“The most glorious reward awaits such fidelity at the hour of Christ’s return, while the heaviest punishment threatens the selfish indolence that would decline active employment of what it has received.”
“A crown is of value for what it implies rather than what it is.”
“Christ’s cross is Christ’s way to Christ’s crown…No Cross No Crown.”
“The faculty of the soul that pants for Glory is implanted of God.”
“He who despises a throne despises Him Who confers it.”
“To Him who overcomes I will give the right to sit with me in my throne even as I over came and my Father gave me the right to sit with Him on His throne.”
Our “…affliction is producing for us…glory.” This future glory is “far beyond all comparison” to our present affliction making it both “momentary and light,” regardless of the intensity (2 Corinthians 4:17). Those who have the “eyes of their heart…enlightened,” will “know the hope to which he has called us.” This hope is spoken of as a “glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18).” The hope that we have, is to one day receive the inheritance. We are “born again to a living hope…to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us…(1 Peter 1:3-7).” Notice that the inheritance is not heaven, but “in heaven.” This is the “…Heavenly calling…(Hebrews 3:1).”
We have become partakers of the promises of Abraham by our faith placing us “in Christ,” who is Abraham’s seed. Abraham’s inheritance, though two- fold, heavenly and earthly, involves the earth (Romans 4:13 both spheres can be seen in Daniel 4:26, 10:13 the heavens ruling over the earth). We are co-heirs with Christ, “if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17). Christ’s inheritance is “the nations” and “ends of the earth His possession” (Psalm 2:8). “In this we greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while…you have been distressed by various trials…” you “may be found to result in…glory…at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-8). It matters not what this life brings to you. As in Job’s case, in uprightness (1:1), he despaired of life (17:1), suffered the loss of his servants (1:13), children (1:18), health (2:7,13), wealth (1:16), and the loyalty of his wife (2:9). As he remained faithful through it all (13:15, 1:22), God brought Him into a restoration incomparable to what he previously had (42:10-15). “…I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).” “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:12-13).” That man who “endures temptation/trials” through obedience to Christ commands (John 14:23), will be “blessed” by being “approved,” and when “approved, he will receive the crown of life (James 1:12 Just because we as Christians are in line through Christ to obtain an inheritance, doesn’t mean that it cannot be forfeited. Esau despised and gave up his inheritance for a temporal craving (Genesis 25:33-34). When he, “sought for the blessing with tears,” “He could bring about no change of mind” and was “rejected,” with respect to the inheritance). Paul thought of the crown or approval of such value that he said, “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that…I myself will not be disapproved (1 Corinthians 9:24).”
It is in your hands to, “come after” him. It is your decision to, “Deny” yourself. Only you can choose to, “take up” your “cross.” But you can be assured, if you “save” your “life,” you “will lose it.” “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward (just recompense; exact payment for services rendered) each person according to what he has done (whether good or bad, 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 16:24,27).” Beloved, as far as fleshly lusts go, “beat your body into submission (1 Corinthians 9:24).” As far as suffering goes, “endure (James 1:12).” There is nothing else to say on the matter. Scripture simply leaves no room for explanation or excuse. There are no “special” cases. One either overcomes in his life or he does not. The requirements of remaining faithful to receive a crown do not bend according to certain situations or individuals. “…It is required of stewards that one be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).” Jesus spoke on this matter in the parables of the talents and pounds. Faithfulness was required of each servant at the return of their Master. Each servant was rewarded accordingly, both good and bad (Luke 19:11-26; Matthew 25:14-28). What is required of you is required of me, namely, faithfulness. Your life, whether you are sick, poor, rich, old, young, everything seems to go well, or you have countless areas that constantly collapse, it matters not. If you’ve lost everything, gained everything, been betrayed or befriended, it matters not. Affliction or peace, persecution or fame, money or poverty, IT MATTERS NOT! These things carry no weight, have no significance, hold no relevance, for soon “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for the deeds that were done in the body, whether good, or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).” This judgment is for a specific purpose, namely, to prove who overcame. For, “he who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me, even as I overcame and my Father gave me the right to sit with Him (Revelation 3:21).” “He who overcomes I will give authority over the nations (Revelation 2:26).” The overcoming Christians, “will receive a kingdom, and will posses it forever-yes, forever and ever (Daniel 7:18,22,27).”
