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Key Principles Related to Eternal Rewards (2 of 12)

Mike Connell

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)