Introduction to Eternal Rewards (1 of 12)

Mike Connell

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.