January 30, 2013 at 5:54 p.m.

God has abundant rewards for good work

Stay on the right path and don’t be tempted to take the easy way out

By Meredith Ebbin- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

We have been learning about the importance of abiding in Jesus Christ according to John 15. It is the Gardener's (God the Father's) desire that all the branches (believers) of His Vine (Jesus) produce an abundance of fruit (good works).

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

We learned that "fruit" means "works" that we do for God. The secret to producing much fruit for God is the word "abide" or "remain". Quite descriptive in the original Greek language of the New Testament, "abide" means to "take up residence" or make yourself totally at home.

God makes His meaning very clear so that we don't miss the true meaning of His desires for our lives: abide in Jesus, because without Him we can do absolutely nothing.

We accomplish things that may appear "godly" or in God's will, however, if we are not really in the will of God, we can waste our time being busy with many "good" things that hold no eternal value. It is God's desire that we produce fruit (works) that will last eternally.

Why is it important to work for God? What is the benefit of doing what God wants us to do? It is imperative that we are obedient to God because we bring glory to Him by how we live.

There will be times in your Christian life when living for God will seem inconvenient. You will be tempted to take the easy way out by avoiding confrontation of a sin or someone in your life; or refraining from sharing the Gospel with someone despite the Holy Spirit's prompting; or blending with friends rather than facing social persecution from those who mock His followers.

Obeying God

Our desire to bring glory to God despite personal discomfort pleases His heart. When obeying God is more important to us than our pleasures, inconveniences, or reputation, we show our understanding of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We reach maturity when we obey God when it hurts, or when we trust and praise Him in difficult circumstances.

Why is this so important?

God designed Christian life so that the worst we will experience as Christians is right here on earth. When we die, we go to spend eternity with the Lord. The Bible teaches us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Contrary to the erroneous teaching that you cease to exist, Paul makes it clear that you are with the Lord.

How you live your life determines how many rewards God will shower upon you in the future "Awards Banquet" called the judgment seat of Christ.

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

This judgment is for all Christians and only Christians, to stand before Jesus Christ as He evaluates the quality - not quantity - of each man's work. God is more concerned about the 'why' than the 'what' we do for Him. He wants us to do good works, not to impress others, but to make Him look good.

Because our time to live for God on earth is limited, we should maximize our time for the greatest impact. We must ensure that we discover His will for our lives and our works last for eternity. Our time is so short; doesn't it make sense to spend it obtaining the best possible return?

Each Christian (individually) must appear before Jesus Christ. The Word of God says that fire will test the quality of each man's work. Revelation 1:14 describes Jesus' eyes as a "flaming fire" - the Lord is able to look into and evaluate a person's heart. As the LORD told Samuel, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7.

The purpose of this judgment seat is to evaluate our works. If we did things for God with the right motive in the short time that we had on earth, it is equivalent to "gold" work. Gold withstands the test of fire. However, if we thought little of God's will or squandered the short time we had, or if our good works were to get the accolades of people, our works will be judged with the equivalent of "hay" work. Hay placed in fire will ignite in seconds. Jesus' eyes will judge all that we have done.

The rewards you receive after judgment will be for all eternity. This is something to look forward to if you are working hard for God with the right heart. Everyone at this judgment will go to heaven. Some may have little or no works and the Bible states they will suffer loss: they will be ashamed that they had no eternal rewards presented to them from the Lord.

Make the most of the little time you have left! You will never regret abiding in the vine to produce much fruit for your God. If you are working hard for God, I encourage you to remain the vine (Jesus) so that the gardener (God the Father) will be proud to produce an abundant crop from your life.

Pastor Gary C. Simons serves as the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Bible Fellowship, 82 Church Street, Hamilton, Bermuda[[In-content Ad]]


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