362 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 31 - Our Sins have Already been Forgiven - 2

362: Our Sins have Already been Forgiven – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 31

OUR SINS HAVE ALREADY BEEN FORGIVEN – PART 2

Now let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson and that will be in verse 14.

II Corinthians 5:14

“For the love Christ constraineth us;…”(or drives us on)

Remember during the past several lessons I’ve been stressing how the apostle Paul suffered so much for the sake of the Gospel? And how long, with all of his physical sufferings, he had to constantly defend his apostleship. He had to constantly stand up against the Jewish people from Jerusalem who thought that he was a false teacher, and impostor. So in spite of all the opposition there was only one thing that kept driving the man on and I think he says it all right here, and that was “the love of Christ.”

Now you want to remember the man’s background kind of sets him up for this because he was such a religious zealot under Judaism. I mean his whole life was wrapped up in Judaism as his work as a Pharisee. Now knowing that even though God totally transformed the man and saved him by grace, yet that personality kept going and now the man is turning all that energy not to defeat the name of Christ, but now out of love for Him.

II Corinthians 5:14

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; (or drives us on) because we thus judge, (or conclude) that if one died for all, (Christ died for the whole human race. He didn’t just die for the believers, but rather He died for all.) then were all dead.”

Now that’s another concept that a lot of people don’t like to stare in the face, and that is what? We have all fallen short of the glory of God, we are all sinners by virtue of our having been born from Adam, and we are separated from God. There is that vast gulf between man and God, and all because of Adam. Remember, we’re not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we’re sinners. And we’re sinners because we’re born of the lineage of Adam. So all of this is right here in this verse. The love of Christ constrains this man because Christ died for the whole human race. And so because the whole human race needed His sacrificial death, it follows that the whole human race was dead in sin.

When people try to make eternal life by their works then they are flatly denying that. They are not admitting that they have been totally separated from God. They are not admitting that they are dead spiritually. They are still thinking that somehow whatever they do will merit favor with God and they’re going to get into Heaven. But they’re not going to be able to. I’ve stressed so often; when you go all the way back to our study in Genesis we find that man was created in a physical body. We can see, and touch, and we function. But in this body are two other areas of our make-up that are invisible, and that’s the soul and the spirit, the mind, will, and emotion, and the spirit part of it. No human being can touch, or get into that.

And so how in the world can someone in a “works religion” hope to make it when they can’t even see and touch their own invisible personality? It has to be a miraculous work of God who alone can work in the area of the invisible. Oh don’t lose this. In fact let’s see how often Paul brings that out. Come over to Ephesians Chapter 2. Because this isn’t just a quirk of Corinthians, but rather this is Paul’s theme throughout all of his letters. In fact, while you’re finding Ephesians I’ll just put up the timeline that we like to use so often, especially beginning with Genesis Chapter 12, and the call of Abraham. That was when God pulled the Nation of Israel out of the river of humanity, and made all those Covenant promises to them. It was a time that God was dealing almost exclusively with that nation, but we also know that there were exceptions when He dealt with Gentiles.

But He pulls off this little Nation of Israel, and gives them the promises and the Law, and the priesthood, also the civil law. In other words, the nation had the very mind of God expressed in their national behavior, and their understanding of the spirit. And then one day God sent the Messiah with the idea that now Israel could take the knowledge of her Jehovah God to these pagan Gentiles. But before they got that far they rejected everything and they crucified their Messiah. Now beginning with the three years of Christ’s earthly ministry we find that Jesus again ministered only to the Jew and under the Law.

Matthew 15:24

“But he (Jesus) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”

Just the other night in our Tulsa class a lady came up and said, “Les, last week when you made the statement that Jesus ministers to the Jews under the Law it was the first time I had ever caught that.” Well that’s so true. A lot of people still, as often as I’ve said it, do not understand that Jesus’ whole ministry for three years was under the Law. He never told anybody to stop Temple worship, He never told a Jew, “Now you no longer have to give sacrifices.” They were still under the Law, and even when you go past His death, burial, and resurrection, and you come into the early chapters of Acts you will find that all the language in those first few chapters is still the Jews only under the Law. No one has told them that they are no longer under the Law. Everything is still legal. Even in Chapter 3 we find Peter and John going to the Temple for prayer.

