Sabbath, September 27, 2014
“God calls upon His people to be bright lights in the world shining amid the darkness of sin. Living the life of the Life-giver brings its reward. He went about doing good. This, every true follower of His will do, filled with a sacred sense of his loyalty to God and his duty to his fellow beings. Through the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, Christians are to grow in grace, constantly drawing nearer perfection of character.” –The Upward Look, p. 177.
The Lord brings the reward
1. What will Christ bring with Him when He comes? For whom?
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
“Before the final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous. This decision must be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven; for when He comes, His reward is with Him, ‘to give every man according as his work shall be.’ Revelation 22:12. Before His coming, then, the character of every man’s work will have been determined, and to every one of Christ’s followers the reward will have been apportioned according to his deeds.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310.
2. Where will all appear before the reward is given? What does this call for?
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
“The cases of the righteous dead have been passing in review before God. When that work shall be completed, judgment is to be pronounced upon the living. How precious, how important are these solemn moments! Each of us has a case pending in the court of heaven. We are individually to be judged according to the deeds done in the body….
“If we have any regard for our souls’ salvation, we must make a decided change. We must seek the Lord with true penitence; we must with deep contrition of soul confess our sins, that they may be blotted out.” -Selected Messages, book 1, p. 125.
3. What do the impenitent heap up for themselves?
Romans 2:4, 5 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
“Oh, fearful histories will be opened to the world at the judgment–histories of sins never confessed, of sins not blotted out! Oh, that these poor souls might see that they are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath! Then the thoughts of the heart, as well as the actions, will be revealed. I tell you, my brethren and sisters, there is need of humbling your souls before God. ‘Cease to do evil,’ but do not stop here; ‘learn to do well.’ You can glorify God only by bearing fruit to His glory.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 146.
Secure reserves and the reward
4. Where should our riches be deposited?
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
“As you regard your eternal interest, arouse yourselves, and begin to sow good seed. That which you sow, you shall also reap. The harvest is coming–the great reaping time, when we shall reap what we have sown. There will be no failure in the crop; the harvest is sure. Now is the sowing time. Now make efforts to be rich in good works, ‘ready to distribute, willing to communicate,’ laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye ‘may lay hold on eternal life.’ ” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 31.
5. What will be a special blessing for both young people and adults?
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the 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.
“Young men and women should regard a good character as a capital of more value than gold or silver or stocks. It will be unaffected by panics and failures, and will bring rich returns when earthly possessions shall be swept away. The youth need a higher, nobler view of the value of Christian character. Sin blinds the eyes and defiles the heart. Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities which all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible, a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity. It is here that true excellence of character shines forth with the greatest luster.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 656.
“… Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 331.
6. What reward will Christ’s faithful servants receive at the end?
Matthew 25:21, 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord…. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
“It is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service, that wins the divine approval. Every impulse of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God, is noted in the books of heaven, and in the day of God the workers through whom He has wrought will be commended.
“They will enter into the joy of the Lord as they see in His kingdom those who have been redeemed through their instrumentality.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 361.
7. What great joy will they experience in receiving the final reward?
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
“Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers are gathered about the throne of God and the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when mortal shall have put on immortality, the ransomed ones are like Jesus, for they see Him as He is…. They are partakers with Him in the joy of beholding souls saved through their instrumentality to praise God through all eternity.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 467.
“When Christ’s followers give back to the Lord His own, they are accumulating treasure which will be given to them when they shall hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ ‘Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Matthew 25:23; Hebrews 12:2. The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all that put their feet in the footprints of Him who said, ‘Follow Me.’ ” –The Desire of Ages, p. 523.
8. What is awaiting the overcomer?
2 Timothy 4:7, 8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
“To win a perishable prize, the Grecian runners spared themselves no toil or discipline. We are striving for a prize infinitely more valuable, even the crown of everlasting life. How much more careful should be our striving, how much more willing our sacrifice and self-denial!” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 312.
“In a subordinate sense we should all have respect unto the recompense of the reward. But while we appreciate the promise of blessing, we should have perfect confidence in Jesus Christ, believing that He will do right, and give us reward according as our works have been. The gift of God is eternal life, but Jesus would have us not so anxious concerning rewards, as that we may do the will of God because it is right to do it, irrespective of all gain.” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 339.
Temptation, victory, and reward
9. On what condition is the eternal crown promised?
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
“The Lord will never forsake the soul that trusts in Him and seeks His aid. The crown of life is placed only upon the brow of the overcomer. There is, for everyone, earnest, solemn work for God while life lasts…. Not only have we each a work to do for our own souls, but we have also a duty to arouse others to gain eternal life.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 70, 71.
10. What great joy will the redeemed share?
Revelation 21:10, 11 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
“In the Bible are revealed visions of the future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these are dear to His church. By faith we may stand on the threshold of the eternal city, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life cooperate with Christ, regarding it as an honor to suffer for His sake. As the words are spoken, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father,’ they cast their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing…. Honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Matthew 25:34; Revelation 5:12, 13.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 601, 602.