Think of what it takes to run a nation - you've got to have people doing all kinds of jobs, all kinds of places, and so there's going to be a place for everyone. God's big enough to make that happen.

In Revelations 20:6, it says: we'll be priests and Gods, and reign with Him 1000 years - that means we'll have an authority to bring about change or transformation. In Luke 19:17, someone was put over 10 cities; in Luke 19:19, someone was over five cities. In Revelations 2:26 - some will get power over the nations. Revelations 3:21 - some will sit with Me in My throne. Now the thing I want you to see from there is this: there are many different realms of authority. Some will sit in His throne with Him. Some will have authority to change nations.

Well, there's only so many nations of the world, a couple of hundred, so there's only a couple of hundred people going to be doing that! And then there'll be others who have authority over ten cities, over five cities, and then over less and less and less and less. He's saying then, that what we do now determines the level we will operate at in the coming kingdom. Faithfulness now, in serving, determines what responsibility and authority we have in the coming kingdom.

I'd like you to read Luke 19:11-27, which is the parable, not unlike the Talents parable which is a slightly different one. It's the Parable of the Pounds, or Minas.

"And a certain Nobleman when to a far country to receive a kingdom for Himself and return."

The Nobleman is Jesus; the country is heaven. He's gone to receive a kingdom, and return. He tells His servants: occupy, or do business, until I come. In other words, every believer... God doesn't want you just mucking around - enjoying a nice service! He wants you to be busy with your gifts, your time, your resources - engaged in advancing the kingdom, and representing Jesus. When He returned, having received the kingdom, He commanded the servants who He'd given money to, and called them: I want to know how much each man had gained by trading - Luke 19:13. So everyone will be called when the Lord returns: what did you do?

In another session, I will show you what He takes into account, which is quite a relief really! He takes our weaknesses into account. He takes lots of things into account, in working this out - He's a Righteous Judge! Everyone will give account; and our faithfulness will be acknowledged, and then rewarded. If you've been productive and fruitful in this life, you will then be productive and fruitful, and given authority, in the next.

What about people who are not? What about people who resist Him? He said: bring these enemies of mine, that did not want Me to reign over them - and slay them before Me! People who fight against God in this age - there's going to be a problem for them, when He returns. They'll meet an untimely death!

That's a great parable to study. It's a parable of the coming kingdom. There's lots of truths hidden in the parable. The core of it, is that faithfulness now is required - well done, good and faithful servant; faithful over few things, ruler over many! In order for us to participate in ruling with Jesus, we have to overcome now. Now is the day! Every day presents a new challenge to overcome. It's a great honour that we have been given! Our eternal destiny is the throne of God Himself.

Revelations 3:21 - "To him who overcomes, I will grant with him to sit in My throne, as I also overcame."

Overcoming is the big issue.

"He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, I'll give him power over the nations".

Notice how, in all of these great promises, they're very, very big, mind-blowing promises. But at the core of them, always - you must overcome! There's always something to overcome. Revelation 2 & 3 tells you what all the end time churches have got to overcome. It's not automatic, it doesn't come to every believer; it's promised for those who overcome! You overcome losing your first love; you maintain passion; you overcome in trials, and don't quit. Think of people you know in church - one little thing, and they quit! What? You - it's like, you don't understand what's at stake here. Compromise - think of many people are compromised. They're just living one foot in the church, one foot in the world; one in the kingdom, one outside the kingdom - that's not going to cut it! We need to live strongly!

The Book of Revelation says that we must overcome the works of Jezebel; and right now, in this current season there's been an increasing emphasis on the activity of the spirit of Jezebel - that controlling power. We have to learn how to overcome that in our personal life, and whatever we're doing. So there's all these things we need to overcome: spiritual apathy, indifference, and complacency. There are huge and immense promises made for us. These promises are eternal; eternal intimacy, pleasure being in His presence, joy forevermore. Can you imagine being in His presence - everything fades away. Think of even the meetings we've had, where you've felt overwhelmed by the presence of God.

Everything that worried your life fell away, as you enjoyed His presence, and wept when you felt His love. Now imagine multiplying that 100, 1000, 2000, 10,000 - multiply that. It will be worth it! That's why He talks about the pleasures of sin for a season. Sin is enjoyable. You know, you enjoy it; but it's only for a season. It says for Moses: he turned away from the pleasures of sin for a season, because he had respect for the reward. So Moses got a revelation of this reward - that's why he gave up Egypt! It tells us in the Book of Hebrews 11: "he forsook Egypt by faith, and choosing to endure affliction with the people of God, rather than the pleasures of sin for a season - for he had respect for the recompense of the reward". See, there it is, right there! Moses understood: there is a big reward, for me giving up.

Imagine what he's actually giving up! He's giving up: sitting in a throne next to Pharaoh; ruling over a nation; wealth; everything at his disposal. He's in charge of armies! He's got everything you could imagine - and he gave it all up, because he saw what God was offering. For a season, or eternal - that's what the choice is; seasonal, or eternal. When you fix your eyes on the eternal, it motivates you to overcome, no matter what anyone else is doing. I will be faithful. I will develop intimacy. I will hold my ground. I will overcome the challenges of life, because I have respect for the reward that God has, the reward of eternal intimacy, the reward of eternal authority! Well bless you - there's the study.

Summary Notes

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ER3. Overview of the Eternal Rewards Part 1

I. Introduction

1.A Great Theme of Jesus Teaching was Eternal Rewards
- Jesus constantly taught about seeking Eternal rewards, and the need to pursue them
- “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”(Mat.16:27)

2.There are very Many Different types of Rewards
- In Rev.2-3 Jesus names many different rewards for those who Overcome specific challenges and trials
- The many Eternal Rewards that are described potentially form an important part of our Eternal Destiny
- We need to be familiar with the significance and importance of the different rewards revealed.
- Understanding what is at stake gives us great motivation for perseverance and transformation
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Col.3:22-24)

3.Rewards are Not Given Automatically…Only to those who fulfil specific Conditions
- “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21)
- “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn.12:26)
- Note that in each of these scriptures receiving a reward is conditional upon our works and actions in response to Jesus

4.Our Small Sacrifices Now have Huge Recompense Eternally
- “You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Mt. 25:21)
- “Well done...you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” (Lk. 19:17)
- God greatly values our small expressions of obedience in our mind , emotions and will
- He remembers them and rewards them in a much, much greater proportion
- God is a “Rewarder” ( Heb.11:6) and He is extremely generous!
- “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Mt. 19:29)

5. A Summary of these Many Rewards
- The many Rewards mentioned in the Bible could be listed under the following possible headings:
- Reward 1. Eternal Intimacy
Our communion with God will vary according to our spiritual capacity.
Jesus will reward some by writing the Father’s name on them. This includes receiving insight about God.

- Reward 2. Eternal Authority
We will all have different work assignments with varying measures of authority and responsibility
“...because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” (Lk.19:17)

- Reward 3. Eternal Glory
God’s glory will be manifested in our resurrected bodies in varying measures.
“The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Mt. 13:43)

- Reward 4. Eternal Garments
Garments will vary in glory according to how believers lived
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments,”(Rev.3:4)
There may be many different types of clothing with unique designs, fabric, brightness, color, etc.

- Reward 5. Victor’s Crowns
Some will receive crowns to publicly honor their private victories
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”(Jam1:12)

- Reward 6. Honour & Praise
Each will receive varying praise from God
The Lord comes...then each one’s praise [affirmation] will come from God. (1 Cor. 4:5)
“…likewise he said to him, “You also be over five cities.” (Lk. 19:17-19)

- Reward 7. Riches & Treasure
Jesus’ call to gain treasure in heaven includes many different things
“…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mt.6:20).

- Reward 8. Vindication
Being vindicated before one’s enemies
“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you” (Rev.3:9)

6.The First Three of these Rewards Deserve Special Attention
- This is because God’s original design for man is to be a Son
Having Intimate Relationship with Father….Knowing the depths of His heart and communing with God
Exercising Authority on behalf of Father……Working with Him to extend His Kingdom
Representing Father………………………………….Revealing through words and actions His Character and Glory
- One of the Rewards mentioned more than any other is Ruling and Reigning with Christ


II. Reward 1. Eternal Intimacy

1.The Parable of The Ten Virgins (Mat.25:1-13)
- This parable reveals that some believers will have greater intimacy with the Lord than others.
- All were Virgins
Because of the blood of Christ, every believer is a ―pure virgin who has been betrothed to Jesus as His Bride (2 Cor. 11:2 ).
- All Ten Virgins had lamps, and oil and were waiting for the Bridegroom
That means all ten virgins are genuine believers.
- Only the five wise virgins paid the price to purchase the oil in order to make themselves ready
- “ but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (Matt. 25:4, 9-10).
- The foolish virgins, on the other hand, lived an undisciplined life. They did not pay the price for the oil
“And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” (Mat.25:8-9)
- They ran out of oil, their light went out, and they did not make themselves ready as a worthy Bride
- Jesus clearly revealed the reward for the wise virgins when He said,
“Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10).
- Because the wise virgins paid the price to purchase oil and to make themselves ready, they were rewarded with eternal intimacy with the Bridegroom.

2. The Promise of Intimacy (Laodicean Overcomers)
- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev.3:20)
- Dining with others is an opportunity to relax, laugh together and enjoy one another. It is a time where communication at a deeper heart to heart level occurs
- This promise of dining is one of increased intimacy with Jesus in this life, but mostly will find fulfilment in the Millennial Kingdom at the extended celebration of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
- “Dine”…. Is the same word used in Rev.19:9 referring to the Marriage Supper
- In the Bible culture dining is a place of intimate conversations and the developing of bonds of friendship and companionship
- “I will dine with him”… Jesus is offering us the opportunity to experience deep communication and oneness with Him, to celebrate with Him and enjoy His close friendship
- The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is a Highlight of History. It will be a wonderful time of celebration and enjoying close relationship with Jesus
- It is impossible to describe in words the joy and pleasure of this deeper intimacy with Jesus
- David: Intimacy is Indescribable Pleasure
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps.16:11)
“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures” (Ps.36:8)
- Paul: Intimacy is A Prize to be Won
Paul described this intimacy as a prize to be won greater than any other pursuit or achievement
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”(Phi.3:8)

3.The Promise of Hidden Manna (Pergamon Overcomers)
- "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. " (Rev.2:17)
What is Manna?
- Manna was the food supernaturally supplied by God to nourish Israel in the wilderness
- “So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat” (Exod.16:15)
- And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (Exod.16:31)
- Manna represents revelation we receive personally from Jesus who is the Bread of Life (Jn.6:48-51)
- The Manna was called “Bread of heaven” and “Angels food” (Ps.78:24-25)
What is Hidden Manna?
- The Manna was hidden on a golden pot in the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies
- This Hidden Manna could only be seen by the High Priest once a year in the Holy of holies
- Hidden Manna means being fed revelation knowledge of Kingdom mysteries by Jesus personally.
It means a privileged much greater depth of intimacy with Him

4.The Promise of a White Stone with a New Name written upon it (Pergamon Overcomers)
- “I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17)
What is the White Stone?
- Precious stones were given as awards of honor to those who did valiant service, won victories in the Games, or who performed courageously in battle
- Those receiving these stones with their name on it were given privileged access to special events including games and feats offered by the Roman Empire
- “White”…..to shine or glisten, brilliant, dazzling white
- “White Stone” probably refers to varying degrees of honor and status and privileges at the Marriage Supper of the lamb
New Name Written on it
- Your Name is one of the means by which you are identified.
- Sometimes people are renamed or given a nickname as a sign of endearment and friendship
- Bible names all have a meaning which describes their character or personality
- When God gave people a new name it meant a change of relationship, of status, or of role in the Kingdom
Eg. Abram was renamed Abraham… Father of a Multitude, Nations (Gen.17:5)
Eg. Sarah was renamed Sarah… Princess (Gen.17:15)
Eg. Jacob was renamed Israel… Prevailing with God (Gen.32:28)
Eg. Simon was renamed Peter… The Rock (Mat.16:18)
- Jesus Himself was given a New Name
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Phil.2:9-10)
- “Exalted”…. To lift or elevate to the highest possible rank or position, Supreme Majesty and Authority
- Jesus new name reflects that He humbled Himself being obedient to death, and now Father has exalted Him to the highest possible rank… Eternal Emperor
- Our New Name will characterise who we are, how we lived our lives in the secret place with Jesus, and the rank or position that Father has exalted us to in His Kingdom
- The new name which no one else but God knows describes an intimate , private and deeply personal relationship with Jesus and Father God ( Close friends have secrets they share)
The White Stone with a New Name written upon it means Jesus has raised us to a new level of
deep personal intimate relationship with Him and given us a new rank of status and honor

5.The Promise of Jesus New Name
- “I will write on him My new name.” (Rev. 3:12)
- “Write on him” refers to the Holy Spirit bringing personal revelation to our hearts
- “… clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (2Cor.3:3)
- Jesus new name is the new identity and rank that He now has as King of Kings and Lord of Lords who overcame. He is Supreme Emperor
- “He had a name written that no one knew except Himself”. (Rev. 19:12)
- Jesus will reveal his heart and beauty and glory in a much deeper way to those who overcome
- “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”(Rev.3:12)
- Jesus will impart and share with us a deep revelation of Father God and lift is up to a new realm of loving intimacy, an exalted rank of honor and authority in the Kingdom

6.The Promise of The Morning Star
- “I will give to him the morning star.” (Rev. 2:25-28)
What is the Morning Star?
- The Morning Star is the brightest star in the sky seen just before the dawning of a new day
- The Morning Star is a reference to the Person of Jesus Himself.
- "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches.
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." (Rev.22:16)
- God revealed to Abraham that he Himself was his “exceeding great reward” (Gen.15:1)
- Paul referred to intimacy with Jesus as being a prize to be won (Phil.3:8)
- Overcomers are promised the exceeding great reward of a deeper personal intimacy and relationship with Jesus. He will reveal much much more of His presence and of Himself

7.Now is the Time to Cultivate a Deeper Intimacy with Jesus
- Each of the promises of greater intimacy with jesus in the Millennial Kingdom were give to Overcomers
- “Overcome”……to subdue, prevail, gain the victory
- There are always obstacles to us developing intimacy with Jesus on a daily basis
- Some of these obstacles are External (circumstances) and some of these are Internal(the flesh)
- Intimacy is a progressive journey of deepening connection, openness and responsiveness to Jesus
- We pay the price daily to cultivate Intimacy with Jesus…The rewards are indescribable

Questions for Personal Reflection
1.What has the Holy Spirit impressed upon you in this study?
2.How would you describe your current relationship and intimacy with Jesus?
3.How consistent and fruitful are your times of prayer?
4.What could you do to cultivate an atmosphere of worship in your home and life?
5.Are you experiencing Jesus in Daily Worship Encounters?
6.Are you journaling to develop a two way relationship with Jesus?
7.What external circumstances are hindering your relationship with Jesus?
8.What internal blocks or issues are hindering a deeper intimacy with Jesus?
9.What steps of action do you need to take to deepen your relationship with Jesus?


III. Reward 2. Eternal Authority

1.Believers will Rule with Jesus for 1000 years.
- I saw thrones, and they [saints from Rev. 19:14] sat on them, and judgment [decision making] was committed to them...and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
...but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4-6)
- The Millennium is a 1,000 year period in which Jesus will rule the earth in partnership with resurrected believers
- Understanding the Millennium gives us insight into what the Lord is preparing His people for.

2.Jesus is King over all Kings
- Jesus has been raised to a position of supreme authority and power by God the Father
- “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church” (Eph.1:21-22)
- Jesus has been made King over All Kings
- He has...a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:16)
- “Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him”. (Ps. 72:11)
- Jesus reigns now at God’s right hand over the kings of the earth, yet His leadership over these kings is not fully manifested to all.
- However, in the Millennium he will come in glory and power and will fully manifest His Kingship and Authority on the earth.
- He will Manifest Authority with Consequences
- All will yield to His Authority, His right to Rule, or face consequences
- The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
Psa. 110:6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries” (Ps110:5-6)

3.Before His Coming there will be a Time of Great Tribulation on the Earth
“And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Mat.24:6-8)
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Mat.24:21)
- There will be a period of vast destruction and suffering in the earth in the period before Jesus return when the seals in revelation are opened.
- The Earth will Need Restoration having been devastated by events preceding the Coming of Christ

4.When Jesus returns it will not be as the Lamb but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah(Rev.5:5)
- He will return to establish His Kingdom on the Earth
- “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev.19:11-16)
- There will be inevitable confrontation and conflict with those who resist His Rule
- E.g. Moses confrontation and conflict with Pharaoh over release of God’s people from bondage in Egypt
- E.g. Elijah’s Confrontation with the false prophets of Baal
- Jesus will overcome all resistance to His Rule and establish His Kingdom on the Earth
- He will partner with Overcoming Believers to accomplish this

5.Jesus will Establish His Rule Over a Worldwide Kingdom.
- He has...a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:16)
- “….and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth (Natural).
- He will establish His rule in partnership with two types of kings—
Resurrected Kings ……Believers with physical, resurrected bodies walking in great authority
Kings of the Earth…….People with natural, non-resurrected bodies
- Together they will establish a godly social order that will transform every sphere of life in the Millennium.
- “And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations” (Is.61:4)
- Every aspect of society will be transformed to become aligned with the Kingdom of God
- This will involve major transformation ….government, law, finance, education, media, entertainment, sports, community, religion,

6.Jesus government will not be instantaneous but will progressively increase
- E.g. “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Is. 9:7)
- E.g. Dan 2:35 - Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan.2:35)
- It will take time to transform the Kingdoms of this world. It will not happen in an instant.
- Natural processes will continue but deeply impacted by the presence of God and His glory
- “For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea” (Hab.2:14)
- What an enormous honor to be chosen to work with Jesus to establish true peace and prosperity upon the earth
- “Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” (Dan.7:27)

7.Faithfulness in this Life determines the Level of Authority we have in the age to Come
Each of us will have differing responsibilities and assignments in the Millennial Kingdom
- Note these scriptures indicating different levels
- They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (Rev. 20:6).
- “And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' (Lk.19:17)
- “Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.' (Lk.19:19)
- “ And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Rev.2:26)
- “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev.3:21)

8.Faithfulness in Our Serving now Determines our Responsibility and Authority in the Age to Come
- Your life now is your preparation for your eternal Ministry in the coming Kingdom
- The Parable of the Pounds(Minas) Luke19:11-27)
- “ A certain nobleman went to a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and to return” (Luke 19:12).
- Jesus is that Nobleman and the far country is heaven. He will receive the Kingdom at His Heavenly Coronation and Return (Dan.7:13-14)
- “ Do business until I come (Luke 19:13)
- Every believer is entrusted by Jesus with gifts, resources, time, ministries, and opportunities and commanded to engage in advancing the Kingdom of God
- "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading” (Luke 19:13)
- Every one of us will be called to give account of our stewardship at the judgment Seat of Christ(Bema)
- Our faithfulness in serving Jesus in His absence will be acknowledged and rewarded
- Our rewards will reflect how faithful and productive we have been during our brief life on earth
One was given rule over ten cities, one was given rule over five cities
- There will be a multitude of levels of responsibilities for people to serve in the coming Kingdom
- But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.” (Luke 19:13)
- Jesus enemies who refuse His rule over them will meet an untimely death
- Jesus will give his faithful servants authority to rule over literal cities in the Millennial Kingdom.
- With such a High Calling of God upon our lives we must become faithful in all areas of our life
- We need to be faithful Jesus and His call upon our life even in the dry and difficult seasons
- These difficult times “ work for us an eternal weight of glory” as we remain faithful to Christ
- We need to be faithful in the small things especially when no one but God is watching

9.To Participate in Ruling with Jesus we Must Overcome in this Life
- Jesus has invited us to sit down with Him on His throne and to rule the nations with a rod of iron in the Millennial Kingdom and for all eternity.
- What a Great Honor we have been called to participate In….everything else pales in significance
Our eternal destiny is the Throne of God
- To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne”(Rev.3:21)
“ And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations. HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON; THEY SHALL BE DASHED TO PIECES LIKE THE POTTER'S VESSELS'—as I also have received from My Father;” (Rev.2:26-27)
- To qualify for this high calling, Jesus says that we must overcome.
This reward of eternal authority is not for every believer.
These rewards are reserved for those who overcome losing their first love, trials and tribulations, compromise with the world, the works of Jezebel, spiritual slumber, apathy, and being complacent
- Those granted authority will participate with Jesus in judging the nations in the Millennial Kingdom.
Not only will the overcomers sit down on the throne with Jesus, but the Bible says that ―judgment [will be] given to them (Rev. 20:4).
- “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?” (1 Cor. 6:2-3).
- The overcomers will assist Jesus when He judges the nations and evaluates their role in the Millennial Kingdom (Matt. 25:31-46).


Questions for Personal Reflection
1.What has the Holy Spirit impressed upon me in this teaching?
2.In what areas do I need to repent of being unfaithful, inconsistent, resentful ?
3.In what areas do I need to cultivate greater faithfulness to The Lord?
4.In what areas do I need to overcome passivity, lack of motivation, complacency?



Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 2 (4 of 12)  

Sun 21 Jun 2020 AM « Back to Top

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Eternal Rewards are an important part of Jesus teachings, both in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelation.

Eternal Rewards are Jesus generosity to us in the coming Millennium and beyond that acknowledge our love for Him, our transformation to become like Him and the service we have done on His behalf during our life on earth.

This series brings understanding of the significance and importance of Eternal Rewards. This teaching continues to explain what those rewards are, and its focus is Eternal Glory.

Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 2 (4 of 12)

Introduction

Welcome to the study. We're looking at the series, Eternal Rewards. In the last session, I did an overview of what the eternal rewards are. This is Part 2 of that, so I'll just touch on and review where we went last time, and then we're going to get into the new teaching today.

What you believe about the future will greatly affect how you prepare, and how you live, your life. One of the things that Jesus taught a lot about was eternal rewards. He taught about Eternity, He taught about a coming kingdom. His message was on The Kingdom. The Kingdom is here now. It's available now, but it's also a coming kingdom as well. So there's a measure available now; and by faith we can stretch into the kingdom age, and pull some of what God has prepared in the ages to come, into the age we live in now.

The dilemma you have, when people get some of these end time teachings, is they put everything off until the future, and do nothing now. But throughout the Bible you find people, God showed them what was to come, and their life showed they stretched into that age, and pulled it into where they lived; and you see it in many different people that ministered.

When we look at this teaching on Eternal Rewards, Jesus talked about us coming into relationship; and then He talked about our life, in other words, what we live, our stewardship.

Matthew 16:27: “now the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father and His angels, He will reward each man according to their works”.

Jesus is talking about Eternal Rewards, and He associates the rewards we receive with the works that we do - in other words, our activities, as a steward for Jesus. Secondly, we saw there are many different types of rewards; and in almost every situation, the rewards were for overcoming some particular challenge or difficulty. We saw in Revelations 2 and 3, how there are many, many different rewards that are mentioned by Jesus, and they all relate to overcoming something. At some stage we may look at the Churches of Revelation, and in every one of them, Jesus reveals Himself in a certain way. He reveals an aspect of Himself. He commends them for what they've done; and then He begins to talk about where there's a lack, or what He wants them to do; and then gives a reward associated with it.

We need to be aware, or familiar with, what is at stake. If nothing is at stake, then you don't get interested in this - it doesn't mean anything to you; but if there's a lot at stake, then that changes the way you look at it. I used the illustration last time: would you rather have $10 now, or $1000 at the end of the week? The issue is: can you delay gratification now, in order for the bigger thing. You can imagine, if the end of it all is a massive prize, then you're motivated then to lay your life down.

The third thing we saw was: rewards are not given automatically - it requires that we meet specific conditions. For example...

Revelations 3:21 - “to him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down My Father on His throne”

Jesus is saying: I have modelled the life of overcoming, and as a result of overcoming, I've been elevated to this particular realm, as a man. He had the realm of glory, had a realm of rulership, before He came into the earth. Now He's been elevated, as a man, into that; and He says: if you overcome, likewise you will be lifted up, and share the throne with Me. That means to share a position of honour, to share a position of authority and to be a friend of Him, in advancing His kingdom, in the ages to come.

John 12:26 - “If any man serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also, for if anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour.

Notice, He then talks about God, the Father, honouring people who meet certain conditions; and the two conditions are: #1, serving Jesus; and #2, following Him.

Serving has to do with: performing activities on His behalf, as His representative. Following Him means: letting His word transform our life. To follow Jesus, or to follow a rabbi, meant you walked with them, and learnt how they lived their life, and applied the word of God to their life; so it's a life-transformation process. Notice He says: “Whoever serves Me...” - that means you're involved in the work of ministry of some kind.

The second thing is, then He says: “...let him follow Me”, which seems weird. You would think that if you're following Jesus, then you'll serve Him. He's saying: no, “if you're serving me”, in other words you're already in-relationship, and you're serving, He then goes on to say: “then you must follow Me”. In other words, you must commit to letting Me teach you how to do life, and how to apply kingdom principles to the way you do your life in ministry. Notice then, in both of those scriptures, receiving the reward is conditional on our response. Him who overcomes, gets the reward; he who follows Me and serves Me, gets the reward.

Then we saw in #4, that small sacrifices on our part now, will have huge recompense eternally. Small things now, big things later. For example, He used it in Matthew 25:21. He says: “you were faithful over a few things…”, so what we have now in this life are ‘few’ things. Then He says: “...I will make you ruler…”, or give you a position and a role of responsibility “...over many”, and that's ‘a multitude’, it's ‘mega’.

Then in Luke 29:17, He says: “well done, you were faithful in very little, now have authority over 10 cities”. Now you just can't compare ‘very little’ to ‘authority over 10 cities’. He's saying: the comparison between what you're responsible for now, and what God has planned for you, is enormous - there is no comparison! But it does require that we be faithful, in the fulfilling of what He gives us now; and He doesn't say: that's a ministry. He doesn't say: it's pastoring. He doesn't say anything about what that might be. He just says: faithful in the little you've been given. So that applies to every person; whatever our opportunity, whatever our talents, whatever our giftings - we all have the opportunity to win, to have authority in the coming kingdom.

In Hebrews 11:6, God says that He is a ‘rewarder’. He that comes to God must believe that He is; that He's available, that He cares about us; and #2, that He's a rewarder - that He recompenses us for every little thing we do: our attitudes, our choices, the things we've overcome, the way we've represented Him, the sacrifices we've made, the things we've walked through and kept a good, loving spirit. When you start to get this revelation into your heart, it helps you very much to overcome the petty stuff that goes on in life with people, because you look past it all. You realise that whatever you're experiencing now, God has got His eye on the little details of it; and particularly, how you respond, and what you do with it.

Matthew 19:29 - “Anyone who left houses, or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. Notice He's saying: a hundredfold!

Main Message

So we just reviewed where we've been, and the last time we looked at some possible categories of the many rewards, and there are many described, which means God is just unlimited in what He can do for you; so He's got your back. He's thinking about you.

I put them under some categories:

- Eternal Intimacy

- Eternal Authority

- Eternal Glory

- Eternal Garments

- Victor's Crowns

- Honour & Praise

- Treasures & Riches

- Vindication

We found that the first three are the three perhaps the most important ones, but the others are also important, and I'll get on to them at another time. We saw that one of the most important ones is: the sharing of governance over creation - because that's what we've been made for. We've been made for intimacy, an intimate relationship with our Father in heaven. We've been made to represent Him, and that means: to show His glory in nature and character, which means we need to be transformed; and we know that we're designed to partner with Him, in the expanse of His kingdom. In Isaiah 9 it says: “Of the increase of His government, there is no end”. That's amazing. That means that God will forever be expanding His government.

If He could do what He's done for a planet called Earth, He could do that for many of the stars of the galaxy, or many places in the galaxy. We've got no concept of how great the things are, that God has ahead; and we saw that in 1 Corinthians 2 - “The eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of the man, the things God has prepared for them that love Him”. We also saw that love is not to do with feelings; it has to do with our willingness to yield to obey Him.

So in this study, I was going to do a couple of the different rewards, but as I did this one I thought: it's actually better I focus on this one, because it's of immense interest, immense importance, so I'm going to make this one the focus of today's study.

I want to look at reward #3, which is Resurrection Glory, or eternal glory. We'll call it Eternal Glory. It means that for age after age after age, there is a glory, or an honour. The word ‘glory’ in the Bible is the word ‘kabod’ - weight, honour; so it has many ways it expresses itself, but it means weight. God will put eternal weight, or a weight that lasts for eternity. It cannot be taken away from you once you've got it, it will be there forever, it will be seen by all, forever. So right now, you are preparing yourself for how you will be in the coming eternity. The millennium kingdom is where everyone on earth will see what you are, and in the coming eternal ages. We've got no concept of what God may have laid out ahead for us!

We're going to focus then on eternal glory, and that refers in many ways, or primarily, to Resurrection; or the Glory of Resurrection. Today I'll focus very much on Resurrection: what that looks like; and the First Resurrection. There are many aspects we could teach about it, particularly in relation to the current resurrection life we have, but I want to focus on the coming resurrection, the First Resurrection.

2 Peter 1:16-17 - “We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And we heard this voice, which came from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Now this is an amazing scripture. All the scriptures we do today... you will want to go back and look at them, mark them, go through them and study them, make them your own. The first thing in that one is that the three disciples were eyewitnesses. An eyewitness is a spectator. They saw it personally; saw it with their own eyes, they were eyewitnesses. They were spectators, personally present, and they saw it. That's why he said: we didn't make up a big tale. This is not a fable. It's not some fiction. It's not some myth. We saw it. We were there. They're eyewitnesses; and what were they eyewitnesses to? They were eyewitnesses to the power, and coming, of the Lord Jesus Christ - we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

The word majesty - get this - the original word is ‘mega’; mega liotes, l-i-o-t-e-s, meaning: ‘magnificence’. We saw His magnificence. It means visible splendour. We saw His superb-ness. We saw His brilliance. We saw His royal dignity. That's the only word he could use that would describe it: it's mega! It's mega, mega, mega! Very, very big. They encountered the glory of Jesus, the majesty of His second coming, when He comes in resurrection glory.

Interesting, just a side note to think about: only three of the 12 saw it all, which - it's just an aside, but it does point out: not all will participate in this.

They visibly encountered Jesus. They saw Him transformed to become full of glory, and they saw what it was like; they tried to describe that, and they identify in that scripture where they saw it. They saw it on the Mount of Transfiguration. There are three good scriptures on the Mount of Transfiguration - Matthew, Luke and Mark all talk about it.

The second thing then is: Jesus’ resurrection glory was revealed to them; His Resurrection Glory. Firstly, Matthew wrote about it, in Matthew 16:27 - 17:2; then Luke wrote about it, in Luke 9:29; and Mark wrote about it in Mark 9:2-3.

Matthew said: (this is what Jesus said) “For the Son of Man will come, in the glory of His Father, with His angels”. He's saying: He will come in great Glory; and then He will reward each one, according to his works. Then He says: “assuredly I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death, until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. And then after six days He took Peter, James and John his brother, led them to a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, His clothes became white as light”.

What He's saying is: He prophesied to them, that some of you, some of you won't die before you see the Son of Man coming in glory. Straight after that, He took them up the mountain, and they saw it! What they're seeing is: the coming of the Son of Man; and they're seeing the Resurrection.

Luke wrote it like this: “As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered. His robes became white and glistening”. Then Mark wrote of it, in Mark 9:2-3 and he says: “After six days, He took Peter, James and John, let them up the high mountain apart and was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white like snow, there's no launderer on earth that can whiten them”.

It says Jesus was transfigured. That's the word ‘metamorphu’. It's a Greek word - we get the word ‘metamorphosis’ from it, which means you change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Think of a caterpillar: earthbound, limitations galore; and then a butterfly: heaven-bound! The word ‘transfigure’ means to totally change your form - from something earthbound, to something heavenly-bound. That's why they use that word - it means a complete change of form. When Jesus was transfigured... yes, they could recognise His body; but it had been completely changed for a moment, by the power of God. That word metamorphosis describes His transformation, a complete transformation. They were just overwhelmed by it.

I want to just pick up a second thought, and then we'll go on and look at Jesus' resurrected body. The Bible tells us that we will have a resurrected body, like Jesus. It'll be like His. That's what God's design is for you!

Philippians 3:20-21 - “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working, by which He is able to subdue everything to Himself.”

Notice He says: “He will transform our body”, so whatever body you've got now, God's not going to get rid of it. He's going to transform it, and that's that same word, to change the form totally, a complete transformation of our body. What is He transforming it to become? That we might be conformed, or become like, something that's not there yet.

He says: it'll be exactly like Jesus' body. The only thing that will differ is: not the resurrection, but the glory that you carry; but everyone's body will be transformed to become like His body. We'll come back to look at what He could do - this is what really makes this so interesting to study.

There will be a transformation; there'll be a demonstration of God's power, that totally transforms our physical body - spiritually transforms it. Our physical body, it will become like Jesus' resurrected body - totally changed! What was it like? What was His body like? I'm going to go through and give you a range of things that Jesus' body was like.

Now just think about this; try to think ahead, what it would mean for you, if you entered into resurrection. Also think what it would mean to you, if everyone around the table, except you, entered into it. There would be great joy if you entered in; and there would be considerable grief and loss to realise that you are part of a body of people, and God called you to become something, but you didn't enter it, at that time. So here's some things about the body of Jesus... What was Jesus' body like?

#1) He had a physical body with flesh and bones. He actually had a physical body; so you could go out and touch Him, and you could feel the bones, you could feel the flesh. If you reach out and touch someone now - His body felt like that. It was that real.

In John 20:27, He said to Thomas: “Reach your finger in, and look at My hands; and reach your hand, and put it into My side. Don't be unbelieving, but believing.”

In Luke 24:39 - “Behold My hands, here's My feet, here's Me, handle Me”. He said: ‘touch Me’. See, touch Me and see - a spirit doesn't have flesh and bones. He said: I'm not a spirit; actually, this is what a resurrection body looks like. So they could see His body, and touch His body, but it was a resurrected body.

#2) The second thing about Him is: the disciples could touch Him, and they also ate with Him, and drank with Him. In other words, in your resurrected body, people can touch you, and you feel like the real deal. You feel like a real person. They can feel the bones, they can sense there's a real person there. You can also eat!

John 21:12-13 - “Jesus said to them, come and eat breakfast, for none of the disciples dared ask Him, who are You? - knowing it was the Lord. And Jesus came and took bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish”. So they had breakfast on the beach, which Jesus prepared for them.

Acts 10:40-41 - “Jesus, God raised Him up on the third day and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses that God chose”.

So God selected the people He would reveal Jesus to; and even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. He's saying now: we sat down, we had a meal. We could touch Him. We could eat with Him. He's as real as you are. He's not some ghostly apparition. It's not some weird spirit thing. It's a real, real physical person in front of him.

#3) Here's the third thing... There's something different about His body. It looked like, you know, it's just another person - except: Jesus could materialise, and dematerialise His body; His physical body. Oh man, when I read through these things, they read like something out of a superhero story! They really do! You read some of the things He could do, and you think: oh my goodness, no wonder all these movies are coming up, all this superhero stuff. They're preparing us for great things, but this is so much better!

He was no longer controlled by time or space, or physical world laws or any limitations. Nothing - He's not constrained by the physical world, because He now has a spiritual body that supersedes the physical world. That means: you could enter the natural world, and then leave it, and that's just so crazy! He could supernaturally move from one location to another. He could be here now, and then suddenly, He's in another place, another country. It's interesting to read the descriptions of all of that, and Luke described His sudden disappearance. You've just got to try and put yourself in the story, and think: what would I feel, if suddenly someone just disappeared; they were there, sitting at the table, then they were gone, like that. That is so staggering!

Luke 24:31 - “Their eyes were opened, and they suddenly recognised Him”.

Now they've been sitting there having a meal with the guy, they didn't even know it was Jesus. They were just sitting having a meal, with a regular guy, who's been walking with them on a journey, then He breaks the bread, and gives it to them, and suddenly... it's Jesus! Then, the moment they knew who it was... He's gone! That is such a freaky thing that happened, He just - it says: “He vanished from their sight”. That means literally, to become invisible, or suddenly just disappear from sight.

Luke described the appearance; and then John described Jesus' sudden appearance. He describes the disappearance: He's there, and suddenly, He's gone; then John describes the appearance. Here's John's description, and possibly He walked through the wall, because in one of them it says: “the door was shut” - so we're in a locked room!

“The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, the doors were shut”. See, everyone's got the doors shut. Maybe they're locked? They were assembled, for fear of the Jews - so probably they're locked... and Jesus suddenly, He came and stood in the midst, and said: “Peace be to you”. So they're in a locked room, and suddenly... He's there! I don't know whether He just walked through the door. He's just suddenly... there!

There’s another one, in John 20:26 - He did it more than once! It says... “After eight days, the disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them, and Jesus came, the doors being shut, and suddenly stood in the midst, and said: “Peace be to you”.

Notice they described: “the doors were shut”. In other words, there's no way to get in. Suddenly… He's there - appeared; and disappeared! Man, oh man! Then Mark describes it...

Mark 16:14 - “Later, He appeared to the 11, as they sat at the table, and then rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they didn't believe those who'd seen Him, after He'd risen.”

They're all sitting at the table having a meal, probably talking about: where do we go from here... and then ‘poof’ - He appears! Guys, I told you about this... What's wrong? You didn't believe me? Now the shock of seeing someone physically, after you watched them die... You ran away, because it was scary, and then suddenly... it's so hard to comprehend - it's just mind blowing!

Paul makes a list of the appearances that he knew of, and it's found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 - “I delivered to you first of all which I received - and this is the gospel. Christ died for our sins according to scriptures. He was buried, He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.

Now look at this list... “He was seen by Peter, then seen by 12, then seen by over 500 at once, and mostly they're still alive, some of them have died. After that, seen by James, then by all the apostles. Last He was seen by me, like one out of due time.”

He had his own encounter and saw Jesus, so he identifies the different occasions. Jesus - this is what He did: He appeared, then He disappeared! So you see that regularly, after Jesus rose from the dead, He made appearances - just sudden appearances; and he himself had a face-to-face encounter, in Acts 9.

Luke also shared some things about these ongoing daily appearances. As you read this, you think: oh my goodness! What kind of atmosphere must have been around the disciples, when this was happening?

Acts 1:1-3 - “The former account I made, Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to both do and teach, until the day he was taken up, after he through the Holy Spirit gave commandments to the apostles He had chosen, to whom He presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them during 40 days”.

So He kept appearing, for 40 days; and what was He doing? He was speaking things, pertaining to the kingdom of God. Can you imagine: Jesus died; and then suddenly, He turns up; and now you don't even know when He's going to turn up. He's going to turn up, and share with you about the kingdom of God; and you don't know when that's going to be! Wouldn't you be hungry? Wouldn't you be excited, waiting for that to happen? Wouldn't everything else take on a whole new kind of, oh wow! When is it going to happen, today? I suppose they gathered to worship; and when they're gathering, worshipping, suddenly… He appears! Whoa, worship's over, He's here! He's here; and then He would teach them - teach them about the kingdom… If only they'd written down what He taught them! That would be good - or they'd taken a video of it or something.

I'd like to see Him appearing and disappearing. I think that would be so just amazing; and you know, I don't know whether He just went ‘poof’, and He was gone; or whether He turned, and just walked through a wall, and was gone? Hard to know, isn't it? But suddenly, your perspective of the real reality of the physical world would alter enormously. The invisible world of the kingdom would suddenly become a great reality for you; and of course, the impact of someone doing that is overwhelming. I mean, it’s all very well to talk through a list about it here, but if someone suddenly does it... the effect!

Luke 24:36-37 - “Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them: “Peace be to you”.

He says: “Peace, guys”, but they were terrified and frightened, thinking they were looking at a spirit. That word ‘terrified’ means to be overcome with astonishment, and to fall down prostrate on the ground. So you understand, this is enormously impacting. What Jesus is doing is, He's actually giving a little view of what the millennium's going to be like - except it will be on a much bigger scale, because there will be lots of people! Man oh man, I'm so looking forward to that!

It says: they were frightened. He says: they trembled in fear! So this is not some little deal; and you can read it, but then.. If you watch anything on the TV, and a ghost appears, or some kind of thing in one of the stories... God, it's frightening! You get a scare out of it! Someone doing this is just… even though He says ‘Peace’.

Here are some more things about Him... He could materialise, He could turn up or disappear. He could go wherever He wanted. That's what you can do, in a resurrection body, because you're no longer bound by the physical laws or the physical world or time. You can go anywhere! Here's another thing: Jesus' body could change form.

Mark 16:12 - “after that, He appeared in another form, to two of them”.

That's a visible shape or appearance - so He could alter how He looked. Oh man, isn't that something! Being able to alter how you look! He could alter how He looked, so they didn't recognise Him! Just... didn't recognise Him! So obviously, He could alter His physical appearance, or the way He fronted up.

He could front up differently, because they just thought He was another traveller. Could it be another skin colour? Could He turn up as an Asian? Could turn up in any kind of form?

That word ‘form’ means: a visible shape or appearance. He could alter His appearance, so people couldn't recognise Him... and they didn't!

Luke 24:15-16 - “While they talked and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them and their eyes were constrained, they didn't know who He was.”

How could you be with someone for three years, every day with them, living, eating, breathing... and then they turn up next to you, walking, and you're talking... you haven't got a clue! You can forget names, but you can't forget faces.

[Female speaker] But it’s about their eyes, not about His form at that point. Is that right?

[Mike Connell] Well, no. Mark 16 says the same story, and he says, “in another form”. One says: “their eyes were withheld so they couldn't see”; but the other one says: “it was another form”, so you've probably got to put the two together.

If someone is in another form, and they talk to you, you usually recognise their voice or recognise how they're talking. They didn't recognise anything. Everything was withheld...

Mary Magdalene didn't recognise Him! Jesus appeared outside the tomb, and said to her: woman, why are you weeping? And she said: because they've taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they've laid Him. Now when she'd said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and did not know it was Jesus!

In fact, in another one, it says: she thought He was the gardener. His form is different. How could you mistake Jesus for a gardener? The fact that He came as a gardener of course, is symbolic, that He is of course, a great gardener - you know, sows and reaps, and so on.

Anyway - ...and Jesus said: “Mary”; and she turned and said to Him: “Master”. She saw Jesus standing, and it was so unimpressive that she turned away again - until He said: Mary! Then suddenly, she realised: it's the Master - she hadn't even known!

[Female speaker] So do you think at that point His form changed to what she knew?

[Mike Connell] Ooh, I don't know, I wish I knew. She knew who He was, but her first thing she thought: He was just a gardener. It's helpful if you move past just a simple concept: one day we get a resurrection body; to actually have insights from the word: this is what it looked like; this is what it's going to operate like. Remember, He's going to make our body like His body - able to do these same things!

Here's the next thing then; the next characteristic of it: Jesus' resurrected body radiates glory. It radiates life and glory out of it. In other words, it's like a bright, shining lamp.

Matthew 17:2 - “He was transfigured before them, His face shone like the sun, His clothes became white as light”.

Mark 9:3 - “His clothes became shining, exceedingly white; face like a sun, clothes exceedingly white, white as you could ever get it”.

Luke 9:29 - “As He prayed, the appearance of His face altered, and His robes became white and glistening”.

Notice the key, they all describe a little different aspect of it - it was as He prayed, the glory shifted and changed.

It says: His face shone like the sun. That word shine is the word “lampo” - to beam or radiate out light; brilliant light. His face shone like the sun - so in other words, you couldn't look upon His face, because of the brilliant light, and it's coming from the inside out. It's from the glory within, shining forth like rays; brilliant rays, like the sun. His garments, His clothes, become white. That word ‘white’ is the word ‘leukos’, which means: brilliant, or dazzling white. The guy says: you couldn't launder your clothes to look that white; this is beyond white! This is better than anyone could do.

It also means: to radiate dazzling, bright rays of light. You see His countenance radiating light, bright like the sun. Used to look at the sun, it's that brilliant light, and you can feel the light and the warmth - that's what it's like; and it says: His clothes were glistening. That means they shone out lightning. The glory of God, which was within Jesus, began to radiate out through His whole body, changing all of His body. It was what was in Him, expanding out, and changing what was outside.

His body, and His garments, and His countenance, all radiated brilliant rays of light. Now when John saw Jesus in the Book of Revelation, he had an encounter with Him, and said a similar thing…

Revelation 1:12-16 - “I turned to see the voice that spoke with me; and having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands, One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment to the feet, and girded with His chest with a golden band. His head and His hair were white like wool (here it is again) - white like snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire.”

In other words, His eyes are burning like there's a fire. That's the only way he could describe it, was it's like His eyes are on fire, a blazing flame of fire. And he says...

“His feet were like fine brass, as if you'd refined it in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of many waters; in His right hand, seven stars; out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and His countenance was like the sun shining, in its strength”.

Again, he's seeing the glory, and he says that it's like looking into the sun - the brilliance of His face... it's too much to handle. Jesus' countenance was shining with brilliance; and it tells us about God's people in Matthew 13:43 - “...then the righteous will shine forth like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father”.

It could be just prophetic statements; or it could actually be literally, the glory is so brilliant, that it shines right through us. Here's another thing about Jesus' resurrection...

Jesus could veil His glory. He could fully cover it, so you couldn't see it; or just partially, so you could see it. So sometimes He appeared in glory; other times He appeared like a gardener. Sometimes you could recognise Him; but other times, you couldn't recognise Him. He could appear, and He could vanish. We need to see then, the glory of God that's within Him - as He walked no one recognised it; but when He was on the Mount, it suddenly shone forth, and you could see it.

The last thing is this statement here, a scripture that says: Christ in us, the hope of glory. In Colossians 1:27-29, but I'll read 2 Corinthians 4:7 first... “We have this treasure in an earthen vessel, so the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

In other words, as a believer, the Bible describes you as having a treasure in you. Most times people are trying to get God to come down from somewhere to do something, and they lose awareness that we are one with the Spirit of God, when we're in Christ. We have a treasure within us, which we have to grow and cultivate. We have this treasure, which is Christ in an earthen vessel; so even though we may be frail, may have limitations, may have weaknesses and so on and so forth, nevertheless it's not about the vessel. It's the treasure inside the vessel that counts. Then Paul, talking about that same treasure, says this, in Colossians 1; he says: “to them, God willed to make known, what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”.

Christ has put a deposit of His life in you, which gives you hope of a glory, yet to come. I'll say that again. God has put a measure of Christ in you, and that gives you hope, that this is a glory yet to come; no one sees it, because it's veiled. Remember how with Jesus, the glory was within Him, but it was veiled; yet they were on the Mount, it was revealed. It’s the same for us - the glory is hidden; but there is a day when it will be revealed; and our job is to walk with Him, and serve Him now, so we qualify for that day.

Ephesians 1:13-14 - “In Him you trusted, after you heard the word of truth; the gospel of salvation, whom having believed (here it is, here...) you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise...”.

That word ‘sealed’ means: ‘to put an ownership mark on you’; and the Holy Spirit is the guarantee, or it's called the ‘earnest’ of our inheritance - “...until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory”.

What does that mean? Well that word ‘guarantee’, or ‘earnest’, is the deposit you give someone when you're buying a house. If I'm going to buy your house, then we seal the deal by paying a deposit. That means, if you have the deposit, it's the guarantee that I will return with all the money, and it will all be completed. I will take ownership of the house fully, and what you will receive is the rest of the money. What he's saying is: the anointing, or presence, of the Spirit of God, that you have in you now, is the down-payment.

It's the down payment until God redeems your body - the rest of the glory comes at that time; he connects then, that coming glory, or that hope ahead of us, with the coming day of resurrection. You all have a ‘deposit’ of God. It's not a matter of how big it is, it's what you do with what you have, is what counts. The glory that is within us, reminds us of a greater glory, that we're called to take hold of.

Notice what Paul said: that it's ‘until’ - so we've got that measure... ‘until’. Paul then says: “...about therefore we preach, we warn every man…” - that means: confront them with the truth. “We teach every man with all wisdom”. Notice what he's doing? Preaching, proclaiming the truth, warning, or talking about people, to get them right in their lives; teaching every man, with all wisdom. Why? So we may present everyone as perfect in Jesus Christ.

So what he's saying then is: Paul was motivated by this prize, to persevere, in his calling to mature people. The hardest thing in pastoring is just to mature people. They forever want to stay childish, but the work of the ministry is to preach; to proclaim the word of God, believing God to honour it. It's to confront, or to warn people; to face them up with what's going on in their life; and it's to teach them, instruct them in how to walk and become mature in God; presenting every man perfect.

All believers in the coming kingdom will manifest different levels of glory. We saw Jesus manifested a full glory, but we will manifest different levels of glory. No matter where you are now, it doesn't matter what it looks like to everyone, or how important or whatever you are - only Jesus really knows what you're qualified for. No one can say! It's got nothing to do with anything external, it has to do with your journey.

Philippians 3:21 - “He will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body”

In the coming resurrection, we will have a body like Jesus. He's going to transform our body.

1 Corinthians 15:47-49 - “Just as we've borne the image of the man of dust, we'll also bear the image of the heavenly Man”.

What he's saying is that yeah, when we look around, we can see that we're carrying the image of the fallen Adam. However, it's absolutely certain that one day, we will carry the image of God. We'll just be like in the image of Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:2 - “Beloved, we are children of God now, but it has not yet been revealed what we shall be”.

You don't know; but we do know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him. I've given you three scriptures that indicate very clearly: we will be like Him, in our resurrection body; and then it says: whoever has this hope in himself, purifies himself. In other words, knowing that there's a hope of being like Him, in resurrection, we are responsible to get our life right; to walk with Him, to allow our life to be purified, to become clean vessels, with no compromise.

In the resurrection all our abilities will be enhanced, so it's not just your body that changes. Everything about you changes; your mental abilities will be enhanced - no memory problems! Your ability to understand; your ability to think... They say only about 10% of our brain is currently used, probably as a consequence of the fall, which means 90% remains unused. I presume the Lord, in resurrection, since our body is transformed, the full capacity of our creativity and thinking will be released.

Our emotions will be enhanced. The ability to feel love, to feel peace, to feel joy, to feel all those things; our abilities to communicate will be enhanced, because you won't just be words. You know, communication of the spirit is - it's telepathy, pretty much. When God speaks, you don't hear the words, you just pick up the thought inside you. The nearest thing to that is telepathy, I suppose.

Strength, there'll be enhanced strength; you see glimpses of it in the Bible, with the ‘spirit of might’ coming on people, like Samson. He could do extraordinarily strong things; you see glimpses in the Bible, of these characteristics.

Endurance, your ability to do things without being fatigued or sick. Transportation will change. You'll be able to move from one place to another, without any problem. Material, you'll be able to pass through walls; there's nothing physical that will constrain you. Beauty, we'll be enhanced in our beauty; and incorruptible, unable to get sick, or die, or be damaged. Doesn't that sound great! You never get sick, no teeth go, no hair fallout. No back problems, nothing like that; no memory problems either.

It's like everything becomes immensely enhanced in that coming age; and then as you look at that, you realise: oh my, sin has really reduced us, and humbled us, and we're wearing a garment that's so corrupt! You see hints of this in the scripture...

1 Corinthians 15:40-44 - “There are celestial bodies and terrestrial. There's heaven and earth, and the glory of the heavenly is different to the glory of the earthly”.

It says that right now, you're in an earthly body; but there's a totally different dimension of glory in the heavenly body. Just look up at the sky and see how vast it is! That's how different it's going to be, in that coming day. He said: there's one glory of the sun, another of the moon. If you look at the glory of the sun... wow, brilliance! Look at the moon... it's like a cold light at night. It's quite different. He says: another glory of the stars, and one star differs another in glory; so he's saying: if you just look at creation, it's all yelling at you, that in the coming kingdom, we'll all be in different levels of glory.

God can do it. I mean look at the stars. Some are really bright and shine, some are quite faint, very faint. He said: it'll be the same in the coming kingdom - just extraordinary! He said: the resurrection of the dead is sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonour, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power. So notice then, these things, now in corruption, will be incorruptible - no sickness, no death, nothing going downhill, like it does now. Glory, he says; purity and honour; so in other words, there will be just a glory that's unchangeable. Power; instead of being vulnerable, and in pain. Spiritual body, with capacities that surpass everything; and immortality, unending life and love. It's just extraordinary - and you see little glimpses of it.

You see Samson, with all the strength; and you see Elijah, who ran ahead of a chariot. How do you run ahead of a chariot, for goodness sake? He just did that in his physical body, under the power of the Holy Ghost, and you see so many things like that. Our physical body will be completely transformed; our sight, we'll be able to see near and far; hearing, be able to hear with clarity at great distances. It's like everything changed: your taste, you'll enjoy things better; touch; everything will be enhanced to another level.

Then finally in that area, every believer will have a different level of glory in that resurrection. Jesus talked about it in Matthew 5:19 - we see there's ‘great’ and ‘least’ in the kingdom. There will be greatest, and there will be the least; so that means there's a range of ranks. We saw in 1 Corinthians 15 that there's different degrees of glory; so, in the resurrection, everyone will have a different degree of glory, and you won't be envious of someone else's, because you will see why they deserved it. I'll get onto that when we get to garments.

There's different degrees of glory; and the degrees of glory relate to three things: our intimacy with Jesus; what we overcame in life; and the degree of inner transformation. In other words, to those key things of sonship, that's why they're so important.

Let's then look at the first resurrection - I want to just do a section on the first resurrection. This is really quite an important area here now. We see what Jesus was capable of; what His body looked like; and how we're going to be conformed to that same image. Now I want to now touch on the reward aspect of this; and I want to talk about the Resurrection. In this section, we'll look at the First Resurrection, and I'm calling it: the Resurrection of Reward.

So firstly, the Bible reveals there are two resurrections...

Revelations 20:5-6 - “The rest of the dead lived not again, until 1000 years were finished. This is the first resurrection”

For the millennium, there's a whole lot of people who are dead; but there's others who are resurrected.

“...So blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection, on such the second death has no power. They shall be priests of God and of Christ and reign with Him 1000 years”.

There's a First Resurrection; and if there's a first one, then there's also another one. The First Resurrection takes place at the beginning of the millennium; then there's 1000 years, and at the very end, then there is a General Resurrection. The second, or general, resurrection takes place at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, at the Great White Throne Judgement.

Revelations 20:11-15 - “Then I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great…”

(there it is again, different degrees)

“...standing before God and the books were opened, and another book was opened which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

(we saw before that God keeps a detailed record).

“...The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hell were delivered up their dead which were in them. They were judged, every man according their works, and Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”.

Notice in the first resurrection, it says: they become priests and kings; but it doesn't say that about the second resurrection. In the first resurrection, we become priests and kings to God; and we reign for 1000 years, working with Jesus for that 1000 years. And what are we doing? What happens?

1 Corinthians 15:24-25 (at the end of the 1000 years) - “He will then hand over all the kingdoms of the world to God the Father, then He'll put an end to all rule and authority”.

In other words, for 1000 years, Jesus will be working to establish the kingdom on earth; and when it's all done, then comes the end, and He hands it all over to the Father; and the Father comes and inhabits the earth, fulfilling what God has always wanted to do: to dwell on earth, with His people.

The first resurrection, I believe, is a resurrection of reward. I believe that participation in the first resurrection is reserved for those who are overcomers. It would be helpful for you to understand that there is a significant point of difference of doctrine about this issue, and not everyone will be happy if you take this position; but I believe it's a true position, and here's why... Some Christians don't even know there's two resurrections; if you ask them about the resurrection, they're not even sure about that, let alone that there's two! Did you know there's two resurrections? Which one will you be in? Will you be in either? People don't always know.

The second thing is, some believers, or some Christians, think that the first resurrection has already taken place. They think it's already happened! I don't believe that at all; and then some Christians, that's another group of them, believe that all believers will be in the first resurrection. That's a position, and there's some scriptural support for that; but others believe that the first resurrection is a prize, and therefore not automatic. That's the position I've taken, for many, many years: that the First Resurrection is a Resurrection of Reward - a prize to be won. If you think about it, that's an enormous prize: to come into a resurrection body; to share in changing the earth with Jesus; and to be never able to die again - yet living among a world where people live and die.

I'm going to give you some scriptures in support of that... that it's a resurrection of reward. What evidence is there, in scripture, that would point towards the first resurrection being a reward? It's quite a subject of its own of course... Firstly, Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Philippians 3:7-11 - “The things that were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ; and indeed I count everything loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them rubbish, so that I may gain Christ...”

I thought: he already had Christ? He's a Christian. Yet he's talking about ‘gaining Christ’, so he's not talking about our salvation experience. He's talking about winning, or obtaining something, he doesn't yet have.

“...and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God, by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformed to His death...”

And here's the key line: “...if by any means, I might attain to the Resurrection from the Dead”.

Notice that Paul considers that all his achievements are meaningless, compared to the prize. The prize is ‘winning Christ’. Since he has already received Christ into his heart and life, and he has a relationship with Him, including encounters, he must be talking about something ahead to be won. It's a prize.

Notice there, the word ‘resurrection from the dead’ - this is the only place in the Bible that used this term. When they use the term ‘resurrection’, they use the term ‘anastasis’, which is the Greek word for resurrection. “Anastasis ek nekron” is the normal statement - Anastasis, meaning ‘resurrection’; ek, meaning ‘from’; and nekron, meaning ‘the dead’.

So normally, if it's talking about resurrection from the dead, it will be “anastasis ek nekron”; but this one is different. He uses “ek anastasis”. He puts the two together, so it reads something like this: if by any means I might attain to the “out-from” resurrection from the dead. He's saying: this resurrection is a different resurrection; this is the thing I want to win!

I believe when he talks about this resurrection, he's referring to the First Resurrection, when people are resurrected for the millennium, to rule and reign with Christ. Notice he says: “if by any means”. That statement means: there's a possibility I may not make it!

In the Book of Acts, they said: if by any means, we might reach Crete. Well, they didn't - they sank! They didn't make it! So “if by any means” means: I'm going to do the very best I can, any means possible, so I might get there. You must realise then, it's clear he's not convinced he qualifies yet; and he's been in ministry for quite a while. This is six years before his death. He's been planting churches, and doing all kinds of things, yet when it comes to this reward, he's saying: everything I've done doesn't mean anything much, compared to qualifying for this. This is what my life is for; I want to qualify for that. He's indicating it's a possibility that it may not happen. It's a prize to contend for, it's the high calling of God and Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:12-15 - “...not that I have already attained it, not that I'm already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of what Jesus Christ lay hold of me. Brethren, I don't count myself to have apprehended it; one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, reaching forward to the things that are before, I press towards the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ. Now let us, as many be mature, have that same mind, and if you think otherwise God will show it to you surely.”

He's going on to say: I haven't made it, so it's not my experience yet, and I'm not sure I'm actually going to be qualifying for it. He says: he has not apprehended the prize, meaning ‘to take possession of it’ or to be certain he's got it. He says: I press towards the mark. That word ‘press’ means: to flee, to run swiftly, to take hold of a prize; you see in the whole language of it, there's a certain resurrection ahead, and it's a prize to be won.

It consumes me. Everything is nothing, in comparison to getting or losing this. Everything is nothing. I want to get this; and he said: I press on towards the mark, for the prize of this high calling of God in Jesus Christ. If there's a ‘high calling’, then there's probably a ‘low calling’ as well. This is a high calling - that we will live our life, and qualify to rule and reign with Christ; and Paul expresses it there.

In the letter to Hebrews, it's talking about the people of faith; and it slips this one-liner in there…

Hebrews 11:35 - “Women received their dead raised to life, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance”.

Why did they allow themselves to be tortured, but refused to be delivered? It says: “...that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

So everyone knew about the general resurrection. Everyone's going to be raised, so don't worry about being raised from the dead. Everyone's going to be raised from the dead. But they're saying: this is a better resurrection, and it caused them to endure everything, even to the point of dying. Why? To get a stronger resurrection. The word ‘stronger’ means: a ‘more excellent’ resurrection; a ‘nobler’ resurrection; a ‘having dominion or power’ resurrection.

So notice now, when you look at the first and second resurrection, on the one hand you've got people who become ‘priests and kings’ to God, and rule and reign with Him for 1000 years. On the other, it doesn't say anything. It just says: they're all raised from the dead, and they will give account for their works; and if their name is in the Book of Life, that means they're believers. They go through into eternity in a resurrection body. The big issue is: whether we're in that first resurrection.

Here's another one, from the Book of Revelation - the promise that's made to the overcomer...

Revelations 2:26 - “Whoever overcomes, and keeps My work to the end, to him I will give power over the nations”.

Notice: ‘power over the nations’, to rule and extend Christ's kingdom and nation; and they're not given to anyone, but an overcomer.

Revelations 3:21-22 - “To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. If you have an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Notice again: to sit in the throne with Jesus; or to share His authority and dominion, and rule with Him in eternity, or in the coming kingdom - you must be an overcomer. That means, you've got to have something to overcome; and Revelation 2 and 3 tells us the various things we must overcome, the challenges all of us must overcome, and of course there's many other kinds of things.

We're getting towards the end of the study, just the last couple of thoughts related to it now... So where will we live in our resurrected body? If you've got a resurrected body, you've come into that resurrection... Where will you live? Where will you be? Will I need this house, for example? There's lots of things that you question, of course.

When you start to look at eternal things, the glory of the eternal, He says: I go to prepare a place for you. So those with resurrection bodies... the Bible indicates that they will ‘live’ in the new Jerusalem, and ‘reign’ on the earth. That means they will have instant transportation anywhere in the earth, just to carry out Jesus' commands.

If Jesus has declared He will ‘rule from Jerusalem, over the whole earth’, there will be the natural Jerusalem, and there will be the new Jerusalem, the City of Our God. He will be there. You must have the natural realm, and the supernatural realm, very close and interacting with one another. It looks as though, for all extents and purposes, God is reigning through the world through natural Jerusalem, just like He did with David. He reigned over the known world, through David, and then through Solomon.

But heaven was on earth. Heaven - there was an immeasure. The veil will be lifted. There will be the natural dimension... people carry on: they eat, they drink, they work, they sow, they plant, they do all the kinds of things they do. They study, they learn, they grow, they die. There will be all of that sort of thing happening; but all the human processes will be greatly enhanced by the glory of God being present - that's what will make a difference. Everything will grow better. Everything will work better, everything - the devil has been put in chains for 1000 years, so there's no demonic interference, no demonic structure. I think people will be amazed at just that one thing, what that does.

