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Gold, Silver, or Bronze? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 24, 2021 2:00 am

Gold, Silver, or Bronze? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 24, 2021 2:00 am

Next month, the eyes of the world will be on the Olympic Games in Beijing. Athletes from all over the world will compete, hoping to win the gold, silver or bronze medals that rank them as being some of the best on earth. This image of receiving an award from a judge on the raised platform of the Olympic Games is what Paul had in mind when he wrote about the future judgment of believers for their works on earth. Let's see what this means.

This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.

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And what people are discovering honestly when it comes to motivating people is rewards often work, giving people incentives to perform and produce by giving them some kind of a reward once a certain benchmark is met. Not only on the job, but they found that in education as well. I read some tests recently where they took a group of students and found that giving students rewards will help them consistently do homework.

Not just the internal reward of a job well done, wouldn't that be great, but external rewards, giving them pencils, pens, candy, notebooks. Why do athletes compete? To win. Why do teams practice and train so hard? To win. Why do millions of people watch the Olympics? To see athletes from their home country win.

Winning is a huge motivator, especially when that win comes with a tangible prize like a trophy or a gold medal. Well, what about in the Christian's life? Is there something that can motivate us in the race of Christianity?

We'll explore that today with Skip Heitzig, but first this update from the Connect with Skip Resource Center. We want to help you live with an anchor of faith so you can learn to lean into God in times of anxiety by sending you three powerful resources. Skip Heitzig's new booklet, Overcoming an Anxious Mind. His teaching, Worship and the Uncertainty on CD. Plus, The War is Over Worship CD. This bundle is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help expand the Bible teaching outreach of Skip Heitzig. Jesus as Savior brings peace with God, but Jesus as Lord brings the peace of God. Call now to request these three encouraging resources when you give.

800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. We'll examine some verses in 2 Corinthians chapter five today. So as you find your place, Skip Heitzig begins with a motivational talk. What motivates people to do a good job? That's a question that businesses have asked for years. Books and seminars are everywhere on how to give people incentive to produce and to live right, to do right, especially on the job. So how do we get people motivated?

Here's an example of what not to do. Here's a company's in-house memo to all employees regarding sick leave policy. Here's the new policy. Sickness, no excuse. We will no longer accept your doctor's statement. If you're able to go to the doctor, you're able to come to work. Leave of absence for an operation.

We will no longer allow this practice. We wish to discourage any thought that you may need an operation. As long as you're employed here, you will need all of whatever you have and should not consider having anything removed.

We hired you as you are, and to have anything removed would certainly make you less than we bargained for. Additionally, too much time is being spent in the restroom. In the future, we will go to the restroom in alphabetical order.

For instance, those whose names begin with A will go from 8 AM to 805 AM, B from 805 to 810 AM, and so on. If you're unable to go at your time, you will need to wait until the day your turn comes again. Death, other than your own, this is no excuse. You can do nothing for them, and we're sure that someone else in a lesser position can attend to the arrangements. However, if the funeral can be held in the late afternoon, we'll be glad to let you off for one hour early, provided that your share of work is done ahead of time to keep the job going in your absence.

Death, your own, this will be accepted as an excuse, but we would like a two-week notice, as we feel it is your duty to teach someone else your job. Well, that's not going to motivate anyone. And what people are discovering, honestly, when it comes to motivating people is rewards often work, giving people incentives to perform and produce by giving them some kind of a reward once a certain benchmark is met. Not only on the job, but they found that in education as well. I read some tests recently where they took a group of students and found that giving students rewards will help them consistently do homework.

Not just the internal reward of a job well done, wouldn't that be great, but external rewards, giving them pencils, pens, candy, notebooks. And then when someone gets a little bit older, our society will even give cash rewards for, say, information leading to the arrest of some notorious criminal. I was reading a Reuters news service article about a war criminal they believe is still alive in South America from Nazi Germany. He escaped afterwards.

His name is Albert Heim. They believe that if he's still alive, he's 94 years old and they're still hunting him down. They've offered $495,000 cash reward. Now, in all of these instances, people are given something, some reward, some award to get them to do what's right. And sometimes it's cash.

I have a question. What was it that motivated Paul the Apostle? Or guys like Paul the Apostle? I mean, what would make a person decide, I'm going to travel around the world and have people say bad things to me and throw me in jail and beat me up and have rocks thrown at me and then I'll get up and I'll go to the next town and we'll just keep doing that year after? What would motivate a person to do that? What motivates a person to be a missionary? Guys like David Livingstone, who were trained for the medical profession in Hamilton, Scotland, got a medical degree as a doctor and decided, I'm going to give the rest of my life to Africa as a missionary. Why?

