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Posts Tagged ‘rewards’

The Soon Coming King

April 11th, 2017

… until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:14-17 ESV)

In giving his divinely-inspired charge to Timothy, Paul added this thought. He said that Timothy was to “keep this commandment,” or he was to fulfill his calling “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The “appearing” is epiphanea in the New Testament Greek, and was an important word in the New Testament for the coming of the Lord and the end of the age. (See 2 Tim. 4:1 and Titus 2:13.)

We often say these words with a sigh, “until He comes,” aware more of the delay in His coming than the promise of it. But it is given here in an entirely different manner, in a completely different spirit. Here there is faith, hope, and enthusiasm for the coming King.

There is one view of life that sees old age dismally. We start out strong and then grow weaker through the years, losing friends, strength, mental abilities, and optimism. We die as a relief, exhausted by our long and tiresome journey through life. Even some Christians fall into this view, even though there is little Christian about this outlook on life.

The other view is that for the Christian there is always a brighter day coming. We grow old and despite whatever indignities are associated with age, despite the losing of friends, strength, etc., we can say with the apostle Paul, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16 ESV).

The hope of the pastor and of each Christian, is not that we will be recognized and rewarded on earth for our contributions to the work of God, but that we will be affirmed in heaven by Christ Himself, who says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

And in order for that to happen, He must return. Truthfully, we are more excited about His return than about our own reward. He will come at the right time, and all of history is moving and working toward this goal. He is the One worthy of praise:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11-12 ESV)

We do not serve for just the sake of resting. We do not serve in order to be forgotten. We do not serve a cause or a calling that is passing away. We serve and worship the coming King, who is and will be victorious. This is the hope that we are to keep before us at all time.

Art is made, whether in paintings, music, or literature, by contrasting light and darkness. Dark and subdued colors fade into the background and bright and vivacious colors leap off the canvas. The darkness of this age, the subduing of man’s spiritual nature and of God’s standard of holiness, the darkening of hearts across this world, has caused a shadow to pass over our age. But the light is not some “new” human idea, or some “new” charismatic leader. Those are just more of the subdued colors of darkness.

The hope is the coming King who is the Light of the World and the hope of eternity. He is the new bright “color” of the future. From the moment we trusted in Christ we began living for eternity. Each day is closer to His return. Each day is closer to this great event. This is what we look forward to. He is who we look forward to.

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Our Deeds Find Us Out

March 31st, 2017

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. (1 Timothy 5:24-25 NIV)

Two principles in the realm of actions and morality are: (1) our thoughts will determine our actions and (2) our actions will eventually be revealed.

The influence of our thoughts: We are drawn away by our lusts and enticed to sin (James 1:14). We who have trusted in Christ for our salvation, and possess both the new nature and the presence of the Spirit in our lives, have the potential to be drawn toward the things of God and toward sacrificial service for Christ (2 Tim. 1:7). Our lives consist to a large degree of what our thoughts will make them. The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom. 8:5-6 NIV)

If we will set our hearts on Christ, our affections on Him, and if we will live in faith and commune with His Spirit daily, we will find an increasing appetite for the things of God exists and even grows in our hearts. This anonymous little poem says it well:

Two natures beat within my breast
The one is foul, the one is blessed
The one I love, the one I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.

So it begins on the inside of us. An impatient man is first impatient in his inner thoughts, and a patient man is first patient in his inner thoughts. Whether or not our thoughts are placed upon the grace and mercy of God, whether or not we dwell in our minds daily in the assurance of His acceptance of us through Christ, of His love for us, of His call upon our lives, and of His promises to us will determine what we do with our lives.

The revealing of our actions: Eventually, either here on earth or before the Judgment Seat of Christ in heaven (2 Cor. 5:10), our actions will be revealed for what they are – the thoughts and intents of our hearts. All of us live with some degree of pretense, hiding from others the lusts and pride of our hearts. We may take care of these things that are hidden from others by confessing them to God and receiving His cleansing (1 John 1:9).

But eventually, who we really are on the inside is revealed through our actions – our weaknesses, our lack of faith, our anger and fear, the impure things of our life – or the good and righteous work of the Spirit assuring us of God’s love, which will be acted out in graciousness and righteousness.

Our fears can take a verse like this above and produce a sense of dread to stand before Christ and have our lives examined. But God does not give us “a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). And when we stand to be judged by Him, we are before our Savior and our Redeemer who loves us with an eternal love – love of eternity past that stretches out into eternity future. Though there should be a healthy respect for these matters and reverence toward God – the fear of the Lord – God did not give us this teaching to create in us an insecurity about Him. We can trust Him entirely.

Notice that the good is rewarded, and that is the major focus of this passage. Even a cup of cold water given in the name of Christ is not forgotten but is rewarded (Matt. 10:42). The old adage – “Be sure that your sin will find you out” – is only half of the truth. The reality is that our good works done in humility for the sake of Christ also find us out. This is reason for you to rejoice and relax in Christ, and enjoy your Christian life. God calls us to joy.

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