Then when you start to fill the place with the glory, things accelerate in the glory. Things thrive in the glory. Everything will thrive. The whole of the millennium will be a time of unprecedented world peace, prosperity and productivity, so who knows what things will be created? If you look at what's been created in Israel since they came back as a nation, and all the Nobel Prizes in Israel, you realise: creativity will be released; new ideas! New sources of energy will be released.

Those with resurrected bodies will interact with people on the earth, like Jesus did. Probably the best way to see what it looks like, is to go back to the 40 days between Jesus rising from the dead, and then when He ascended into heaven, and say: what happened then? That's one little glimpse you get of what this could be like.

Acts 10:40-43 - "God raised Him up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God - even to us who ate and drank with Him, after He rose from the dead”.

He was teaching them; He sat at a table, they ate together, they drank, they probably hugged Him; and He's appearing and disappearing all the time! Every day He disappears; everyday appears again; turns up, has a meal with them, teaches them, shares things of the kingdom with them. No doubt He prayed for them, and blessed them... then He's gone! He doesn't need to stay in the house; has got some other place, some other dimension. My goodness, isn't that exciting?

You can imagine then, the joy and excitement. Imagine living every day, and Jesus is going to turn up sometime today - physically! Imagine then having the meal with Him, and He's sharing with them things from the word of God, sharing with them about the kingdom, sharing with them about His plan for the world. Oh my goodness! The joy and the excitement must have been enormous - that whole dimension of heaven and earth connecting like that. It must have been phenomenal; and every time, they can just touch Him like that, they can give Him a physical hug. Then suddenly… gone; and they don't know when He'll come back - when He's ready, so they just carry on. What are they going to do? They're going to carry on with their lives. So that's an insight - the joy and excitement!

The last thought I would have on it is: intense joy; or great sorrow? God's purpose has always been that heaven would come to earth, that the two realms would overlap. Can you imagine what it would be like to be part of it? Imagine what it would be like to be disqualified, for some reason. Intense joy; a really intense, eternal joy; being resurrected, part of the first resurrection; part of the eternal ministry of Jesus. Great sorrow to think: I've been in church all these years, I've just sort of been carrying on and whatever, but I missed out on what I was really called for.

We have to make a daily choice how we're going to live our life: whether we'll live it for the ‘now’; or we live it for eternity. Will He live it now, for His kingdom, advancing His kingdom, allowing Him to work in our life?

Numbers 14:21 - “As truly as I live (in other words, you can take this one to the bank), all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord”.

We hunger for that glory in meetings. We long for that glory in meetings. We have waves of it, and levels of it, when it's really heavy; where you can't get up off the ground, when the weight of that glory is on you - you can't move, you cry; things happen, healings and deliverance. Imagine the whole earth full of the glory of the Lord - everyone knows about it, it’s not hidden.

There's a company of people with Jesus - the Sons of God, transforming the earth, bringing justice, and setting everything right. You and I are called into that! It's called the high calling of God, in Jesus Christ. What a calling that is!

I encourage you to go through the notes and have a look at them; study the scriptures, make them your own scriptures; and when you've done that, then they become your message. The more you look at them and see it, the more you will then have it as a part of you.

Not everyone, as I say, agrees or believes these things. There will be other people who have a different view: from those who don't know there's two resurrections; to those who think it's already happened; those who think everyone gets resurrected in that first resurrection. Then you will find there are some, a remnant, that believe: no, it's a prize to be won! This is why you lay your life down! This is what it is about. It's all for something, and even if there's frustrations in the short term; in the long term, there's a prize, that you will never want to have taken away from you.

Summary Notes

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ER4: Overview of the Eternal Rewards (Part 2)

I. Review:

1. A Great Theme of Jesus Teaching was Eternal Rewards
- Jesus constantly taught about seeking Eternal rewards, and the need to pursue them
- “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”(Mat.16:27)

2. There are very Many Different types of Rewards
- In Rev.2-3 Jesus names many different rewards for those who Overcome specific challenges and trials
- The many Eternal Rewards that are described potentially form an important part of our Eternal Destiny
- We need to be familiar with the significance and importance of the different rewards revealed.
- Understanding what is at stake gives us great motivation for perseverance and transformation
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Col.3:22-24)

3. Rewards are Not Given Automatically… Only to those who fulfil specific Conditions
- “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21)
- “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn.12:26)
- Note that in each of these scriptures receiving a reward is conditional upon our works and actions in response to Jesus

4. Our Small Sacrifices Now have Huge Recompense Eternally
- “You were faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things.” (Mt. 25:21)
- “Well done...you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” (Lk. 19:17)
- God greatly values our small expressions of obedience in our mind , emotions and will
- He remembers them and rewards them in a much, much greater proportion
- God is a “Rewarder” ( Heb.11:6) and He is extremely generous!
- “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Mt. 19:29)

5. Possible Categories of these Many Rewards
The many Rewards mentioned in the Bible could be listed under the following headings:
1. Eternal Intimacy
2. Eternal Authority
3. Eternal Glory
4. Eternal Garments
5. Victor’s Crowns
6. Honour & Praise
7. Treasures & Riches
8. Vindication

- The first three of these rewards deserve special attention
- One of the Rewards mentioned more than any other is Ruling and Reigning with Christ
- This is because God’s original design for man is to be a Son
* Having Intimate Relationship with Him
* Working with Him to extend His Kingdom with Power and Authority
* Representing Him… His Character and Glory


II. Reward 3: Eternal Glory

1. Jesus Manifested Resurrection Glory
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Pet. 1:16-17)
- Three disciples were eyewitnesses to the Majesty and Glory of Jesus in His resurrected Body
- This is not a fable…some form of fiction or myth that has been invented
- “Eyewitnesses”…..spectators, personally present to see with our own eyes
- “Majesty”…megaliotes….magnificence, visible splendor, wonderful, superbness, brilliance, regal dignity
- The disciples visibly encountered Jesus in the Glory and Honor of His Resurrected Body
- Not all the disciples were given this revelation of His Glory
- They identify clearly when they saw His Majesty and Glory…on the Mount of Transfiguration

2. Jesus Resurrection Glory Revealed
- By Mathew
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matt.16:27 - 17:2).

- By Luke:
As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening” (Lk.9:29)

- By Mark:
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mk.9:2-3)

- Jesus prophesies in Mathew that some of His disciples will be eyewitnesses to his resurrection glory and His second coming before they die
- As Jesus prayed on the mountain He is transfigured before His three disciples
- “Transfigured”… Gk. metamorphoo …to completely change into another form
Metamorphosis….a change of form or structure by supernatural means (Miriam Webster)
In nature this word is used to describe the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly… radical transformation

3. We will Have a Resurrected Body Like Jesus Body

- “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil.3:21-22)
- “Transform”…..to change the figure of, totally change the external condition
- “Conformed” …to bring something into existence that was not there previously
- “Like”…………….Gk summorphos… to have exactly the same form as another
- There will be a demonstration of the supernatural power of God that totally changes our physical body
- “Working” …….supernatural energising by the Spirit of God
- “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom.8:11)
- Our physical body will be made like Jesus resurrected physical body, it will be totally transformed by the supernatural power of God

4. What Was Jesus Resurrected Body Like?

(i) Jesus had a Physical Body with Flesh and Bones (Jn. 20:27).
“Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." (Jn.20:27)
“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." (Lk.24:39)
Jesus gave evidence that he was the same person as before when He went to the cross His body retained its scars, perhaps as eternal badge of Honor
Jesus body was a real physical and spiritual body, able to operate in both the physical and spiritual worlds

(ii) The Disciples Touched Jesus and Ate and Drank with Him Jesus Disciples Touched Him
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!' So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him” (Mat.28:9)
Jesus Disciples Ate and Drank with Him “Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"—knowing that it was the Lord.
Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish ” (Jn.21:12-13)
Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead” (Acts10:40-41)
- Jesus body was tangible, physical and material…it was a real physical body. It had been transformed, transfigured to become a glorious spiritual body without limitations

(iii) Jesus Could Materialise and Dematerialise in His Physical Body.
- Jesus was no longer controlled by time, space and physical laws or limitations of this world
- He could enter and exit the natural world at will
- He could supernaturally transport from one location to another location
- Luke describes Jesus Sudden Disappearance
“Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight” (Lk.24:31)
“Vanished”… vanish out of sight, become invisible, disappear from sight suddenly
- He sometimes vanished from their sight suddenly… there physically one moment and then suddenly gone.

- John describes Jesus Sudden Appearances
Jesus possibly walked through walls on two occasions when doors were “shut”
“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." (Jn.20:19)
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" (Jn.20:26)
Mark describes Jesus appearance “Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen” (Mk.16:14)

- Paul Lists Jesus Many Appearances after His Resurrection
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remains to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1Cor.15:3-8)
- Paul identifies several different occasions when Jesus appeared and then disappeared before people.
- Paul himself had a personal face to face encounter when Jesus appeared in blinding light. Paul’s companions heard Jesus voice but saw no one (Act.9:1-9)
- Luke also Lists Ongoing Daily Appearances of Jesus. These appearances and disappearances took place daily over a period of 40 days
“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Act.1:1-3)
- Jesus continued sharing His message regarding the Kingdom of God over 40 days in a resurrection body
- No doubt He appeared as they gathered in worship, taught them and then suddenly disappeared.
- Can you imagine how that must have felt to those experiencing this happening?

- The impact of Jesus appearing could be mentally and emotionally overwhelming
“Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit” (Lk24.36-37)
“Terrified”……….to be overcome by astonishment, fall down prostrate on the ground
“Frightened”……to cause to tremble in fear.
The sudden appearance of Jesus out of nowhere must have been a deeply disturbing experience

(iv) Jesus Body Could Change Form
- The Disciples on the Road Did Not Recognize Jesus
- “After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country” (Mk.16:12)
“Form”….visible shape or appearance.

Jesus body appearance could alter so people not recognize Him
“So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him” (Lk.24:15-16

- Mary Magdalene did not Recognise Him
Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus”
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (Jn.20:13-15)

(v). Jesus’ Resurrected Body Radiates Glory
- “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Mat.17:2)
- “His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mk.9:3)
- “As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening “ (Lk.9:29)
- “Shone”………..lampo….to beam or radiate forth light, to radiate out brilliant light
- “White”………..leukos….brilliant, dazzling white, radiating out dazzling bright rays of light
- “Glistening”….To shine out lightning
- The Glory of God transformed Jesus face, His body and His garments so they radiated out lightning and rays of brilliant white light

(vi) John saw Jesus in His Resurrected Glory in a Vision
- Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev.1:12-16)
- Jesus countenance shone with the brilliance of the sun…He displayed His resurrected glory to John
- The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Mt. 13:43)

(vii) Jesus Could Veil His Glory—fully or partially.
- Sometimes Jesus appeared in His Glory…other times He did not
- At times, Jesus was not recognised as He veiled or concealed His resurrection glory
- He could suddenly appear or vanish from sight.
- Jesus’ resurrected body has “supernatural flesh” with bones and has the capacity to eat and drink
- “Jesus Himself drew near and went with them [to Emmaus], Their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” (Lk.24:15-16)
“Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight” (Lk.24:31)

(viii). Christ In Us, The Hope of Glory
- “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2Cor.4:7)
- Each believer is joined to the Spirit of God. He is the treasure dwelling within us
- To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Col.1:27-29)
- Each of us has a measure of the Glory of God within us. It is veiled and is not visible to people
- That measure of Gods presence and Glory is like a down-payment on what He has planned ahead for us
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph.1:13-14)
- “Guarantee”…..earnest……the deposit given in advance as a down payment or pledge that the final payment will be completed
- That Glory within us is a reminder of the Greater Glory we are each called to take hold of, to possess
- This motivated Paul to persevere in his ministry calling mature believers for their Eternal Destiny so that they would qualify for their Reward


5. Believers will Manifest Different Degrees of Glory

- We will Have a Body Like Jesus Body
- “who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Phil.3:21)
- The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.(1Cor.15:47-49)

- Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1Jn.3:2-3)

- We Will Have Supernaturally Enhanced Abilities
1. Mental: Enhanced abilities to understand, remember, and reason
2. Emotional: Enhanced abilities to feel: Love, joy, peace, etc.
3. Communicate: Enhanced abilities in speech, song, music, writing, poetry, etc.
4. Strength: Enhanced abilities in speed, endurance, lifting objects without fatigue or sickness
5. Transportation: Enhanced abilities in flight and speed, transportation Eg Elijah, Philip
6. Material: Enhanced ability to pass through walls or crowds like Jesus
7. Beauty: Enhanced physical appearance ….physical countenance, fragrance, light, color, etc.
8, Incorruptible……..Unable to become sick, injured or die

- Our Five Senses will be Enhanced by the Power of God.
“There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (1Cor.15:40-44)

Note the changes to our physical body:
Incorruption: …Vitality and strength replace sickness and decay.
Glory: …Purity and honor replace failure, shame, and dishonor
Power: …Safety and strength replace pain, vulnerability, and addiction.
Spiritual body… Supernatural capacities replace natural limitations.
Immortality: ….Unending life and love replace physical death and loss.

Our Physical Body will become Transformed and Greatly Enhanced
- Our current physical bodies are limitation and deterioration. Our resurrection body will be gloriously transformed
- Our spiritual body (Resurrected body) will not be subject to the physical limitations and laws that govern the natural world
- Our new body will be glorious and have amazing abilities
1. Sight: Ability to see at a distance and at close range
2. Hearing: Ability to hear with clarity and perception at great distances
3. Taste: Enjoyment of food and water to the fullest degree (1 Cor. 10:31; Rev. 22:1-2)
4. Touch: Glorified physical senses
5. Smell: Supernatural ability to enjoy and discern heavenly fragrances ...will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body... (Phil. 3:21)

- Each Believer will Receive a Different Measure of Glory in their Resurrected Body (Mt. 5:19).
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. There will be least and greatest in the coming Kingdom. i.e. different realms of glory “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption” (1Cor.15:4)
There will be different realms of Glory for each believer based upon their life and stewardship.
Believers will not have the same degree of glory in their resurrected bodies
- Just as there are great differences in the bodies of the Animal Kingdom there will be great differences in the coming Heavenly Kingdom
- Believers will have varying degrees of glory in their resurrected bodies just as stars differ from other stars in brightness. The degree of glory that we will have is based upon the way we live on earth.
- The degree of glory in our resurrected bodies will be directly related to what we overcome in this life and the amount of inner transformation to become like Christ.


6. The First Resurrection: The Resurrection of Reward

(i) The Bible Reveals That There are Two Resurrections
The First resurrection
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev.20:5-6)
- If there is a First resurrection then there must also be another resurrection
- The First resurrection takes place at the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ on earth The General resurrection
- The Second or General Resurrection takes place at the end of the millennial reign of Christ at the Great White Throne Judgement
- “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev.20:11-15)
- Those who take place in the First Resurrection become Priests and Kings to God and reign on earth for the 1000 years working with Jesus to establish His Kingdom and Rule over the earth
“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1Cor.15:24-25)

(ii) The First Resurrection: Resurrection of Reward
- Participation in the First Resurrection is Reserved for those who are Overcomers
This would be a significant point of difference of doctrine or belief among Christians
Some Christians do not know that there are actually two resurrections
Some Christians believe that the First resurrection has already taken place
Some Christians believe that All believers will participate in the First Resurrection
Other Christians believe that The First resurrection is a prize to be won. It is not automatic

(iii) Evidence that Points to the First Resurrection being a Reward
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians:
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil.3:7-11)
- Paul considers all his achievements meaningless compared to the prize ahead….winning Christ
- Since he has already experienced Christ indwelling, he is referring to a future prize to be won
- “Resurrection from the dead….” ekanastasis …literally the out from resurrection
- This refers to the First Resurrection when a people will be resurrected out from among the dead at the beginning of the Millennium
- “If by any means” tells us that he is uncertain that he will attain to this prize of the First Resurrection.

- Paul, six years before his death, wanted to make sure that he was qualified to participate in the resurrection of the dead….The First Resurrection
- Paul tells us that there is a possibility that this will not happen…
- It is a Prize to contend for, a prize to be won
- It is the High Calling of God in Christ

- “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” (Phil.3:12-15)
- Paul goes on to tell us ….he has not yet attained to that “out from resurrection”
- He also tells us he has not apprehended that prize but makes it the motivation for his life and ministry
- “Attain”………..to take in the hand
- “Apprehend”..to take possession of, to lay hold of so as to make one’s own possession
- “Press”………….to run , to flee, to run swiftly in order to take hold of a prize

The Letter to The Hebrews:
- Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Heb.11:35)
- All knew of the general Resurrection when all people would be raised from the dead
- These people by faith refused to deny Christ even to the point of death
- Why? …” In order to obtain a stronger resurrection”
- “Stronger”…….more excellent, nobler, having dominion or power or strength
- This refers to the First resurrection…..reward for remaining faithful to Christ

Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians:
“When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: (2Thes.2:10-11)
- Note Paul’s prayer that believers would be counted worthy of this calling to manifest the glory of God
- He would not be praying this if He did considered it to be guaranteed

The Book of Revelation: The Promise to Him that Overcomes
- “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations (Rev.2:26)
- “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Rev.3:21-22)
- The promise to rule with Christ in both Revelation ch.2 and 3 is s given to those who Overcome
- Those who rise in the First resurrection “ shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him one thousand years”(Rev.20:6)
- These means that those participating in the First Resurrection must be Overcomers in life

8. Where Will We Live in Resurrected Bodies?
- Those with resurrected bodies will live in the New Jerusalem, but they will reign on the earth.
- There will be instant transportation from the New Jerusalem to any place on the earth, just like angels can move back and forth between the realms effortlessly.
- The veil will be lifted between the realms. Limitations on travel will be removed
- There will be a Supernatural dimension merging with the Natural world
- In the Millennium, the natural human processes will not be suspended, but will be significantly enhanced by the supernatural dimension of the Spirit.
- People with natural bodies, not resurrected will continue life on earth as before with all the the natural realities and processes of life.
- Those with resurrected bodies will be interacting with them, but will have government and exercise leadership over them.
- A Brief Glimpse:
- We see brief aspects of this natural and supernatural realm flowing together during the forty days after Jesus resurrection and before He ascended into heaven
- “to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.’
(Act.1:3)
- Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead” (Acts10:40-41)
- He was teaching them. He was eating their food with them. He was hugging them and ministering to them. He was appearing and disappearing. What an unbelievable time!
- They would have been overwhelmed with joy and excitement
- This is just a brief insight to what life will be like in the Millennial kingdom Intense Joy, or Great Sorrow?
- God’s purpose has always been that heaven would come to earth….that the two realms would overlap, and that God would dwell among us
- Imagine what it would be like to be part of this, to see and experience this. The Intense Eternal Joy of being resurrected and part of the Fist resurrection and this Millennial ministry. The Great Sorrow at missing out on what you had been called to participate in!
- We have to make the daily choice…..Run our Personal Race to Win this Prize of The High Calling of God
- Num. 14:21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD


III. Questions for Personal Reflection
1. What has the Holy Spirit being speaking to you about during this session?
2. What response or actions do you need to make?
3. Why would building your inner spirit life be so important\/
4. Why is embracing personal inner transformation so important?
5. What issues currently hinder you running passionately for Christ?



Garments of Glory & Beauty (5 of 12)  

Sun 5 Jul 2020 « Back to Top

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Jesus frequently taught about Eternal rewards in the Coming Millennial Kingdom and for the need for His disciples to pursue them and live in preparation for His Second coming.

In this series we examine what are the Eternal rewards that Jesus has reserved for those who love Him. The focus of this study are Eternal Garments of Glory and Beauty.

Garments of Glory & Beauty (5 of 12)

Introduction

Okay, welcome. We're doing Eternal Rewards, and we've been looking at a series on the rewards that Jesus has promised to those who overcome. So many believers understand that we receive the gift of salvation by a free gift, by faith in the work of Christ; but what many believers don't understand, is that our life, our service in following the Lord, counts for our life in eternity. So it's not just a simple way you follow Jesus, die and go to heaven - it's not like that. Jesus came not to talk about a message of going to heaven. He talked about a message of being born again, and then of a kingdom we come into, a kingdom we participate in; a kingdom with values, and a lifestyle, and a king that we respond to. Then He talked about the coming kingdom, and the rewards for those who participate with Him in this life. So the teaching on eternal rewards gives us incredible motivation for personal change, and for living a focused life of following Christ.

Today's study is on the Garments of Glory and Beauty. By way of introduction, the first thing we want to remind everyone of, is that one of the great themes of Jesus' teaching was eternal rewards. He constantly spoke about the life in the kingdom, and also about the values of the kingdom. He talked about laying up treasure in heaven, and even that statement there tells us that there's a possibility our actions here will result, or have a consequence, in eternity.

Matthew 16:27 - "The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and He will reward (or recompense, or pay what is owing), to every man, according to his works."

We saw (in the study so far) that there are many different kinds of rewards. Looking at Creation, you see the diversity of creation, you see the variety of God, so it's obvious that God can reward us in a whole variety of different ways, and particularly in a way that's appropriate for us. You see the diversity in flowers, diversity in all of creation. We understand then, it's possible for every one of us to receive a reward that's quite unique to us, in our life that we've lived.

When we read in Revelations 2 & 3, Jesus is talking to the seven churches. They all existed in time. They've all gone now, but they're also a prophetic picture of churches, in the different ages and seasons of church history. He points out problems in each of the churches, and He lays out a reward for those who overcome. The implication is: if the reward is for those who overcome, then those who don't overcome, don't receive the reward. Quite simple. To overcome means: to conquer something. To overcome means: to prevail over an issue that is a cause of stumbling, or a difficulty, or a pressure on your life. To overcome it means: I've been able to persevere and subdue that problem; it means to subdue it.

In 1 John, He tells us: this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. All who are designated 'overcomers' are people who have learnt to believe God; and not just a mental ascent, but live it out in the way they tackle the problems that come up on a daily basis. We need to be aware of the rewards, and their significance. If you don't understand the size of the reward, or what's at stake, then you won't put value on it. If you don't put value on it, it won't affect how you live your life. When you see what is at stake, when you look through and study the rewards, you understand Jesus' teaching, of the man who saw the treasure in the field, and because of the treasure was such a big prize to be won, he sold all and bought the field. Also, the pearl of great price, He taught that. He's teaching about the value of what God has prepared for us is so great, that it causes people to consider everything else of less value, and to put that kingdom of God first. When we understand what's at stake, that there's a reward at stake for each of us, it motivates us then, no matter what our circumstances.

We saw in the scripture in Colossians 3:22-24, where Jesus is talking (or Paul's talking) to servants, or slaves, who are badly treated by their masters; and he says: "obey your masters in the flesh, not with eye service as men-pleasers, but in sincerity (or from your heart), because of the fear of God; knowing whatever you do, you do it heartily, to the Lord, knowing that of the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance, because you serve the Lord Jesus Christ". Notice there, that He talks again, not about trying to address the injustice of the slavery, but learning how to manage yourself in an unjust condition in the world.

The third thing we looked at was that rewards are not given automatically. They come to those who fulfil certain conditions, and we saw in Revelations 3 - to him that overcomes. "Him that overcomes will sit on My throne". In John 12 - "him that serves Me, him My Father will honour". So, we see promises that have conditions; and clearly, it's a just God, that would distinguish each believer from the other, according to the life they live.

We won't go into it today, but the judgements on sin vary in the level of the person's actions, their motivations, and the light they walked in. The depths of hell and punishment also vary in level; and the rewards in heaven vary in level. We saw in the Book of Revelation, you can either be: seated in the throne with Jesus - in a place of close connection and participation in the coming kingdom, in a governing role, a ruling role, a shaping role, a forming role, where you can be around the throne - and that's quite a different position to be in.

We saw also that our small sacrifices now have a huge, huge recompense. In other words, what God rewards us is out of proportion to what we do. We saw that in Matthew 25:21, where He said to the servant: "you were faithful over few things, I will make you ruler over many things"; and: "well done, you were faithful in very little, have authority over 10 cities" - Luke 19:17. So notice there: very little; much! Very little; much! Little here; 10 cities! Now you understand what kind of status is involved in the management of 10 cities. That's a very high level of authority and responsibility, so He's saying: faithful now, a little; then certainly you'll be given much.

We saw it in Hebrews that God is a rewarder. So we look then at the list of the rewards, and there are so many you can't list them all out, it would take a long list to do that. But we kind of put them under these kinds of headings, because they seemed to overlap a little:

- Eternal Intimacy

- Eternal Authority

- Eternal Glory

- Eternal Garments

- Victor's Crowns

- Honour & Praise from God

- Treasure & Riches in heaven

- Vindication of our Life, before our enemies.

Those were the eight categories I spoke of.

In the first studies we looked at: Eternal Intimacy; Eternal Authority; and Eternal Glory. Last week we spoke on the eternal glory; the resurrection and the two resurrections. Today's one is on: Eternal Garments; but I've re-labelled it to: Garments of Glory and Beauty, so that's our focus for today. Next week, I'll pick up the next couple: Victor's Crowns; and then, Honour and Praise.

Main Message

First of all, what are 'garments of glory and beauty'? What is He referring to? If you want to search the Bible yourself, type in: 'garments' or 'clothed'; and then do a search across the Bible, and you'll find there's many, many references. Perhaps the first reference that we would be aware of, is in the Book of Genesis, where it says: Adam and Eve were naked, but not ashamed. In other words, they must have been clothed in the glory of God. When they sinned, they were covered in shame, and they went and covered themselves with fig leaves, and hid themselves in the trees. We see then God clothing them with animal skins, because of their nakedness; and that was a prophetic picture, of the death of Jesus on the cross. He would provide for us the covering by faith, the covering of righteousness, that we would need. Clearly, Adam and Eve had lost the garments of beauty and glory, that they were clothed in.

The Bible tells us about God Himself being clothed; for example, in Psalm 104:1, it says: He's clothed with honour and majesty. You've got to get out of thinking naturally; you've got to think of the spiritual realm; and of the great honour, great majesty, and great regal garments, that Jesus has. In Psalm 104:2, it says: He clothes Himself with light, as though it was a garment. If we were to catch a glimpse of God, then we would see brilliant light. In the New Testament it tells us: He dwells in immortality and light, which no man can see. You know, it would overwhelm him, because of our limitations of our flesh. In Psalm 93:1, it says: God is clothed with majesty and strength. Notice, it's talking about honour, majesty, light, strength - so these are spiritual things, spiritual realities, but they express themselves in the person appearing to be clothed with substance.

We find also other references: for example, the angels. There's a number of references to angels in the Bible; and when angels appeared, we find that they generally were clothed in what appeared to be fine linen, or white linen. When you look at the Old Testament, they described it through what was familiar in their day; so, if the same thing happened today, you'd use a different language to describe it. For example, Jesus said: I am the bread of life. They understood bread, there was a culture of bread; if you were in Asia, you would say: I am the rice of life. There was a use of something they're familiar with. In the Old Testament, almost all of the pictures relate to what they're familiar with. In the New Testament, you see it done differently.

In the Old Testament, when they see the glory of the coming kingdom, they often see a temple, or a house, and they see it terms of natural priesthood; but we see the spiritual realities, what those things signify. In Ezekiel 10:1-2, angels appear and they're in white linen; in Daniel 10:5, an angel appeared to Daniel, and he was clothed with white linen. We see also, in Leviticus 6:6, when it comes to the high priest, that the high priest had a particular role in relationship to standing in the presence of God, and God gave instructions; so we're going to look at the instructions that were given on the clothing of the high priest, and you'll see why shortly. The high priests, and the priesthood, all of the sons who served the high priest, all had to be clothed in white linen. No white linen meant that you can't go near the presence of God; so to function in their priesthood, they were required to have white linen. Every time you see an angel, it's white linen. You'll see later on, various occasions of white linen; and every time it's white linen, it's referring to a particular kind of supernatural garment or clothing, that represents glory and honour, and rank and stature in the coming kingdom.

When Jesus was transfigured in Mark 9:3, it says: His robes became brilliant or dazzling white, whiter than anyone could make it. His garments… when the glory began to manifest, His countenance changed. His body changed, His garments changed, and He appeared in white linen - white clothing, which was brilliant white. The white garments, the white linen, referred to a supernatural clothing, a supernatural garment, which is needed for us to go in and out of heaven, and into the earth. Right now, we access heaven only in our spirit, by faith. When we have the white garments, referring to the resurrection body and resurrection glory, then we can access the realm of heaven; and walk in the realm of the earth as well. At the moment we can only do that in our spirit; and so, by our spiritual senses, we can access the presence of God. In our spirit, we're connected to Him. But this is something completely different. This is actually the overwhelming of our body, and the clothing, with an ability now to literally move in and out of dimensions.

A second thing I want to mention then, by way of introduction, is the white garments that are referred to are not the same as the free gift of righteousness.

Matthew 16:27 - “He will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, rewarding each man or every man according to his works”.

Revelation 19:7-8 - “let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour to Him, or give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

Jesus says He will reward us, at His coming. In Revelations 19, it's talking about one of the greatest events that will take place in the future, in history, and that's called the ‘marriage supper of the lamb’. It's when Jesus, the bridegroom, meets with His bride, and it says there: “let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him, and give Him all the honour”. It's His work that's caused this to come about. It's His invitation that made us possible to be there. But notice that it said that the bride was ‘given’, or it was ‘granted to her’, or this was given to her: that she should be arrayed or clothed in fine linen, clean and white. Then it explains the construction of that. It says: “for the fine linen is the righteous acts [plural] of the saints”.

The righteous acts of us, on our earth now, are accumulated, and result in the clothing with garments of honour in the coming kingdom. The righteous acts. Notice ‘the acts’ are plural, and it's the acts of the saints; so, this has got nothing to do then, or it doesn't refer rather, to the work of Christ on the cross. These righteous acts, or these garments, are an expression of each believer's devotion to Christ, and their acts of service. So you're dealing with two distinct things now: coming to Christ, and receiving a clothing of righteous, standing before Him, by His work; and then us, after we've been positioned like that, now responding with love and gratitude, and living a life of serving Him and honouring Him - that qualifies us for rewards. It's probably the simplest way I could put it.

Our justification, that's right standing before God, is received by faith; and it's based on His work, not on our works. In Revelation 19:8, it's our ‘works’, and a reward we receive; but in Ephesians 2:8, where ‘by grace’ have you been saved through faith, that's not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, or not your works, lest anyone should boast. So the scripture Ephesians 2:8 is very clear: our salvation, being born again, coming out of sin and into right standing with God, being clothed with the righteousness, a right standing - that is totally on our trusting that Christ did all of the work necessary for this to happen at the cross. Our standing before God is based upon the work of another, and we must always build from that foundation. What Jesus did on the cross has positioned me now to be a recipient of His blessings and benefits. It says the same thing in Titus 3:4-5 – “The kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man has appeared, not by works of righteousness we've done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing, regeneration, renewing the Holy Ghost”. Notice that it’s not by any works of righteousness we have done.

We see there two distinct things, and you need to have these very, very clear. We are saved not by our own works; we are saved by solely the work of Jesus Christ, by faith alone in His work. All of our standing before God rests totally on His work, and our believing that when He died on the cross for our sins, it is enough. It's a complete work, a finished work, that enables all our sins to be forgiven and us to have a standing with God. By faith, we have that standing. We have access by faith, wherein we stand - it tells us in the Book of Ephesians. We understand, then, that we have a standing with God, by faith in His work. As a result of His work, now we give evidence, that we're in that right standing; by loving Him, by serving Him, and by letting Him express His life through us; and then He investigates, and checks, the quality of those works we do, and the motivation of them, to see if they qualify for reward. So remember then, bottom line: our salvation depends on faith in His work - a free gift; but our eternal rewards depend on our works - how we live life as a steward, an acknowledgement, a recompense by God, who is a rewarder.

Who gets the white garments then? Who receives the white garments? Ultimately, all of us will have a resurrection body; but when the Bible is talking about white garments, it describes it this way…

Number 1: ‘overcomers’ receive white garments - those who overcome. An overcomer is awarded white garments - as a prize, or an honour, for overcoming in life. The implication is: if you don't ‘overcome’ in life, or ‘defeat it’ in life, then you won't qualify for that ‘white garment’ that's being referred to.

Revelations 3:4-5 – “You have a few names, even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before the angels.”

Notice the first thing there: he who overcomes will be clothed in white garments. What are you currently facing? What issue do you face, that you need to overcome? God knows every one of us - He knows the details of our life, what we do, our position in life, where we are, what we face - and most of the challenges we face are never seen by anyone but God. The giants we face, mostly, are internal ones. Sometimes they're external; but primarily, it's the struggle to overcome being intimated, or set back, by life. Number 1 then: overcomers - those who overcome and prevail, receive white garments.

Number 2: the bride, the lamb's wife, receives white linen garments.

Revelations 19:8 – “To her it was granted she be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen are the righteous acts of the saints.”

It tells us the bride of Christ made herself ready. Now there's many Christians who are not making themselves ‘ready’ in any kind of way. A lot of Christians are not actually engaged in serving the Lord in any kind of significant way; but it tells us here that the lamb's wife, those who God selects, from among all those who are saved into intimacy with Him… it says very clearly, that they have made themselves ‘ready’. That means, they took on the responsibility of building a deep, intimate life with Jesus; and of allowing the life of Jesus to transform their heart and their motives - and because of that, they made themselves ready. The overflow of that relationship expressed itself in works of service to the Lord. We see this in many different ways in the Bible.

The third area, people who are clothed in white linen, that the Bible tells us about, they are people ‘from every tribe and every nation’.

Revelations 7:9 – “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, people and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed with white robes and palm branches in their hands”.

So, we understand that there are two resurrections. The ‘first resurrection’ (and therefore must be a second resurrection); in the first resurrection, we're taught that it's a resurrection of reward - and you'll see this as we go through today's study re-emphasised again. I'll try to keep re-emphasising it, because it's such an important teaching.

What are the white garments? Firstly, the white garments represent Eternal Rewards. The white garments are supernatural clothing, that acknowledge the quality of our love and service for the Lord while we're on earth - and it makes sense. God is a just God, who will not only show mercy to people, and be patient with people, and provide grace in the midst of failures… also He is a Just God. There are two aspects of it: His justice means He will acknowledge what we've done, and the life we've lived, and respond accordingly. We saw in Revelations 3:4 for example – “you have a few names, even in Sardis, who have not defiled their garments; they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.”

Notice then, ‘walking with Christ in white’ is a reward for being faithful; and the reason He gives is: they are worthy. What does ‘worthy’ mean? It means having weight; substance; having value; having merited something; deserving acknowledgement. Some people, in their relationship and service, deserve being acknowledged, because what they have done has been outstanding in God's eyes. They've not defiled their garments. They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.

What does the word ‘white’ mean? The white is used to describe purity; but it also describes the dazzling brightness of the garments. The word white is the Greek word leukos, L-E-U-K-O-S. It means bright, brilliant, dazzling garments, that emanate light. Most of our garments don't emanate light! He's saying that the garments we'll be clothed in are garments of glory - they actually emanate light from within. A third thing about those garments is that every person will be clothed uniquely, with different degrees of light and brilliance. They'll have their own degree of light and brilliance, that will depend on their rank and stature in the kingdom. You see that naturally too. If you go to a royal wedding, and see everyone there, you will see that they're all positioned in different ranks and places in the wedding service. You notice they're wearing different kinds of clothing; and all of the clothing, whatever they wear, reveals something about their rank, or about the status the person has.

Daniel 12:3 – “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness who are (in other words they're evangelist, reach people for Christ) will be like the stars, forever and ever and ever.”

Matthew 13:43 – “then the righteous (that's when the kingdom comes) will shine like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father”.

1 Corinthians 15:41 – “there is one glory of the sun, another of the moon, another glory of the stars, and just as one star differs from another in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead”.

I believe that in the coming resurrection, there will be great ranges of degrees of glory that people carry, and it will be evident in the way you present yourself, in the way you clothe. We see that even today - the way people dress tells something about them; and so it's quite possible that the garments will be diverse and varied, depending what the occasion is.

Now one of the things we shared before, was that if you want to understand some of these spiritual realities, you've got to go into the Old Testament, and have a look at the hidden prophetic pictures in the Old Testament's stories. When you start to get a hold of this, or understand this, you'll realise how amazing the Bible is, in terms of prophetic pictures of Jesus Christ - all the way through the Bible, and you've got to keep looking for Him everywhere.

I want to just divert now for a while and talk about the priestly garments. There are two reasons: Number 1, because we are all called to be priests to God.

Peter 2:5 – “you as living stones have been built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.

Notice now, God says that we are a ‘holy priesthood’. We are a spiritual priesthood. We offer spiritual sacrifices, paise, worship, offerings, honour. There are so many different ways we can honour God, and offer something to Him. In our journey in life now, one of the roles every believer has, is to be a priest to God. What does a priest do? Priests would stand before God and offer sacrifices. So, our first call is to come before God, on a daily basis, and to praise and worship - that's what priests did. If we have a look at their list of duties, you'll see: they had to keep the candle, and they had to keep the fire burning; and they had to offer offerings every day - that was their job.

Second thing is, they stood between God and men, to make intersession. So, a second role every believer has, as a priest, is to be an intercessor - to pray on behalf of others who can't help themselves, or are in bondage or whatever.

The third role of a priest was to come from the presence of God, to men, and to bless them. There's a whole lot could be taught all around just those things there: how do I develop intimacy? How do I grow in the realm of building the atmosphere of God, and accessing His presence? How do I move in intercession? How do I begin to intercede for people? What are the strategies of intercession? What is involved in blessing people?

1 Corinthians 12:7 – “Now the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man for the blessing or benefit of others”.

All of us come into the presence of God; we worship, we praise, we build intimacy, we listen to Him, we surrender to Him, and He works in our life. We pray for people, and we come out of the presence of God, we're called to bless people. To bless people… you can bless people by serving them, giving to them, and ministering the gifts of the spirit to them. Priests bless people. We're not called to curse people, even if they are unkind; we're called to bless people. So that's a whole area you could study - the priesthood, and what's involved in the priesthood. I want to just put out this: we're called to be priests to God.

Revelations 20:6 – “The overcomers in the first resurrection will be priests and kings to our God, and will rule on earth”.

That's why I want to look at the priestly garments, because it's part of who we are, and it's part of what we'll become. The second reason is that the priestly garments in the Old Testament give an insight to how important garments are to God. As you start to read in the Old Testament, bear two things in mind: that there's prophetic pictures inside here, that refer primarily to Jesus; and secondarily, to me. You've got to look at it through that filter, that lens; and therefore, as you look at the things, you look at the natural and how they're put together and their function, and then you begin to consider what that means for me. That's how you get revelation on these things.

Exodus 28:1-3 – “Now take Aaron, your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as a priest”.

The first insight then: they're chosen. Second insight: they minister to God. So that first role of a priest - to minister to God.

“Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar”. And it says: “…and you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty”.

There it is: ‘garments for glory and beauty’ refer to the high priest's garments, and He said: “You will speak to all the gifted artisans”. You need gifted people to do this. This is not just wrap together some garments – “…whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as a priest”.

What are the purposes of the priest's garments? Here's the three purposes…

Firstly, they're garments of glory and beauty. God designed them to: show His glory, and reflect His beauty. These are garments of great glory and beauty. When people look at them, they'll be stunned. Glory means splendour, or honour, or majesty. Beauty means glory, highly attractive - like an attribute of God. The purpose of those things is that the person wearing the garment was clothed with glory and beauty.

Secondly, the garments were used to consecrate, or set someone apart for a special purpose. They were used for the consecration of the priests. He said: “you'll make Aaron's garments to consecrate him”, so the second reason we see then of the garments, is to set him apart. When you see him in the garments… whoa! That's the priest – he’s got the special job. Thirdly, He said: “…consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as a priest”. So those garments are to minister personally to God, to enter His presence, engage with Him face to face. I want you to keep those three things in mind: 1) that the garments are full of glory and beauty; 2) they are an evidence that the person is set apart for a particular service to God; and 3) they are given the honour of having access personally into the Holiest of Holies, where the glory of God dwelt, to engage with Him face to face.

The next thing then about those garments (after those three things), is they reflect, or they are a prophetic picture, of Christ. The Bible says: “He is our high priest, after the order of Melchizedek”. He is our high priest, so these reflect then His resurrection glory and beauty. His consecration, even now, to be a priest unto God; to act as an intercessor on our behalf; and to live in the throne room, in the presence of God. After Jesus rose from the dead, He had a glorious resurrection body, He had garments of glory and beauty. They indicated He was ‘set apart’. Notice that Mary couldn't touch them, because He was consecrated, set apart; and He now was to enter the presence of God, in the very throne room of God, face to face. In order to do that, He required these resurrection bodies, resurrection garments.

That leads us then to the details of the priest's garments. Now the study of the priesthood is a major study of its own, and the study of the garments is a big thing of its own, because all of them are full of significance. However, let me just give you a few things, and remember: each time we look at this, think firstly of Jesus; then begin to think of the sons of God, in the glory of God. The place you'll find most of the description is in Exodus 28, there are about 43 verses on it. That's a lot of verses, so the topic must be important. God gave exact directions about the design of the priest's garments. You couldn't just make anything, had to be done exactly the way God said and they had distinct parts: trousers, coat, girdle, bonnet, robe, ephod, breastplate, tunic, turban, hat, sash and crown - all the details are there. If God takes time to put all the details in, then it must be important to Him. He's trying to say that, when it comes to our clothing in eternity, every little detail is thought through by God.

Exodus 28:4 – “…and these are the garments they'll make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, skilfully woven tunic, a turban, a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as a priest”.

God says: this is the bits you've got to make up, this is what it's going to look like. Notice the many parts to it.

Exodus 28:42-43 – “You shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness, that reach from the waist to the thighs. They'll be on Aaron and his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, when they come near to the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.”

Notice, He says: the priest can't come into the presence of God without the garments. You cannot go into the throne room of God in heaven without the linen garments. If he were to do that, he would be struck dead immediately! Notice the primary garment was made of fine linen, and all the garments had different colours. Every colour has a significance - there was gold, blue, purple, scarlet... Every colour has got a significance. For example, the colour gold – heaven is paved with gold. It refers to the realm of heaven, the realm of eternity. The colour blue also speaks of the Holy Spirit - it speaks of the supernatural realm. The colour purple is always a sign of royalty - they clad Jesus in a purple garment, ridiculed Him as a king. The scarlet refers to the blood shed on the cross.

They had a breastplate here, with stones on the breastplate. It was worn over the heart, and it had 12 stones, and every one of the stones had the name of one of the tribes. Again, the significance of it spiritually is quite enormous. Then on the shoulders, He had also a stone on each shoulder, and on one stone there was six of the tribes (half of the tribes), and the other half, their names were inscribed on the others. Then on His forehead He had a crown. He had a turban with a gold plate, and on the gold plate, Holiness To The Lord. The breastplate worn over the heart speaks of a transformed heart - the need for the heart to be transformed.

“Aaron shall bear the names of the son of Israel, on the breastplate of judgement over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the Lord continually”.

When we are born again, we have a heart transformation, and that transformation must be ongoing and continuous. An interesting thing is that on the breastplate there were 12 stones, representing all the tribes of Israel - one stone for each name. If you go through all the names, you find they're all important. For example, the first name is Reuben. All the names in a Bible are associated with a character, and a destiny. “Reuben behold a son”. So, the first stone: behold a son. I'm a son of the living God. When you're born again, you become a son, or a child, of the living God. I'm born into relationship: God is my Father. The second one, Simeon, means: a ‘harkening’, or a ‘listening’. God has harkened or listened to me. Sonship means: hearing, and obeying, the voice of God; and pleasing Him. The third one was Judah, which means ‘praise’; sonship means we constantly live a life of gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise to our Father. The stones refer not just to the tribes of Israel, but each tribe had a name, which refers to some aspect of our sonship before God. They all tell us something about our sonship.

He also had memorial stones: the first was worn over the heart; the second were two stones, one on each shoulder. Naturally, we shoulder responsibility, so therefore the names on the shoulder refers to responsibility as a son. So firstly, I need a heart change as a son. Secondly, I must carry responsibility as a son. Sons are responsible to represent their father, and extend the father's name and house, and so are worn on the shoulders.

Isaiah 9:6 – “The government shall be on His shoulders”.

So as a son, as a priest to God now, I now have a transformed heart, and many aspects of sonship are written by the Holy Spirit, on my heart. I need to grow into all of them. Secondly, I now have responsibilities as a son; and in my responsibility as a son, I must learn how to represent God, and exercise authority on His behalf. Then the final thing, the gold crown, which was worn on the forehead. Gold has to do with divine, or heaven, or God. It's worn on the head, or the forehead, which refers to the mind, the way you think; it talks about the mind of Christ. The gold there means that we have the mind of Christ. The statement it had on it was: ‘Holiness To The Lord’.

Part of our journey as a priest is the ongoing transformation of our heart. Part of our journey as a priest is that we take responsibility for working with God, and serving Him and advancing His kingdom. Part of our responsibility, as a priest, is to have our mind renewed, so that we're constantly being renewing our mind, and being transformed. So, every aspect represents an aspect of Christ, and an aspect of what it means to be a son or a child of God. Only the overcomers receive those priestly garments of glory and beauty.

Revelations 3:5 – “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments”.

So where you look in the Bible, you'll find pictures that you can just draw out, and suddenly they show you things that it's not easy to explain in the New Testament. The next thing I want to look at, in relationship to the priesthood, is that there was a change made, in the priesthood - God changed His mind. Now when God changes His mind, there's got to be a good reason for it; so, I want to have a look at that change that took place, in the priesthood. In Exodus 19 He called everyone to be priests to Him. However, because the people fell into idolatry, He said: okay, I'll limit it to the tribe of Levi; and then later on, He changed it from Levi to Judah. I want to have a look at that transition, because there's always a reason for it.

So in Exodus 19, He called them all to be a kingdom, or a holy nation, a kingdom of priests; but because of their idolatry, He narrowed it down to the tribe of Levi, and they had an Eternal Priesthood. Then He made a change, and I want to look into why He made the change, because what it means, very simply, is that the people who were operating in the priesthood didn't qualify, and so the priesthood went to someone who did qualify. I want to ask the question: why did they not qualify? What caused them to be disqualified, and lose their priesthood, their access to God? What caused the other ones to be qualified?

There are two priesthoods that are mentioned in the Bible: one is the Levitical priesthood, and they descend from Aaron and his descendants; the second one that's mentioned is called the Melchizedek priesthood, which is the priesthood associated with Jesus' ministry. So firstly, the Levitical priests: we saw before that everyone was called to be a priest. However, most people didn't want to go near God. They wanted someone to go to God on their behalf, and so they fell into idolatry, and then it set on the Levitical priesthood.

So the Levitical priests were chosen to minister the old covenant. They were all descendants of Aaron, so the Levitical priesthood represents the old covenant. It represents the law. Under the law, I had to do things to walk with God; and it says, concerning Levi, that Levi was quite violent and cruel, and came under a curse. In Genesis 49:5, Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty in their dwelling place. So, the Levitical priesthood was replaced by another order - the Melchizedek priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood are chosen to minister the new covenant, the things of the spirit. Two priesthoods: the priesthood of the law, where you're operating under law, under rules; and then the priesthood of the New Testament, which is under Melchizedek, and it is operating in the spirit.

The letter of the law kills; but the spirit gives life - two kinds of priesthoods. Levitical, the old covenant, Old Testament law; and then the New Testament, which is all to do with the spirit of life. We're called to be ministers of the spirit, and the spirit will always bring life. The interesting thing about the Levitical priesthood was, every now and then, the chief priest would die, and they would have to find another one, and that's when they ran into their troubles. With the Melchizedek priesthood, it comes from Jesus, who never dies - therefore it never changes. We've just got one guy in charge, and He's our high priest forever. So the Levitical priesthood has been replaced by the Melchizedek priesthood. We read that in Hebrews 7:11-13. That means it's taken over all their roles.

Why did it get replaced? Why did they let it go? Why did God change His mind about this group? There's always a reason. God appointed them initially, because Aaron was sent to work with Moses, in terms of delivering the people of God out of Egypt. Then after Aaron and his sons were supposed to be priests, their descendants were supposed to be priests. But at some point, someone really blew it big time, and as a result of what he did, and what his sons did, God said: I will take the priesthood off you, and give it to a faithful priesthood - and He's referring to Jesus Christ.

He's saying: the old covenant will come to an end. I'm going to introduce a new covenant. A new covenant will have a new priest. In order to see the transition from the old covenant (under the law) to the new covenant (of the spirit), you've got to look to some people. No picture in the Bible is perfect, but you'll see the transition. I want you to see is the why it took place, and there were many reasons, but I one reason is particularly important. Levi, and the priesthood of Levi, was replaced by Melchizedek, or by Zadok.

1 Samuel 2:35 – “I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what's in My heart and My mind. I will build him a sure house; he will walk before My anointed forever.”

Eli was replaced by Eleazar. He was replaced by Abiatha; and then when it came to King Solomon, and the coming millennial rule, He replaced the priesthood, put another one in. So, the millennial rule has a different priesthood. So why did He put Zadok in there; and why is it that Levi forfeited there? It all goes back to a man called Eli, and he's found in the first Book of Samuel, in the first few chapters. Eli was the high priest, and God was planning a massive change, so He raised up Samuel, who became the prophet and priest to the nation.

This is in 1 Samuel 2:29-30, and I encourage you to read this story yourself. Eli was old, and blind - had no vision. Eli was very heavy, a big fat man; and what happened was that his sons, who were also the priests, were stealing the best offerings for themselves; and they were also being involved in sexual immorality with the women who came to worship. God spoke to Eli, and said this: Why do you kick at My sacrifice, and My offering, which I have commanded in My dwelling? You honour your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of the offerings! Then He said: “therefore the Lord God of Israel says: I said indeed your house and the house of your father would walk with Me forever.”

In other words, this was going to be a forever job - but now it's far from Me. Those who honour Me, I will honour; but those who despise Me, shall be lightly esteemed. He then lays out exactly what's going to happen. He puts a curse on them. He says: in your family no one will ever get old, they'll all die prematurely; and He said: here's a sign for you. On one day, both of your sons will die. So on one day, both of his sons died in battle; and when the news came back to Eli, it was such a shock for him that the sons had died, and the ark had been captured, that he fell over and broke his neck. There's symbolism in all of these things, but the key thing in here was: there was a lack of relationship with God.

Here's the reasons they forfeited the priesthood. The bottom line is: they dishonoured God; and they honoured themselves - that was why they forfeited their priesthood. In any priesthood, which includes us, in any leadership, any kind of ministry… if we dishonour God in our actions, and honour yourself - you will forfeit your priesthood in eternity! Very, very serious! It's a huge issue!

God called it: “they dishonoured Me”. He said to Eli: “you honour your sons more than Me. You make yourselves fat with all the best of the offerings”. So read the story, there were three things that were identified: 1) Lack of intimate relationship with the Lord. It says: “they were sons of Belial, they did not know the Lord”. Now that seems crazy! Here they are, they're serving in the tabernacle, all the things of God. They're fully involved in the religious system, yet there's no intimacy or relationship with the Lord. It's a very strong picture of people who have no ongoing personal relationship with the Lord - they're just fulfilling religious roles, religious duties. No relationship with the Lord, and as a result, they have no respect or honour for Him. No respect, no honour.

The issue of honouring God is a crucial one. In Malachi 1, when He's talking to the priesthood, He said: “sons honour their father, and servants honour their master. If I be a Father, where's My honour? If I be a Master, where's My respect?” He said: you guys dishonour and disrespect Me. They said: how do we do that? He said: in the offerings, because you bring the weak, the blind, and the sick. You've got to remember that when we come, whether our giving is financial, or praise and worship, the core of it is: we must respect and honour the one we're coming to, and give Him the honour, give Him the best, not give Him something half-hearted, not give Him something which is unsatisfactory to Him.

In Malachi 1, He says: try pulling that stunt with the leader of the nation and see if he'll be happy with it. He says: I am a great king. Don't bring your half-hearted, blind, sick sheep and offer them to me, and say you're doing a good thing. He said: what you're giving reflects a heart that dishonours and despises Me. This is a crucial reason that the sons of Levi lost their priesthood, and it also leads us to why someone else got it. There's also a second reason that they lost it. It's all to do with dishonouring God, and honouring themselves, and the second one was: selfish ambition, and self-promotion.

Ambition and self-promotion, what do they mean by that? What did they do? Well, people came, and wanted to worship God. They wanted to honour God, so they came, and they brought their offering, and their offerings depending on what they were able give. It's not important how much you can give, it's the heart that's behind it that counts. They came, and they gave; and these sons would see what these people have, and they'd take the best for themselves. In other words, they exploited the giving, to make themselves prosper. This goes on a lot in the church today! Thankfully, it doesn't take place where we are. We've got great leaders, who honour God, and would never think to use God's resources, and God's people, to further their own ends; but this is what it’s saying they did.

They dishonoured God; took the best for themselves, and they used their position to advance themselves. This happens, and of course this is one of the great scandals in the American church right now - the exploiting of the things of God, to take money off people; offering them false hopes. The third thing that they did was: immorality; sexual immorality. They dishonoured God by violating the women who came to worship. Putting it another way, they abused their position of power. Having been given responsibility, and power, they hurt the people that were under their care; and God saw it, and called them all to account; and they lost the priesthood. Not just them, but all the future generations lost it. It's just incredibly serious.

There's a whole study around all of that, but I just want you to see that there's a shift between the old covenant and the new; and there's a reason for the shift: the failure to honour God, in fact dishonouring Him, and exploiting the role in ministry for their own ends and own purposes. The change in that priesthood means the loss of millennial inheritance, of that priesthood. The Bible uses the story of Eli and Zadok as a prophetic picture of the priesthood in the millennial age. You find Zadok mentioned in a couple of places. We find him mentioned 1 Kings 2:35; when Solomon became the king, he put then Zadok as priest in the place of Abiathar - that's when Zadok came in.

I encourage you to read around there. There was a lot of skulduggery going on, but Zadok remained faithful to God's appointed king. In the story of Eli's sons, they dishonoured God, as their king. They dishonoured God in their offerings, in their morality, their life, their attitudes, everything; but Zadok, he honoured God, and honoured God's selection. The Bible talks about the transition, and it starts to then talk about the millennial impact of this, and so when we go into Ezekiel 44, I want you to see the prophetic picture in here as well. In the Old Testament, they had a natural temple, and natural sacrifices, so when he's describing what he sees, he's describing it through the natural. You've really got to see beyond that, to the supernatural.

Ezekiel 44:10 – “The Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, and who strayed from Me after their idols, shall bear their iniquity. Yet in spite of this… (and He's saying there's consequences for holding idols in your heart) …they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and sacrifice for the people, they'll stand before them to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, I have raised My hand against them, said the Lord, and they shall bear their iniquity.

Ezekiel 44:43 – “They will not come near to Me, to minister to Me as a priest. They'll not come near to My holy things, they'll not come near to the Most Holy Place. They will carry the shame of their conduct. Nevertheless, they will still work in the temple”

What is He saying then, with the sons of Levi? He's saying then, in the coming millennium kingdom, this is what'll happen... They will not receive a glorified resurrected body that can go backwards and forwards between heaven and earth - that's the body Jesus had. The cost to any believer, of dishonouring God, and not being faithful in their priesthood to Him, is they will not receive that glorified, resurrected body. They will not be able to pass back and forth between heaven and earth, just as Jesus was able to do. They will not have access into the throne of God. They will not reign with Him on earth, and they will have a limited role serving in the earthly realm. They will have a role serving in the church, but they will not have the realm of being able to move and enter into the very throne room of God, and bring the supernatural life and power of God in a massive way back into the earth. They represent believers who are legalistic; there's no transformation, they dishonour God. They dishonour God; and they've refused heart transformation. I see a lot of people like that - legalistic people, dishonouring to God in the way they conduct themselves, and not letting God into their heart to bring about transformation. It says: they will not come near to Me, to minister to Me as a priest. They will not come near any of My holy things. They will not enter the Holy Place.

The language He's using is the language of the temple. There was a Holy Place, where the glory of God dwelt; and what He's saying is: the priests go in there, and then they come out; and He said: these guys will not be allowed in there to Me. They will be not allowed near Me. They will not come into the glory. They will not come into the resurrection. They will not come into ruling and reigning. They will have to stand at the outside. That's a very serious loss! So we understand then, that when the Bible is talking about inheritance, the inheritance of the priests was God Himself.

Numbers 18:20 – “The Lord said to Aaron: you will have no inheritance in the land, you will have no portion with them. I'm your portion, I am your inheritance.”

To inherit God means: I receive that ‘first resurrection’ glorified body; and it means I have face-to-face access to God. Imagine that! God is my inheritance. It's why nothing you've got on earth can hold us. There's nothing you can be attached to, compared to loving Him, and knowing Him, and having Him as your inheritance - access to Him. It's like if you have the money, then the money runs out. If you have the source, you've got an endless supply. You've got to put your eyes on the source. He's saying that, to be faithful as a priest means: access into the very glorious presence of God's throne, and fellowship and friendship with Him. To not be faithful as a priest now disqualifies you from that. The loss is enormous.

He said, of the sons of Zadok: they were faithful, when there was the transition of power from David to Solomon. They remained faithful to God, and faithful to God's calling.

Ezekiel 44:5 – “The priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok who kept the charge of My sanctuary, when the children of Israel went astray - they will come near to Me, to minister to Me. They will stand before Me. They will offer Me the fat, and the blood. They will enter My sanctuary. They will come near My table, and minister to Me. They will keep My charge.”

He's using Old Testament language to say these people: They have failed to honour Me. They ha0ve failed to keep the responsibilities of priesthood. I will not let them near Me. I will not let them access into My Holiest of Holies. I will not let them fellowship with Me, closely and intimately. They will stay at a distance, and they will have an inferior role.

But He said the sons of Zadok: They were faithful. They will come near to Me. They will minister to Me. They will dine at My table. They will have friendship, and fellowship, with Me. Notice what else it says here, and here's we get the garments…

Ezekiel 44:17 – “Whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall put on linen garments. No wool shall come upon them, while they minister within the gates of the inner court. They will have linen turbans on their head, linen trousers on their bodies. They will not clothe themselves with anything causing sweat. When they go to the outer court, where the people are, they will take off those linen garments, and leave them in the holy chambers. They will put on other garments, and then they will go out to them.”

What is He saying here? He's talking about the resurrection body. He's saying that the priesthood of Zadok - I will give them garments of glory, garments of beauty, and they will enter My presence because of that. When they're in My presence, they will be in that glorified state; but when they leave that, and go out to people, they will just look like they're normal again. Amazing isn't it? The garments of linen are the garments God provides. The garments of wool cause sweat. They're anything about the flesh, or effort (self-effort).

He's using a language of the spirit. He's using prophetic-picture language, to describe two kinds of people: those who are not allowed near Him, those who will not have intimacy, those who will not enter into His glory, those who will not approach the throne, those who will not be able to come anywhere near to Him… but they will be still His people, and have a role to serve; as against those who are faithful - they enter His presence. They will come near to Him; they fellowship with Him. He empowers them; they're given a resurrection body, that enables them to enter; and then when they go out, they're like Jesus - they appear in an ordinary body. The linen represents the glorious resurrected body, and the garments, that the overcomers will receive.

Those who are called to be priests to God and are faithful - they will be given those garments, they will have access. They will put on those garments, to enter His throne room. At the moment, you can't do it. You can't go into the throne room. You can go by the spirit. You can go in your spirit. You can access God, and His presence - by your spirit, and spiritual senses; but right now, your physical body is earthbound. He's talking about clothing given to us - a new body, that enables you to access like that (whoosh) into heaven, and then walk out and be in the earth; to manifest in glory, and in the presence of God; then walk out, and be in the earth, and go anywhere. It's extraordinary - and that's exactly what Jesus did! Jesus did exactly this thing, after the resurrection!

Luke 24:36 – “As they said these things, Jesus stood in the midst, and said: peace be to you; and everyone was afraid and frightened, because they supposed they'd seen a spirit. He said: why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your heart? Look, here's My hands and My feet, see? Touch. Handle. See? A spirit doesn't have flesh and bones like you see; and as He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.”

So notice there, that Jesus could suddenly appear, and it looks like He has got a normal body, like ours; and then just vanish, and He's into the glory realm, into the realm of heaven. That is what this thing is talking about. That is what you stand to have or miss. That is the reward.

What do the sons of Zadok do?

Ezekiel 44:23-24 – “They will teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy. They will discern between the clean and the unclean; and in controversy, they will stand as judges”.

Those who have this priesthood will be able to manifest anywhere. They will have responsibilities to teach people, instruct people, train them in the ways of God; and also, to stand in controversy, and have the power to bring an answer and resolution to it. So that brings us then to Jesus then, His warning and His counsel about garments, His warning and His counsel about garments...

Let's have a look at a Jesus warning, and counsel... He is warning! He warns of two conditions:

1) No garments at all

2) Defiled garments

He's talking to the Laodicean church, which was a very self-satisfied, very lukewarm.

Revelation 3:17 – “Now you say: I'm rich, I have become wealthy, I have need of nothing. But you don't realise that you're wretched, poor, miserable, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, you may be rich; to buy white garments, you may be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see.”

Jesus is talking to the church, and He says:

1) You say you have need of nothing. That means you're lukewarm; there's pride, and you're blind - you can't see your true condition.

2) Your true condition is you're naked. That means you are exposed in your lifestyle.

Revelation 16:15 – “I come as a thief in the night. Blessed are those who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he be naked.”

To ‘keep your garments’ meant: you stay connected – an intimate relationship with Jesus; and you produce fruit in your life as a result of it - your life demonstrates fruit. There are many scriptures on that…

1 John 2:28 – “Abide in Him”.

In other words, stay intimate with Jesus - so we may not be ashamed before Him, at His coming; and be confident.

Titus 3:8 – “Be careful to maintain good works.”

Al of us are to keep our garments. What does that mean? Putting it very simply: I need to maintain an intimate, passionate, love relationship with Jesus. I need to let Him transform my heart; and I need to be actively involved in serving in some way. I need to produce works. We saw when it comes to sonship, that these are the three major roles of sons:

1) Intimacy with God

2) Transformation of the heart

3) Doing things, acts of service, extending His kingdom.

Jesus warned about not having a garment on, and He's not talking about being saved. He's talking about make sure that when He comes, you're not a slacker. You're not lukewarm, and you're not hanging around, being idle. He said: make sure that your heart is on fire; that you're in vital, intimate relationship; and that you're very busy advancing His kingdom. There's nothing more clear than that – it’s very, very clear.