Acts 3:1

“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”

Well what does that imply? There was certainly nothing in Christianity that demanded you go to the Temple three or four times a day to pray. Remember a Gentile couldn’t even go to the Temple, because that was Judaism. So they were still under the Law although they had recognized Christ as their Messiah, and were believers of that. But they weren’t released from the Law. Even in Chapter 10 when the Holy Spirit made Peter go to Cornelius’ house, what was the first thing Peter said to Cornelius?

Acts 10:28

“And he (Peter) said unto them, `Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;…'”

So this is what I try to point out that in those early chapters of Acts we find God still dealing with the Nation of Israel, and the language is so plain. Some verses that recognize this include:

Acts 2:14a

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, `Ye men of Judaea,…'”

Acts 2:22a

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words;…”

Acts 2:37

“Now when they heard this, they (the men of Israel in verse 22) were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to rest of the apostles, `Men and brethren, what shall we (the men of Israel) do?'”

Acts 3:12a

“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, `Ye men of Israel, …'”

And then finally when it was evident that Israel was not going to accept their Messiah we find in Acts Chapter 9 something totally different takes place again in God’s operation, and what is it? He saves the very man Saul of Tarsus (that was trying to destroy Him) from Judaism. And as old Saul of Tarsus was laboring under his blindness and the results of that experience on the road to Damascus, God speaks to Ananias in Damascus and tells him:

Acts 9:15b,16

“…Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles…” 16. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

So in our timeline then we can see that after Israel had rejected the Messiah, and after Israel had rejected Peter and the eleven’s preaching in those first few years after the crucifixion, we find God sending Israel back into a dispersion especially after 70 AD. It was at the time God also destroyed the Temple, and in the mean time He is now going to do just the opposite. Now, rather than dealing with Israel primarily, He is dealing primarily with the Gentiles. Howbeit there can be Jews that can come into this Body of Christ individually, but not as a nation, as God was dealing with them back there.

So here is where the apostle Paul now comes into play as the apostle. In fact as I’m writing this, be looking up Romans Chapter 11:13. Now this apostle is not like the Twelve apostles of Israel, but rather we find in Romans 11:13, where Paul is speaking, and there is no way we can argue with it. This is where we are today:

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”

Now you can’t get around that. That’s just plain English. Another verse that says almost the same thing is in Ephesians Chapter 3. The reason I’m spending so much time on Paul’s Epistles is because this is where we, as Gentiles, have to spend our greatest amount of time. Now that doesn’t cancel the rest of Scripture. I know some have accused me of telling people to just throw away the Four Gospels, but you people know better than that. But nevertheless, never do we take away any portion of Scripture, but we have to set priorities, it’s like in everything else. And the priority for the Grace Age Gentile Believer, and the Jew as he has come into Christianity as a born again person, is that these Pauline Epistles are where we find the very meat of our faith and practice. Because the Four Gospels were Christ’s under the Law given to the Jews only.

Matthew 10:5a

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles,…” Remember we’re not under Law, but rather Grace. Now look what Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 3.

Ephesians 3:1,2

“For this cause (because of everything he has written in Ephesians 2 such as `For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: ` So he says, for this cause) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, (see how plain that is?) 2. If ye have heard of the dispensation (or administration) of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.”

