How will God reward those who share in his sufferings?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|How will Christ examine the good and bad deeds of our life? What are the works that God prepared in advance for us to do? Will some Christians be honored more than others?
Copyright: 2000, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. LEM
Keywords: Eternal Security, Eternity, Eternal rewards, Suffering, Romans 8:16-17, 2 Timothy 3:12
- Ankerberg: Today we will look at the fourth kind of behavior. The Bible teaches Christ will reward those willing to share in Christ’s sufferings. Romans 8:16-17 tells us, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now, if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Now, everyone who believes in Christ quickly realizes that there is a certain amount of trouble that automatically comes with being a Christian. If you’re a Christian and you don’t gossip, if you don’t lie, if you don’t cheat or steal, if you don’t go to bed with your date, such behavior can bring criticism, joking, or ostracism from others. I believe this is part of what Paul meant when he says we share in Christ’s sufferings. The Bible informs us as Christians, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” [2 Tim. 3:12] Has that happened to you? If so, the Bible says you share in Christ’s sufferings and will be rewarded greatly by Him.
- Maybe right now you’re in the midst of some turmoil because you took a moral stand at work. It may be very beneficial for your company to shave corners but you know that it is wrong and said you wouldn’t go along. Now you’re being pressured by people in your company. Possibly you fear that your moral stand will cost you your job. Or maybe there is a coworker who is making sexual advances toward you. You’re wondering if you are the only person who turns down such opportunities.
- Or, maybe you’re a pastor of a church and you are wondering right now if you ought to preach on a certain topic. You know that there are some people in your church who are involved in the sins you feel led to preach about and you know your sermon would make them angry. What should you do?
- When we stand for biblical truth and morality, sometimes we will suffer for it! If so, remember, Christ promises to reward you greatly. Scripture says even if we resist to the point of death, that is, we are martyred for Jesus, it will be worth it. God will reward us and make it up to us many times over. Matthew 19:29 says a hundred times more. The apostle Paul goes so far as to say, “I consider that our present sufferings are not [even] worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” [Rom. 8:18]
- Right here I can’t help but think of the teenage girl at Columbine High School who looked at a young man holding a shotgun and said, “Yes. I do believe in God.” She knew she would be killed for that. Do you think she was foolish? Do you really believe God will reward her a hundred times over for what she did?
- A few years ago we were challenged by a 32nd degree Mason to debate whether or not a Christian could swear oaths of allegiance to the Masonic Lodge. As a result of that series, pastors in different parts of the country thought it would be a good idea if they tried to present that same information to their church. Many of them did and helped members in their congregation immensely. But along the way, five different pastors called and told me that after they had preached on that topic, their church fired them. They lost their jobs for preaching the truth. Pastors are supposed to represent Jesus Christ. They are supposed to teach what God said in the Bible. They are in big trouble with the Lord when they start making up doctrine or start watering it down to suit their people.
- Pastors are commanded in Scripture to “Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” [2 Tim. 4:2] In John 17 Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of all Christians and said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” [John 17:17] Pastors must preach God’s Word. And if you’re a pastor who is experiencing stress or has already suffered in some way for preaching the truth, know that at the judgment seat of Christ you will be greatly rewarded by our Lord. You have willingly shared in Jesus’ sufferings.