Introduction to Eternal Rewards (1 of 12)

Mike Connell

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…