So bear with me as I spend this much time on Paul’s Epistles because of the concept that God has now called this man as the apostle of the Gentiles. He has inspired this man to write the biggest part of our New Testament. And as I said when we began our study of Paul’s Epistles way back when we started in Romans, that out of all the existing manuscripts of the New Testament we find some have the Four Gospels in various orders. Some have the little Epistle such as James, Peter, John and Jude in different order, but always you find Paul’s Epistles are in the same identical order. Now that just tells me the Holy Spirit has just hovered over that part of our New Testament so that no one has been able to fool with it. It’s exactly where it belongs from Romans through Hebrews. So keep all that in mind as I keep spending week after week on these letters to the various Churches from this apostle. Now if you will come back to II Corinthians Chapter 5. So as the apostle of the Gentiles has now written to this period of time and we think we’re coming close to the end. But nevertheless what he has written is still just as appropriate as the day he wrote it. So he says again in verse 14:

II Corinthians 5:14

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, (conclude) that if one died for all, then were all dead:”

Let’s look at that in the Book of Ephesians Chapter 2:1 And again remember that Ephesus was a Gentile congregation. Now I’m sure there was a scattering of Jewish believers in all these Churches but they were predominantly Gentiles.

Ephesians 2:1

“And you hath he quickened, (or made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

Now that’s the lot of every human being. Not because they were pagan, not because of their religion, not because of their immorality, but rather they were dead in trespasses and sins because they were sons and daughters of Adam. And oh I hope people don’t get tired of my drumming it in, but we have to understand that everyone of us was dead in sin because we are the offspring of Adam. Now verse 2.

Ephesians 2:2

“Wherein (while we were dead in trespasses and sins) in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

So for the lost world they are still dead in their trespasses and sins. Now let’s come back to II Corinthians Chapter 5.

II Corinthians 5:15

“And that he died for all, (do you see how the scriptures constantly brings this in? He died for all) that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

What is that? The Gospel! Do you see how the Gospel keeps popping up throughout all of Paul’s writing? And remember how he delineates it as the Gospel that we must believe for salvation in I Corinthians 15:11-4? How that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. Listen if you believe anything other than that, then you are believing in a false gospel. You must believe this Gospel for salvation! This is why the Holy Spirit has prompted the man to bring it up over and over and over. A verse just comes to mind in the Book of Hebrews. You know in our last seminar I told the group that they may wear out their Bible as we study from 8:30 to 5:00 PM. by comparing Scriptures with Scriptures. I think God expects us to use this Book till it becomes totally worn out, and then go get another one. I think this is my 7th Bible since I started teaching, so wear them out, and please God. Here in the Book of Hebrews Paul makes it so plain in verse 9.

Hebrews 2:9

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Christ died the death that every human being should have had, but He did substitute on their behalf. As I’ve said so often, “What a waste that God has done everything that every human being ever needed for salvation and yet the vast majority is walking it under foot.” I hope the latest poll I read is true about Christians. I have a hard time believing that it is, however this particular pollster declared that 50% of Americans are born again Christians. My if that is true I would think that we would have a different nation. But let’s hope that statement is true because I hate to think of anybody going out to a lost eternity seeing that Christ has already paid the price. Now back to II Corinthians Chapter 5, and let’s look at verse 15 again.

II Corinthians 5:15

“And that he died for all, that they which live (for those who have believed the Gospel and have become spiritually alive they) should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Now I’m confident that God doesn’t expect every believer to suffer like the apostle Paul did. But on the other hand I don’t think that we have to take the idea that since we’re Christians then everything is going to have a rose petal pathway to it. No way is that true. We’re going to have trials and tribulations, we’re going to have pain and suffering, and sickness just like anybody else. But we have this blessed assurance that whatever we go through the Lord is with us, we’re not alone. But on the other hand, He does expect us to live for Him as much as is within us and as He gives us guidance and direction to do so. But you see too many people are just totally unconcerned. They say, “Oh yeah, I’m a Christian, I’m not going to go to Hell when I die, I’m going to Heaven.” And that’s where they leave it. But you see that’s not what God wants.