The second warning Jesus gave was about having defiled garments. Revelations 3:4 – “you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments”. That tells us that we can defile the garments. If the garments are acts of righteousness that we do; or in other words, it's the life we're living, and what we're doing - then they can be defiled. How could they be defiled?

Jesus checks our garments. He said: “You have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. They will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.”

They didn't defile their garments. What does that mean? ‘Worthy’ means: to be deserving of praise, to be deserving honour. He said: ‘they are worthy’. Jesus will check our garments - our actions, to see: are they defiled? Are they worthy of close companionship, and reward? He checks you out. If your garments are dirty… He's using spiritual language. Dirty garments, can't get in; clean garments, you're in. He said: don't allow your garments to be defiled. What does it mean, to be defiled? It means: to be polluted, or stained, or contaminated. Something inferior was added to it, that changed its quality. So ‘clean garment’ means ‘clean heart’, and ‘pure motives’, when you do things. This is very simple.

Clean garments, clean heart - you're operating out of love; there's no hidden agendas with what you do. You're doing things because you love the Lord; doing them out of love. These are works flowing out of faith and love; there's no personal agenda. What defiles our garments is hidden selfish agendas. He looks to check your life: are you passionately in love with Him? Are you overflowing, and representing Him, and showing what He's like, with selfless acts of love? He said: love your enemies; do good; hope for nothing in return - and your reward be great; you'll be sons of the most high, if he's kind to the unthankful and evil. Blessed are the pure in heart – they will see God.

The theme of His teaching is really simple; it's not complex. It simply comes down to this: stay on fire, and in love with Jesus; keep your heart pure; and abound in good works. Notice why He's caning the Laodicean church: because, He's saying: you're proud, and you think you're doing well. You've got big buildings, a lot of money, and all these people and whatever; but actually the whole thing is lukewarm, and it's tainted, and stained - it's not acceptable. Jesus' counsel then, is to: “buy of Me white garments”.

Revelations 3:18 – “I counsel you. This is My advice (Jesus' advice): buy gold, refined in the fire, so you can be rich. Buy white garments, that you may be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed. Anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see”.

Remember, the garments are the righteous acts of the saints; the accumulation of what we do clothes us for the coming age of glory. Notice His counsel: buy of Me. Now let me give you three simple things in here…

1) “Buy of Me” means: He is the source. What you're going to have to do can only come from Him. You can't get it from me, you can only get it from God. Remember the foolish virgins, who didn't pay the price? So “buying of Me” means Jesus is the source. I've got to get engaged with Him, to get what's needed.

2) “Buy” means I have to pay a price. There's a cost of getting this gold, refined in the fire. There's a price to following Jesus. There's a price in walking with Him.

What is the “gold refined by the fire”?

1 Peter 1:6 - “Now you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you're grieved by the various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it's tested by the fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory, at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen Him yet, you love Him. Now though you don't see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy, and exceedingly full of glory”.

He uses here simple picture. Gold needs to be refined. How do you refine gold, so it becomes pure, and its value increases? You've got 9ct gold - you know, the ring, 9ct gold. That coin on the ring, that's 22ct gold. Which is more valuable? 22ct gold. What's the difference? The refining. What is gold that's refined? Gold ‘refined’ means it was put through fire, that was just enough to melt it, not consume it; and when it melts, the impurities surface, and they're skimmed off by the refiner. That's gold; now your faith...

Your faith is what pleases God. Your faith is about trusting Him, believing His word. Gold goes through a process where the refiner puts heat onto it, until it melts; skims it off, lets it cool, and it's now refined; and he keeps doing it, until it's pure. Faith: I believe God, I trust God, I start to act on what He says. Then when pressure, and resistance, and opposition comes… I persevere, until my heart motives are pure, and I come out of it, and my faith and love have been tested by the fire. It's really quite simple.

So faith is ‘refined’, and becomes authentic, when you: hold onto God's word; and trust Him, in the face of opposition, hostility, difficulties, delays, contrary circumstances, and resistance by people that you thought would love you. Faith that's refined means: you're not just doing things, but you're experiencing reactions, hostility, difficulties, pressures, because you're following Jesus. He said that He watches how you respond, and if you hold onto Him, and His word, when everything is turning to custard; when it's difficult, it's hard. People around you walk away, or accuse you, or blame you, or do this or that. If you keep holding onto Him, and trusting Him, your faith is refined. Your character becomes different, and you become like gold refined in the fire.

He said: “I counsel you, buy from Me gold, refined in the fire”. This thing can only come from God. Every one of us goes through fiery trials. There's no one who doesn't. The moment you step out to follow the Lord, and trust Him, you will go through fiery trials - and God watches it. He said that this trying of your trust in Him is more precious to Him than gold that's been refined in the fire. God is looking for is your faith, because that's what pleases Him. Your faith is refined, when you face hardship, difficulties, opposition, persecution; yet you hold onto God and keep your heart right. Then your faith becomes refined. Your character begins to change. There's a depth in you, and a substance in you.

Think of the many Christians you know, who come along, and they will hear a message, and get excited; but when a bit of pressure comes… they fold! They didn't have their faith refined by the fire. It will always come. Jesus said in His parable, in Matthew 13, which is the fundamental Parable of the Sower and the Seed - several things will happen, when you receive the word of God. First, the devil will try and take it away from you - you've got to hold it! Secondly, the sun will come up - you've got to be able to stand up to the sun, and the heat. Thirdly, the thorns and the thistles are going to come - and He said: they'll grow up! Other things will distract you, and take you away... He said: you've got to overcome those distractions and stay focussed. He said: finally, you bring forth fruit; some 30, some 60, some 100.

He uses that parable to say: this is how it works. It doesn't matter what role or function in the church, that's irrelevant, and unimportant. That's unique to every one of us. What does matter, is your personal relationship, and how you conduct yourself, when pressure comes on you. This is what qualifies, or disqualifies you; and everyone has their trials, which are private, personal. No one can go through them, but you. God is watching every one of those things. He sees how you respond, and you are either growing in your character and patience, endurance and love, the fruit of the spirit, the character of God; or there's things coming up - your garments are defiled.

Yeah, I was doing these things… but I had an agenda. Yeah, I'm doing things… but I was angry. I was doing these things… but I was bitter and resentful. I was doing these things… because I wanted to impress people. You understand? God has to take us through that process; and if we respond to that process, we become a priesthood which have qualified for: garments of glory and garments of beauty; access into the realm of heaven and earth, and into the coming kingdom. It's an incredible opportunity, an incredible privilege, and you see it described there, under the picture of garments of glory, garments of beauty of the priesthood. There you go!

Summary Notes

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ER5: Garments of Glory and Beauty

I. Introduction

1. A Great Theme of Jesus Teaching was Eternal Rewards
- Jesus constantly taught about seeking Eternal rewards, and the need to pursue them
- “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”(Mat.16:27)

2. There are very Many Different types of Rewards
- In Rev.2-3 Jesus names many different rewards for those who Overcome specific challenges and trials
- The many Eternal Rewards that are described potentially form an important part of our Eternal Destiny
- We need to be familiar with the significance and importance of the different rewards revealed.
- Understanding what is at stake gives us great motivation for perseverance and transformation
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Col.3:22-24)

3. Rewards are Not Given Automatically…Only to those who fulfil specific Conditions
- “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21)
- “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn.12:26)
- Note that in each of these scriptures receiving a reward is conditional upon our works and actions in response to Jesus

4. Our Small Sacrifices Now have Huge Recompense Eternally
- “You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Mt. 25:21)
- “Well done...you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” (Lk. 19:17)
- God greatly values our small expressions of obedience in our mind , emotions and will
- He remembers them and rewards them in a much, much greater proportion
- God is a “Rewarder” (Heb.11:6) and He is extremely generous!
- “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Mt. 19:29)

5. Possible Categories of these Many Rewards
- The many Rewards mentioned in the Bible could be listed under the following headings:
1. Eternal Intimacy
2. Eternal Authority
3. Eternal Glory
4. Eternal Garments
5. Victor’s Crowns
6. Honour & Praise
7. Treasures & Riches
8. Vindication
- The first three of these rewards deserve special attention
- One of the Rewards mentioned more than any other is Ruling and Reigning with Christ
- This is because God’s original design for man is to be a Son:
Having Intimate Relationship with Him
Working with Him to extend His Kingdom with Power and Authority
Representing Him… His Character and Glory


Reward 4: Garments of Glory and Beauty

II. What are the Garments of Glory and Beauty?

1. Some Places in the Bible Where Garments are Mentioned
- God Himself:
God is clothed with Honor and Majesty. (Ps.104:1)
God clothes Himself with Light as a Garment. (Ps.104:2)
God is clothed with Majesty and Strength. (Ps.93:1)
- Adam and Eve:
God clothed them with animal skins because of their nakedness (Gen.3:21)
They had lost their garments of Glory and Beauty
- Angels:
Angels are clothed with white linen. (Ezekiel.10:1-2)
Angels are clothed with white linen. (Dan.10:5)
- The High Priest: Clothed in white linen. (Lev.6:6)
- Jesus Transfigured: Jesus robes were brilliant dazzling white. (Mk.9:3)
- The white linen garments that shine brilliantly refer to supernatural clothing, suitable for access to the realm of heaven

2. White Garments are Not the Same as the Free Gift of Righteousness.
- Mat 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
- Rev 19:7 - Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."
- Rev 19:8 - And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
- “The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” …Note: Acts(plural) of the saints
- These garments express each believer’s devotion to Christ and their acts of service.

- Justification is a Gift Received by Faith, Based on Jesus’ Worthiness, not ours
Eph. 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast
Tit. 3:4 - But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
Tit. 3:5 - not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
- Our faith in the work of Jesus Christ saves and justifies us before God
- Our garments begin with the gift of righteousness that is imputed to us by faith (2 Cor. 5:21).
- However if our faith is alive and growing should produce a fruit of character and works that can be seen
- Our Salvation depends upon our faith in His Work….a Free Gift
- Our Eternal rewards depend upon our works: How we have lived out our life as a steward…A Reward


3. Who Receives the White Garments?
- (i). The Overcomers Receive White Garments
Rev 3:4 - You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
Rev 3:5 - He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
The Overcomers are awarded white Garments as an prize, or honor for overcoming in life
- (ii). The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife Receives White Linen Garments
Rev 19:8 - And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
The Bride of Christ has “made herself ready”, she has prepared herself for the coming of the Bridegroom
- (iii). These are People from Every Tribe and Nation
- Rev 7:9 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

4. What are The White Garments?
- (i). The White Garments are Eternal Rewards
- The White Garments are supernatural clothing awarded to believers to acknowledge the quality of their love and walk with Jesus during their lives on earth.
- Walking “with Christ in white” is one reward for being faithful. The reason for receiving these white garments is given—“for they are worthy.”
- Rev 3:4 - You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
“Worthy”…Having weight, having value, one who has merited something, deserving reward
- (ii). The Word “White” Describes the Brightness of these Garments.
White… (Gk., leukos) …Bright, brilliant dazzling, emanating light
Mar 9:3 - His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Mat 17:2 - and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
- (iii). Each Person will be Clothed Uniquely, Having Differing degrees of Light and Brilliance
The brightness will depend upon the Person’s Rank and Stature in the Kingdom
Dan 12:3 - Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
Mat 13:43 - Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
1Col. 15:41 - There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead
- (iv). It is Possible that the Garments will be Diverse and Vary Depending on the Occasion
In the natural world leaders dress differently for different occasions
“who cover Yourself with light as with a garment... (Ps. 104:2)
“clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. (Rev. 15:6)


III. The Priestly Garments

1. We Are All Called to be Priests to God
- 1Pe 2:5 - you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
- Priests stand before God to offer sacrifices of praise and worship
- Priests make intercession on behalf of men
- Priests come before men to bless them

2. The Priestly Garments in the OT give insight to the Importance God Places on Garments
Exo 28:1 - "Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron's sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Exo 28:2 - And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.
Exo 28:3 - So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.

3. The Purpose of The Priests Garments
(i). Glory and Beauty
God designed the Priestly Garments to show His Glory and reflect His Beauty
“Glory”…….Gk. Kabod…..Splendor, Honor, Dignity, Majesty, Nobility
“Beauty”…. Glory, Honor, Rank, Splendor, Highly Attractive, an attribute of God
(ii). Consecration of the Priest
“Consecrate”….to set apart for a special purpose
(iii). Ministry Personally to God
To enter into His presence, and engage with Him face to face

4. The Details of the Priests Garments
- These are described in detail in Exod.28:1-43
- God gave exact directions regarding the design of the Priests Garments
- They had distinct parts (trousers, coat, girdle, bonnet, robe, ephod, breastplate, tunic, turban hats, sash, and crown).
- Exo 28:4 - And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skilfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.
- Exo 28:42 - And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.
- Exo 28:43 - They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.
- These Garments had to be worn by the priest when he entered the presence of God to minister
- The OT priestly garments were made of fine linen
- The garments had different colours, each with significance (gold, blue, purple, scarlet.).
- The breastplate was worn over the ephod and had shoulder-pieces with onyx stones.
- The ephod of blue was worn over the robe, which was worn over the coat and girdle.

5. The Details of the Seals
(i). The Breastplate…Worn over the Heart (Transformed heart)
- Exo 28:29 - "So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the LORD continually.
(ii). The Two Memorial Stones…Worn on the Shoulders ( Responsibility as Son)
Exo 28:12 And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial.
(iii). The Gold Crown…Worn on the Forehead (Mind of Christ)
Exo 28:36 - "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD ………So it shall be on Aaron's forehead,
- Each aspect of the Priests Garments prophetically point to Jesus Christ and Manifested The Sons of God (Rom.8:19)
- E.g. The Engraved Stones with the names of the tribes of Israel in order of birth (Exod.28.10)
Names are always associated with character, nature and destiny. These names identify the new creation
Reuben: “Behold a Son” …Sonship. We are born into a relationship with God as our Father
Simeon: “A Hearkening”…Sonship means hearing and obeying the voice of our Father, pleasing Him
Judah: “Praise”…Sonship means that we constantly thank and praise our Father

6. Only Overcomers will receive these Priestly Garments of Glory and Beauty
- What is an Overcomer?
“Overcome”…To subdue, to conquer, to prevail or gain victory over temptation and difficulties
- Rev 3:5 - He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments,
- Rev 20:6 - Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.


IV. The Change in Priesthood
1. Overcomers will Be Priests to God
- The Overcomers who are raised in the First Resurrection are called Priests of God and of Christ
- Rev 20:6 - Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

2. Two Priesthoods
- There are two priesthood’s mentioned in the Bible: Levi(Aaron) and Melchizedek( Jesus)
- Levitical Priesthood
- The Levitical priests were chosen to minister the Old Covenant
- The Levitical priests were all descendants of Aaron
- Levi was violent and cruel and came under the curse of Jacob.
Gen. 49:5 - "Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.
- The Levitical Priesthood was replaced by Melchizidek, who was chosen to minister the New Covenant
- Melchizedek Priesthood
- Gen. 14:18 - Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.
- “Melchizedek”… HB. Tesdeq … Justice, Righteousness: King of Salem… ”Shelem”…King of Peace

3. The Levitical Priesthood has Been Replaced
Heb. 7:11 - Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
Heb. 7:12 - For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
Heb. 7:13 - For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar
- Both Jesus and David were from the Tribe of Judah. They are Melchizedek Priests
- The Order of Melchizedek has replaced Levi and taken over the duties they were given
- The Overcomers who descend not from Levi, but from every tribe and nation are also Melchizedek priests. This priesthood no longer includes blood sacrifices because they have a “better” sacrifice… The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross

4. Levi Replaced by Zadok
- God declared to Eli, a Levitical priest and descendent of Aaron, that He would replace him
- 1Sa. 2:35 - Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.
- Eli was replaced by Eleazar (1Sam.7:1) and Eleazar was replaced by Abiathar. Solomon replaced Abiathar with Zadok
- 1Ki. 2:27 - So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, that he might fulfill the word of the LORD which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh.
- 1Ki. 2:35 - The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

5. Why Did the Sons of Levi Forfeit their Priesthood?
- 1Sa. 2:29 - Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?'
1Sa. 2:30 - Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed
- Why They Forfeited the Priesthood: Dishonoring God, Honoring Themselves
(i). Lack of Intimate Relationship
They had no relationship with the Lord, they did not know or respect Him and His Ways
(ii). Selfish Ambition and Self Promotion
They dishonored God by taking the best offerings for themselves.
They used their position to exploit people and to advance themselves
(iii). Immorality
They dishonored God by sexual relationships with women who came to worship
- They took advantage of vulnerable people and abused their position of power
- God saw it all and held them to account!...The loss of the Priesthood

6. Change in Priesthood means Loss of Millennial Inheritance
- The Bible uses the Story of Eli and Zadok as a prophetic picture of the Priesthood in The Millennial Age
- Ezekiel uses OT pictures off the temple and sacrifices to describe NT Kingdom realities
- God will not reintroduce natural sacrifices again. These have forever been replaced by Jesus sacrifice
- The Old Covenant and its sacrifices have been replaced by the New Covenant and the sacrifice of Christ
- Notice what God says to the Levitical priesthood through the Prophet Ezekiel:
Eze. 44:10 - "And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity.
Eze. 44:11 - Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.
Eze. 44:12 - Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them," says the Lord GOD, "that they shall bear their iniquity.
Eze. 44:13 - And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.
Eze. 44:14 - Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.
- The Sons of Levi
- In the Millennial Kingdom they will not receive a glorified resurrected body that can go back and forth between heaven and earth such as the body Jesus had following His resurrection
- They will not have access into the realm of heaven and the throne of God, nor reign with Him on earth
- They will be limited to ministering in the earthly realm, they will have a role serving the house
- These represent believers operating under Old Covenant legalism, who dishonor God, and who have refused heart transformation

7. The Inheritance of the Priests was God Himself
- Num. 18:20 - Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
- To inherit God means to inherit a glorified body and have access to Face to Face encounters with God
- The Sons of Zadok
Eze. 44:15 - "But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood," says the Lord GOD.
Eze. 44:16 - "They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.
Eze. 44:17 - And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house.
Eze. 44:18 - They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.
Eze. 44:19 - When they go out to the outer court, to the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they have ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; and in their holy garments they shall not sanctify the people.
- Linen is made from plant and wool comes from animals, sheep
Rev 19:8 - And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
- Linen then represents the glorious resurrected body and garments the Overcomers will receive
- Wool represents the fleshy physical human body
- These priests of God and of Christ will be given resurrected bodies like Jesus and be able to pass easily between heaven and earth just as Jesus did after His resurrection
- They will “put on linen garments” to enter into the Throne Room of God and minister to Him, and then “put on other garments….Wool” to return to earth and interact with and minister to people
- “ Cause sweat”…means human effort and toil, the consequence of the curse upon the earth (Gen.3:19)
- This is exactly what Jesus himself did after His resurrection
Luke 24:36 - Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you."
Luke 24:37 - But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
Luke 24:38 - And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Luke 24:39 - Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."
Luke 24:40 - When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
Jesus appeared to His disciples in a body of flesh and bones that they could see and touch. He ate with them.
The overcomers will be able to do exactly what Jesus did, travel between Heaven and earth
This is what is will mean to be a Priest after the Order of Melchizidek
- These overcomers will instruct people and judge difficult situations
Eze. 44:23 - "And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Eze. 44:24 - In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.


V. Jesus Warning and Counsel Concerning Garments

1. Jesus Warning: No Garments
- Rev 3:17 - Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
- “ Need of Nothing”….reveals pride and luke-warmness and blindness to spiritual condition
- “Naked”… is a term that means to have sin exposed, and hidden things revealed
- Gen. 3:10 - So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
- Rev 16:15 - "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."
- “ Keep garments” …stay abiding in Christ and produce fruits that reveal the character and love of God
- To be naked or shamed in eternity is to be devoid of the reward of heavenly garments.
- All believers have the robe of righteousness, yet Jesus warns us of the shame of nakedness or “lacking the reward of clothing” that reveals one’s commitment to Jesus in this age.
- 1Jn 2:28 - And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
- Tit. 3:8 - This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
- Mat 22:11 - "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

2. Jesus Warning: Defiled Garments
- Rev 3:4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
- “Worthy”…..deserving of praise, having the suitable qualities
- Jesus closely checks our garments (acts) to see if they are defiled or if they are worthy of His Close companionship and reward
- “Defiled”…pollute, stain, contaminate, soil
To contaminate or make unfit by the addition of something unsuitable or unwholesome, lower quality
- Clean garments means clean hearts, and being clothed on the outside with righteous works
- These are works that flow out of love and faith and humility and are not stained with selfish personal agendas
- Our garments become stained by the presence of selfish agendas, hidden expectations, legalism, duty rather than love, lawlessness, doing our own thing rather than seeking Father’s will (Mat.7:23)
- E.g. Luke 14:12 - Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbours, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
- E.g. Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
- E.g. Mat 5:8 - Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
- E.g. 1Jn 3:2 - Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

3. Jesus Counsel: Buy of Me White Garments
Rev 3:18 - I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
- What are the Garments?
The Garments are the “Righteous Acts of the Saints”
Rev 19:8 - And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
The accumulation of our acts of righteousness on earth forms the foundation for the garments we will be clothed with in the ages to come
- Jesus evaluates all of our acts with a desire to acknowledge our devotion to Him and acts of service
- Jesus Counsel: “Buy of Me”
“Buy of Me”……Jesus alone is the source of what is lacking our missing. We must trade with Him
“Buy”….To pay a price, or make an exchange in order to obtain something of value
The Foolish virgins failed to pay the price of intimacy to obtain the oil and were excluded (Mat.25:8-13)
There is a price to following Jesus.
It takes many different forms daily as we seek to represent Him and obey Him
We must die daily to self, trust and surrender our lives to Him, and develop a serving heart and lifestyle
“Heb.6:11 - “Without faith it is impossible to please Him
Jesus counsel is to “buy of Him gold tried in the fire”
- What is Gold Tried by the Fire?
1Pe 1:6 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
Gold is a precious metal of high value. Gold is refined (purified) by passing though fire
Faith is compared to physical gold. It is refined (purified) by trials and testing
Faith comes by hearing but it is refined and becomes authentic when we hold onto God and His Word in the face of opposition, hostility, difficulties, delays, contradictory circumstances, resistance by loved ones
Faith is refined when you apply it to your life and do the works, persevering and speaking of faith
Jas 2:17 - Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead
Our authentic faith is revealed by works of love

4. Different Types of Garments
Garments will vary in glory according to how believers lived
- (Rev. 3:4-5, 18; 19:8).
- There may be many different types of clothing with unique designs, fabric, brightness, color, etc.
- To her [Bride of Christ] it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Rev. 19:8)

Rev 20:5 - But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.


VI. Questions to Reflect Upon
1. What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you about through this study?
2. What has been the area that has challenged you personally?
3. What impact does this have upon your motivation to serve God?
4. Are there any areas your motivation has defiled your works?
5. How will this teaching affect your attitude as you face difficulties, and hardships?
6. How will this teaching affect what works you say “Yes” to taking on?
7. How will this teaching change your response when your service is not acknowledged and honored by people



Victor's Crowns (6 of 12)  

Fri 17 Jul 2020 « Back to Top

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A Crown is given to the Victor who has won the race or the fight. It is given in recognition and honour to a person because of what they have achieved or overcome.

In this message we discover five different Crowns that are promised to believers who meet the conditions. These are the Incorruptible Crown, The Crown of Rejoicing, The Crown of Righteousness, The Crown of Life and the Crown of Glory.

Victor's Crowns (6 of 12)

Introduction

Welcome. We're doing our series on Eternal Rewards, and we're up to #6, Victor's Crowns.

Jesus taught about Eternal Rewards. In fact all of His message was about a kingdom that was here now, and then a kingdom that was coming. You will find the theme running right through scripture is sown from the very beginning, where a man and woman come together, and there's a wedding; and at the very end, there's a wedding of Christ and His bride who has prepared herself.

So the Bible is an unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ. It's not our story, it's His story, and it's all about the Father's plan and how it unfolds. As we look at Eternal Rewards, we find that Jesus taught in many different places about the kingdom, and about rewards.

Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each one according to his works”.

That reward is a recompense. It's got nothing to do with being saved, so we need to then distinguish what it means: to be saved; and what it means to be rewarded for service. Receiving a reward is different to receiving a gift. If you receive a gift, then it's free - there's no strings attached, it's a gift. You did nothing. It was all dependent on the person who gave.

A reward or a wage is something that you have contributed effort, time, sacrifice, labour, and now there's a recompense for what you've done. So the free gift of eternal life is offered to every man. God's plan of salvation includes every person, and it's totally by faith, and by faith alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you've been saved, through faith, and even that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not works, lest anyone should boast.”

It's very clear in that scripture there: there are no works involved, in us being saved. We are saved totally by the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross; and His work on the cross has made full provision for us to be redeemed out of sin and curses, and established in a relationship with God, and with Him, as a Father.

We're justified by what Jesus did, totally, and you must have that as a foundation for your life. Otherwise, when we teach on eternal rewards, you move from that foundation, and then you begin to work to try and gain acceptance with God. To be saved by faith means: I am now declared innocent. I am in relationship with God. I can't do any more to make Him love me more. I can't do any more, to be more accepted. I'm accepted fully, by what someone else did.

However, now that I have become saved, I'm part of God's plan - and His plan is not just to save me. Many people consider, or their whole understanding of the cross, and the work of the things described in the Bible, is that it's all about us being saved and going to heaven. This is not the plan! That was the glitch in the plan, that man fell, and God implemented a process for us to be restored; but it's the restoration, and back into His purpose, is the thing that really counts.

Reward for service is a recompense, for something you have done. It's something you receive, because you qualified. So in this situation you qualify, or you don't qualify; and the rewards are not given automatically. They're given to those who fulfil specific conditions. When we read Revelations 2 & 3, you get a number of promises, and they're spread through Book of Revelation; promises that have conditions attached. For example…

Revelations 3:21 – “o him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down My Father on His throne”.

John 12:26 – “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour”.

God will honour those who serve Jesus. From God, the Father's point of view, the whole of the Bible is the revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole of His plan centres around the person of Jesus Christ. Notice in that other scripture: to him who overcomes. That means there must be something we have to overcome, so Revelation 2 & 3 lays out different things that we're called to overcome, and different promises for the overcomers.

We looked at the different kinds of rewards. We're going to pick up one today called: Victor's Crowns. There are different ways you could organise the rewards, but as I've gone through them, and looked at them, they really fall into three principle categories. All the rewards can be placed under one of these headings.

1) Eternal Intimacy. God is inviting us into the very same intimate relationship and fellowship that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have. They had that relationship before time even began, and now they invite, or call us, to enter in and experience the deep level of intimacy that they enjoy.

John 17:23 – “That the love that you have for me, may be in them, and I in them”.

It's hard to fathom what that would look like. It's hard to even imagine that the deep intimate connection that God has with the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship they have - that God's desire is to include us into that, so we would be part of that, and enjoy face to face encounter, with all that goes with that.

2) Eternal Authority - and that implies responsibility. God invites us to share ruling with Him, and that means His plan is that we would rule with Him, over all His creation. It's not just the earth. It includes all that He has created. It just blows the mind to try to comprehend that, even just when it comes to the millennial kingdom, that God will have a people He will empower supernaturally. He will give responsibility, that will involve the restoration of the whole earth; working with Jesus Christ, to bring the whole earth, all its government, all it's systems, education, social systems, everything into alignment with the Father's kingdom, for a period of unprecedented peace. It doesn't end at the end of that kingdom, millennial era; it goes on for the ages and ages and ages.

Isaiah 9:7 – “Of the increase of His government, there's no end”

God will work with us, and through us, to expand His dominion through vast regions of the physical universe.

3) Eternal Glory (or Honour). His plan is for us to have a resurrection body, that would enable us to enter His throne room, to engage Him face to face; and we'd be able to express His glory. There are many ways that God intends to honour, and produce glory for us; one of them will be the crowns.

The last thing, before we get into the study for today, is the issue of God's design for sonship. Sonship is a key aspect of God's eternal purpose, so when we unfold what God planned, before the world was even created, is that the Father would have a family of sons, who would be in the exact image of Jesus Christ. God so delights in Jesus. He wanted to create a family like Him, that would also enjoy the same relationship with Him. The key concepts of what it means to be son is: it matches the rewards.

John 17:3-6 – “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom You've sent”.

Eternal Life has to do with intimacy; experiential knowledge of God. Intimacy where He invites us, as a son, into an ever-deepening intimacy. You can't stay where you are. God calls you to know Him more deeply, more intimately. That requires engagement with Him; worship, seeking Him, and a life that pursues Him.

The second thing, which is a characteristic of sonship, is having an assignment.

John 17:4 – “I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work You have given Me to do”.

This season of our life on earth is a season of preparation for our big assignment. We get lots of little assignments - an area of responsibility that God gives to us, an area that we're called to faithfully fulfil, and each assignment we faithfully fulfil prepares us for our next assignment, which would be larger. One of the key areas that God requires is faithfulness: that we are faithful with what's entrusted to us; and we persevere, and see through the assignment He's given to us, until we've finished it.

Jesus said: “I honoured You or glorified You on earth. I have finished the work You gave Me to do”. We're not called to do everything; we're called to know what God has spoken into our heart to do. He's wired it into our makeup, and He speaks prophetically to our heart, what He calls us to do. Notice those two aspects, or functions, of sonship: intimacy; and an assignment, both relate to the Eternal Rewards - which is a much deeper intimacy, and a much greater connection with the Father, and with Jesus and the Holy Spirit; and also a greater level of assignment.

John 16:6 – “I have manifested Your name to the men You've given Me out of this world”.

What He's saying there is: I have demonstrated your character. That speaks to us of transformation; of the need for each of us to be transformed progressively, in our character, so the fruit of God's spirit is manifested through our name.

When we teach on sonship, you'll discover that sonship has three phases to it. The first phase is being adopted, or brought into the family, where we become a child of God. We're what's called ‘teknon’ - a young child, one who has the nature of the Father, one who is part of the family. Then we are brought into the process or preparation, where we come under the training of the Holy Spirit, who trains our character, and prepares us; and then finally, God positions us into our sonship, at the second coming of Christ. In that positioning into our sonship, that's when we enter into all these experiences that we talk of here. So one of the key aspects then, of our journey as a child of God, is: we let God transform us. That means healing, deliverance, character transformation, shifting beliefs, changing the way you think… all those kinds of things.

Main Message

I want to look at one specific aspect of reward, called the Victor's Crowns. They all come under the heading of honour. The Bible tells us then that some believers will receive crowns. A crown is bestowed as an honour, or an award, to recognise someone. If someone's wearing a crown, then you know they're recognised. There's some reason behind them having that crown.

In the Bible there are two words used for crown. The first one is diadem; and the second one is Stephanos; and today we will focus on Stephanos. Diadem means: the crown of a ruler. If a person is a king, or a ruler, he has a diadem on. That's a special type of crown that acknowledges that he has authority, and he rules, has dominion. For example…

Revelations 19:12 (talking about Jesus) - “His eyes were a flame of fire and on His head were many crowns, and He had a name written that no one knew except Himself”.

The whole concept of a crown comes from a thing where they used to have a cap, or a turban; and there was some form of metallic plate, or a thing that circled the head, that had jewels on it. If you look at the crown jewels, the Queen's crown, it's magnificent, rich; and it says of Jesus: He has many crowns. Obviously, you can't wear many crowns. He's talking in terms of a spiritual picture, that Jesus has all authority over everyone. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords; therefore, He has many crowns. He is the Emperor over an Empire. You don't hear that word used much, but He is literally an Emperor. He has an empire, made up of kingdoms; and kings over those kingdoms; and He rules the kings, so He's called the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The crown represents His royal position, His royal honour, and His authority. Christ now reigns, is King over the whole of the universe, and not because He was the Son of God, but because, as the Son of Man, He gained that honour.

Ephesians 1:20-22 – “Jesus is the centre of God's purpose, which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at the right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, might, dominion, every name that's named not only in this age, but also the age to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church”.

He's far above every principality and power, every dominion, every authority. His ranking is far, far higher; far, far above. He will reign, until He's put all His enemies under His feet; then He will present the kingdom back to the Father - meaning that Jesus is now in that position, but when He is crowned, He will return to earth. He will gather to Himself His people, invest in them authority, and power, and a resurrection body; and they, with Him, will then bring the whole of the earth and creation into order, over a period of 1000 years. So He wears the crown of a ruler.

There's also another crown, and that's the crown of a victor - that's a different crown. A crown of a ruler is someone who sits over a place. They rule over it - they have the responsibility to rule and govern; but the victor's crown is someone who won. That's the word ‘Stephanos’, and the first reference you find to that is in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. Paul is writing, and he says:

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 - “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. For everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we, an imperishable crown.”

The second crown there is the word ‘Stephanos’, and that's the wreath, or the garland, that they put on someone who is the winner of a race. It comes from the word ‘Stepho’, meaning to ‘entwine’, or a wreath that encircles the head. It was either: someone who won a race; someone who won a fight; or it also referred to a Roman emperor, or a Roman commander, who came back from a battle, and he's won the battle, and he's wearing it.

The Bible talks about five different crowns, and they may overlap. Some of them may mean the same thing, it's not always easy to tell; but they do refer to five different crowns and that's what we're going to look at. Each one represents a different award, or a prize, you must contend for.

A crown then, if a crown is awarded to you, is a visible, tangible sign to everyone you won. The winner's crown means you won. Everyone who sees you with it will know that you're the winner. We tend to have a medal around the neck, and it's got #1, or First Place. Everyone knows you won. The crowns are incorruptible. That means they will go on forever; so forever, we will have something given to us, that acknowledges the kind of race that we run, and the kind of battles we fought; and they will no doubt differ from person to person.

Crowns are very important to God. When the high priests’ garments were defined, God gave exceptional detail, in Exodus 28, about the high priest’s garments. One of the things He gave detail to, was the crown that he would wear. The high priest had a head covering: a turban; and then a golden plate, which had on it: Holiness To The Lord; and jewels, and various other things.

Obviously, if you win a crown it's a treasured possession. People put the things that they've won up on a wall, its visible to everyone coming in, an honour is presented. When we win one of these five crowns, it will be clear for all eternity, that we have won a crown. The honour will be recognisable.

Let's first look at the incorruptible crown, the one we've just looked at it. Paul is using the term ‘run a race’. He's referring to the Roman public games, and what he's saying is that, naturally, there was a certain kind of lifestyle, and a certain kind of preparation, that they all went through; and their goal was to win in the games. If they won in the games, then they got a wreath - the victor's crown. They got also a stone, with their name on it, which gave them access to public events free of charge. In other words, they were honoured.

Notice he says: not everyone wins the race. He's saying then, it is possible, as a believer, you won't complete your race; that you will drop out of your race; that you will not do what's required to complete, or to win, the race. He says there's a prize; one receives the prize. In the Roman games, in each race that was run, only one got the prize. He's not saying that for us - everyone can win the prize. However, you've got to do what's required of you, and that's an individual thing. The prize is a crown, awarded to the victor, at the public games, and it was a symbol of the reward. Notice he says, that in the public games, it's corruptible. The garland eventually withers, and after a while it's just an old, dried up set of leaves. We're after something that's absolutely incorruptible; it goes on for eternity.

He says then: if they put in all that effort, for something natural that gets withered after a while; then how much more should we put in the effort needed, for something that is totally incorruptible, that will last for eternity? So, he says: run your life, or run your race, fulfil your following the Lord in such a way that you win the prize. That word ‘obtain’ or ‘win’ the prize means ‘to possess’ or ‘take a hold of it’.

If you look through there, you'll see there are four different things that he points out in that passage there, that are required for winning the crown - four things!

1) We need to value the prize. If you don’t know there's a prize, you won't put a value on it. You won't change your life to win the prize. Paul knew that there was a prize, and he knew the value of the prize.

Philippians 3:7-8 – “For the things that were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I count everything loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, for whom I've suffered the loss of all things, and I count them rubbish, that I might gain or win Christ”.

He knew exactly what was at stake. He was called up to heaven, he had a heavenly vision, where God showed him His eternal plan, and showed him what was at stake; and then he tries to express it and write it. When he's writing this, he's saying: I see what it is; everything else is just nothing, because everything else, you'll leave it behind; but this is eternal, and it's about winning Christ.

If we don't know there's a prize, we won't value it; so he valued the prize, to the point where he said: nothing in my life compares to this; whereas in contrast, Esau didn't value the prize, and so he placed no value on it, and he traded it away for a bowl of beans, which is where many Christians are. They either don't know the inheritance God has; or if they do know, they trade it away, because they don't value it. Many people come into the church, but without a vision of eternity, of preparing, running the race, of actually what God has in store for them, then they place no value on the price needed to get there. There's no internal desire, and longing, that I can experience that.

God speaks about how He loved Jacob, and hated Esau. It's not that He hated him. He's trying to bring a contrast: this one is precious to Me, because he valued the inheritance. The contrast is like love and hate, because actually he placed no value on it whatsoever, and it talks about that in Hebrews 12:16-17. So, the first thing is: value the prize.

2) The second thing is: we need to run with determination.

1 Corinthians 9:26 – “I run this way, not with uncertainty”. He says: I run with determination. The word ‘not uncertainly’ means something is not clearly identified as a goal, so he says: I run with certainty. I've got a determination.

That means literally a fixed intention to achieve a goal. He said: I have set my life on this goal of winning that prize. I've set my life on fulfilling my course. If we don't run with determination, with a goal in mind, we’ll never do what's needed to win. So any of you who've achieved anything know, if it's weight loss, or winning a race, there's a work needed to be able to do it. You've got to decide that you're going to be determined, because on the way you just feel like quitting, giving up. Even getting fit, you've got to be determined that's what's going to happen, or you'll quit on the way, because of the cost, or the pain, or the difficulty.

3) The third thing is: you need to engage the enemy.

1 Corinthians 9:26 – “Thus I fight, not like someone who beats the air”.

He talks firstly about racing, and running a race, and there's a prize to be won, and you've got to run. Then he shifts, and he begins to talk about a fight, and says: I'm in a fight. I'm not a shadow boxer. A shadow boxer is someone who practicing; they have an imaginary opponent; they're just playing, hitting the air. They're not hitting anyone. He looks like he's fighting, but he's not hitting anyone; no one's hitting him either. It's just all a lot of effort, and it's all about practice. Most shadow boxers just practice in the gym, so there's never any real conflict - and that is where many believers are.

They never really engage the enemy, in any kind of real way. They never stand in spiritual warfare. They don't stand, and push out into the spirit, so they never face the kinds of reactions that come, when you determine you're going to take new ground in your life, or in a ministry, or in your business - there's a fight against hidden spirit powers; and it's a real fight! They come for you, and they're nasty, and there's a pressure. There are all kinds of conflicts you go through; but many believers never get involved in that, so they never get involved in the difficult work of being involved with dealing with spirits, or in the difficult work of working with people. They'd rather just look spiritual and so on, without actually engaging and involvement. Paul talked very clearly, that our warfare is not with people; it's with spirit beings, and they do resist. He's saying then: I'm not a shadow boxer; I get into it - and when I get into it, I'm going for it, to win that fight. I'm not backing down. Our fights are against spiritual powers, and also against temptations, and various kinds of distractions.

4) The fourth (and last) one is: develop a focussed lifestyle.

He said: everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Temperate means showing self-control. It means moderation. You won't let anything take control of your life. All things are good, but don't let anything run control of your life. If you think about someone training for the Olympics, they're careful with their diet, they're careful with their sleep, they're careful with their exercise. They're living a highly disciplined life; and he's saying: that's the kind of life we need to be living, a disciplined life that's bringing honour to God and not just indulging, going doing this and doing whatever we want. He said: he disciplines his body; and that was through fasting. The discipline, the fasting to discipline his body, he said “lest I be disqualified”. He said: “having preached to others I might be disapproved or disqualified (or a castaway)”.

So he talks about: the race, with the prize; the fight, and the need to win; and then he said: I bring order and discipline to my life, in case having preached to everyone else, and told them all these things, I'm then when I get assessed, I didn't make it because I had too many things going on in my life privately. That's what you see frequently with people in ministry. They look great, there's great gifting, there's blessing, great ministry… and then suddenly, there's a collapse, and you think: disapproved. Why? There was some hidden thing that they never ever dealt with, they never let their body be sorted out, never disciplined their inner life.

When he talks about the running the race, he said: you run - everyone runs, but you so run to ‘obtain’. In the Book of Hebrews, he talks also about running the race, and in this case he talks about weights, and things that hold us back.

Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us cast aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us; let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

Firstly, you notice he exhorts us to “to run the race with endurance”. There's an endurance needed, and there are weights and things that hinder us. We need to realise they're there and address them. Then he tells us: “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us”. What is the sin that ensnares us? That word ‘ensnare’ means: to stand around you, surround you, distract you. What is the sin that surrounds us, and constantly seeks to distract us? It's most likely the sin of unbelief - the loss of confidence and faith in God, because we're going through hardship, or disappointments, or difficulties. It could also apply to a particular sin, or a stronghold, that you struggle with. He's saying then: for each person, what is the sin that most easily taps into our life? Probably unbelief, where we stop believing and trusting God - that His word's reliable, that He'll see us through, and so on. There are often other things that snare us as well. I think everyone's got their struggles that they have, their own unique kind of things to get over.

Secondly, he says: not just the sin that snares us, but also every weight. A weight is something that hinders you or burdens you. In the Roman races, they would take off all their clothes - they'd run naked, so that they had nothing to hold them back. If you want to be a winner, you've got to make sure nothing holds you back; there's no hinderances, no burdens - we're to cast them off. What are some of the weights? You could probably think of a few yourselves, but here's a few just to think about...

Unresolved issues are a weight. People who are carrying offences, bitterness, judgements, issues of the heart, unresolved grief... all those things are weights. That's where the ministry of healing and deliverance is so needed - it's to help you let go of the weights (apart from the issue of transformation). Abuse, betrayal, addictions… all of those things hold you back. So you may run, but you always can't give your best, because you've got something holding you back. Ungodly heart beliefs can be another thing - where you just believe lies. You believe that you're not good enough, you'll never make it, that you can never do anything right. There are many lies in the heart, that act as a weight to success.

Ungodly relationships can hold us back. God gives us a relationship, to accelerate us towards our destiny. The devil brings them in, to bring us back. I can remember at one stage we had a whole group of women, probably in their 40s, 50s, that we won to the Lord, and not one of them had had a man in their life for years. Within six months, all of them had gone off with some guy - and all of them left the Lord, left the church, left everything. I learnt that the devil brings people into your life, to take you off course; so the person who sets their mind to serve God, sets their mind on the course, going to fulfil it faithfully, then often the devil will add in people around that are a burden - so you need to just recognise that.

Any relationship that is consuming your time and energy, and is unproductive, probably is a hinderance. It could be ones that are ungodly, that are abusive, or have no boundaries. Frequently, when it comes to church, you get people that are like vampires - they're just draining your energy, draining your life. There's no response to your wisdom, or counsel, or direction - they just drain life, and they don't go anywhere; so those ones, you've got to boundary them quite strongly.

There can be other kinds of relationships - putting someone on a pedestal and making too much of them. That's a most common one in churches, where there's an idolatry around the minister, and that then becomes a burden, because then all our life is around that person, rather than being centred on Christ. These are issues that come up.

We can be involved where our identity is found in rescuing, or helping people, wanting to be needed. Those kinds of things then lead you into relationships that are dependent. The people never grow, never mature, never get released, and frequently this is a problem when you try to get groups to multiply - that they all attach so strongly to the leader, and he never built them to Christ, and now either the leader doesn't want to let go of them, or the person doesn't want to let go. These are problems. These are real things, that hinder us in our journey, and then a wrong focus.

We just set our eyes on the wrong thing, and when we have a wrong focus in our life, then we do end up being de-energised, and you get discouraged very easily. It says: set your focus looking to Jesus - setting your eyes on Him, who, for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross and the shame. That's the first one, that's the crown, the Incorruptible Crown. There was a lot in that one! The others don't have quite so much, but I found as I've studied them, I've seen more in each one of them. That's the first crown, the crown for running the race diligently, with your eyes fixed on the prize, and doing the discipline in your life, to maintain your walk.

The second one that's mentioned there, is called the Crown of Rejoicing. Remember, we're not sure whether it's: a literal crown, which is visible and seen; or whether it's a form of honour that God puts on us. It's hard to know, it could be both.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 – “What is our hope, or joy, or Crown of Rejoicing? Is it not you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at His coming? For you are our glory. You are our joy”.

The Crown of Rejoicing is the reward God gives for soul winners. Each time the Crown of Rejoicing is mentioned, it always has to do with people, and the winning of people. Everyone that you've helped lead to Christ, win to Christ, or played a part in them coming to Christ - that person will be a part of the crown, or reward, because God places such value on people. The church has got to maintain its value on people too. We need to value soul winning. I find it distressing, when you come to the altar call, how many people just switch off, rather than actually being in a place of intercession prayer, participating in the warfare needed, for that person to come to Christ; then helping make them welcome, being a friend to them, incorporating them into their circle. It's like… hello? Don't you understand that this is God's heart, that God places high value on souls, that in heaven there's rejoicing over every soul that repents? We need to rejoice as well.

The simplest thing is just when they get saved give a big clap. When they get saved, smile and welcome them, you know, connect with them, be part of the journey. There's so much in that, and usually the reason people don't engage like that, is because soul-winning is not in their heart; and because soul-winning is not in the heart, then they don't celebrate, or participate, in the joy of soul winning. Think about this: the souls that are won in our church, are won by a corporate effort mostly; so therefore, there's a corporate reward for this - so we need to be a soul-winning church. If we become a soul-winning church, then the reward that God puts upon us then, is distributed around those who participate in it; so those who are involved in intercessory prayer, then you're part of that journey; and those who are in the prayer room, and they don't even get seen - they're part of winning that Crown of Rejoicing. Paul talks about soul-winning in 1 Thessalonians 2:2-11. He's got quite several things he outlines, about the way he works with people

1 Thessalonians 2:2 – “After we had suffered before, and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God, in the midst of conflict. Our exhortation did not come out of error, or uncleanness, nor deceit. For as we've been approved of by God to be entrusted with the gospel, we speak not as pleasing men, but as pleasing God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, as a cloak of covetousness – God is our witness. We didn't seek glory from men, either from you or others, when we might make demands as apostles. We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother nurses her children; affectionately longing for you, well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel, but also our own lives, because you become dear to us. For you remember our labour, our toil, labouring day and night, that we might not be a burden to you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are our witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe, as you know we exhorted and comforted and charged you as everyone a father does his own children”.

Paul is saying: these are the characteristics I demonstrated, that gave me the ability to influence people. As you look through it, you see a whole number of things…

1) Pure motives. Genuine interest in people. No deceit; error; uncleanness; trickery. Not trying to prove he's right; not trying to get a scalp; I won someone to the Lord kind of thing. You've got to have a genuine love for people, and only God can give us that.

2) He was God honouring in his ministry.

“We speak not as pleasing men, but as pleasing God who tests the hearts”.

He sought to please God alone, and is willing to face rejection. He didn't flatter people. He didn't try to influence them to get their money; didn't try to persuade them to accept him. He just spoke the truth, despite their reaction.

“we had a fair few reactions that we suffered before, despitefully treated, and much conflict when we were with you.”

In Philippi, they were all thrown into jail; and they got beaten up in jail. He's playing it down, but he's saying that when you speak the truth, and seek to engage people, and not trying to just please them or be nice to them - there will be reactions, and you've got to learn just to handle that, because you're seeking to honour God.

3) “We're gentle, like a nursing mother cherishes her children”. He gives a picture, or metaphor there, of how you treat people: like a mother would hold her child; very precious, and very tender. He's saying: that's how he's like with people - easy to talk to, easy to relate to, a tender heart, and a real love for them.

He spoke of having an authentic lifestyle. He said: we laboured day and night, that we might not be a burden to any of you. He worked, so he could support himself, so he could then give his ministry, without expecting anything back from anyone. A lot of people don't do that today, they want everyone to carry them, and do things for them rather than working, so you've got something to give.

4) Finally, he says “we endured conflict”. He had a positive attitude, when he faced conflict. If you read Paul's stories of conflicts, he would have been the hardest person to be with, because everywhere he went, there was a fury stirred up against him, because he was bold. He just boldly proclaimed the gospel, and demonic spirits stirred the people up. They would shout! There was one stage there, where the people were dragged into the middle of the arena, and they just shouted for two hours non-stop - didn't even have a chance to say what was going on. In the place he gets stoned, and dragged out of town, he just… they gathered around and prayed. He got up and carried on to the next town. It's unbelievable commitment to win people, despite being knocked back. We get knocked back, but it's nothing like that. It's just bad attitudes, and stupid people, doing stupid things. But the lesson here is: no matter how people react, you’ve just got to be able to endure it, because of Christ - and he's saying the Crown of Rejoicing awaits a soul winner.

So those are some things to think about: our motives in working with people - that what we do is honouring to God; and doesn't hold back the truth in any way. When working with people, you're gentle with them; not hostile and argumentative. That our lifestyle speaks a message, that people can see in our life that we're genuine and authentic; and then when there's difficulty, we don't get wimpy, and draw back, and then get sad… somebody hurt me, and I'm offended kind of thing.

When you look at his story, and you see what people are like today, it's kind of… oh my, come on guys, come on, toughen up! So that’s the second crown.

The third crown is called the Crown of Righteousness.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. Finally, there's laid out for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day; and not only to me, but to all who love His appearing”.

I love these statements: “I've fought the good fight”. This is a good fight! It's a fight to gain territory, to get freedom for yourself, or freedom for others. It's a race you're running, that requires endurance, because it’s a marathon. Many start well, but a lot don't see it to the end. When I think of all the things in our life that's sad, it's the ones that didn't see it through - who started with us, and then when the difficulties came, as they always come… they walked away. They saved themselves, and that's very, very sad, and I feel a grief when I see that kind of thing happen. He says: he's finished the race, he kept faith! In other words, the only way you can really keep in the race, and keep in the fight, if is you hold onto God. He declared how he lived a right life. He engaged spirits. He persevered. He overcame temptation. He completed the course, meaning he's completed his assignment right until the very end.

Many people, as I say, don't finish their assignment. You give them a task to do, they don't even finish the task, let alone finish the ministry call, or finish an assignment in an area. That requires, because there's difficulty, that you maintain faith, and you develop a good character. So whatever assignment is entrusted to people, it's not just the outcome of it; it's what happens in them, as they do it, is the key thing; and sometimes we overlook. We sometimes think people come ready, but they're not. People don't come ready. They'll come broken, and they come needing help to grow, and a lot of the work I do now is helping people understand what God is doing, and how to respond, in the pressure they're in, so they grow.

Notice it says: Crown of Righteousness. What a great thing to end your life saying: I've finished. I got to the end. I'm looking forward. My next step is a crown, which the Lord has prepared for me. Isn't that exciting? Imagine being able to get to the end of your life, and you're still full of ‘oh yeah’! I'm just about to graduate, the best is ahead for me yet. I've qualified! Isn't that great to finish your life like that? You see that with Roger Galbraith in the funeral the other day, and he finished strong, and in faith, and just positive to the end. I love seeing that! Just that brief period of pain, and now there's glory - what an amazing thing! What a great hope.

Crown of Righteous - Paul said: not just for him, but for all who love His appearing. What does it mean to ‘love His appearing’? To ‘love His appearing’ means to live your life in expectation of the Lord coming; and live, or behave, like it's today. You live your whole life with the fact that He is coming again; you live every day like it could be today. It’s like it refers to a bride, preparing herself for when the groom is about to come.

Here's four things that, to me, explain what ‘loving His appearing’ might mean...

1) If you ‘love His appearing’, the first thing is, you want to make sure you're pursuing intimacy. There's got to be a pursuit of intimacy. If you're going to win that crown, then the first priority in your life is: I want to deepen my relationship with the Lord. We saw in Matthew 25:6, how the wise had oil in their lamps. They took oil in the vessels, and they got that oil because they built time building their relationship. They spent time, they paid the price, to have that ongoing connection with Him.

2) If you know that someone important is going to come, and you know when they're coming, you'll dress up your very best to meet them. So I think the second thing is, to commit your life to preparation, or transformation. That means, you're letting God heal the places you're wounded, letting Him set you free; claiming freedom, and possessing your own life and freedom; letting God shape your character, and grow you through adversities. It's important we commit our life to letting God shape our character; so every assignment you get is not just a job to be done - it's about the character to be formed in it. Sometimes that might just be perseverance; it might be just loving the unlovely; being kind to people that are just nasty and difficult people. Sometimes it's standing up and confronting; or ruling over spirits. Every assignment you get, regardless of what that assignment is, within it is the opportunity for you to grow - if you can see it.

3) To make seeking the Kingdom of God our priority. I think that to ‘love His appearing’ means you're putting Him, and His kingdom, first. We're waiting in expectation, for a coming kingdom, and all that goes with it. I make the priority of the kingdom now, not one day. Many people have other priorities. The Lord and His kingdom is not their priority.

Matthew 6:33 – “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness”.

Colossians 3:2 – “Set your affection on things above, not things of the earth”.

The Bible is very clear: decide that your focus, your priority, is always about Jesus and His coming kingdom; and about your affection being on the things that are eternal, not things that are temporal. You still have to deal with daily things, but you're not fixed on them. If you listen to people when they talk, you'll find what they're fixed on, because they'll talk about it. Sadly, with many old people, they're fixed on their sicknesses, and aches and pains, and problems. When you get with them, that's all they want to talk about! What you really want, is to be talking about the things of God: what is God saying? What's God doing? What's the latest testimony? In other words, our life is centred around Him.

4) Serving people. If we are taking a posture of longing for His coming… In Matthew 24:45-46, he talked about the servants in the house (talking about people in the church), and he talked about two kinds of servant.

The first servant was the wise servant, who gave the house ‘meat in due season’. They were current, in what they shared with people, in the house of God. For a preacher, it means he's hearing God, and what God's wanting to say now. He's bringing a ‘now’ word, not just some old thing. For people in the church, it means that we are sharing what God is speaking in our lives.

Then it says… if that servant thinks in his heart: my Lord delays His coming… (not going to happen, don't worry about it). It starts that way - no expectation of the coming of the Lord - “then he begins to beat the fellow servants”. He mistreats other believers. Notice how it starts: “the Lord delays His coming” - it's okay, no need to get ready, no need to make any changes, I'm in church, I'm okay... Then the attitude to the believers goes off, they start to beat them. We beat people, but not usually with sticks - it's usually with words. It's the way we treat people; the attitudes and words, and way we treat people. Then it says: he begins to eat and drink with the drunks, and his life becomes careless. His friendships become among the unsaved, in a way that their lifestyle influences him.

So those are the four key things I see, about what's involved in the Crown of Righteousness:

- Loving or pursuing intimacy with the Lord

- Seeking His kingdom, as our priority

- Serving people

- Committing to character transformation.

The crown of righteousness is reserved for those who love the Lord, and His word - enough to let it change their life. Are you growing? Are you changing? Are you pursuing the Lord? Are you serving? Have you been stumbled? It will not be given to those who say they ‘love the Lord’, but they hate their brother.

1 John 4:20 – “If someone says: I love God, but he hates his brother - he's a liar! If he can't love the brother he does see, how can he love the one he can't see, the God he can't see?”

1 John 4:21 – “And this commandment we have from Him: he who loves God, must love his brother also”.

It won't be given to those who say they ‘love God’, but they've got issues with people, and they don't do what God tells them to do. Many believers will say they say they love God, but it always fronts up: do you do what He tells you to do? Do you apply His word to your life? When it comes to people - how are you treating them? It's always down to that! Paul lived his life constantly from a view of eternity.

The next crown is called the Crown of Life. That's the fourth crown; and the fifth crown is the Crown of Glory. Let me just talk about the Crown of Life…

James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for after he's been approved (or tried), he will receive the Crown of Life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”.

The crown of life is the reward or honour that God gives us for persevering through tests of our faith - staying with it, when the pressure's on to let go; or overcoming temptation. It's a reward for trusting God and staying on course. Notice there: “blessed is the man who endures temptation”. That word ‘temptation’ means: to be put to a test, that tests your character, your heart, or the reality of your faith. It says: “they endure”. That means they endure the temptation - they bear it calmly, and they carry on without getting all discouraged, disheartened. That's what this is about.

Many people, when they go through a bit of pressure, they lose their love for the Lord. They stop praying, stop coming - they're not passing! The testings are designed just solely for this - it's to test your faith, and trust in the Lord, and the quality of that. It's about developing character. There's always tests that come. Many believers suffer persecution, even to the point of death. Right across the world, from the beginning of the Bible, right through until now, people are dying for their faith! They're having their heads cut off, their throats cut, because they refuse to quit. There are people in prison in China, people dying around the world, because they refuse to deny Christ.

For us, losing our life is probably not like that. It's more like… today I stop being focussed on myself, and I just focus on doing what God called me to do. Every believer is going to experience their faith being tested – everyone; and there's a reason why it must happen. You can either pray for God to rescue you, when difficulties come; or you can ask God to show you what to do, so you can grow through it. That's basically the choice you have.

People think: if I just had that ministry, that'd be great. Actually no, when you get there, you'll find there's some tests there, that'll really try you big time. God desires to mature our character, and one of the ways is through prayer and intimacy with Him; and one is through the word of God; but one of the ways that God develops us, is through the trials of life

James 1:2-8 – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect, and complete, and lack nothing. If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives liberally without reproach, and it'll be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without doubt, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea tossed by the wind. Don't let that man think he'll receive anything, he is double-minded and unstable”.

Notice here, there's some key insights here on trials. He said: they're going to come. He says: when trials or difficulties, or pressures or obstacles come - don't collapse! He says: praise and worship; celebrate; just turn in towards the Lord. There's a reason for it, he says, knowing that the testing of your faith - it's not to crush you. It's to test whether you really lean on God or not. Usually the tests come where we lean on something else, and then we start to shake when the pressure comes on, and it's to bring us to lean on God.

He says: the testing of your faith, will produce in your character, the quality of endurance. He says: patience, when it's been complete, or done its complete work - it will make you perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Very clearly then, he tells us here, that the first thing we do, when we experience difficulties and pressures is: turn into the Lord, and praise Him for His goodness, and His kindness, and His faithfulness.

What happens, or how you respond, when a pressure comes, reveals what your heart condition is like. If the first response is complaining and blaming, that tells you that unbelief is sitting in the heart. What if life was not random things happening to you? What if God carefully orchestrated every little situation, so it could work to grow in you what He wants to build in you - so you can qualify for eternity? What if your perspective of life was, instead of being fearful of what tomorrow will bring; it's actually: my life is fully in the hands of the Lord, and every situation that comes, He will turn it for my good. It will actually end up benefitting me. Even the painful things, the frightening things, the difficult things – with all of them, God can use it to bring me where He wants to get me.

So instead of seeing the trial as an inconvenience and a burden, I begin to see it as the hand of God preparing me for something bigger. That takes an act of faith to do that! That's why it's called: the trying of your faith! How you look at it, you'll either see: the natural - oh no; or you see: oh God, wow! What's this one? What do I need to learn here? It's just how you view it.

He says: first thing is to rejoice; start to focus on the Lord, knowing that the trying of your faith, or the testing, will cause, or bring about, an endurance. Most people, when they go through tests or difficulties, cry out: God, get me out of here; save me; rescue me; stop this happening; fix it up... They carry on like a victim wanting to be rescued, rather than a son wanting to be grown.

He says: patience is endurance. That's a person who doesn't waver, when the pressure comes on. God tells us: rejoice, because it's going to do good. The second thing He says is: ask for wisdom. That passage there, where it says (in verse 5): “If any man lacks wisdom let him ask God” - is connected to trials. In other words, ‘wisdom’ means understanding what God is doing, and knowing how to respond. God, what are you trying to teach me in this? Give me wisdom. Help me see what the real issue is, not just react to the packaging.

A lot of the work I do now is helping people see the bigger picture of God at work, rather than be caught up in the dramas of badly behaving people. Most of the trials in life come because of setbacks, knockbacks and badly behaving people. Usually we want God to rescue us. He wants you to grow through it.

Think about this... If you're a parent, and you rescue your child from every consequence of their choices, they will grow up totally self-centred and irresponsible. You don't do that! You want to teach them that things have consequences. If you'll face the consequences, then you'll grow through it, and you'll learn. It's similar for God, He wants us to have wisdom, and wisdom is the principle thing. When you're running through a difficult time, the first thing is set your face towards God, and ask for wisdom: God, what are you trying to teach me? How do you want me to respond? What do you want me to learn? What's coming up in my heart, that you're wanting to change? That's the way to look at it, that your first reference point is God

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There's no temptation (or testing) overtaken you that is not firstly, common to man; secondly, God is faithful; and thirdly, He's going to provide a way of escape in the midst of it, so that you can bear it”.

We want: God, get me out of here, I'll go to another church, I'll go to this, I'll go to that. God says: no, no, no, no, I want you to trust Me with this one, I've got your back in it, and there's a way. With the problem, comes a solution; except the solution can only be seen by looking at it through the eyes of faith.

Expect to grow. Expect that every situation you face, that's difficult - you will mature, grow, come to a greater level of authority. When I teach on authority and power, everyone is wanting the power; everyone wants the authority; but no one wants the process to get there. The process to get there, is being able to abide under the pressure, so you develop what's necessary, that you gain that authority. We need to expect to grow.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “Our light affliction, which is just for a moment or temporary, is working for us a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory. It will only do that while we do not look at the things seen, but at the things unseen.”

The things you can see - if you can see and touch it, then it's temporary. Here's the thing: with all problems - they've got an expiry date, they finish. You don't know that date, but it has got an expiry date; so we've just got to understand that it will work out for us - it's temporary, it won't last, and even if it goes on for months, it still won't last. It will end, and then by the time it's ended, the big thing will not be the problem, which is behind you; but rather, what kind of person did you become through that?

It says: it will work for us, it will shape us - so long as we fix our mind on the Lord, on the things unseen.

Romans 8:18 – “I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy compared to the glory revealed in us.”

The Crown of Life is reserved for those who love the Lord, more than their own life and comfort, and hold onto Christ, and don't let their love grow cold when they're in troubles.

The last one is the Crown of Glory. This is another crown, an honour.

1 Peter 5:2-5 – “Shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers; not by compulsion, but willingly; not for dishonest gain, but eagerly; not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock - and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the Crown of Glory, that does not fade away.”

