Heavenly Rewards

Occasionally people ask what movies I’ve seen. The last one I watched in a theater was “Rogue One” even though I’m not a big “Star Wars” fan (a friend invited me and offered to pay for my ticket). In recent years, I’ve probably attended two or three movies per year. With rare exceptions such as “The Passion of the Christ”, I will not watch Rated-R flicks. It’s bad enough many PG-13 movies nowadays have an increasing amount of profanity.

As a former employee of Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures, I can appreciate good filmmaking. Sadly, most movies and Hollywood actors nowadays promote values inconsistent with Scripture. For that reason, I had no interest in watching last Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. Oscars are often given to movies I consider trash (reminds me of the like-named character on “Sesame Street”). Other earthly awards such as Olympic medals don’t mean a thing from an eternal perspective.

Of course, it’s nice to be recognized for artistic and athletic accomplishments. Romans 13:7 talks about giving honor to whom honor is due. As a teenager, I won a few bowling trophies that are now collecting dust at my parents’ house. While serving in the U. S. Army, I earned a sharpshooter badge but don’t recall what happened to that. I’m now more interested in receiving rewards from the Lord than the accolades of man. 

Christians who are truly obeying the Great Commission should expect blessings along with temporary persecutions. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” He also said in Mark 10:29-30, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.”

The Bible talks about five types of crowns believers can receive when they enter into heaven…

Crown of righteousness - “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

Incorruptible crown - “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Crown of life -“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

Crown of glory - “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (1 Peter 5:4)

Crown of rejoicing - “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

Not every Christian will have the same status in heaven nor receive the same amount of crowns. Things we do for the Lord with the wrong motive will be burned up (see 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). When I appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

What about you?

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:14

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