The fulfillment of the creation of all things, the promises to Abraham and the effects of the blood of the crucified Christ will be made manifest, reconciling all things to Himself (Colossians 1:16-19). All the “kingdoms of this world” will become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ (Revelation 11:15). Can you see it? This day when the promises to Abraham and the purpose for Adam become fulfilled through Christ ascending the throne with faithful men to rule the earth for ever and ever? Is it real to you? Is it real enough to suffer for? Is it real enough to die for? Is it real enough to transform your mind to see any affliction of torture or self denial as something “momentary” and “light?” Is it such a reality and such a hope to you that any profit in this life is seen as “loss” or rubbish?” Is it so real that you have no desire other than to “become like” Christ “in His death,” to “share in his sufferings” so as to “attain” the resurrection out of the resurrected (Philippians 3:7-11)? Does the truth of the glory to come and sorrow of its loss cause you to weep for those who are not willing to receive it (Luke 13:34; 19:41-44; Mark 3:5)?
I issue a call to every Christian that exists! Every person who has passed from death unto life! Live worthy! He calls you into His Glory and Kingdom! (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Revelation 3:4). The magnitude and severity of this matter is beyond measure. I issue a warning to every Christian! Awake! Stand up! Endure! Put on Strength (Ephesians 5:14-17)!
“…the sole legitmate ambition in the world-”to be well-pleasing unto Him.’
“What our eyes looked on, what our ears listen to; what our hearts loved, what our minds believed, what our lips said, what our hands wrought, where our feet walked:-these are the unimpeachable evidences of the Judgment Seat. Secrets (1 Cor. 4:5). Motives (Matt 6:1). Soul attitudes (Luke 6:36-38)…the evidence wholly decides the award.”
~D. M. Panton
“Somewhere there exists a draft by the hand of God of what our lives might have been…”
“Christ will simply not say, “Well done…” if it has not in fact been well done.”
~G. Campbell Morgan
“I am coming soon. My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done”
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com
Posted in Featured Articles, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: christians, Jesus, judgment seat, overcoming, resurrection
“The Lord…Who sendeth forth springs in the bottoms of the valleys,
Between the mountains they take their course.”
We tend to glory in those events in our lives that we consider to be “mountain-top” experiences. We humans are emotional beings, blessed with a variety of senses and a wide range of moods. We have been created in the image of God.
He is not a stoic, predictable, hum-drum figure. He is a Living Person. He speaks. He listens. He watches. He feels. He grieves. He laughs. He rejoices. He weeps. He loves. He hates. He Is.
Yet even though we have been created in His image, we are a disjointed and crooked people. Though He is all love, we are naturally spiteful, bitter, and motivated by depravity. Though He is entirely pure in thought and action, we are drawn to the wicked and swallowed up by the low moral tone of this dying age. Though He is fervent and faithful, we are morally spineless, spiritually lazy, covenant breakers, and embarrassingly inconsistent. When we are born from above, this changes in a radical way. Still, there are all kinds of inconsistencies and rough edges in character and thought which need to be refined. We are created in His image, but our “spiritual equilibrium” has been rocked by the influence of the world and we barely know how to walk- especially in a valley.
I love the “mountain-top” times. I love those seasons of my life when it seems that the presence of God and the word of the Lord invade my day and bring to me a consciousness of the Kingdom. I love to be spontaneously moved to prayer and worship. I love it when, in an effortless manner, I find myself yearning for the Word. I love it when there is a sudden grace to serve someone, or a sudden faith to lay hands on a sick person. God Himself has given us “mountain times.” But He is also the Author of the valleys, and it’s the believer that drinks deeply from the “springs in the bottoms of the valleys” who will be the overcomer, both now and at the end of the age.
We all have mountain times, some more often than others. But be assured that if you are going to be an overcomer in the Kingdom of our God, you will have to become a pioneer of the valleys. You will have to allow the Lord to shift your understanding of what the difficult or seemingly uninspired times really mean. You will have to look upon everything- the tension of not knowing what lies ahead, the inconvenience and trial of rugged terrain, the situations that cause offense- through a whole different lens.