I’ve used this on the program before, but I’ll share it with you again. I remember back when communist Russia was seemingly going to overrun the world. I think many of us thought that there wasn’t anything that anyone could do that could stop the juggernaut of communism. That was probably back in the early 80’s and there was nothing of any signs of it’s finally crumbling away. I remember reading (I think in Time Magazine) a little box on the bottom of the page where the reporter had interviewed an ordinary Communist worker. He was a factory worker of some sort. As I read that article I became alarmed to find that when he got off work in the evening, he would go down to communist headquarters in whatever city he was living in and he would work for the party until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. His family and everything else was 2nd to his love and pushing of communism. And as I read that article years and years ago I often thought, “My if Christians would even come close to that what a different world we would be living in.” Now coming back to our text. So the very core of all of our activity is the fact that we know He has died for us, and He has risen from the dead. Now verse 16. We must take this next verse slowly.

II Corinthians 5:16a

“Wherefore henceforth…”

Now what does the word henceforth mean? You know I’m a stickler for words. Henceforth means, “From that point on.” Paul is not going back to John the Baptist, he’s not going back to Christ’s earthly ministry, but rather he’s going back to His death, burial, and resurrection. That’s where things really kick into gear for us Gentiles. Let’s use some Scripture for this. Let’s go to John’s Gospel Chapter 12, and I know this is a big pill for some people to swallow. But listen we have to understand that all the way up through the Old Testament that God was dealing with His Covenant people under the Law. Remember all the prophets wrote under the Law, and they practiced the Law to the hilt. But once the death, burial, and resurrection has been revealed to us Gentiles as God’s plan of salvation, then that’s where we have to start.

John 12:20a

“And there were certain Greeks (Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast:…”

Now it doesn’t say that they came to worship, so don’t try to put the handle proselyte on these Greeks. I think they were just curious bystanders, and these Gentiles saw these masses of Jews coming in from all over the world for these various feast days. This feast day of course is for the day of Passover.

John 12:20-24

“And there were certain Greeks (Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21. The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, `Sir, we would see Jesus.’ 22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. (there are some Gentiles here and they want to see you. Does Jesus except them? No way.) 23. And Jesus answered them, saying, `The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn(kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: (now watch this because this is a tremendous lesson in theology.) but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'”

Well what’s Jesus saying? Unless that kernel germinates and brings forth the stem of grain and brings out the number of heads that are on that stem then that kernel stays alone. But if it dies, if it germinates, and brings forth new life, then what’s the result? That whole head then becomes maybe a hundred or a hundred and twenty kernels of grain. What was Jesus alluding to? His own death, and burial when He would die. And then when He would be resurrected from the dead then these Gentiles could come into the picture, He could then be the object to their faith as a result now of His death, burial, and resurrection and really not until. So this is what Paul is referring to in II Corinthians Chapter 5.

II Corinthians 5:16

“Wherefore henceforth (from His death, burial, and resurrection) know we no man after the flesh:…”

Now I don’t have time to expound on that so we’ll do that in the next lesson.

361 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 1 - Book 31 - Our Sins have Already been Forgiven

361: Our Sins have Already been Forgiven – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 31

OUR SINS HAVE ALREADY BEEN FORGIVEN

Now this is Bible study, and it’s the only reason we’re here. Our teaching is simply to help people study on their own, to be able to read and understand what the Bible is all about. We are currently in Paul’s Epistles, in II Corinthians Chapter 5. In our last lesson we left off in verse 9 where Paul has just been dealing with the fact that as soon as a believer dies, their soul and spirit leave the body, and goes immediately into the presence of the Lord. Now when they get to Heaven, what their activity is and what their state is I’m in no position to say because the Bible is fairly silent on the subject. All we know from Scripture is that they are in the Lord’s presence, and they are waiting for the great resurrection day for their new body.

