"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, February 17, 2024



Once we are caught up together to meet the LORD in the air, He will bring us, His children by spiritual rebirth to our Father’s House (JOHN 14:1). We will dwell forever in heaven with our Father, the LORD Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, with all the saints we read about in the history of the Bible, all the saints we’ve been blessed to know and miss so very much because they’ve gone ahead, and all of the heavenly host! How many of you are looking forward to this time??

Q: Have you ever heard a Christian say this, or perhaps you’ve even said this yourself? 
I don’t care about getting rewards in heaven, I’ll just be glad to BE THERE!” Well, we’ll look at what those rewards are for, on what basis those rewards are given, and then we’ll see why we should be passionate about obtaining them!

First, to clarify the issue of salvation by grace alone and about earning rewards in heaven:
Let’s suppose you’re an orphan but you want to go to university and earn a degree. You have no resources at all, and for whatever reason, you don’t qualify for financial aid. A wealthy benefactor steps in and pays for your tuition for the entirety of your education, pays for all of the books and materials required; he even provides a spending account! And instead of paying for your room and board, he invites you to live with him in his mansion! He expects no repayment for this incredible financial gift, it’s granted solely on the basis of grace.

Let’s say that he becomes like a father to you and sees to all the legal requirements and adopts you!
Now that you’ve had all of this provided freely for you up front, does that mean this wealthy benefactor is going to buy you the degree as well? No! Getting that degree is on you: you have to put the work in, you have to study, take the tests, and the grade you get will be dependent on how well you learn the curriculum. Let’s say that this wealthy man is also a genius and spends time as your personal tutor to help you along in your studies! But whether you earn that degree or not, your new found father says you can live with him for the rest of your life.

You’re in University freely by grace, but degrees must be earned!
While in this world we’ve been saved and granted membership into the family, in this ‘university’ of GOD by grace (JOHN 1:12) all by faith in receiving Christ and thus eternal life. All spiritual blessings, we’ve received up front through Christ (EPH 1:3). That’s being saved by grace and provided everything for our citizenship!

But rewards? Crowns? Those are not granted solely by the grace of GOD, but by our works done through the power of Christ Who dwells in us (And His dwelling and His empowerment in us – that IS by grace!). And that’s like studying, learning and taking tests to earn our degree, but like that genius father, He comes alongside us as our own personal educator, counselor, and trainer to help us in earning rewards and crowns!

ISAIAH 40:10b
10 …Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him
. GOD says the same thing in ISAIAH 62:11 and REV 22:12!

MATTHEW 5:11-12a
11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven

"Reward" is mentioned NINE TIMES in the sermon on the mount! If JESUS as GOD made flesh says “great”, you can believe that this reward is GREAT!!

The LORD desires to give us a full reward – we could say, full to overflowing: He is a generous GOD who desires to do a work in us and through us that enables us to accomplish these good works, bearing good fruit – and then reward us, just for letting Him doing His work in us and more works through us!

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name

We might forget the things we’ve done in service to the LORD, especially those of us who’ve known the LORD for some time – but He’s keeping a perfect record and will be faithful to remember each one of those deeds and render reward for them all!

23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ

How will we be granted our reward? By what remains after the fire of GOD:

12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire

Of course what is our greatest reward, ever – freely offered by GOD Who responds to our faith in His Gospel? GOD Himself!

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I AM your shield, your exceedingly great reward."

…He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God

Is that reward enough? For you and me, sure! But GOD being so generous is interested in our obtaining even more reward!

Some Christians view being born again, saved by grace in Christ – as running across the finish line of life! Receiving justification is a completed work accomplished by Christ, but our life in Christ has only just begun! You’ve entered the race, stood at the starting gate, heard that gospel gun go off, and you responded by starting your race of a godly life in Christ – and why? – to glorify JESUS (just as athletes in Rome ran in the Olympic games for the glory of Caesar): In this race for JESUS:

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set
[by GOD] before us,

Note that this verse speaks of “sin” but also “every weight” – things that are not necessarily sin in and of themselves, but things that weigh us down, so that we can’t run the race as fast as we might otherwise. Hobbies, past times, relationships that don’t in any way advance the kingdom – those ‘neutral things’ that aren’t sin, but unfruitful and if we want to be more fruitful these must be pruned from our lives (JOHN 15:2b). Pruning is painful, but a priority. 
Pruning is painful, but a priority!

One day by the grace of GOD we’ll cross that finish line – our life here on Earth will be done, either by death or by rapture – THERE’LL BE NO DO-OVERS! What’s done, is done, and there’s no undoing it!

So, we want to redeem the time now, in these evil days (EPH 5:16); we want to invest our time while we still have the chance to benefit the eternal kingdom of GOD! We want to honor the LORD by living overcoming lives of victory in our service to Him (present book: Victorious Christian Service by Alan Redpath).

