What kind of Christian service will God reward?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|How will Christ examine the good and bad deeds of our life? What are the works that God prepared in advance for us to do? Will some Christians be honored more than others?
Copyright: 2000, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. LEM
Keywords: Eternal Security, Eternity, Eternal rewards, Motives, Colossians 3:23-25, 1 Corinthians 3:13
- Ankerberg: Then, there is a fifth kind of behavior that will bring reward at the judgment seat of Christ. It is service to Christ from your heart. Colossians 3:23-25 tells us: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men; since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” That first line, look at it: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Some of us do serve in church; we do teach a class; we do preach sermons; we do conduct Bible studies. We do work in the Boys or Girls Club. And that’s good. But at the judgment seat of Christ, it won’t be just our outward actions that will be judged but also the inner motives and attitudes of our heart. These are things that no one else can see. The Bible says, “Each man’s work will become evident.” [1 Cor. 3:13] Why? Because the fire of Christ’s judgment “will test the quality of each man’s work.”
- Unfortunately, there are those in the Church who serve for self-esteem, for pride, for popularity, for financial gain. Now, it’s probably not the only reason they serve, but it must not be the primary reason. The question all of us need to ask is, Are we wholly serving Jesus Christ from our heart?
- Now, all of us are complicated and complex people. Have you ever wondered if you really did anything totally for Jesus Christ, anything that is not tainted with some ulterior motive? I have. Think of pastors. Wouldn’t you agree that no one wants to preach and do a bad job? No one deliberately wants to make people dislike them. And further, pastors have to make a living by preaching, don’t they? Should they think about their paycheck? Are such considerations wrong? No, it’s just that they shouldn’t be the primary reason why we preach. Those other considerations shouldn’t affect the message God has given us to preach.
- Well, here is a question. When we serve Christ, how can any of us know that God will accept our service when it is tainted with some portion of these worldly thoughts? Erwin Lutzer in his book, Your Eternal Reward, says, “Christ takes our acts done with good intentions and cleanses them so they might be acceptable to God.” The apostle Peter wrote, “You…are being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” [1 Pet. 2:5]
- In other words, if our deeds are presented to the Father through Christ, if our intentions were primarily good, Christ cleanses them and makes them acceptable. There is another side to all of this. Some of you have worked on projects which eventually failed. If the primary reason you began that work was because you thought it the best way to serve the Lord, your effort will still be rewarded even though the project wasn’t successful. At the same time, let’s say you worked on a project and it was successful. But you did it for other reasons than serving Christ. Jesus says, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” [Matt. 6:1]
- In Mark 12 we have a beautiful illustration of someone who did something from her heart. It certainly was not seen by those in the world—even Christians—as being something big or successful. But in the eyes of God she was a success. She had served God from her heart. We are told, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” [Mark 12:41-44]
- In other words, this poor widow was unaware that Christ was watching. But He was. And because she gave from her whole heart, she was said to have given more to God than all the others. Do you realize that Christ is watching you—and He can see your heart? Christ is going to reward us at His judgment seat according to the attitudes, desires, and motives in our heart.