Now the only thing I can do to temper our thinking on this is that in eternity there is no time, and so even though Adam has been dead 6000 years, when the resurrection day comes he won’t suddenly realize that he’s been off the scene that long, but rather it will seem to him it’s only been a matter of hours because time is irrelevant. So keep in mind that when our departed loved ones will be reunited with us they won’t realize it’s been a long time since we saw each other. I read once that it’s just like you took one of your loved ones to the train depot (back when trains were a main form of transportation) and they got on the train in one of the front cars, and got them all situated, but before the train pulled out of the station you suddenly decided that you would also go buy a ticket and you had to get on the last car of the train. Well you’re both going to arrive at the same destination at the same time. I think that’s what it’s going to be like.

Although our loved ones may have left for Heaven years ago, when the Rapture of the Church takes place (and we meet our loved ones) it won’t be like we haven’t seen them in 30 or 40 years, but rather just 5 minutes ago. So all these things enter into these events that will happen and often we make it more difficult than it really is. But Paul has now been dealing with the departure of the soul and spirit from the body which puts us in the presence of the Lord.

II Corinthians 5:9

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent (that’s beside the point) we may be accepted of him.”

Approved of Him is a better word than accepted of Him because we’re not dealing with salvation at all here. And this is what I want to emphasize: in these verses from 1-13, he is not dealing with salvation whatsoever, but rather it is totally in the area of reward for our living here in this life as believers. And that’s the admonition to a believer. We’re not just saved to escape hell fire, but rather we are saved to serve, and that’s why He leaves us here. In fact, even the Twelve disciples in Christ’s earthly ministry in Matthew Chapter 19 wanted to know what, serving Him, would be their reward. The eleven had been with Jesus in this Scripture for almost the whole three years. They have their salvation so they’re not about that, and remember we’re not counting Judas. But in verse 27 we find:

Matthew 19:27,28

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, `Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? (what’s Peter referring to? What kind of a reward are we going to get for having left all of material blessing, his fishing, and business, their home and family? And look at how Jesus answers them.) 28. And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you. That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration (that is when the 1000-year kingdom would be set up) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'”

Now what was that? That’s their reward for having served Him so diligently during those three years of His earthly ministry. It didn’t have anything to do with their salvation but it had everything to do with their rewards. Now back to II Corinthians 5, and we have the same concept for you and I as members of the Body of Christ. Paul’s not dealing with our salvation here, but rather with rewards.

II Corinthians 5:10a

“For we must all (no one is going to escape it, they won’t be able to fast talk the Lord out of this situation. because all believers must) appear before the judgment seat of Christ;…”

Now I wish the King James translators wouldn’t have used the word judgment, because I think that scares people. The Greek word for this judgment is “Bema,” and we must all appear before the Bema Seat. In the Greek it’s Bema, and most of you know that it was a raised platform that was used to judge people by. The parties would come and stand in front of the judges who were on the Bema Seat. It was also used in the Olympic games for the seat of the judges who determined who would win. So this is the analogy that I think Paul is more apt to have the Olympics in mind rather than the political situation at the Bema Seat of government.

So looking at it from an Olympic sports event scenario we must all appear before the Bema Seat, not to be judged for our sins, but rather for our rewards. Oh, I can’t stress that enough because you have no idea how many people over the years have said, “Les, am I going through all these trials and tribulations because of sin in my past?” Well the first thing I ask those people is this. “Are you a believer? Are you a child of God?” And they always say, “Yeah, I know I’m saved.” “Well then, where do you get the idea that you still have sin on your back, because it’s not in this Book? You do not carry past sins because they have been judged at the Cross.” Let’s look at a few verses to confirm this because there are some who will say, “Les, where do you get these things?” Turn to Ephesians 4:32:

Ephesians 4:32a

“And be ye kind one to another, (remember Paul is addressing only believers, But he is doing so on a higher level than he did the Corinthians. Also remember that the Epistles of Paul are progressive. We move from the simplistic to the more in-depth, and those things that are more doctrinal.) tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath(past tense, already) forgiven you.”

You don’t forgive one another so you can be forgiven. See what the disciples prayer says back in Matthew. In those Scriptures you have to forgive everybody before you can be forgiven.