I must say, it is a blessed thing to be “unoffendable.” If the valley can offend me, it can rob me of the springs. If I’m offended by what a person said, or by what I didn’t get (that I surely deserved!), or by something unpleasant that sideswipes my life, I’ve lost the race. It is right there, in an offended state, that I lose the gladness which comes from the river of God. Many saints have become discouraged or incapacitated because of offense.
“So-and-so gave me a dirty look.”
“They appointed him a leader in the church and I’ve sacrificed so much more than him!”
“I said I wanted no mustard on this! I’m going back to give them a piece of my mind.”
“Why are they giving him all the attention? I’ve got more revelation and wisdom than him.”
These kinds of offenses are signs that we have not fully realized our adoption “in the Beloved One” (Eph. 1). We are looking for approval from men. We are still dominated by a self-centric mode of thinking. We have not taken up the cross and followed Him with every part of our hearts. We are still trying to save our lives and our reputations. We are still allowing little bumps in the valley to rob us of the joy and fulfillment of knowing the Son of God and walking with Him in a living communion.
By succumbing to offense, we are postponing and potentially forfeiting the eternal reward that has been laid up for us; namely, a crown of righteousness, given to us by the King Himself. If we do not allow the Lord to deal with the issue of offense in our hearts, if we are complainers, if we are whining about how difficult things are, we are still candidates for “falling away” when greater times of turbulence come. If we are not willing to believe God and worship Him from the valleys, we are still fixed in a condition that could eventuate in apostasy when more difficult times come. Are you giving in to offense and bitterness, friend? What will be your response when even greater trial comes? If you are not free to worship and trust the Lord in the valleys of life, you may already be posturing yourself for a backsliding.
We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Every one of us has the opportunity to hear Him declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” What offense can I cling to, what temptation can I bow to, what trial can I allow to consume my heart that is worth delaying or even missing the wonder and glory of that day? Dear child of God, the Father Himself calls you to His springs, and I am suggesting that they spring forth most gloriously when we tap them from the bottom of the valleys.
Pressure will come. Situations will arise. Men will wrong us. Such is life in a fallen world. Yet only those who know and see the Father in the ruggedness and mundaneness of the valley will have the grace to go on unmoved when the daggers of opposition and trial come flying.
Oh beloved children! There is a stream in the very bottom of the valley. Do not be mistaken. It’s there. You will not feel it, you will not hear its flow, you will not automatically be refreshed by the mist it produces. But if you bow low in meekness and acknowledge the Presence of God in your life, you may drink from it and be satisfied.
God’s pioneers are the ones who have learned (over time) to find the “springs in the bottoms of the valleys.” They are not emotionless robots. They too feel the pressure of life’s trying events. They are tested by the same things that cause others to fold and crumble. They have learned to see the valley through the eyes of God. Indeed, they have learned to see God in the valleys. If you ask them, they will tell you, “Yes, yes dear one. There is a stream in the valley. There is a sabbath reality there. It is in Him. He’s there in the valleys as much as He is on the mount. There is unexplainable peace there. There is holiness there. But you must seek His wisdom from the bottoms of the valleys. You must have faith. Oh friend, faith is everything in the valley.”
Are you offended? Anxious? It is only because you have given yourself to some other counsel than the Voice of the Lord. Please hear me: If you have been born from above, you’ve been adopted into a glorious Kingdom, and the Blood of God’s own Son has permanently rent the veil for your sake. You are not an orphan any more. He is calling you to enter, dear saint.
When we see Him, our desire to prove something or impress others is utterly demolished. When we hear Him, we can no longer put on a religious mask or cloak ourselves in some fake piety. When we encounter Him, we are purged and cleansed of all unrighteousness. We are shocked and transformed by the wonder of Divine Love. If we will set our minds on things above “where Christ is” (Col. 3), we will know God in reality- on the height of the mountain and in the most disparaging of valleys- and our joy will be full.
Great Father, have for Yourself a community of pioneers. Pilgrims who refuse to walk in the valleys without You. Build up the “inner-man” of Your Church. Cause us to drink freely, however contrary to the world- and even to our own minds- it may seem. We want to overcome all these things, not just to say we’ve overcome. We want to overcome because to know You in the valleys is to know You in reality. What a joy. What an awesome invitation. We come, Lord.
Even though I walk through the valley… You are with me… -Psm. 23.4
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: character, discipline, emotion, God, overcoming, unoffended