It's incorruptible! The Crown of Glory is reserved for those who ‘shepherd’ the people of God. Anyone who is called to lead, or shepherd, or has a group of people they're leading and shepherding, then God has a Crown of Glory for you! Jesus is called the Great Shepherd. He entrusts the pastoring to other people, to under-shepherds. He understands that it's a very difficult task - sometimes it's very frustrating, and sometimes it's full of grief. It's often filled with great sacrifice, and often you see little result for what you do - that would describe all of us here, who've worked with people. Sometimes it's very frustrating - you don't see a lot, for what you do. Sometimes people take everything you've given, and then walk away, with no gratitude whatsoever. All of this is a sacrifice, and it causes us suffering.

We need to understand that we're not in the role because it was a great idea. We're in the role because we were called by God, and because we were called by God into the role, you are certain of two things…

1) He will give you grace to stand in it, and grow

2) There's a crown of reward for it.

In this passage, he does speak of what it would take to qualify for that reward. He says: “shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted but being examples to the flock.” He says: This is what you do, and then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you'll receive the crown of glory. Clearly, he connects these instructions to the Crown of Glory being received, so these are the qualifying conditions.

The responsibilities of the shepherd is to shepherd the flock. “Shepherd the flock”, means: to be a friend; to provide nurture, and nourishment; to protect; to give your life for them. A major role of shepherding is to provide the word of God, and the flow of the Spirit; and then encouragement. If you're going to bring the word of God, we don't want to just say what people want to hear: nice, sweet words of encouragement; we need to bring the whole counsel of God.

Often what makes pastoring difficult is, when you bring the truth, when you reprove, when you correct, then you find people react - it's just part of the deal. If you think about your children - they don't want to eat their vegetables. They love to eat the sweets, and the desserts, and drink the fizzy drink; and you know as a parent, if you do that, they're going to get sick. They're going to lose their appetite for good food; they'll get sick, they'll be unhealthy; you have to give them a balanced diet - it’s the same in the church. We're not just to teach messages which are sweet, motivational, positive, feel-good messages; we must speak messages that involve repentance, transformation - addressing the issues of the heart, and the character.

This is a big issue across the world right now. There are many churches, when you go to them, you'll find that what is spoken is not a word that will really build. It's basically wanting people to feel good. The Bible tells us that in the end days, that people would have itching ears, and they'd turn their ears away from the truth, wanting things would just tickle their ears. We need to be able to say things, and say them in the spirit of love, but also bring them from the word of God. Help people see it; here's what God says, it's not just me saying this. So, the first thing is: we need to shepherd or nurture people.

Secondly, we need to lead them willingly. Willingly means you're doing it not reluctantly, or out of a sense of compulsion. The moment you get any ministry, or any job, where you are feeling reluctant - sort your attitude quick. You've got to really repent: God, I'm feeling reluctant. I'm feeling resentful. I'm not too sure why. Lord, I just yield to You, to do this 110 per cent. The only way you can get over these bad jobs, unpleasant jobs or reluctant feelings, is if you embrace it. Do a little more than you were asked, then you kill the bad feelings. You either say ‘no’, and not feel guilty; or you say ‘yes’, and don't feel resentful - and do a little extra, so you get rid of all those feelings. The little bit extra you put into it solves that problem. He's saying that some people don't do things willingly. They do it reluctantly, or out of a duty or obligation, rather than a love for the Lord and a love for people.

Thirdly, he says: lead with pure motives. Don't do it for dishonest gain or exploit - he's talking about leaders exploiting people to advance their reputation or their finances; and again, we see a lot of that around the world. There's a lot of issues come up, particularly around Prosperity Gospel, and so on - people being exploited by shepherds, who are using them to make personal gain, so this is quite a challenge. Essentially, how that would apply to us, would be simply this: have a purity in your motives. Don't do it to get something off people. Don't do it to later-on come back and want something. It's just appalling when people do that - they give and serve, and then they want something back - it just creates a massive a problem. God wants us to have pure motives in our work with people.

The last couple of things then... Notice there, he talks about the purity of motives; then he goes on to talk about serving as an example - “not lording it over but being an example to the flock”. Jesus rejected ‘lording over’ people. That means dominating them, controlling them.

Matthew 20:25 – “He called His disciples and said: you know the rulers of the Gentiles lord over people, and they exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. If you want to be great (or desire to be great), become a servant”.

He talks there about rejecting trying to control, or bring privilege, or power, or weight, or all that kind of stuff over people. We're to humble ourselves, and to serve them - and that means you love people. You're a genuine person in your treatment of them. We're to be an example to the flock. People watch your life! Man, they watch your life, they watch everything. When you don't think they're watching… they're watching! We had one lady come up to us, and she said: I'd like you to pray for me. I said: okay then; and she said: I've been watching you for two years and feel it's safe to ask you to pray for me. I feel I can trust you... I thought: I'm shocked - two years, you've been watching me? I said: what have you been watching? Oh well, how you treat your wife, and how you treat your children, and how you treat people who are a little bit strange, and unusual, or difficult in the church - I watch all of that. I thought: man, everything you do is being watched by someone; and its always being watched by the Lord. She said: I feel I can trust you.

To ‘be an example’ means: you model doing something like Jesus would do it. What they look for is: your character; your intention; whether you're warm and loving; whether you've got passion in what you do. People read you like a book - it's great really because: 1) you can't hide; and 2) you can't hide!

It’s good, because you get a lot of places where everything's all covered and concealed, rather than being authentic; but God is wanting us to be authentic. Leadership is just one assignment. There are other assignments we can have, and it's possible that the Crown of Glory is not just for those who lead and pastor the flock, but also for those who follow and honour them. Here is a scripture that seems to indicate that…

Matthew 10:40-41 – “He who receives you, receives Me; he who receives Me, receives the One who sent Me. He who receives a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; receives a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward.”

So looking at that, it's quite likely that if we honour the people that God has sent to us - pray for them, serve them, receive from them - in receiving, and honouring, and responding, we are positioned for the reward that comes to them.

Lastly, Jesus warned about losing our reward. It is possible to lose your crown!

Revelation 3:11 – “I've come quickly! Hold fast what you have, so no one takes your crown”.

He's saying you need to ‘hold fast’ - use strength to maintain your walk with Me, so you rule over your life, and don't let anyone take away from you what is rightfully yours. If we look in the Bible - Adam lost his crown; and Saul lost his crown.

So, these are the five crowns. Remember the crowns are all rewards - different crowns, different forms of honour. Every crown had a reason for being given, and they all come down to: God wants to honour you. He's looking for every possible way He can find something in your life that deserves honour.

Summary Notes

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ER6: Victor's Crowns

I. Introduction

1. Jesus Taught about Eternal Rewards
* Jesus taught directly or through parables the reality of Eternal rewards, and the need to pursue them
* “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Mat.16:27)
* Jesus is looking to see that our love for him and life qualify us for the Eternal rewards he has offered.

2. Saved by Faith... Rewarded for Service
* Receiving a Reward is not the same as receiving the Free Gift of Eternal life, by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross

* Free Gift:
* Eternal life is a free gift offered to all men by faith and faith alone
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph.2:8-9)
* Our salvation is totally based upon the work that Jesus did as our representative.
* By that work we are completely justified before Our father in Heaven and become part of His Kingdom and family. We cannot add or contribute to that work in any way
* Once we have been born again and become children of God He purposes that we grow and that we serve our father

* Reward for Service:
* “Reward”... to recompense, to give something by way of compensation for service or damage incurred
* A Reward or prize is something we receive because we have done what was required to qualify for it
* Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

3. Rewards are Not Given Automatically... Only to those who fulfil specific Conditions
* “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21)
* “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn.12:26)
* Note that in each of these scriptures receiving a reward is conditional upon our works and actions in response to Jesus

4. Three Main Categories of these Many Rewards
* There are very many different rewards mentioned in the Bible, especially in the Book of Revelation
* These different rewards can be understood most easily under three different headings. Each of the rewards that are promised to those who overcome fall under one of these categories
(i). Eternal Intimacy - God invites us into the same intimacy and fellowship the Father Son and Holy Spirit have always experienced
(ii). Eternal Authority (Responsibility) - God invites us to share in ruling with him and in expanding His rule throughout His creation
(iii). Eternal Glory (Honour) - God invites us into His throne, to see Him face to face and to Radiate His Glory
* These different rewards correspond to God’s Sonship Design for each of us

5. Sonship Design
* Sonship is a key part of God’s Eternal Purpose
* Sonship will be the subject of a further series of studies.
* Here are some Key Concepts of Sonship Design. Each Function relates closely to a Category of Eternal Reward
* Joh 17:3 - And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Joh 17:4 - I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5 - And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
Joh 17:6 - "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
* Once we are born again into the Family of Our Father we have three key area of function as Sons
(i). Intimacy
Joh 17:3 - And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
We are called to ongoing intimacy with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ who represents Him
(ii). Assignment
Joh 17:4 - I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
A son in the Bible means a “ Builder of the Father’s House”
We each have a personal assignment to complete to bring honor to our Father, and to develop faithfulness, and fruitfulness
(iii). Transformation
Joh 17:6 - "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.
To “manifest your name” means to accurately represent the character and nature of God as a Son
Each Son is called to accurately represent what their Father is like, to represent Him on earth
This requires that we embrace the work of personal transformation to become like Christ (Rom.8:29)
* Each of these three functions interact with the others like interlocking circles. All are necessary for balance


II. Reward 5: Victors’ Crowns

Some Believers will Receive Crowns
* A crown is bestowed as a reward or as an honour, to give the recipient recognition and honour because of what they have done or have achieved
* In order to have value and worth a crown must be earned. It is given for a reason
* Two different words are used for Crown in the New Testament... ”Diadem” and “Stephanos”

(i). The Crown of a Ruler... (Gk. Diadem)
* Rev 19:12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
* The concept of the crown originates from a cap, turban, or more formal metallic crown that was decorated with jewels. Its placement on one's head indicated that one was set apart for a particular task or calling.
* This Crown symbolises the Royal Position and Honour as a King ruling over a Kingdom
* Jesus in Revelation has many crowns... He is the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords. He is the Emperor who rules over an Empire made up of kings ruling over kingdoms
* Christ now reigns as the King of the Universe and will do so forever. He is the Centre of God’s Purpose “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church” (Eph.1:20-22)
* Christ is far above all forms of rule or authority or power in the universe... ”far above”
* He is above all rulers in the Natural realm and all rulers and powers in the Spiritual realm
* “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1Cor.15:25)
* He makes victory possible for every one of us in our personal lives and callings
* “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2Cor.2:14)

(ii) The Crown of a Victor... (Gk. Stephanos)
* “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1Cor.9:24-25)
* The second term for Crown (Stephanos) means a wreath or garland given as a prize to a victor in the public games
* “Stepho”... a twine or wreath encircling the head and it refers to winning a race or winning a fight
* It also refers to the sovereign crown that a Roman Conqueror wore after triumphing in a battle and overcoming an enemy. It is a cause for glory and great joy
* Paul declared that a crown was laid up for him... reserved in heaven and awaiting him (2Tim.4:8)

Five Different Crowns(Stephanos):
* There are Five Different Victors Crowns (Stephanos) referred to in the New Testament.
There may be more but these are the ones referred to in the New Testament
Some of these crowns may refer to the same thing
* Each of these crowns represents a Prize or Eternal Honour to be contended for and won.
* These are possibly literal crowns but certainly they will be a recognisable eternal honor bestowed upon people for their distinctive service as a believer.
* Crowns are always worn as a sign of recognisable or tangible honor or distinction, and are highly prized.
* Crowns are worn by Kings, Rulers, Victors, and often, by a bride at her wedding.
* Crowns are important to God. He designed them for beauty and glory and honor (Exod.28:2, 36-37)
* The Crown will be a highly treasured and valued possession for the believer who receives one!


1. The Incorruptible Crown

1Col. 9:24 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1Col. 9:25 - And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
1Col. 9:26 - Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
1Col. 9:27 - But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
* “Run the Race”: Paul uses the Roman Public Games as an illustration of how we must live our life
* Not everyone who enters the race wins the prize. It will require personal discipline and effort
* “Prize” ... (Gk brabeion)... The crown awarded to the victor in the public games, a symbol of the heavenly reward
The prize in the Public Games is corruptible….perishable, temporary….and yet people strive to possess it
The Crown set before us as a prize to win is “incorruptible”….can never perish, continues on forever
* Paul’s Exhortation: “Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize”
“Obtain”... (Gk. Katalambano) to eagerly possess, to take hold of and make your own

Four Criteria for Obtaining the Incorruptible Crown
(i). Value the Prize
* Unless a believer knows there is a prize, and places value on that prize he will not pay a price to win it.
* E.g. Paul: Knew the value of the prize and gave his whole life for it
* Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
* E.g. Esau: Placed no value on his spiritual inheritance and traded it for a bowl of beans
* Gen. 25:34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birth right.
“Despised”…..MW…to look down upon with disrespect, to regard as negligible, worthless
* Heb. 12:16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birth right.
Heb. 12:17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

(ii) Run with Determination
* 1Col. 9:26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.
* “Determination”……a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end, a judicial decision settling and ending a controversy
* Runners in a marathon must fix their mind on completing the course and winning the prize
* “Not uncertainly”…not clearly identified and defined as the goal of the race
* A Runner must begin with the end or prize in mind, or he will be distracted and fail to put in the necessary discipline to win
* There must be a mental determination at the beginning of the race of running to win

(iii). Engage The Enemy
* 1Col. 9:26 Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
* Paul changes the analogy from running a race to fighting with an opponent.
* “One who beats the air” ……refers to shadow boxing
* What is a “Shadow Boxer”?..........Shadow Boxer is a person who:
Practices boxing with an imaginary opponent. He is not facing a real opponent
Has the appearance of fighting, but he is not engaging anything.
Just pretends to fight, but never faces the risk of being hit
Will practice in the safety of a gym, but will never engage in the real conflicts of serving Christ
* Many believers are just shadow boxers. They have an appearance of being spiritual, but have no impact.
* They never really engage the invisible spiritual realm, never engage and overcome spirits
* They never actually get involved with the real difficult work of ministry to people
* They never get engaged in the real work of advancing the Kingdom of God with its risks
* They control personal risk and sacrifice by limiting the Lord’s influence to their own agenda
* Paul declares that we are all involved in a fight against invisible spiritual beings.(Eph.6:10-13)
* The opponent and the resistance are real, and we must be willing to engage and take a blow or two

(iv) Develop a Focused Lifestyle
* 1Col. 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.
* Temperate in all things”….to exercise self-restraint, self-control, to master desires and passions
* Temperance means moderation…refusing to come under the control of anything
* Temperance is a fruit of yielding to the leadership and training of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22-23)
A person who is in training for the Olympics does not live the same lifestyle as a non-athlete
* 1Col. 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
* “Discipline”….literally….To hit under the eye so as to disable vision and ability to resist
* Paul strongly disciplined his body, like a fighter in training so he could always be in peak spiritual condition
* Paul disciplined his body through fasting and he practiced self-discipline lest he should be disqualified
* “Castaway”…..Disapproved, not standing the test, unfit for the victors crown..the Incorruptible Crown

Weights and Besetting Sin
Heb. 12:1 - Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb. 12:2 - looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
* We are exhorted to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and to focus upon Jesus
What is the sin that so easily ensnares us?
* “Ensnare”….Literally to stand all around, or surround and distract like a competitor hindering you winning
* It is a sin that surrounds us at every moment and presses upon us to defeat us. It hems us in on every side and seeks to defeat us.
* This most likely refers to the sin of unbelief….loss of faith in God as a result of hardship and opposition
* It could also refer to a particular problem or stronghold that a believer struggles with.
What is a Weight?
* A weight is different to a sin
* Weight: (Gk. Ogkos)…a Burden or a Hindrance.
In the Roman races the runners cast aside all clothing so nothing would hinder them being a winner
A burden is something that weighs us down so that we cannot perform our best.
A Hindrance is something that holds us back or interferes with our progress
There can be many things that burden or hinder us running our race and fulfilling our calling
* “Lay aside”…….to put away or to cast off (anything that hinders and obstructs you running strongly)

Examples of Weights:
(a). Unresolved Issues
The heart is the center of our life and directs the course of our life
Unresolved sin or relationship issues burden the heart and keep people trapped in cycles of failure
Unresolved issues include: Unforgiveness, bitterness, judgments, grief, failure, abuse, betrayal, fear, addictions
We must be determine to face and to process the issues in our heart so we run freely (Ps.84:5-7)
(b). Ungodly Heart Beliefs
Beliefs are formed in the heart as a result of how we interpret life experiences good and painful
Ungodly beliefs are beliefs we hold that are contrary to the truth of God’s word... they are a lie
Those heart beliefs then trigger ungodly responses or reactions to things that we experience
(c). Ungodly Relationships
Relationships can either accelerate us towards our destiny or become a hindrance and a weight
God blesses us by introducing new relationships, the devil hinders us by using relationships
Ungodly relationships consume time, energy, resources and produce no lasting fruit
This includes relationships that are controlling, abusive, without healthy boundaries,
Co-dependent, idolatrous (where the person is set up on a pedestal to be served), ungodly yoking to unbelievers
It also includes relationships involving rescuing, enabling people to avoid responsibility or consequences
(d). Wrong Focus
Whatever we focus upon, our heart and life opens up to…eg focus on offense and you become bitter
God desires to be the focal point of our lives…he wants us to place Him first
Failure in life frequently comes through having a wrong focus. These are idols of the heart! Eg. Self, pleasure, entertainment, social media, making money, pleasing people, being needed, avoiding risk
Wrong focus will produce fatigue, weariness and constant irritation in our lives
Loss of focus through distractions is a key strategy of the enemy against us.
* Heb. 12:2 - looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are exhorted to intentionally fix our focus upon Jesus as our example and on the reward to be won
“Looking”... to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them (upon Jesus)

(v). Finish Your Course
Heb. 12:1 - Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
* “Endurance” ...persevering, remaining constant, not swerving from deliberate purpose, loyalty and faith
* It means to bear up under trial and difficulty and keep going courageously when the going is tough
* It is not how we start the race it is how we finish our race. We must finish, and finish strong in faith
* Many start out strong and enthusiastic, but drop out in the face of pressure, opposition, disappointment, and difficulty, and delays in seeing fruit for their labour
* 2Ti. 4:7 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race, I have kept the faith.
* At the end of his life Paul testified that by holding faith, he had finished his race strongly and was ready to receive a crown of honor and recognition of his life and works


2. The Crown of Rejoicing
* 1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
1Th 2:20 For you are our glory and joy.
* Father places great value on each person. There is rejoicing in Heaven over every sinner that repents
* The Crown of Rejoicing is the Reward for Leading People to Christ
* Every person you have helped lead to Christ in this life will be a crown of rejoicing in the next.
1Th 2:2 - But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
1Th 2:3 - For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.
1Th 2:4 - But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
1Th 2:5 - For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.
1Th 2:6 - Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:7 - But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
1Th 2:8 - So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
1Th 2:9 - For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
1Th 2:10 - You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
1Th 2:11 - as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
* Paul modelled what is is to be a successful soul winner. He describes key characteristics
(i). Pure Motives
“No error, uncleanness or deceit”
Paul operated out of a genuine interest in people and not trying to prove a point, or claim a soul
(ii). God Honouring
“We speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts”
Paul sought to represent God and please Him alone, and he was willing to face rejection by men.
He refused to flatter people, ie. Speak with the intention of gaining their money, acceptance or approval
As God’s entrusted representative he spoke the truth boldly, in spite of reactions and hostility
(iii). Gentle
“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children”
Paul was gentle in how he treated people, kind, friendly, easy to talk to.
He had a tender heart, and genuine love for people, like a mother is gentle with her children
(iv). Authentic Lifestyle
“Laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,”
Paul worked to support himself so he could be generous, sow into evangelism, and place no demands upon people for money
“You are witnesses, and God also how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you”
Paul lived a lifestyle that was above reproach. He was a living letter.
People could see that he lived the message he preached and were attracted by the life and power
(v). Endured Conflict
“Even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
Paul maintained boldness in the face of conflict through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit
It takes courage and commitment to maintain boldness in the face of the deep hostility Paul faced
A Crown of Rejoicing awaits the Soul Winner. He will be honoured for continuing Jesus Work



3. The Crown of Righteousness
* “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2Tim.4:7-8)
* Paul declared how he had lived a righteous life:
He actively engaged evil spirits and persevered in his fight to resist and overcome temptation
He completed his course... he completed the assignment and ministry Jesus had entrusted him
He maintained his faith in spite of circumstances, he held onto first love, trusting Jesus and His Word
* The Crown of Righteousness is the Reward for Longing for His Appearing
* What does it mean to “love His Appearing”?
To love His appearing means to live in expectation of the coming of Christ, to behave as if He were coming today.
* It refers to a Bride waiting in expectation for her Bridegroom and making herself ready( Rev.19:7-8)
* To love His appearing means
(i). Pursue ongoing Intimacy with Christ...
“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.(Matt.25:6)
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1John 2:8)
(ii). Commit your life to His ongoing work of transformation, preparation... healing, deliverance, character shaping
1Jn.3:3. “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure"
Rom.8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”
(iii). Make the seeking the Kingdom of God our first priority ….”
Matt.6:33 “Seek first The Kingdom”
Col.3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
(iv). Serve the people of God…..
“Giving them "food in due season" (Matt.24:45-46)
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.
* This Crown is laid up for us... as a prize to be won... in view but not yet in possession
The Crown of righteousness is reserved for those who love it enough to let the truth shape their lives.
* It will not be given to those that say they love Christ but hate their brother
1Jn 4:20 - If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1Jn 4:21 - And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
* It will not be given to those who say they love Christ but do not obey His Commandments
* Joh 14:21 - He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
* Paul lived his life from the point of view of Resurrection and Eternal Reward
* Act 20:24 - But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.


4. The Crown of Life
* “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved(tried), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (Jam.1:12)
The Crown of Life is the Reward for Persevering through the tests of their faith (Trust in God)
* “Temptation”... to put to proof, to be put to a test, to have your character and heart tested by adversity
* “Endure”... to bear ill treatment bravely and calmly, to persevere, suffer patiently without reacting
* “Tried”... to test the quality of something so that it can be approved... i.e. Quality tested
* The testings of life have the purpose of revealing the quality of our faith and developing character. Vs 2-4
* Those who love Jesus remain steadfast in the face of trials and temptations
* “ Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev.2:10)

Many Believers Suffer Persecution and even Death for their faith in Christ
* All of the apostles apart from John were put to death for their ministry
* In many parts of the world today Christian believers are also severely persecuted and suffer much. Every week there are reports of Christian men women and children being put to death rather than renounce Christ.
* It is right and just that God would place an eternal honor on those who love Him and give up their lives for Him. We will rejoice with them at the honor they receive
* When you take a stand for your faith you may face reaction, hostility and possibly persecution
* Those who receive this crown do not blow hot or cold depending on circumstances
* Father is watching how you respond, to see if you qualify for rewards for your consistency.
* “Losing your life for Jesus sake”…may not mean physical death, but death to self-centeredness

* Every Believer will experience their Faith being Tested
Jas 1:2 - My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
Jas 1:3 - knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Jas 1:4 - But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Jas 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jas 1:6 - But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Jas 1:7 - For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Jas 1:8 - he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
* (i) Rejoice
* When people experience trials or difficulties their first response reveals their heart condition
People choose to Complain and Blame, or they choose to Praise God
When our faith is put to the test it becomes strengthened in the process and our character developed
* Jas 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
“Patience”…..Endurance, a characteristic of a man who does not waver in purpose or loyalty
* When people go through trials of life they usually cry out for God or someone to rescue them
* God tells us to rejoice in trials because of they work for our good, and to ask for wisdom from God
* (ii). Pray for Wisdom”
* “Wisdom”... Understanding what God is doing and knowing how to respond to Him
* People usually want God to fix the circumstances or rescue them out of painful circumstances
* God wants us to be developed and become mature through painful circumstances.
Parents who rescue children from negative consequences of bad choices do not help them mature. They enable them to avoid the painful consequences and they do not learn and grow mature
* When we ask God for wisdom we must believe that He will give us the resources to handle the hardship
* 1Col. 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
* God is faithful. He will provide a way through each trial so we can handle it correctly and grow because of it
* (iii). Expect to Grow
* “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor.4:17-18)
* “Affliction”... the pressure, troubles, difficulties we experience as a believer
* These pressures are light... light in weight, easy
* These pressures are temporary... very brief in the light of eternity. They have an expiry date!
* These pressures “work for us”... to form, shape, render you fit for something
* These pressures prepare us for Eternal Intimacy, and Eternal Authority, and Eternal Glory
* The condition is that our focus remains on Christ and Eternal reward and not on temporary pain or difficulty and longing for rescue
* “Look”... to fix your attention upon
* For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:18)
* The Crown of Life is reserved for those who love Christ more than their own life, and comfort, and who hold onto Christ through the trials of life and grow


5. The Crown of Glory
* “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (1Pet.5:2-5)
* The Crown of Glory is reserved for those who faithfully shepherd Gods people
* Jesus is the Great Shepherd. He entrusts the pastoring of His people to under-shepherds to represent Him. The importance of this role cannot be overstated
* Shepherding people is a very difficult and sometimes a frustrating and grief filled work.
* There can be great personal sacrifice and very little result for the work invested into shepherding people
* Often the people you have loved, cared for, sacrificed for, become offended, react and walk away when you try to help them face the truth and grow. It takes great courage and perseverance to shepherd
* Not all who hold leadership roles will receive the Crown of Glory

The Responsibilities of the Shepherd:
(i). Shepherd the Flock
* “Shepherd”……To tend a flock, provide pasture, be a friend to, to rule, to defend, to give your life for.
* A major role of Shepherding is providing a balanced diet of truth…not just what people want to hear
* This includes reproving and correcting as well as encouraging and instructing (2Tim.4:2).
* Often people react and become critical when they are faced with truth that would help them change.
* People who are fed only on motivational messages (sugar) will never mature
* Shepherds must build a spiritual atmosphere or praise, worship, and unity where there is a flow of revelation and moving of the Holy Spirit
* Shepherds are called to mature believers for the work of ministry and growth to Sonship (Eph.4:11-13)

(ii). Lead Willingly
* “Willingly”…..embracing the ministry of shepherding others by active choice and without reluctance or
feeling compelled, or out of a sense of duty or obligation
* Shepherds must embrace people in their heart and see their role as a assignment and honor

(iii). Lead with Pure Motives
* “Dishonest gain”….eagerness to exploit people for personal financial gain
* Shepherds who rule well should be financially rewarded for their service (1Tim.5:17-18)
* This is about heart motivation….serving and ministering to people without hidden agenda of gain
* Motivation to use ministry and exploit people for personal financial gain is called dishonest gain, “filthy lucre”

(iv). Serve as an Example
* Jesus rejected leadership “lording over” people, dominating and controlling them.
Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
Mat 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
* “Being Example”... model a Kingdom lifestyle of Sonship and service for people to see and imitate.
This is what following Christ looks like... character, faith, passion, focus, relationships
* 1Col. 11:1 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
The Crown of Glory is also Available to Followers
* Mat 10:40 - "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
Mat 10:41 - He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
* Jesus reveals that the person who receives and rightly responds to the person He has sent to lead them will receive their reward
* The leader’s reward is also available to those who respond to that leader and the Holy Spirit working through them
* Leadership is one assignment. There are many other assignments that people have, some in the church but most in the world
* Receiving, honoring, and responding to leaders whom Jesus has sent, positions us to receive their reward


III. Jesus Warned of the Possibility of Losing Your Crown.

* Rev 3:11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. “Hold fast”…….use strength, hold or retain from loss, to keep carefully from loss, to master, to rule over
“Take”... to take away or seize by fraud, to claim or procure

E.g. Saul lost His Crown:
* “So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord." (2Sam.1:10)
* Saul acted foolishly and lost his crown... lost his Authority, Honour, & Position as Gods Representative
* How did Saul lose his Crown?
“And Samuel said, "What have you done?" Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, Then I said, 'The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.' Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering."
And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you." (1Sam.13:11-14)
* His heart and character were not shaped... Pressure and testing exposed his condition.
* He was motivated by desire for the approval of by people, and he feared their rejection of him
* He blamed people and circumstances for his actions, instead of being responsible
* He was impatient, and would not trust God and await His timing,
* He was fearful at the growing enemy opposition to him
* He tried to control the situation instead of trusting God. He took on a role or function that he was not called to….offered sacrifice and worship to appease people….
* God desired a man after His own heart….who would seek to please and obey Him
* Saul lost the presence and anointing of The Holy Spirit ….before he physically lost his crown and his life

E.g. Adam lost His Crown
* “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." (Luke4:3-5)
* Delivered to me... to give into the hands (of another)
to give over into (one’s) power or use
to deliver up treacherously
to betray and to cause one to be taken
* Adam lost his crown….he lost his Intimacy with God, his Authority, his Glory,
* Trading….He exchanged something of great value for something of no value. Suffered great personal loss

E.g. Don’t Lose Your Crown
* “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”(Rev.3:11)
* “Hold Fast”…..To use strength, to hold or retain from loss, to rule over
* It is possible to lose your crown….to lose the Eternal Reward that Jesus has prepared for you, for fighting your fight, and running your race
* Rewards are Eternal….They are the prize for winning your personal race and overcoming
* You crowns will be recognized, and will be a source of joy and honor for all eternity.
* They will not be a cause for pride…Jesus will be honored as the one who empowered your victory
“... the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
"You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created." (Rev.4:10-11)


IV. Summary: Eternal Victors Crowns are Rewards Presented to Believers for:
1. Practicing Self Discipline…Running to Win
2. Leading people to Christ
3. Cultivating Intimacy with Jesus
4. Embracing His process of heart and character transformation
5. Remaining constant in the face pressure, opposition and temptation
6. Faithfully Shepherding God’s people
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2Tim.4:7-8)



Honour, Treasures and Vindication (7 of 12)  

Sun 23 Aug 2020 « Back to Top

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The Bible has much to say about eternal rewards. Eternal Rewards are expressions of the value and honour that Jesus places upon those who love and serve Him in this life. The rewards are eternal and will be recognised and valued in the Millennial Kingdom and ages to come.

In this study we examine the rewards Eternal Honour, Eternal Treasure and Riches, and vindication by Jesus before those who have ridiculed or persecuted us.

Honour, Treasures and Vindication (7 of 12)

Welcome, we're on Eternal Rewards #7, and tonight we're going to cover the issue of: Honour, Treasure in Heaven, and Vindication (3 areas of different rewards).

Matthew 16:27 – “The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and He will reward each according to his works”.

Constantly, Jesus taught about Eternal Rewards. He taught it directly, through parables, the reality of eternal rewards; and then He also taught about the need to prepare for a coming kingdom. He talked about the kingdom coming now, within us; and then a kingdom coming, which would be a manifestation of His second coming into the earth. He taught that within this whole realm of the Kingdom, we enter the Kingdom by faith. When we receive Jesus Christ, our Saviour, the Spirit of God becomes joined to us. We become a new creation; and then we must grow, and mature, and develop, so that the character of Christ is formed in us.

We looked at the different rewards, and there were three main categories of the rewards. I shared how in the Bible, especially the Book of Revelation, there's a whole list of different kinds of rewards; but you can actually summarise them, or bring them all together, into 3 principle categories; and these 3 categories relate very closely to God's design for us as sons, His eternal purpose for us as sons.

1) Eternal Intimacy - rewards that signify a much greater intimacy, connection and experiential knowledge of God. There are realms of intimacy in the coming kingdom, just as Jesus had realms of intimacy with His disciples on the earth.

2) Eternal Authority - rewards that signify a greater level of partnership, responsibility, and authority, in partnering with Jesus to establish His kingdom. Throughout the Bible, you see manifestations of that sonship authority. Moses was able to upheave a whole nation and bring about the change and deliverance of his own people, by demonstrating or bringing the power of God to bear in that situation.

3) Eternal Glory. These are rewards which signify special honour, and special distinction, that God puts on us; acknowledging, or placing honour on us, for how we've followed Him and served Him in our journey through life here.

So those 3 categories, 3 areas of rewards - each of those things are eternal, in that once the decision's been made what you qualify for, it's irreversible. That goes on not just for the kingdom age, it goes on into eternity. We have privileged access, privileged roles and privileged honour, and it's just; this is the justice of God. It makes sense that God's justice would show this way - that someone who lives a casual, non-committed life, a compromised life, would definitely spend eternity living in a different realm, and a different degree of eternal life, than someone who has sacrificially given, sacrificially served, and lived their life to bring honour to Jesus - allowed the Lord to change their heart, and their motivations, so the character of Christ forms. It just makes sense.

Before I go on into those three rewards, I want to just touch on an area which I will call ‘Sonship Design’. If you have a look at how we're designed for sonship, the 3 dimensions of reward correspond exactly to the 3 dimensions we are to pursue, in the way God has designed us to be sons. God's eternal purpose is to have a family of sons, in the image of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus will have the pre-eminence, and those sons who are ‘overcoming’ sons will partner with Him, in changing the whole world.

John 17:3-4&6 is called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, and in each of these three verses He identifies one sonship design.

John 17:3 – “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom You've sent”.

John 17:4 – “I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work You gave Me to do.”

John 17:6 – “I have manifested Your name to the men You've given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and I have kept Your word”.

Notice 3 things:

1) ‘Eternal Life’ means an intimate relationship. “This is eternal life: that they know You”. The word ‘know’ is a word of intimacy with the Father; and intimacy with Jesus, who accurately represents Him. So, intimacy with God, intimacy in our spirit, means an impartation of His life to us, that changes us. You don't get changed by information; you don't even get changed by reading the word of God; it's a pathway to encountering the true word of God.

John 5:39 - “You search in the Bible, and you think in these you have life; but they speak of Me, and you won't come to Me”.

Eternal life is an impartation that comes into our lives; that transforms us, by a relationship with Jesus Christ, and a relationship with God, the Father. You see this even in the garden, where Adam was given a choice: he could eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil; or he could eat from the Tree of Life. In Revelation, it tells us that Tree of Life was Jesus. I suspect that the Tree of Life was not an attractive-looking plant; but the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil was a fascinating-looking tree. He had to choose between eating of one tree or the other. If he ate the Tree of Life, then the life of God would be imparted to him, and he would grow, and mature, and come into his full inheritance; but as you know, he chose something else.

Notice then, 3 things:

1) Intimacy – “this is eternal life: that they know You”. As we develop intimacy with God, our lives are transformed and changed. We are preparing ourselves for a much greater level of intimacy, when we see Him as He is.

2) Assignment.

John 17:4 – “I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work You gave Me to do”.

A son means: to be a builder of a father's house; to extend the father's kingdom. Every son has an assignment to do, that is to bring honour to God, our Father. In our assignment, whatever it is, whether it's as a housewife, a mother, serving in some small capacity, whatever dimension our area of territory is - that is where we develop our faithfulness as a son It's where we develop the character of serving; where we grow in our ability to love people, in the face of disappointments. Whatever our assignment is now, it is a temporary assignment, that prepares us for a much greater Eternal Assignment.

Each of us, in our assignment, is called to…

1) Bring honour to our father. That the way we do it, represents His character and nature - we're not exploiting people, or hurting people.

2) Develop Faithfulness. We can be relied upon; there's consistency; integrity in what we do.

3) Fruitfulness. We produce something - this is an important part of our role as a son.

4) Transformation. He said: “I have manifested Your name to the men You've given Me out of the world”. To ‘manifest Your name’ means: to actively represent what the Father is like; to show His nature - His kindness, His love, His compassion, His longsuffering, His joy… all those things. To accurately represent what the Father is like, we need to embrace a lifelong journey of being transformed - and that's where inner healing comes; it's where deliverance comes; it's where we grow our heart qualities, kingdom heart qualities. All those interlock with one another. Each one helps support the other, and so it's not surprising that the three categories of reward are all interlocked the same way as our design is.

Main Message

We'll look at now Reward #6 - Praise & Honour. One aspect of Eternal Reward is Eternal Glory; there's many aspects of it, one of them is Praise & Honour, from God Himself. We're created for honour.

Psalm 104:1 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great, You are clothed with honour and majesty”.

God is clothed with honour & majesty.

Psalm 93:1 – “The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty”.

That's kingly honour, kingly glory. The Lord is clothed. He has girded Himself with strength. We are made in the image of God. We are made to carry glory. When Adam & Eve were designed, when they were first created, they carried a dimension of glory. The presence of God surrounded them. They were majestic people in the earth. There was no one in God's creation like that. We're created to represent God, and God is full of majesty and honour. We're created to carry the honour; to carry the glory of God; to carry His life, His nature, His immense power and majesty. We're meant to carry that and represent Him in the earth. Of course, through the fall, the glory has left; and this created the situation we find ourselves in now - naked, ashamed clothed with dishonour, and struggling to try and find honour for ourselves.

Psalm 8:4-6 – “What is man, that You are mindful of him; and the son of man, that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, or a little lower than Elohim, than God Himself. You have crowned him with glory and honour and made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands. You put all things under his feet”.

Notice that word ‘crown’ there means: to put on a royal headdress of sovereignty. When God created man, He created us for sovereignty in the earth. We're created to have dominion over the earth; and we're created in order to make the work productive, and fruitful. He said: You crowned him with glory & honour. Glory means: the shining nature of God. Honour means splendour, and majesty, and magnificence; sovereign power, dignity.

Notice how we've been designed, how God created us; we've been crowned. God has put upon us the evidence of majesty, and kingly glory - as His sons, and representatives of a royal king; with the shining nature of God, and all honour & splendour. We cannot comprehend what we were like before the fall. It can't easily be understood - the majesty and magnificence of Adam, and how jealous the devil was of him, desiring to steal from him what he had, because it was what the devil wanted.

So firstly then, we're designed, or created, for great honour, great glory. God has not changed His plan. He still plans to put upon us, and bestow upon us, great honour and great glory. Right now, that glory comes within us, and Christ within us, the hope of a greater measure of majesty and glory to come. Secondly, the believers will receive different realms of praise and honour in the kingdom.

1 Samuel 2:30 – “The Lord of Israel says (He's speaking to Eli) that your house, and the house of your father, would walk before Me forever; but now be it far from Me, those who honour Me I will honour. Those who despise Me will be lightly valued”.

God makes it very clear that, if we honour Him in our life, then He will put honour upon us.

Matthew 25:21 – “The Lord said to the servant: well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your Lord”.

The faithful servant receives praise, approval and a reward – ruler of many things. God looks not on our outward actions; He looks on the motivations of our actions.

1 Corinthians 4:5 – “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness”

Everything that's covered now - when the Lord comes, there will be an exposure of them. He will reveal the counsels or the motivations of the heart; then, everyone's praise will come from God. That word ‘praise’ means to ‘commend’ or to ‘approve’ a person. It's saying that you can't really tell with people, what they're like; you can't see into the motivations of their heart. He says: don't judge things before the time - you can't even really see for your own life very clearly; so, judge nothing before the time until the Lord comes. When the Lord comes, then He will bring out into the light everything that was hidden. He will also expose what motivated people to do what they did; and then they're either: rewarded, praised, commended, and honoured; or they are dishonoured, their shame is manifest.

The Bible is very clear: some will receive great honour in the kingdom. The Old Testament gives you some examples, so you can get a glimpse of what eternal realities are like. If God wants to honour you, He can lift you up; He is able to put amazing honour upon your life. Solomon received great honour from the Lord.

1 Chronicles 29:25 – “The Lord exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been seen on any king before him in Israel”.

That's an amazing scripture! Notice that God exalts (or lifts) him up - promotes him. Always, before promotion, comes humility; a massive requirement in our lives is we develop a humble heart. Jesus had a humble, and a meek, heart. Those who humble themselves, God will lift them up. Solomon humbled himself in his early days and you can tell that by what he asked God for, which from a wise and understanding heart. It says that God bestowed on him such royal majesty, as hadn't been seen on any king before him in Israel. The Queen of Sheba heard about him, and she came to see him. She looked at his majesty; at the way they came up, and into the house; at the servants, and how they were dressed; and every aspect of Solomon's kingdom - and it said: it took her breath away! She said: I've heard so much of it, but it's just far greater than anything I could've imagined!

There's a wonderful story. When the King Solomon was at his height in his glory, all kinds of things came to him. People came from all over the world; they came to him, because of what God had given him. We see there in history, an example of one man that God was able to lift, raise up, and cause all the kings of the earth to come and seek his wisdom. If He did it once, He could do it again. By far, the greatest honour though, are eternal. Solomon's honour and majesty lasted temporarily, because it was of an earthly nature; but the greatest honours are eternal. They're reserved for the millennium, and for the ages that go beyond.

When God is talking about Eternal, the word means literally ‘age-lasting’. There is age, upon age, upon age; and there is reserved for the coming millennial kingdom, and the ages beyond, God has reserved honour for people who quietly serve Him, that no one knows. In the kingdom, or the coming kingdom, there's small and there's great; and there's least and there's greatest - that's all talking about ranks of honour. There are massively different levels of honour, in the coming kingdom. In Matthew 5:19, two things come out, in each of these scriptures: 1) the level of ranking in the kingdom; 2) a behaviour that characterised, or led, to that person having that rank.

Matthew 5:19 – “Whoever breaks one of the least commandments and teaches men to do so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever does and teaches them, will be called great in the kingdom”.

If you keep the word of God; or if you take His teachings, especially from the Sermon on the Mount, and you do them, and teach them – you will be called great in the Kingdom. Least and great, and he's talking about the coming kingdom.

Matthew 23:11 – “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant”.

If you want to be great, become a servant. If you want to be greatest, then you learn to serve more people.

Revelation 19:5 – “A voice came from the throne, saying: praise our God, all you His servants, and those who fear Him… both small and great”.

Even in around the throne, the angels are saying, and they're identifying, that there are both small and great. You choose: will you be small; or great? It's dependent on how you walk with God in this life.

Revelation 3:21 – “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne”.

Notice there, a tremendous honour - to sit with Jesus, ‘upon’ His throne. The Bible also talks of people ‘around’ the throne; which do you want to be? A person ‘around’ the throne worshipping; or a person ‘upon’ the throne with Jesus, consulting with Him, about the advancement of His kingdom? Big difference!

These are just some scriptures, and they all point to, in the coming kingdom, that there are levels of honour, status, and recognition by God, of the character and service you've given while you're on the earth. Jesus Himself received great honour. He was honoured on earth by His Father.

Luke 3:22-24 – “The Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said: You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased”.

Heaven has opened, and God Himself has spoken, and declared His pleasure, His honour, His value of His Son. Jesus received honour from His Father in front of everyone.

Jesus was honoured in front of the crowd, and Jesus was honoured in front of His disciples.

Luke 9:34-35 – “While Jesus was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them and they were fearful as they entered the cloud, and a voice came out of the cloud saying: this is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”

Jesus is on the Mount of Transfiguration, and as He's prayed, He was transformed and changed. The Father gives Him immense glory and immense honour. He radiates the glory of God. He radiates the life of God, and only the 3 disciples saw that.

Peter 1:16&18 – “We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty”.

We saw it personally, His majesty – “for He received from God the Father honour and glory”. When did that happen? “When a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mount”.

He's saying: we saw great honour, great majesty. We saw Jesus honoured by His Father in front of us. Jesus is honoured in front of the crowds; and He's honoured in front of His disciples; and then the Bible tells us that He will return, with exceeding great honour and majesty.

Philippians 2:8-11 – “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him, given Him a name above every other name; that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God our Father”.

Again, it tells us, that Jesus is highly exalted; and when He returns, He will return with glory. We saw the example of Solomon being elevated by God, given exceeding great honour before men. We see Jesus being honoured before men; and in front of His disciples. We see that this honour comes from God Himself. Jesus has received great honour; and Jesus also promised honour to us. He was talking to His disciples; and He promised them honour in the coming kingdom.

Luke 22:28-30 – “You are those who've continued with Me in My trials. I bestow or I gift to you a kingdom, just as My Father has bestowed upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel”.

What an amazing promise that Jesus has made now to His disciples, who have given their lives now following Him, given up their careers, they've given everything to serve Him and to follow Him. He says: in the coming kingdom, just like My Father has bestowed upon Me - I'm going to allow you to eat at My table. It's one thing to eat the bridegroom's table; it's another to eat at the guest's table.

He said: I'll grant you to eat at My table, and to sit on thrones with Me - and you'll be judging the 12 tribes of Israel. He promised them intimacy – “at My table, eating with Me”; and of honour – “I'll bestow on you a kingdom, and of authority, you will judge the 12 tribes of Israel”. He's made that promise, but He's also made a promise now to every believer that follows Him. You see a pattern there: Solomon was honoured; Jesus was honoured by the Father, in front of His disciples; He's honoured when He comes again; and now He's talking about honour to us. Here's the promise…

John 12:26 – “If anyone… “. This is open to all. It's not something that God determines. It's something that you determine, by your response to Him. “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him will My Father honour”.

Anyone, so this is for anyone. This is an open invitation to any person: “if anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and where I am, My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour”. If anyone serves Me - they do acts of service to Jesus, or as His representative. If any man serves the Lord, He says: let him follow Me. It seems like a weird combination, saying: if any man serves Me, now let him follow Me. You would've thought ‘those who follow Me, should serve Me’, but He's not saying that.

He's saying: if you serve Me, meaning you already have decided to connect with Him, build relationship with Him… when He says, ‘to follow Me’, this is what He means. This is not evident, when you first look at it. To follow a rabi meant to accompany him, and then copy his teaching and his lifestyle, and become like him; do the same things he did and teach the same things he taught. So to follow Jesus means to allow His words to shape our life and character, so we become like Him. In the Book of Acts, where they said of the disciples: “they perceive they're ignorant untrained men, but they realised they'd been with Jesus”. They had received an impartation of His way of thinking, His character and His lifestyle.

If we're going to serve the Lord, we must also commit to walking with Him, and letting Him bring transformation to our life and heart. It's not enough just to serve Him; we must embrace the promise of being transformed. Notice the two rewards that He makes there. He said: “you'll be with Me, where I am”. What does that mean? They're already with Him? When He says: “where I am”, He's referring to a place of intimacy, with His Father.

John 1:18 – “No man has ever seen the Father, but the Son, who is in the bosom of the Father (intimate relationship with the Father), and He has made Him known”.

He's saying: I'm living in a deep, intimate, personal relationship with My Father; and that love and unity that I walk in with Him - that's what you're going to have. You're going to have that same dimension of love. He even referred to it later, in His Priestly Prayer in John 17, where He says: “the same love that's in Me, will be in them”. The key there is that we've got to serve Him and follow Him. Same place of relational intimacy!

The second thing He says: “him will My Father honour”. He promises that if we serve, and in our serving the Lord, we let Him transform our heart and character, He promises then deep intimacy with the Father; and He also promises then, that our Father will honour us. It means God, the Father, will compensate us for all the suffering, all the loss, all the hardship, all the difficulties we've walked through, in serving Jesus.

It says that God sees every part of that, and He will recognise that we've lived a life seeking to honour Jesus, and in return He will confer on us great honour, far more than anything we've ever suffered or lost. Jesus has got a price. People misunderstand you; people reject you, people can be very hostile, and sometimes we suffer quite deep hardship. We walk through spiritual warfare, and trials, and difficulties. There are some real deep challenges in following Jesus; and Jesus said: “if they persecuted Me, they'll persecute those who follow Me, because the servant is not greater than the master”. If we fully follow Jesus Christ, hardships come; difficulties come.

He's saying in this scripture, that if you walk through that, and let the process of all of that pain and difficulty that you go through transform you, He said: “My Father will honour you”. He sees it all, and He's planning to honour you so greatly, that the troubles will seem so little. Imagine, for example, an Olympic runner, and they've spent three years training, up every day, training hard, discipline; then finally, that final moment on the dais, and they get the gold medal. They forget all the training - it was all about that moment of honour. If they do that for just something so temporary, how much more should we do this for the eternal?

1 Peter 1:6-7 – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have grieved by various trials…”. This is talking about a difficult life following Jesus. “…so that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire, may be found to the praise and honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.

He's saying: yes, for the moment, it may well be that we're in grief, and we have trials; but those trials are proving and developing our faith, and this is precious to God. When the time comes for His coming, then there will be honour and glory and praise. He will publicly acknowledge us. So, we must choose then between the honour of God, and the honour of men, and that's a challenge for every person.

Some cultures are very centred around honour, and the culture of Jesus' day was a culture of honour and shame; so that meant honour was the main commodity to be desired, and it still is, in the Middle East to today. About 70 per cent of all cultures in the world are driven by the pursuit of honour, and the fear of losing face or being shamed; these are the cultures of Asia, Pacific, Africa and Hispanic - many cultures in the world. Honour was the level of approval the community put on you. People either honoured you, or they shamed you; and the honour that was given to you depended on your family of origin, where you came from; it depended on your courage in the battle, whether you fought or whether you ran, showed cowardice. It's on your generosity to the poor; and on your position or rank, so they were very, very conscious of position, ranks, titles; and particularly, your family of origin, and your wealth status. The whole culture system of Jesus' day – social, religious and political - was built around status, and honour, and positions, and ranks. That's what people sought, as they still do today. Many cultures, that's exactly how they operate, and they shame anyone who won't comply, or flow and agree, and come under that system. Jesus totally rejected the honour system of His culture.

John 5:41 – “I do not receive honour from men.”

To ‘receive’ means to claim it for yourself, so Jesus put no expectation on people honouring Him. In fact, it was exactly the opposite; He sought only to please His Father. In John 6:15, when Jesus perceived they were about to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain, by Himself, alone. Notice there, He sees the crowd. They want to make Him king. They want to bring Him to a place of honour and position. He takes off. You find frequently in the Bible, when Jesus did miracles, and His fame went abroad, He immediately withdrew. He didn't feed off fame, or the honour of people. What fed Him was doing the will of His Father, and this is a huge issue for people to face.

Jesus rejected their desire to exalt Him and give him pre-eminence. He was primarily motivated by love for His Father, and desire for His Father's approval, so that meant He was free from pride. I don't need you to like Me, to accept Me, to agree with Me. There was no ego - I need you to recognise Me, to honour Me. There was no demand on anyone, for any of those things; and that made Him free to declare the truth. He could just say what He wanted to say. If people left Him, He didn't chase them. He didn't say: wait, wait, you misunderstood Me… and try to get them back. He never did that! He just boldly declared the truth. If they didn't like it, that was their choice; and when all the crowd left Him, He just said to His disciples: “you going to leave too? And they said: where are we going to go? You've got the words of life!

These are things from the Bible, that tell us the importance of us being free from the need for honour from people. Jesus rejected all self-promotion, all honouring of Himself

John 8:54 – “Jesus answered, and said: if I honour Myself, my honour is nothing. It's My Father who honours Me; and you say He's your God”.

The pharisees did everything to be seen by men. Whatever they did, if they prayed, they prayed to be seen by people, all the long prayers. When they fasted, they dressed up and they looked ‘oh man, you're fasting’! The pharisees constantly did things to get recognition from people, and Jesus said: none of those, it doesn't count. He taught that creating your own honour, is not honour at all. If you're into self-promotion, then God is not on that at all. He's not backing you up one little bit. If you promote yourself, you've got keep yourself there; but if we let God promote us, then He backs us, to keep us where He's promoted us to.

Proverbs 20:6 – “Most men will proclaim to everyone his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

Every one of us has the experience of people, where all they want to do is promote themselves - they just talk about themselves. When you get with someone, and you listen, if they're talking all about themselves, then they're into self-promoting - to honouring themselves, it's all about me. Jesus said: every man who speaks about himself, promotes himself. He's not into promoting Himself in any way; Jesus confronted the honour system. He showed that there's another honour system.

This is also what He taught: if we seek the honour from men, it will undermine your faith, and your trust in God. Tt's going to be a point of conflict, if we seek to honour God, if we seek to honour Jesus, seek to live a life that honours Him, it's going to bring us into conflict with having the trust, having received the honour that God has.

John 5:44 – “How can you believe (or how can you have faith or trust), who receive honour from one another, and do not seek the honour that comes only from God?”

How can you believe, how can you be in a place of faith? Without faith, it's impossible to please God. How can you be in a place of faith, or believe, when your goal is to receive honour from one another; and you're not seeking the honour that comes only from God? There's an honour that comes from men; and there's an honour that comes from God. If I seek the honour that comes from men, then I want to be recognised, honoured; I want to have privileges and titles, and I have an expectation of that. He says: this is going to conflict with me trusting God for that honour; it's a choice, between one or the other.

People honour us, and it's okay to just receive that, but we should reflect it back to God. When people honour you for something you've done, and appreciate you, it's okay to receive it; but then reflect it, bring it back - Father, this has come from You, this is what You've done. You always bring the honour back to Him. There's an honour that comes from men, which is temporary. In life, people have temporary; they look good for a while… but watch their whole life - they don't look good all the time! He said: there's also an honour that comes from God, which is eternal. What will you pursue? The honour that comes from men: position, recognition, understanding, people liking you; or are you going to seek the honour that comes from God? If we seek the honour that comes from men, the outcome is we'll never develop a life of faith that pleases God.

Galatians 1:10 – “Am I now trying to win the favour and approval of men, or of God?”

There it is. What's motivating you: wanting people to like you, and approve of you, and favour you; or do you want that from God? He says: am I seeking to please someone; for if I'm trying to be popular with men, I cannot be the servant of Christ. He makes it very clear: if I seek to please men, I can't be the servant of Christ. All of us are going to find ourselves, as we follow Jesus, there will come points of conflict, where people misunderstand you, people reject you, people speak against you. You should not try to explain or try to repair that. We make our focus on honouring God in what we do. This requires a life of faith, trusting that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Jesus taught an honour system that was different. He taught this is what the eternal honour system, or the culture of kingdom of heaven, is.

Matthew 20:25 – “Jesus called to them and said: you know the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them”.

In the kingdoms of the world, people seek honour; privilege; roles; titles; influence; recognition; seating at the highest place in the table; having people acknowledge them, whenever they come in the room. He said: that's what they do; but it shall not be so, among you. He makes it very clear that in the kingdom of heaven, greatness is demonstrated by the heart of a servant - a humble heart, a serving heart.

Humility and serving, sacrificial serving, is the core of what God is like, and Jesus demonstrated it in many ways. He says: “whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your servant, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many”. Jesus never had any expectation that people, or life, would serve Him, and this is where many people get angry and frustrated. They have an unspoken expectation that life should work well for me; people should be nice to me; life should go good for me; and when you have that expectation, you'll have disappointment - you'll get frustrated, and angry.

“He did not come to serve, to be served, but to serve”.

Whenever He entered a relationship with someone, or went into a situation, it was not to extract value out of it; it was to give value into it. Jesus identified clearly that the honour system of the world is rooted in pride, and it's based on a desire for position, power, control, privilege, and honour. You can either seek it in this life; or you can seek it in eternity. In eternity it goes on for eternity; but when you seek it in this life, it comes and goes! You can be doing well one day and gone the next; but if our goal is to honour God, and seek His honour, then what happens is we'll go through seasons of elevation and humiliation, but at the end, God lifts us up.

So that's the teaching around honour, and we see that honour is a kingdom value. The culture of the kingdom is one of honour - the honour of all men, not just a privileged few. Even in Christian circles, often the honour flows all one way, but it doesn't flow back again; but in the kingdom of God, He says: honour all men; and He gives a list of all the people to honour. We honour widows, children, kings, those in authority, leaders, elders... Honour is the value of people, regardless of what they do. It's a gift to them. We all must choose then, between the honour of the world, or the honour of God.

Let's have a look then, at the next reward. I want to look at a reward which Jesus also spoke about, which is: Treasure & Riches in Heaven. Jesus called us specifically to pursue treasures in heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, whether neither moth nor rust destroys, and where the thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart is”.

Jesus makes it very clear: ‘laying up’ means to amass, to accumulate, to store up; and the word ‘treasure’ means wealth or substance, or valuable goods that you can exchange. He's saying very clearly: don't lay up treasures on earth, because they're corruptible; lay up treasures in heaven. One thing He's not saying, is that you should not seek to prosper in this life - He's not saying that. He's not saying that you should not grow wealth, because that puts you in a position of generosity, and a place to help others - He's not saying that. It's the setting your heart on it! The key thing here is, what you set your heart on… The heart needs to be set on eternal treasure. Why? Because earthly treasure: house, car, money, all the things that we can accumulate, can be lost in a moment. He said: they're corruptible, meaning they're not eternal, they're not lasting. Treasures in heaven can't be stolen, they can't be corrupted; so obviously there's a message there, or a mandate, that we should set our heart on eternal things.

Psalms 62:10 – “…if riches increase, don't set your heart on them”.

If you prosper, don't fall in love with the prosperity; keep your heart set on eternal things.

Luke 16:11 – “If you've not been faithful in unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust true riches?”

He's talking about money - He calls it ‘unrighteous mammon’, or a spirit; and just like God is a spirit, mammon has got a spirit or a power behind it. He's saying very clearly, that if we're not faithful in the management of the money we have, how will God entrust to us true riches? Money is ‘riches on earth’, but there must be another kind of riches called ‘true riches’. Most people, all they can think about is money, because money is a source of power and influence - and the love of it corrupts. He's saying there is also ‘true riches’ - what does He mean by that?

Matthew 19:21 – “If you want to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you'll have treasures in heaven”.

Matthew 6:21 – “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be”.

There's earthly treasure, and then there's heavenly treasure. With earthly treasure, people seek it all their life, and never find it; or people become rich, they find it, and then they worry about losing their riches all the time. People trust their riches, rather than God. They start to trust, and they become secure in their money, rather than secure in God. When people become very wealthy, they tend to look down on others. He tells people who've become wealthy: not to set your heart on the riches, and to trust God, and do good on others, not look down on them.

1 Timothy 6:17- "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."

The problem is, if we make the pursuit of wealth our main goal, it then destroys our focus on eternal things. Paul also directed us to set our attention on seeking ‘treasure in heaven’.

Colossians 3:1 – “If you were raised with Christ, then seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God”.

Set your affection on those things - things which are above, not on things of the earth. Don't let your affection be attached to things which are temporary; let your affection be on the things which are eternal. Jesus described treasure in heaven as the ‘true riches’ and I want to look at then what it is.

Luke 16:11 – “If you've not been faithful in unrighteous money, who will commit to your trust true riches?”

If you can't be faithful in another man's, who will give you what's your own?

The word ‘true’ means authentic, genuine; the opposite of imaginary, or counterfeit. There are ‘true riches’, eternal in heaven, which can be laid up, and can be reserved; so, what qualifies us? How do we lay up treasures in heaven; and what are the treasures in heaven? In that parable, Jesus commended the steward, because he thought ahead, acted wisely and invested in his future. He's saying that Christians need to do the same thing - we need to think ahead for eternity. He uses the comparison of a steward who is unfaithful, and now he's going to lose his job, and lose his provision… but he plans ahead, so that people will look after him.

Jesus said: that's a smart guy! There are not many guys in the kingdom, who in this life, think about the eternal life, and then plan intentionally how to lay up treasure in heaven. What are the true riches? Heaven is full of gold and precious stones - they're everywhere, so they can't be the true riches.

Revelation 21:18 (talking about the city of God) – “The construction of its wall was of jasper, and the city was pure gold, like clear glass”.

Revelation 21: 21 – “The 12 gates were 12 pearls, each gate was one pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass”.

The streets are gold, and if there’s so much gold that you can just put it on the street, then how much value is that? We use bitumen on the road, and bitumen is everywhere, because it doesn't cost much - there's so much of it, they just use it for a common thing. He's saying: in heaven, gold is like that. In the Book of Revelation, you find there are gold and precious stones everywhere in the city, so therefore, true riches cannot refer to things like gold and silver. The true riches in heaven, or the treasure in heaven that Jesus refers to, is: Eternal Intimacy, a deep, close, very personal relationship with Jesus, and the Father; Eternal Authority, working with Him, and being invested great authority to bring transformation in the kingdom; and Eternal Glory, honour. Wealth is something that's very, very valuable. It's a commodity that enables you to accomplish many things; and the true riches of heaven are: Intimacy, Authority and Honour or Glory. Those are the things we should set our heart on. Those are the things we should seek.

Revelation 2:17 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give hidden manna to eat, and I'll give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it”.

That word ‘white stone’ means: a brilliant light dazzling, dazzling white like a diamond. The white stone was a stone that was received like a gold medal at the Olympics. If someone had run a race, achieved something great, they were given a white stone - it was a symbol of honour; and it gave them admission. He's using the idea of the white stone in heaven - giving you honour and admission. He's talking about deeper relationship, intimacy, and access to the things of God. Hidden manna – again, being able to enter the very presence of God, and have an intimate relationship with Him. The ‘treasures in heaven’ refer to privileged access to Jesus, and to the Father. It's all to do with a relationship - a union with Him, a connection with Him, and all that flows out.

Treasure in heaven then refers to privileged access to Jesus - access to the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ’.

Ephesians 3:8 – “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Unsearchable means: past finding out, they're beyond comprehension. Intimacy with Christ, and knowledge of Him, is far beyond our human brain's ability to comprehend, by logic; it's only known by revelation. Unsearchable means: there's so much, you can't search it all out, you'll never get to the end of it - you'll never exhaust the fullness of it. Isaiah had an encounter with heaven…

Isaiah 6:1-2 – “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.”

He saw the glory of God. He saw Jesus, sitting on a throne, high and lifted-up. He saw seraphim, and it had six wings. He's getting a view of the glory of God. The seraphim have six wings; with two they cover their face or their eyes, because the brilliance of God's glory is beyond their ability to comprehend; with two they cover their feet, meaning the holiness of God is overwhelming to them; and with two they did fly - they stayed in their position, or their ranking. It tells us we get access to the unsearchable riches of who Jesus is; we get access to the riches of His glory.

Romans 9:23 – “…that He might make known the riches of His glory, or His majesty on the vessels of mercy He prepared beforehand for glory”.

Access to the riches of His mercy and love. Notice what it says are riches: the unsearchable riches of Christ - the riches of His glory, the riches of His mercy and love.

Ephesians 2:4 – “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love He loved us. The riches of His grace, He has raised us up and made us seated together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ, in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace”.

Notice there, the ‘riches’ are around spiritual things, which have magnificent value: access to the riches of His wisdom & knowledge.

Colossians 2:2-3 – “…that our hearts may be encouraged, and knit together in love, and attaining to all the riches of full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, of the Father and of Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the riches of wisdom and knowledge”.

