Rewards for Serving Christ
By David J. Stewart | December 2016
I listened to an awesome sermon today by Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church. I have about a dozen preachers that I regularly keep up with, including Brother Anderson. I love preachers! The sermon is titled “REWARDS FOR SERVING CHRIST.” I burned it as an MP3 if you'd like to download it. I wrote this article to share some of the things from the sermon.
I've also added many of my own comments, so don't assume that anything in my article is necessarily Brother Anderson's teaching. It's really good stuff! I know a lot of people criticize Pastor Anderson, but the guy is getting thousands of people saved, and I'm all for that!!! Luke 8:15, “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” The dearest thing to the heart of God is soul-winning!!!
There's not a subject more intriguing to me than how to earn rewards in Heaven. I want lots of rewards. I don't want to feel like a loser in Heaven. Dr. Hyles once witnessed to Elvis Presley in an elevator in Garland, Texas. Elvis said he was saved as a child in a tent revival that he attended with his grandmother. Brother Hyles was convinced that Elvis is a Christian. If that be true, that Elvis is in Heaven today, I'll guarantee you that he feels like a total failure (because he was). Mr. Uh huh huh! Elvis lived the deathstyle life of a fool. The “king” died on his throne (commode) at age 42 of a drug overdose! If Elvis went to Heaven, he's the guy in 1st Corinthians 3:15b, “saved; yet so as by fire.” I wouldn't want to be in Elvis' shoes for all the riches, fame and pleasures in this world. Amen!
OK, here's some sermon notes...
Why Will We Be Rewarded?
Why would Christ reward us? He has already paid for our sins on the cross. The Lord could just as easily say, “Hey, I died for you, now you owe me!” Instead, the Bible calls serving God our “reasonable service” in Romans 12:2. It is only reasonable that since we are bought with a price (and that “price” is the precious blood of Jesus), we ought to give our lives to follow Christ in obedience to the holy Bible. 1st Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
Lost souls need to be saved. Seeds planted need to be watered. The “seed” is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). Witnessing to someone is the “sowing.” When a person is brought to Christ, that is the “reaping.” Once we're saved, we have eternal life. We will never die! Notice the following beautiful Scripture:
John 4:36, “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
The “wages” in John 4:36 are not eternal life. The gift of God is eternal life. The “wages” are for soul-winning. By preaching the Gospel and winning souls we are “gathering fruit unto life eternal,” Rewards are “unto” eternal life, reaping souls to receive wages from God. Our wages will last forever. Eternal life is a free gift, which is why God rewards us for service. We can't take anything with us, but we can sent it on ahead. Amen! Whew, I love that!!!
Why will we be rewarded? It is because eternal life is a free gift. We cannot earn eternal life. Jesus gets all the glory for salvation. We have no part in meriting our salvation, neither before, during or after. God pays His workers. The free “gift” of eternal life is totally separate from our rewards, because God pays His workers! Jesus paid for our forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It is a gift. That's why Jesus doesn't need to forgive our sins, because He has already paid for them with His blood (1st Peter 1:18-19).
God doesn't want us to take any credit for salvation. This is why He rewards us for even giving a cup of water in a disciple's name. God is going to reward even the tiniest efforts done for Him. Anything that we do for Jesus' sake or the Gospel's will be rewarded. Mark 9:41, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” God pays His workers! The free gift of eternal life is completely separate from that.
“Gathering fruit unto eternal life” in John 4:36 refers to the rewards that we earn by serving God as believers, specifically, reaping souls by soul-winning. This has NOTHING to do with the free gift of eternal life:
Matthew 10:39-42, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
So, even if we help someone in the name of someone else, who is a servant of Christ, God will reward us. What a wonderful Savior!!!
How Do We Earn Rewards?
There are a lot of different ways to earn rewards:
- By Winning Souls to Jesus Christ (John 4:36).
- By Serving Those Who Preach and Go Soul-winning (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41).
- By Enduring Persecution, Rejection and Being Lied About for Christ (Matthew 5:11; Luke 6:22-23; Revelation 2:10).
- By Giving to the Work of the Lord (Philippians 4:15).
- Giving to the Lord's work (i.e., a missionary, preacher, prophet, soul-winner).
- Giving Alms (giving to the poor or handicapped - Matthew 6:34-35; Matthew 6:1-4). Giving “alms” is not tithing.
- Lending without expectation of return to people having a tough time; to those down on their luck (Luke 6:34-35).
- By Labouring in Prayer (Matthew 6:6; Colossians 4:12).
- Any Good Works That We Do, Whether Unto the Lord or Unto Man (1st Corinthians 3:11-15).
- By Relieving the Afflicted (Matthew 25:40-45; 1st John 3:17).
If we provide a place of rest, a drink of water, a meal, money, clothes or anything to help a servant of Christ, the Lord will reward us for it. If you pass out a Gospel tract (if they are doctrinally accurate), Jesus will reward that. If you purchase the Gospel tracts (if they are doctrinally accurate), Jesus will reward you for that. If you donate money to help a Bible-believing church, you will receive a partial reward for any souls they lead to the Lord, or lives that are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
Again, the following Scripture plainly teaches that soul-winners are earning wages, and gathering fruit (souls saved), for life eternal...
John 4:36, “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
That is so beautiful. Whether we sow the seed of God's Word, or have the privilege of reaping a soul (leading them to the dear Savior), we both receive equal wages, because only God giveth the increase (1st Corinthians 3:6-8). It is the blessed Holy Spirit that convicts sinner's hearts and works the miracle of the new birth, by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13).
This next Scripture passage is beautiful. The Bible says that if we give unto someone who is preaching the Gospel, winning souls, their fruit will abound unto our account. That is, we will receive a partial reward for the people (fruit) they won to the Lord. In verse 17, the apostle Paul is saying that the believers at Philippi will receive a partial reward for the fruit that Paul won:
Philippians 4:15-19, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Notice in Verses 18-19 that not only do we receive a partial reward when we give money to someone else who wins souls, but also, God promises to meet our needs in Christ Jesus. I love this truth in Philippians 4:17, how that God rewards us for the souls won by others, if we helped them in their work. I don't know about you, but that encourages me to help, give and support soul-winning missionaries and churches.
By the way, be careful about who you give your money to, because if you're saved, it is really God's money. We when give, we are just letting go of what is already God's. I'd hate to spend my life donating to a church or missionary that has never won any souls to Christ. If you want to maximize your investments for eternity, make sure you only support Gospel endeavors. Sadly, 99% of so-called charities and ministries never win one soul to Christ, because they're not trying.
We receive rewards for the work that our converts do for the Lord. 2nd John 1:8, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” Paul said, “Look, I've invested a lot of time and energy into you, and I want to receive a full reward, and I know you do too, so don't let yourselves be corrupted!”
There are many ways to lay up treasures in Heaven. Giving to the legitimate poor brings rewards. Proverbs 19:17, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” The apostle Paul mentioned contributions to the poor saints in Jerusalem...
Romans 15:26, “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.”
Being “poor” does not refer to lazy people, who collect welfare and have a color TV, cigarettes, booze and lottery tickets! What many people consider “poor” in America is wealthy compared to destitute third-world countries. Yet, there are many truly poor people all across the streets of America. Jesus said in Matthew 26:11a, “For ye have the poor always with you...” God has a special place in His heart for the poor. James 2:5, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
If you are crippled or imprisoned and unable to do anything else for God, you can become a prayer warrior!!! Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Prayer is work, which is why most Christians don't do it much! God promised to reward us as individuals for our “own labours” (1st Corinthians 3:8). Without prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit will not work in a ministry. God's work cannot be accomplished in the arm of the flesh. THE SPIRIT'S ABIDING (Dr. Jack Hyles).
Matthew 6:6, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Amen! The Scriptures PROMISE that God will openly reward any believer that prays in secret. This simply means that you are sincere in your prayers, spending time alone with God, and not superficially praying in public (like the Presidential Prayer Breakfast at the White House) to be seen of men, reading from scripts written by professional speech-writers. God doesn't honor phony prayer (Matthew 6:5, 7-8). Jesus taught us to enter into our closet, or your home if you're alone. The idea is to get alone with God. Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” That's beautiful!
When Do We Receive Our Rewards?
We will receive rewards in this life and at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Mark 10:30, “But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” The fake health, wealth and prosperity religious crowd always leave out that little phrase, “WITH PERSECUTIONS.” Serving Jesus Christ brings persecution!!!
Mark 10:28-30, “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
How do we receive an hundred-fold in this lifetime? It means that the people whom we lead to the Lord, and the lives that God influences through our ministry labors, will love us and give unto our needs. We don't have to own something to enjoy it! And no one really owns anything in this life. If you don't pay your property taxes on your home, the government will take it away from you. Everything that we have in this life is on loan. We are living on borrowed time. Everything in this world is only temporal. Ah, but the blessings in eternity which God has promised to those that believe the Gospel are everlasting (Romans 8:32)!!!
