Summary: Why does God command us to work for rewards? Whom will Christ reward?
Finding Joy in Serving Christ
Purpose: To describe the importance of loving Christ.
Aim: I want the listener to rejoice in their future rewards from Christ, or surrender to Christ.
1:1-2:13 I. How Should a Christian React to Stress?
2:14-26 II. How Should a Christian Relate to Fellow Believers?
3:1-17 III. How Can a Christian Reside in a Hostile Culture?
4:1-22 IV. How Can a Christian Remain Faithful to Christ?
Vs.1-5 A. Put first things first “preach the word”
Vs.6-8 B. Focus on the joy of our reward
Vs.6 1. Sacrificing for Christ is temporary
a. Serving Christ is our offering to Him “a drink offering”
b. Heaven is Christ’s offering to us “my departure”
Vs.7 2. Be faithful to Christ to the very end
a. Be a good soldier “I have fought the good fight”
b. Be a good athlete “I have finished the course”
c. Be a good guard “I have kept the faith”
INTRODUCTION: This is the time of year that many gifts are exchanged. It is important that we remember that Christmas is supposed to be a time to celebrate Christ, so we should remember to give generously to Him. But, there is another truth about gifts that we don’t often think about. Christ has promised to reward His followers with the gift of a crown.
That gift is our reward if we truly love Christ. Will Christ hand you a crown someday?
Most people are living for themselves, but there is a heavy price to pay when we live our lives for ourselves. Near the end of his life, the notorious French statesman Talleyrand wrote, "Eighty-three years have passed! I am not sure I am pleased when I think back over how those years were spent. How many useless uproars there were; how many failures; how many outrageous complications; how much wasted emotion and energy, and how much wasted ability! Hatreds have been aroused, illusions lost, tastes jaded. And with what result? Moral and physical exhaustion, complete discouragement with respect to the future, deep disgust with respect to the past" [J. F. Bernard, Talleyrand: A Biography [N. Y. : G. P. Putnom’s Sons, 1973], pp. 599-600]
There is a way to avoid ending our lives like Talleyrand did. We must learn to:
Vs.8 3. Long for Christ’s approval
Even Christians must be careful about how they are spending their lives. A famous French classical scholar, Clandious Salmasiur died in 1653. On his death bed he said, “I have lost a world of time! Had I one year more of life, it would be spent in pursuing David’s Psalms and Paul’s Epistles. ✔ I would mind the world less and God more” [Voices From the Edge of Eternity by John Myers, page 116.]
✔ It was Paul’s focus on eternal things that enabled him to go through present circumstances with joy.
What should we know about this reward that Christ is offering?
a. Christ’s reward is future “in the future”
Paul’s rewards, for the most part, were still future. Humanly speaking his life was ending as a failure. He was all alone, even his friends were acting as if he didn’t exist. He had Gentile and Jewish enemies who couldn’t wait to see him dead. He was just one little Jewish preacher who was about to be executed. Paul knew how the world looked at him: For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. (1 Corinthians 4:9 NAU) The world often looks at Christians who have a passion for Christ much the same way we might go to a zoo and gaze at an odd looking animal.
But, Paul did enjoy many rewards during his ministry here on earth.
For example, he saw many people who were trapped in sin set free. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (NAU)
One of the greatest joys for a believer is to be used to bring others to Christ. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. (NAU)
When Paul began following Christ, he was banned from Jewish leadership and probably lost most if not all of his friends. But, he did gain better and closer relationships with others who knew Christ. Jesus said it would be this way. Luke 18:28-30 28 Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” 29 And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” (NAU)