Solomon had been taught by his father, who was a man who walked with God, and his father taught him. In Proverbs 2, it's Solomon speaking to his son, and he says: “son, now listen to the teaching of your father, for my father taught me”. Then he began to talk about the value of wisdom, and he says: “wisdom is the principle thing, and in all your wisdom, get understanding”. God spoke to Solomon, and said: what is it you want? I'll give you anything you want! He said: “give me an understanding heart to discern, I want wisdom”. God was pleased with that, because He's looking for eternal riches - and then God gives him everything else. He said: because you didn't ask for power over your enemies, or riches, or any of these other things… I'll give you all of that!

When you have wisdom and understanding, everything else comes to you. So often, we put our value on what we consider riches: gold and silver, a bank account, a boat, a house and all those things - those are temporary, they pass away; they need maintenance, they disappear. He said: there's other riches, other things, which are eternal riches; wisdom and knowledge are eternal riches. In Colossians 2:3 it talks about Christ, “…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. You want wisdom, you want a deeper relationship with Jesus. He's the source of wisdom, the source of knowledge.

Wisdom - by understanding, we get to see how things are. We gain insight to the reality of what things are. Wisdom - we know exactly what to do. There are many scriptures in Proverbs about wisdom.

Proverbs 3:19 – “the Lord, by wisdom, founded the earth; and by understanding, He established the heavens. Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding”

Proverbs 3:13 – “Her proceeds are better than profits of silver, and her gain better than fine gold, she's more precious than rubies, of all the things you may desire cannot compare with her”.

Proverbs is full of statements about how wisdom and understanding are the true riches. If you've got those, everything else you need will come out of that. We have access to the riches of revelation, from Jesus.

Psalm 119:72 – “the law of Your mouth (revelation) is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver”.

David is writing, and he's saying: I’ve got lots of gold and silver, but what's more important is revelation, hearing from God personally, because all I have has come out of that. I encourage you to go through the verses around true riches; and then start to look at your own heart. Is your heart set on intimacy with the Lord, and knowing Jesus Christ, in whom are all the riches? Is your heart set on wisdom and on understanding? Is your heart set on the pursuit of those things, or is your heart set on the pursuit of other things? If you get wisdom and understanding, then many other things come to you, or are attracted to you, in life.

The Bible tells us of several ways we can lay up treasures in heaven. You can look at the scriptures on it, but prayer is one. Jesus taught in Matthew 6, that with Prayer - God will reward us. Fasting - God will reward us. Giving - God will reward us. Treasure in heaven! Kindness to the poor - God will reward us. Loving people with no agenda - God will reward us. Faithfulness (Luke 16) - God will reward us. Enduring persecution - God will reward us. Sacrifice, laying down your life to service - God will reward us. Worship lifestyle - God will reward us. You can find the scriptures… all these things give us access to the riches of heaven. Every time you pray, you can access the presence of God and lay up treasures in heaven. You lay up an access to God's resources coming and manifesting in the earth.

The last one I want to look at tonight, and is the area #8, Vindication. Jesus will vindicate us, for following and obeying Him. So what does vindicate mean? It means to clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, doubt. It means to defend you - to insist you are recognised, or to validate you. To clear you of accusation, or blame, or suspicion, take away all doubt - it’s got supporting proof. It means to defend you; insist that you're recognised. It means: to demonstrate, or prove, your value; to justify you.

Revelation 3:9 – “I will make those who persecuted you come and worship before your feet and know I have loved you”.

Frequently during life, Christians who are following the Lord sincerely and deeply suffer misunderstanding. We get falsely accused; rejected; ridiculed for our lifestyle; ridiculed because we don't do what everyone else does, or because of our choices and our values. Part of the suffering that we have, is you can't vindicate yourself; you can't prove that you're right. All you can do is let the fruit be shown over time - but in the end God will vindicate us. Christ will openly vindicate the godly choices you make. Your lifestyle, your choices, He will honour you for what you've chosen to do, in following Him.

1 Peter 4:3-5 – “The time is past enough for doing what the unsaved Gentiles do, living in the course of sensuality, lusts and drunkenness; in connection with this the unbelievers are resentful, surprised you not think like them, value their values, or run with them in the same excesses of dissipation, immoral freedom. They criticise, abuse and ridicule, make fun of you. But they will have to give an account of him who's ready to judge, and pass sentence on the living and the dead”.

As a believer you suffer ridicule, misunderstanding, abuse, and all kinds of accusations, mistreatment, and hardship. However, those who do that, will give account to the Lord, and He will vindicate you. “I will make them know I have loved you”. One of the things that God plans to do is, He wants to make everyone know how deeply He loves you, because of the walk you've had. Jesus said: I will make them know. He Himself will vindicate you, before those who gave you such a hard time. “Those who honour Me, I will honour them”. God has His own way of doing that. As we've honoured Jesus in our lifestyle, and gone through suffering, then He will in His coming again, will honour us before all people.

John 17:23 – “I in them, and you in Me, that they may be perfect in one, that the world may know You sent Me, and have loved them as You've loved Me”.

God will make it clear to everyone, the high value He places on those who follow Him and who serve Him, who give honour to Him. He says: “I will make them come and worship at your feet”, and Jesus will manifest His love, and vindicate us before those who have persecuted, opposed us, and falsely criticised us. If you love someone deeply, you desire to vindicate them, if they're being badly treated. For example, when Saul was persecuting the church, he had an encounter with Jesus, and Jesus said: “Saul, Saul, how come you're persecuting Me”? Jesus identifies so strongly with His people, that when He confronted Saul, He said: you're persecuting Me! “When you do it to the least of My brethren, you're doing it to Me.”

When people persecute you, mistreat you, misunderstand you, whatever, they're doing that to the Christ in you, and Christ Himself will come and stand on your behalf. In this age, it doesn't always look like God has vindicated us, but in the coming age He will do exactly that - He will vindicate us.

Isaiah 45:14 – “They shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; they shall walk behind you; they shall come, they shall bow down to you. They will say: surely God is in you, there is no other. They will bow the knee to Jesus, in the presence of the people they persecuted”.

Isaiah 60:14 – “The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you; those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet, and call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One. Whereas you've been forsaken and hated, so no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations”.

God is promising to bring honour to His people of Israel, and honour to His people who have faithfully served Him.

At the end time, no matter how people have thought, and responded to Jesus, the Bible is very clear: “every person will bow their knee to Jesus”.

Philippians 2:10-11 – “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and earth, every tongue confess that He is Lord”.

To bow the knee means to humble yourself; and admit to His kingly honour and glory. No matter how unbelievers rage, no matter how they abuse and blaspheme, and say all kinds of things; attack Christians; attack the church… at the end, all shall bow before Jesus - because of His authority and His majesty will be irresistible.

Psalm 102:15 – “All the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion or His people, He will appear in His glory”.

Psalm 102:22 – “When the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms come, to serve the Lord”.

Jesus will be vindicated before all men, and those who have identified with Him in their serving Him will also be vindicated.

In the story today, we've covered a lot of ground…

1) We've seen how Jesus has promised Praise & Honour; that where we're dishonoured, where people have rejected us, and spoken against us… God Himself will bestow honour on us, that will be visible, tangible, recognised by everyone - and there's a pathway to that. The pathway to that honour is: serving, and humility.

2) We saw in the study how God offers Treasures & Riches in Heaven. They are the true treasures, and these are riches that come out of the knowledge and intimacy with Jesus Christ. These are the treasures of Eternal Intimacy, Eternal Honour, and Eternal Authority, that God alone can give.

3) Finally, we saw that God will vindicate us, in every place where our choices have been rejected, mocked, ridiculed. Where our lifestyle has been ridiculed, God will honour us, and point out before people that these were godly decisions, and they brought honour to Him. What an amazing prize! What rewards God has, for those who love Him!

There are a few challenges to think about…

1) What did God really touch you with today; and what do you need to do, to respond to that?

2) Is there any area you need to let go seeking honour of people, and fearing rejection? Is there some area you need to face that you've tried to get approval of men, and now you need to actually repent of that, and bring that to the cross, and say: God, I just want to honour You. I want You to be honoured in all I do.

3) Is there some area where you need to change your focus, and set it on eternal riches? Is there some area related to the management of riches and resources, where you need to then say: I've got to bring this into kingdom alignment?

4) Finally, are there any areas where you tend to want to vindicate, or prove you're right - where you just need to let it go, and let God do that?

God bless you. It’s been a great study, and we'll share a bit more on this area of Eternal Rewards. God bless.

Summary Notes

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ER7: Honour, Treasure and Vindication

I. Introduction

1. Jesus Taught about Eternal Rewards
* Jesus taught directly or through parables the reality of Eternal rewards, and the need to pursue them
* “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”(Mat.16:27)

2. Three Main Categories of these Many Rewards
* There are very many different rewards mentioned in the Bible, especially in the Book of Revelation
* These different rewards can be understood most easily under three different headings.
(i). Eternal Intimacy: Rewards that signify much deeper intimacy with God
(ii). Eternal Authority: Rewards that signify much greater responsibility and authority
(iii). Eternal Glory: Rewards that signify special honour and distinction
* These different rewards correspond to God’s Sonship design for each of us

3. Sonship Design
* Sonship will be the subject of a further series of studies.
* Here are some Key Concepts of Sonship Design. Each relates closely to a Category of Eternal Reward
Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
Joh 17:6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, you gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
* Once we are born again into the Family of Our Father we have three key area of function as Sons
(i). Intimacy
Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
We are called to ongoing intimacy with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ who represents Him
Intimacy results in impartation of the very life of God into our spirit
(ii). Assignment
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
A son in the Bible means a “ Builder of the Father’s House”
We each have a personal assignment to complete to bring honour to our Father, and to develop faithfulness, and fruitfulness
(iii). Transformation
Joh 17:6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.
To “manifest your name” means to accurately represent the character and nature of God as a Son
Each Son is called to accurately represent what their Father is like, to represent Him on earth
This requires that we embrace the work of personal transformation to become like Christ (Rom.8:29)
* Each of these three functions interact with the others like interlocking circles. All are necessary for balance and maturity


II. Reward 6: Praise and Honor

1. We were Created for Great Honor
* “Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty,” (Ps.104:1)
* “The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength.” (Ps.93:1)
* We were made in the image of God who is full of Glory and Honor and Majesty and Power
* We were created to have Glory and Honor and act as Gods Sons and Representatives

* “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,” (Ps.8:4-6)
* “Crowned” - to put upon him the royal headdress of sovereignty
* “Glory” - The shining nature of God
* “Honor” - splendor, majesty, beauty, magnificence, sovereign power and dignity

2. Believers will Receive Different Realms of Praise and Honor
* “Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1Sam.2:30)
God reveals that He will honor those who honor Him

* “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God” (1Cor.4:5)
“Praise” …To commend, to approve,
God looks upon the hearts of men and not on their outward actions or appearance (1Sam.16:7)
God evaluates the heart and motives of people that are unseen by others, but are clearly visible to Him
God will praise and honor those who are worthy of it in proportion to how deserving they are

* “His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Mat.25:21)
The faithful servant receives praise and approval, as well as reward for his labor …”ruler over many things”

3. Some will Receive Great Honor
* Solomon Received Great Honor
1Ch 29:25 So the LORD exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.
Solomon pleased The Lord and he bestowed upon him great royal majesty beyond what had ever been seen
God can bestow great honor upon us while we live on earth

* By far the Greatest Honors are Eternal - reserved the the Millennial Kingdom and the ages beyond
* In that Kingdom there will be “ small and great”, “least and greatest”…ie different levels of Honor
* “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “ (Mat.5:19)
* “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Mat.23:11)
* “Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" ‘ (Rev.19:5)
* “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev.3:21)

4. Jesus Himself Received Great Honor
Jesus was Honored on Earth by His Father
* “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." (Lk.3:22-24)
* Jesus received Praise and Honor from His Father in the presence of people

Jesus was Honored before His Disciples
* Jesus also received majesty, honor and praise from God the Father in the presence of three disciples.
* “While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!" (Luke9:34-35)
* This was a glimpse or preview of the Glory He would receive as a reward and honor for His sacrifice
* “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2Pet.1:16-18)
* “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” (Mat.17:2)

Jesus will return with Great Honor and Majesty
* “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:8-11)
* “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” ( Heb.2:9)

5. Jesus Promised His Followers Honor
Jesus Promise of Honor to His Disciples
* "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.
And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Lk.22:28-30)
* Jesus promised a place of Intimacy, Honor and Authority in His Coming Kingdom for faithfully following Him

Jesus Promised Honor to All who Follow Him
* “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor”(Jn.12:26)
* ‘Anyone”…..Jesus also promised Honor to all who choose to follow Him
* “Serve”…….to do Acts or Works of service to Jesus and on His behalf as His representative
* “Follow”….to “follow” a Rabbi meant to accompany him, copy his teaching lifestyle, become like his Rabbi and then do the same works as his Rabbi
* It is not enough to serve Jesus, we must follow Him and embrace being transformed to be like Him
* Jesus promises two rewards for faithfully following Him
a. “With me where I am” - Having the same place of relational intimacy that Jesus has with His Father
b. “My Father will Honor” - God the Father will bestow Eternal Honor upon us
* God The Father will compensate us for the suffering, loss, hardship we have endured in following Jesus by conferring great honor upon us…far beyond anything that we suffered or lost
* “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1Pet.1:6-7)
* “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev.3:21)

6. We Must All Choose Between the Honor of God or of Men
The Culture of Jesus Day was an Honor /Shame Culture
* Honor was the main commodity to be desired in the Middle East culture of Jesus day
* About 70% of all cultures in the world are driven by the pursuit of Honor and Fear of Shame or “loss of face”
* Honor was the value or level of approval that the community placed upon a person
* Honor was ascribed according to Family of Origin, Courage in Battle, Generosity to the Poor, Position or Rank
* The whole culture system, socials, religious and political, was built around the pursuit of honor of men

7. Jesus Rejected the Honor System of the Culture
* "I do not receive honor from men.” (Jn.5:41)
‘Receive”……to take or claim for yourself,
* “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. (Jn.6:15)
* Jesus rejected their desire to exalt him and give him a place of prominence
* Jesus was motivated by love for His Father and had no agenda to seek the recognition, approval or honor of men.
* This heart purity from pride and ego, made Him free to declare the truth boldly regardless of whether men were offended or not
* Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
* Joh 6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

8. Jesus Rejected Self Promotion, Honoring yourself
* Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God” (Jn.8:54)
* The Pharisees constantly did all their works to be seen and honored by men
* Jesus taught that creating your own honor counts for nothing eternal
* “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man? (Prov.20:6)

9. Seeking Honor from Men undermines Faith and Trust in God’s Provision
* “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (Jn5:44)
* There is an honor that comes from men (temporary) and there is an honor that comes from God(Eternal)
* Seeking or pursuing recognition and honor from men undermines faith in God as the source
* Gal.1:10 “Am I nowN1trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ”
* Jesus taught we are to seek the honor that comes from God alone and is eternal
* This requires a life of faith…..trusting God is a “ Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”
* Heb.11:6. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”

10. Jesus Taught the Honor System of His Kingdom
* Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
Mat 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
Mat 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—
Mat 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
* “Lord over”………………to hold in place of subjection
* Exercise authority”….to wield full power or privilege over,
* Jesus identified the world honor system …pride based desire for position, power, control, privilege
* He rejected that system and taught Kingdom greatness and honor is given by God and comes through humility and serving
* Humility and sacrificial serving are core characteristics of the kingdom of God


III. REWARD #7: Treasure and Riches

1. Jesus Called us to Pursue Treasures in Heaven
Mat 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 16:11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Mat 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
* “Lay up” - (Gk. Thesaurizo) to amass, to gather up, to accumulate, to store up
* “Treasures” - (Gk. Thesaurus) deposits, wealth, substance, valuable goods that can be exchanged

* Earthly treasure: Suffers corruption from nature and requires guarding from thieves i.e. No Security
(i). People seek for riches all their life and never find them.
(ii) People who become rich worry about losing their riches. (Mat.6.19)
(iii) People tend to place their trust in riches rather than God. (1Tim.6:17)
(iv) People who become rich tend to look down upon others. (1Tim.6:17)
(v) Your heart becomes preoccupied and attached to the things that you place value upon. (Mat.6:21)

* Treasure in heaven:
* (i) Jesus directs followers to pursue “treasure in heaven” - make eternal things the focus of our heart’s pursuit
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven

* (ii) Paul also directs us to set our affection and thoughts upon seeking Treasure in Heaven
Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your mind (affection) on things above, not on things on the earth.

* (iii) Jesus Describes Treasure in heaven as True Riches
Luke 16:8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
Luke 16:9 "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.
Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
Luke 16:11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Luke 16:12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own
* “True” - real , genuine, authentic, the opposite to counterfeit, imaginary

Note Jesus teaching:
* There are riches which are true riches - eternal and reserved in heaven for us
* Faithfulness with money and resources qualifies or disqualifies us from “True Riches”
* Jesus commended the steward for acting wisely - planning ahead for his personal future
“Commended” - to applaud, approve, praise for his actions
* We are to think and plan ahead with eternity and Eternal Reward in mind…using resources to advance the Kingdom
* What then are True Riches?

2. Heaven is Full of Gold and Precious stones
Rev 21:18 - The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
Rev 21:19 - The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
Rev 21:20 - The fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
Rev 21:21 - The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
* Heaven abounds in gold and precious stones
The City of New Jerusalem is pure gold
The street of the city is pure gold, like transparently glass
The foundations of the city are adorned with precious stones
The gates are made of twelve pearls
* These Riches may include Gold and precious stones and dwellings
* Since gold and precious stones abound in Heaven what then are the True Riches?

3. What is Treasure in Heaven?
i. Treasure in Heaven refers to Eternal Intimacy, Eternal Authority, and Eternal Glory
* “Treasure” - Wealth, something of great price or value, something rare or precious
* The greatest treasures are not the things that we can see and touch but things unseen in Heaven

ii. Precious stones were given as awards to honor those who offered courageous service to the community or in battle.
* Rev 2:17 - "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."
* “White” - (Gk. Leukosis) - light, bright, brilliant, dazzling white, like a diamond
* This stone was like receiving the Gold Medal at the Olympics with the name recorded on it
* This white stone symbolised honor and gave them admission to special events and special privileges
* The new name symbolises our new standing and deeper relationship with Jesus
* The “Hidden Manna” - refers to being able to enter the throne room of God and receive Face to face revelation from Him

iii. Treasure in Heaven refers to Privileged Access to Jesus Christ
Access to The Unsearchable Riches of Christ
* Eph. 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
* “Unsearchable”…. means “not tracked out...untraceable, past finding out, unsearchable.”3
* Given that the riches of Christ are far beyond the human brain’s ability to comprehended by reasoning, logic, and intelligence, this mystery can only be known by revelation.
* Unsearchable means you can search them out—the Bible tells us to— but you will never get to the bottom of it. You will never exhaust the fulness of the splendour and magnificence of Jesus
* Around the throne of God, the angels cover their eyes, the seraphim, the four living creatures. They see the glory of God, and they are overwhelmed. They cover their eyes and cry out, “Holy, holy, holy!”.
* We will see Him face to face but will never exhaust the glory and the beauty of our God ever.

Access to The Riches of His Glory
Rom 9:23 - and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.

Access to The Riches of His Mercy and Love
* Eph. 2:4 - But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
* The Riches of His Grace
Eph. 2:6 - and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph. 2:7 - that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Access to Riches of His Wisdom and Knowledge
Col 2:2 - That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
Col 2:3 - In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Pro 3:19 - The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens;
Pro 3:13 - Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
Pro 3:14 - For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.
Pro 3:15 - She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.

Access to The Riches of Personal Revelation from Jesus
* Psa. 119:72 - The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.

(iv) How do We lay up Treasures in Heaven?
* Prayer (Mat.6:5-6)
* Fasting ( Mat.6:16-18)
* Giving Finances (Mat.6:1-4)
* Kindness to the Poor (Lk.14:12-14)
* Loving People without agenda (Lk.6:27-35)
* Faithfulness (Lk.16:10-13, 2Tim.4:7-8)
* Enduring Persecution (Rom.8:17, Lk.6:22-23)
* Sacrifice…Laying down life to serve (Mat.16:24-27)
* Worship Lifestyle (Col3:22-24, Jn.4:24)


IV. Reward 8: Vindication

1. Rev.3:9 “I will make those [persecutors]...worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.”

2. Jesus will Vindicate us for Following and Obeying Him
* What does “Vindicate” Mean?
To clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting arguments or proof
To defend, maintain, or insist on the recognition of
To demonstrate or prove the value or validity of; justify
* During their life following Christ believers suffer misunderstanding, false accusations, and rejection. They are frequently ridiculed for their lifestyle and godly living
* Part of the suffering is being unable to vindicate or prove self right
* Christ will openly vindicate our godly choices and lifestyle and honor us for them
* 1Pe 4:3 For the time already past is [more than] enough for doing what the [unsaved] Gentiles like to do--N1living [unrestrained as you have done] in a course of [shameless] sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and wanton idolatries.
1Pe 4:4 In [connection with] all this, they [the unbelievers] are resentful and surprised that you do not [think like them, value their values and] run [hand in hand] with them into the same excesses of dissipation and immoral freedom, and they criticize and abuse and ridicule you and make fun of your values.
1Pe 4:5 But they will [have to] give an account to Him who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead. (Ampl)

3. I will make them...to know that I have loved you.
* The Father will reveal to the nations the fact that He loves His people.
* “I will make them know” Jesus will act on behalf of those who have loved Him to vindicate them
* 1Sa. 2:30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
* As we have honored Him He will honor us before those that rejected Christ
* On the last day, unbelievers will witness Jesus’ love towards the people they persecuted.
* The Father will openly manifest His love for His children before the nations.
* Jn.17:23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

4. I will make them come and worship before your feet.
* Jesus will manifest His great love for those who remain faithful to Him, by vindicating them before the unbelievers who persecuted them.
* When you love someone deeply you desire to vindicate them if they are being mistreated.
* The persecutors of the saints at Philadelphia will worship Jesus at the feet of those they persecuted.
* Unbelieving false Jews, along with the unbelieving Gentiles, will bow before the true believers in the millennial kingdom
* Isa 45:14 Thus says the LORD: "The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush And of the Sabeans, men of stature, Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; They shall walk behind you, They shall come over in chains; And they shall bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, 'Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God.' "
* They will bow their knee to Jesus in the presence of the people they persecuted in the first century.
* Isa 60:14 Also the sons of those who afflicted you Shall come bowing to you, And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; And they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
* Isa 60:15 "Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, So that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, A joy of many generation

5. Every person will bow their knee to Jesus on the last day.
* At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth...that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord... (Phil. 2:10-11)
* “Bow the Knee” - Humble self before Jesus Kingly glory and majesty

Psa. 102:13 - You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.
Psa. 102:14 - For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust.
Psa. 102:15 - So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
Psa. 102:16 - For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.
Psa. 102:17 - He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer.
Psa. 102:18 - This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
Psa. 102:19 - For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the LORD viewed the earth,
Psa. 102:20 - To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death,
Psa. 102:21 - To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem,
Psa. 102:22 - When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
* Jesus will be vindicated before all men when He appears in Glory and majesty to establish His Kingdom


V. Personal Reflection and Action
* What has the Holy Spirit spoken to you during this study?
* What response do you need to make to this revelation?
* Where do you need to let go seeking the honor of men and fearing rejection?
* Where do you need to focus on seeking the True Riches?
* Where do you need to let go seeking to vindicate yourself before men?



The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 1 (8 of 12)  

Sun 30 Aug 2020 « Back to Top

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Every believer must appear before the Judgment seat of Christ to give account of our life and stewardship service. Our life and works will be examined to establish what rewards we will qualify for.

For some believers this will be a time of celebration, joy and eternal honour. For other believers it will come as a shock as they discover they have wasted the life and opportunities entrusted to them, and that their life and works fail to qualify and they are excluded from the rewards that Jesus had prepared for them. Such believers are saved, but forfeit rewards in the coming Kingdom of Jesus.

The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 1 (8 of 12)

Welcome to our study in the Eternal Rewards, and we're looking at Study #8: The Judgement Seat of Christ.

It's very important for us to understand how our lives are going to be evaluated. What is it that God is looking for, when God is looking to reward us? Because it's so important, I want to spread this over a couple of teaching sessions.

The Bible talks about two places of judgement. It talks about firstly The Judgement Seat of Christ; and secondly, at the end of the Book of Revelation, it talks about the Great White Throne Judgement (or the Final Judgement), where believers and unbelievers are judged, and eternal destinies are worked out. The Judgement Seat of Christ is different to that, and this is the focus of today's study.

So firstly, every believer, every Christian, every follower of Christ, has an appointment at The Judgement Seat of Christ.

Romans 14:10-12 – “We shall all stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ. Each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad”.

Those are the two key scriptures that refer to the Judgement Seat of Christ. There are some other scriptures in the New Testament that talk about the Judgement Seat, referring to the same thing (the same word is used), but these are the two scriptures that refer to the Judgement Seat of Christ. Notice it says: “we shall all stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ; and in 2 Corinthians 5: “we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ”. Every believer must stand before the Judgement seat of Christ - there's no exceptions. It's an appointment every believer will keep.

You have ahead of you, an appointment; I have ahead of me, an appointment. It's an appointment I have no way of avoiding. It's an appointment where I stand before Christ, at the Judgement Seat, so we do want to understand that. Every believer will stand before the Judgement seat of Christ, and the issue there is not sin. The issue is reward. The issue is: giving account of my stewardship, as a believer, after I got saved; or putting it another way: what have I done, to follow Christ and advance His kingdom, in the years that have gone by since I first made a decision to receive Christ. The Judgement Seat of Christ is a place of rewards. Each believer will be rewarded, or they will experience a loss, and this depends on how they lived their life as a believer. Jesus will evaluate our lives on what we've done.

“Each of us shall give account of himself to God, each one receives done in the body according to what he's done, good or bad”. At the judgement seat, we give account - we're called to stand before the Lord, and He will look at every aspect of our life: our service, what we have done - and why we have done it, what motivated us. He's not looking to punish us; what He's looking for is: have we done anything that would qualify for Eternal Rewards? Jesus will evaluate our lives, based on what we have done.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – “we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one way receive things done in the body, according to what he has done”.

The word ‘done’ there is the Greek word ‘prasso’ - it means to practice, or perform repeatedly, or habitually. It's not talking about a single action in our life; it's talking about what have been the habits, the practices - what has been built into our lifestyle? Sometimes as believers, we can get preoccupied with the single things that are happening - with a decision that was a bad decision, or a good decision; but what God is looking at is: the practice - what we have performed repeatedly, which tells much about the condition of our heart inside. Every believer then, has an appointment at the judgement seat of Christ.

Secondly, what is the judgement seat of Christ, what exactly is it? The word that's used there is called ‘bema’, and it's often translated as ‘Judgement Seat’, but it's used in the gospels, and the Book of Acts, in two different ways. Firstly, it was the raised platform, where a Roman magistrate or ruler sat and made decisions or passed sentences. The ‘bema’ is literally the bema seat, or the bema platform - an elevated platform, where a judge sat, and made decisions or passed a sentence. We see that in John 19:13, and in the Book of Acts, where someone sat in judgement; it's a seat where legal decisions are made.

The second use of it (the most common use of it), is a platform where the judge sat to evaluate the athletic contests, like the Olympic Games. In the public games, the contestants would compete for the prize under the scrutiny of judges, and they would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed. It was an elevated platform, the ‘bema seat’, and they would observe: how each runner ran his race; did they obey the rules? Did they stick within the rules; or are they going to be disqualified? As you can imagine, if you're in Olympic Games, then someone is evaluating your performance; and if you break the rules, then you're disqualified - even if you ran what appeared to be a good race. So choosing that kind of image, we're all called to run a race. We're all in a spiritual race of sorts. We're all in a spiritual fight; a spiritual journey; and at the end of the journey, then we are evaluated on how we've run our race, how we've fought our fight, what we've done on our journey.

Paul wrote about that. In the public competitions, what would happen is, the victor who had won (or participated), and if he'd obeyed the rules and won, was led to the bema platform, and a laurel wreath was put upon his head, as a sign of victory. The Bible is using this imagery, of people who have been in a contest, a competition - they've been surrounded by people watching them, and now they are they going to be acknowledged with a reward. There are two scriptures written by Paul about this…

2 Timothy 2:4 – “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of life, that he may please him who has listed him as a soldier”.

2 Timothy 2:5 – “Likewise, if anyone competes in athletics, he's not crowned unless he competes according to the rules”.

Paul is talking about our journey as being a ‘warfare’, where we can't get entangled with things that everyone else gets their life entangled with. We must be focussed on pleasing the Lord, that we may please him, who has enlisted him as a soldier. You and I are in a warfare - we're part of the army of God; we've been enlisted by Jesus Christ, when we got born again; and our goal is to please Him, and the only kind of warfare that pleases, is the one where we engage, and are victorious. Anyone who competes in athletics, is not crowned, unless he competes according to the rules. Paul makes it very clear - our life is like a fight; and our life is like a race. At the end of his life, he was able to say:

2 Timothy 4:7 - “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, I have fought the good fight, and now is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, not only for me but also for all who love His appearing”.

He's using the image of a fight, a spiritual battle, a spiritual warfare, a long warfare - more like a military campaign over the course of our life, and there's a reward to be received for successfully completing the campaign. He uses the illustration of a race we run - we must stick to the rules, and run the race properly, and there's a prize to be won. In 1 Corinthians 9 he talks about it again in terms of the race…

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – “Don't you know that those who run in a race, everyone runs, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it, obtain the prize. Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown. We do it for an imperishable crown. So I run, not with uncertainty. I fight, not as one who beats the air. I discipline my body and bring to subjection, lest when I preach to others I myself should be disqualified”.

Notice there, he raises that, even as an apostle, even as someone who laboured, and worked, and served the Lord, he's saying that I still need to keep my life managed. I need to discipline my body, so it doesn't run my life. He said: I need to keep my life in order; and if I don't, I could be disqualified! The word ‘disqualified’ literally means: to be not approved of; to have failed, or not passed the test.

The Bema Seat, or the Judgement Seat, then refers to every believer appearing before Christ, to have his life and works evaluated; to determine: do you qualify for eternal rewards? It is the place of evaluation, where you receive reward (or you receive loss) - and this is one of the most important teachings, that we need to have as a foundation for our life: understanding the reality of Eternal Rewards, Eternal Intimacy, Eternal Authority, and ruling with Christ, and expanding His kingdom, Eternal Glory. These are laid out in many places in the scripture, and the Judgement Seat, or the Bema Seat of Christ, is the place where we will meet with Him. Our life, our works are all evaluated; and we either receive reward, or we suffer the loss of reward, which we saw in 1 Corinthians 9.

In the Judgement Seat of Christ, all our works will be tested by fire.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 – “According to the grace of God, which was given to me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another one builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds, for no other foundation can anyone lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear, for the Day will declare it. It will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. And if anyone's work which he has built on endures, he will receive reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

He's talking about the evaluation of our works at the Judgement Seat (or the Bema Seat) of Christ. The first thing then is: the foundation laid in every believer is Jesus Christ. The foundation of a building is the unseen structure. It's what the building is constructed upon; a building always rests on a foundation. You start with a foundation, then you build up. The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ Himself, and the finished work He accomplished on the cross. Our salvation and standing as a child of God is based solely on what Jesus did. Now this is an important truth. This is what you consider a foundational truth; and when this is laid, it never stops being the foundation, but you build upon it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”.

In other places, in Titus for example, God makes it very clear that our salvation experience, our being born again, our being joined to God and becoming a new creation, is not based on any work we do. It's based totally on the work of Jesus Christ, and our willingness to believe and trust at the cross He paid the full price for our salvation. There are no works involved in that; absolutely no works, whatsoever.

Notice it says: “by grace have you been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it’s a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast”. No works to get saved; salvation comes by putting our trust in what Jesus Christ has done. There's no work you can add to the foundation, to gain more forgiveness, or to gain more acceptance before God; our entrance to heaven, and to eternal life, is not based on any work. Primarily, it's based on the work of Jesus Christ. However, our status and role in the coming kingdom of heaven - that is determined by what we do. The foundation that we have in our life - our relationship with God, is built solely that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all our sins, was our representative, has offered to us eternal life; “for by grace are you saved through faith”.

The grace is the power of God saving us. He does a work in our spirit, and cleanses, forgives us, gives us positioning and status before God. We're positioned where we can grow as a child of God into full sonship, and into qualification for reward. So, at the Judgement Seat of Christ, at the Bema Seat of Christ, the issue at stake there is not whether you're saved or not. The issue at stake there, because all believers appear there, is: what have you done with your life since you've been saved? What has happened; how have you grown; how have you related to God; how have you served people; how have you advanced the kingdom of God? Those are the questions that He will ask.

So secondly then, each believer is responsible to build his life, and fulfill his assignment from Jesus. You can't put that responsibility anywhere else. Your life is your life. Your assignment is your assignment. God put you in a local church, so that you have a family around you to support you; where you can then have opportunity, and a culture, and environment to grow spiritually. He also calls you to fulfil an assignment. Every believer is entrusted with an assignment in life that's unique to him.

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship…”, meaning that God is constantly working to build and grow you; you are His precious piece of art; He is working on your life; you're not complete yet; “…created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.

When you create something, you manufacture it for a purpose. It is created with something in mind. It's saying: we're His fine piece of art, His masterpiece, constantly being worked on by God. Your part is cooperating with the process of life transformation - you're responsible for the building of your life. It tells us: we're created in Christ Jesus, for good works. So God has assignments prepared for each one of us. They are uniquely related to our passion; our gifts; where we've come from; our journey; and it says: God prepared those beforehand, that we should walk in them.

They were planned by God, for you to accomplish. You are brought into this world as a gift of God to the world, and you have a work to do, that will represent God, bring blessing to others, and expand His kingdom. It says that we should walk in them. In other words, this is a lifestyle, not just some simple thing, or single action, we do. A similar thing is laid out in Paul's letter to Titus.

Titus 2:14 – “Jesus gave Himself for us…” (that's the work that He did on the cross) “…so that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people”.

Notice there, we see salvation. Jesus gave Himself to redeem us (to pay the full price to rescue us), as it says, “from every lawless deed and to purify Himself His own special people”. Jesus paid a full price - firstly to rescue us, from the power of sin, curses, and demonic spirits; that we might be purified, or set apart or made clean, made holy, to be His special people, and there it is: zealous for good works. Titus 3 also says a similar thing - we are created for good works. God has distinctly designed you, gifted you, and He prepares you, to do some things which are unique through you - to bring blessing to other people, and advance His kingdom. Every person's gifts, and capacities, and life circumstances differ, and so too do our assignments.

Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 3 again... It says: “If any man builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw”. There are different types of materials we can use to build. You have a building built of wood, or bricks; there are many ways you can build a building. So, in terms of our life, and our ministry, we must choose the materials we use to build. He says: we can build with gold, silver, precious stones - they are building materials that will survive the fire; or we can build with wood, hay, stubble - but if you put a fire to them, are all burned up and consumed; just ashes are left.

Frequently in the Bible, wood is used as a symbol of humanity. When the Bible is talking about people, He uses the word ‘wood’ - it may use the picture of trees, symbolic of people. Wood is symbolic of people; but gold is very symbolic, or used consistently through the Bible, to speak of things which come from heaven, things which are eternal. The city of God is paved with gold. When they made the tabernacle, the ark that would carry the presence of God, it was made of wood overlaid with gold, a picture of Jesus Christ in His humanity, but fully divine.

If it talks about different materials, then it tells us very clearly, that Jesus is not just looking at the works we do. He's also looking at the kind of work, the motivation of our work. People can do things for many different reasons, or motivations. Notice it says: “the fire will try the work” - what sort it is, meaning the quality, or nature of it. So when we come and stand at the Judgement Seat (or the Bema Seat) of Christ, He's going to evaluate: what did you do; and what was the motivation - what was the quality, or the nature, of the work you did?

Jesus will test everyone's work with fire. What does that mean? Generally, in the Bible, the ‘fire of God’ refers to the activity of the Holy Spirit, which exposes and consumes what's of no value. It says: “He will test every man's work with fire”, meaning He will put it through a testing - the Holy Spirit will look at, evaluate. I'm not sure what the testing will literally be like, but it's very clear the testing will reveal every man's work - what sort it is. The word ‘reveal’ means it's the word ‘apocalypto’, meaning: to take the cover off something, and reveal what has been covered or concealed.

Everyone's work will become clear! That word ‘clear’ means: to be plainly recognised; evident; or its true nature revealed. Was it genuine, authentic love; or was there an agenda purpose behind it? We can't tell, when people do things, why they do them. People do things for many different reasons; but when the time of evaluation of works, God wants to see not just what we did, but what sort of work it was. Was it a dead work, or was it living work? What is the quality of the work? It's the Day of the Lord; the coming of the Lord; and it says: The Day shall reveal the work. Everyone's work will become clear - the Day will declare it; or literally, the Day will make something plain, or take the cover off it.

The next thing is: “the fire of God will…” (we believe it refers to the Holy Spirit) “…will test and reveal the quality of every man's work”.

1 Corinthians 4:5 – “Therefore, don't judge anything (or judge nothing) before the time, until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the heart. And then each one's praise will come from God”.

It's saying: “don't judge things before the time” - there is a time when the Lord comes, and He will bring out into the open everything: what people have done; and why they did it. The hidden motivations of the heart will be exposed to view; not to condemn people, but to see is this work a work that is qualifying for reward or not. Any works that originated from a self-centred motivation (full of pride, or there's a hidden ambition, self-promotion) - that will all be exposed; and this was a problem Jesus found with the Pharisees. He said: “when you pray, don't pray like they do - they pray to be seen of men”. Notice the works (they pray), but the motivation is not for the honour of God. It's not for a priestly ministry; it was to be seen by people.

He said: “they have their reward now”. People saw them, and they looked very spiritual - and many people are like that. They can look very spiritual, they can speak very ‘spiritual’; but God looks on the heart, what the true nature of it is. So the hidden motives of the heart will be revealed. In Matthew 6, Jesus is talking about giving. He said: “don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”, meaning: do your work, do your giving secretly – “not like the Pharisees do”. They do it to be seen by men. We can do our works secretly and quietly, out of love, and out of inspiration by the Holy Spirit - being directed by God to do things; or we can do it with a different motivation - the same activity, different motivation. We can do it with a motivation to be recognised, affirmed or celebrated by people - what a great person you are!

God is not just looking at the works. He's also looking at the motivation of the works: are these works of divine origin and nature - gold, silver, precious stones? Are these works of human origin, and human nature - the wood, hay, stubble? Are these works inspired by the Holy Spirit, and with a pure love, with no hidden motive? These are gold, silver, precious stones; or are these works done, and it's just you're trying to get yourself ahead, and trying to impress people - wood, hay, stubble? The Holy Spirit will test and reveal exactly what it is. Works which are evaluated upon whether we're building our own kingdom, or whether we're advancing the kingdom of Jesus, and His concerns. Paul wrote (in Timothy), that “everyone seeks their own, and not the things which be of Jesus Christ”. God is looking for people who have a heart after Him, to bring pleasure to Him, to please Him; and we should, in all that we do, seek to please Him - not please people.

If our works endure Jesus' scrutiny, we receive reward. Also, if they don't endure His scrutiny, then we lose reward. Works that are done out of love for Jesus, that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and have a pure motive - they're going to be rewarded. He says: “…if our works endure, then we receive reward” - and the Judgement Seat of Christ is exactly that. The Bema Seat is the place of awards. It's the place of Eternal Judgement, the Bible tells us.

Hebrews 6:2-3 talks about the foundational doctrines of Christ, and one if those is Eternal Judgement. The judgement that's made at the Bema Seat of Christ is a final judgement - there's no reversing it! Once the decision is made, you can't make a change in the outcome. Even if you're sorry at that point, it's too late to do anything about it. If we live on earth for 70, 80 years, 90 years, this period passes by very quickly; and everything we do, once we become a believer, start following Christ, is being kept a record of. God keeps a record of it, knows exactly what we've done, and why we've done it - and all of this is laying up either a reward in heaven that accumulates, and qualifies us for reward in eternity.

Or, what we've done has not been of divine nature - we never have changed from a self-centred orientation. Those kinds of works won't receive any reward, won't be acknowledged in any way – they will be burnt! This is very, very significant for us! God's desire is not just that you be saved - that's just the first step. That puts you back into the family of God, but His purpose is that we grow into the image of Jesus Christ. We grow to become like Jesus Christ in our nature - and that requires a daily putting off the self-centred nature, so we can live out of a desire to please God, and out of a relationship with Him.

Our rewards will determine how we spend eternity. This is very important! For all eternity, we will be known by how we lived our life on earth. You can't kind of say: well, I got to the judgement, I got through, and I'm okay - no one will ever know, it's just between me and Jesus. No!

Revelations 13:14 – “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them”.

“Their works follow them”. In way, it will be acknowledged, for all eternity: the kind of life we have lived on the earth; the way we've honoured Jesus Christ; the character we've developed and formed - our works will follow us! If our works are burned, then we will suffer loss - and we cannot reverse it! If we get disqualified from receiving our Eternal Inheritance - sitting with Jesus on the throne, ruling with Him… there's no way we can change it! These rewards are Eternal, and Irreversible. They determine not just whether you get into heaven, but also: the quality, status, standing that you have in that kingdom; the level of intimacy with Jesus; the level of responsibility and authority; and the level of glory that you carry (we've seen this in the previous studies). If our works don’t endure Jesus' scrutiny, then there's going to be a loss.

The Bema seat, or the Judgement Seat, is the place of reward, or loss of reward; and every believer will stand there. Every believer has the appointment with Jesus; and at that appointment, we will exit that with rewards, where Jesus acknowledges in the most generous, abundant, and totally out of proportion to what we've done way. He will acknowledge what we've done with rewards, which are eternal; or, upon examination, we might find that our works don't qualify.

1 Corinthians 3:15 – “If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as by fire”.

Only believers appear before the Bema Seat of Christ; and at the other side of it, they are saved. The question is: whether their works, after evaluation, qualify for any reward; or whether we will suffer loss. What does it mean, to suffer loss? It means to experience some detriment, or to lose and forfeit what God had prepared for me. Paul talked about it in 1 Corinthians 9:27, where he feared that, having preached to others, he might be disqualified - not approved, or meeting the required standard, or standing up to the test. In the letters to John, John speaks about it too…

1 John 2:28 - “Now little children, abide in Him, that when He appears (that's the coming of the Lord), we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming”.

It tells us there that it's possible to have total confidence, and boldness, and not be at all shamed when He comes; but the opposite is also true - that when He comes, we may lose all our confidence, and may be quite ashamed.

In the Amplified version… 1 John 2:28 – “Now little children, believers or dear ones, remain in Him (or remain in relationship with Him), with unwavering faith, so that when He appears at His return, we may have perfect confidence, and not be ashamed or shrink away from Him at His coming”.

It tells us: “abide in Him”, so we're not ashamed, and draw back, because we're embarrassed about our condition - He warns us about that. The consequences of abiding in Him will be a fruitful, productive life, bringing forth fruit that qualifies for reward; but the result of not abiding in Him means that, at His coming, we will be acutely embarrassed by the kind of life we lived, and what we have to present to Him. That's a huge challenge for us, not to live as lukewarm believers, but to live passionately full on for the Lord.

What does it mean to “abide in Him”? The word literally means ‘remain’, or to ‘closely be connected’, or ‘closely joined’. It means to have fellowship and intimacy with Jesus; to remain in close union with Him. Putting it another way, it means to draw on His life, as the source of our life; and to obey Him, out of the relationship we have with Him.

John 15:4 – “I'm the vine, you are the branches, abide in Me and let My word abide in you, and you'll produce good fruit, fruit that remains”.

‘Abiding’, then, is an issue of personal relationship; and it's also an issue of responsiveness to His words. We abide in Him, and let His word abide in us. To let His Word ‘abide in us’ means that we take seriously what Jesus has to say, and we do the best we can to apply it to our life. If we don't do that, the opposite to that is not abiding - our life with Him is very sporadic, or up and down; and it says: we will be ashamed at His appearing.

‘Ashamed’ means: to experience a loss of honour. When Jesus appears, the revelation of what our life has been like: what we prioritised; what we considered important; why we did things; how we did them; our motivation… when this is all uncovered, we will be aware of our failure to live the life Jesus planned for us, and the enormity of the loss of eternal rewards - of intimacy, honour, glory, and authority.

We will suffer and experience feelings of shame, disappointment, grief – but these will not be permanent. The status will be permanent, but the feelings won't be, because…

Revelations 7:17 – “He will wipe away all tears from their eyes”.

There will be a moment of realisation: of what we have done with our life; the opportunities wasted and lost; the impossibility of now recovering that; and the consequences of what we've lost for eternity. I think there will be immense grief, and immense shame over that. However, the shame and the grief won't last forever. It will just be a thing that happens, and then we will see, as we look at the evaluation, that God is a just God - that He has done what is right, and we will accept His judgement concerning our future.

Wow! That raises then the question… How will Jesus evaluate our works? If you're trying to do this naturally, how long would it take to work out someone's life? This will all happen in just a moment of time for us, because in the realm of the Spirit, time is not there to hinder us in any way. So how will Jesus evaluate our works? Let me share with you four things just related to that…

1) We need to find out what pleases the Lord. Now that you're a believer, one of your roles, your responsibilities, is that you discover what pleases the Lord - because relationships are meant to bring pleasure to us. God designed us, He created all things for His pleasure. God created us for His enjoyment; and so, some things bring God pleasure, and enjoyment. For example, with David… “I delight thy will, oh God” - he delights to bring God pleasure! In God's assessment of David (in Acts), He said: “I have found a man after My own heart, who will fulfil all My will”. God has been looking for someone who has a desire to bring pleasure to Him; and participate, or partner with the Father, in accomplishing His will. So, the first thing is, we need to set the direction of our life to discover what pleases the Lord.

2) Jesus constantly sought to please His Father.

John 8:29 – “He who sent Me, is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him”.

“I always do the things that please Him”. Jesus' whole life was focussed around His Father, and pleasing His Father; and He brought such great pleasure, that on more than one occasion the Father spoke from heaven, saying: “this is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. He brings Me great pleasure. I am delighted in My Son, because of how He lives and what He does. Paul also spoke, and he urged believers that we should seek to find out how to please the Lord. Here's a couple of scriptures, talking about knowing the will of the Lord; and finding out what pleases the Lord…

Ephesians 5:10 – “Don't say you don't know. You've got a Bible and you can pray. Go and find what pleases the Lord”

2 Corinthians 5:9 – “Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him”.

Jesus modelled a life lived to please His Father. You can live to please yourself; you can live to please people; or you can live to please God. Who is it, that you're living to please? If you live to please God, it will put you in conflict with your own desires at times. It will also put you in conflict with what other people want.

Galatians 1:10 – “If I seek to please men, I cannot be the servant of God”.

If I make it my priority to keep people happy, or to please people, then I won't bring pleasure to God, because I will be in conflict with Him!

3) Pleasing God requires we walk in faith. Pleasing God requires you trust Him.

Hebrews 11:6 – “Without faith, it's impossible to please Him; for he who comes to God must believe He is, and He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.

Without trusting God, believing, and allowing that belief to be worked out in our life, it's impossible to please Him. Faith is the bottom line! It is crucial then, that I exercise faith; that I live a life of trusting God, hearing God - because faith comes by hearing God.

4) Pleasing God requires we be led by the Holy Ghost.

Romans 8:8 – “So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God”.

Without faith… we cannot please Him; and living in the flesh, living according to our mind, emotions, circumstances… we cannot please God. We must have faith; and we must be led by the Holy Spirit. If you search the Bible, there are a whole number of things which are the will of God, and which please Him if we do them, so I'll leave you to search that out…

The second thing then, related to Jesus evaluating our work, is that God's eternal purpose is the plumb line for evaluating our works. Amos had a prophetic vision…

Amos 7:7 – “Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, and with a plumb line in His hand”.

A plumb line is a weight attached to the end of a cord, and gravity pulls the weight down, so when you hold the plumb line it goes directly down and gives a vertical line. Plumb lines are used in the construction of buildings, and they judge whether walls are upright or not. God measures the quality and success of our works: do they align with His eternal purpose? Do they align with His standards? God will never deviate from His standard for measuring success, and that is His eternal purpose.

Success can be considered in all kinds of ways - you might have all sorts of ideas of what success is, but real success can only be found in fulfilling God's will for our life. There are several aspects to God's eternal purpose...

1) Jesus Christ will be at the centre of everything in heaven and earth. In Colossians it tells us that Jesus will have the pre-eminence in all things. One part of God's purpose is to bring honour to His Son Jesus Christ, by giving Him pre-eminence over everything. One part of my life is then to be aligned: that in everything, Jesus has pre-eminence.

2) Father is extending His kingdom through a family of overcoming sons - exactly like Jesus Christ. Another aspect of God's eternal purpose is that He is building a family of sons, like Jesus, who will expand His kingdom.

The eternal purpose is that: Jesus Christ will be at the centre of everything, to have pre-eminence and prominence in everything; and God is building us to become just like His Son, which brings Him such pleasure - to work with Him, in expanding His kingdom. That is what God's purpose is!

He's not going to bring blessing on what you think is good, and what you think is right. He's going to bring blessing upon the things which agree with, and align with, with His overall plan; and then His specific plan, for you. In evaluating our works, we need to see that.

3) The next thing we need to see is, the importance of our heart. Most people just look on the outside…

1 Samuel 16:7 – “The Lord said to Samuel: do not look at his appearance, or his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord looks not as man looks, or sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart.”

Samuel is evaluating the sons - which one of the sons might be the future king, and they looked good; they looked to be qualified. However, God says: don't look externally; don't look at what they appear to be; God looks on the heart. For example, Jesus was in the temple, and He watched the people doing their giving, and He saw that some people put in a lot of money; but He saw another woman, and she put in two little mites, which was just a very small amount of money. He said: “she has given more than all of them”. This one gave out all this money, and she only had two mites; but He said: I weighed up what this meant to them; and for this woman, this is her whole livelihood.

So, you understand then, that being poor, and having few resources, does not disqualify you for great eternal rewards. The wealthy people that had much, and gave much, still didn't in proportion to what they have, give what the little lady gave - she gave her whole life. She had such a love, and a passion for the Lord, that she gave her very best to Him. God looks at what is going on in our heart, in relationship to our activities.

Proverbs 16:2 – “The ways of man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits or heart”.

We think we're doing well, but God really looks at what's going on in our heart; and the motivation. He looks at what we've done; and also at what has been the driving motivation; the life flow from within it - how much of it has been birthed out of relationship with Jesus, and is an overflow of that relationship; and how much of it has come out of self-centred, or self-promotion, purposes. In all of this, God is using His Son Jesus Christ, as the pattern. If you're going to try to build something, Jesus is the pattern.

Colossians 1:15 – “He's the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation”.

Jesus is exactly like God, in His nature, character, and His make-up; He's the firstborn of many.

Hebrews 1:3 – “Who being the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person, upholding all things by the word of His power. When He Himself purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of God”.

Jesus is the express image of God. Jesus is the pattern upon which you build your life. If you model your life on other people, they will always let you down; you will always find a measure of disappointment; you will always see them come short. We need to make Jesus Christ the centre - we are following Jesus Christ. Paul said…

1 Corinthians 11:1 - “Follow me, as I follow Christ”.

Notice that, if he wasn't following Christ, then there's no reason to be following him. Often people put too much in men. We tend to make idols out of men. We want people to be perfect, when they're not perfect. The only one that's perfect is Jesus Christ, so build your life on Jesus, the pattern - how does He lead you; what example did He give; what did He teach; what is He saying; and how is He guiding you in all of this? If you do that, you won't get offended when people fail. On our journey, we've seen pastors who were over us, who failed in immorality. We've seen many, many people fail over the years; but it never stopped us pursuing the Lord, and our calling in Him, because our eyes are fixed on Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-2 – “…let us run with patience the race that's set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ, who's the author and finisher of our faith…”.

Set your eyes on the Lord!

Acts 4:10-12 - “Let it be known to all of you people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, who God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This (Jesus) is the stone, which was rejected by the builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, there is no name given under heaven whereby men must be saved”.

Jesus is the chief cornerstone. He was rejected by the religious leaders, who were supposed to be building the people of God; but God has made Him the chief cornerstone.

Isaiah 28:16 – “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. He whoever believes on Him will not act hastily”.

A cornerstone was the most important part of the building, because the whole weight of the building rested on that stone; and if it was removed, the structure collapsed. The stone was very important; and the cornerstone was also the keys to keeping the walls straight. When they were building, they would take sightings along the lines of the stones, and they would line all the walls up with the cornerstone. If everything is lined up correctly on the cornerstone, then all the angles will be right, and the building would all meet.

So when it comes to evaluating our works, looking at our works…

1) We need to discover what pleases God, what brings pleasure to Him

2) His eternal purpose is the ‘plumb line’, on which our works are evaluated. God considers the motive of our works; and He also considers how it relates to Jesus Christ - have we been formed to become like Him? Are we operating in sonship, like Jesus did? How much have we been conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

3) Primarily, He's looking on the heart. He's also looking at: how does this relate to, compare to, and line up with, My eternal purpose; and also to the ‘pattern’ Son, that I put out in front of everyone.

It requires that we commit our lives to a life of intimacy. The first, and most important thing then, is intimacy: intimacy with Jesus - having a surrendered and pure heart. No matter what stage or state you are in, how much wealth you have, or how many gifts you have, every person can commit to intimacy; to develop, cultivate, and grow a surrendered, pure heart, because that's what intimacy does. It develops in us a surrendered and pure heart. Jesus is looking for works that are flowing out of intimacy. He won't overlook anything we do, but what He primarily looks for, are things that come out of a surrendered and a pure heart - works motivated by intimacy with Jesus, and surrender to His spirit, with a pure heart.

What does a ‘surrendered heart’ mean? Your ‘heart’ is your motivation; and ‘surrendered’ means to yield the power or control to someone. In worship, we surrender to Jesus, to His will. It's an expression of humility, humbling yourself before the Lord, to recognise Him. A surrendered and a pure heart is a humble heart; so intimacy with Jesus means: humility; developing a humble heart; a surrendered heart; a pure heart. A ‘pure heart’ means: no hidden self-centred agenda; no hidden expectations behind what we do; no impure motives. A ‘surrendered heart’ means that I'm yielded to Jesus, I've humbled myself, to surrender to Him; and pure heart means that there's no hidden agendas, so what I do is pure.

There's not a mixture in it. God doesn't like mixtures. Sadly, we can be motivated by many reasons other than sacrificial love. Jesus said: it's what's in your heart, that defiles. What comes out of your heart, is what defiles a man. We can have heart motivations that defile. That we can do the right things, but for the wrong reasons, with wrong motivations.

God is weighing up not just what you did, but the ‘why’ you did it - what was driving it. Jesus was moved by love; He was moved by compassion; He was moved by the spirit; He was moved by obedience to God. Whatever Jesus did, flowed out of a heart of love. However, the heart motivations that defile people - there can be many. Let me give you a few...

Some people are motivated by guilt. They've failed somewhere in their life; and a lot of their activities - they look like they're good, they look sacrificial, but they're actually driven by guilt. There's a pressure in their life of guilt, that's motivating the actions.

To some people it could be a false burden of responsibility. Maybe they had a parent fail, who was an alcoholic, or a drug addict, or abandoned the family. The child has stepped up, and felt that, out of fear of what might happen, I need to take on the responsibility; or maybe the parent's put it on them - you've got to be the responsible one. So all their life, they've carried this burden of responsibility, and this in the end makes them ‘rescuer’ in their relationships. They take over things, but not because of love, which would make people responsible for their lives, but out of a sense of responsibility (or fear) of what may happen; so, they end up rescuing people.

For some people, what moves them is the fear of being rejected. They fear that if they don't do it, they will be rejected - they won't be approved of; won't be accepted. This can be a big thing in some families, in some cultures.

For some people, they do it out of duty. When you do things out of duty, you do it because it's the right thing to do; but no one feels the love in it - the job was done, but there's no sense of love. There's no fragrance of Christ in it at all, there's no sense of the presence of God. It was just: I did my duty; I did what I needed to do. No one acting that way produces life; it's just, you did what was right.

Some people do things out of resentment. They're doing it; and they're reluctant to speak up, and out, that they don't want to do it - so they do it with resentment. They do it with a grudge. When people do works that are resentful, the work may look good, but it's got a wrong motivation - there's a polluted river flowing through it!

For some people, they do it because it's a religious work; and sadly, churches are full of religious works, that are completely dead. Religious works are works that are done out of the law; they're done out of obligation, or duty; they're done to please people; they're done out of because I'm afraid of what'll happen – that I might be shamed, or put to shame, if I don't do it. Religious duty, or religious spirit, can put a burden on people, to function and do things; but what they do has got no life in it, and there's no eternal value in it, because it's not motivated by the love of God.

For some people, they're driven by what's called ‘performance orientation’. They've never been affirmed, never been loved; their heart has been broken. Perhaps they were never good enough; and they believe in their heart: nothing I do is good enough. Their approval came when they did something, so their whole life was all about doing, doing, doing, because of a core need in their life, for validation or acceptance, that was never given to them. They're operating out of a broken heart!

Some people can do it out of rejection.

Some people do it out of pride - they want to look good in front of everyone. What they're doing is carefully selected to impress the person who can promote them.

Every one of us have seen those kinds of activities, and the Bible calls them ‘Dead Works’. In Hebrews 6:1-3, the foundation of our faith in Christ, starts with building ‘repentance from dead works’, and then ‘faith towards faith the living God’. We need to repent from dead works. Dead works are works - they're things that people do; but they're not done out of love, or out of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; they're not done out of a pure heart. They're done out of all these wrong heart motivations. When you look at that list of heart motivations, they tell you that the person's heart is broken. They're damaged in their heart, and they need heart transformation.

We saw as we looked at sonship, that intimacy with God is the primary driver of everything, the primary part of our design. Works are part of our design. We all have an assignment. But the third thing is that, God wants to change and transform our heart, to be filled with love; to be healed, and filled with love, so what flows out of our heart into our activities and into our relationship, and into our walk with God, is a flow of love. Only out of intimacy, can we discover what God wants us to do. Only out of intimacy, do we become empowered to do what He calls us to do. Only out of intimacy, do we have encounters with the love of God, that move us to operate out of love.

Intimacy means having a surrendered, and a pure, heart; and Jesus modelled what this is like, and taught it. He surrendered to the Father's will. He taught intimate life, and He's looking for this. Let me give you a few examples…

1) He modelled intimacy with God. Look at Jesus' prayer life...

Mark 1:35 - “Now in the morning, having risen a long way before daylight, He went out and department to a solitary place, and there He prayed”.

There it is - Jesus modelling intimacy. That's why the disciples said: “teach us to pray”; and even in teaching them to pray, Jesus showed them exactly what it means to pray. He said: “Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”.

Notice He said: “Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” - that's intimacy. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” - that's a surrendered life. Jesus taught the surrendered life - that we come to God in intimacy; and surrender in humility; and then align with His will. We surrender to His will. Jesus Himself indicated how He surrendered to the Father's will…

John 6:38 – “I've come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me”.

Luke 22:41 – “When He was withdrawn about a stone's throw, He knelt down and prayed, saying Father, if it's Your will take this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done”.

Notice then, it's about ‘surrender’ and ‘intimacy’. Jesus modelled surrender, intimacy, and humility. He modelled surrender to the Father's will, and then He taught about it. Jesus then looks for works that are motivated primarily by love for Him, and response to His spirit - that's what He's looking for; that's what's bringing Him pleasure. So that has several outcomes…

The first is, we need our own personal relationship with Jesus. You've got to commit time. There’s actually an effort, and a work involved, to build a prayer life. For example, Jesus taught (in Matthew 25:1-13) about the five wise, and five foolish, virgins. They were all virgins, meaning that they were all believers; but five were wise, and five were foolish. All had lamps, with oil, and all of them were waiting for the bridegroom. It says that the foolish said to the wise…

Matthew 25:8 – “Give us your oil, our lamps are going out. And the wise answered, saying: not so, lest there be not enough for us. Go to them that sell and buy for yourself”.

In other words, you need to do the work, you need to pay the price, to have the oil of intimacy.

“…And when they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut”.

So here is an example of reward and loss. The five foolish virgins, came later, and were denied access. It's talking about the reward Eternal Intimacy, and how important it is, for us to invest in our relationship with Jesus. Don't just get busy doing works. The primary thing is to ensure that the works we're doing are coming out of a relationship with Him. They're empowered out of the overflow of that relationship. Every believer must commit time and energy, and make a sacrifice, to buy the oil of intimacy. This is a work - getting up to pray, spending time fasting, spending time with God… this is an activity. This is a work we do. It's not a burdensome work, but there is a work in it.

Every believer, for example is called to be a priest; and our priesthood is an important part of our kingdom work. What is a priesthood? Priest is a person who comes to God, they offer prayer and worship and intercession, and they get empowered by God with ability, to be able to then bring blessing to others. Every believer is called firstly to a priesthood, to be a minister to God, in worship and in intimacy; and then everything we do flows out of the work we've done in our priesthood. Your priesthood to God is your first ministry, your first work, which empowers and changes everything.

Now the second thing about doing the works is that, without love motivating our works, they have no eternal value. Without the love of God, the agape, the sacrificial love of God motivating our works, they have no value! When God looks at your works, to what level is love motivating them? Now this is perhaps something difficult to get a hold of, so let me show you a scripture.

1 Corinthians 13:2 – “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have all faith - I could do miracles and all kinds of things - and I could remove mountains, but if have not love I am nothing”.

1 Corinthians 13:3 – “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor (wow, that's sacrificial!), though I give my body to be burned, or sacrificed as a martyr (whoa, that's amazing!), but have not love, it profits me nothing”.

Without love flavouring what we do, it doesn't have any value for us in eternity. We are called to be like our Father, and we're called to love people like our Father loves, with no hidden agenda. Wow, that's challenging isn't it? We must pursue God, and pursue the love of God, and then release that love to others. What is the Great Commandment?

Luke 10:27 – “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your strength; and love your neighbour as yourself”.

Here's another thing then that shows the importance of love… Without love, our works are no different to an unbeliever's works!

Luke 6:32-35 – “If you love those who love you, what credit, or what grace, or what empowerment by God, is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what grace is that to you? What credit, what thanks? Even the sinners do the same. If you lend to those you hope to receive back, what grace is that? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back”.

If you only love people, because they've loved you, then you're acting as a response - there's no big deal about that. You don't have to be saved to do that. If you do good only to the ones who do good to you, you're just repaying them. You know, you're indebted to them, so what credit is that? Even sinners will do that! If you lend, and you always want to get something back, what credit? Even sinners will do the same.

