Christian Rewards Part 2

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

I can think of three ways in which we can be soul-winners.
First, we can win souls by the life that we lead.
Others see Christ in us as we respond in the right way when we are up against difficult life situations.
Second Corinthians 3:2 declares, “You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all.”
And have you ever heard it said, “You are the only Bible that some people ever read?”

You can talk about Jesus all you want, but others are watching to see if your life backs up what you say.
Second, we can lead others to Christ with our mouths.
We need to witness verbally for Christ, trusting the Holy Spirit to give us power.
That was the mission given by Christ to His disciples, just prior to His ascension; and it is for us also.
He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Third, we can win souls through our giving.
We should give tithes and offerings to support others who are preaching Christ and then the Bible says we will have fruit abound to our account.
When Paul wrote to the Philippians he said “…It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account” (Phil. 4:15-17).
Paul wanted them to know the blessings that come from supporting God’s ministers.

Because of our giving and support, preachers and missionaries can take the gospel to the lost in this country and “to the ends of the earth.”
There is much rejoicing when the lost person is saved.
Heaven rejoices (Luke 15:10); the new believer rejoices (Acts 8:39); the sower and reaper rejoice together (John 4:36); and the whole family of God rejoices.
I hope that you will receive the soul winner’s crown.

The third crown is the crown of righteousness.
The crown of righteousness is found in 2 Timothy 4:8, “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.”
The crown of righteousness is the crown earned by believers who eagerly anticipate the second coming of Christ.
It is sad, but today there are a lot of Christians who believe in the Second Coming, but they are not looking forward to it.
Life is too good-they have so much of what the world can give that they don’t want it to end.

But Paul was anxious for Christ to return, and in light of that Paul could say, “I have fought the good fight” (2 Tim. 4:7).
In the realm of spiritual warfare, Paul won the battle.
He could also say, “I have finished my course” (v. 7).
In the course of the life that he traveled, there was no detour around hard places.
There was no looking back (Luke 9:61-62).
Instead, Paul kept his eyes on Christ (Phil. 1:6).
Finally, he could say, “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
He faithfully preached all the Word of God (Acts 20:24-31).
Are you looking forward to seeing Jesus?
You could live to see Him return or you will see Him in Heaven and I hope He personally hands you the crown of righteousness.

The fourth crown is the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).
The crown of glory is a special reward for the faithful, obedient, God-called pastor.
Christ, The Chief Shepherd Himself gives it.
It says in 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” It is eternal; it “fadeth not away.”
Yet every believer may share in the pastor’s “crown of glory.”
According to Matthew 10:41, it’s a crown that we can also receive: “He who receives a prophet (This is another word for pastor.) because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
God will reward those who support His chosen servants through prayer and encouragement, and by giving freely of their selves and their possessions.

The pastor earns this crown by doing one of three things:
First, by feeding the church, that is, by preaching the Word of God.
It says in 1 Peter, “Shepherd God’s flock, for whom you are responsible.” (1 Peter 5:2).
Pastors feed their flock with God’s Word, by rightly dividing God’s Word and preaching all of it.
Second, by taking the spiritual oversight of the church.
The verse which we just read says that the pastor is responsible for shepherding his flock of believers.
What does a shepherd do?
He cares and protects his flock.
Third, by being an example to the church.
Pastors are to walk with God by faith.
They are to be spiritual leaders.
Peter wrote, “Do not be like a ruler over people you are responsible for but be good examples to them” (1 Peter 5:3).

A pastor leads by example.
If you are not able to give to support a preacher or missionary, you can support them by praying for them and encouraging them, and then perhaps you will receive the crown of glory.
The fifth crown is the incorruptible crown (1 Cor 9:24-25).
This is the crown for victorious living-for living the Christian life.
It is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed.”

In the Greek games, the competitors ran for a corruptible crown.
In our modern day Olympics, the competitors run for a gold medal.
In the Christian race, we run for an incorruptible crown.
The key to victory is a disciplined life, whether in the Olympic Games or in the Christian life.
Athletes deny themselves many things that their bodies crave.
Likewise, Christians must subdue their bodies or else be disqualified for the prize.
The New Testament contains guidelines for us to follow to win the crown of victory.

First, we must deny ourselves of anything that would weigh us down and hinder us.
It says in Hebrews, “We have around us many people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back” (Heb. 12:1).
We need to resist the appeal of sin; call upon the help of the Holy Spirit and do our best not to sin.
It’s difficult and we will fail; but when we sin we have His promise that if we will confess our sin that He will forgive us.
Second, we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ.
God’s word tells us in Hebrews 12:2, “Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect.”

He has told us through His Word how we are to live, and He will help us to live holy lives if we just follow His directions.
So we must read our Bibles, and when we do He will speak to us from its pages.
Trust Him and do what He said.
Third, we must find our strength in the Lord.
That’s what Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks.” (Eph. 6:10-18).
It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to live the Christian life.

You and I don’t have the power within ourselves to do it.
Even Paul had to say that he needed help.
He said he wanted to do what was right, but as hard as he tried he couldn’t.
He could only do it with God’s help.
Fourth, we must place our all on the altar of the Lord.
It says in Romans 12:1-2, “So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and be pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.”

We must yield our lives to Christ daily.
We must recognize that we have a sinful nature, and through prayer seek God’s forgiveness and help.
We must realize that without God we are nothing and we can do nothing.
Let’s do everything for His honor and glory.
Fifth, we must, by faith, refuse anything that would impede spiritual progress.
We must have the type of faith that Moses had.
It says in Hebrews, “It was by faith that Moses when he grew up, refused to be called the son of the king of Egypt’s daughter. He chose to suffer with God’s people instead of enjoying sin for a short time. He thought it was better to suffer for the Christ than to have all the treasures of Egypt because he was looking for God’s reward. (Heb. 11:24-29).
There is no way to win the incorruptible crown and be a spectator in the Christian life.

We must enter the race and run to win!
In an old legend, an angel was talking with an aged Christian.
Going into a great vault, he brought out a beautiful crown with shining jewels of rare value.
He said, “This is the crown I designed for you when you were a youth, but you refused to surrender yourself completely to the Lord; now it is gone.”
From the vault, he brought another crown.
It was beautiful, but not nearly as beautiful as the first one.
He said, “This is the crown I designed for your middle age, but you gave those years to sluggish discipleship; now it is gone.”

The angel brought a third crown from the vault.
It was just a plain gold crown with no jewels in it.
He said, “Here is the crown of your old age. This is yours for all eternity.”
Every one of us will receive a crown according to our labor.
What will be your reward?
Remember, every child of God will get one.
Isn’t God wonderful?

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