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Heaven’s Awards Ceremony

Heaven’s Awards Ceremony
By Terry James

Christians could suddenly be called before Jesus Christ in any given moment of time.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

We have for years in our Nearing Midnight commentaries been chronicling how close the world is to that spectacular moment. We have, using God’s Word, shown over and over that the lost of the world–all who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior–will be left behind to go through suffering of unimaginable horror.

It doesn’t have to be that way for anyone. God tells all who will listen that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God gives His plan of salvation for escaping eternity in hell and the way to escape this terrible time that is about to begin on earth once the Rapture occurs. The apostle Paul writes under divine inspiration the following:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10: 9-10)

Acceptance of Christ for salvation must be made before, not after, the Rapture in order to escape the Tribulation. Now is the day of accepting Christ for salvation, the Bible says. Few who have rejected Christ before the Rapture will come to salvation after the Rapture, is how I believe the Scriptures have it.

I’m going to, prayerfully, presume you don’t want to go to that place of torment called the lake of fire, or go through the hell on planet earth called Tribulation–the last seven years leading up to Christ’s Second Coming. I’m presuming–again, prayerfully–that you will accept God’s plan of salvation as given above.

Now we will look at what God’s Word tells us is wrapped up in His plans for all who have been wise enough to humble themselves and accept His Son, Jesus the Christ, for the salvation of their eternal souls–that is, we will look at what I will term here as Heaven’s Awards Ceremony.

The great promises for Christians that follow have been put together by many astute Bible scholars and students over many years. I have long ago forgotten the sources in particular. I will just say here that mixed in with my own thoughts is the scholarship of many folks much elevated above my own. I do know that many of these thoughts on the bema are from Dr. Harold Wilmington of Liberty University.

Immediately upon the Church–all born-again believers (John 3:3)–being called into Heaven in the Rapture, all will stand before the bema (judgment seat of Christ). Jesus Christ will judge each person–not for punishment, but for eternal rewards. This judgment will be for giving awards for the ways in which the individual Christian has contributed to God’s glorious kingdom while living on planet earth.

Things on which Christians will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ:

1. How we treat other believers.
Hebrews 6:10
Matthew 10:41-42

2. How we exercise our authority over others.
Hebrews 13:17
James 3:1

3. How we employ our God-given abilities.
1 Corinthians 12: 4, 12
2 Timothy 1:6
1 Peter 4:10

Add to these Scriptures Jesus’ teaching of the parables of the ten pounds (Luke 19:11-26) and the talents (Matthew 25:14-29).

Each believer has at least one talent:
1 Corinthians 7:7; 12:7-11
Ephesians 4:7
1 Peter 4: 10

There are 18 of these gifts:
Romans 12
1 Corinthians 12
Ephesians 4

It’s up to each believer to find/discern his or her gifts.

4. How we use our money.
1 Corinthians 60: 2
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
1 Timothy 6:17-19

All belongs to God:
1 Peter 18-19

5. How we spend our time.
Psalms 90:12
Ephesians 5:16
Colossians 4:5
1 Peter 1: 17

6. How much we suffer for Jesus.
Matthew 5:11-12
Mark 10:29-30
Romans 8:18
2 Corinthians 4: 17
1 Peter 4:12-13

7. How we run that particular race God has chosen for us.
1 Corinthians 9:24
Philippians 2:16
Philippians 3:13-14
Hebrews 12:1

8. How effectively we control the old nature.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Greek word adokimos, “castaway,” means “disapproved.”
It means self is disapproved. Paul wanted to keep his old nature in check–seen in:
2 Timothy 2:15
1 Corinthians 16:3
Philippians 1:10
1 Thessalonians 2:4

9. How many souls we witness to and win to Christ.
Proverbs 11:30
Daniel 12:3
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

10. How we react to temptation.
James 1:2-3
Revelation 3:10

11. How much the doctrine of the Rapture means to us.
2 Timothy 4:8

12. How faithful we are to the Word of God and the flock of God.
Acts 20:26-28
2 Timothy 4:1-2
1 Peter 5:2-4

What will be the results of the judgment seat of Christ?
Some will receive rewards.
1 Corinthians 3:14

Bible mentions at least 5 rewards:

1. The incorruptible crown, given to those who master the old nature.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27

2. The crown of rejoicing given to soul-winners.
Proverbs 11:30
Daniel 12:31 Thessalonians 2:19-20

3. The crown of life, given to those who successfully endure temptation.
James 1:2-3
Revelation 2:10

4. The crown of righteousness for those who especially love the doctrine of the Rapture.
2 Timothy 4:8

5. The crown of glory, given to faithful preachers and teachers.
Acts 20:26-28
2 Timothy 4:1-2
1 Peter 5:2-4

If Heaven’s Awards Ceremony sounds just a bit intimidating, it doesn’t have to be so. God’s holy view of what constitutes acceptable, even superior, service as His royal ambassadors is almost assuredly different to the way awards are given out by award-givers of the human variety here on earth.

Jesus told us that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last:

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. (Mark 9: 35)

A truly humble spirit in serving the Lord through serving others–putting others first and ourselves last–will bring the believer to front and center of the bema seat–in Heaven’s Awards Ceremony.

–Terry

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