As we are fruitful in using our spiritual gift(s) in this life for Christ, His gospel, and expanding His Church for His honor and glory, there will be rewards awaiting us in heaven. Jesus reveals to us that when He returns to the earth His reward will be with Him as stated in Revelation 22:12-13, “Behold, I (Jesus) am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to the merit of his deeds (earthly works, faithfulness). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End [the Eternal One].”
Jesus unveils that the treasures in heaven are priceless compared to the treasures on earth. The treasures in heaven are eternal where everything seen on earth is temporary. Our hearts must be focused on Jesus and His eternal treasures as expressed in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.”
Paul tells us to always set our minds on heavenly things and not on earthly things that will soon pass away as we read in Colossians 3:1-4, “Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Paul continues stating that the invisible things are eternal and imperishable as disclosed in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.”
All born-again believers will experience the judgement seat of Christ and will be rewarded for both the good and the bad as revealed in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11:
Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities]. Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord [and understand the importance of obedience and worship], we persuade people [to be reconciled to Him]. But we are plainly known to God [He knows everything about us]; and I hope that we are plainly known also in your consciences [your God-given discernment].
Paul stated it another way in Romans 14:10-12, “…For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. For it is written [in Scripture], “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
Our acts of obedience in using our spiritual gift(s) for His purpose will be tested by the fire. If our efforts survive the test, then we will receive a reward. If our efforts are counted as worthless and are burned up by the fire, then we will suffer the loss of a reward as detailed in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:
But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will be clearly shown [for what it is]; for the day [of judgment] will disclose it, because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality and character and worth of each person’s work. If any person’s work which he has built [on this foundation, that is, any outcome of his effort] remains [and survives this test], he will receive a reward. But if any person’s work is burned up [by the test], he will suffer the loss [of his reward]; yet he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has barely escaped] through fire.
As servants for Christ, we are all working together as one, towards the same goal, of helping expand the gospel and His kingdom where everyone will be rewarded for their efforts as revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9:
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Just servants through whom you believed [in Christ], even as the Lord appointed to each his task. I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one [in importance and esteem, working toward the same purpose]; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.
The Bible tells us that these imperishable rewards will be in the form of crowns, and we should strive for obtaining these imperishable crowns. We already have an imperishable inheritance, as salvation in Christ, and as a child of the Most-High God as stated in 1 Peter 1:3-5:
Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [born anew] into an inheritance which is imperishable [beyond the reach of change] and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who are being protected and shielded by the power of God through your faith for salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.
Paul gives us a comparison of how when running a race we receive a perishable (corruptible) prize to where we must work towards an eternal and imperishable prize for Christ, which is an imperishable crown.
Incorruptible Crown of Victory
This is the reward we will receive for walking in the Spirit and maintaining self-control over the flesh by being good examples to others in the world for Christ’s sake.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].
Therefore, my fellow believers, whom I love and long for, my delight and crown [my wreath of victory], in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
Crown of Rejoicing
This is the reward we will receive for sharing the gospel and our testimony with others for leading them to Christ where there will be a rejoicing on earth and in heaven.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20:
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? For you are our glory and joy.
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.
Crown of Righteousness
This is the reward we will receive for not giving up on our faith and our walk with Christ where we eagerly await His coming.
2 Timothy 4:7-8:
I have fought the good and worthy and noble fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith [firmly guarding the gospel against error]. In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “THE JUST and UPRIGHT SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Crown of Glory
This is the reward we will receive for helping to disciple and shepherd the flock that we have been entrusted to which is our circle of influence.
1 Peter 5:1-4:
Therefore, I strongly urge the elders among you [pastors, spiritual leaders of the church], as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory that is to be revealed: shepherd and guide and protect the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not [motivated] for shameful gain, but with wholehearted enthusiasm; not lording it over those assigned to your care [do not be arrogant or overbearing], but be examples [of Christian living] to the flock [set a pattern of integrity for your congregation]. And when the Chief Shepherd (Christ) appears, you will receive the [conqueror’s] unfading crown of glory.
For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us! For [even the whole] creation [all nature] waits eagerly for the children of God to be revealed.
Crown of Life (Martyrs Crown)
This is the reward we will receive for experiencing persecution for the sake of Christ and His gospel even to the point of death as a Martyr for Christ.
Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. Be aware that the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested [in your faith], and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful to the point of death [if you must die for your faith], and I will give you the crown [consisting] of life.
And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death.
Jesus also will give us other rewards by granting us to eat from the tree of life in the Paradise of God as disclosed in Revelation 2:7, “…To him who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.”
Jesus will also grant us another reward by allowing us to rule and reign with Him as stated in Revelation 2:26-28, “And he who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] and he who keeps My deeds [doing things that please Me] until the [very] end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY and POWER OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL SHEPHERD and RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE EARTHEN POTS ARE BROKEN IN PIECES, as I also have received authority [and power to rule them] from My Father; and I will give him the Morning Star.”
We will be clothed in white with Christ as one of His sheep as explained in Revelation 3:4-5, “…they will walk with Me [dressed] in white, because they are worthy (righteous). He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing; and I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess and openly acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels [saying that he is one of Mine].”
Jesus will also grant us with another reward of sitting with Him on His throne as revealed in Revelation 3:21, “He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”
Jesus tells us that we can also lose our crown(s) if we give up on our walk with Him by experiencing a falling away as unveiled in Revelation 3:11, “I am coming quickly. Hold tight what you have, so that no one will take your crown [by leading you to renounce the faith].”
We must continue running this race for Christ since we are all called ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and have been given a holy calling as expressed in 2 Timothy 1:9:
for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago].
We are soldiers for Christ, and we must endure the hardships and difficulties of spiritual warfare for Him as explained in 2 Timothy 2:3-6:
Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve. And if anyone competes as an athlete [in competitive games], he is not crowned [with the wreath of victory] unless he competes according to the rules…
Watch this inspiring video by Servants for Jesus Christ – Be Filled With The Holy Spirit.
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