Matthew 6:15

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (This was written to the Nation of Israel under the Law. Do you see that difference?)

There is a vast difference between Law and Grace. But you see Paul doesn’t write that way to the Grace Age believers. Paul says to be ready to forgive your neighbor because you have already been forgiven. Do you see the concept? Now reading verse 32 again:

II Corinthians 4:32

“And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (already) forgiven you.”

Now that doesn’t just take you up to a certain point in time, but that means now and forever you are forgiven. Let’s carry it a little further by going to Colossians Chapter 2. The Scriptures don’t lie, and we have to believe it, because this is what God is going to hold us accountable for. Do you believe His Word? God calls that faith. And without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Colossians 2:13

“And you, being dead in your sins (in our pre-salvation existence) and the uncircumcision of your flesh, (regarding pagan Gentiles) hath he (God of verse 12) quickened together with him, (when Christ died, we died, when He arose from the dead, we arose to newness of life) having forgiven you all trespasses;”

He has forgiven every last sin that we have committed, are committing, and will commit. These sins are already forgiven. I’ve stressed in our last series of lessons how that when Christ died, how much of the world’s sins did He die for? All of them! He tasted death, the Book of Hebrews says, for every man. I’m going to keep repeating it. I want people to know if they go out into a lost eternity it wasn’t because their sins weren’t taken care of, it won’t be because the atoning Blood wasn’t for them, but rather it’s because they rejected it in unbelief. And, oh, pass this on. Make people realize that their sin debt is paid in full, but God can’t activate that payment until they believe the Gospel. That’s the kicker! We have to believe before we can appropriate this forgiveness. But for those of us who believe – yes, we are totally forgiven. Now let’s look at Colossians Chapter 3:13 and again it’s that same concept that we are forgiven.

Colossians 3:13

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Now coming back to the text in Chapter 5 of II Corinthians. When we come before the Bema Seat or the Judgment Seat of Christ, it isn’t that we are going to have to face our sins because they are taken care of, they’re forgiven, they’re cancelled. So we come before Him now to be judged on what we have done as believers in our earthly sojourn. It’s not going to be so much on how much we have done as the motivation behind what we have done. Why do we do the things that we do? In other words, if the only reason I taught was to show people how much I know; hey, it would count for nothing. It has to be the right motive. So everything we do has to be done in that light. Am I doing it because I love the Lord, and He’ll receive the glory? If so then it will count for rewards. But on the other hand if we’re doing it to show people how much we can accomplish then it will count for nothing. It will be nothing more than hay, wood and stubble. Now reading on in verse 10:

II Corinthians 5:10,11

“For we must all (believers) appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, (while we’re here in the body) according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

So let’s look at this whole concept of working for rewards. Turn to I Corinthians Chapter 3, and we find the same idea. Verse 12:

I Corinthians 3:12,13a

“Now if any man (remember Paul only writes to believers) build upon this foundation (Christ up in verse 11) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13. Every man’s work shall be made manifest:…”

It will be under the spotlight, and the very fiery eyes of Jesus are going to examine everything that we’ve done as believers. We can either have those things that the fire can’t touch such as the gold, silver, and precious stones or we’ll have some of the stuff that goes up in a puff of smoke – wood, hay, and stubble. So that again is pretty much self-explanatory. And again that will be primarily based on our motives. Why do we do the things that we categorize as good works? Is it just for pleasing the flesh or someone else or strictly done for God’s honor and glory.

I Corinthians 3:13

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day (what day? That day when we stand before the Bema Seat. For that day) shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire;and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

And here we have to go back to that portion of Scripture in Revelation, where the eyes of the Lord Jesus are as what? Fire!

Revelation 19:12

His (Christ) eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.”

Now it doesn’t say that His eyes are fire, but rather they are as fire, and that makes a big difference. So as Christ’s eyes penetrate the works record of every believer, the stuff that was hay, wood, and stubble will just disappear. And that which was gold, silver, and precious stones will remain, and from that we will receive a reward.

