The Rewards After the Rapture (Part 3)

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1 Corinthians 3:10-15

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

— PRAYER —

The Rewards After the Rapture (Part 3)

In the first message in this series, we did an overview of the rewards ceremony which all Christians will attend. Last week, we looked at common misconceptions about the rewards ceremony. Today, we are going to look at the works that are rewarded during the rewards ceremony.

We see in this passage that there are three metaphors used for a Christian’s service to the Lord. As we serve Christ, we all want our work to be pleasing to Him. As Paul said, ‘we labour that we may be accepted [or approved] by him.’ We are going to look at each of these metaphors today so that we can understand what Jesus Christ expects of us as we seek to do the work that will be rewarded after the rapture.

1. The first metaphor used in this passage is that of structure. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul calls himself a “wise masterbuilder” and says that the foundation of his structure is none other than Jesus Christ. He goes on to say, “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest…”

We should see our lives and our service to Christ as a structure that is continually being built. We can build our structure with two categories of materials: gold, silver, and precious stones belong to one category, and wood, hay, and stubble belong to another category. These physical items are used as metaphors for the type of work that we can do. These are not good and bad works because nothing that we do that is morally wrong can be done for God’s kingdom. Rather, these are valuable and invaluable works. It is like having $100 and $1. There is nothing bad about having $1, but $100 is far more valuable than $1.

When we get to the rewards ceremony, Jesus will take all of the work that we have done in service to Him and put it through the fire. All of our evangelism, all of our preaching, all of our praying, all of our helping the homeless, the sick, and the hungry. He will take all of it and put it through the fire. The fire will burn away those works that were done with an impure heart or an ungodly spirit and attitude.

If we build our spiritual structures with works that are not valuable — works that Paul likens to wood, hay, and stubble — then our building will come crashing down. You say, what about the foundation? Remember the foundation is Jesus Christ. He is your salvation. You would not even be at the rewards ceremony if you did not have Jesus as your foundation. If your building gets burned up, the foundation which is Jesus Christ keeps you from going to hell. As Paul says, you will be saved, “yet so as by fire,” or by the skin of your teeth.

However, if you build your spiritual life with works that are valuable — works that Paul likens to gold, silver, and precious stones — then your building will go through the fire unscathed. In fact, when the elements Paul named go through a fire, they come out purer than they were before. Not only will you be saved, but you will have works to show for it, and you will receive a reward for those works. Works of gold, silver, and precious stones are works that are done completely in service to Christ with a heart of pure love for Him and for others and no thought of what you can get out of it yourself.

Those are the kinds of works God wants us to carry out. Those are the works that will stand the test of fire and will get us rewards in Heaven.

2. The second metaphor used in Scripture is that of stewardship. Paul writes in First Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” What is a steward? A steward is someone who takes care of something that belongs to someone else. We as believers are stewards of the mysteries of God.

What are the mysteries of God? Several months ago, I preached a sermon series on the mysteries spoken of in the Bible. One of those mysteries is the mystery of the gospel — the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. In the New Testament context, we are stewards of the Gospel. This means that we have received the Gospel, believed the Gospel, and now we are responsible for what we do with the Gospel.

At the rewards ceremony, we will be evaluated based on what we do with the Gospel. Did we take our light and hide it in a corner or under a tree? Or did we allow our light to shine before all the world? According to LifeWay Research, 80 percent of Christians who attend church at least once per month believe that it is their personal responsibility to share the Gospel. However, 61 percent of those Christians had not told another person how to be saved in the previous 6 months. Evidently, there are many Christians who are being bad stewards of the Gospel.

Not only are we to be good stewards of the Gospel, but we are to be good stewards of everything that God has given us: money, material possessions, gifts, talents, and time. Think of everything you have as Heavenly currency for your time on this earth. It all still belongs to God, but He has given it to you to use while you are alive. As a steward, you are required to use that currency wisely. If you use it wisely and for the glory of God, you will be rewarded in Heaven. If you do not, you will lose the rewards you could have had.

3. The third metaphor used in Scripture is that of running a race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul said, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” Are you running to obtain the prize, the crown, the rewards? Are you serious about it? Are you doing what it takes to win?

There’s no use in being in the battle if you are not willing to do whatever it takes to win the prize. What I mean by that is, it is no use doing Christian work if you are going to do it half-heartedly and without love for Christ. You are wasting your time because you will not get anything out of that. God wants you to do the work, but do it with all your heart, mind, soul, and spirit. Do it with love in your heart for Him and for others. Do what it takes to win.

Paul did what it took to win. He goes on to say, “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” The word “temperate” means to be “self-controlled.” According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon it is “a figure drawn from athletes, who in preparing themselves for the games abstained from unwholesome food”, and other things that can hinder them from running the race to win. In other words, you have to be willing to sacrifice in order to run this race and win a reward.

Paul goes on to say, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul is sure about the race he is running. We know that at the end of our lives, we will see Christ. We are not like boxers beating the air. We are certain about what the future holds. We are willing to suffer temporary discomfort in order to obtain eternal rewards. As Proverbs 11:18 says, “to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”

We have a sure reward in the resurrection of our bodies from the grave. We have a sure reward in the rapture of the church when Jesus calls us home. And, if we serve Christ faithfully and with a pure heart, we will have a sure reward at the judgment seat of Christ.

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Now, if you are with us today, and you are not ready for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, if you are not certain that if Jesus returned today you would be among those whom He took with Him to Heaven, allow me to share with you how you can trust Jesus Christ for salvation today so that you can be ready for His return.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.



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