” …but love your enemies, do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return”.

There it is right there: “hoping for nothing in return”. When you love people, when you do good, when you lend or give, there's no hidden expectation that they are indebted to you. The love you've given is totally free of any hidden agendas - otherwise you're trading. You're giving this, but want something back. The nature of God's love is to give, not wanting something back.

Luke 6:35 – “Love your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return. If you'll do that, your reward will be great!”

Not a little reward; a great reward! And, you will be sons of the Most High! Why? Because He's kind to unthankful, and the evil. If we operate like that - loving our enemies; doing good; lending; giving; and serving… without trying to extract a favour, an entitlement, or something back - then God sees it all! God will reward it greatly; and we are establishing that we are sons of our Father, because we're representing exactly what He is like - and that's what sonship is! That's what God's eternal purpose is! That's what He's looking for!

Will you be a son of the Most High? Will you act like your Father? Will you be like Jesus Christ? Will you act like He acted; and love people, love your enemies, do good - in the end hoping to get nothing back? This is a very powerful scripture. When we do works which are motivated and empowered by love, it establishes two things.

1) We've set it up for God to reward us. We will receive reward in heaven.

2) Our identity, as sons, who represent our Father in heaven.

We'll finish with just one last other thought on this... Many Christians (not a few, many!) will find their works rejected, and having no value. Now we think: they did all these things, don't they deserve to be acknowledged? No, no! Remember, God is looking at: did the works fit the pattern of divine design; and do they represent what Jesus Christ did? Are they following that pattern?

Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to Me: ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom, but he who does the will of My Father…”

(See, surrender!)

“Many will say to Me in that day…” (many is not a few people. That's many!)

”…Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, done many wonders in Your name?”

(These are believers are operating in the supernatural. They're operating in kingdom reality)

“…and I will declare to them: I never knew you! Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

In this passage, Jesus is referring to entrance to the coming millennial kingdom, and the accompanying rewards. The thing at stake here is the entrance to coming kingdom; not operating in the kingdom now but entering into the glory of Eternal Rewards. He's saying here, ‘many’ - that's multitudes of people! They will have experienced supernatural ministry. They've seen the power of the kingdom. But this is what Jesus uncovered: they lacked an intimate, surrendered heart.

“I didn't know you”. That word ‘know’ means: to be intimate; deeply personal, intimate, because of building a relationship. He uncovers the lack of an intimate, surrendered heart; and He uncovers their motivation. He says: you practice, this as a habit - this is how you're doing your life! You're practicing lawlessness. That means ‘without law’; or virtually, it means you're operating in independence; pride; self-promotion. That word ‘lawlessness’ or ‘inequity’ refers to the reason that Satan fell - because he wanted to elevate himself. It's saying: yes, I saw you did all those works, and I blessed the people for My Name’s sake - but I also saw WHY you did it. You did it to build your own ministry, your own life, your own finances, your own reputation - you didn't love the people. You loved what you could get from the ministry.

Wow, isn't that powerful! So just a few thoughts for reflection then, that you need to ask…

What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you about in this teaching? What have you felt impacted you? What action would you need to take in response?

Thinking about the judgement seat that you're going to stand before one day, the bema seat of Christ, for evaluation - how does that challenge you right now?

What about your motivations - how are they challenged?

I listed a number of different defiling heart motivations, that are moved out of things other than love. Are there any you could identify with? Have another look at them. What changes would you need to make?

Are there any areas you should surrender to the Lord? I think the key thing here is, the need to develop an intimacy; develop a surrendered and pure heart. We need a humble and surrendered heart; a heart that's become pure - and that's a journey to do that, but it starts with the first decision. All the works that we do, God is going to pass them through the test of intimacy. Have we humbled ourselves, and surrendered to the Lord's will, and done things out of a pure heart of love?

I trust this really helped you, and been a blessing for you, and I look forward to carrying on Part 2 of this... God bless!

Summary Notes

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ER8: The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 1

I. What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?

1. Every Believer has an Appointment at The Judgment Seat of Christ
* Rom 14:10-12 - For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
* 2Col. 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
* Note: Every believer must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
* There are no exceptions. This is an appointment that every believer will keep
* Every believer will stand before Christ and give an account of how they have lived as a believer
* At that time each believer will be rewarded (or experience loss) for what he has done during his life
* Jesus will evaluate our lives based according to what we have done - our lifestyle
“Done”….Gk. prasso …to practice, to perform repeatedly, or habitually (not single acts)
Whatever we have regularly practiced will have consequences

2. What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?
* “ Bema”, or Judgment Seat is used in the Gospels and Acts in two ways:
(i). The raised platform where a Roman magistrate or ruler sat to make decisions and pass sentence (Jn.19:13)
(ii). The platform where a judge sat to evaluate athletic contests like the Olympic Games.
In the public games the contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed.
The victor of a given event who participated according the rules was led by the judge to the platform called the Bema. There the laurel wreath was placed on his head as a symbol of victory.
* 2Ti. 2:4 - No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
2Ti. 2:5 - And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
* 1Col. 9:24 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1Col. 9:25 - And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
1Col. 9:26 - Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
1Col. 9:27 - But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
* The Bema or Judgment Seat refers to each believer appearing before Christ to have his life and works evaluated for the purpose of determine his qualification for Eternal Rewards
* The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ is a place of evaluation and either reward or loss

3. At the Judgment Seat of Christ all our works will be tested by Fire
1Col. 3:10 - According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
1Col. 3:11 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Col. 3:12 - Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
1Col. 3:13 - each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
1Col. 3:14 - If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
1Col. 3:15 - If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
(i). The Foundation laid is Jesus Christ
The foundation is the unseen structure upon which a building is constructed
The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ Himself and His finished work on the cross
Our salvation and standing as a child of God is based solely upon the work that Jesus did
Eph. 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
There is no work that we can add to this foundation to gain forgiveness and acceptance before God
We are saved by faith in Jesus’ work, as a free gift, but are rewarded according to our works.
Our entrance into heaven is not based on our works, though our status and our role in the Kingdom of Heaven is.

(ii). Each believer is responsible to build his life and fulfil his assignment from Jesus
Each believer is entrusted assignments in life that are unique to him
Eph. 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Tit. 2:14 - who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Every person’s gifts, capacities and life circumstances differ…so too do our assignments

(iii). There are different types of materials that we can use to build
We can build with gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, stubble
Gold, silver, and precious stones are building materials that will survive the fire
Wood, hay, and straw will be incinerated.
This reveals that Jesus is looking not just at the works that we do but the quality of the work
He looks at the motivations behind our actions…what sort it is
“Sort”…..the quality or nature of

(iv). Jesus will tests each man’s work with Fire
The Fire of God refers to the activity of the Holy Spirit exposing and burning what is of no value
“Clear” ……Gk Phaneros…to be plainly recognised or known, become evident, reveal its nature
“Declare”…to make something plain
“Reveal”….Gk. Apokalupto…to take the cover off something and reveal what has been covered
The Lord will evaluate the quality and nature of every person’s work.

(v). The Fire of God will test and reveal the quality of each man’s work
1Col. 4:5 - Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
Hidden motivations of the heart will be exposed to view not to condemn but for the purpose of reward. Works that originate from self-centred motivation, pride, selfish ambition, self-promotion will be exposed. Our works are evaluated upon whether we built our own Kingdom or advanced Jesus Kingdom and His concerns.

(vi). If our works endure Jesus scrutiny, we shall receive reward
Works done out of love for Jesus, inspiration of the Holy Spirit and a pure heart will be rewarded.
The judgment seat of Christ will be an eternal judgment (Heb. 6:2).
That is, there will be no reversing the decision.

(vii) Our rewards determine the way we spend eternity.
For all eternity we will be known by the way we lived our lives on the earth
Rev 14:13 - Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."
If our works are burned and we suffer loss, there will be no way to reverse this.
If we are disqualified from receiving our fullest eternal inheritance—such as sitting with Jesus on His throne and ruling the nations with Christ—there will be no way to change this.
The rewards given to the saints will be eternal and irreversible

(vii). If our works do not endure Jesus scrutiny we suffer loss
1Col. 3:15 - If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
“Suffer loss”….to experience detriment, lose or forfeit the rewards that were prepared
1Col. 9:27 - But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
“Disqualified”……not approved as meeting the required standard, not standing the quality test
1Jn 2:28 - And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming
1Jn 2:28 - Now, little children (believers, dear ones), remain in Him [with unwavering faith], so that when He appears [at His return], we may have [perfect] confidence and not be ashamed and shrink away from Him at His coming. AMPL
“Abide in Him” means fellowship and intimacy with Jesus …to remain in close connection, union
It means to draw on His life as the source of ours and to obey Him out of that intimate relationship
“Ashamed”….experience a loss of honour
The revelation of the quality of his works brings an awareness his failure and the enormity of the loss of eternal rewards and Authority and Glory
The feelings of grief, shame and disappointment will not be permanent (Rev.7:17)


II. How will Jesus Evaluate our Works?

1. We Need to find out what Pleases The Lord
(i). Jesus constantly sought to Please His father
Joh 8:29 - And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him."
(ii). Paul urged believers to seek to please Him also
Eph. 5:10 - and find out what pleases the Lord.
2Co 5:9 - Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
(iii) Pleasing God requires we walk in faith
Heb. 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
(iv). Pleasing God requires that we are led by the Holy Spirit
Rom 8:8 - So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

2. God’s Eternal Purpose is His Plumb line for Evaluation of our Works
* Amo 7:7 - Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.
* A Plumb Line is a weight attached to the end of a cord. Gravity pulls the weight straight down
* Plumb lines are used in building construction for judging whether a wall or building is upright
* God measures the quality and success of our works by their alignment with His Eternal Purpose
* The Lord never deviates from His standard for measuring success…His Eternal Purpose
* Two Key aspects of God’s Eternal Purpose
(i). Jesus Christ the Son will be at the Centre of everything in Heaven and on Earth
(ii). Father is Extending His Kingdom through a family of Overcoming Christlike sons

3. The Importance of the Heart
* 1Sa. 16:7 - But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
* Pro 16:2 - All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.
* God looks not just at what we have done or how we look. He evaluates the heart, the motives

4. God’s Sonship Design is Foundational for His Evaluating our Works
* Jesus is the Pattern Son
Col 1:15 - He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Heb. 1:3 - who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
* Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone
Act 4:10 - let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
Act 4:11 - This is the 'STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED BY YOU BUILDERS, WHICH HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.'
Act 4:12 - Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Isaiah 28:16. - Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily."
Building on the Cornerstone
Historically, the cornerstone was the most important part of any building. The total weight of an edifice rested on this particular stone, which, if removed, would collapse the whole structure.
The cornerstone was also the key to keeping the walls straight. The builders would take sightings along the edges of this part of the building. If the cornerstone was set properly, the stonemasons could be assured that all the other corners of the building would be at the appropriate angles as well.
Thus, the cornerstone became a symbol for that which held life together.

* We are being Conformed by Holy Spirit to become like Jesus
Rom 8:29 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.


III. Intimacy: Having a Surrendered and Pure Heart

1. Surrendered and Pure Heart
* Works motivated by intimacy with Jesus, surrender to His Spirit and from a pure heart
* Surrendered Heart…..to yield power or control to another
In worship and intimate relationship we surrender to Jesus and His will
This is an expression of humility, humbling ourselves to yield to Jesus
* Pure heart….No hidden self-centred agenda, hidden expectations, or impure motives
We can be motivated by so many different reasons other than sacrificial love:
* Heart Motivations that Defile:
Guilt, False Burden of Responsibility, Fear of rejection, Duty, Resentment, Religion, Performance Orientation, Rejection, Pride, Desire to look good,
The Bible calls these works “Dead Works” (Heb.6:2)
* They lack the life giving presence of God because they are not motivated by faith and love
* Intimacy with God means an exchange of life through worship and surrender.
We experience and receive His love. This moves us to respond in faith and obedience
* Only out of Intimacy can we discover the will of God and what He has called us to

2. Example of Jesus
* Jesus modelled intimacy with Father God
Mar 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

* Jesus Surrendered to His Father’s Will
Joh 6:38 - For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Luke 22:41 - And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed
Luke 22:42 - saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

* Jesus taught an Intimate Surrendered life
Mat 6:9 - In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name(Intimate)
Mat 6:10 - Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Surrendered)

3. Jesus looks for works motivated by love for Him and response to His Spirit
* We Need a Personal Intimate relationship with Jesus
Example: The parable of the five Wise and five Foolish Virgins (Matt.25:1-13)
Mat 25:8 - And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Mat 25:9 - 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.
Mat 25:10 - 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.
The Five wise virgins paid a price (works) to ensure they were ready
They committed time and energy and made sacrifice to “buy the oil of intimacy”
Every believer is called to be a Priest to God.
Our priesthood is an important part of our Kingdom work…Prayer, worship and intercession.
Every believer is called to the work of the priesthood….to make themselves ready for His Coming
We are also called to works of service that bless people

* Without love motivating them our works have no eternal value
1Col. 13:2 - And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1Col. 13:3 - And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Paul identifies clearly how essential our works be motivated by sacrificial love (Agape)
We are called to be loving people like our Heavenly Father
We are called to love people as Father loves us with no hidden agenda

* Without Love our works are no different to an unbeliever
Luke 6:32 "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luke 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
“Credit”….the word used is Charis…Grace…the enabling power of God
People in the world return a favor…..they love those who love them, and do good to those who do good to them
People in the world do favors so they can receive something in return
Works motivated and empowered by love establish two things:
(i). Reward in Heaven
(ii). Identity as Sons who represent Our Heavenly Father

* Many Christians will find their works rejected as having no value
Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
Mat 7:23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Jesus teaching refers to entrance to the coming Millennial Kingdom and accompanying rewards
“Many”….this applies to multitudes of believers in Christ
These are believers who have experienced supernatural ministry, the power of the Kingdom
Jesus uncovers the lack of an intimate and surrendered heart
Jesus uncovers that their motivation: Pride, independence and self-promotion


IV. Personal Reflection and Action
1. What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you about in this teaching?
2. What actions to you need to take in response?
3. How does this teaching on the Bema Seat of Christ challenge what you do?
4. How does this teaching on the Bema Seat of Christ challenge your motivations?
5. Are there any of the defiling Heart Motivations that you identify with?
6. What changes do you need to make?
7. What areas do you need to surrender to Jesus?
8. In what ways do you need to deepen your intimacy with Jesus?



The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 2 (9 of 12)  

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Every believer shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of how we have served the Lord and what our lives have become.

What will Jesus take into account when He evaluates our life and service? This study examines key heart qualities that Jesus is looking for that reflect His image has been formed in us, and which overflow into works that honour Him and advance His Kingdom.

The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 2 (9 of 12)

Welcome to Eternal Rewards, this is session #9, and we're looking at: The Judgement Seat of Christ, Part 2. The more I've studied it, the more I realise there is for us to learn about it. In the last series, we've been looking at the different Eternal Rewards that God has made available, which can be summarised under: Eternal Glory, Eternal Intimacy, and Eternal Authority/Responsibility.

I want to recap again what the Judgement Seat of Christ is, and then I want to look then at what is God looking for. It's one thing to know there's rewards, and that He's going to evaluate us, but what is He looking for? In the last session, when we did the first session on the Judgement Seat of Christ, we saw that God looks very much at the motivation - not just our works, but why we did them. We saw the necessity of having an intimate pure heart, that there's a purity in our motives, and that's an ongoing journey course.

Let’s just review again: what is the Judgement Seat of Christ?

Romans 14:10-12 – “For we shall all stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, then every one of us (or each of us) shall give account of himself to God”.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ, that each one may receive things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or whether bad.:

Every believer then has an appointment at the Judgement Seat of Christ - to meet with Him; and what's in view for us, is not whether we have a life with Him forever. What's in view is, at what level and in what way, do we qualify for rewards that would go on for eternity. The key issue then, is qualifying for eternal rewards. What's at stake is our service as a believer, how we've lived, and how we've walked with the Lord. There are no exceptions; everyone will be there - we'll all be there!

We saw that the Judgement Seat of Christ refers to a judicial platform, in the Bible days, that was either used for: a judge, to sit on and make decisions about something; or for sports, for judges to rule whether the competitor had competed according to the rules, and therefore qualified for reward.

We saw that Jesus will judge us, or evaluate our service, based on what we have done; and that word ‘done’ was what we have practiced continually, so He's looking at the lifestyle, and the arc or direction of our life… and the outcome is rewards.

Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and He will reward each one according to his works”.

No matter where we are, or who we are - if we're a believer, then we have this appointment with Jesus. We will be called to give account of the works that we have done. I want to then look at some things that I think that God will use, or consider, when He's judging our works.

1 Corinthians 4:5 – “Don't judge anything before the time until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsel or motivations of the heart”.

We'll either receive praise, or lack of praise, from the Lord. I want to then look then, on the basis that all of us are called to a lifestyle of serving - of honouring God by serving Him. We saw that it was part of our sonship - that as sons, we're called to be intimate with our Father. We're called to serve Him, and expand His kingdom as His representative, and we're called to grow and be transformed.

What will God consider?

Number 1 - our alignment with His will and purpose.

Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven”.

All through His ministry, Jesus made it very clear He was aligned with His Father, and He did what He saw the Father doing. He must have then spent time in intimacy - to hear, and have revelation about, what the Father called Him to do. So, the first one is: our alignment with His will and purpose - and alignment with God comes out of intimacy. There's got to be time in worship and prayer, and time in His word, talking with Him, listening to Him, out of surrender to Him. We need revelation from Him, if we're going to be aligned with what He wants us to do.

Success doesn't come from just doing, achieving many things. Success comes from discovering what God called us to do; and that we know, at the end of our life, have pursued and faithfully done that. Alignment with the will and purpose of God means we need revelation about how God wants to build. Otherwise, we can in all sincerity build, but how we're building, and what we're building is not actually aligned with Him in any way.

Number 2 - our motivation. Having an intimate heart, and now a pure heart.

1 Corinthians 13:3 – “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing”.

Luke 6:35 - “Love your enemies, do good, lend with no hidden agenda, not hoping for anything in return… your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the unthankful and the evil”.

He's saying that it's not just what we do; why we do it is very important. Jesus constantly rebuked the Pharisees, because everything they did was done with a hidden motivation of promoting themselves. He said: don't be like the Pharisees when you pray - they pray to be seen of men. Don't be like the Pharisees when you fast - they fast and make a fuss of it in front of everyone. Don't be like the Pharisees when you give - let your giving be done in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward openly.

God constantly looks at the why you do things, and many activities we do can be completely dead works, because there's no faith in them. They're coming out of fear, guilt, or an agenda - every kind of reason, except what God wants us to come out with: that our motivation is one of purity of heart.

Number 3 - our faithfulness. We're going to look at that in one of the studies today, in Matthew 25, which is part of sequence of parables, where Jesus is talking about the end times, and His return. He starts with the wise and faithful servant in Matthew 24, then the five wise and five foolish virgins in Matthew 25. Then He goes on to talk about the Parable of the Talents…

Matthew 25:23 – “His lord said to him: well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful over few things, I'll make you ruler over many. Enter the joy of your lord.”

Very clearly, God looks for faithfulness; and there's no limit to our faithfulness - every person can choose to be faithful. It has nothing to do with your gift; it's entirely to do with your character, and the way you handle the tasks that are assigned to you - whether you complete them, you're reliable, you do them when you're supposed to, and the way you're supposed to, on time etc - so everyone can be faithful. Faithfulness is commended by God.

1 Corinthians 4:2 - “It's required of servants they must be found faithful”.

To ‘find’ someone faithful means you're looking for that quality. We must be found, upon inspection, to have been faithful to what God called us to do. Faithfulness is developed by serving with excellence, and persevering through difficulties. With faithfulness, if we're a five-talent person, we can get the same reward as a person with two talents, or one talent - God just considers not what we have, but what we did with what we had. So equal faithfulness means equal reward.

Number 4 - Diligence. Diligence means I really apply myself, and my life is given over to this task. In the Parable of the Servants and the Pounds (or Minas), he says:

Luke 19:17 – “Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over very little - have authority of 10 cities”.

In that story, everyone got one pound (or one mina). Everyone got the same amount at the beginning, but… one of them earned 10 minas - made a huge profit; one earned five; and one hid it away. The one who earned 10 was put in authority over 10 cities; and the one who earned five, was put in authority over five cities.

Greater diligence means greater reward. Whatever our status in life, our gifts, or our experience - wherever we're at, if we are faithful, then we have equal opportunity, equal reward. If we're more diligent than the person next to us, then God will honour the fact we were more diligent. Someone who is highly productive for the Lord - God will acknowledge that. It's got nothing to do with whether you're a preacher, or any kind of role you have. Every servant of the Lord can function, because our functions are mostly in the realm of life, and in the community.

Number 5 - The opportunity that was given. God considers the opportunity we've been given. In the Parable of the Servants in the vineyard, in Matthew 20.

Galatians 6:10 – “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith”.

Opportunities vary, from one person to another. A person who was saved when they're younger has a lot more opportunity than a person saved when they're older. People in a certain nation may have greater opportunities. Whatever the opportunities we have, God takes that into account. In Matthew 20, different workers came into the vineyard to work at different times. They had different amounts of opportunity, and God considered the opportunity they had. The man who had worked all day received the same reward as the man who came in and did work, or did the best he could, or was faithful in what he could, at the latter season of the day. God accounts the two, with both getting the same reward; and the servants argue with Him over that and think that's not very right; but He said: no, I agreed to do this, and that's what will happen. God is Just; so even if we have not much opportunity, or if our opportunities are more restricted and limited, God still takes that into account. He's looking at the bigger picture: faithfulness, diligence and motivation.

Number 6 – Overcomers. All of us have struggles. We all have things to overcome, and the battles most of us fight, to overcome something, are in private and secret - seen only by God, and it's very clear that Jesus will reward us according to what we've overcome. We see that in Revelations 2:2-3, where He makes promises to the overcomers. An overcomer has faced a challenge, and over a period has overcome it, and maintained overcoming it, and they qualify for reward.

Revelations 3:21 – “To him who overcomes, I will grant with him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne”.

Overcomers are promised specific rewards. Someone who has stood, and held onto the word of God, had some ups and downs, but eventually prevailed, and overcame some of the challenges in life, then it's appropriate that God acknowledges that.

James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, after he's been tried, he'll receive the crown of life”.

Overcomers are promised rewards, for overcoming a whole range of things. Revelations 2 talks about cold love, where a heart goes cold, and we need to return to our first love, so maintaining a passionate heart is something that requires us to overcome coldness, indifference, the lukewarmness.

We're called to overcome persecution, so when we're opposed, when people resist us, when people attack us, when we're given a hard time, it's very easy to become embittered, discouraged or overcome by the adversity we've gone through. There's a reward for those who overcome persecution.

In Revelations 2, it also tells us about the necessity to overcome false doctrine. False doctrine are any teachings that are contrary to the true spirit and intent of the word of God. They may seem very appealing, and they may condone various kinds of things, but we need to overcome false doctrine, so we need to then be students of the word of God. To do that, we need to study for ourselves what God's word says, so we can overcome teachings that are not true.

The Book of Revelation also refers to overcoming false teachers, and false prophets. Teachers that come into the church, who look plausible, and prophets that come and look plausible, and I'm sure they do love the Lord, and have their own relationship with Him, but there's something out of alignment in their lives. God calls them false teachers, and false prophets. Primarily, they're concerned about building their own lives, and their own ministry, and we have to watch we don't get seduced away by the pull that they put on our life, and end up away from the course God called us onto.

In Revelations 2, it also talks about the Spirit of Jezebel - how there was a woman in the church, and she taught and led, and the servants of God strayed into immorality and compromise and an idolatrous society. Again, that's something we must overcome. Every one of us must overcome the desire to control; or the influence of that spirit, which is very seductive.

Revelations talks about entering compromise, about being lukewarm, or compliance. “I have this against you: you're neither hot nor cold, you're lukewarm”. Lukewarm-ness is prevalent throughout the western church. It's something we must overcome, and that requires that we have engagements with God, have fresh revelation, and stay passionate, in our pursuit of Him. Lukewarm-ness, and temptation, are some of the things we must overcome.

Number 7 - another thing that God considers is: what we've become.

We know that the purpose of God in sonship is intimacy; and assignments, or faithfulness in what we're doing; and that we're transformed to become more like Jesus.

In 2 Peter 1:3-11, he's saying you need to add to your foundational faith, all the character qualities: patience, and brotherly love - he lists a whole number of things that we are to build, and incorporate into our life. This is about inward transformation, so we become a loving, humble, and meek person.

2 Peter 1:8 – “If these things are yours and abound (or be in you, and abound), you'll neither be barren nor unfruitful”.

Here is a promise: if we let God work in our life to transform us, then we'll never be barren - we will always be fruitful for the Lord; but he says if you lack the things, you're short-sighted and can't see afar off. Then he gives exhortation:

“…brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do all these things he's referred to, adding and building into your character and life, so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.

We read in 1 Corinthians 3 that people could be rewarded, or they could barely scrape in, and everything has been burnt up. There's no work they've done that qualifies for any acknowledgement or reward, apart from their salvation by faith in Christ. This is talking about it again - a similar thing, put a different way.

You can have an ‘abundant’ entrance, or you can have a ‘barely gotten in’ entrance. The abundant entrance means abundant honour and glory in the kingdom; a barely gotten entrance means very little honour and glory, which is why there are both small and great in the coming kingdom. That would be a whole study of its own, in 2 Peter 1. What are the things I need to begin to work on building into my life? What should I be intentional about developing and putting on in my life? These are done by the power and the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Number 8 – The words we speak.

Matthew 12:36 – “I say to you, that for every idle word man may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement”.

The words we speak, and our actions, are the overflow of our heart, and our life. Jesus said He's going to consider all the words: kind words, loving words, encouraging words, building words, harsh words, critical words, negative words, unbelieving words. The words we speak will be considered.

Number 9 - the revelation God has given us.

I think that we are responsible to grow in revelation, to grow in insight and understanding, but the more God gives to us, the more is expected of us. If you've sat in a church, and you've been exposed to great teaching, and great revelation was given to you, then a lot more is required of you, than the person down the road who got very little revelation and insight, but they walked fully in what they were given.

Luke 12:48 – “Everyone to whom much is given, much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask more”.

Clearly in that scripture, talking about the servant of the Lord, if much has been given to you, then more is required of you. It's echoed again…

James 3:1 – “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that as teachers we shall receive a stricter judgement”.

Both scriptures seem to indicate that, if a lot has been entrusted to us, more is going to be expected of us. As he puts it in James, a higher standard is required, if you're going to be a teacher of others. He's not saying: don't be a teacher; he's just saying: make sure you live up to what you teach - live out what you're teaching. If you're saying one thing, and living another, a higher standard of judgement will be required.

Number 10 - how we have judged others.

James 2:13 – “For judgement is without mercy, to the one who was shown no mercy; for mercy triumphs over judgement”.

In the course of our life, there are many failings of people around us, and we can either show mercy and compassion to those people, or we can choose to focus on where they've failed, or what they've said or done wrong, and then be harsh or demanding on them. God considers whether we have walked in mercy or not. You see that in Matthew 18, where He teaches about the servant who was forgiven much. It was expected of him that he would show mercy to the fellow servant, and when he didn't show mercy, then more was required. There was a whole judgement he went through. It's a very clear scripture, that in our dealings with people, we need to show the nature of God, show the mercy of God - and that is considered, when we're judged for what we do.

There are 10 things there. Ten is a complete number (the number of completion), so I felt those give a breadth to God's evaluation. We must remember that God is a Just God and He will judge rightly, He will do what is right. At the Judgement Seat of Christ, He is looking for: what is there in you, and in your service, that I could identify, honour and then reward in a major way. Going back over them very briefly…

How aligned are we with His will and purpose?

Are we intimate, and listening, and doing what He's called us to do; and walking in the revelation He's given?

What about our motivation? Is it a motivation of love, pure, no agenda? Are we doing things because we love the Lord, and are passionate to show His love to people?

Our faithfulness, what are we doing with what opportunities we do have? Are we fulfilling them and doing them well?

What about our diligence, how diligent are we in our prayer, our application to what we do - or are we very casual about it?

What about the opportunities? Do we seize opportunities? God will take all of that into account.

What have we overcome? Maybe right now you're facing something you're trying to overcome. God is watching that battle, and urging you on, saying: there's a great reward, if you can overcome and break through that, and that gives us motivation to overcome. Even if we fall over, time and time and time again, just keep getting back up and going forward again. We will overcome.

Then there are things that we have become, and we saw then it's important, not just that we have a saving faith, but we add to our faith, godliness and brotherly love, and the love of God, and various other qualities mentioned in 2 Peter 1.

He will consider the words we speak, so that means we need to guard what we're saying, and the spirit we're speaking in.

He will look at the revelation we're given and take that into account; and then how we've judged and treated others.

That gives you then a kind of an overview of how God is dealing with us. I want to look now, into some of these a bit more closely…

I think one of the biggest areas, is having a faithful and a loyal heart, because all servants of God are required to be faithful. In 1 Corinthians 4:2, we're required to be found faithful. Found means an enquiry into it.

In Revelation 17:14, those who are with the Lamb are called, they're chosen, and they're faithful. The word ‘faithful’ constantly comes through the Bible, and particularly in the New Testament, it's very strong on faithfulness; not so much on giftedness, but faithfulness. With the gifts God gives you - it's your job to value them, to develop them; but faithfulness - every person can be faithful. That means: to be reliable, steadfast, predictable. You fulfil your responsibilities. You can be relied on.

It's a personal choice, and faithfulness is in many areas of life, but in Luke 16:10-13, it teaches be faithful in the little things. If you're faithful in little, you will be in much. Faithful in money, the handling of money; Luke 16:10-13, be faithful in your handling and management of finances, and be faithful in serving someone else. Often people are using someone else to get themselves ahead, rather than seeing that actually, that very motivation will stop God promoting them. We need instead to serve others, and help them succeed, and in doing that, God lifts us up and promotes us.

Faithfulness is a hard thing to find.

Proverbs 20:6 – “Most men will proclaim his own goodness, but a faithful man, who could you find?”

Everyone talks about how good they are, but who is actually a faithful man; who is doing something to bring honour to someone else? Timothy was very like that, and the Bible tells us that God is looking all through the earth, to find people who are faithful and loyal to Him.

Loyalty is a slightly different word. Loyal means to be continuing, or unswerving, in your faithfulness and allegiance. Regardless of difficulties or hardships, you remain committed to serve the Lord - that's a loyal heart. When God doesn't seem to come through, and you remain true to Him - that's a loyal heart

2 Chronicles 16:9 – “The eyes of the Lord go to and fro through the earth, looking for someone whose heart is loyal to Him”.

To have divided loyalties means: I'm loyal to the Lord, but also loyal to other things, and now there's a conflict between my loyalties. Having a loyal heart means: I maintain Jesus is first in my life, over and above every other relationship, every other situation, every other thing. I remain loyal to Him, even if there are pressures around me, in those areas. Jesus Himself exemplified faithfulness.

Hebrews 3:6 – “He was faithful over His house”.

John 17:4 – “I've honoured You; I've finished the work You gave Me to do”.

Jesus remained faithful, and loyal. You see this outplayed in a parable that Jesus taught, called the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

I’ll leave it to you to read it through, but the core of it is it's a Parable of the Kingdom and there are a sequence of parables, so there's the Parable of the Servants, Matthew 24; the Parable of the Virgins in 25, and then this parable. The Parable of the Virgins terminates with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb - five enter, because they have oil; and five are left out, or excluded, because they haven't done the preparation work. Now it goes on from there and adds in the prospect of ruling and reigning with Christ. The Parable of the Virgins introduces intimacy, the marriage celebration. The Parable of the Talents introduces now ruling with Christ, and the story is very simple...

A man goes to a far country, calls the servants to deliver his goods, and to someone he gives five talents, to another two, to another one, each according to his own ability, then goes on the journey. After he's been on the journey a long time he comes back. He calls them all to give account, and the one who had gained five brings his talents and trades with him, made another five. The one who had two, traded and made two. The one who had one, buried it in the ground. Then he came back and reckoned with them, and the one who had five said: I've got five more; and he says: “well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over few things, I will make you ruler over many things, enter into the joy of the Lord”.

The one who had two talents says: you gave me two, I've got two more. I've done 100%, like the other guy did, and he gets exactly the same commendation: “well done, good and faithful servant, you've been faithful over few things, I'll make you ruler over many things, enter into the joy of your Lord”. Then of course, there's the one-talent man.

The man travelling to the far country represents Jesus, and He entrusts His servants according to their ability - they're each given some talent, and a talent was a very big sum of money. In other words, we all have a precious entrustment given to us, which we must do something with “according to his own ability”.

The master recognised that different servants have different capacities, different levels, different limitations, and so he assigns responsibilities accordingly. God gives everyone talents, giftings, abilities… but this is the opportunities that He has given to us. So regardless of our personal capacity, our ministry role, our task, our assignment, everyone is expected to be faithful with what has been entrusted and be productive.

The opportunities God gives you, are not only for your development, but also to show your heart loyalty and faithfulness to Him - that you care about Him, and what He's interested in. That's really the problem with that servant with one talent. He was only concerned about himself. Fear does that. It makes you focus on yourself, and your primary framework for operating is: what's in this for me?

But the others… they had a heart that was faithful, a heart that loved the Lord, was faithful to Him and they knew that He would want to see a fruit for what was given to them - and that's true for every believer. Jesus has paid a price to save us - given up His life, paid such an immense price for us to be saved, and so, as a consequence of that, we should in response of love then have His interests in our heart.

What is He interested in? He is always interested in people! He's always interested in people being loved, and blessed, and benefited. So regardless of personal capacity, we're all expected to be productive. It's got nothing to do with your capacity, your background, your learning or anything like that. Every believer, no matter what your capacity or entrustment, can earn the same commendation from the Lord.

So, the master comes, and He settles accounts - that's referring to the Bema Seat of Christ. He will call each of us before Him, to give account of how we have served Him, during that period when He was absent. Notice the commendation: Well done, good and faithful servant! That was the commendation given to the five-talent man who got five, and the two-talent one who got two. Both did the best they could. They were hundredfold believers. In other words, if you go back to the Parables of the Sower and Seed, you realise that the hundredfold came where the guy had the good and pure heart.

The master was full of praise: “well done”. I have received great pleasure in what you have done. Jesus expresses His pleasure for what the servant has done. Secondly, He honours the kind of character he has. He affirms this, He affirms that he's good. That means to be excellent. You have distinguished yourself. You are a man or woman of honour. He says: you are an honourable, distinguished person. You are faithful. He highlights their diligence, their follow-through, in doing the tasks assigned to them, in spite of the pressure, obstacles, mundaneness, and the temptations around it.

That's a very big lesson for every believer! Whatever task, whatever assignment you're given, no matter how small, don't look at it as a small thing. Look at it as an entrustment, and God is watching, not just that you did it, but how you went about doing it. When we have a spirit of worship, when our heart is surrendered to the Lord, then every task that we do, we bring His presence and blessing and favour into that task. It could be the simplest thing like making a cup of tea. Your cup of tea can bring blessing to people, because of the joy you've done it with, the spirit of excellence you've done it with, the way you've made people welcome. When you see someone, who's got that love for what they do in their heart - they love people through the tasks that they're doing. You can tell the difference!

I remember being in a place, and they had a little welcome, with a welcome basket, and the pastor looked at it, and he said: I can't feel the love in that one. Someone had just been a fill-in job to do it, and for them it was just a task - quick, throw a few things on a plate, in comparison to the lady who was usually there who did it. When she did it, it was like… stand up and shout, because it looked so beautiful, with little touches and things! It was done with detail, and excellence, and that's what should be, in the kingdom. That's the way we should operate

Notice then He says: “well done, good and faithful servant”. That means you are trustworthy, and that you're willing to sacrifice, to serve others. You're willing to lay down your own life, in order that I might be benefitted, and others be benefitted.

The word ‘servant’ there, is the word that Jesus said.

Matthew 20:27 – “If you want to be great in the kingdom, become a servant”.

Greatness in the kingdom is not your stature, position, ministry, or the anointing, miracles or anything. Greatness is… do you carry the heart and activity of a servant - even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life.

He says: you've been faithful over few things. That means your assignment, or sphere of responsibility, was very small.

Some people think that their life only counts, or their work only counts, if it's big, or significant, or impacts many people, but there's only a few people that are going to impact large numbers. Most of the work that's done is out of sight - it's the small tasks. It's the ordinary person behind the scenes, making the bigger thing happen, and they may think well, I'm not out there doing this or out there doing that. Nevertheless, their assignment, even though it's small in their eyes, and the eyes of other people, it's important to God - so important, that He will reward those who faithfully do it.

What a blessing that is for all of us, because that means that it doesn't matter really what your role is, or what you're called to do. It's the manner you do it, is what God is looking for. Do you see the little everyday tasks? In this, I'm serving the Lord. This is my act of worship. I've given my day, my life. I've presented my body to Him, and now I'm letting His love, and life, flow into everything that I do.

There's something like a river of life that just flows to bless even the ordinary tasks. I've seen people who did the car park, and they just stood out there in the cold and made people welcome and smiled, and when you go up to them, you can see the love, and the joy, and the servant heart in it. I think they qualify for reward, because with the capacity they have, they're turning this task into a river of blessing for people coming in. So it's a great inspiration, great challenge, that whatever your task, God is watching you.

Now He talks about the rewards... He said: well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Rewards that are received at the Judgement Seat of Christ are based on our faithfulness.

He says: “I will make you ruler over many things”. You might look and say: I've only got a few things, I'm not really doing all that much; but if you're doing it passionately, doing it with love, doing it unto the Lord, doing it as a blessing to people, then you're letting the love of Christ flow through it!

He says: “I will make you ruler over many things”. See the generosity of Jesus! Few things now; many things in eternity. A multitude of things! It's out of all comparison, and now He introduces that we will rule. That means to put someone in charge; to appoint them over an office. In the coming millennial kingdom, there's a great realm of ruling with Jesus, and administering His kingdom throughout the whole world.

There's going to be multitudes of layers, and levels, of tasks and jobs. Right now, you're qualifying for yours, and whatever you've got on your hand now, do it. Notice there, He introduces two aspects of reward:

Firstly… I will make you ruler, or give you ruling authority, to serve and to advance My kingdom, with authority and empowerment over many things; and secondly… He says: “enter the joy of the Lord” - that's a reference again to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We have the joy, we know that He values our efforts, our choices have mattered, and those who are faithful will enter the joyful Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We will be with others. We will celebrate with Him, and will also share with Him, the joy of walking alongside Him and advancing His coming kingdom. This is just so inspiring!

The key is having a good and faithful heart. Jesus will reward our assignments, no matter what the task is, or size of the task. If you did it faithfully, God will commend you. The two-talent man, and the five-talent man, received equal commendation. Even our smallest efforts won't go amiss. You think no one saw you, but someone was watching, so the way we orient ourselves is: Lord, today everything I do I'm doing unto You. I want to do it really well. I'm asking for Your life to flow through me. Even little things…

Matthew 10:42 – “Whoever gives even these little ones only a cup of water in My name, in the name of a disciple, he shall by no means lose his reward”.

Even the smallest act of blessing someone - God takes that into account.

Hebrews 6:10 – “God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love, which you've shown towards His name, you have ministered to the saints and continue to minister”.

Notice there, he's saying it would be unjust if God overlooked and forgot what you did. Sadly, in church life, frequently the serving acts, the sacrificial acts, the generous acts of people, are often overlooked, or not acknowledged, and that can often lead to a disheartenment, and a quitting. We grow weary in the welldoing, but it says that God is not unjust. He will not forget your labour of love. He won't forget it, and He will acknowledge it, He will reward it.

Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, do it heartily. Do it with full heart, full passion, full joy, knowing you're doing it to the Lord, not to men like pleasing men and being a man-pleaser, but knowing that from the Lord you'll receive the reward of inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ”.

When you know that everything I do is my act of worship to the Lord; if I have presented myself, and my activities, to Him, then whatever I'm doing today, I'm doing as an act of worship. If the person mistreats me, or the people are harsh, that's irrelevant. I'm doing it to the Lord. And as I do it to the Lord, we know that the Lord sees it all and will reward us. Frequently, people do transactional kinds of things - he wasn't nice to me, so I won't be nice back. That's a very carnal way of thinking. We want to understand that we do it heartily; if you're going to do anything, do it heartily! Do it very well!

Then we get to the last servant, and we find there that he experiences no commendation, or honour, and reward - He receives rebuke and loss…

“He that received the one talent came and said: Lord, I know You to be a hard man. You reap where You haven't sown, gather where You haven't scattered. I was afraid, so I went and hid Your talent in the ground”.

“And the Lord answered him and said: you wicked and lazy servant, you knew I reap where I didn't sow and gather where I didn't scatter seed. You should have put my money with the bankers and at My coming would've received back My own with interest”.

what you've got to look here is the heart of this man, the way he's thinking. He said: ‘I knew You to be a hard man’ - so basically, he's complaining that God is unreasonable and harsh, that His demands are very high, that He requires too much. “I knew” means that his perception, his way of seeing God, was that God is excessively harsh and demanding. That tells me he's been under someone harsh and demanding, perhaps a harsh, demanding parent, or boss, and he's projected his brokenness and anger towards God.

Secondly, he makes the accusation: “You've reaped where You haven't sown”. This is basically accusing God, that He requires more than He's given them - which is completely wrong. When people have got bitterness and anger in their heart, over how they've been unjustly treated, they tend to then look at God as being harsh, demanding, and difficult, and then make complaints, or accuse Him of withholding love from them.

He said: I was afraid, so I buried it. There's many reasons people bury their talents or bury what God has given them. It could be the fear of failing, the fear of being rejected; it could be shame, could be difficulty. Think of the Christians you know, who pull back, and then stop serving God - buried their talent, because they went through difficulties or hardship, faced some opposition, or just got worn down.

The stresses, difficulties and pressures that come with being a believer can cause people to just bury their talent, which means virtually, I'm no longer active to the Lord. I may be coming to church, turning up, giving a little bit of an offering or whatever, but this is not the life God's called me to - just to come to religious service, and have a little bit of a conscience attendance, so I don't feel like I'm bad. No, no, no! God is looking for wholehearted, passionate, sons and daughters, that love Him, and are exemplary in loving people.

This is how Jesus addresses that servant... Remember, the other servant, he was called “good, well done” - that's the commendation for what he did - good and faithful; but this one here – “you wicked and lazy servant”! There are three things that Jesus brings against him.

1) He calls him ‘wicked’, and that word is not like ‘evil’, in terms of doing bad things or terrible things. It's the word poneros in Greek, meaning to have a hurtful or negative influence on others. Think about that. Someone who is half-hearted, they don't fulfil their commitments, they quit on the task halfway through it, they quit when there's pressure... They demoralise leaders. They take the heart out of others who are serving. They are not a positive influence. If you're committed, diligent and passionate, you are a positive influence; but if you're half-hearted, reluctant, have to be constantly rung up and followed through, or you never turn up, and you never really do the job well, and there's always something negative going on… this is actually having a negative influence. That's what that word means.

What He's saying to him is: your influence is not a positive influence, that would inspire and move people forward. You have a destructive, negative influence; and that's what leadership is about -influence!

2) He says: “you're lazy”! You're just unwilling to put in the effort that's needed. Many Christians think it's just all about the grace of God - Jesus did all the work, I don't have to do anything. That's nonsense! Jesus did the work; now He expects us to walk with Him and serve Him… and the work of ministry is hard work! It's very difficult work. It requires that we develop a diligent mentality, a hardworking mentality, rather than a lazy one.

Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the slothful man desires much, but he has nothing”.

A lot of Christians are wanting much, and they're asking God for much, but they won't put in the necessary work in order to have it.

Proverbs 12:4 – “The soul of the diligent will rule”.

3) He calls him an “unprofitable servant”. Unprofitable, producing no benefits to the kingdom.

What an assessment! He was having a negative influence; unwilling and lazy, wouldn't get down to business and do what was needed; and he produced nothing beneficial. Over the years, I’ve known many people like that.

Here's the thing... He lacked revelation or intimacy. He didn't really know God. There's no depth of relationship. He has a distorted view of God, because he never let God work in his heart to shift that, and he failed to be faithful in his serving.

I just see this over and over and over - people just prefer to do their own thing, spend their time, money, and energy on what they want, that they feel good about. Notice there, a fearful, unbelieving heart caused him to avoid serving, or avoid any personal risk whatsoever. He's focussed on himself.

What did he lose? What was the cost to him, of that state? The first thing was the loss of opportunity.

Matthew 25:28 – “Take that talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents”.

He lost the talent. What God had given him, as an opportunity to qualify for great reward in the kingdom - the opportunity was removed from him and given to the one who had 10. That's not very socialistic, is it? It doesn't flow with socialism. Socialism would've taken the 10 and distributed them.

Jesus is trying to bring our attention of the importance of being connected to Him, and being productive in Him, so He says: the one who is unproductive, I'm going to take what he had, and I'm going to give that opportunity to the one who's very productive.

The second thing is, He cast this unprofitable servant out into the outer darkness, where there be weeping and gnashing of teeth. He becomes excluded from the Marriage Supper and celebration. There was no benefit in all I invested in Him, no tangible benefit to the kingdom. “He will be cast into the outer darkness, where there be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

What is the ‘outer darkness’; and what is the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’? Some Christians think the ‘outer darkness’ refers to hell, and this is a story about whether they're saved or unsaved, but that cannot be true, and here are two reasons why it can't be true…

1) Firstly, it calls it ‘outer darkness’, but hell is described as a place of ‘burning’ - so it can't be burning, and dark, at the same time - it doesn't make sense!

2) Secondly, our works do not qualify us for heaven; faith in the work of Christ does. He's talking here about reward versus loss.

What then, does ‘outer darkness’ refer to? It's very simple. When we read these things, we read it through western culture, rather than looking at the original culture. In the original culture, the context of the last parable was what? It was the virgins, that went into the marriage feast, the Marriage Supper. What would that look like?

Well, in the Hebrew wedding, the bride and the groom would make their vows, or their covenant to one another - they would become betrothed; and then the groom would go away, and he would prepare a place for his bride. Then, at the appointed time (she was aware of the time, but she wouldn’t know the exact time), he would return; and he would return at night, and would have with him his people, who had lamps, because it's dark. There were no streetlamps; the only light they have, is the one they're carrying. They would walk in a procession through the dark, come to the bride's home; and the bride is all prepared, all ready. She's got a lamp burning, and would accompany the groom, and they would go back into the wedding feast. The doors would be shut. That was the wedding feast.

In the wedding feast, it's a house, and it's full of light, it's full of life - it's the sound of music, of joy and laughter, the sound of a meal, and celebration. You're either: in the light of the wedding feast; or you're outside - and there's no light, you're in the outer darkness outside. So ‘outer darkness’ refers to the conditions outside the banquet hall, meaning exclusion from the celebration of the marriage feast.

You could only begin to imagine the grief of knowing that you were invited to something, but because you were unfaithful, careless and negligent - you're now disqualified! People who were in the same meeting with you, when you put your hand up to get saved - they got saved in the same meeting, and they're in there, but you are not! The devastation would be amazing!

That brings us to the next statement… “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verse 30). What does that mean? It's an expression that refers to two things...

1) The ‘weeping’ means deep sorrow, or grief, at the realisation of what I've lost. When we don't have a revelation of the importance of eternal rewards, there's no sense of urgency to grow, pursue Christ, and serve passionately. But there will come a time, when we will be aware what we've missed, and then there will be tremendous weeping - so the weeping refers to deep grief and sorrow.

2) The ‘gnashing of teeth’ refers to anger - it's an expression of anger. In Acts 7, it says they were angry or furious at Stephen, and they ‘gnashed their teeth’ on him. So, ‘gnashing of teeth’ refers to anger at being outside, when you really wanted to be inside. It's not then the suffering of hell; it's grief, sorrow, and anger at being excluded from the feast where there's laughing and celebration.

We could be near to Jesus, celebrating. Imagine being outside and hearing the joy - it's like being outside a party, and you hear all the fun, the laughter, people celebrating, the lights and music… but you're outside, and being excluded. Man, the feelings of grief and sorrow!

When Jesus returns to bring justice to the earth, to establish His kingdom, some Christians will experience His coming with great joy, gladness, and celebration. They were prepared, they were faithful, they enter in - and now, not only the celebration; they're now going to be acknowledged and given roles and responsibilities in the coming kingdom. Wow! The joy of that!

That's what keeps you going, moving forward, and persevering - the stakes are very high, and very eternal. Imagine then, other Christians experiencing shame, regret, sorrow, exclusion, exclusion for what they were called to be a part of. They were called, but they were not chosen, because they weren't faithful. How sad is that?

All believers need to develop a faithful and a loyal heart; and take what we have and use it to the best of ability that we can. There are other parables that talk about the basis for rewards - that's one of the very best ones. I encourage you to search through the Parable on the Pounds (or Menas), in Luke 19:11-27, where the focus there is not on equal faithfulness, equal reward. The focus in that one is that when someone is more diligent, they will gain more reward. This teaching is very clearly there to show to us the importance in our lives, of not just of being faithful, but also being diligent, to be productive for Him.

Luke 19:11-27 is the issue of being diligent, having a diligent heart. It looks similar, but it's actually very different to the other one. In the Parable of the Talents, the faithful servants get positions of honour of glory in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; but unfaithful servants are excluded – so, equal faithfulness, equal rewards. In this parable, the faithful servants are given positions of honour, glory, and authority in the kingdom; unfaithful servants don't get responsibility and authority – so, greater diligence, greater rewards

Luke 19:11-27 – “They heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. So He said: a certain nobleman went to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and return. He called 10 of his servants and delivered them 10 minas and said occupy, do business until I come. He called the 10 servants and gave them the minas.

But his citizens hated him. They sent a delegation after him, saying: we will not have this man to reign over us. And when he returned, after having received the kingdom, he commanded the servants he'd given the money, called them that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

Then came the first one saying: Master, your mina has earned 10 minas. He said: well done, good servant, because you were faithful over very little have authority over 10 cities. The second came, saying: Master, your mina has earned five minas. He said: likewise, you also be over five cities. Then the other came, saying: Master, here is your mina, I put it away in a handkerchief. I feared you, because you're an austere man. You collect what you didn't deposit, you reap what you didn't sow.

And he said to him: out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew I was an austere man, collecting what I didn't deposit, reaping where I didn't sow. Why didn't you put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might've collected it with interest? And he said to those that stood by: take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has 10.

And he said: I say to you, everyone who has, will be given; and from him who does not have, what he has will be taken away”.

Nobleman means a person of high rank - it refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus has gone into heaven and received a kingdom. One day He will return - literally, physically, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then He will call all the servants to account - and we're called to account at the Bema Seat of Christ. Then, if we qualify, to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; and then empowered to rule with Him in the coming kingdom.

Notice there, 10 servants, and 10 minas. Ten is usually the number meaning all the servants, all the gifts. It's a reference to the fact that this is encompassing all the body of Christ, over all eras and ages.

“Do business until I come” - everyone is commanded to be productive for Jesus. Don't just hide your gift, or be a quiet Christian - be proactive in serving.

“And how much each had gained by trading” - that word ‘trading’ means literally: to be engaged constantly in exchange and purchase. It means our lifestyle - taking what God has given us, and using it as best we can, to advance His kingdom.

Now the commendation, and the reward… In Luke 19:17, well done, good servant, you were faithful over very little, have authority over 10. Here we have the same words – “well done, good, faithful”, but now He introduces “authority over cities”. Then the one who came second, “well done, good servant”. He's commending them for being diligent.

One earned 10, so He said: you've been faithful over very little, you've laboured, you've been very productive, so now you have authority over 10 cities. That's like a whole region! He's saying that in the coming kingdom, there will be different layers and levels of authority, and God wants us to qualify for that by our faithfulness and diligence now.

With the second servant - you be over five cities. He started with the same, and he's also been faithful, but he hadn't been so productive. His diligence and fruitfulness were less than the first, and what he was given reflected that. He said: “have authority over five cities” - so greater diligence and fruitfulness means greater reward.

Aren't you glad of that! That someone who was a slacker, someone who's unproductive, will not be acknowledged in the same way as someone who committed their life, paid a price, sacrificed, did things in secret, overcome things in secret - clearly there's going to be a difference. Justice requires it, and the Bible teaches it.

Why was one more fruitful than the other? I think diligence is a big part of it, because I don't think he could've done it any other way. Diligence is not just working hard - diligence is in his alignment with Jesus!

John 15:5 – “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him brings forth much fruit”.

I think it all comes back to our heart connection, and our passion for the kingdom. So very much, the teaching in this is: greater diligence and fruitfulness, means greater reward.

What about the other servant, the one who had the one mina, who did nothing, who hid it? He faces not commendation, reward; but rebuke and loss - like the previous parable. He said: “I feared you because you're an austere man”. Again, he has a distorted view of the Master, seeing Him as lacking compassion, being hard - and that is many people's view of God. They've never developed intimacy, never come to know Him, never let God deal with their heart, and so they're projecting onto God what's not there. He won't take any risks serving. He just wants to keep everything hidden.

“I have kept the mina hidden away” - so he preserved it but wasn't productive. He was a consumer, not a producer. Sadly today, many Christians are like that - they bury or hide their gifts, or they put them in some other arena that will serve them, but do not use them to advance the kingdom of God.

They like to enjoy the benefits of Jesus: I would like Him to forgive me, and bless me, and heal me, and provide for me, bring breakthroughs for me - but I don't want to give up my life to serve Him, and please Him. They enjoy the Jesus that benefits them, so they have half of Jesus – but they don't have the other half, where He's the King, who's receiving a kingdom, and will come back. They're not allowing Him to rule by surrendering their life – “Lord, not my will but Your will”.

The Master's rebuke: “you wicked servant” - you have a hurtful influence on others, and that's true of all Christians who are self-centred, and consumers. They drain and demotivate others.

“Why didn't you put My money in the bank” - if you have a gift or opportunity, why didn't you connect with someone who could show you how to make something of it? Not everyone is called to do a ministry, or start a ministry, but we can connect with others, and make what we do have available with them; and then together, we can make a great result.

The consequence of that was his loss. He had a loss of opportunity, and he lost his authority and position ruling in the coming kingdom. Jesus then adds a little to this, and we'll finish with this today…

“Everyone who has, more will be given; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away”.

Jesus repeats that about five different times! Everyone who ‘has’ means, He's talking about having an ear to hear. Everyone who was responsive - has understanding, and responds, and does what God wants - more will be given to them. He will have an abundance. When you obey God and do what He's calling you to do - when you start to faithfully serve Him and put into practice what you're learning… then more is given. It's in the doing, that you qualify for the more.

He says: “he who doesn't have” - who actually hears the word of God, but makes no response to it; unresponsive to God, doesn't really understand the significance of it; then they may seem to be spiritual, but what they have… eventually will be taken away.

I've observed that if we don't respond to revelation by acting upon it, then we seem to lose that revelation, and drop back to a lower level. We've seen then, in the two parables: equal faithfulness means equal reward; and greater diligence means greater reward.

There's other parables and stories - two others, that I encourage you to read and look at:

1) Matthew 20:1-6, which is all about the opportunity given; and…

2) Matthew 24:45-51, about the importance of being a wise - having a wise and understanding heart and knowing what to do at the right time.

Bless you.

Summary Notes

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ER9: The Judgment Seat of Christ - Part 2

Intimacy - Relationship personal devotion and surrender to will of Father
Faithful Service - Faithfulness How we have fulfilled our assignment & responsibilities
Transformation - Maturity, how we have submitted to God’s \formation process

I. What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?

I. The Judgment Seat of Christ

1. Every Believer has an Appointment at The Judgment Seat of Christ
* Rom 14:10-12 - For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ …..So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
* 2Co 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
* Every believer must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

2. At the Judgment Seat of Christ our Service as a Believer is evaluated
* There are no exceptions. This is an appointment that every believer will keep
* Every believer will stand before Christ and give an account of how they have lived as a believer
* In ancient times judicial decisions were typically handed down from an official seated on a bema seat, a raised platform on which a judge or magistrate would sit as he pronounced a decision in some matter before him.
* At the Judgment Seat each believer will be rewarded (or experience loss) for what he has done during his life
* Jesus will evaluate our service based according to what we have done…our lifestyle

“Done”….Gk. prasso …to practice, to perform repeatedly, or habitually (not single acts)

Whatever we have regularly practiced will have consequences

* Mat 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.


II. God Judges the Works of Every Believer

1. Every Believer is Called to Faithfully Serve Our Father
(i). We are Created for Lifestyle of Good Works
Eph. 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

(ii). We are to be Zealous for Good Works
Tit. 2:14 - who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

(iii). We are to be Careful to Maintain Good Works
Tit. 3:8 - This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

(iv). We are to be Fruitful in Good Works
Tit. 3:14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

(v). We are to Encourage Others to Good Works
Heb. 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

(vi). We are Commanded by Jesus to do Good Works
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.


2. All our Works will be Judged to Qualify for Rewards
* Works…..our actions, things that we do, the visible overflow of our heart
* Works are flavoured by the heart attitude that we perform them…love and faith..…duty, obligation, guilt ,fear
* Works flowing from faith and love and obedience to Holy Spirit are an act of worship seen and acknowledged by God
* Eph.6:5 - Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;
* Eph. 6:6 - not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
* Eph. 6:7 - with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,
* Eph. 6:8 - knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
* Col 3:22 - Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
* Col. 3:23 - And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
* Col. 3:24 - knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
* Col. 3:25 - But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
* Mat. 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.


3. What will God take into Account When Judging Our Works?
* 1Col. 4:5 - Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

Things that God will take into Account

(i). Our Alignment with His Will and Purpose (Mat.7:21-23)
Mat. 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Alignment with the will of God comes out of intimacy and surrender to Him

(ii). Our Motivation….Purity of heart (1Cor.13:3)

Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
1Col. 13:3 - And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Purity of heart means purity of motivation. It comes out of experiencing His love and yielding to His Spirit and transformation work
Prov. 22:11 - He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.

(iii). Our Faithfulness (Mat.25:23)
Mat. 25:23 - His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your lord.

There is no limit to the faithfulness we can demonstrate.
It is developed through serving with excellence and persevering through difficulties
Equal faithfulness brings equal reward

(iv). Our Diligence (Luk.19:)
Luke 19:17 - And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
There is no limit to the diligence that we can demonstrate
It is developed by serving with diligence, passion and excellence
The greater the diligence and fruitfulness the greater the reward

(v). Opportunity We have been given (Mat.20)
Gal. 6:10 - Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
God takes into account the opportunities that have been given to each person

(vi). What We have Overcome (Rev.2-3)
Rev. 3:21 - To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Every believer has unique battles to overcome during the course of their life
Overcomers are promised specific rewards in Rev.2-3
Rewards are promised for overcoming: Cold love, persecution, false doctrine, false teachers and prophets, spirit of Jezebel, compromise, self-satisfaction, Luke warmness, temptation.

(vii). What We have Become…Our Response to His Transformation Process (1Pet.1:5-11)
2Pe. 1:8 - For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe. 1:9 - For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
2Pe. 1:10 - Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
2Pe. 1:11 - for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

(viii). The Words We have Spoken (Mat.12:36)
Mat. 12:36 - But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

(ix). The Revelation Given to us (Luk.12:48)
Luke 12:48 - But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
James 3:1 - My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

(x). How We have Judged others (Jam.2:13)
James 2:13 - For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.


III. Faithfulness in Assignment: Having a Faithful and Loyal heart

1. Faithful and Loyal Heart
* All servants of God are required to be faithful to the Lord and His assignment
* 1Col. 4:2 - Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
“Found”……Gk. Heurisko…to search after, to find by enquiry or examination
* Rev 17:14 - These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."
* Faithful: means to be reliable, steadfast, predictable in fulfilling responsibilities
* Faithfulness is a personal choice…There is no limit. It is demonstrated in many different ways
Small things, Finances, Entrustment from others (Luke16:10-13)
* Faithfulness is a rare quality, and of great value in the Kingdom of God
* Pro 20:6 - Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?
* Example Timothy
Php 2:20 - For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.
Php 2:21 - For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.
Php 2:22 - But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
* Loyal: Means to be faithful and unswerving in ones allegiance, regardless of difficulties, hardships. Having a heart undivided between to masters
* 2Ch 16:9 - For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore, from now on you shall have wars."

2. The Example of Jesus
* Heb. 3:5 - And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
* Heb. 3:6 - But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
* Joh. 17:4 - I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

3. Jesus Acknowledges and Rewards Faithfulness
* The parables of the Talents and the pounds address the issues of faithfulness of the servants of Jesus
* The parables differ in the amount left to the individual servants, the exact time following His return the Lord reckons with His servant, the actual rewards given, and the basis of reward


IV. The Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30)

* This parable comes after the parable of the ten virgins which terminates with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
* This parable also concludes with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which precedes the Reign of Christ
Mat 25:14 - For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
Mat 25:15 - And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
Mat 25:16 - Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
Mat 25:17 - And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
Mat 25:18 - But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money.
Mat 25:19 - After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
Mat 25:20 - So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'
Mat 25:21 - His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Mat 25:22 - He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'
Mat 25:23 - His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Mat 25:24 - "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
Mat 25:25 - And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
Mat 25:26 - But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
Mat 25:27 - So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
Mat 25:28 - So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
Mat 25:29 - 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
Mat 25:30 - And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Commendation and Reward
(i). “The man travelling to a far country”
* This man represents Jesus
* He entrusts goods to His servants according to their ability...different amounts according to different ability
* “Talent” …a substantial sum of money. This does not refer to natural talents

(ii) “According to his own ability”
The master recognised the different abilities and limitations of each servant and assigned responsibilities to each accordingly
Jesus gives talents that are unique to every persons gift, ability, capacity, background
Some servants are entrusted with more than others.
* Regardless of the personal capacity or degree of responsibility each servant is expected to devote time and attention to managing the talent entrusted to him
* All servants are expected to be productive…to act on His behalf and advance His interests
* Every Christian is responsible to The Lord, but each differ in the capacities for carrying out responsibilities
* The issue is not how many talents that a believer is given, but the faithfulness of the believer towards the responsibility that he has been given
* Every Believer is able to earn Jesus commendation whatever their capacity and unique calling

(iii) “He settled accounts”
* When the master returns he calls each servant to give account of his service, how faithful he has been in fulfilling his assignment
* Likewise at Jesus coming each believer will stand before the “Bema” seat of Christ and give account of his service (2Cor.5:10), how faithful he has been in fulfilling his assignment
* The first slave doubled his five talents as did the slave given two talents. Both slaves received the same commendation from the master.