II Corinthians 3:14a

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward….”

Now you can’t argue with that. Many people don’t like that concept, but I’ll never forget quite a few years ago I had a gentlemen who had been pastor of a large Church in Chicago. He came up one night after I’d been teaching this very thing, and he told me, “Les teach it, and teach it, and teach it, because so few people understand this concept of rewards for the believer.” Absolutely we’re going to receive a reward. Above and beyond our salvation, above and beyond the promises like the street being paved with gold, and the mansions in glory, but that’s not the rewards. The rewards are going to be something else, however I can’t totally put my finger on it, but I’d like to think that it will be places of responsibility in the heavenlies.

I noticed in the Daily Oklahoman this morning that the Hubbell space telescope has just found the largest star ever. That’s just mind boggling, and if I remember correctly the analogy was that that star put out more energy and heat in a few moments than our sun does in a year. So I think that whole area of outer space is going to be the domain of the Church Age believer , because we’re told that we’re going to rule the heavenlies. Israel is promised the earth, and we’re going to give them that, but the believer of the Church Age, the Body of Christ, we are going to rule in the heavenlies.

Now I think there’s also going to be a certain amount of interfacing between those of us in our resurrected bodies, and the Millennial citizen who will be in flesh and blood for that thousand years, I would think. But whatever, there’s going to be areas of rewards that I want every believer to work for. Remember you don’t work for salvation, that is a gift. Let’s look at that for a moment in Romans Chapter 6. This is a concept that is so hard for a lot of people to overcome because they’ve had it drummed into them since they were little that they have to work, they have to do something for their salvation. But Romans 6:23 just blows that out of the saddle.

Romans 6:23

“For the wages (something that you earn) of sin is death; (spiritual death) but (the flip side) the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Now how much work can you do and still call it a gift? None. You can’t work for something and then call it a gift, because as soon as you work for it, it is no longer a gift. And so it is with salvation. It has to be something that we take totally as a gift of God without having to do any work of any kind. But once we’ve become a recipient of that gift, what does God logically expect? Now we go to work and work for rewards. That’s the whole idea that we’re not saved to sit, but rather we’re saved to serve. Now another thing I don’t want you to confuse rewards with and that is the crowns. Now I don’t think the crowns have anything to do with the rewards that we receive from the Bema Seat. Now, there are various crowns listed. The crown of righteousness, the crown of life, and so on and so forth. But I don’t think they are one and the same whatsoever.

Now we know when we studied the Book of Romans when Paul listed the gifts to men that He gave to the Church; not everybody has that same gift. They’re not all going to work in that same area for the rewards, but every believer has something. Don’t ever lose that. I don’t care who you are, or how old or young you are. You have something that God has given you that can be used as a gift, and it in turn can precipitate your rewards. Now let’s come back to I Corinthians again and look at Chapter 9 where Paul alludes to this over and over and this is by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this isn’t just man’s idea. This is what God wants us to understand.

I Corinthians 9:24,25a

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (Not salvation, but rather the prize, the reward.) 25. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things….”

I know here Paul is alluding to the Olympic athletics. So what did the athletes do? They trained, and trained, but they did it with temperance. They did not destroy their body with over-training, not one. On the other hand did they arrive flabby, and in no condition to run the race? No. And so with common sense, and being temperate in all things, they prepared for these Olympic races. So here Paul is telling us the same thing. Now reading on:

I Corinthians 9:25b

“… Now they (these Olympic runners) do it to obtain a corruptible crown; (a wreath of leaves) but we (who are also running a race. and running for rewards we’re looking for) an incorruptible.”

A crown that will never end. In other words once the Lord establishes our place of responsibility in the heavenlies for eternity that will never end. It’s going to be ours forever and ever and ever. And if only more people could get a concept of eternity. Eternity is without end and whatever reward we have earned we are going to enjoy for all eternity.