Congratulations, you. Yes, you, and even those who don’t read this. I want to congratulate you on the Salvation you have received by putting your faith in Jesus. That’s it, you did it! It’s all down hill from here, your citizenship in Heaven cannot be taken or destroyed.
I tell you no, I am not being factious nor condescending, I really am proud of Gods children and their humility before the Lord. It gives me great joy, however, the race is not over, and there is more we must do.
Be not offset, this isn’t an OSAS or anti-OSAS rant, because if you heed these words, then the condition of your salvation as well as when the warranty expires won’t even be an issue or a discussion worth while. This is more about who you will be in God’s Kingdom.
Beloved, Heaven is a functioning Society. There will be Governors, Mayors, Bakers and Shoemakers, in a sense. I can’t promise you that’s what they’ll be called, but nonetheless, there is a system in Heaven, and what I want to talk about in this piece is how we could expect the social structure in Heaven to look, why, and what we can do to increase our reward.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” [Revelation 22:12]
On various occasions, the Bible links salvation to faith. We all know that, and it’s an essential doctrine of Christianity. However, what’s commonly overlooked is the Bibles link between your earthly works, and your heavenly reward.
Something I’ve brought up before, is that the Bible teaches your works don’t determine your salvation (which we all know), but your works do determine the reward you receive in Gods Kingdom.
There’s a few verses that support this, but lets start with something Jesus said in Luke 14 for an example: ‘Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”’ [Luke 14:12-14]
So how do we go about earning these rewards? The great news is, it’s easier than earning “Sky Miles” or a “Cash Back Bonus” on purchases over $20. Like I mentioned earlier, the Bible links your rewards to your works. “Reward,” can also be seen as “Repayment,”
“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” [Matthew 16:27]
Generosity is one of the easiest ways to store treasures in heaven. There’s really only one rule: “Do not boast.” Don’t be like the hypocrites who announce their charity with Trumpets, but if you give in such a manner where your right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing, you will invest in Gods Economy.
Even the poor in Heaven will have more than enough, but it’s important to note, again, that Heaven is a functioning Society; and your position of influence, your real estate, and the other treasures that thieves cannot steal and moths cannot destroy, will all be determined on your works. Generosity can be demonstrated in multiple ways; from giving to the poor, tithing, all the way to random acts of kindness. For example, tithe is a discipline by faith, while kindness is an act of faith. When we are generous towards others, we earn for ourselves more than just a temporary, warm & fuzzy feeling. All in all, generosity is a reflection of compassion, both of which flow from a heart the Lord is pleased to reward.
Lets take a minute to look at some of the verses surrounding the topic at hand here, for context:
-“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.” [1 Corinthians 3:11-14]
-“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” [Matthew 5:10-12]
Beloved, a day is approaching where the deeds of every man will be revealed by fire, and the quality of what that fire reveals, will be the measure paid back to each and every one of us. The compassion of good men will be repaid to them in full, and the wicked will have their depravity measured by the duration of their torment in the fire. On that positive and uplifting note, lets transition over to a more sobering way to increase your reward: Martyrdom. Yes, Beloved, the coming days we dread are at hand, but take it as encouragement to know that you will multiply your reward by dying for the faith.
Lets look at Matthew 5:10-12 a second time, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Not only does shedding your blood for Christ as he shed it for you increase your reward, but even moments where you stand against persecution and hatred for your faith, are moments where you store treasures in heaven.
“A Slave for the Lord shouldn’t fight. On the contrary, he should be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and not resentful when mistreated.” [2 Timothy 2:24]
You’re probably not asking, “Could these verses be pertaining to earthly rewards?” But I’m going to answer it anyway. Because it’s important that we know that rewards are heavenly treasures, while earthy things are called, “Blessings.”
In the case of Matthew 5:10-12, it’s particularly ridiculous to consider the concept of being rewarded before the appointed time, because some of the people it mentions are the ones who were put to death for the faith. It specifically states, “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus later reiterates this point to John during his exile, in Revelation 22:12, where Jesus says to him, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” [Revelation 22:12]
“For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?” [1 Thessalonians 2:19]
Contrary to the direction of this piece, It will be important to add that all good works are an opportunity given to us by God. The Lord gives us many opportunities to do the right thing, even more so when we ask for opportunities and keep an eye out for them.
Nonetheless, Just because you seized the moment, does not mean that the good work is your own. This is why we glorify God in all good things, because that lady on the side of the road would have never gotten her spare tire on, had the Lord not arranged for you the opportunity to help. You pass glory to God in this, as well, by recognizing that he loves to involve his children in his work. It’s a win win, Gods work gets done, and you feel like a helpful and good servant.
The overall objective is to encourage everyone who reads this to live out the faith. Too common are the believers who say, “I am saved by his grace for me and my faith in him.” The issue with such a statement is that it allows for the stretching of Gods grace. Many believers are turning from good deeds because they don’t see the reason to be a good servant. I mean, after all, they’re already saved, they already have been crowned with Salvation, and because of that, they think the race is over. They think their destination is set, but unknowingly, they are walking into eternity as peasants. Unless we take our good works more seriously, this generation will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
We don’t want that to be the case, let us not sleep our way into persecution. Rather, may we awaken in revival. May this church strive to become compassionate again, rather that quarrelsome.