(iv) Jesus Commendation:
“Well done…Good and faithful servant”
Mat 25:21 - The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. NLT version

#1 “Well done”:
* Well done”….The servant has brought great pleasure to his master
* Jesus will affirm faithful believers before the Father and the angels (Rev. 3:5).
* He who overcomes...I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." (Rev. 3:5)

#2 “Good and Faithful Servant”:
* Note three affirmations that Jesus will declare over His people.
“Good”………..Gk “Agathos”…excellent, distinguished, upright, honourable
Good points to godly motivations with sincere intentions to do God’s will.
* Faithful highlights diligence and follow-through of our intentions to do good in the face of pressure, obstacles, mundaneness, and temptation.
‘Faithful”…….Gk “Pistis”………trustworthy, can be relied upon to fulfil his responsibilities
Steadiness over years is emphasised here.
* Servant speaks of being willing to sacrifice our comfort, honour, and personal agenda.
“Servant”……Gk. “Doulos”….devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests
Mat 20:27 - And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave (doulos)
Mat 20:28 - Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many

#3 “Faithful over Few things”:
* Most people have a small “assignment” (sphere of responsibility and influence).
* Some believe that their work only matters if it impacts many people.
* Our life assignment may be small in man’s eyes, but it is so important in God’s eyes that He greatly rewards those who are faithful in it.


(v). The Rewards:
Mat 25:21 - His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Rewards which Believers receive after the Bema Seat of Christ will be based upon their faithfulness to Christ in this present age

Each believer will be judged and must be found worthy of reward
#1 “I will make you ruler over many things”:
* Jesus’ generosity is seen here in that He rewards our “few things” with “many things.”
* “Ruler”…. To appoint someone over or in charge, to appoint to administer an office
* The realm of ruling with Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom is related to faithfulness over “few things” in this age

#2 “Enter into the joy of your Lord”
* We have joy in knowing that He values our efforts to serve and that our choices matter to Him.
* Servants judged to be faithful enter into the marriage Supper of The Lamb to celebrate with Him
* In addition to the great joy of the Marriage Supper will be the joy of ruling with Christ
* The reign of Christ is mentioned vs21,23, but this is not the main subject of this parable and the one before it of the Ten Virgins


(vi). The Key: A Good and Faithful Heart

* Jesus will reward faithfulness in fulfilling our assignment regardless of its size
Even though the master assigned a different degree of responsibility to each slave, when both slaves performed faithfully, the master awarded each slave equally.
The master’s commendation to each slave in v.21 and v.23 was identical.
Jesus will emphasise each servant’s faithful service rather than the magnitude of his achievement.
* Even our smallest efforts will not be forgotten by God
Mat 10:42 - And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
* Jesus does not forget every act of love we show Him in serving family, friends and others.
Heb. 6:10 - For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
* Paul taught believers to be diligent in knowing that the Lord watches and rewards them.
Col 3:23-24 - And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
By knowing that He watches us, we can serve “heartily,” with diligence. Some only serve with diligence before the people who can promote them! The Lord is our ultimate promoter.


Rebuke and the Loss

Mat 25:24 - Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
Mat 25:25 - And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
Mat 25:26 - But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
Mat 25:27 - So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

(i). The Mindset of the Servant
#1. I knew you to be a hard man vs.24
This servant complains that Jesus’ leadership is unfair and unreasonable
This servant complains that Jesus requires too much, offers too little help, and does not understand how difficult their life is.

#2. Reaping where you have not sown vs.24
The complaint, or accusation, against the Lord in this statement is that He requires more from His servants than He invests in them. He considers Him demanding and unreasonable

#3. I was afraid vs.25
This servant claimed that he buried his talent in the ground because of fear.
Fear of failure, rejection, shame, difficulty, opposition from people, fatigue, loss of free time, or inconvenience leads many to refuse to seek and serve God faithfully and consistently


(ii) Jesus Rebuke:
“You wicked and lazy servant”
#1 Wicked…Gk. ‘Poneros”…..having a hurtful, negative or destructive influence upon others
#2. Slothful…Gk. ‘Okneros” …slow, lazy and unwilling to work
#3. Unprofitable….producing no gain or good result, not fruitful or beneficial to the Kingdom

* He lacked revelation or intimacy with Jesus.
* He had a distorted view of Jesus
* He failed to provide faithful service to his master
* He preferred to spend his time money and efforts on his own comfort and honour
* Mat 25:25 - And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground

A fearful and unbelieving heart caused him to hide his talent ….he avoided service or any personal risk. His focus is on himself and on self-preservation. He is self-centred but anticipates approval

(iii) The Loss:
#1. Loss of Opportunity
Mat 25:28 - So take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents.
#2. Exclusion from the Marriage Supper and Celebration
Mat 25:30 - And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

(iv). Outer Darkness vs.30
This cannot refer to Hell. Hell cannot be both a place of darkness and burning
Banquets in ancient times, just like today, usually took place in the evening.
There was a distinct contrast between the lighted Banquet Hall and the darkness outside where there were no lights. Inside the hall was filled with light. Outside the hall was completely dark
Outer Darkness does not describe Hell, but the conditions outside the Banquet Hall
Outer Darkness means exclusion from the celebrations of the Marriage Feast

(v). Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth vs.30
The servant who is excluded from the Wedding banquet experiences weeping and gnashing of teeth
“Weeping”……………….means deep grief and sorrow at the realisation of what has been lost
“Gnashing of teeth”…means anger at being outside when he should have been inside celebrating

This is not an expression of suffering in Hell, but rather immense regret, sorrow and anger at being excluded from the feasting and laughing and celebration of the Wedding Feast with Jesus and with those servants who have been found faithful
When Jesus returns to establish justice and peace upon the earth some Christians will experience His coming with Joy, gladness and celebration because they prepared and were faithful
Other Christians will experience shame, regret, grief and great sorrow at their unfaithfulness and exclusion from Eternal Intimacy, Authority and Glory, as they see others celebrating

Principle: All believers are expected to develop a faithful and loyal heart
All believers are expected to serve the Lord faithfully with the talent they have been given


V. Diligence in Assignment: Having a Diligent Heart

The Parable of the Minas (Pounds) (Luke19:11-27)
* This parable of the kingdom look similar but is vastly different
* In the Parable of the Talents:

(i). Faithful servants are given positions of honour and glory at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Unfaithful servants are excluded from the Supper and celebration

(ii). Equal faithfulness by the servants (100-fold gain) receives equal rewards (Same Commendation)


* In the Parable of the Minas:
(i). Faithful servants are given positions of honour and glory and authority in the Kingdom.
Unfaithful servants are denied these positions of responsibility and authority

(ii). Greater diligence by the servants receives greater rewards

Luke 19:11 - Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.
Luke 19:12 - Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
Luke 19:13 - So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'
Luke 19:13 - So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'
Luke 19:14 - But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
Luke 19:15 - And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Luke 19:16 - Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.'
Luke 19:17 - And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
Luke 19:18 - And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'
Luke 19:19 - Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
Luke 19:20 - Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
Luke 19:21 - For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.'
Luke 19:22 - And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
Luke 19:23 - Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
Luke 19:24 - And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.'
Luke 19:25 - (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.')
Luke 19:26 - 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Luke 19:27 - But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.' "

(i). A Certain Nobleman
* Nobleman….Person of high rank
* The day is coming when Jesus will return literally and physically as King of Kings and Lord of Lords
* After He has returned He will call His servants to give account of their service
* The sequence of events will be as follows:
Jesus returns, The Judgment seat of Christ, The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Saints empowered to rule

(ii). Ten servants and Ten Minas
* Ten is the number of completion. It represents all the servants and all the pounds
* Jesus has left His servants in charge of all His business during the time He is in a far country(Heaven)
* In This parable each of the servants are given the same amount

(iii). “Do business till I come”
* Each servant is commanded to be busy advancing the masters business
* Each servant is expected to be faithful to fulfil the masters command until he return

(iv). “How much every man had gained by trading”
At the master’s return he calls every servant to give account of their serving
“Trading”……thoroughly occupy self with, to engage in exchange or purchase
Christians are to take the Lord’s goods and to use these goods to produce an increase
Each servant was expected to fully occupy them self in advancing the masters interests in his absence

Trading involves risk, possible loss and suffering

Commendation and Reward
Luke 19:17 - And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
Luke 19:18 - And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'
Luke 19:19 - Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'

(i). “Well done good servant”
The servant is commended for his serving that has been so productive
He has been extremely diligent and fruitful. One Mina has now earned ten Minas
Fruitfulness comes forth from abiding in Christ and His Word abiding in us
Joh 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit for without Me you can do nothing.

(ii). “Faithful over very little
He has both a faithful and diligent heart over very little. He has laboured and been very productive

(iii). Have authority over ten cities
In this parable the reward for faithful service is authority in the coming Kingdom
The servant who gained ten minas is rewarded with a position of authority over ten cities
This servant shares with Jesus responsibility and authority for ruling and reigning
He will partner with Jesus in establishing the Kingdom with power and authority

(iv). “Likewise he said to him “You be also over five cities”
The second servant started with the same Mina that the first servant did.
He has also been faithful but has only made five minas by trading
He is diligence and fruitfulness were less than the first servant

(v). “Have authority over five cities”
This servant is also rewarded with a position of authority, over five cities
His reward reflects that he has been less diligent and less productive than the first servant
At the Judgment Seat Jesus will not only take into account our faithfulness but also our diligence

Note:
In this parable the rewards are determined in relation to the diligence the person showed
Greater diligence and fruitfulness will result in a greater reward

Rebuke and Loss
* Luke 19:20 - Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
Luke 19:21 - For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.'
Luke 19:22 - And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
Luke 19:23 - Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'

(i). “ I feared you, because you are an austere man”.
This a servant has a distorted view of the master
He views the master as being hard, demanding, lacking compassion
He has never developed intimacy or relationship or come to know the masters true nature
He has a heart of fear and unbelief and does not have the masters interests in his heart
He is interested only in himself and his own welfare. He will not take risks and engage in serving

(ii). “ I have kept the Mina hidden away”
He has preserved what he was entrusted with but he has failed to invest and be productive
He is like many believers who bury or hide their gifts and never engage in advancing the Kingdom
They enjoy the benefits of Jesus but will not give their heart and lives to serve and please Him
They enjoy Jesus as the Saviour who saves, forgives, heals, comforts, provides and guides
They do not embrace Jesus is King and surrender their lives to His will and purpose.

The Master’s rebuke
* Luke 19:22 - And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
Luke 19:23 - Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'

(i) “You wicked servant”
“Wicked”……..to have a hurtful influence upon others causing pain and trouble
When Christians are self-centred and consumers, they drain and demotivate other believers
They have a negative influence on the community because they do not serve others

(ii). “Why did you not put my money in the bank?
Jesus expects each believer to use their gift to trade and gain increase, or to make it available to others who are committed to trade and make increase
Every believer has a role to serve the local church working with others to fulfil the Great Commission

The Servant’s Loss
* Luke 19:24 - And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.
Luke 19:25 - (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.')
Luke 19:26 - For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

#1. Loss of opportunity to serve and gain reward
#2. Loss of Authority and position ruling with Jesus in His coming Kingdom


Key Kingdom Principles
* Principle: “Everyone who has, more will be given, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away”—
* Jesus spoke this principle five times (Mt. 13:12; 25:29; Mk. 4:25; Lk. 8:18; 19:26).

#1. Everyone who has:
Everyone who has a tender, responsive, understanding, and faithful heart
We must respond to and apply truth to keep from losing it—

#2. More will be given—an abundance
If we faithfully serve God, we will experience an increase in understanding, capacity, & opportunity

#3. He who does not have:
This person is saved but is unresponsive to God. He lacks understanding and does not Respond. He seems to be spiritual but does not respond to Jesus directives

#4. What he has will be taken away
When the Holy Spirit gives us insight and understanding we must respond with action or our heart hardens and becomes unresponsive. Spiritually we go backwards

* Principle: Equal faithfulness will receive equal reward
* Principle: Greater diligence will result in greater reward


VI. The Parable of the Vineyard (Mat.20:1-16)
* In this parable the rewards are determined in relation to the opportunity the person had
Even those who are last into service can receive and equal reward as those who laboured all day
Jesus takes into account the opportunity we have had to serve and how we used it

* Mat 20:1 - "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
Mat 20:2 - Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Mat 20:3 - And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
Mat 20:4 - and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
Mat 20:5 - Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
Mat 20:6 - And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?'
Mat 20:7 - They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.'
Mat 20:8 - So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.'
Mat 20:9 - And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.
Mat 20:10 - But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.
Mat 20:11 - And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner,
Mat 20:12 - saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.'
Mat 20:13 - But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
Mat 20:14 - Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
Mat 20:15 - Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?'
Mat 20:16 - So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."

(i). Hire laborers for his vineyard
The landowner who went out to hire laborers for his vineyard is Jesus
The Vineyard is the Church…..people who have received Christ and become the planting of the Lord
The laborers are idle (unemployed) in the marketplace (The World”)…….spiritually
Unoccupied in world
Jesus calls each of us to Himself, and then to labour with Him in His Vineyard

(ii). Sent them into his vineyard
“Sent” …Gk.. “Apostello”….to give an apostolic commission.
Believers have an apostolic commission to advance the Kingdom of God, to serve Jesus and people
The first vine to tend is our own life, which needs cultivating and protecting spiritually
Jesus promises each laborers a wage for labouring in His Vineyard - Give them what was right!
Each laborers works for a day, representing the course of his life

(iii). Third, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh hour
Laborers were recruited at the first hour, 6:00AM, the third hour, the sixth, ninth, and eleventh hour
People are saved and called to serve the Lord in His Vineyard at different stages of their life
Some are called in childhood, some as young adults, some in midlife and some in the latter years
People have different opportunities to serve depending upon when they are called

(iv). Made equal to those who have born the burden of the day
The master calls the servants and paid them their wages starting with paying the last first
All servants were paid according to what was agreed by the master, not according to hours worked.
This first bargained with the landowner, the others agreed to receive what the master thought right
The first laborers hired complained. They were under law, the other laborers were under grace
God is sovereign: Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? vs.15

Principle: Different Opportunity, the Same Reward
God’s rewards are a matter of grace and not law. Everyone has equal opportunity


VII. Wisdom: Having a Wise and Understanding Heart
1. Wise and Understanding Heart
* Pro 24:3 Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established;
* Have we built according to God’s Eternal Purpose or not?

4. The Parable of the Wise Servant (Mat.24:45-51)
The servant was faithful and wise. He had understanding of the times
* He was sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit and learned to be obedient
Mat 24:45 - Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?
Mat 24:46 - Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.
Mat 24:47 - Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
Mat 24:48 - But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,'
Mat 24:49 - and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,
Mat 24:50 - the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,
Mat 24:51 - and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Wise and Faithful Servant
(i) He is a servant of The Lord, a believer
(ii). His heart is sensitive to the Master and His requirements. He is practices intimacy
(iii). He is faithfully serving God’s people
(iv). Meat in due season
Meat - means nourishment. It refers to spiritual food (wisdom) for mature believers
(Heb.5:12-14) Due Season - Means at the appropriate time.

He has an understanding heart and discerns what God is saying and doing (1Chron.12:32)
He possesses wisdom understanding and revelation

(v). The Wise Servant’s Reward

“Make him ruler over His household”….and Make him ruler over all his goods”…
If this wise steward is to be made “ruler,” then we know he is of the first resurrection, for these rule and reign with Christ a thousand years.
The wise steward is one who has learned to be a good servant, one who abides by the laws of the household and does the will of his Master.
He has learned that ruling does not mean having servants, but being a servant and having the authority to serve others.

The Foolish and Unfaithful Servant
(i). He is a servant of the Lord, a believer
(ii) His heart is hardened …lack of intimacy and love
(iii). He is unconcerned at the prospect of his Master returning
He has no fear of the Master or of the consequences of being unprepared for His return
(iv). His neglect of love for the Master is shown in his attitude and behaviour towards fellow servants
His words and actions are destructive towards the fellow servants
(v). His lifestyle is entangled with ungodly people
(vi). He is totally unaware of the spiritual season and timing. The Lord returns suddenly & unexpectedly
(vii). The Foolish Servant’s Loss
Cut in two (Lit. To flog severely)………...Refers to painful discipline because of his behaviour
Portion with the hypocrites…………….….Excluded from all the celebration and reward
“Weeping and gnashing of teeth”………..Deep sorrow and anger at the greatness of his loss


VII Personal Reflection and Action
1. What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you about in this session?
2. What actions do you need to take in response?
3. Of the factors God will consider in judging believers, which one challenged you most? Why?
4. In what areas do you feel challenged to greater faithfulness?
5. In what areas do you feel challenged to greater diligence?
6. Why do you think God places such value on wisdom and understanding?
7. How is or service (works) related to intimacy with God and personal heart transformation?



The First Resurrection (10 of 12)  

Tue 8 Sep 2020 AM « Back to Top

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The First Resurrection is presented as the great hope and the prize to be won by the believer.

Believers and unbelievers will both arise together in the General resurrection at the end of the 1000-year Millennial Kingdom of Christ.

However, the First resurrection is for those believers who qualify to participate. It is possible for a believer not to qualify for this First resurrection. Some principles of selection are shared in this important study.

The First Resurrection (10 of 12)

Welcome to the next study, we're doing Eternal Rewards, and this is #10. We're looking on the First Resurrection. We've already talked a little bit about the First Resurrection in one of the early studies. I really want you to understand the scriptures around it, because this is an area in which there's major disagreements in the body of Christ, so it helps if you do some search of the scriptures yourself.

Matthew 16:27 - “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and He will reward each one according to his works”.

In this scripture, and in many other scriptures, it tells us very clearly, of reward for our activities; but it's not just any kind of works, it's works that come out of a life that's yielded to the Lord, and wanting to honour Him, and please Him - so there's a dimension of faith to it.

Our status before God is totally based on faith, not works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 - “By grace you are saved, through faith. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone boast.”

We know that our standing is totally related to what Jesus did; but our reward, and our position and status for eternity is very much determined by how we respond to God's call on our life. Each of us have got a calling, and that calling is individual. It's also corporate, and that calling involves us becoming into full sons, full maturity and the issue of intimacy with God, with personal growth and transformation and with fulfilling our assignment.

We talked about the rewards, and put them into three categories:

1) Eternal Intimacy - many of the rewards describe a deep, intimate connection with Jesus.

2) Eternal Authority - having responsibility to govern with Him and bring total order to creation.

3) Eternal Glory - we looked at resurrection, and our status and honour in the coming kingdom.

There are two resurrections…

Revelations 20:4-6 – “I saw thrones and they sat on them, and judgement was given to them and I saw the souls of them who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God, which did not worship the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ 1000 years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the 1000 years were finished. This is the First Resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the First Resurrection. On such the second death has no power. They shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with Him 1000 years”.

This is the key verse, and the clearest passage, that there are two resurrections. If there's a First Resurrection, then there's a second one. This is the First Resurrection, and it's very clear that the people who are in that First Resurrection are given responsibility and authority to rule with Christ in the coming kingdom.

“Blessed and holy is he that has part in the First Resurrection, on such the second death has no power, they shall be priests of God and Christ, shall reign with Him 1000 years”.

Here's a few key thoughts...

1) This is a limited resurrection. Some people are excluded from the First Resurrection. Many people are excluded from that, and most Christians would accept that.

2) The First Resurrection is for believers, for followers of Christ. There is no indication anywhere that there would be unsaved in that. The First Resurrection is a resurrection of reward, and it's for believers.

3) Here is the controversial part... Although only believers are in the First Resurrection, there's nothing anywhere says that all believers will be in that resurrection. In fact, there's several descriptions which indicate quite the opposite - that it's limited. It says: those who participate in the First Resurrection will rule and reign with Christ in the millennium - that's very clear!

That promise is given to overcomers, in Revelations 2 & 3. The promise of ruling is part of the First Resurrection; and the promise given to overcomers is ruling with Christ; so quite clearly, overcomers are the people that have qualified to enter into this First Resurrection, and participate in ruling and reign with Him, and establishing His kingdom on earth.

Clearly, not all Christians are overcomers - many are overcome. They're overcome by sin, by worldliness, by temptations and pressures, by offences… overcome by so many things. It says: these people will rule and reign with Christ - they are the overcomers. Those who are in the First Resurrection are blessed and holy. That means they're set apart for God, and blessing sits on their lives.

What about the rest of the dead? The rest of the dead includes people who are dead at the time this happens; and those who are living, who will then subsequently die. It says those who participate in the resurrection, they're going to live; but those not in the resurrection, will rise in the General Resurrection, at the end of the 1000-year reign.

It says “the rest of the dead did not live again until 1000 years were finished. This is the First Resurrection”. Now just stop there for a moment and imagine: if you understood your calling was to grow, and become like Christ, to serve Him on this earth; and then the reward would be putting off this body, and putting on a resurrection body, and being able to move, with unlimited freedom, unlimited access, into the realm of heaven, into the realm of earth - being able to move anywhere, at any time, you wanted to. And that those who failed to enter that, would then live their life out and die - imagine the impact of this on you, knowing that you were called to this, but now you have been excluded from it!

“The rest of the dead did not live until the end of the 1000 years” (we'll come to the General Resurrection in a moment). Clearly, the First Resurrection is the better one to be in. Two resurrections; and that's the one you want to be in.

Revelations 20:11-15 talks about the Second Resurrection, or the General Resurrection. From what we've already read, we know that it must take place at the end of the millennium.

Revelations 20:11-15 – “I saw a great white throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away. And there was no place found for them. I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. The books were open, another book was opened which is the Book of Life, and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books according to their works. The sea gave up their dead which were in it, then death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every man according to their works. Everyone that comes up in the Second Resurrection is judged. Death and hell were cast in the lake of fire. This is the second death. So whoever's not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”.

Notice here, in that resurrection, there are people small and great; and there are people dead, and people alive. There are many, many people; and there are both believers and unbelievers in the Second Resurrection. The only people that won't be in the Second Resurrection will be the overcomers, because they come up in the first one. The Second Resurrection - that's those who are alive at that time, who are changed; and those who have died, will be raised at that time. Now whether they're believers or unbelievers, they will all appear before Christ, and there will be a judgement.

This one is called the Great White Throne Judgement, in comparison to the other one we looked at, which is just the Bema, the Judgement (or rewards) Seat of Christ. Believers and unbelievers are both in the Second Resurrection. We know that, because people are found written in the Book of Life, so that means they're a believer. The First Resurrection contains believers; but not all believers, only overcomers.

Not all Christians make it into the First Resurrection. This is the area of this teaching in which you do need to know the scriptures, because it's an area where people assume: everything's all right, I make it no matter what kind of life I live. It's the teaching that we can come to Jesus, and then just do whatever we want after that. It's the kind of complacency and half-heartedness that we see in so many places, and it comes about because of a lack of revelation.

I want to share with you a key scripture on this, and I'm going to show you some other ones as well. Some are quite clear, some are not so clear, but they imply it. Not all Christians make the First Resurrection.

Philippians 3:8-15 – “Doubtless I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I've suffered the loss of all things, I count them dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is by law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, and (here it is) if, by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Not as though I'd already attained, either were perfect, but I follow after that I may apprehend that for which I'm apprehended of Christ. Brethren, I count myself not to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, reaching forth to the things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Now he concludes then…)

Let us therefore as many as be perfect, think this way or be thus minded; and if anyone be other minded, God shall reveal even this to you”.

Wow, very powerful scripture! Paul has been talking prior to this, about everything he did before he was a believer - he talked about his pedigree, his training, his teaching. He said all of that is nothing. He said: it was valuable to me then; but now he says: I consider it all loss, compared to the knowing or knowledge of Christ. He said: I've given up lots of things. I've given up basically my life and my security, and I don't consider any of these things important. My goal is to win Christ.

We have talked before about running the race, and that there's a prize, so here he lays out in that brief statement, that I may win Christ; meaning that intimacy, deep fellowship, and deep relationship with Jesus is something to be won, by running our race according to the way God wants to run it.

He says: “if by any means I might attain to the ‘out-from’ resurrection, unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I'd attained it, or were perfect yet, but I follow after, because this is what God has called me to.”

There are two things that he points out…

1) He points out the prize to be won. He identifies it as the high calling of God, and Christ Jesus. The prize is a calling - it's fulfilling a calling; and he says that it's a very high, or elevated calling. It's the calling God puts to every one of us, an invitation. A calling is an invitation.

Then he talks about the prize… I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God and Christ Jesus. I forget the things that are behind. I'm stretching out constantly. In other words, my life pursuit is this prize. This is so valuable, I have laid down everything to get this.

Then he goes on to say: I'm not even sure I'm going to get it. He says: “not that I have attained it already or even made perfect, but I follow hard, that I may obtain (or apprehend) that for which Christ has called me”.

He's saying there is a prize; and that prize is the high calling of God and Christ. That prize involves winning deep intimacy with Jesus; and he said: I have not made it - and he's writing as an apostle. He's gone through hardships, difficulties and suffering, but he still has no assurance in his heart that he will qualify for this reward.

Now right there in the middle of the passage, you'll see that what he's referring to is the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:11 – “If, by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

That statement is from New King James Version, but it is not a good translation. It's a poor translation that hides what they were saying, so if you go back to the original language of Greek, the word for resurrection is ‘anastasis’. Anastasis means resurrection, calling back to life again, calling you to stand up again. Stasis, to stand; ana, again. Stand up again.

The word resurrection is ‘anastasis’, so in the Bible, whenever they use the word resurrection, they use anastasis. The resurrection of Jesus, anastasis. But this word here is different. It's the word ‘exanastasis’, meaning the out-from resurrection. It's a resurrection that takes me ‘out from’ everyone else, and then he adds to it, and doubles down on it, saying “exanastasis ek nekron” - from the dead ones.

The language of it is really saying something like this: There is a special, unique resurrection. This resurrection is an out-from resurrection, which brings you out-from all the dead, ahead of all the dead - and this is the prize that he's looking for, to attain into that First Resurrection. It's the out-from resurrection, from among the dead - it's not a General Resurrection. It's a very limited resurrection, and he's talking about the First Resurrection.

We read about the first one, and he's saying that as an apostle, he's not even sure he qualifies. What he's saying then, is that it's a prize that you could disqualify yourself from at any point. When you look at some ministries, and they've done very well, for so many years… and then totally disqualify themselves! A stronghold in their heart breaks out, and a problem comes, and then it's all over.

The resurrection, which is from among the dead, is a privilege you arrive at. It follows the way you live your life, and he implies that the key part of that is that I might know Him (ongoing intimacy with Jesus); that I might experience the power of His resurrection, and that I might also participate in the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to death.

What does that mean? He's talking about the pursuit of Christ. The pursuit of this resurrection means: I will embrace a life of knowing Him and surrendering to His will in my life. To become ‘conformable to His death’ means that I surrender my life, and what I want to do, to fulfil what God wants to do. That's what it looks like. Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient under death.

We have this opportunity to die to ourselves every day, all through the day - it's all to do with the self-life. Jesus said: if you want to follow Me, (deny self) take up your cross. He's talking about being conformed to His sufferings. That means, to be shaped in our life, through the tough experiences we have, so we become like Him. Whatever tough experiences we have: disappointments, setbacks, offences, betrayals, delays, difficulties, traumas… life is full of those things; He said: but all of those things, God will use them, and make them work to shift and change us, so we are prepared for what He has. It's all in how you respond to them.

When we see and experience problems, we can enter into ‘reaction mode’ to the problems; or by looking at the natural, or we can set our eyes on Jesus Himself, as the example of enduring suffering (how did He handle these things), and allowing Him to change us. He says: “we are changed from glory to glory”. He says: “beholding as we look not at the things natural, but the things invisible, then God uses them to change us”.

Notice here: “…if by any means I might attain to the resurrection”. What does that mean - ‘if by any means’? Well, any time you see ‘if’, that means a condition - I may not do it. “If by any means” implies a possibility I don't make it. In Acts 27:12 they use the same term…

Acts 27:12 – “And because the harbour was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised we set sail from there also, if by any means we could reach Phoenix, a harbour in Crete, opening towards the southwest and northwest, and winter there”.

If you've read that story in the Book of Acts… they never made it - they were shipwrecked. They did not reach their destination. When it says: “if by any means”, it's saying very clearly, there's a possibility you don't make it. So again, is a resurrection going to happen? Yes, for everyone; but the First Resurrection, is a select resurrection - it's not ‘all inclusive’; it's for those who have run their race according to what God wants, and it's very helpful to see that.

The resurrection takes place at the coming of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 – “I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep (those who have died), so you don't sorrow, like others that have got no hope. If we believe Jesus died and rose again, even though them that sleep in Jesus God, will bring with Him. This we say to you by the word of God, that we which are alive, and remain to the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who are asleep”.

Here is the verse, Verse 16: “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout (a shout of victory), with the voice of the archangel and (here it is) with the trump of God”. (there's a trumpet blast, the trump - a single trump). “The dead in Christ shall rise first, and thee which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord”.

Verse 17 – “to be caught up together with them”, is a term used by many people in the church called ‘the rapture’. Like the First Resurrection teaching, most of the church has got the story wrong about the rapture as well; and so, understanding it, and knowing the basis of what the Bible does teach, you'll be better equipped then to talk into these things.

Notice there, he talks about how ‘the trump of God will sound’ and that's when the resurrection takes place. He is referring to a trumpet blast from heaven; but in the Bible, you'll find that many things which are fulfilled in the New Testament are prefigured through the Old Testament. What we see happening in the New appears in the Old Testament in a type, a pattern, a shadow – someone, something, some event, or some object, that prefigures all of this.

In the Old Testament, there was a feast called the Feast of Trumpets. There were three feasts of Israel… The first feast was the Feast of Passover; and it was held in the first month, on the 14th day. God re-ordered their calendar, and He said: this will be the beginning of your calendar from now on; so the Feast of Passover takes place in the first month, and this was fulfilled literally by Jesus Christ.

The Feast of Pentecost was the next feast, and it was held in the third month, 50 days after the first month feast; and this also is characterised by the coming of Christ - at the first coming of Christ, that feast was fulfilled.

Then there was the Feast of Harvest. So, Passover was at the beginning of their year; Pentecost then is the Feast of First Fruits; and then Tabernacles was the third feast, held in the seventh month - and that has not yet been fulfilled.

You'll find through the Bible, many references to the Feast of Tabernacles; the Feast of Trumpets was a part of that - the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur was a part of that; and then the Year of Jubilee and so on. All of that, was a part of that feast. What we need to see is that two of those feasts were fulfilled exactly into the detail historically. These feasts have firstly a personal application, and then secondly, a prophetic application. Personal means: there's something about this feast for you to experience; prophetic means: there's something about it that foretells of events in history, the eternal plan of God.

These feasts of Israel, and what God put out in those books of the law, outline the whole story or the whole history of man, from one end to the other. As you go through it, it leads you to discover firstly, Jesus Christ; and secondly, the total plan of God. Most churches don't teach anything on this, so people don't understand why these things are important - why they celebrate the Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. There's no context or teaching for it, so we need to have that.

So firstly, the Feast of Passover, in Exodus 12. The people of Israel were in bondage in Egypt. They were in slavery to Egypt. There were 10 plagues, and on the eve of the last plague, they were all told that every family had to take a lamb, a spotless lamb. It was taken on the 14th day of the month, and it was slain. It was taken on the 10th day, and it was investigated for four days, to be found spotless. On the 14th day it was slain. They took the blood, and applied it to the lintels and the door posts, and then that night they stayed in there and ate the Passover Feast - the first Passover Feast, and that night the destroyer went through, and all the firstborn in the land were slain. Immediately, because of that, they were all able to escape Egypt; and they then became Israel, the nation entering their land.

In the New Testament, the Feast of Passover was the feast when Jesus died. Jesus gave up His life, and there was a darkness over the land for three hours, and that stopped people offering up the sacrifice until the very moment Jesus died. As Jesus died, or when He died, then everyone was able to offer the natural Passover sacrifice. The very event, a lamb is slain, and its blood shed for forgiveness of sins; the very timing of it, the exact day, the exact time, coincided with the natural Feast of Passover. The Passover of the old was fulfilled exactly to the very hour, by circumstances God engineered. That's when the veil of the temple tore down. When you see that, you realise that God pre-planned all of history - He's bigger than all of events.

Jesus was inspected four times, by four different people - just like the lamb was inspected, over four days. It tells us in 1 Corinthians 5 that Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us. The personal experience for us is that we receive Christ as our saviour. His blood cleanses our sins. We become justified before God, and now we become escaped out of Egypt. We're now born again into the family of God.

Then Jesus told the disciples that they should wait, and they should wait until they receive power from on high. They had to wait, and they had no idea how long to wait - or maybe they did? They waited until the exact day of Pentecost, at the exact hour, that they would pour water out in the temple. The Holy Ghost fell on them, and the Pentecost Feast that had been celebrated for years now was literally fulfilled. Jesus is now pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh and it's very much like its counterpart in the Old Testament.

In Exodus 19, where they came to the foot of the mountain, and the fire of God fell, and they saw the fire of God, and God spoke to them, and the law of God was given. Now in the New Testament, the fire of God falls - they see the fire of God falling. God speaks and ministers to them. The spirit now is put into their heart, the law of God's written in the heart. The parallels are extraordinary.

Again, we have the Feast of Passover, which we can experience personally - we get saved. We have the Feast of Pentecost - we get filled with the Holy Ghost, and fire, and God begins the transforming work in our life, and empowers us for service. What I want you to see in this point is: 1) it's personal, and it leads us to an encounter with God; and 2) it's also prophetic - it has an accurate time when it gets fulfilled.

That brings us then to the feast of Tabernacles, which is in the seventh month. At the beginning of the seventh month, they have the Feast of Tabernacles, which started with a trumpet, the sound of the trumpet. The Feast of Trumpets was on one day; and then there was the Day of Atonement, which was fasting - Yom Kippur; and then there was the Feast of Tabernacles - the Jubilee announced.

Clearly there's two things… The first thing is: this must also be a personal experience with God; the second is: it must have a timing, which is exactly the right timing. So, it's almost certain that the Feast of Tabernacles will be literally fulfilled when they're celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.

Numbers 10:1 – “the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: make two silver trumpets for yourself. You will make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation, directing the movements of the camps. When they blow both (two trumpets), all the congregation shall gather before you, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. However, if they blow only one, then only the leaders, the heads of divisions of Israel shall gather to you”.

There are other things about it… “when they sound the advance, then the camps will all move”. So, whenever there was a movement, they sounded the trumpet. Whenever they wanted to have a gathering, sound both trumpets; and to gather only the leaders, the rulers - one trumpet.

If they had war, they would sound the trumpet to remind God to step in and help them in their wars. If they had a day of gladness or feasts, the feasts of Israel, they would also sound the trumpets at the feasts, so that's where we get the Feast of Trumpets.

Notice here, two things: that when one trumpet is sounded the leaders gather; but when two trumpets are sounded, then everyone gathers.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 – “When the trump of God sounds, the dead in Christ shall rise first”.

In the Old Testament, when He sounded one trumpet, all those who were leaders would gather. So when the trump sounds, you notice the overcomers will arise, and they are the ones who will rule with Christ, so you see a strong picture prophetically in the Old Testament, of two different situations: one trumpet, the leaders or rulers arise; the other trumpet, the whole congregation arises. When the Lord returns, one trump will sound, and then the overcomers will arise into their resurrection bodies. It won't be until the end of 1000 years that the two trumpets will sound, and all the rest are gathered. Imagine that!

It makes the study of the Old Testament so wonderful, because hidden everywhere through it is Christ, and the prophetic plan of God. That's why, when Jesus met the disciples in Luke 24, He shared with them all things in the prophets, in the law, that spoke of Him. That must've been the most amazing message to ever hear, for Him to go through the books of the Bible - this is about Me, that's about Me, the Passover Lamb, that's Me… Ruth and Boaz - that's Me, and that's the bride, the church.

He's gone right through the whole Bible, and shown them exactly where He appears in it, and how all these stories have been integrated by God, to point to the end times, and God's plan unfolding. That's what makes the Bible so - it's just inexhaustible, and once you get the understanding of that, you really delight in it.

So, what is the basis for selection? I want to go through a few things that are clear factors in this, and I want to look also at how we are responsible to prepare ourselves. We have to do something to qualify.

The first selection is on faithful service. The Parable of the Wise Servant.

Matthew 24:45-51. – “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, who the master has made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, finds so doing. I tell you he'll make him ruler over all his goods.

But if that evil servant says in his heart, my master delays his coming, beats his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunkards, then the master of that servant will come on a day he's not looking for him, in an hour he's not aware of, and will cut him in two (or cut him off), and appoint his portion with the hypocrites, and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

Now the context of this is Matthew 24:25, where Jesus is talking about the second coming. So, he's now saying, regarding the second coming, that in his house there'll be wise servants and there'll be foolish servants. We saw wise virgins and foolish virgins; now it’s wise servants and foolish servants.

It says: “who is that wise and faithful servant, he finds” - it's that servant whom his master, when he comes, finds doing... Firstly, he's a servant of the Lord, he's a believer. Secondly, he's sensitive to what's happening. He gives meat in due season, meaning meat is the word of God. ‘Meat’ means something substantial; and ‘in due season’ means at the appropriate time; so essentially, he is fulfilling his assignment, and he's sensitive to the hour that it's in, and what's required. The wise servant has discovered his assignment, and he's fulfilling his assignment, with the heart of a servant, and with loving sacrifice.

What is the wise servant's reward? He will make him ruler over all - over his household, and over all his goods - that servant is an overcomer. What does it tell us in there about being an overcomer? It tells us that I must fulfil my assignment, and I must do it in the right spirit; and I must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. His reward? Ruler over the household. Because he's ruler over the household, we know he's of the First Resurrection. These are the ones that will rule with Christ for 1000 years. He's over the household, and all the goods, so he's in a place of substantial authority; and he's learnt and qualified for it, because he's developed being a servant.

The foolish and unfaithful servant – he is also a servant. He's a believer, but his heart is hardened, because of neglect of intimacy. He's unconcerned about the master coming back. “He says in his heart, my master delays his coming”. Putting it like this: oh Jesus, I don't know when He's going to return, probably not in my lifetime, so don't worry about it, let's just enjoy life. It's a casual attitude, of having no respect for what the coming of the Lord will involve - so he's just living casually, he's living at ease. He has a neglect of love for his master. If he loved his master, he would feel very concerned, to be diligent in serving his master's cause, and serving his master's people.

It also tells us about this attitude that showed up towards the servants - he began to beat the fellow servants, which means to mistreat fellow Christians, to speak ill of them, to treat them badly. Every time you see someone mistreating another Christian, they are increasingly disqualifying themselves from the First Resurrection - so don't get caught in the injustice of it. Keep focussed on what the consequences are, and how we should keep a good heart. His attitudes towards the fellow servants were destructive, and his lifestyle is entangled with ungodly people. He's eating and drinking with the drunkards. In other words, there's no commitment to live a godly life, to be sensitive to the Lord, build intimacy.

He's totally unaware of the spiritual timing, and when the Lord returns, he's caught out. It says there “be cut in two” - that means painful discipline; “weeping and gnashing of teeth” refers to grief, and then anger at his loss. So in other words, he's been in the house, he was called to this great thing. It happens that he's disqualified, and lost the opportunities he had, so the result is weeping - deep sorrow, that forever I've missed my opportunity, I chose the wrong things; and gnashing of teeth speaks of anger, deep frustration and anger, that I can't do anything about this.

We see there that Jesus reveals what it means to be an overcomer, who inherits the First Resurrection - faithfully fulfil your assignment, with loving service to people, especially the people of God.

The second thing is another parable - the Parable of the Banquet. Here is a second qualification: loving people with no hidden agenda; faithful service, loving service, and loving people with no agenda. In Luke 14:12 it's talking about the banquet, and there's a whole group of pharisees, and they've gathered all their friends together, and they've got a big banquet going on; and Jesus observed how they were all fighting for position, and being top of the table, all that kind of stuff. It was a highly competitive group.

He said: “then He also said to him who invited Him (so His discussion is to the host): When you give a dinner or a supper, don't ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, rich neighbours, because they'll invite you back and you'll be repaid.”

What He's saying is: “Don't just give out, where you hope to get something back...” Sound familiar? We saw that last week. He said “…but rather, when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you”. Our generosity should have no hidden strings attached; that when we give, our giving is with no expectation of return from the person who we blessed - that we should not just give where we hope to get something back. It's this whole thing that I do something, so I can get something back mentality. He says: “when you do it, this is what you should do - give to the people that cannot repay you”, and He says: “you will be blessed”, and He says: “you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just”.

Now what resurrection is He referring to? Well, He's talking about payment, He's talking about reward, so He can't be talking about the Second Resurrection. He's talking about the First Resurrection. He's talking to the host of the banquet and confronting the fact that, in spite of the big banquet, and the apparent generosity of the man, it's all riddled with wrong motivations, of cultivating mates, paying them back - you know, you give me a meal, I give you a meal back; or, I give you a meal, and now you owe me one back - all that kind of thing. Basically, it was all given to those who could pay him back, because all of them had a selfish agenda. Jesus then reveals what it is to be an overcomer who inherits the First Resurrection - we must show the quality of unconditional love, that gives no thought to receiving a return. Simple.

Luke 6:32-35 – “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners can do that. But if you love your enemies and do good and lend hoping for nothing again, your reward shall be great and you shall be children of the Highest, for He is kind to the unthankful and faithful”.

Notice there, that ‘great reward’ is given to servants who show unconditional love. Your reward will be ‘great’; and you shall be children - that's a bad translation. The word is ‘huios’, meaning mature sons. Maturity - overcomers have developed a generosity, and a loving heart towards people, that has no hidden agendas. He says: that's what sonship looks like, because when you do that, you're acting like the Father does.

The third one - a daily walk with God, by faith. This is not just one thing we do now and then; this is our lifestyle. The example given there is Enoch.

Genesis 5:24 – “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away”

He was translated - never saw death, and that makes him a prophetic picture of those in the end time, who are alive, and never see death. What a great thing to never see death, never grow old, get cancer, fade away, weakening and whatever; but rather, we are just suddenly changed. So, he's a prophetic picture of someone who was resurrected, and the reason they give there is: he walked with God.

Hebrews 11:5-6 – “By faith Enoch was take away so he never saw death, and was not found because God had taken him, for before he was taken, he had this testimony: he pleased God”.

He walked with God, and this is the testimony that they gave: he brought pleasure to God.

Verse 6 – “…for without faith, it's impossible to please Him. He that comes to God must believe He is and He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.

When you put those scriptures together, you see then that Enoch was a man of faith, who trusted God. To “walk with God” means he had a relationship with God, and all the things that he did brought pleasure to God. So, that's an example for us.

There's another scripture about Enoch. There’s a whole Book of Enoch. Enoch was a very significant man in the Old Testament, and the Book of Enoch tells all about Genesis 6:5 - about the watchers, and the defilement of demonic spirits with mankind, which led up to Noah and the flood – it’s very interesting.

Jude 1:14-15 – “Now Enoch, the seventh of Adam, prophesied about these ungodly men, saying: behold, the Lord comes with 10,000 of His saints, to execute judgement on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds”.

Notice there, he was prophetic. He prophesied, and he warned his generation. He had a walk with God, a daily walk with God. That means he had relationship, and intimacy, he had faith, he trusted God. He lived a life that brought pleasure to God; and he was one who warned people about a coming judgement, which took place after he had vanished, at the time of Noah. So, he walked with God, had a life testimony that pleased God, he had faith, and he was looking for the coming of the Lord. Jesus reveals what it's like to be an overcomer, who inherits the First Resurrection - we're called to walk with God by faith and live a godly life that pleases Him.

A fourth one is to focus on eternal rewards, and a life of faith. I think that it's important if we want to qualify as an overcomer, that we think in terms of eternity, instead of in terms of just temporary things. I'll just share with you a scripture then, and this one here is about the Old Testament saints who pleased God. We saw that Enoch pleased God, now it tells us in again Hebrews 11, about the Old Testament saints.

Hebrews 11: 13-16 – “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were persuaded of them, embraced them or welcomed them into their arms, confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. And those who say that kind of thing declare plainly they're seeking another country.

And if truly they'd called to mind that country from which they'd come out, they'd have had opportunity to go back, but they desire a better, that is a heavenly country; therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has prepared a city for them”.

He's talking about some of the listed men of faith, and it says that the promises that God had for them were never received then. They are all to be fulfilled in the end time; but they were persuaded that God was faithful, and they committed their life to serving Him and honouring Him. It says: “they desire a better country and God is not ashamed to call them His”. Notice what it says…

1) They desired a heavenly country. They had a goal of eternal reward.

2) They looked for, and they sought it. They sought God and they sought to please Him.

3) They saw what God promised, and believed, and embraced them.

4) They lived a life that honoured God, despite hardships.

God honoured them, because He's not ashamed of them. He says: He's prepared for them a heavenly city, speaking of the resurrection.

Hebrews 11:35 – “…Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection”.

There it is again - obtain a ‘better’ resurrection. What empowered these Old Testament saints to do what they did? They had a vision of a better resurrection!

Everyone knew that there was going to be a resurrection; but a better resurrection - that word ‘better’ means: stronger, more noble, more powerful, having dominion and power. So they endured even being sawn in two. They endured being put to death. They endured all kinds of things and they also overcame, because they had a vision that God was using them; they were prophesying of something to come, and they served God in their generation.

Jesus then also reveals through this, what it is to be an overcomer who inherits the First Resurrection, focus on eternal rewards - walk with God, and live a life that pleases Him… and persevere through difficulties and persecutions.

I'll now give you one more. It's an exhortation by Peter, and it's: Growth in Godly Character.

2 Peter 1:5-12 – “for this very reason, give all diligence, add to your faith virtue, virtue knowledge, add to knowledge self-control, self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, godliness brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness love. If these things are yours and abound, you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you lack these things you're short-sighted, even to blindness, you've forgotten you've been cleansed from your old sins. Therefore, be diligent to make your call and election sure, if you do these things you'll never stumble, and an abundant entrance will be supplied to you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And so, for this reason, I will not be negligent to remind you of these things, even though you know and established them as current truth, or present truth”.

The context of this is very clear - it's about the resurrection and the coming of the Lord.

In 2 Peter 1: 16, he talks about “we saw the coming of the Lord”, so all his discussion here is in the context of the second coming of Jesus, and the First Resurrection. He's saying: now you've been saved, add to your faith - and all the things he says to add are all character qualities. He says: make sure you're diligent. Add to your faith virtue (that means good characteristics); and to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, brotherly love.

He says: here is a guarantee, that if you develop those qualities in your life, then the result is that you won't stumble. You will be fruitful, and have an abundant entrance to the kingdom, instead of being excluded from it.

It tells us very clearly, if he's urging them be diligent, to make your calling and election sure, then clearly the implication is that you're not sure, unless you do these things. Our election or selection for the high calling of God or First Resurrection is not sure, not for any one of us. Our lifestyle, and diligence, is the thing that will qualify us for that First Resurrection. Notice that he mentions diligence twice. It means hasten, hurry, exert yourself. If you look it up on Merriam Webster Dictionary: to be steady, put in energetic effort, persevere.

Understand that it requires that you don't be a pushover. If there's difficulties, then you keep going; you remain diligent, and you assert yourself to grow, and the promise is an abundant, or wealthy, abounding-in-resources entrance into the kingdom; which is in contrast to being saved, but having no reward at all.

Peter then tells us what it is to be an overcomer who inherits the First Resurrection: diligent pursuit of growth in your character, in Christ. Jesus taught that it's important to qualify, it's important to be considered, or counted, or assessed to be worthy of the calling; because the calling to work with Him, to be intimate with Him, and to share with Him in governing and bringing order to creation is such a big calling, such a high calling, that you need to be worthy of that calling.

I'll share with you some scriptures on that. Here's the first one, which was a question on the resurrection, and they're asking about what happens in marriage.

Luke 20:34-36 – “Jesus answered them and said: the sons of this age marry, and are given in marriage; but those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die anymore - they're in the same rank as the angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection”.

He says that they are ‘counted worthy’ to attain that age and counted worthy to attain the resurrection. The Bible is very clear: everyone will rise from the dead; so, He's talking here about the First Resurrection, and being counted worthy to attain to it.

Now here's the thing. If Jesus teaches that you need to be accounted worthy, then He's teaching us that there's a possibility of not being in it. He's laying a foundation: The First Resurrection is not automatic. We need to live a life that God looks at and says: I consider it worthy of being put into this kingdom, into this realm - and that life will differ for everyone.

He said: “they will be counted worthy to attain that age”. That age is not referring to eternity; it's referring to a number of ages, beginning with the millennium, and the General Resurrection is expected, but He's talking about the limited resurrection - to get to it, you have to consider yourself worthy. He repeats this warning of ‘being considered worthy’ - it's repeated in many places, but here's one.

Luke 21:34-36 – “Take heed to yourselves (in other words, look out, take care, watch, be watchful) lest your hearts be burdened with carousing and drunkenness and cares of life, and the Day suddenly catches you unexpectedly, for it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the earth. Watch therefore and pray always you may be counted worthy to escape all those things and stand before the Son of Man”.

He's teaching that at the coming of the Lord there's a time of upheaval, but you should watch and pray, so you will be considered (or counted) worthy to escape all of that hassle; and the escape for us will be getting a resurrection body. The escape is coming to access the throne of God; nothing can touch us.

Paul said the same thing - made the same warning.

Ephesians 4:1 – “I, a prisoner of the Lord, beseech you walk worthy of the calling”.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – “You know we exhorted you, that you would walk worthy of God, who calls you to His own kingdom and glory”.

Notice again, the calling into the kingdom and glory of God relates to being worthy.

2 Thessalonians 1:7 – “…and may God give you, to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus reveals from heaven with His mighty angels; in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who don't know God, and those who don't obey the gospel (he's talking about the end time, the coming of the Lord) - these will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints”.

The glory of God is going to come forth from within us, and Jesus Himself would be admired in those who believe. When Jesus manifests Himself, our body will be changed, and He Himself will be visible to people. They will see and know this is Jesus, and he says: …and we pray that God would count you worthy of this calling, and you'd fulfil the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power.

Notice again, he's saying this is a very big deal. It's a very big calling. It's so stunning that you need to walk worthy of that. We find examples in the Old Testament, in Zechariah 3. Joshua, the high priest, appears before the Lord, and they put him on clean clothing which is a gift to him. Then God says to him:

Zechariah 3:7 - “If you walk in My ways and keep My commands, or keep My mandate or assignment, you will judge My house and have charge in My courts, and I will give you places to walk among these people in the angelic realm”.

There it is again, an Old Testament picture of coming into the First Resurrection, but it requires faithfulness to the charge that God has given us, and that varies - some aspects are the same for all of us and some are not. Also, in the Old Testament, the sons of Zadok…

Ezekiel 44:15-19 – “They kept charge of My sanctuary, when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they will come near to Me to minister to Me”.

He says that in the days when there was backsliding in the nation, the priesthood became corrupt. The priesthood fell away from serving God. We are the priesthood, called to worship God, offer up sacrifices of prayer and worship, and of service to God, and service to people. We are that priesthood now; and He said: when pressure came on, when there was decline in the nation - some became unfaithful in their priestly duties.

These people were faithful, so now I'm going to reward them. They will now come into resurrection bodies; and it says that when they come into His presence, they have certain garments on; but when they leave His presence to be with others, they've got different garments. It's a prophetic picture of resurrection.

I'll finish with this then, one last point…. When will we know that we've been counted worthy?

I've been wrestling with this question over the last couple of weeks. Let’s look at the example of Paul.

Philippians 3:11 – “if by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead, for I have not that I've already attained, already perfected; I press on that I may lay hold of it all”.

Does that sound like someone who's confident he's going to be in? No. Okay now read just before his death…

2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I kept the faith. Now, finally, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness”.

Does that sound confident? Earlier in his life, he's not sure. He's forgetting all things that are behind, he's pressing on… and then now, he's got to the end of his life… I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown. He's saying, that's why I don't worry about dying now. I know it's there - I've got it! How did he know? God told him. God can tell us before we finish our race that we've finished well.

Basically, they have a sense of great peace, in dying; there's no fear of death, because He's there. But the issue of the reward… either He reveals it, or we don't know (or you didn’t get it). All we know is that, for Paul, God told him before he died. However, others found out after they died.

The next one, some found out after they died, so afterwards you know. At some point in Paul's life, he was judged, and found to qualify, and given the assurance he qualified. But there are others who found that out afterwards.

Revelations 6:9-11 – “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who'd been slain for the word of God, and the testimony which they held. And they cried out with a loud voice, saying: how long, O God, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

These are people who've died, and specifically, people who were martyred for their faith. They're saying: God, when are you going to do something about it? That's what their prayer is.

“…Then a white robe was given to each of them…” - and the white robe we understand is the righteousness. It's symbolic always of the overcomer. In Revelations 3, those who overcome will be given a white robe. The white robe given to them is an indication that they have qualified - they're an overcomer, who has qualified for the First Resurrection and reward. We either find out before death, or we find out after death - when the Lord comes, we're either resurrected or we're not. We're left behind in that sense.

You can understand then, the distress of finding that you're living, and there's turmoil in the world. The world's in upheaval, there's been problems such as we've never seen before; and in the midst of it all, suddenly, someone you know, has put on a resurrection body - and at that point you know you missed.

They will never get older - they will always look around about 30-ish. They will always look magnificent. They'll be able to change their form, they'll be able to come in and out of rooms and places. They'll be able to travel around, wherever they want to go. They will move in and out of the heavenly realm, and will be on assignment from the Lord, to reveal what God is like.

With that happening, that releases the latter reign into the earth. It releases the outpouring of the spirit, to bring about transformation of life. That's when we see multitudes and multitudes coming to Christ; this is so real, so powerful, the TVs will show it. It will be like the astonishment of the world, to see people who've overcome death… and it can never happen to them. Who can possibly argue with this? There is no argument. They can't be killed - nothing can be done.

There are pictures spread through the Bible of God's eternal purpose, but you've got to look for it to see it; and even the work that they will do is spread through the Bible in different stories, so you've got to look for it. This is the story, this is what happened, and what it meant in that time. Here's how it works for me, and how it applies to me; and this is how it reveals Jesus, and how it speaks prophetically.

There are different layers - you look at the story…

1) What happened at the time, and how it impacted the people and how they saw it.

2) What it prophetically reveals about Jesus,

3) How it can apply to my life

4) And sometimes… has this got any prophetic implications?

When you see this, it just brings a tremendous joy. You cannot stop studying the word, you want to re-read the word. You want to find out the stories, you want to know all the things that are going on - but first you've got to get the knowledge of the word. Then you've got to look how the things interconnect and if you - and now what you're seeing is like a massive jigsaw puzzle, with pieces everywhere, and some of them are hidden; but as we get nearer the end time, God will reveal more of the pieces, and suddenly… oh my God, how did I miss that? That's so evident!

It's all about the unfolding of His plan that's been there since eternity - that He will have a kingdom of overcoming sons, who will extend His kingdom through all the earth.

I encourage you to think about that…

How did the Holy Spirit speak to me?

What sorts of response do I need to make?

Are there any areas of my life where I'm not qualifying, and I know it and I need to make an adjustment?

Summary Notes

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ER10: The First Resurrection

I. Introduction
* Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.


II. Two Resurrections

(i) The First Resurrection
Rev 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5 - But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6 - Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
* This is a Limited Resurrection…..some are excluded from the First Resurrection
* The First Resurrection is for believers, followers of Christ
* Although believers only are in the First resurrection it does not say that all believers take part in the First Resurrection
* Those who participate in the First Resurrection will rule and reign with Christ in the Millennium
* This promise is given to those who are Overcomers….Clearly not all Christians are Overcomers
* Those in the First Resurrection are Blessed and Holy
* Those not in the First Resurrection will arise in the General resurrection at the end of of the Thousand Years reign of Christ
* The First Resurrection is a “ Better” Resurrection


(ii) The General Resurrection
Rev 20:11 - And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 - And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 - And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 - And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 - And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
* There are both believers and unbelievers in the second resurrection…not the Overcomers
* Some are found written in the Book of Life. These are believers.
* Some are not found in the Book of Life. These are unbelievers vs.15
* All who are resurrected at the General resurrection will be judged according to their works vs.13
* Jesus taught about this General Resurrection when all the dead would be raised
Joh 5:28 - Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
Joh 5:29 - and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation
* Paul also taught that there would be a General Resurrection
Act 24:15 - I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.


III. Not All Christians Arise at the First Resurrection
* Note: This area of teaching is not understood or is disagreed with by many Christians
* Php 3:8 - 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,
Php 3:9 - And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10 - That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11 - If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12 - Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 - Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 - I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15 - Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
* “The resurrection of the dead”….this is a poor translation of the original language
Greek: teen exanastasin teen ek nekrōn…literally …The out from resurrection from among the dead
Clearly this is not the general resurrection. It is a Limited Resurrection
* Paul is speaking about the First Resurrection.
He also calls it the High Calling of God in Christ, and “winning Christ”
* This resurrection which is from among the dead (teen exanastasin teen ek nekrōn) is a privilege at which one must arrive (katanteesō) by a given course of life, even the experimental knowledge of Christ, of the power of His resurrection, and of the fellowship of His sufferings, thereby becoming conformed unto His death (Phil. 3: 7-21)
* “If by any means” ….the word “if” is a condition and implies a possibility of the event not happening
* Act 27:12 - And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.

In this situation they were shipwrecked on the journey and failed to reach their destination


IV. OT Pattern: The Feast of Trumpets
* NT Coming of Christ: The Trump Sounds
* 1Th 4:13 - But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 - For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 - For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 - For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 - Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
* OT Feast of Trumpets
* Three Feasts of Israel

(i). Passover. 1st Month…..…………First Coming of Christ
The first occurrence of the Feast of Passover is found in Exodus 12. This feast culminated in the people of Israel being redeemed by the blood of a lamb from slavery to Egypt. The Feast of Passover is prophetic of Jesus the Lamb of God
Joh 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus, the true Passover Lamb was slain on the cross, on the Feast of Passover, at exactly the time the priests were killing the Passover lamb
1Col. 5:7 - Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
The Feast of Passover is also the personal experience when we receive Christ as our sin offering and are born again

(ii). Pentecost. 3rd Month - First Coming of Christ
The first occurrence of the Feast of Pentecost is found in Exod.19
This Feast involved God descending upon the Mount in fire and giving the law to Israel
The feast of Pentecost is prophetic of Jesus baptising the disciples in the upper room with the Holy Ghost and fire
The Feast of Pentecost is also a personal experience when we are baptised in the Holy Ghost, receive the gift of tongues and begin to move in the supernatural
The Feast of Pentecost and encounter with the Holy Spirit took place exactly on the day of Pentecost at the time the feast was being celebrated in the city of Jerusalem
It was also called the Feast of First fruits - we receive the first fruits of our inheritance Eph.1:13-14
Eph. 1:13 - In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Eph. 1:14 - who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The Feast of Pentecost is a personal experience when we are baptised with the Holy Spirit

(iii). Tabernacles. 7th Month……….……Second coming of Christ
The first mention of the Feast of Tabernacles is found in Lev.23 , and it was first kept when Israel entered the promised land
The Feast of Passover and the Feast of Pentecost were both fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus
They were fulfilled at exactly the time the natural feast was being celebrated
The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled at the second Coming of Jesus
The Feast of tabernacles is prophetic of the return of Jesus and the Great end time Harvest
The Feast of Tabernacles will also be a personal experience when the First Resurrection occurs

* Personal Application and Prophetic Application
Num. 10:1 - And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
Num. 10:2 - Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps.
Num. 10:3 - When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
Num. 10:4 - But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you.
Num. 10:5 - When you sound the advance, the camps that lie on the east side shall then begin their journey.
Num. 10:6 - When you sound the advance the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall begin their journey; they shall sound the call for them to begin their journeys.
Num. 10:7 - And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance.
Num. 10:8 - The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations.
Num. 10:9 - When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.
Num. 10:10 - Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the LORD your God."

