Summary: Message from the sermon series answering questions asked about Heaven.
A story is told about a preacher and a New York City cab driver who died on the same day and was greeted in Heaven by Peter. The preacher received a small cottage but the cab driver received this large magnificent mansion. The preacher was a little bit disturbed by this turn of events and decided to ask Peter why he received this small cottage and the cab driver received the mansion. Peter said, “It really is quite simple. When you preached many slept but when he was driving everyone stayed awake and prayed.” Today as we begin our series answering your questions about Heaven, we will answer the question of rewards in Heaven. The logical place to start is for us to gain a correct definition for the word reward. Webster defines reward this way: something that is given in return for good or evil done or received and especially that is offered or given for some service or attainment. If we accept this as a correct definition then Heaven can not be a reward. Eternal life is not something that we earn; it is a gift that God freely gives through grace to those who have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ. However, the Bible speaks of rewards many times which leaves us with many unanswered questions. In our text Paul does an excellent job in clearing up some of the misconceptions we often hold in regard to rewards. In fact Paul challenges much of the traditional theology we have developed in regard to Heaven. I would like for us to examine this passage and take the time to answer the question are there different levels of rewards in Heaven.
I. Heaven is not something that we work to attain it is a gift that God freely gives His children.
A. There is equality in Heaven on the basis that no one is there on their own merit.
1. In Heaven no one will boast that they are there because they deserve to be.
2. Heaven is the result of our faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
3. Heaven is based on our acceptance of the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross of Calvary.
4. Our sins merit eternal Hell but because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ we are washed white as snow.
B. Perhaps the most correct view of Heaven would be to see it as an inheritance.
1. Inherit means to come into possession of or receive especially as a right or divine portion.
2. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29—NIV)
3. An inheritance is something of value that is given to children who are rightful heirs.
4. We do not earn an inheritance it is freely given to those who are considered to be heirs.
5. Through what Christ has done for us we are adopted as children into God’s family and made heirs of His Kingdom.
6. So the bottom line is that Heaven is not a reward but it will be a place of rewards.
II. God’s justice demands that His children be rewarded for their faithfulness.
A. God has called each of us to active service in His Kingdom.
1. God will never judge us according to what another person does; we will be rewarded on the basis of what we have done in this life for Him.
2. All of us should have the same goal, which is to lead others to a growing relationship in Jesus Christ.
3. Perhaps the best way to understand this is to see that we are co-workers who belong to God and are working together with one another.
4. We need to see the different ministries in the church as essential and of equal worth.
5. The purpose of the different ministries in the church is to bring glory to God and to benefit the whole church.
B. A concept that is problematic for many is the fact that all will be called to give an account before the judgment seat of Christ.
1. The fact is that if we are clothed in Jesus Christ then our sins were judge at the cross.
2. So if your life has been covered by the blood of Christ your eternal fate has been settled.
3. The matter however that remains unsettled is the fruits of our faith.
4. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10—NIV)
5. Before the Judgment Seat of Christ all service for the Lord will be reviewed.