2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
The Lord speaks of rewards, rewarded, rewarder, rewardeth 112 times in 108 verses in His Word, so we can see God uses the reward system in our lives to let us know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord(1Cor.15:58). However, as we can see in 2 John, there is that possibility of losing that which we have earned in our Christian walk. As children of the King, we should want everything He has for us, but our adversary is trying his very best to stop us from achieving this goal.
1 Cor.3:10-15 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones,(works of the Spirit) wood, hay, stubble;(works of the flesh) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
How does a Christian lose that which they think is solid and secure? In the parable of the ten, five, and one pound recorded in Lk.19:12-26, the one who lost was the one who did nothing with it. And at the very end of the parable, the Lord tell us what happens to that pound For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. note** the same thing happens to the man with the talent in Matt.25:29 What we need to understand is that God has rewards that He wants to give us, but it is not the devil that hinders us from receiving them, but it is our pride, laziness, and lack of concern that stops us from getting that full reward. Eph.3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. In this lesson, we will not only look at the rewards that can await us when we get to glory, but we’ll also look at what gifts our Father can and will give us while we are down here, if we obey His voice, His Word, and His leading by His Spirit.
Deu.6:17-18 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers.(reward)
1) Gifts given while here.
a) He takes care of us with our daily needs. (Mat 6:25-33) In Ps.37:25, king David made this statement: I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. That is a promise made by God to those that seek to do His will and live for Him. When we decide not to follow His direction, what we are doing is putting His promise of taking care of us behind us and going out on our own. DANGEROUS! Giving up that protection is not worth the hurt, regrets, or angry some of God’s children are carrying right now.
b) He gives us peace and rest. (Matt.11:28-29) Psa 34:4,6-8 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
We live in a age where there is so much uncertainty. Jobs are being lost by the thousands, bankruptcy is a common occurrence in the business world because of the economy being very unstable. The marriage vow is words to most people, those that never had any intention on keeping them.
Morality has dwindled and standing for what is right gets tougher and tougher as each day goes by, and on and on it goes. There are times when it is tough to face the daily battles, not just spiritually, but also materially. 2 Cor.7:5-6 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus. When a Christian is out of fellowship with God, he loses that strong tower where he can run and be safe. There is no peace and rest outside the Lord Jesus Christ, it is not to be found. He is our peace.
c) He gives us the privilege of prayer. (John 16:23) John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. When the Lord rent the veil in the temple when He died, what He did was remove the middleman–the high priest, and the message was sent out, whosoever will may come. The Father was now accessible through the blood of the Lamb. Prayer is a great privilege to have. Only those that have had the prayer line cut by the Lord can truly appreciate what a great blessing it is to have a open line to the throne of God. Never, ever take it for granted. When a Christian gets out of sorts other Christians, their spouses, the church, and they make no attempt to get it right, they are taking spiritual scissors and cutting off the phone line to God. Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. We can see that the psalmist knew God was going to cut the communications off if he harbored sin in his heart, but as we read in v19-20 he didn’t have this problem. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. Christian, is it worth losing that open line between you and the Father?
d) He gives us the abilities needed to keep His church going on for Him. Rom.12:5-8 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. When the Jews were to build the tabernacle, every craft needed to fulfill the job was available. Exo.36:1 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded.
Even though God gives us the ability to serve Him, He rewards us as though we did it all ourselves!
e) He gives us grace. Eph.4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. How much grace will He give us? Psa 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. As long as we walk right with God, there really is no limit of His grace towards us. And as we receive this gift of God towards us, we are to grow in grace with one another. 2Pet.3:18
f) He gives us wisdom. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. God wants us to be increasing in the knowledge of Him daily, and all we have to do is ask. He’ll give us the amount of wisdom He knows we can handle.
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of His gift of forgiveness, long-suffering, patience, forbearance, endless love, guidance, mercies and on and on. Christian, with all this wealth waiting to be given us, why do we snub our noses at it?
Gifts given when we get to Beulah Land.
a) Cities to rule over. (Luke 19:17-19) We can either rule or be ruled.
b) A mansion. (John 14:1-3) I don’t believe this gift will be taken from a Christian.
c) A new name. Isa.62:2 talks about giving us a new name, Rev.217 talks about our new name written on a white stone, and Rev. 3:12 talks about the Lord engraving it on our foreheads. When He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new, He means all things; nature, body, name. Just as our old name we have here is connected to our sinful flesh, so our new name is connected to our glorified body.
d) All memory of this past life removed. Rev.21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Guarentee, when a Christian gets away from God, he/she suffers sorrow, crying, and pain while they are in that backslidden stage. And when they come back to the Lord, they come back forgiven. And though the sin may be wiped clean, unfortunately the scars of sin linger, and from time to time, Satan will use those scars to bring back into remembrance the things you’ve done while in that ungodly condition. What a wonderful gift, the gift of the washing of the mind, and all the trash that was accumulated in it. We will have one that will not never remember our past. The Lord truly is good to us.