Note:
* When one trumpet is blown, all the leaders are gathered together at the tabernacle
* When two Trumpets are blown all the congregation gathers together at the tabernacle
* This prophetically points that the first resurrection is a limited resurrection.
* Those who are overcomers and who will rule with Christ will come forth in the First resurrection


V. Principle of Selection for First Resurrection

1. Faithful Service

* The Parable of the Wise Servant (Mat.24:45-51)
This parable reveals there are two different groups of servants at the Coming of Jesus
One servant represents the Overcomers, who arise in the First Resurrection
The other servant represents believers who fail to be worthy of the First Resurrection

Mat 24:45 - Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?
Mat 24:46 - Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.
Mat 24:47 - Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
Mat 24:48 - But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,'
Mat 24:49 - and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,
Mat 24:50 - the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,
Mat 24:51 - and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Wise and Faithful Servant
(i) He is a servant of The Lord, a believer
(ii). His heart is sensitive to the Master and His requirements. (He practices intimacy)
(iii). He is faithfully serving God’s people.
(iv). He is fulfilling his assignment
“Meat in due season”
Meat - means nourishment. It refers to spiritual food(wisdom) for mature believers
(Heb.5:12-14) Due Season - Means at the appropriate time.
He has an understanding heart and discerns what God is saying and doing (1Chron.12:32)

(v) This Servant: Faithful, Wise, Serving,
(vi). The Wise Servant’s Reward
“Make him ruler over His household”….and Make him ruler over all his goods”…

This servant is an Overcomer
If this wise steward is to be made “ruler,” then we know he is of the first resurrection, for these rule and reign with Christ a thousand years.
The wise steward is one who has learned to be a good servant, one who abides by the laws of the household and does the will of his Master.
He has learned that ruling does not mean having servants, but being a loving servant to others

The Foolish and Unfaithful Servant
(i). He is a servant of the Lord, a believer
(ii) His heart is hardened …lack of intimacy and love
(iii) He is unconcerned at the prospect of his Master returning. He has no fear of the Master or of the consequences of being unprepared for His return
(iv). His neglect of love for the Master is shown in his attitude and behaviour towards fellow servants. His words and actions are destructive towards the fellow servants
(v). His lifestyle is entangled with ungodly people
(vi). He is totally unaware of the spiritual season and timing. The Lord returns suddenly & unexpectedly
(vii). The Foolish Servant’s Loss
Cut in two (Lit. To flog severely)………...Refers to painful discipline because of his behaviour
Portion with the hypocrites…………….….Excluded from all the celebration and reward
“Weeping and gnashing of teeth”………..Deep sorrow and anger at the greatness of his loss
This servant fails to qualify for the First Resurrection
* Jesus reveals what it is to be and Overcomer who inherits the First Resurrection
We must faithfully fulfil our assignment, with loving service to the people of God


2. Loving People with No Agenda

The Parable of the Banquet
* Luke 14:12 - Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbours, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
Luke 14:13 - But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
Luke 14:14 - And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
* Jesus is not talking about the General or Second Resurrection
* He is taking about the Resurrection of the Righteous, the First Resurrection
* He addresses his comments to the host of the banquet in response to seeing the behaviour of guests
* Guests were seeking the highest places of honor. Banquets were held for friends who could repay
* Jesus reveals what it is to be an Overcomer who inherits the First resurrection

We must show the quality of unconditional love that gives with no thought of receiving a return from the recipient
* Jesus also gave indication of this in His teaching in Luke 6
Luke 6:32 - "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children (Huios…Mature Sons) of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Great Reward will be given to servants who show the quality of unconditional love.
That Reward will be the First Resurrection and Manifested Sonship


3. Daily Walk with God by Faith

The Example of Enoch
* Gen. 5:24 - And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
* Heb. 11:5 - By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "AND WAS NOT FOUND, BECAUSE GOD HAD TAKEN HIM"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Heb. 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Jud 1:14 - Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,
* Jud 1:15 - to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
* Enoch was translated alive directly into heaven before the earth was destroyed by judgement
* He is a prophetic picture of those alive at the end time who will be resurrected and not see death
* Notice what the Bible says about Enoch

Enoch walked with God
Enoch had a life testimony he pleased God.
* Enoch was a man of faith in God whose life pleased God and qualified him to escape death
* Enoch looked forward to the Coming of the Lord and warned his generation of the coming judgment
* Jesus reveals what it is to be an Overcomer who inherits the First resurrection
* Like Enoch we are called to walk with God by faith, and live a godly life that pleases Him


4. Focus upon Eternal Rewards and life of Faith
OT Saints who pleased God
* Heb. 11:13 - These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Heb. 11:14 - For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
Heb. 11:15 - And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
Heb. 11:16 - But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them

* Note what is says about these heroes of faith
They desired a heavenly country
They looked for and sought that heavenly city
They saw the promises of God, and embraced them
They lived a life to honour God and suffered hardships for this
* God’s response is that He is not ashamed of them and has prepared for them a heavenly city, because of their manner of life and devotion to the call of God
* Heb. 11:35 - Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
* This is a description of men and women of faith who had faith in God that empowered them to overcome enemies and endure persecution
* They had a vision of a “better” resurrection that they desired to attain to
* “Better”…stronger, more noble, more powerful, having dominion and power
* “Attain” ...to reach, attain, obtain, get, become master of
* Jesus reveals what it is to be an Overcomer who inherits the First resurrection
* Like OT Saints we are called to Focus upon Eternal rewards, walk with God by faith, and live a godly life that pleases Him, and overcome difficulties and persecutions


5. Growth in Godly Character (Transformation)

Peter’s Exhortation to Believers
2Pe. 1:5 - But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
2Pe. 1:6 - to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
2Pe. 1:7 - to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
2Pe. 1:8 - For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe. 1:9 - For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
2Pe. 1:10 - Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
2Pe. 1:11 - for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2Pe. 1:12 - For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
* The Context of this passage is the coming of Jesus and the First Resurrection
2Pe. 1:16 - For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty
* The Apostle Peter urges believers to make our calling and election sure

This indicates:
Our election, or selection for the High Calling of God, or First resurrection is not sure
Our lifestyle and diligence is important to qualify us for the first resurrection
“Diligent” - mentioned twice…to hasten, make haste, to exert one's self, endeavour, give diligence
“Diligence” - MW…steady, earnest, and energetic effort : persevering application

* The Promise: An Abundant entrance into the coming Kingdom
“ Abundant”….wealthy, abounding in resources …in contrast to “saved , yet so as by fire” 1Cor.3:15

* Peter reveals what it is to be an Overcomer who inherits the First resurrection
Diligent pursuit of growth in the character of Christ


VI. Jesus Teaching on the Need to be Counted Worthy

1. Questions on the Resurrection
* Luke 20:34 - Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.
Luke 20:35 - But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
Luke 20:36 - nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
* The Bible is clear that all the dead will rise again. This was well accepted by the Jews of jesus day
* Jesus is talking here about the First Resurrection….and being accounted worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from among the dead
* “That age” (singular) is not a Bible term for eternity, which is not one age but many, “the ages of the ages” (thirteen times in the Revelation).
* “That age” is set by Christ in direct contrast to “this age,” and so means the age of the kingdom to follow this age.
* A general resurrection the Jews expected (Jo. 11: 34: Acts 24: 15), but here Christ speaks of “the resurrection which is out from among the dead” (tees anastaseōs tees ek nekrōn).
* This is the first clear intimation of such a limited, select resurrection.
* This is Jesus teaching about the First Resurrection and he makes it clear that one must “attain’ or “be counted worthy” of receiving this
* Since Jesus is the one who determines who enters the First Resurrection we must take His words seriously

2. This warning of the need to be Counted Worthy is Repeated
(i). Jesus
Luke 21:34 - "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
Luke 21:35 - For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Luke 21:36 - Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

(ii) Paul
Eph. 4:1 - I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
Eph. 4:2 - with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
1Th 2:11 - as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
1Th 2:12 - that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
2Th 1:7 - and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
2Th 1:8 - in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Th 1:9 - These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
2Th 1:10 - when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
2Th 1:11 - Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
2Th 1:12 - that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(iii). OT. Joshua the High Priest
* Zec 3:6 - Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,
* Zec 3:7 - "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here.
* This is a prophetic vision of the end Time Overcomers received by Zechariah
* Joshua the High Priest has access to the presence of God, to the throne room
* His unclean garments are removed and he is given freely garments of righteousness
* The promises that are made to him are conditional… “if”
* If he walks in Gods ways (Lifestyle), and fulfils his calling…then he shall have access to the throne room and shall rule the house
* Joshua must be counted worthy of receiving the promises

(iv). OT. The Sons of Zadok
* Eze. 44:15 - "But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood," says the Lord GOD.
Eze. 44:16 - They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.
Eze. 44:17 - And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house.
Eze. 44:18 - They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.
Eze. 44:19 - When they go out to the outer court, to the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they have ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; and in their holy garments they shall not sanctify the people.
* This passage reveals that some of the priests were faithful in their priestly service and some were not
* Those priests who are faithful, the sons of Zadok, are given privileged access to Jesus.
* They are also given linen garments, clothing which they wear when entering the presence of Jesus in the Holy Place.
* Linen garments are a prize awarded to the overcomers. (Rev.19:8)
* These garments that they are given correspond to a resurrection body(2 Cor.5:1-4)
* Faithful priests enter the First resurrection, those who are not faithful do not
* We are all called to be priests to God. (1Pet.2:5,9)
* Those who are faithful to fulfil their priestly call will enter the First resurrection.
* The unfaithful will not


3. When will we be Counted Worthy?

Example of Paul:
* Before Death
2Ti. 4:7 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2Ti. 4:8 - Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

* Compare with earlier in Paul’s Life:
Php 3:11 - if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Php 3:12 - Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Php 3:13 - Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;

* At some point before Paul’s death his life was judged and he was found to qualify
He was given personal assurance that he qualified for the First Resurrection and Reward

* Example Of Dead Saints

* After Death
Rev 6:9 - When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
Rev 6:10 - And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
Rev 6:11 - Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

* These saints are not yet raised from the dead but have been given a white robe acknowledging that they qualified for the First Resurrection and Reward


VII. For Personal reflection and Action
1. What has the Holy Spirit being saying you in this study?
2. What actions do you need to take in response?
3. Which of the Principles of Selection most challenged you?
4. Where did you need to grow and develop?
5. What actions will you take?



Abundant Entrance to the Kingdom (11 of 12)  

Fri 11 Sep 2020 AM « Back to Top

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In 2 Peter 1, Peter describes the necessity of personal transformation and fruit-bearing in the life of the believer.

Peter shares his revelation of Christ coming in majesty to rule and reign, and the necessity of the believer to be diligent in adding to their foundational faith the character qualities of Christ.

Believers who neglect to commit to personal growth, Peter describes as barren, unfruitful, blind, short-sighted, and forgetful of the work and calling of Christ.

Personal growth, heart and character transformation ensure we will never fall, will be fruitful and stable, and will have an abundant entrance into the Coming Kingdom of God.

Abundant Entrance to the Kingdom (11 of 12)

Welcome to our study in Eternal Rewards, and we're up to study Number 11. This one we're looking at the Abundant Entrance into the Kingdom, and we're going to base the whole study out of a passage of scripture in 2 Peter 1:2-17.

2 Peter 1:2-17 – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you, in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which we've been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that's in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance or patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness love. And if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble or fall, and so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

So for this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I'm in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover, I'll be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”

Peter is at a stage in his life where he knows, God has shown to him, that very shortly, he will die. When you know you're about to die, then what you're saying, and what you're sharing, are very important things. Notice there he's sharing with the church, reminding them of something he'd already taught them. We don't have the record of what he taught, but he said: “I think it's right, as long as I'm in this tent” (meaning while I'm alive) - I will stir you up. I will stir up your spirit. I'll stir up your passion. I'll stir up your zeal for God, by reminding you of these things. What we're going to study are the things that he's wanting to remind them of. He also says: I'll make sure, or I'll be careful to ensure you have a reminder of these things after my decease - this is why he's written the letter. He wants us to remember what he's been sharing, because it's very, very important. He's writing it so it won't be lost; and like all of these passages, we need some context for it - and so that's what we want to have a look at, first of all, by way of an introduction to this whole teaching again.

We're going to look firstly just at an introduction to this; and then secondly, we're going to look then through the passage at its context, and then how it applies to us. We've looked and studied Eternal Rewards; and at the whole concept of God's eternal purpose, something He planned long before the earth was created. Part of it includes giving pre-eminence to Jesus Christ; that Christ will be everywhere, and everything, admired, and honoured and understood who He is; and that He will have sons and daughters in His express image, who will work with Him in sharing His work in governing, and establishing the kingdom in the earth.

Romans 8:29, NLT: "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters."

It's very clear that God predestined us, to be conformed to the image of His Son – “that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”. God's plan was predestined (planned); but we choose whether we're part of the plan. Predestined doesn't mean you've got no will or power to choose. You still choose, but God has a destiny, and He wants us to cooperate and flow with Him into that destiny.

The word ‘conform’ means to be fashioned jointly, or to become like Him, through the same process. It's a process of experiences, of revelation, and we'll go into exactly what's involved in it, and how God works to change us. With every child that's born in the kingdom of God, God takes you into a process of growth, with a purpose of changing you. But if you don't understand the process, then you just react, and fight, and get disappointed. You say: oh, God didn't come through for me - this happened, that happened. Many Christians fall over and fail, because they just don't get what God is trying to do, and how He goes about doing it, and then what our part is.

We want to open up here in this passage again, what God is trying to do, and then what our part is in it. We think things are a bit random - we have bad things happen, some disappointing things happen, but it says in Romans 8:28, that He can use every circumstance that we walk through. God can use it to get us to where He wants us to get.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It doesn't matter what you've been through, what pain, what issue - if we're responding to His call, then every situation in life, when God is allowed into it, and we lean into Him in faith - He can use it to grow our character, and make us more Christlike. In doing that, we've got to learn to stop reacting to problems. When problems come up, issues come up - with finances, marriage, life, people, whatever - the thing is, we need to enquire what God is doing, and how we should respond. Then when you do that, then the situation, although it's painful, negative, difficult, and seemingly overwhelming, is used by God to shape your character, because you're leaning into Him. That means, mainly, you can just enjoy your life. Even with things happening - we just don't react anymore; we enquire of God how to respond.

Paul in his writings, in Romans 8, makes it clear that the whole of creation is waiting for this process to be fulfilled…

Romans 8:18 – “I consider the sufferings of this present time are nothing, or not worthy, to be compared to the glory to be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of all creation is eagerly awaiting the revealing or manifestation of the sons of God”.

He's saying that “all of creation is in an expectation”, because creation understands that God has a plan, and that it takes time to work the plan out, and it's all waiting for that moment, when the sons of God will be manifested, in the coming of Jesus Christ. That word ‘sons’ is mature, fully grown sons.

Now you see the issue, that much of the church remains immature. Christians remain immature. They have no understanding of why personal growth is important, so they just come to church. It's about a meeting; but not about a kingdom, and a bigger purpose. With that in mind, now we look into the passage of 2 Peter 1, where Peter is ensuring we've got a written record of what he sees is incredibly important.

Like all these passages, you always need to look at the context - what is the scenery, the background, the overview, that gives meaning to what we're doing? In this situation, in this passage, the context is that Peter is saying: I'm about to die, and I want to make sure you never forget this. I've taught it. I'm reminding you, and now I'm going to write it, and this is the letter.

Peter is talking about the End Times; and about the majestic coming of Christ in glory; and he says that there's an entrance we can have into that kingdom, via the First Resurrection; and that we must prepare. That's similar to what we've been hearing everywhere - all the messages we've done have had that same theme in it, of a reward that's in the coming kingdom - a reward that goes on for eternity; and of the need to respond, and prepare for this. In the other ones, we focussed on the Parable of the Virgins - on intimacy, the need for intimacy with Jesus. We looked at the Parable of the Servants, about faithful service; and now we're looking at the need for transformation. Sonship involves all those things: intimacy; service; and transformation. This one is focussed on the transformation, that's why I'm making it a whole study.

If we read then, he describes the coming of Jesus Christ in Verses 16-18...

2 Peter 1:16-18 – “We did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father, honour and glory, when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’. And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain”.

He's talking about the things that Matthew wrote about, in Matthew 17; that Mark wrote about, in Mark 9; that Luke wrote about, in Luke 9; and now here, Peter is giving his own version. He's referring to when Jesus took three disciples up onto the mount, and as He prayed, He was transfigured. The glory that was within Him began to shine forth, like a light shining through a thin veil, and all His body and countenance became changed, and shone and radiated glory. He was transfigured before them, and then there was a crown of glory came over them. God spoke, and they saw Moses and Elijah, who were talking with Him. They were very excited about this whole thing, which is what they had been looking forward to.

Moses was the one who introduced the law; and Elijah brings the prophetic. Moses and Elijah are both there, and they're talking with Jesus about what is happening, and what's about to happen. Their lives are literally a prophetic heads-up of what was about to come, so they're incredibly excited at that time, and the disciples are completely overwhelmed. They fell down. They didn't understand what was happening. Peter said: “we should make booths, and stay here”, meaning - in his mind, he's thinking: this must be the fulfilment of the Feast of Tabernacles - when there’s a blowing of the trump, and the Lord returns, and the kingdom comes. He didn't understand that it wasn't that fulfilment yet -we are the ones living in the hour when it will happen! Peter then is giving an eyewitness testimony of Jesus coming - he saw it personally; he heard everything, and now he's speaking and writing it.

The context then, is that what he is experienced is about to come; and then in the writing, he talks about “an abundant entrance for us into that kingdom - if we qualify”. Notice that, in all the teaching we've had – something is always required. We have to qualify. We read in three verses, and each of these verses makes it very clear, that the promise is conditional…

2 Peter 1:11 – “…for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ...”

Notice the conditions: “if”.

“…If these things are yours and abound, if you do these things, you'll never stumble”.

So very clearly, he puts conditions on it. He says: there's a condition placed on being fruitful; and on having an abundant entrance to the kingdom - the two are the same.

When he says: “if these things are yours and abound, if you do these things you'll never stumble”, he's saying that we need to do some things about our life. We must work with God in the transformation process, or we will be unprepared. When we enter the coming kingdom, we enter by qualifying for it - by entering through the First Resurrection - that's our “high calling, and our hope”. Seeing that that as the context, now we'll go into it...

Firstly, we want to talk about the need for intentional personal growth, meaning transformation. We shared before about many Christians remain very, very immature; but there are many, many ways that the necessity for growth is pictured in the Bible, and there's descriptions of where we need to grow. We need to grow in grace - that's the empowerment of the Holy Spirit; and the knowledge of God - that's revelation of Him. We need to grow by the word of God.

1 Peter 2:2 – “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby”.

It's talking about growth.

2 Peter 1: 5 – “Add to your faith…”

‘Add’ means you've got to build on something that's been established. He's already stated earlier on that we have faith in our hearts, because we've trusted Christ - the foundation of our walk with the Lord. We received Jesus. He becomes our saviour. We have saving faith. We've become introduced to His kingdom, so we have a foundation of relationship with Christ. He's talking and writing to people who he assumes already have faith. He says: “add to your faith”, so he's assuming that faith is already there - our saving faith. We can't do anything to add to what Christ has done.

Ephesians 2:8 – “By grace are you saved through faith, not works...”

Our faith is a gift to us. It's our response to what Jesus did. But now he's saying: God doesn't want you to stop there, He wants you to add to your faith, or build on the foundation. The foundation of your life is a revelation of Jesus Christ - the spirit of Christ comes into us, and we become joined to Him. Now we need to grow. He says: don't stop there, build on the foundation, you must add to your faith.

The Bible describes our life like a building; like a body that must grow up, and go from childhood, through to young man, through to fatherhood; or it's like a building - that we've got a foundation laid, and now you've got to build on the building. We can't just stop at the fact that we're saved, and we belong to God. We're on a journey to maturity; and the Bible makes it clear that without maturity, we can't enter all that God has for us.

Galatians 4:1 – “…as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate…”.

When the heir is just a child, he's no different to a servant. He can't have his inheritance. You've got to grow up - and we see that naturally. If you want to receive an inheritance, you have got to be old enough to handle it. Without maturity, we can't enter God's inheritance; so we must embrace, not just that Jesus wants to save us, but also to embrace that God's purpose is to mature us, and grow us until we become like Christ - and we understand that Jesus is the express image of what God is like.

In Hebrews 1:6, we understand He's the “firstborn of many”, so those scriptures tell us God's plan is not just to have Jesus in glory, but to have many, many sons and daughters exactly like Him, in their character and their nature. That's not accidental. We must commit to God's process of transformation, and building character, and Jesus is the model.

This is what we would call our ‘heart journey’. It doesn't talk about the heart there, that's talked about other places. The heart journey is our personal journey. It's something everyone must take, and it's a journey of freedom, and a journey of formation. Freedom, because we've got wounds, we've got attachments, addictions, and old reactions that we make. We've got immaturity, areas of bondages - and they all show up in our relationships. If they weren't shown before, they will show when you get married! They will show up again when you have children! They show up through life. The wounds of our heart need to be healed; the bondages in our heart need to be broken; so our journey with the Lord is a journey firstly, of letting God bring progressive freedom in our life; and secondly, it's one of formation - the formation of the heart, and character, of Christ in our lives.

Matthew 11:29 – “Take My yoke from Me, and learn from Me, for I am gentle (or, I'm meek and lowly in heart, meek and humble in heart)”.

Jesus wants us to learn the value of the heart qualities of' ‘meekness’, and ‘humility’. The quality of meekness means: my strength is under control, under management; my passions, my energy, my life is yielded and surrendered to God, so I don't react to life's adversities. I'm not imposing my power and forcing my will and way. Humility means that I adopt a ‘servant attitude. When we take on the qualities, and grow the qualities, of meekness and humility, then we become more and more like Christ. When we humble ourselves, God lifts us up; when we're meek, God causes us to inherit. In other words, we receive things that we never worked for. We have influence with people.

The second thing is he tells us is: be diligent; diligent to make your call and election sure.

1 Peter 1: 10 – “Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble”.

Notice he says: “if you do these things”. That phrase ‘do these things’ means: constantly practice the list he's just given us (we'll go into that list in detail in a moment); but he's saying: it requires diligence. You've got to constantly work on these areas, you're constantly practicing, putting into practice; and he's saying: you need to be diligent, to make your calling sure. If someone says you've got to really be diligent to make this thing happen, that implies that if you're not diligent, then it won't happen.

He's saying: you have a high calling. You have precious promises from God. We've got wonderful things He's prepared. We must be diligent. The promises are what God makes available; but diligence is our part. You can either be diligent; or you can be lazy - and this is the difference between many Christians.

Some are very diligent in their prayer life; diligent in reading the word; diligent in following what God is showing them. Others are neglectful. They turn up on Sunday. It's casual, what they have; and they never take notes, and never respond to anything that's taught. For them, it's just coming to church - great atmosphere, feeling encouraged and strengthened, reminded God loves them, and being inspired by a message. It's not a lifestyle of intentional building.

When you've got a lifestyle of intentional building, you want to be in a learning process constantly. He says: we need to make our calling sure, implying that it's not sure, unless you make it sure - and even Paul wasn't sure until the very end. So be diligent!

What does it mean to be diligent? Diligent. I love diligence. I've won the prize for diligence three times. Once in primary school; once in secondary school; once in university - diligence will get you through. It's not the gifting you have; it’s the diligence you show, that makes all the difference. Diligence means: to make every effort; to give care and attention to something, making sure you do what's necessary.

Another meaning of diligence means maintain the focus - an ongoing, sustained effort. That's a great definition - keep your focus; this is where I'm going; sustain the effort. You keep at it; you persevere at it. Diligence is the difference between just dreaming about something, and actually having it happen. Many people are dreamers; but they're not diligent, applying themselves intentionally to grow.

He says: we're to apply diligence to make our calling sure; and he mentions it twice. When something is mentioned twice, they're trying to get your attention - it's important. When its mentioned three times, it's even more important.

Verse 5 – “give diligence to build on your faith the Christ qualities”.

Verse 10 – “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure”.

He connects the two - building the qualities into your life, with making your call and election sure. Notice it's: “give all diligence” - be even more diligent, so he's emphasising that laziness is not acceptable. You're not getting anywhere if you're lazy; you've really got to apply yourself to this. Making your call and election sure is connected to building the character qualities of Christ in your life.

It's worth the study to look through the Book of Proverbs, and other places in the Bible, on the meaning of diligence, and the promises of diligence; and the meaning of slothfulness, and the things stated concerning slothfulness.

Proverbs 12:24 – “the hand of the diligent will rule…”.

If you want to be in charge, be diligent in whatever you're doing. A person who's diligent will end up in charge.

“…but the lazy man will be put out to forced labour”.

You'll find these contrasts in the Book of Proverbs, of diligent versus lazy.

Hebrews 6:12 – “Be not slothful, but rather, be followers of those, who through faith and patience, inherit the promises”.

Again, diligence is a God-quality. God is diligent. He wants us to be diligent; so, whatever you do, do it diligently. Sustain your focus on what you're doing, keep persevering in doing it - you will get there. I've discovered, in the walk with Christ, that diligence in following the Lord, and seeking the Lord, and doing what He wants you to do, despite everything else, brings you through.

Every believer needs to grow, and it's not automatic - it needs to be intentional. Some people think: if I just turn up, something is going to happen. No, our growth needs to be intentional; so, studying the word is an intentional effort; prayer is an intentional effort; working on your personal life is an intentional effort; going to a seminar to get healing is an intentional effort. All these things require intentional effort. Intentional means it's conscious, deliberate and you're doing it on purpose - you've got something in mind. When we understand our calling, then our response is to be diligent - very diligent; and as we're diligent, there are great and precious promises, that cause us to become transformed, and changed, and enter the kingdom magnificently. We can have an abundant entrance to the kingdom, or we can barely scrape in. I think it's better to have an abundance.

Then he talks about the consequences of not growing. Having given diligence to grow, and to change, he then talks about the characteristics of not growing; and then the seven qualities that we are to diligently work on. Let's have a look then, at the characteristics of Christians that are not growing - and you probably all know some of them. Essentially, there's a lack of life and freshness around them - they become stale, and old, and religious, because they're not growing.

2 Peter 1:8 – “If all these things are yours, and abound, they will make sure you're neither barren, nor unfruitful, in the knowledge of our Lord. But if you lack these things, then you're short-sighted, even to blindness - you've forgotten you were cleansed from your old sins”.

If we don't keep growing, then we stagnate. Stagnant water is not life-giving water. There's no freshness in your walk with God - no fresh insights, no fresh learning experiences, no fresh growing experiences - and people like that become quite shut-down, and passive. When people are not growing, they draw on their gifts, their talents, instead of a relationship; and they draw on past experiences, instead of what God is currently speaking to them. So, if we don't persevere in development and growing, then it results in the following things: unfruitfulness, blindness, short-sightedness, forgetfulness.

I'm going to go through the list of the five things that characterise people who are not growing. The consequences of not growing…

1) Barren. The word literally means ‘without labour’. They're not serving. They're not productive. They're spiritually unemployed. They live off the service and faith of others. Think of the Christians you know like that. They're never available to serve, they're not passionate for good works…

Titus 2:14 – “He's redeemed us to Himself… a people that'll be zealous for good works”

Where is the zeal? Where's the passion? They're negligent in their walk with God; they're not in a grow mode. Our serving the Lord catalyses the growing, because it puts you into difficult situations, which force your growth. You can't just grow just by reading the Bible - you've got to be engaged.

2) Unfruitful. From agriculture, most of the new fruit comes on the new growth; so ‘unfruitful’ means you're not producing the fruit you're supposed to produce. You lack the fruit of the Spirit, you're not actively involved in advancing the kingdom, you're not having a positive influence. Think of the sheer number of Christians, many people we know are like that - and they're not aware that they're disqualifying themselves from the First Resurrection. They're disqualifying themselves from their calling, they're disqualifying themselves from being part of the great coming age with Christ.

3) Blind. They're wretched and blind. That word ‘blind’ is a Greek word, ‘tufloss’, meaning: to be opaque. It means literally, to surround you with smoke. If you ever looked at anyone in a car who's been vaping, you know the whole car gets filled with that vape smoke, and everything around them gets covered with smoke? He says it's like that. He's saying: your blind; you're enveloped with smoke. It also means: to be puffed-up with pride; or conceited; or rendered foolish - and it's a demonic activity.

2 Corinthians 4:4 – “Satan has blinded the minds of those who don't believe.”

When we're not growing, our faith isn't growing, we're not leaning into God; then what happens is, we become very self-centred, self-oriented; and of course, that brings the next thing: we become short-sighted - can't see afar off. If you can't see afar off (I've got short-sightedness), everything afar off is blurry, so it creates a bit of problem going forward. In fact, I can't drive, unless I've got my glasses on to correct the vision.

It says there ‘can't see afar off’, which means that you're focussed on what's near to you, so you don't see further down - where it's all going, and what it all counts for. It refers to a life that's living in the moment, rather than living with eternity in mind. Short-sighted, you're not seeing ahead.

One day, you will stand before the Lord; one day, you will give account for your life - your decisions, your choices, your values, what you've done. You're not thinking ahead! You just are just not seeing it. It's like it's out of your view, all the time; therefore, you're not living with that in mind. Then he says: you've got a bad memory, you've forgotten what God has done, and why He's done it. When it says ‘to forget God’, what it really means is, not keeping His commandments.

Deuteronomy 8:11 – “Beware you don't forget the Lord by not keeping His commandments”

1 John 2:4-5 – “The one who says, ‘I know Him’ and doesn't keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God matures in him, and this is how we know we're in Him”.

Clearly, the consequences of failing to grow is, we just forget what God saved us from, we forget why we're saved, and then we forget to do the things He wants us to do. We start to just live for ourselves, and that's the condition of so many in the church, it's quite heartbreaking really. Quite a bad thing, isn't it - blind, half blind, short-sighted, bad memory, unfruitful, barren, spiritually unemployed... These are bad things, aren't they? This is all the consequence of not being committed to personal growth.

Look at the people you have the difficulties with; all these things are in them. You will start to notice it. They won't do things. They're not engaged. They're not growing. They're not sharing anything fresh from God, or from the word. They're not thinking about eternity. They're not even thinking past next week. They're thinking about this: my marriage, my children, my money, whatever. Their whole life is preoccupied with what's in front of them; and what's in front of us, can change. Having a long-term vision enables us to walk through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, because we are looking for something that's eternal.

Hebrews 6:19 – “This hope that we have ahead anchors your soul… (stops you being tossed around in the storms)”.

Then he talks about the qualities… add some things; so be very diligent and add these things into your life. What does he want us to add? How do we add it?

Here are seven qualities, and it’s interesting that he used the number seven. Previously he talked about seven things for people who are walking away from God, but now he talks about seven things we need to add in, so let's have a look what the seven things are.

1) He says: “add to your faith virtue” - so what is virtue? It means literally: valour, courage, excellence, purity, doing what's honourable. Virtue means do the right thing; do what you know God wants you to do. Virtue - add to your faith ‘doing the right thing’. It means spiritual courage in a hostile world; being able to stand up for what's right, in the face of reactions.

That's virtue. You can see how virtue's a good word. It describes manliness, courage, being a man (or women) of honour. You have the courage to stand up, among people who are hostile to your way of life, and you stand up for what's right. Virtue means doing what's right in God's eyes, not what people think, or what's best for me.

An example of a man of virtue is David; and even though he had some things that were wrong, he stood up courageously for what was right. If you look at the apostles, they all died for their faith. They were men of virtue. They had courage to stand up and do what's right. You see Peter standing up and doing what's right. The authorities tried to shut him down for preaching the gospel (in Acts 4), and he said: God has commanded us to do this thing, and so whatever you think, you're allowed to think that, but we will do what God told us to do. That's courage, it's doing the right thing.

You always have opportunities in your life to choose to do the right thing, to do what God wants done. It may be to speak up, when no one else is speaking up. It may be to stand by someone, who's having a hard time. It may be to not lie, when you're tempted to. It may be to be honest, when you're tempted, or when others are saying don't be honest. There's lots of ways that virtue can be developed.

2) “…add to virtue (add to doing right), is knowledge”. Get understanding. Now the word ‘knowledge’ is the word ‘understanding that's gained by learning’ (intentional learning and experience). We need to keep growing in our spiritual knowledge and understanding. Solomon is an example of a man who developed great knowledge and great understanding - but he also sought it. He asked God for it.

What is it? It's the knowledge of God. It's an understanding of how life works, so we need to persevere. Solomon wrote like this….

Proverbs 2:1-6 - “My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding, if you cry out for discernment and lift your voice for understanding, if you seek for her like silver and search for her like treasures, hidden treasures, you will understand the fear of the Lord. You'll find the knowledge of God, because the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth comes knowledge and understanding”.

Solomon, the wisest man in the world, understood that you can have natural knowledge by study; but there is spiritual knowledge and understanding of how life really works, that only God can give. He excelled in that. When God said to him: you can have whatever you want, he said: this is what I want. I want a hearing heart that understands, and God gave him wisdom. God was very pleased and with that, so God gave him everything else as well.

We need to pursue knowledge. That means being diligent in studying the word of God, being diligent in listening to people that have revelation and insight. It's applying yourself to understand how the realm of the spirit (God's kingdom) works. As you understand it, then of course you can make great decisions. Your life starts to flourish, because you understand: there's sowing and reaping. You know that I may do some things today and look like I'll get away with it - but I'm going to reap the consequences of those bad decisions.

I may pray, and do some things today, that don't look like I'm getting anywhere, but I will reap the benefits of all of that eventually. By understanding the law of sowing and reaping, in relationship to spiritual things, then I'm able to go forward and grow. I do things, because I know what's going to happen in the future. Then of course, then your life becomes where you're continually reaping, and continually sowing - it's your whole life, because you understand: that's how God works. Most people don't get how God works - they like what He does, but don't know how He works. One way He works is through the principle of sowing. You sow, sow, sow, sow and then gradually, after a time, you start to reap, reap, reap, reap, reap - and then your life is a flow of sowing and reaping.

God works through principles, like the principle of serving: if you want to be great in the kingdom, then become a servant. It looks counter-productive. In the world, people want to be great, they promote themselves; but God says no - if you really want to get ahead, this is how it works: become the servant, and gradually, God Himself will find the place to lift you up - either in this life or in the next.

3) “… to knowledge (understanding), add temperance”. Temperance means literally, to control yourself. Temperance means self-control. It means mastering your feelings and impulses; and of course, you know so many people and they can't do that. They live out of their feelings.

Self-control means not just controlling your actions; it means controlling your emotions, your impulses, your thoughts. It means delaying instant gratification. Even in the secular world, people know that if you can delay instant gratification, you set yourself up for success. “I can give you $5 now, or $1000 in a month” - there's so many people who just want the money now - they can't wait, and it's a characteristic of children. They usually take what will come now, rather than wait, because they can't see ahead; that, I’ll be much better off if I just delay this thing now, for the sake of that ahead of me. Based on this, people are caught up with impulse buying. They're caught into temptation to sin. All those things are usually quite impulsive. Self-control means I resist impulsive behaviour, and I maintain a direction where I'm going.

Self-control is a fruit of the spirit, so it comes as we yield to the spirit of God, consciously, and ask for God's help to overcome that thing, rather than just yielding to the impulse. Also, it requires emotional intelligence. You've got to be aware of your emotions; what you're feeling, and what others are feeling. That helps you manage your choices.

Examples of that would be Daniel and Joseph. JosEph. developed self-control. He was in a position of privilege. He was in a position where he sought serving the Lord, and the Potiphar's wife tempted him. Repeatedly, she tempted him, but he maintained self-control, and resisted her, even to the point where he was thrown into jail, and falsely accused. He was a man of virtue, who did what was right, and he was a man of self-control, so God raised him up, and made him a leader.

Many times, people focus on God raising Daniel up to be a prime minister, but they don't understand what he built into his life, that caused God to be able to lift him up. In Daniel 1, he was faced with the pressure to compromise his beliefs, and to drink the wine and eat the food offered to idols. He made a decision in conscience not to follow that, and eventually God promoted him as well.

1 Corinthians 9:25 – “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things”.

If you want to be a winner, an athlete, you don't overindulge in anything. We need to control food, control drink, and control what we do - put it under management, so we don't get caught out of control in any one area of our life.

4) “…to self-control, add patience”. That word means: a steadfast endurance; persevering through difficulty. Stay the course, don't quit. Perseverance is the ability to bear up, and press through, when things are against you. In the Christian life, we experience many different difficulties, and opposition, and times where nothing's happening. People upset us and offend us. It's very easy to give up and walk away; but perseverance means that I stick with it, because it's a conviction - God put me here, and I'm going to see it through.

Perseverance can have a couple of applications. One is, continuing to do something when it's hard to do. It also means, to be able to wait for someone, that you believe will come. The problem for most Christians is, they don't realise that God works through processes, and processes take time, but we would prefer quick results. Hence, people up in altar call… won't just someone pray for me, fix me up, come and do this for me, that for me. But God values the process, and He uses processes and time to grow us. When you don't understand that, you can be very up and down and flighty in your Christian walk.

Patience also has the meaning of ‘long-suffering’ - just enduring people's difficult circumstances, and difficult people, and never giving up on anyone. Again, long-suffering is a fruit of the spirit, as we yield to the Holy Spirit. The opposite of that is impatience. “Love is patient, love is long-suffering…” God perseveres with us with all our little glitches, and ups and downs, because He loves us, and that's His character.

Hebrews 10:35-36 – “Don't cast away your confidence, which has great reward. You need endurance, so that after you've done the will of God, you may receive the promise”.

Of course, patience is developed in our life through adversity.

James 1:2 – “Count it all joy when you face trials or tribulations, or temptations or adversity, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience; and patience, when it's had its complete work, makes you perfect and mature”.

He's saying then, to Christians, that the testing of your faith, when circumstances don't seem good and favourable, when God doesn't seem to be coming through, when there's opposition, when there's difficulties, he says: still, stay positive that God is in this all, because in doing that, you develop the quality of patience; and when you develop patience, you grow, and become mature, and complete in everything.

This is a very important quality to develop in your life: stickability, never quit, keep going. Just persevere in faith, keep going - everything around you is temporary, it comes to end, but God continues. Whatever you're going through, it has an expiry date on it. You may not know the expiry date, but it does end; you've just got to persevere, and if you will persevere, with the right attitude, trusting God, then He uses it all for your good.

5) “…to patience, add godliness”. Godliness means literally a fear, and a respect (or reverence), for God. It's a reverence, and respect, and fear of the Lord. It's a deep awareness, that the honour and the glory belong to God, and He will call all of us to account.

Everyone must give account, so when there's godliness in our life it means a deep respect for God, and respect for His authority; and therefore, a respect for other authorities, because all authority come from God.

Godliness always shows up in the way you live - clean living; and with a respect for authority. You find with someone that has a lack of respect for authority, they've got a godliness issue. There's something missing in their life, and they can never be great in the kingdom, because to be great in the kingdom I need to be a man under authority. There's a big difference between a man under grace (depending on God to cover all his mistakes), and a man under authority, who intentionally submits to God's order, and honours those over him. To operate in the kingdom, we need the fear, and respect, of God.

6) “…brotherly kindness”. Practice being kind to people. Brotherly kindness means love and kindness to the brethren, or to fellow Christians. It manifests itself in our words, the way you speak, how you treat people; and it manifests in acts of generosity and care.

Kindness shows up in how you treat people; and obviously, the best way to build great relationships, is to be kind to people. When you are kind to people, they respond. It's just it's a winner, being kind to people. Many people don't deserve you being kind, but we show kindness anyway, because that is the fruit of the spirit. It is a fruit of the spirit. Kindness comes when you yield to the spirit, when you're provoked. Instead of reacting, and showing unkindness, you show kindness to people - even when they don't deserve it.

An example of that is Jonathan. He developed kindness towards David; and David himself developed kindness towards Jonathan's family.

Proverbs 19:22 – “The quality to be desired in men is kindness”.

I shared that with someone the other day... I was just talking with a neighbour, and he was asking: all this big, tough, man thing - is that godly? I said: no, it isn't. I said: here is the quality God says is great in a man - loving kindness (and other qualities as well).

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another” (loving kindness.)

7) Finally, the last one he says to add into your life, is love. That's a very broad word; it means literally, sacrificial service. Love, in this sense, is the God-type of love. It's a service and kindness, that has got no agenda, no strings attached.

We just had one of these yesterday... We had someone come and drop something off to us at the door, and left a note wanting us to ring - this is a trade. They've just left a little gift, and it had expired I think [laughs], but they wanted to get a response. It's gifts with agendas. That's not love! Real love means: a desire to do what's best for others. It calls us to act in the opposite spirit to the world.

John's an example of a man who developed great love…

1 John 4:8 – “Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love”.

The more you get to know God, and find and experience that He's loving, and kind, and generous, then you put on those qualities, and begin to practice those.

Luke 6:35 – “Love your enemies, do good, lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great - an abundant reward, you'll be sons of the Most High God”

That's just what He's like. Paul tells us to “be imitators of God and walk in love”.

You see there seven qualities. There of course are other qualities, but those seven encompass what growing to maturity looks like:

• Doing the right thing; acting courageously, when there's pressure to do otherwise.

• Growing in knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

• Controlling impulsive behaviour - mastering yourself, your eating, your drinking, what you do and where you invest your time and finances and stuff.

• Developing patience - staying the course; no matter what happens, just stick with it, and stay on course; stay on target and walk with it.

• You develop godliness - a deep fear and respect for the Lord; you respect authorities, and you're careful to live a good life.

• Practicing kindness, wherever you go - particularly to the church firstly, and sometimes the church people are the hard ones to love, because they take it for granted, and they act in ways which are just are disgraceful to say the least – dishonouring, unkind and meanspirited. Many Christians are very mean-spirited; they want something, but they don't give something; they don't invest.

• Finally, love. That word ‘commit’. We're called for a life of sacrificial service.

There are two other areas then, that I wanted to look at…

What are the agents that God uses to help us in this? God will never ask you to do something, without empowering you to do them. God will always provide what we need. The Holy Spirit is the one who helps you grow these qualities. It's not like trying to do it all in your own strength, trying hard to be a better person. No, it's more about building a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him”.

This is the power of God - the Holy Ghost will help you in the journey. We need to pray in the Spirit, build the connection with the Holy Spirit - ask Him to help us and when issues come up. Surrender, or exchange the thing you're struggling with, for the godly quality which He will give to you.

The second thing that will help us grow is revelation knowledge. Verse 3 – “His divine power has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him”. That word ‘knowledge’ is the word ‘epignosis’, meaning: the knowledge that comes upon you from God. It's revelation that God brings - through your relationship, and your study. That ‘revelation’ knowledge is given to people who hunger for God, and it brings change in our life, so very, very important.

Thirdly, the word of God. We must study the word of God, or we never understand God's ways, nor even understand how, what to do.

2 Peter 1:4 – “…by which we've been given exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these, you may be partakers of the divine nature”.

What it means is, our change; we become changed, we become different. We become like Jesus. How do we do that? It comes about when we hold the word of God in our heart, and it calls us to persevere in these other things. The promises of God anchor your soul and keep you going.

A fourth provision God has made for us is the five-fold ministry gifts. They're given to process, to bring us to maturity.

Ephesians 4:11-14 tells us that the five-fold ministry gifts are given, that we would grow to the maturity of Christ, that we'd be no longer children. Five-fold ministry gifts… they're teaching, their impartations help you in the journey. That's why the church needs it so badly, or it remains immature. Many churches that are a pastoral – everyone is immature. No maturity, no growth, very little knowledge of God.

Finally, life experiences. God uses life experiences to develop these qualities in you.

James 1:2 – “Count it joy when you fall into various trials, because the trying of your faith produces patience. Let patience has its perfect work, you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”.

He's talking about difficult experiences, delays, temptations, betrayals, diverse opposition, times when God seems a long way off… but it works or accomplishes endurance in our heart and life, and that's a key to growing. Then finally, we finish up with these things then, the promises that God makes.

If these things are yours and abound, here's what it'll mean… It means you'll be fruitful. You'll be fruitful. You will be neither barren, nor unfruitful. God is looking for fruit in your life - godly character, activity of engaging in His kingdom and serving people. He wants you to be fruitful. Jesus came looking for the fruitful tree, so God wants to see fruit in our life, wants to see us grow up, produce something with our life and our gifts.

Secondly, stability. He says: if you will be more diligent, to make your call and election sure - if you do these things, you'll never stumble. If you want to stay stable in your life (never stumble) - that word ‘to stumble’ means: to fall down; to descend from a higher place to a lower place; to be overcome by fear or grief or demons; to lose your authority; to be removed out of your assignment.

Here is His promise… You'll never fall out of your place in God, if you put those things into practice consistently. Israel is the example set before us. They did not grow; they did not change; and then they all fell, and no one entered what they were supposed to - it's the same condition.

2 Peter 1:11 – “If you do these things, if they abound in you, you're diligent in them, you work on them, you live them out, then so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.

Abundant means: huge quantity; overflowing with wealth and honour. We've already seen that an abundant entrance to the kingdom was associated closely with the second coming of Jesus Christ, with the First Resurrection; so, they're all synonymous. An abundant entrance to the kingdom means I will attain the First Resurrection – I will enter the coming kingdom with glory and honour and stature.

That's going to vary from one person to another; but nevertheless, you can choose whether you have an ‘abundant’ entrance, or whether you barely get in, and have nothing that qualifies for reward. The presence of these qualities in abundance guarantees us an entrance to that coming kingdom. Some will be more abundant than others. There will be different degrees of reward, but you and I choose whether we will grow and mature, and let Christ be formed in us.

Galatians 4:19 - “I travail in prayer until Christ be formed in your life, and so that's our desire is that in our journey”.

It's not that we're busy doing things, but something is happening, in what we're becoming. We're becoming more like Jesus. We're becoming more godly, more consistent, more upright, more courageous, more persevering. We're becoming more loving and more generous and more kind. These qualities are growing and increasing in our life.

You've seen how, when these things have been worked on, in a man's life, for a long period of time, the fruit is evident everywhere. So, I encourage you with that - that you go through the study and make it your own study. You can take those qualities, and explore them in the Bible, so you understand them more. You can go back and look at diligence and slothfulness - you've got much to work on!

Summary Notes

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ER11: Abundant Entrance to the Kingdom

I. Introduction: God’s Eternal Purpose

* God’s Eternal purpose includes forming a Kingdom of Overcoming Sons in the image of Jesus Christ
Rom 8:29 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
“Conformed”. Gk summorphos - to be jointly formed, fashioned like unto
* God takes every child born into His family into a process of growth with the goal of shaping and forming our character to be Christlike.
* He is able to use every circumstance in our life work towards this goal if we embrace His process and cooperate with him in our responses.
Rom. 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
We stop reacting to problems, and instead enquire what God is doing and how to respond to Him
* Moreover, Paul reveals that the whole of creation is eagerly awaiting this process of forming Sons into the image of Christ to be completed
* Rom. 8:18 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
* Rom. 8:19 - For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
* “Earnest expectation”...intense anticipation of all of creation
* “Revealing” Gk. Apokalupsis - manifestation, revelation to take the cover of something concealed
* “Sons” Gk. Huios - mature fully grown son


II. Abundant Entrance to the Kingdom

1. Key Passage: 2 Pet.1:2-17
2Pe. 1:2 - Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
2Pe. 1:3 - as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
2Pe. 1:4 - by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2Pe. 1:5 - But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
2Pe. 1:6 - to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
2Pe. 1:7 - to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
2Pe. 1:8 - For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe. 1:9 - For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
2Pe. 1:10 - Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
2Pe. 1:11 - for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2Pe. 1:12 - For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
2Pe. 1:13 - Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
2Pe. 1:14 - knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
2Pe. 1:15 - Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

2. Context: The Coming Kingdom
Note the following scriptures in Peter’s Teaching
* Peter describes the majestic coming of Jesus Christ in His Kingdom, and reveals that entrance into this Kingdom and the First Resurrection require that we diligently prepare ourselves

3. Peter’s Revelation of the Majesty of Christ in His Coming Kingdom
* 2Pe. 1:16 - For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
* 2Pe. 1:17 - For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.
* 2Pe. 1:18 - And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
* Peter is giving an eyewitness testimony of Jesus second coming in Kingly Majesty
* He personally saw this when he saw Jesus transfigured upon the Mount

4. Abundant Entrance into the Millennial Kingdom…if we Qualify
* 2Pe. 1:11 - for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
* Note the Conditions: “If”
* 2Pe. 1:8 - For if these things are yours and abound…
* 2Pe. 1:10 - Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
* We enter the Coming Kingdom by qualifying for the First Resurrection, our High Calling & Hope


III. The Need for Intentional Personal Growth (Transformation)

1. “Add to your Faith”
* “Add”….to fully supply in addition to the precious faith that we have already received
* Without faith we cannot please God…we must believe that He is and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb.11:6)
* Faith or trust in Christ and His work is the foundation of our relationship with God
* Peter is writing to Christians who have already received saving faith…He assumes they have it
* We can do nothing to add to what Christ has done. We are saved by grace alone through faith (Eph.2:8)
* However God does not intend for us to stop there. We must build upon that foundation.
* We must: “add to our faith”
* Our life is like a building (1Cor.3:9)
* We cannot just stop at the fact that we are saved and belong to God. We are on a journey to maturity.
* Without maturity we cannot enter the inheritance that Father has prepared for us(Gal.4:1)
* We must embrace His purpose for saving us…to form us into the image of His Son , Jesus Christ, who is the express image of the Father (Heb.1:3), and the firstborn of many brethren (Rom.8:29)
* We must commit to Father’s process of maturity and transformation and build a godly character according to Christ the Pattern son
* This is our Heart Journey…….Our personal Journey of Freedom and of Formation
Freedom: Freedom from wounds, attachments, addictions, reactions, and bondages in the heart that show up in our words, actions, and how we respond in relationships
Formation: Formation of the heart and character of Christ in us.
* Mat 11:28 - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
* Mat 11:29 - Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
* Mat 11:30 - For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
* Father’s plan is to form the heart and character of Christ within us

2. Diligent Effort is Needed to make our Call and Election sure
* 2Pe. 1:10 - Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
* “Do these things” - to consistently practice
* Peter urges Christians to exercise diligent effort to make their calling and election sure
* This implies that if we fail to be diligent in this, we may not qualify for entrance into the coming Millennial kingdom of Christ

Be diligent
* “Diligent” - to make every effort, to give care and attention to something, make sure you do what is necessary.
* Diligence means maintaining focus and an ongoing sustained effort over the course of your life
* Diligence is the difference between merely dreaming and actually realising your dreams
* Peter instructs us to apply diligence to cultivating these qualities
* “Diligence is mentioned twice, verse 5 and verse 10
* Vs.5. Giving all diligence add (build upon) your faith the list of Christ qualities
* Vs.10 Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure
* Note the emphasis place upon diligence: Giving all diligence”, “be even more diligent”
* Peter is strongly emphasising that we must be diligent, that laziness will disqualify
* Making your calling and election sure is dependent upon the formation of these qualities in your life, and also results in an abundant entrance to the Kingdom
* Pro 12:24 - The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.

3. Each Christian needs to grow
* Personal growth is not automatic. It must be intentional
* “Intentional”: Conscious, deliberate, done on purpose with an end in mind
* This requires a commitment to the ongoing process of growing and knowing God
* There is a great difference between a man under grace, and a man under authority
* 2Pe. 1:4 - by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.


IV. Characteristics of Christians Not Growing

1. Peter Reveals Characteristics of Believers who are not growing

2Pe. 1:8 - For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe. 1:9 - For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
* If we do not keep growing we stagnate in our Christian life and experience.
We then draw upon our gifts, and past experience instead of leaning into God for fresh encounters with Holy Spirit and fresh revelation for the Word of God
* Failure to persevere in the development of Christian character leads to barrenness, unfruitfulness, blindness, short-sightedness, and forgetfulness.


2. Five Characteristics of Believers who are not growing:

(i). Barren Gk. Argos - without labour
Will not serve and be productive, shunning labor and service
Spiritually unemployed, living off faith and service of others

(ii). Unfruitful .... not producing the fruit it was designed to produce
Lacking the fruit of the Spirit, lacking on active and engagement in advancing the Kingdom positive Kingdom influence,

(iii). Blind Gk. Tuphlos - Opaque - to envelop with smoke so cannot see far, puff up with pride, self conceit centred, high minded, render foolish
Eg. 2Cor.4:4 - Satan has blinded the minds of them that do not believe

(iv). Can’t see afar off - short sighted, lacking vision of the Coming Kingdom, seeing only what is near, focus on personal needs and problems and not see or embrace what God is doing

(v). Bad Memory - Forgotten what God has done and why He has done it.
Deu 8:11 - "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today,
1 Jn 2:4 - He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1 Jn 2:5 - But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.


V. Qualities to Cultivate

7 Qualities We are to Add to our Faith

1. Virtue - “Do the Right Thing”
* Virtue - Valour, manliness, moral excellence, purity, Honourable
* Spiritual courage in a hostile world, being able to stand up for what is right in face of reactions.
* Virtue means doing what is right in God’s eyes, not what is right or best for me
* David is an example of a man displaying great courage

2. Knowledge - “Get Understanding”
* Knowledge - Gnosis...understanding gained through learning and experience
* We must continue to grow in spiritual knowledge and understanding and practice God’s Word
* Solomon is an example of a man who developed great Knowledge
Pro 2:1 - My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,
Pro 2:2 - So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 - Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
Pro 2:4 - If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Pro 2:5 - Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.
Pro 2:6 - For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

3. Temperance - “Control Yourself”
* Temperance...Self-control, master passions of the senses and flesh, overcome anger and lust
* Self-control means not just controlling our actions, but also controlling our emotions, impulses, and thoughts. It means delaying instant gratification
* Self Control is a fruit of yielding to the Holy Spirit instead of our flesh (Gal.5:22-23)
* It requires emotional intelligence…awareness of self and others and managing our choices
* Joseph. is an example of a man who developed great self-control
Joseph was faced with temptation to sin secretly or to resist and to flee
* Daniel is an example of a man who developed self-control
Daniel was faced with a choice between following the crowd or following his convictions
* 1Col. 9:25 - And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

4. Patience - “Stay the Course”
* Patience - Steadfast endurance, perseverance with a positive attitude, remain not quit
* Perseverance is the ability to bear up and press on in the face of all that seems against us
* In the Christian life we experience much opposition, difficulty and seasons where we seem to be unfruitful, or offended by people. It is easy to give up and walk away offended.
* Perseverance has two different applications
Continue doing something when it is hard to do
Wait for something or someone you believe will come
* We must realise that God works through processes and processes take time. We prefer quick results but God values process and time as tools to grow us and accomplish His work
* Job is an example of a man who developed great patience
* Patience also has the meaning “long suffering” as never giving up on someone
* Long suffering is a fruit of the Spirit, developed in us as we yield to the Holy Spirit ,not impatience
* Heb. 10:35 - Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
* Heb. 10:36 - For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

5. Godliness - “Fear and Respect God”
* Godliness - respect and reverence towards a God
* It is a deep awareness that Honor and glory belong to God and that He will call all men to give account of their actions
* Godliness means to have a deep respect for authority. Since all authority comes from God (Rom.13:1) we must show respect for and honor all who are in roles of authority
* Godliness show up in our conduct with practical holiness, and respect for authority.
* Daniel is an example of a man who developed great godliness
* 1Ti 4:8 - For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
* Pro 22:4 - By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.

6. Brotherly Kindness. “ Practice Kindness”
* Brotherly kindness...love and kindness to fellow Christians
* Kindness manifests itself in our words, how we treat people and in acts of generosity and care
* This particularly applies to how we treat the people of God, God’s family, the Church
* The obvious way to build and maintain relationships is to show kindness consistently
* Kindness is also a fruit of yielding to the person and influence of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22)
* Jonathan is an example of a man who developed great brotherly kindness
* David is a man who showed kindness
* 2Sa 9:1 - Now David said, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"
* Pro 19:22 - What is desired in a man is kindness,
* Eph. 4:32 - And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

7. Love - “Sacrificial Service”
* Love - sacrificial kindness and service with no agenda or strings attached
* Real love is not a feeling or affection but an act of sacrifice.
* Real love means to desire and do what is best for others
* Love causes us to act in the opposite spirit to the world, overcoming evil with good
* John is an example of a man who developed great love
* 1 Jn 4:8 - He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
* Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
* Eph. 5:1 - Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
* Eph. 5:2 - And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.


VI. Key Agents of Transformation

1. The Person and Power of The Holy Spirit
* 2Pe. 1:3 - as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
* “Divine power” Gk. ‘dunamis” The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit
* 1 Co 2:11 - For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
* 1 Co 2:12 - Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
* The Holy Spirit reveals to us the promises of God, what God has planned for those who love Him (1Cor.2:9-10)
* The Holy Spirit empowers personal growth and transformation
Php 2:13 - for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
2Co 3:18 - But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
* Transformation requires relationship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit

2. Revelation Knowledge
* 2Pe. 1:3 - as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by(for this reason) glory and virtue,
* ‘Through” - Gk - dia -the primary channel of act
* Knowledge - Gk - epiginosis - the upon knowledge, knowledge gained through experience
* A primary assignment of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus and all His character and qualities
Joh 16:13 - However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Joh 16:14 - He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
* Knowledge given to us by Holy Spirit is revelation knowledge…..experiential knowledge
* Revelation Knowledge is given to those who hunger for God
* Revelation knowledge brings impartation and change in our lives
* Revelation knowledge imparts (multiplies) grace and peace into our lives (vs.2)
* Revelation knowledge supplies everything we need for life and godliness
* We must hunger for Holy Spirit to give us encounters and revelation of Jesus

3. The Word of God
* 2Pe. 1:4 - by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
* “Partakers of the divine nature”…means to become
* ‘Precious”……of enormous value
* “Promises”….God solemnly commits Himself to follow a course of action
* God cannot lie about the promises that He makes. He guarantees to fulfil His part
* Tit. 1:2 - in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
* Heb. 6:17 - In the same way God, in His desire to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable nature of His purpose, intervened and guaranteed it with an oath,
* Heb. 6:18 - so that by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge would have strong encouragement and indwelling strength to hold tightly to the hope set before us.
* Heb. 6:19 - This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]--a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells], [Lev 16:2]
* Heb. 6:20 - where Jesus has entered [in advance] as a forerunner for us, having become a High Priest forever according to the order ofN1Melchizedek. [Psa. 110:4]
* The promises of God when we receive and believe them act as an anchor for our soul in times of adversity and pressure to quit
* We must read and meditate upon, embrace, and act upon the Word of God

4. Five Fold Ministry Gifts
* Jesus has provided the Five Fold Ministry gifts to the Church for the process of maturity
Eph. 4:11 - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph. 4:12 - for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Eph. 4:13 - till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Eph. 4:14 - that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
* Exposure to the teaching and impartation of Fivefold Ministry gifts , especially the apostle is a an important part of our journey to maturity

5. Life Experiences
* Jas 1:2 - My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
* Jas 1:3 - knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
* Jas 1:4 - But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
* “Various trials” - tests that examine the quality of our faith and trust in Christ and His Word
* This refers to difficult experiences in life where we are experiencing difficulties, opposition, delays, injustice, betrayal, temptations, and it seems that God is far away, silent, and uncaring.
* “Works” - to produce, to fully accomplish or achieve or bring about
* “Patience” - endurance, perseverance, patient waiting for God to work
* Note the connection between painful, difficult , confusing life experiences and the development in our life of the character of Christ
* The key for the development of maturity is our faith response during these experience


VII. Three Promises to the Overcomer

1. Fruitfulness
* 2Pe. 1:8 - For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
* In the parable of the fig tree, Jesus came looking for fruit but found none (Luke13:6-9)
* Jesus is seeking fruit in our life
* Spiritual Fruit comes from abiding in Him and His words abiding in us (Jn.15:4)
* Fruit: Fruit of the Spirit, Proven Godly Character, Faithful service, Use of Opportunities

2. Stability
* 2Pe. 1:10 - Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
“Stumble” - to fall, to descend from a higher to lower position, be overcome by fear, grief of demons, to lose authority or force, to be removed from assignment by death
“Never stumble” - this is a double negative to emphasis the certainty of this promise
* Israel is set forth as an example for us. They were saved but did not enter the promised land
* They failed because of unbelief - a pattern, or practice of refusing to believe and obey God
* Heb. 4:11 - Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
* The word “fall” is exactly the same word used in 2Pet.1:10 - “stumble”
* It refers primarily to being saved but failing to enter the coming promised Millennial Kingdom

3. Abundant Entrance to the Kingdom
* 2Pe. 1:11 - for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
* “Abundant” - present in great quantity, filled to overflowing with wealth and honor,
* Abundant entrance to the Kingdom is closely connected to the second coming and transfiguration of Jesus Christ and the First Resurrection of overcomers
* Mat 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
* Mat 16:28 - Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
* Mat 17:1 - Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
* Mat 17:2 - and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
* Abundant entrance contrasts strongly with Paul’s teaching in 1Cor.3:15 “saved yet so as by fire”
* The presence of these qualities in abundance guarantee us entrance to the First Resurrection and the Millennial Kingdom
* Some will have a more abundant entrance than others. There will be degrees of reward. And the rewards are here said to depend on the degree of one's conformity to the Savior.


VIII. Personal Reflection and Application
1. What has the Holy Spirit been revealing to you during this study?
2. What response do you need to make personally?
3. Which of the qualities mentioned by Peter do you need to focus on in your walk with God?
* Diligence
* Virtue
* Knowledge
* Temperance
* Patience
* Godliness
* Brotherly Kindness
* Sacrificial Love
4. What are the current hindrances to developing this quality?
5. What could you do to Overcome that hindrance and grow?



The Need for Faithfulness - The Parables of the Talents and the Minas (12 of 12)  

Thu 17 Sep 2020 AM « Back to Top

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Two important parables, concerning the end-times and coming Kingdom, are the parables of the Talents and the Minas.

Jesus has entrusted believers with “His goods”, and calls every believer to be faithful in stewarding what has been entrusted to them. He has devised a plan to discover who he can entrust with great authority to rule with Him in His coming kingdom.

There is no limit to the faithfulness that any person can cultivate and develop over the course of our life. At stake is reward and joyful participation in Jesus coming reign on earth.

The Need for Faithfulness - The Parables of the Talents and the Minas (12 of 12)

Eternal Rewards #12. We've gone on quite a journey with all these studies, and I wanted to go back and just touch on an area that's quite an important area, and that is: The Need for Faithfulness.

I want to look again at the Parables of the Talents and the Pounds (or the Talents and the Minas) and just approach it a little bit differently, because when Christians hear these messages, they struggle to think it might apply to them; so I want to really focus on that, and show you how, in these two parables, very clearly the focus of Jesus is on Christians, and Christian stewardship. These are not parables for the unsaved.

The two stories, Matthew 25:14-30, which is the Parable of the Talents, and Luke 19:11-27, the Parable of the Minas - they're quite similar. They look quite similar, but they really are quite different, but for what we're doing today it's quite good if you see the two together. When Jesus is teaching a parable, it's a story with a spiritual truth involved, so some of the details have specific prophetic application; while others are just part of the story, so we're going to open that up.

We'll read the Parable of the Talents, and it's in the context of Jesus teaching the sermon where He's answering questions from the disciples… What is the sign of the destruction of the temple? What is the sign of Your coming in the end times? He's talked about the destruction of the temple, and then He's gone on to give three parables: one about servants; one about the virgins, five wise and five foolish; and now He's gone on to another parable about the servants - so three parables, one after the other.

Then He talks about the end times, the judgement of the nations. So, these three parables all work together, and this one of the talents matches very closely the one in Luke 19, where He talks about the pounds. Let's read it then...

Matthew 25:14-30 - “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man travelling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his own ability, and immediately he went on a journey.

He who received the five talents, went and traded them and made another five – a hundred-fold increase. He who received two, gained two more also. He who'd received one, went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

So, he who'd received five talents, came and brought other five talents, saying: Lord, you delivered me five talents. Look, I've gained five more talents beside; and the lord said to him: well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of the lord.

He also who received two talents, came and said: Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Look, I've gained two more talents besides them. His lord said to him: well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your lord.

And he who'd received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you've not sown, and gathering where you've not scattered seed. I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours. But his lord answered him and said: you wicked and lazy servant. You knew that I reap where I haven't sown and gather where I haven't scattered seed. You ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I'd have received back my own with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents.

For to everyone who has, more will be given, he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away, and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The other parable, in Luke 19, has a little slightly different context…

Luke 19:11-27 – “Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. He said: therefore, a certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and return. He called 10 of his servants, and delivered to them 10 minas, and said to them: do business until I come.

But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying: we will not have this man reign over us. And it was so that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded the servants to whom he'd given the money to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

Then came the first, saying: master, your mina has earned