2 CORINTHIANS 5:10-11a
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done
[our works], whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men

"The terror of the LORD"?? I used to think that was a reference to Judgment Day when God sends souls either to heaven, or to hell. But in this passage we see it’s not about the damnation of lost souls, it’s about the judgment seat of Christ where He will be rewarding the faithful service of the saints (or not rewarding the unfaithful).

He doesn’t judge saints for their sin here on this Day: our sins were ALREADY judged at the cross, that Altar of the Almighty where the LAMB of GOD was slain to take away the sin of theworld! The judgment we face as Christians is for rewards based on our conduct and performance while on Earth, through obedience to His will, and empowered NOT by our own will or determination or struggling, but by our LORD Jesus Christ! How are we empowered? The answer is in JOHN’s Gospel:

JOHN 15:4-5, 7-8
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples

Q: When did Christ first abide in you? On the day you received salvation. OK, that’s half of the equation!
Q: When do you abide in Christ? As a disciple, it’s as you “continue in His Word”.

JOHN 8:31b-32
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Abiding in His Word means more than just reading, but understanding, and applying – this is what frees us as disciples from sin-enslavement, and with that liberty we serve Christ, not self:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
[That is, bondage to the law, or even bondage to sin].

Christ has given to us His Holy Word and His Holy Spirit whereby we are equipped with all that we need in order to live pleasing to Him (2 TIM 3:16-17; JOHN 20:22; ACTS 2:3,8; Pentecost Power (epi) for what purpose? to be witnesses!!)!

This Day is coming as certainly as birth and death; this Day when we see our LORD and Savior. We’ll see His scars on His brow, wrists, side, and feet, the emblems of His undying love for us. He’ll say to us:
"I have redeemed you with My blood, delivered you from sin, death and hell; I have indwelt you with My Spirit and freely imparted to you My grace, love and peace and joy; endowed you with spiritual gifts and granted to you my Holy Word and the Great Commission of the Gospel and the command to go forth and make disciples. All of these things I have given to you. What therefore have you done in life, in My Name?"
We shall stand all alone before God our Judge Whose eyes are a flame of fire, from Whom nothing is hid, and all our deeds done in His name will fall under His scrutiny. His all-knowing, all seeing eyes will then determine the quality of all our works, whether they are fashioned of gold, silver, and precious stones or just wood, hay, and stubble (1 COR 3:11-15). Fact: Gold, silver and gems are refined, purified in fire; wood, hay, and stubble burn to ashes.

Due to our sin nature, even the works we do for the LORD, empowered by His Spirit may have some impurities, but the fire of the Holy Spirit will purge these things away and present them completely flawless before the LORD Who will render rich reward to His righteous saints!

All of those works of gold, silver and precious stones are done in and through me by Christ, selflessly for the glory of GOD: that earns reward! The latter works of wood, hay and stubble are done by me, for my own selfish ambition, and self-righteousness, for my own recognition, my own glory – that disqualifies me from reward!

How I hope and pray by faith that I will have something to show for all the incredible wealth that the LORD invested in my life! That I will give glory to GOD with lasting fruit and holy work that will honor Him Who died for my sins!!
He is worthy of such, is He not saints?? Through Christ we are able!

No Guts, No Glory” – American Air Force Major General Frederick Corbin Blesse wrote a manual by this title, 1955.

No Cross, No Crown” – a book written about 300 years earlier by William Penn who was imprisoned for his faith in the Tower of London in 1668.

To achieve anything worthwhile, one must have courage in the face of fear, one must be willing to risk it all, to lay down one’s own life for a noble cause.

There is nothing more worthwhile than honoring Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior. There is no greater, more noble cause than following and serving our Savior.

Just as He willingly went to the Cross to die for our sin, He calls us to carry our cross in denying our sin, dying to our old self, dying to our own ambitions, and plans, and purposes, and goals and desires, and instead, live our life for the sake of GOD’s ambition, and His plan and purpose and goals and desires (GAL 2:20) that He wants to work through your life!

It takes courage to die to self, it’s a risk (of sorts) to surrender all to JESUS, to forego our own life and follow Him! That is the mark of a true disciple:

MATTHEW 16:24-27
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 "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

We all recognize how powerful a ministry the LORD Jesus had while in this world. And we know why – it wasn’t just because He is GOD made flesh, but that in His flesh, there was NO sin nature!

So we can’t hope to have that powerful a ministry because we DO have a sin nature. But this is where the blessedness of the Cross of Christ comes in: the more we die to, the more we empty ourselves of sin and self, the more able the Spirit can work through us and do incredible things! Apostle Paul had a sin nature – but look what GOD did with him!!

…Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive …honor, and glory, and blessing

My sincerest, most heartfelt prayer for us saints is that we "apply our hearts to wisdom" and acknowledge that our days are in the hands of the LORD, and once He calls us Home, there is no turning back, no more chances to produce fruit and good works for His glory and honor!

So, may we seek our LORD out with diligence (JER 29:13) and a heart thirsting for fellowship and communion with Him (PS 42:1); may we yield up our members (our hearts and minds, our bodies, our words and deeds) to righteousness (ROM 6), and petition His grace to work powerfully in our lives (HEB 4:16), and enable us in fruit-bearing and produce good works (JN 15:8; TITUS 2:14) which can only be produced by our good God!

Remember, the LORD is interested in faithfulness; our work for the LORD doesn't have to be some global ministry that would impress all of us; rather He is impressed with and will reward faithful and good stewardship in cleaning church bathrooms, in serving in Sunday School, leading Bible study; in praying for and coming alongside your pastors to accomplish practical tasks that need doing. To being godly spouses and parents, godly children who obey their parents! To be productive, honest employees. MATT 10:42 says something as simple as giving a glass of water in the Name of JESUS will definitely get eternal reward!

Noah preached faithfully for 120 years and only eight souls entered the ark. Jeremiah, the weeping, faithful prophet – how many repented because of his preaching: maybe one? Faithfulness (a fruit of the Spirit) will produce more fruit that is well pleasing to the Father (if no one else) – and that is success enough!

LUKE 19:12-26 – The Parable of Ten Servants And Huge Reward!

12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 "So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'

Then the King returned to that far country to receive His Kingdom and called these ten servants into account for how they did their jobs. The first came and said that the money the King gave him (1 mena = about a day’s wages) increased tenfold. The second servant increased the King’s money fivefold (vs.16-18). Notice the reward that the King gives these men: the first gets to rule over ten cities! And the second, five cities (vs. 17-19)! THAT’s what I call a promotion!

Then consider the third servant’s statement, his conduct, the King’s reaction and His response:

LUKE 19:20-26
20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man [strict, stern], collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 'Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?' 24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him [the unprofitable servant] and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him

Pay attention to what the King is saying here: the money He gave to His servants was His, not theirs. As His servants they were expected to invest and increase their King’s wealth. That’s the job of a steward, to care for and prosper the property of another.

But after He judges the third unprofitable servant, the King takes away his money and gives it to the first who HAS ten minas! It was the King’s intention all along to bless His stewards with the increased wealth that they produced! And on top of that, honor them with ruling over entire cities! WOW!

He desires that we work for Him, not under the weight of forced obligation or loveless duty, but out of a passionate, heart-felt, yearning, zealous, joyous desire to love on Him by these “labors of love”, with a grateful heart for what HE has done in us, transforming us into His likeness, and for us!

Our ministry for Him won’t be effective without His ministry in us! (remember the account of Martha and Mary, and what Mary chose as “that better part”! What was that? Sitting at the feet of JESUS and learning of HIM!)

He died for all, that those who live
[by Christ] should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Reigning with Christ: the Servant-King

Who is worthy to rule alongside JESUS? Those who resemble Him the most by sanctification, where we allow the Holy Spirit to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ (ROM 8:29) by dying to self (MATT 16:24), mortifying the flesh (ROM 8:13), and being renewed continually in our mind (ROM 12:1-2). We who do such things will be servant-kings and priests (REV 5:10; 20:6) just like our LORD is, forever and ever.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who love His appearing.

JAMES 1:12
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him

Do you see the connection between love for the LORD and these crowns? And who are the ones that truly love the LORD? Those who obey Him out of a heart of love for Him (1 JOHN 4:19 “…He loved us first” Remember 1 COR 13:1-3!

The crown of life is also promised to those who are faithful in “tribulation” (meaning, persecution, affliction, anguish, trouble, suffering): REV 2:10.

2 JOHN 1:8
Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown

Your crown could be lost or taken? In the sense that crowns are available from Christ to be won; but if you live a carnal life, where there’s no growing in Christlikeness, if you are influenced by the world (1 JN 2:15), and the god of this world (2 COR 4:4) to become worldly, rather than godly – in this sense, your crown is stolen. Remember Satan is identified as a thief (JN 10:10). Every saint can be a winner here – no one needs to see a pile of ashes at the Bema seat – not one!

Who Are The Greatest in the Kingdom: Check out Gayle Erwin’s series that you can watch for free on his website “The Nature of JESUS” found on www.servant.org. [The JESUS STYLE written by Gayle Erwin]. He collects Scripture that paints this portrait of our Servant-King; JESUS Who is:

Servant of all, He doesn’t oppress others; uses no force on us. He is the example for us: humble (even as a child); He puts Himself last, and the least. He isn’t driven by blind ambition, made Himself of no reputation, He’s completely human though He is GOD; obedient – even to death, giving up His life for us. That’s our Servant-King!

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