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SALVATION AND ETERNAL REWARDS

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We earn rewards by faithfully serving Christ. Those who have been saved may earn wonderful rewards by the work they do for the Lord. The Bible speaks of some very special rewards for those who faithfully serve the Lord Jesus. They are called "CROWNS", and crowns speak of glory. There are five beautiful crowns which will be given to believers as rewards.

QUESTION: If you were to die tonight and stand before God and He were to ask you, "Why should I let you into My Heaven?" what would you say? Perhaps you would say, "I haven't been so bad. I've been as good as most other people." Or you might say, "I always went to church." Again, you might say, "I did a lot of good things for other people." What would you say?

IF YOU THINK YOU WOULD SAY ANYTHING LIKE THE ABOVE ANSWERS, YOU COULD BE MAKING A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.

"But why?" you ask. "Aren't these things good?" Yes, they are good and very important, and they should all be done, but the Bible says that no one will ever get to Heaven by doing good works. No matter how hard we try, we can never be good enough to be saved.

These things are good, but the Bible says, "a man is not justified by his works..." Galatians 2:16

Then how are we saved?

We are saved by God's grace and not by our own good works. The Bible says, "For by GRACE are you saved through FAITH; and not GOOD WORKS...." Ephesians 2:8

Now in the next few seconds you are going to read one of the most amazing statements you have ever read. What is it? It is this:

ETERNAL LIFE IS A FREE GIFT!

That's right -- Eternal Life is a free gift. And Eternal Life in Heaven is the most wonderful thing any person could ever have. Yet, according to God's Word, it is a free gift. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death; but THE GIFT OF GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

How long does it take you to receive a gift? Just a moment of your time. When someone gives you a gift, you reach out and take it and it is yours. You do not have to work for a gift, and you do not have to pay for a gift. All you have to do is receive it and it is yours.

You ask, "But how can I receive the gift of eternal life?" You receive the gift of eternal life when you take the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. Eternal life is in a Person -- the Lord Jesus Christ. When you receive Him, you receive eternal life. The Bible says, "God has given to us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have life". 1 John 5:11

We receive the gift of eternal life when we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior, when we allow Jesus Christ to live within us, and when we lead a life that is pleasing to God. How can I know that I am saved? "Is it really possible for me to know for sure that I will go to Heaven when I die?" Yes, it certainly is! If you have Christ living within you, then you have eternal life. It is as simple as that!

And you know that you have this eternal life because God says so in His Word. The Bible says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life." 1 John 5:13.

So if God were to ask you, "Why should I let you into My Heaven?" you could reply, "Because Jesus Christ is my Savior. He died for my sins; his blood washed away all my sins both past, present, and future. His death on the cross promised me eternal life; And Your Word says that I have eternal life." Remember, salvation is a gift. You receive eternal life as a gift when you take the Lord Jesus as your Savior. Now, let us think about rewards.

REWARDS ARE EARNED!

Did you ever receive a reward for doing something well? Perhaps when you were a child your father gave you a reward for doing well on your report card. Or your boss gave you a bonus for doing a great job. Or maybe everyone at work was taken out to dinner for a job well done. God gives rewards to His children for the good things they do. God does not give rewards to unsaved people, but only to His own saved children.

It will help us to understand salvation and rewards if we see that there are two great differences between them:

The very second we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, confess and repent our sins, we have salvation.

So how do we earn rewards? We earn rewards by faithfully serving Christ. Those who have been saved may earn wonderful rewards by the work they do for the Lord. The Bible speaks of some very special rewards for those who faithfully serve the Lord Jesus. They are called "CROWNS." Crowns speak of glory -- reigning with the Lord Jesus. There are five beautiful crowns which will be given to believers as rewards:

Perhaps you have asked yourself at one time, I want to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, but how can I know whether or not I should do a certain thing? What you should do is see what God says about it in the Bible. For example, God tells us that we should not curse or lie or steal or have unforgiveness in our heart toward others. So we know that we should not do those things. But what about those things that are not mentioned in the Bible? In this case we should ask ourselves, would Jesus like to see me do this? Or better yet, would Jesus himself do the thing in question?

If you think that He would not like for you to do it, or he would not do it himself, then don't do it. Since Jesus is within us and around us every second of the day, ask Jesus if he would be proud of you if you did this thing that you are in doubt about.

Then God will speak to you. But God doesn't speak verbally. He speaks to a persons heart. To their mind. To their sense of moral righteousness and fairness. To their sense of what is right and Godly. When Jesus Christ is dwelling within a person he is communicating constantly with that person's heart, conscience, soul, and spirit. It is a constant, never ending, 24 hour a day, non stop communication between you and God.

So if you want to know how God feels about a certain issue or if you need help when it comes to making a difficult decision, just ask him. Take the time to communicate with God. Just don't do all the talking. Listen for God's still, quiet voice. If you will study Scripture, meditate, and talk to God, God will speak to your mind and heart. Difficult decisions will be easy to make because God will be the one guiding you.

It is very important how you live your life as a Christian. The Bible says that one day we must stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to be judged. Every believer will be judged for the things he did after he was saved, whether good or bad. This judgment is called "the Judgment Seat of Christ." The Bible says, "For we (believers) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body..." II Corinthians 5:10

This judgment is not to see whether or not we will go to Heaven. Every true believer will go to Heaven. This judgment is for rewards. If we have faithfully served the Lord Jesus, this will be a time of great rejoicing for us because we will receive wonderful rewards. If we have lived for the good times of this world instead of living for the Lord Jesus, we will be ashamed. Perhaps some of us will wish that we could live our lives over again, but that will not be possible. The time to live for the Lord Jesus is now. The time to serve Him is now.

HOW TO PLEASE GOD

One of the ways we know that we are truly saved is when we want to please God. Here are some ways that we can please God: