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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Our Rewards In Heaven

Charles Stanley - Our Rewards In Heaven

Charles Stanley - Our Rewards In Heaven
TOPICS: Reward

Have you ever thought about what kind of reward you're gonna receive when you get to Heaven? Well, you say, "Well, like what kind of rewards"? Well, have you ever just thought about what kind of rewards you gonna receive? And have you thought about what you're doing today in your daily life that would bring about those rewards? Or do you find yourself sometimes comparing yourself with someone else, saying, "Well, I know that he or she's gonna have lots of rewards and I'm probably not gonna have very many". And so, you try to sort of evaluate all of that.

And then you probably ask, "Well, by what criteria is God going to judge me anyway"? So, I wanna answer that briefly. There are four things that are very important in the way that we're gonna face the judgment. And every single child of God will face the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive the rewards that not so much we deserve but those things that God has chosen to give us. He's going to judge us by the light of truth we've received. Everybody hasn't received the same amount so His judgment's gonna be just, not only by the light we receive but also by the opportunities He's afforded us. Everybody doesn't have the same opportunities. And thirdly by the way we live out our life with those opportunities and the light we have.

Now, there's one more, but I wanna save that till a little later on in the message. So, God's judgment is gonna be absolutely just. And sometimes people say, "Well, we shouldn't even be thinking about rewards". Well, I understand that, but Jesus did. And throughout the Gospels He's talking about rewards. In fact, He says quite a bit about the rewards that we receive. So, the question is, what about these rewards and what do we get rewards for, and how long do they last? And all those questions. So, what I'd like to do in this passage and in this message, usually I'll read a passage of scripture at this point, but I wanna save the main passage till a little later on in the message. I wanna talk about the rewards that we will receive when we get to Heaven.

And so, when we think about it, I wanna answer several questions. And when I look at this passage of scripture and think about all that the Lord Jesus said about rewards, He said a lot more about them than I think most of us recognize. And think about it in this light: He doesn't really explain a great deal about what the rewards are, that is, for example, the apostle Paul talked about a reward of righteousness, that a crown of righteousness. But we don't really exactly know all that that means. And so, when you think about the rewards, we could conjecture about that, but the issue is not what they're going to be like, because the truth is we're not able to comprehend, being earthly persons, when we stand before the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ to enter into Heaven, and we receive heavenly rewards, rewards that we're gonna be able to enjoy all the rest of eternity.

So, to know what kind is not the issue. We can't really explain in detail what they're like, but also when it comes to the timing of them. For example, somebody says, "Well, does this mean we only get our rewards when we get there"? Well, the major part of them probably so because, first of all, we wouldn't even know oftentimes what we're rewarded for. But secondly, when I think about that, I think about it in this light. Oftentimes, God rewards us right here and now. He doesn't wait till we get to Heaven to give us all of our rewards. For example, sometimes we call 'em blessings. You're obedient in some area of your life. You fulfill His will and purpose and plan for some specific thing in your life, and what happens is God just blesses you and rewards you in so many ways.

And so, all rewards aren't kept until we stand before Him in the judgment. He's a God of goodness and love and mercy and kindness, but He's also a God of encouragement. And every once in a while, all of us need a little encouragement from God that we're heading in the right direction, doing the right thing, and it's fruitful and profitable for the kingdom of God. So, when I think about all of that and think about what He's promised. So many things that He's promised in His Word, and we talk about claiming the promises of God, well, some of those promises we'll claim now, and we'll reach that reward when we stand before Him one of these days in His presence.

I think about the fact that oftentimes we think in terms of rewards in terms of material things. God thinks in terms of both spiritual and material. In fact, the truth is the greatest rewards there are, are those rewards that God gives that oftentimes we don't even recognize that He's rewarding us or blessing us, endowing us, in ways that we don't even think about. So, what I'd like to do in this message is this: I want us to go through a series of actions and attitudes that you and I have for which Jesus has made a very specific promise, that is, a promise of reward for very specific things. So, let's begin, if you will, in Matthew chapter five. And I'm gonna list these and give you just a brief moment of explanation and then you can just sort of think about 'em for your own personal life. Let's begin in Matthew chapter five and beginning in verse eleven and verse twelve.

Listen to what He says: "Blessed are you when people insult you, and persecute you, and say falsely all kind of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets which were before you". Now, notice what He says. He says that when you and I are insulted, when people say all manner of false things about us, and when they persecute us, listen to this now, He says, "Because of Me", that is, because of our relationship to Him, because of our testimony, because of our godly walk or our godly actions, it has to do with Him, because of who we are and because we represent Him and the things we do in His behalf, He says when you and I are persecuted, insulted, criticized in any way and we stand true to who we are, He says God is going to reward us greatly.

So, I ask you a question: When people say all manner of false things about you, insult you, and persecute you, what is your response? Do you just wanna have a big pity-party? Or do you say, "Thank you"? What did He say? He said, "Rejoice and be glad," why? He says because God is going to reward you greatly. Now, what is a great reward? I don't know the answer to that. One thing I do know: that if God God says something is good, I do know that what I've seen of what's good is very good. When God says something is great, then it's going to be absolutely awesome, more than our human eyes, more than our human mind can comprehend in this earthly life.

So, He says, "When you're persecuted and when you're accused, when you're insulted, when you're mistreated, when you're abused, all of these things," He said, listen, rejoice, because you know what's happening? God is setting up reward for you in Heaven. He said the reward for persecution for standing true to Him is a great reward. Well, turn, if you will, to the tenth chapter of Matthew. Jesus said, "He who," verse forty, "he who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me", that is, He's talking about the Father who sent Him. "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man or a woman in the name of a righteous man or woman shall receive a righteous man or woman's reward. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward".

Now, what I want you to see is this: God oftentimes rewards us for things that we don't even consider important, or we think are insignificant. Now, here's what that verse means: God honors our response when we show hospitality and kindness to people. Now, you probably show kindness to people at different times in different ways and you never think about it, and that's good that you don't. It's just part of your life, you wanna be kind, you wanna be good, you want to be helpful to people, and so you show them kindness. Well, He says as far as He's concerned God sees that as an act in which He rewards. Now, one of the reasons is this: because you and I are acting like Jesus. That's exactly what He did. He was kind to people, hospitable to people. And so, when we act in the same way He acts, He says we're going to be rewarded as a result of it.

Then I want you to look, if you will, to chapter six of Ephesians, and let's bring this home. Beginning in verse five, He says, "Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh", that is, masters, physical masters, "with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ". He says, "What you should do," listen, He says, "is to serve them, be obedient to them as if you were doing it to Jesus". See your master as Jesus, with a sincerity of your heart, being absolutely sincere about what you're doing. Watch what He says: "Not by way of eyeservice," when the other person's looking, "but and as men-pleasers", you're not trying to please them, "but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good," listen, "with good will render service, as to the Lord, not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free".

Now, here's what that means: It says I'm to be obedient and I'm not to work just because he's watching or to please him. I'm to work as if God's my boss. I'm to work as if Jesus Christ is the authority over my life on that job. I'm to work, and I'm to labor, I'm to give it my best, not do my best when he's watching, but to do my best because the Lord Jesus Christ is my Savior. I'm His ambassador, I am His representative, and I'm working for Him. Listen, "With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men". The principle is this: that wherever God places me, I am, listen, I am to give it my best as if I'm serving the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Now, I mentioned there are four things that are very important in the way that we're gonna face the judgment. And the fourth one is this: It is the motivation behind what we do. It is a major issue with God. So, I want you to go to the sixth chapter of Matthew, sixth chapter of Matthew, and here is a very stern warning: Jesus now is gonna compare the right way to serve Him and to carry out things, and the wrong way. Beginning in chapter six, verse one, notice what He says. Jesus said, "Beware", to His hearers, "beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven". Now, what He's gonna mention, He's gonna mention three specific acts, all of which He says are righteous acts, they're good acts. So, He's not opposed to these three things: giving, praying, and fasting.

Now, watch this, beginning with this first one: "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you". Now, it's interesting that word, "reward in full," the Greek word simply was a word used in the commercial lines and in the banks, for example, that is simply this: paid in full. That's what it means, paid in full.

Now, watch this. He says that when they paraded their righteousness, paraded their giving, that is, they gave it for the recognition of other people, he said God stamped on that "paid in full", that is, expect no future reward when you get to Heaven, because the only reward you get is the recognition and the applause and the praise of people because that was their motive to begin with, it was insincere, they were giving in order to receive the recognition of other people. Paid in full, that's the end of it. Watch this. Motivation is a major factor with Jesus Christ in the judgment. It's a major factor. Very important that we respond in the right way. Otherwise, He says, "You lost it".

Then listen to what He says. He says, "Now, when you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you". Now, watch this. Let's go back to the giving for a moment. Somebody says, "Well, now wait a minute. If I'm to give in secret, then what about giving in church"?

Well, there are times when you publicly give. For example, you remember when in the book of Acts, there was early chapters, the fourth chapter, when they were selling their lands and bringing it in, laying it at the feet of the apostles because they wanted everybody to have their needs met? Barnabas came and laid his at the apostles' feet, right, in front of everybody? Barnabas didn't come and lay his down at the feet of the apostles to say, "Hello, friends, do you all see that I, Barnabas, have made this awful sacrifice and I'm giving to the Lord's work". No, he'd have lost it. So, there's nothing wrong with giving publicly. The same thing is true with praying.

For example, he's not saying, "No prayer in public," because for example, Paul talks about how to pray in public in fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Likewise, if you'll recall, when Jesus was breaking the bread to feed the five thousand, the Bible says He lifted up His head before the Father, and gave thanks right in front of five thousand people. Then for example, when He stood at the tomb of Lazarus, what happened? Right in front of all the mourners, what did He do? But He prayed Lazarus's resurrection.

So, there's nothing wrong with praying in public, but the issue is, what is the motivation? Now, that doesn't mean that you should do your personal, private devotions right in front of everybody. The whole issue is not what we do or what we do not do, the whole issue is, what's the motivation? What's the motivation for our giving? What's the motivation for our praying? And then He comes to this issue of fasting. Listen to what He says beginning in verse sixteen. He says now, "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, they neglect their appearance so that they'll be noticed by men when they're fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full".

Look at every single time He says "reward in full, reward in full, reward in full," that means their reward is the recognition they receive from people who see them when they're performing in order to get recognition and award and applause. So, He says what they do is they come out, don't comb their hair, their clothes are all disheveled, and they look like they been sleeping about three or four weeks. And they come out and talking about their fasting and their praying and sacrificing to God. He says, "You know what? That's the end of it". He said, "The first person who sees them and recognizes them, end of reward right there".

And so, what is he saying in all three of these passages? You remember what I said in the very beginning? I said, "How does He judge us"? Light of truth that we know, opportunity He gives us, and the way we live out that opportunity. And the fourth thing is our motivation. Because watch this: I can have the truth, I can have wonderful opportunities, and I can obey God and do the things He called me to do and still lose it, because if the motivation is to show off, if the motivation is recognition, if the motivation is acceptance, if the motivation is anything else than to bring glory and honor to God by simply obeying Him, we lose the reward.

Now, think about this: All these things He says, He rewards us for. We're talking about the way you and I live every day. You get up tomorrow morning, you're going to work, you're gonna do a good job, best you can, or you gonna piddle around at it? And you're gonna complain about it. And you're gonna get by with as little as you can. You know what? You're losing your reward every, listen, every single day, mark this down, every single day we're either losing or we're gaining reward. God said it. I didn't say it. He's the one who brought up the whole issue of rewards and look how many times He talks about them. Listen, rewards are important to God. You know why they're important to God? Because He loves you and because He wants to reward you. He delights one of these days out in eternity with us standing before Him and Him saying to us, "Well done, good and faithful servants".

And here's what happened in your life and here are the rewards. And there are gonna be so many things that you and I didn't think about. But the tragedy is, there are gonna be so many things we didn't think about we should've thought about. Being the best at whatever you know how to be, God is gonna reward you. Listen, whatever we do in the will of God, He's gonna reward us for that. And God desires to reward us. That's why there are judgments. There's a Great White Throne Judgment for the wicked. Everybody there's lost. The Judgment Seat of Christ, everybody there's saved. It's not a issue of whether you're saved or lost, it's the issue of, for all eternity, how we gonna be rewarded and to be able to enjoy those rewards for all eternity?

Now, with that in mind, I wanna say some very serious things that I don't want you to miss. You listening, say amen. It doesn't make any difference what you do. It doesn't make any difference where you do it. The issue is, what is the bottom-line motive for which you're doing it? Are you doing some tough things in life because that's where God's placed you and it's His will for your life at this point? Are you weaseling your way out of some things that is the will of God because you don't like it and you don't wanna do it? Lose the reward, paid in full. And then think about this: Let's say that you do a good job at whatever you're doing and you're very successful at it. And people praise you and they are very grateful to you and all the accolades you get and all the awards you get, in other words, all of that, watch this: You're not responsible for that.

In other words, you can't be responsible for people's response. You do a good job, you ought to be rewarded. You can't be responsible for that. You and I are responsible for our motivation for what we do. We're not responsible for people's praise and all the rest, we're responsible for our motivation. When our motivation is sincere and it's pure and we're doing it in the name of Jesus to the glory of God, listen, whether it's washing dishes in a kitchen or whether it's preaching the gospel, it doesn't make any difference. When you're doing your best, God's gonna reward you. And the issue is not to be seen, not to be seen, not the acclaim of people, but you do it because you're doing the will of God. You wanna bring Him glory and honor.

If you're gonna wash dishes, wash 'em well. Gonna preach the gospel, do it the best you can. Don't compare yourself with somebody else. Somebody else can always wash dishes better than you and preach better than we can, but you know what? That's not the issue. The issue is this: Did you do your best? Now, watch this one. Right in the middle of a very sincere attitude, right in the middle of genuine, listen, genuine concern for a good testimony, right in the middle of doing your best, you and I have to be very, very careful, lest Satan slip in and deceive us, because right in the middle of doing our best, you may begin, when your heart has been so sincere and so true and so genuine, right in the middle of it, you find yourself now doing it because you like the recognition, you want the recognition. You know what happens? Reward stopped right there. Reward stopped right, paid in full.

And this is one of the deceptive things about life and about the devil and about everything we face in life, and that is, you may start out very sincere. And this is what happens to lots of people. They start out very sincere, giving God the glory. And the next thing you know, what? The recognition gets so strong and so powerful, the next thing you know, they're doing it. Now they're doing it, and you know what happens? Reward stopped. We have to be careful that what we do comes from the sincerity of our heart, not looking for people's recognition, but making sure we are obeying God in the spirit of obedience and love and devotion to Him, and to Him alone. Because, you know, the truth is, what difference does it make what people think when you do what God wants you to do?

You say, "Well, now does this consider, is this in all fields"? Yes. You say, "But now, what about in the sports field"? Well, ask these fellas a question. Why are you doing this? "Well, I love to play". Well fine. In your relationship to God, where is He in this? And you're gonna find some very godly athletes who say, "I wanna play for the glory of God, I want God to get the glory, I want Him to be honored. I'm gonna give it my best and do my best. Won't always do my best, but I'm gonna try to give it my best because I love Him". On the other hand, you see people who are doing whatever they're doing, they love the applause. They do it because they...and you know what? They live on that. The only problem with living on the applause of men is make a mistake, blow it, miss a play, miss the ball, then what happens? What happens to all this acclaim? What happens to your ego at that point?

So, you know what? One of the ways we can tell whether we're doing it for Jesus or other people is we blow it bad, what people think doesn't register. Watch this. If you live on their praise, you live by their criticism. Our motivation is to be singular, pure devotion to the Son of God, whom we represent, and no other motivation than that. So, ask yourself the question: "In any given day, whether I'm being persecuted or insulted, whether I'm having opportunities to be kind and hospitable to people or whether I'm treating my enemies however I'm treating them, or whether I'm doing my best or not doing my best, am I acknowledging my superiors and giving my best because I'm doing it for Jesus's sake and as unto Him? Am I standing true to the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of trial, refusing to be deceived by the allurements of the world, dropping my convictions to satisfy the flesh"?

You see, there are so many ways every single day we gain or we lose. The last thing you and I want Jesus to do at the end of the day is to say, "Well, at the end of this day," mark it down, "paid in full". Or do we not want Him to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, added to your reward today"? And the truth is you and I don't count. We don't count. What matters is the only thing we wanna hear is this: "Well done". That's all. Not better than, not less, just well done, that's all. The sincere heart doesn't count, doesn't compare, doesn't excuse, but with all his or her might, they give it their best to the glory and honor of the one who saved them, Jesus, the Son of God.

And, Father, how grateful we are for these passages of scripture to remind us that we're thinking in terms of eternal things, eternal rewards that we either lose or gain, knowing that all the gain is by Your strength, Your abilities, Your gifts, Your talents, Your grace, Your mercy, Your kindness, Your forgiveness. God, we couldn't take any credit when we look at our lives and recognize all of us are so totally, absolutely dependent upon You for everything. Thank You for being forgiving. Thank You for being understanding. Thank You for being gracious and kind and loving. And thank You for those second and third and thousand chances You've given us over and over and over again. We pray in Jesus's name, amen.

Well, I want to encourage you, if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, remember this: One of these days you will stand before Him and give an account for your life. The Bible says, "It is appointed unto man and to woman once to die, and after this the judgment". He also says we shall all give an account unto God for our life, those things done in the body, whether they be good or evil. And you see, if you live your life and reject the Lord Jesus Christ, it doesn't make any difference what else you do.

You say, "Well, I'll be rewarded accordingly". Yes, you will. And when you have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and you turn it down, you reject the Son of God, you heap upon yourself a judgment you do not want to experience for all eternity. And so, I wanna plead with you in Jesus's name to ask Him to forgive you of your sins and trust Him as your personal Savior by telling Him, "I'm asking You to forgive me of my sins, Father, and I do believe that Jesus's death on the cross paid my sin-debt in full. And therefore, by Your grace and love, You accept me and forgive me of my sins". And He'll do it the moment you ask Him.

Now, you may be a believer and you may be saying, "Well, you know what? I never thought about all of this". It's time to start thinking. Life's passing you by, and you don't wanna waste your life. Be a bad ambassador for Jesus, lose your reward because of the recognition of men. Think today for a moment how much of the world, think about how many people live their lives by the acclaim and the praise and the acceptance and the recognition of those they perform before. My, my, my, paid in full, when their motivation is the praise of man. And you think about the people who go about their job that nobody knows. Their name is never ever in the paper, on the radio, on the television. They go about their workday by day, doing their best at whatever they're doing, not trying to get recognition from people, but just being obedient to God.

You think about the rewards that God has in store for those. That's why you and I cannot be judges. We are followers of Jesus, ambassadors of Jesus Christ, giving it our best, doing our best every day, because we love Him, and that's all the motivation that we need. And I pray that you'll come to the place in your life, if you've been doing it for others, lay it down and decide today from this point on it's for Jesus's sake, for His glory, and His honor, whatever that takes. Your life will be transformed.
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