e) Crowns. A crown is a distinction or reward for achievement. 1 Cor.9:24-25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. Understanding that the general teaching is that there are five crowns to be won, this writer believes that there are four. The crown spoken of here in 1Cor. is explaining what kind of crown it is, and the reason why we should strive to claim all the crowns we can. Everyone who has ever won any kind of award here on earth realizes at one time or another that the glory that went along with that award was short lived, and the glory faded away. Basically, the attitude is “what have you done lately?” One day you can be hailed, and it seems that the next day you’re forgotten unless you keep on top. The Bible is telling us that that’s not the way it works with the Christians rewards. Our crowns will be in existence for all eternity. The four crowns are:
1) The crown of joy. 1Thes.2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? This crown is given to those Christians who minister to other Christians. It is given to teachers, preachers, good Godly parents who bring up their children in the ways of the Lord, to anyone who has put others first so those individuals can and will have a successful walk with their Savior. That is how we can rejoice when others come in the presence of the Lord, knowing we’ve helped them reach their potential for Jesus. But make no mistake, it is a sacrificial crown, the reasoning being in order to help others have a good walk, it will cost: (1) your time (2) your efforts (3) your patience (4) your prayers, and perhaps (5) your finances. But in the book of 3 John, John makes this statement: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. It’s the heart of a pastor that knows his flock is walking according to the word of God. And the same goes for those that have helped disciple others. Everyone has a chance to receive this crown, if they will be a disciplined one and work for the Master. Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
2) The crown of righteousness. 2 Tim 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
This crown is given to those Christians that have taken their eyes off this world and have fully focused on the return of the Lord Jesus.
Not only do they read about it, hear preaching on it, but they truly believe it to be so, and that is how they live. They know there is a judgment day coming, and they will have to give an account, so their lifestyle revolves around that fact. Everyday they expect a battle, so everyday they have their sword ready. Quitting is an easy out and many have taken it, but for those true soldiers of the cross, there is no quit. The Lord knows the road that leads to our eternal home can be wearisome, but He also rewards greatly those that continue on, those that finish what they start. How was Paul able to fight the good fight and finish the job the Lord had for him? He kept his faith in his Savior. In all that he went through as described in 2Cor.11:24-27, it never seemed to hinder Paul. In fact, it helped him grow closer to the Lord. He knew that “all things worked together for good”, but I’m sure he knew Psa 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. If we can understand that everything that comes down our way, God knows about it and has allowed it to happen, we have the opportunity to become greater Christians than Paul. When it comes down to it, what we need to do is just trust and obey no matter if we: (1) understand it.(2) like it.(3) agree with it. Are you like Paul who forsook the world for the Savior, or like Demas who forsook the Savior for the world?
3) The crown of life James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. This crown is given to those that understand that There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1Cor.10:13
The word endure mean to carry on through, despite hardships. Also, it means to bear with tolerance, and to suffer patiently without yielding. Satan knows exactly how to push our buttons. He knows what we like to watch on T.V., what type of movies we enjoy, what music our we like, how short our tempers are, and how to pump our egos. He then uses these things against us with the permission of the Lord. But the Lord has a purpose for this. We tell our family, friends, brethren, pastor how much we love the Lord and want to be in His service, and so God allows us these temptations to come our way in order to prove us.(2Chron.32:31) The Bible tells us in Prov. 17:17 A friend loveth at all times. In the calm as well as the storm. Know, understand, and accept the fact that we will get tempted. But also know that we do not have to taste defeat everytime a temptation comes our way. We can get the victory if we look for the escape hatch hard enough, and that way out is the door Himself. How can we show the Lord that we love Him? By having enough fortitude to endure the temptations during those difficult times. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2Tim.2:3
4) The crown of glory 1 Pet 5:2-4 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. This is the only crown that is not available to every Christian. This crown can only be won by a pastor of a church. Briefly, we will look at what is involved in receiving this crown.
1) Feed the flock. This is in regards to a spiritual feeding. The only way a pastor can properly feed the flock is if he is getting fed from the Word daily. It takes work getting lessons and messages together week after week. It takes fasting, Bible reading, a good and productive prayer life, and a broken and contrite spirit to get what He needs from the Shepherd but any pastor worth his salt looks for that “fresh oil” every service. How a pastor nourishes himself in the Lord is how he nourishes the church God gave him to be leader of.
2) Be a leader. The Bible tells the pastors to take the oversight, to be watchful. They must guard against those that come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are wolves.
Also, they must assume the leadership role God has placed them in. It is not the responsibility of the deacons to make decisions for the church. Nor is it the member’s responsibility to have the final say in the matters of the church. It is the pastors, and they must realize this, or not take on the position of pastor. However, the Bible does outline how the pastor is to run (or rule) the church.
a) Not by constraint, but willingly. The word constraint is given to those that threaten or use of force to prevent, restrict, or dictate the action or thought of others. God did not set up the church to be ruled by a dictator. In fact, the Bible teaches that God hates that method. Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. The word Nicolaitanes means to conquer the common man, and it is in relation to the clergy over the laity. The Lord has given us the liberty to “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts17:11
b) Not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. A pastor’s heart is a heart that wants to give to his congregation what is best for them, and his mind should always be at the ready in this area. He is not looking for what the congregation can give to him outside meeting his and his families needs, keeping them in prayer, supporting and loving him.
c) Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. The pastor should not have a puffed up, prideful attitude that gives them the illusion that only the congregation can do wrong, and not them. It’s a sad commentary, but many churches today are run by those type of individuals. The scribes and Pharisees had this condition. It should not be a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, but it should be a “follow my example” attitude. The pastor is to be a ensample to the flock. They need to be above reproach. The pastor needs the people see them hitting the altar, they need to see them put into practice what they hear them preach week after week. The pastor needs the people see them passing out tracks and witnessing to others. Words without action is dead.
The crowns are ours for the taking, why not get as many as the Lord wants to give? But know that as freely as He wants to give, so freely He’ll take them away if we don’t want them.
Mark 4:25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.