Or E. Stanley Jones to spend his whole life in India. What is it that would motivate people to do that? What kind of incentive is there? Well, Paul answers that question in our text today and he calls it the judgment seat of Christ. The thing that was the motivation and incentive for Paul was the judgment seat of Christ, which is the place where we will receive rewards in heaven for what is done on earth. Now, please don't misunderstand. We're not saved by works, as I'm going to underscore this morning, but though we are saved by faith, we are rewarded in heaven based on our works, what we do.

So you might look at it this way. You get into heaven by the finished work of Christ, but once you're in heaven, you will be rewarded based upon your works, what you do on earth for Christ. Let's look at our verses this morning, 2 Corinthians chapter 5, three verses, verse 9 through 11. Therefore, we make it our aim or our stated goal. We make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to him, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.

But we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. Those three verses, Paul addresses three things, three things that form his incentive, ambition, motivation, and occupation. What his goal is, why he has that goal, and because of that, what he does in the meantime on the earth.

Let's consider those together. Let's think about what should be our God-ward ambition. What one thing should we live for? Verse 9, let's look at it again. Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, whether alive or dead, remember he said a few verses before that, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So whether I live or die, my one goal is to be well pleasing to him. Now that verse gives to us Paul's purpose statement, his goal in life, and that was to please Christ. I'm going to read it to you in the amplified version.

It's even clearer. We are constantly ambitious and we strive earnestly to be well pleasing to him. So pleasing Jesus Christ was Paul's lifelong and eternal ambition.

Question, is that common? Is that ambition to please Christ above everything else, is that commonplace or would you say that's the exception rather than the rule? I'd say it's the exception rather than the rule. I would say we live in a society that tells everybody to do whatever you feel is right for you, not to please Christ.

I'll even take it a step further. I would say that this is rare even among Christians. I would say it is the exception rather than the rule even among believers in Christ. I would say there are very few whose sole goal and ambition is to please Christ above all else.

And here's why I say that. When Paul was surveying the Christian landscape in his generation and he landed on young Timothy to be his right hand person, Paul writes in Philippians 2, for I have no one who is like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state, for all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. That's quite a statement. Paul's saying all the people that I know in the church he was writing about, everybody seems to have their own agenda except one guy.

And that's Timothy. He's like-minded. Sometimes a single word or phrase will sum up a person's passion.

I'll throw out a few words. Golf, cars, music, painting. There's a number of things that could sum that up. In fact, some people will even advertise that in form of a bumper sticker. I'd rather be fishing or boating or whatever it would be that they're not doing at the time. That's their bumper sticker. And sometimes people will freely and honestly admit what is their passion. I've had people say, my life is music or my life is art or painting or bicycling or running.

That's my life. What is your bumper sticker? That word or phrase would sum up what your main goal and passion is above all others. And we know what Paul's is. He tells us in Philippians 1, verse 21, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Here's Paul going, my life is Christ. And he says in verse 9, that is his single passion and ambition to please him. Question, do you know why you were made? Do you know the very purpose for which you exist on planet Earth? The main purpose of your life that God intended for you. I ask the question because I hear people when they talk about their passion and ambition, they'll say, oh, I was made to do this. I was meant for that. I'd like to answer the question why you were made, what you were made for.

In Revelation 4, verse 11, the anthem that will be sung in heaven, among other things, is this. For you created everything and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created. So why were you made?

You were made to please God, which is the very antithesis, the very opposite of what you are told in this culture. Here's a sampling of advertising slogans by different companies that sort of sums up their philosophy. Ericsson Electronics, their slogan, make yourself heard. T-Mobile, a better world for you.

Airtel Cellular, express yourself when airline company embrace your dreams. A magazine says, there's their slogan, acquire what you desire. L'Oreal Cosmetics, because you're worth it.

Remember that one? Budweiser Beer, for all you do, this Bud's for you. And finally, Sprite, obey your thirst.

You get the point. Basically, everything in life is to be measured by personal pleasure, whatever is best for you. So you live in a world that tells you and I that we should live to please ourselves.

But here's the real kick to that. We discover something. The more you do as you please, the less you are pleased with what you do. The more you live to please Christ, the more satisfied you become. That's why Paul could go from one place to another place to another place throughout all of that suffering and keep doing it because he was pleased and satisfied making his goal and aim in life to please Jesus Christ.

Now, we have a follow-up question to that. Okay, there's Paul's goal. That's his God-word ambition.

Why? What is it that made him that way? What fueled that passion? Or put it this way, what was the motivation for that passion?

There has to be something behind that to fuel that kind of ambition. Well, the answer is there were two things. Both of them were yet future to Paul. Number one was the future glory. That's verses one through eight of chapter five. And the second was future judgment. That's nine, 10, and 11. Future glory, he writes about in the previous verses.