I love God's children. That is, I love Christians! I have unconditional love for all mankind, but I have a special fondness for all Christians, because they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord (because I am also a born-again Christian). I guarantee you that if I ever asked my web visitors for their help, whether it be money or a place to move and stay for a time, many fellow believers would do anything to help me in Christ, because they love me, because God has helped them through my faithful labors over the years. A genuine Christian, who is right with the Lord, has a cheerful spirit of giving and meeting the needs of others, especially fellow brethren in the Lord.
Respectfully, I disagree with Brother Anderson on WHEN believers will receive their rewards. Clearly, the following Scripture teaches that believers will receive their rewards at the Judgment Seat Of Christ...
2nd Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
The Judgment Seat of Christ immediately follows the Rapture, when we see Christ. Pastor Anderson teaches a Pre-Wrath Rapture, but I'm convinced that the Bible teaches a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This explains the discrepancy. Still, we agree that the Lord will reward the saints when He returns. It is just a matter of WHEN will the Lord return. You must make your own decision. I believe Logic Proves A Pretribulation Rapture. The timing of the Rapture is not a doctrine affecting salvation.
There will also be rewards given out at Christ's Second Coming (7-years after the Rapture). I believe the following Scripture refers to the Rapture. Revelation 22:12, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” 1st Thessalonians 4:17 verifies that there will be a Rapture (i.e., the event when the saints will be “Caught Up” into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air). The debate is over the timing of this glorious event.
The “sheep” in the following precious passage of Scripture refers to the people saved during the 7-year Tribulation period. In know this for numerous reasons. One reason is because Jude 14 says, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” The saints (all Christians throughout history) resurrected at the Rapture will be given their glorified bodies at that time (1st Corinthians 15:52-57; Philippians 3:21). THESE glorified saints will return “WITH” Christ at His Second Coming. Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago “TO” His own. He is coming at the Rapture “FOR” His own. And He is coming at the Second Coming “WITH” His own. Hallelujah!
At Christ's Second Coming (Advent) He is going to gather the nations and separate the sheep (saved on the right) from the goats (unsaved on the left). These “sheep” will be those folks saved during the 7-year Tribulation. These are the humans who will go into the 1,000-year Millennium period. They will not receive their glorified bodies until the end of the Millennium...
Matthew 25:31-34, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
What Will the Rewards Be?
In this life my get blessings, joy, friends and family, houses, et cetera. Revelation 2:26-27, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” Those who work hard and win souls are going to rule and reign with Christ during the millennium. God gives us greater responsibility as a reward, giving us power and authority (over perhaps a city or a nation).
Daniel 12:2-3, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” The Bible says if we are wise we will shine, as the firmament. Those who turn many to the imputed righteousness of God will shine as the stars. They will be the superstars in Heaven, beloved by their converts.
1st Corinthians 15:40-44, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” The word “glory” in the holy Bible literally means “to shine,” as the glory of the sun, moon or stars. Just as the sun, moon and stars vary in glory (brightness), so also will the resurrected saints differ in their amount of glory. It won't be a Communist utopia dream. Some believers will rule over 10 cities, others over 5 and some over none. Some saints will shine with glory as the stars, others like a dim lightbulb, and some not at all. Power. One form of rewards that we will receive are power, glory and authority.
1st Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” God will glorify His saints at the resurrection (the Rapture). It is a sin to exalt our self now, but we will be exalted together with Christ at His coming. We will cast our crowns at His feet. Christ is the final authority. Christ is responsible for everyone who has ever been saved. Jesus shines so brightly that people are blinded by His glory. Revelation 10:1, “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” Our precious Lord shines with a glory so bright that is emanates with the intensity of the sun!!!
I don't know about you friend, but I want to go for some maximum wattage! I want to shine as the stars of the heavens, from leading sinners to Jesus Christ. In this wicked world, the fallen stars of Hollywood shine for a season, but the name of the wicked shall rot! Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.” Jude 1:7 and 13, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. ... Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
Luke 11:28, “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”
“Every word in this Bible is inspired by God almighty!”
—Dr. Jack Hyles (a great quote from the classic sermon, “
A Friend At Midnight.”)
Psalms 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
“The only inspired Words of God are in the King James Bible!”
—Dr. Jack Hyles (an awesome quote —Dr. Jack Hyles (THE REAL BATTLE!”)
BATTLE OF THE AGES (MP3 by Dr. Hyles, “The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”)
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