Rewards

2 Corinthians 5:10
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

A few years ago, I watched a very interesting story on the news. An armored vehicle, after leaving a local bank, had neglected to properly close the rear truck door. Upon making a turn, bags of money fell out of the truck and broke open on the street. People, seeing what had happened, went nuts, rushing into the street, picking up cash and shoving it into their pockets. In the midst of the chaos, a young boy grabbed a handful of coins and ran off. That night, he felt so guilty he could not sleep. The next day at school, the little boy dropped eighty-five cents on his teacher’s desk and told her about the event. She, wanting to encourage him for doing the right thing, contacted the bank to arrange for the return of the money. Since more than $200,000 was lost that day, and only eighty-five cents returned, the bank wanted to honor this young man and asked him to come to the bank to receive an award. When the mayor of the city heard of his deed, he also wanted to honor the child with a public gathering. Later, word reached the executives at Disney, who decided to honor the young man. They invited him, and his whole class, to Disney World; all expenses paid. What a remarkable picture of grace. One young man took what did not belong to him and gave it back to the rightful owners, and in return, was richly honored and showered with blessings.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Paul writes every believer will one day appear before the judgment seat of Christ. At this throne, we will not be judged for our sins; those were judged at the cross and forgiveness was appropriated to each of us when we received Christ. No, at this throne, sin is not the issue, nor is judgment the reward. Instead, our Christian life will be examined. We will be rewarded with treasures in heaven for what we did on earth. When we choose to offer our God-given gifts, talents, time and treasures back to Him, He will not only accomplish great things through us, but reward us for it later.

Earlier Paul had written to these same believers and asked, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Everything we have really belongs to God. Our natural talents are as much a representation of His grace, as our spiritual gifts. We need to take what does not belong to us and return it to its rightful owner.

Now would be a great time to examine your life. All of your time, talents and treasures are a gift from God. How are you using them for the Kingdom of Heaven? What are some ways you can get involved in serving Christ? Keep in mind, we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and we don’t want to appear empty-handed.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 2 Corinthians 5

  1. The idea at the beginning of chapter 5 was begun back in the middle of chapter 4: that although in this life we suffer for the sake of the gospel, we should not let that deter us, for in the next life, the rewards of earthly faithfulness are well worth it. Paul then uses the analogy of a tent and a house, comparing them to our earthly and heavenly bodies, respectively. How are tents and houses different?   Looking at verse 1, what are the differences between the earthly tent body and the heavenly house body? Read what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, and John 14:1-3.
  2. Verses 2 and 4 repeat the idea of groaning in our earthly bodies. What are some ways that these “tents” are difficult to be in? How will it be better when we are given new, eternal bodies?
  3. In the midst of the teaching on our future heavenly home and body, verse 7 captures a critical idea: in this life, we walk by trusting in God and His Word, not by trusting in what we see. Clearly, we cannot see what we will become (see 1John 3:2), but we have the promise of God that it will be wonderful. How often do you make a deliberate choice to trust what the bible says, in spite of the culture standing in opposition to it?
  4. Read verses 6-10. In verse 8 Paul says that he would love to get his new body and go to be home with the Lord (also read Phil 1:21-24). Does Paul’s desire to go to heaven cause him to have an “escapist” mentality, where he checks out of this life and does nothing (look at verse 9)? Are you actively engaged in living this life for the hope of the next life?
  5. In verse 11-14 Paul states that because he sees the judgment to come, he makes it his goal both with his words and his life in any way possible to persuade people to give their hearts to Jesus. Have you taken time recently to consider the eternal estate of people you love who are lost? Take time to truly pray for these people, and ask God to give you a compassion for the lost and a drive to reach them.
  6. Consider verse 15. If you are a born again Christian, given the life of Jesus, how should you now live?
  7. Look at verse 17-21. What are the benefits in these verses of being “in Christ”? List each one of them.
  8. As a result of the work that God has done in us, He desires to do a work through us. Having been reconciled (made right with) God, He has given us the ministry of reconciling others to Him. Who in your life might God want to use you to reach? Paul said that he “implored”, or begged the Corinthians to get right with God. Do you have enough love for others to beg them to consider Christ?

Old Testament:
Job 27- Watch Your Mouth
Job 28- Mother Load

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