We've covered that in another study on this series. You know, Paul said, I know that when this earthly body, this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building from God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. We groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed, et cetera, et cetera. That's the glory part. The other part is the future judgment, what he calls the judgment seat of Christ. So let's look at that in verse 10.

Here's the motivation. For we, or because, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Now, this verse describes a scene that will take place in your future. It is a scene that you will be at.

You and I will all be present for this. For notice it says we must all appear. Furthermore, when you appear there, it's a time of evaluation and verdict, a conclusion, because it says the judgment seat of Christ. Furthermore, as the verdict is rendered at that event, you will receive a reward or the loss of a reward, for it says that each one may receive. So it's a place of revelation, it's a place of reckoning, and it's a place of receiving this judgment seat of Christ.

Now, I want to unpack that for us in the remainder of the time that we have. First of all, look at the term. Two words, judgment seat, judgment seat. Now, in the Greek language, it's only one word, not two words. The judgment seat is from the Greek word bemitos, bemitos, which means a raised platform. Let me tell you about the word itself. The root word bemitos, the root word, means the distance covered by a step of the foot.

That's the root word. Eventually, it sort of morphed into the meaning of a raised platform or a raised step, and eventually it came to mean the elevated position of somebody in authority. And then it later on became to describe the judgment seat, the bemitos, in every single Greek city of the empire. You could go to any Greek town and there would be a bema seat or a bemitos. It was a place in town central where speeches were given, laws were passed, verdicts were rendered. In fact, it was before the bema seat or the bemitos in Corinth that Paul, four years before the writing of this letter, appeared.

In Acts chapter 18, verse 12, we're told, they rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat. Furthermore, every Greek citizen at some point had to serve as a judge on the bemitos, or we would call it in our modern jurisprudence part of the jury. And every member of the jury was given two bronze disks.

One was hollow, one was solid. And there was a brass or a bronze urn up on that raised platform, and you would vote if you thought the person was guilty or innocent. If the person was guilty, you'd put in the hollow disk.

If he was guilty, you'd put in the solid disk. And all of those were tallied up and judgment was rendered at the bemitos. But as time went on, the term bema seat referred to the Olympic Games, the place where rewards were given based upon the performance at the Olympics. Now, the first Olympics started back in 776 B.C. Men only competed.

Very few sports were engaged in the original Olympics, the foot race, the chariot race, the javelin throw, boxing and wrestling. And whoever competed in the original Olympics were brought before the judges, the bemitos, and they were rewarded. If they won, they were given rewards, a crown.

Today it's a gold medal or a silver medal or a bronze medal, but not back then. They gave something really special, a little leaf crown, a crown of laurel leafs. That's all you got, called a stefanos. If your name is Steve or Steven, your name comes from that little laurel crown called the stefanos.

And so all of that labor and work and training for a little leaf crown, that's going to fade away in about a week. Paul has this in mind in 1 Corinthians 9, verse 25. I'll read it to you. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown.

We do it for an imperishable crown. What kinds of rewards are awaiting you in heaven? Although we may enter heaven through grace, isn't it interesting that the rewards we receive there are determined by what we do? Of course, the difference between the Christian life and the Olympics is no matter how many crowns or medals we might receive, we'll only end up offering them back to our God out of love and adoration for Him and the fact that He's so worthy of our worship. Well, that's all the time we have for today. But before we go, we want to remind you about all the wonderful resources available at connectwithskip.com, including this one for April. Christians can be ambushed by surprise struggles. You know how that feels. Listen to Skip Heitzig. Anxiety is the problem.

It's a problem all human beings at some point have to deal with. Understanding and overcoming anxiety is possible, and we want to help you move from feeling paralyzed by anxiety to finding lasting peace with three powerful resources, Overcoming an Anxious Mind, a new booklet by Skip Heitzig, his teaching, Worship in the Uncertainty, on CD. Plus, the War is Over worship CD. The light has come.

The cure for worry is to redirect your energy and replace your anxiety. This resource bundle is our thanks for your gift of $35 or more today to help connect more people to the Prince of Peace. Visit connectwithskip.com slash offer to give online securely or call 800-922-1888. And for a copy of the teaching Skip shared today, gold, silver, or bronze, just call 1-800-922-1888 or visit the store at connectwithskip.com.

This single message is available on CD for just $6, or you can get the entire series for only $39, both plus shipping. And we want you to know that we're very thankful for all of our listeners and the support you shared with us over the years. We certainly couldn't do this ministry without you, so thank you so much. We'll talk more about the prizes we're vying for as Christians and how we can attain those heavenly rewards next time here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast your burdens on His Word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-25 23:05:28 / 2023-11-25 23:14:07 / 9

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