Posted in marshmallow test, rewards

The Marshmallow Test: an illustration of temptation and the hope in future rewards

Do you wrestle with temptation? Is delayed gratification a struggle? Of course you do. I do. We all do. Here is a video that may be worth 3 minutes of your time.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)

Posted in rewards

Receiving rewards!

All Christians will stand before Jesus to be judged. It’s a ceremony that is not drenched with condemnation, but of rewards! (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5)

It’s OK to think about the rewards. I do, a lot. The reason that it’s OK to think about this, is that I acknowledge that I could do nothing apart from Jesus. (John 15:5). It’s because I acknowledge that the Holy Spirit was the One who enabled me to do the things I did in the name of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:6;  Gal. 5:22-23, Luke 24:49).

I can’t wait to see if Jesus was pleased with anything I did in the Spirit’s power. I can’t wait to cast my crowns back to Him! (Revelation 4:4).

As much as I enjoy thinking about working for the name of Jesus and how the Bema Seat Judgment-Rewards ceremony will go, something struck me last night.

A beloved pastor and teacher in our area gave his testimony. He is a quadriplegic. He spoke of the grace of Jesus, His provision, His healing to the extent he was healed physically, and shared a kingdom perspective by sharing his love of the life that Jesus has given him.

There were several points at which I was struck. The entire testimony was compelling, but I am a sucker for a good story about a good marriage. He has one. He also has two adorable children. He and his wife married after he was hurt.

He said he can’t wait to see his beloved and diligent, kind, uncomplaining wife receive her rewards in heaven.

I often think about the rewards of the past martyrs, when they receive the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10). I often think about rejoicing when the faithful pastors of the past, like Spurgeon, Edwards, Calvin,  and the men like them receive their reward. I think or my rewards. But how often do I think of my own contemporaries laboring now, and their rewards, and rejoicing with them in Jesus’ name?

[crickets]

I’m so busted! LOL. His was a tremendous testimony and I’m now rejoicing that I can rejoice in thinking of my peers’ rewards. I now am envisioning my pastors’ rewards ceremony, and my friends’. The bible says

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (1 John 2:9–10).

I love my brethren, and I can’t wait to see them receive blessing from Jesus, and they, and I, send those blessings right back to the One who is glory itself.

Who are you envisioning receiving their reward from Jesus?

Posted in bema, crown, rewards

Our rewards in heaven!

We get rewards you know.

We do.

And it is OK to talk about them.

I’m looking forward to the rewards, but whenever I bring that up, I get the stink-eye from people. They mentally wag a finger and intimate that if I was a REAL Christian, I wouldn’t even mention the rewards, because after all, Jesus is plenty for a reward. I must be greedy or something. “Well, seeing Jesus in person is more than enough for me,” they say.

Well, of course He is enough for me. Salvation is a gift that never ends and enlightens my every day on earth. It is a gift that I never tire of thanking Him for. I am grateful for it every day. I can’t wait to see Jesus and I pray every day that today will be the day of the rapture.

But the doctrine of rewards IS in the bible and of Paul was excited about it then I’m excited about it.

The Bema Seat of Christ is what the rewards ceremony is unofficially known as. The bema is from Greek and it meant the raised platform from which athletic victors were given their wreaths. It also was where judicial acts occurred- arguments spoken by lawyers to the judge, and orators addressed the people from it also.

After the rapture, while the Tribulation is going on, is the rewards ceremony. Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15,

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

We stand before Jesus but we are not judged. Make no mistake- this is not a judgment. We are evaluated, not judged. It is a massive final exam. We are co-heirs, adopted sons, and cleansed of sin. Justified and declared righteous. But we were a work in progress. Did we work for Him? Did we rely on the Spirit to bear fruit? Did we bring Him glory by working out our salvation with fear and trembling?

We will stand before Him and He will display our works. Some that I think were for Him I am sure will be revealed to have had selfish motives and will be burned up. Other works, many I won’t even remember doing, will have been kept in the books by God and emerge as diamond. But it all will be laid bare. Ouch.

Even though it is not a judgment I am sure I will squirm!

In this essay by Bible.org titled, The Doctrine of Rewards: The Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ, they write,

In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, the Apostle Paul drew courage and was motivated by the fact of rewards at the return of the Lord for the church which he mentions in every chapter in this epistle and becomes the primary subject of 2 Thessalonians. The Lord’s return and what this means not only to the world but to us individually is a very prominent subject of the New Testament.

It is a very big subject! Please read the thorough essay at Bible.org. Now we read this from (Matthew 10:41)

“The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.”

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

“Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:23)

“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)

“knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:24)

And don’t forget the crowns!

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12).

“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:4)

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)

“He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward”.  (Heb 11:26)

I’m not a huge Chuck Missler fan, but he speaks of the Bema Seat in this clip between 11:00 and 14:00. What he says there makes sense to me. I’ll summarize it below.

Missler says, “I think a lot about the Bema seat every day. It is not an academic concept. The bible talks about how God will wipe the tears from our eyes, twice in Revelation, this puzzles me. There is no sickness, no death, Everything is good in heaven, why are there tears. I think what we are going to grieve over at the seat of Christ are not our sins. He paid it all, those were over and done with at the cross. I think what will grieve us is when we review our lives before our King and we see the wasted opportunities. Remember Schindler’s list at the end, he said “I could have saved one more” [Missler cries here] What will upset me are the things I could have done. Those moments when I wasn’t quite bold enough to challenge someone with the Gospel, or I wasted time on silly trivia instead of the King’s business. How diligent was I with the opportunities He put before me? How often I wasted away wasted opportunities, that will get to me.”

Our God is gracious…imagine even then, ministering to us, wiping our tears when we cry over the times we let Him down! And He rewards us who are His children, His lambs. Oh, yes, Jesus IS enough.

But I think I’ll look good in a crown. Maybe a tiara.

There is a reward, brethren. The good times are coming. They are almost here, maybe even at the door…

Dr. Todd Pylant, image- creative commons license free to use