What kind of behavior does God promise to reward?
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, die to self, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Peter 1:3
- Ankerberg: What we want to look at today is, what kind of behavior does God promise to reward? Well, first, the Bible Says God will reward those who are willing to die to self and live for Him. Look at Romans 12:1. The apostle Paul says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Paul says, “Christian, present yourself as a living sacrifice.” What does that mean? Well, in the Old Testament, you remember, a person was to bring a lamb to the altar where it would be slain and become a holy sacrifice. Paul uses that background to illustrate that Christians are to come before God and say, “I now present myself to You as dead to my way of doing things (like a sacrifice), but alive to Your way of doing things. I die to self, and I will live for You. I present my body to you to become a living sacrifice.”
- Then, Paul says, “Present yourselves,” a word which means “to separate oneself apart for God and His service.” We are to deliberately, voluntarily set ourselves apart for God to use. Notice, when you do this, the apostle said, “It is pleasing to God.” So, if you want to be pleasing to God, if you want to do well at the judgment seat of Christ, tell the Lord, “Here’s my body. I present it to you. I will live in obedience to you. Use me as you will.”
- Then Paul gives some practical advice as to how we can know what God wants us to do. He writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” [Rom. 12:2] What does that mean? Well, you know our world has its own way, its own pattern of doing things. There are certain ideas and actions that are politically correct and socially acceptable. But the world’s ways and God’s ways are many times at odds with each other. The goals we have, our motivation for actions, what we believe and how we act regarding sex, money, how we treat friends and family members, in all of these, God’s overall scheme or pattern for living is different than the world’s pattern and scheme. The Bible says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world [that is, the world’s way of thinking and doing things] but [rather] be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Rom. 12:2] The word transformed is the Greek word metamorphoo, from which we get the word “metamorphosis.” Paul wants Christians to experience a complete change of mind, of thinking. He says, to do so, to be transformed in your thinking, you must read God’s Word. You must study the Bible. Why? Because in the Bible God has revealed His way of thinking, how He operates in our lives, how He wants us to live our life so that He can bless us. Our mind, our thinking will be transformed, that is, completely changed and renewed as we read and follow God’s Word.
- The apostle Peter wrote, “[God] has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these [referring to God’s divine power and the knowledge He has given us] he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” [2 Pet. 1:3-4] In other words, what we need for life and godliness comes through our knowing God’s promises in the Bible. We are to use them to participate in the divine nature. This doesn’t mean Christians become divine themselves, or become little gods; rather, this participation refers to our being indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to live for Christ and escape the corruption caused by evil desires.
- Do you know what it is to find you have desires in your own heart to do evil? We all do. Some of us are overpowered by desires for drugs, alcohol, sex, money, prestige. And they are overpowering. Christ loves us, died to save us, and when we come to Him, He gives us the Holy Spirit to live inside of us and empower us to break our evil desires. Part of the process the Holy Spirit uses is God’s Word. In fact, Peter says, “Desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” [1 Pet. 2:2]
- So, what will Jesus be looking for in your life when you stand before Him? He will look to see whether or not you presented your body to Him as a living sacrifice. Was there a time when you deliberately stopped following the patterns and ideas of the world and allowed God to transform your thinking and to renew your mind by the study of His Word. If you haven’t done that yet, start now. Remember, the Bible says this is pleasing to God.