Contributor: Peter Folikwe
We have been taken through series of the consequences of operating outsides of God’s plan namely: Wasted years, Lack of fulfillment, Lack of peace, Exposure to the enemy, Failure to fulfill destiny, and last week Pastor Wale treated ‘Death’ (physical and spiritual). Today, we are concluding the series with the topic: Consequence of being out of God’s plan - Loss of eternal reward. And our anchor scripture is Matt 7:21-23.
The Most devastating and irreversible consequence of operating outside of God’s plan, is loss of eternal reward; missing out of the roll call in heaven. Eternal rewards are special reserves for candidates of heaven.
Matt 7:21-23 says
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Meaning not all “born again” Christians will make heaven.
Worse still; not all those anointed to perform miracles, signs and wonders in the name of Jesus will make heaven.
Jesus categorically made the above declarations.
Sound scary, but Jesus in the same passage gave the condition precedent to partake in His eternal rewards - “he who does the will of My Father in heaven”.
Simply put, if we stay within the Father’s will, we avoid the consequences we lose Eternal reward.
We are in a Race for His Eternal Reward
Since we stand the chance of either receiving or losing a reward, we can’t be tired or weary of running the Christian race to the end.
- It is a personal race. Not like earthly race where we try to outwit each other.
- Finishing well and finishing strong is the ultimate. Focus is how it will all end.
I Cor 27-9:24 NKJV
- Successful athletes are disciplined always to keep their bodies in shape for the race with an objective of getting a price or reward after the race.
- In our heavenly race, keeping our bodies under assures eternal reward.
Apostle Paul also emphasized the unending war between the flesh and Spirit in Rom 7:15 NIV
- Like sportsmen, we must discipline the body and subject it to the will of God in this race in order to receive a crown.
Types of Rewards
1. Earthly Rewards:
We have rewards meted out to recipients that do not extend beyond this world for their good deeds. They include among others, giving to charity, helping the needy, reward for hard work and dedication to official duty, profit from business etc.
Matt 6:2 NKJV explains how some chose to mortgage their eternal for earthly reward
- They show-off their gifts/deeds to impress men.
- They will receive accolades from men here on earth, and it ends there.
Matt 6:5 also detailed how some do the work of God with eye service to men.
- They offer prayers to impress men instead of reverencing God.
- Again they only receive approval of men for their deeds at the expense of answers to their prayer from God.
Matt 6:16 NKJV
- These group are classified hypocrites with sad countenance during their fast.
Gal 6:7 says Be not deceived; God cannot be mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Reward of Salvation
- The fundamental basis on which anyone can access eternal reward is premised on remission of sins and rebirth in Christ through the blood.
John 14:1-3 encourages us to believe in God, and also believe in the Son. This step of faith automatically gives us a position in a mansion prepare for the children of God.
- Jesus promised to come and receive us unto myself.
- Every born again/regenerated soul is promised eternal relationship with Jesus.
Luke 6:22-23 NKJV narrates rewards awaiting those who are persecuted for the sake of the gospel.
- Many have become ostracized in their families just because they got born again.
- Here again Jesus assures them of great reward in heaven.
3.Reward for Soul Winning
- Our Lord Jesus’ main assignment on earth was to reconcile us back to God.
John 6:38-40 NIV promises who believe in the son shall have eternal life and will be raised up on the last day.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 states that it is God's will that all men be saved.
- When it comes to the great commission, God’s will is for us to go to the ends of the earth and make disciples of men.
- If we commit ourselves to sharing the good news with others, we will be right at the center of God’s will.
- Crowns await soul winners.
4.Reward of Obedience Honesty: before God and man
Eph. 6:5-8 NKJV instructs us to with sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers,
- No employer can adequately compensate for your labour.
5.Reward of Loving the Unlovable
Loving our enemies come with a reward. Luke 6:35 NKJV prayer for your enemies and support for them when in need is tough, but Jesus encourages us to love them.
- Humanly difficult, but divinely easy to love those who despitefully hate you.
- It takes maturity and nurturing in the word of God to display this attribute.
6.Reward for Giving to the Poor and Needy
Luke 14:13-14 NKJV
- The poor cannot repay you for blessing them because you are better privileged
- We shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
- Jesus also gave a glimpse of judgement day in Matt 25:35-40 NKJV Pro. 19:17 NKJV saysHe who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has “”given.
7.Reward for Giving Towards Kingdom Advancement
- You can’t separate love form giving.
John 3:16 says ‘for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son’.
- He gave His son to reconcile the erring world back to himself.
- If you love God you will give towards the things of God.
- Giving towards kingdom advancement is not only financial.
- The ‘3 G’s’ of mission/evangelism for instance gives is a guide.
- 1Cor 2:9 says no one can imagine the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
- Matt 6:19-21 encourages us to lay not up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
All Shall Be Settled At The Judgement Throne
.Cor2 5:10 NKJV says we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
- Believers will be judged based on their deeds after and not before salvation.
- It will be a fair judgement and we shall be judged individually.
- It will be a big disappointment for Jesus on that day, if after all the privileges we have as Christians, we still carry loads of baggage on that fateful day.
Pro. 24:20 clearly states that “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”
- As a matter of fact unbelievers shall be facing the white throne judgement.
Benefits of Eternal Reward vs. Eternal Damnation:
1. Millennial reign with Jesus/First Judgement - Satan would be bound with chains and thrown into the bottomless pit with a seal not the deceive nations for a 1,000 years Rev 20:4 NKJV ; Rev 20:6.
- Those who partake in the first resurrection will not partake in the second death.
2. The White Throne Judgement: For Unbelievers.
Rev 20:12-13 NKJV says the Book of Life will be opened and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. They were judged, each one according to his works.”
- Each time we see evil happen, we wonder why God is not responding to evil. He will ultimately respond to it.
- However God is not interested in the death of a sinner. In Luke 15:7 Jesus speaking: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,”
- You and I are saved by grace and forgiven our sins when we confessed Christ, however we need to keep the faith to avoid the white throne judgement.
Negative Consequences of Operating in the Flesh
- Though saved by grace, this does not absolve us from the consequences of indulging in sinful habits as a result of our fleshly desires.
Apostle Paul in Gal 5:19-21 enumerated the works of the flesh to include: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.
- He warns that those who practice such things will not inherit eternal reward.
- These are behavioral traits that should not be heard with the body of Christ.
- All sins are forgivable, yet all sins have irreversible consequences.
- Gal 6:7-8 NKJV warns that we cannot deceive God.
- Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
- He who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life with eternal rewards.
Matthew 6:24 AMP says “No one can serve two masters. . . You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].”
Rev 3:11 admonishes us to jealously guard our salvation so that none loses his crown/eternal reward. The reward is too precious to lose. None of us shall lose these rewards in Jesus Mighty Name.