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Payday Someday – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2023 1:00 am

Payday Someday – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 26, 2023 1:00 am

Our earthly perspective on receiving rewards skews our idea of how heavenly rewards will be handed out. In eternity, payday will be different. In this message, Pastor Lutzer provides five principles regarding believer’s rewards for works done while on earth. We don’t deserve any rewards; they are an act of grace.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. After a week of hard labor, workers collect wages. Every hour of toil yields an hour of pay. Is this what Heaven will be like? No, payday in eternity will be far different than payday on earth.

Today, what those differences are and what Jesus will be looking for as believers appear before His judgment seat. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, some of us have to punch a time clock at work.

Records are kept detailing the hours we toiled. Is there a punch clock in Heaven as well? Well Dave, there certainly will not be a punch clock like you and I understand it. As a matter of fact, in the book of Revelation, there's a phrase that says, time shall be no more. So we're not sure exactly what that is like. It's difficult for us to imagine what Heaven is going to be like. But if you're asking the question, are we going to give an account to God for the way in which we used our time?

The answer is absolutely. Now it's very important for us to realize that as we think about eternity, we want as many people as possible to understand the good news of the Gospel. And if you listen to the ministry of Running to Win and are blessed, well, it's because other people just like you have joined what I like to call the Running to Win family. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner, someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts? Let me give you that contact info.

Go to and when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Of course, I'll be giving you that contact info after this message. But thank you in advance for helping us. So may I ask, how are you doing today? Everything all right? Your life in order. You're to die today. Nothing left undone that you wish you would have done.

All taken care of. All ready to see Jesus. We never know when it's going to happen, do we? And as you know now, I hope heaven will not be the same for everyone. This is the fourth in a series of messages entitled Your Eternal Reward. And we've been talking about heaven and God's intention. And we've learned that the way in which we live here on earth has eternal repercussions because God wants to entrust to us a larger piece of responsibility. And the Bible indicates that that is dependent upon our faithfulness or lack of it here on earth. God, do you remember, has in mind the idea of having an eternal companion for his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will sit with Christ on his throne and rule. But you can't give somebody that much authority and that much power unless they have been tested with lesser things.

That's why Jesus said on one occasion, if I cannot trust you with money, he said, who will entrust the true riches to you? And so this life, the whole of life, since you've come to know Christ as Savior, is a test. But while I've been speaking on this topic, I know that there has been discussion and many questions. And sometimes, perhaps, I've not been as clear as I should be. So today's message is going to hopefully clarify a number of things, bring them together, and help us to understand the way in which God evaluates us and that payday, someday, that is going to come. Therefore, I hope to first of all clarify and secondly to motivate us so that by the time this message is over, all of us will be committed to make sure that our priorities are as straight as they possibly can be because we will give an account for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. One of the first things I want to emphasize is that when we talk about rewards, we should not think that God somehow has a pay scale in heaven by which he evaluates us like people do on earth.

It isn't an employer-employee relationship at all. It would be wrong to think, well, 30 years of service, therefore 30 crowns. 25 years of service, 25 crowns. It can't be that way because as we shall see, there are those who are going to serve in the kingdom for a short length of time and yet they are going to be generously rewarded. And the message will end by stressing that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

So let's not think about that. There's a doctor in town by the name of Dr. Elmer whom I led to saving faith in Christ last June. He had been antagonistic to the gospel.

The family told me that when he would be in a room and the gospel came up, he would actually leave the room and go somewhere else. And yet now struggling with MS in intense suffering, I visited him. He had been my medical doctor and I said, you have to accept Christ as your savior.

He said, I know I do, but I don't know how. Well, not only did I lead him to faith in Christ that day last June, but also to the assurance of faith. We prayed right there that he would have assurance. What a transformation God wrought in his life. But before I tell you about how God may reward him, we're going to ask the question of, is it simply a length of time that we serve? Is that's all that is involved with all of the deeds we do?

How will God evaluate someone who even now is in glory? Yesterday when we came home in the evening, there was a message on our answering machine that Dr. Elmer died at five o'clock yesterday afternoon. So these are the kinds of things we're going to discuss today. And I'd like to begin by giving you five principles regarding works, five principles regarding works. I say that I'm going to begin by doing that. We're also going to end by doing that. That is going to be the message. And I hope that when it's over, some of the matters that have been brought to my attention will be clarified. Are you ready?

I'm glad you are. Principle number one, works done prior to our conversion, works done prior to our conversion are of no merit in the sight of God. No merit, at least not enough merit to gain heaven. All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. There is in the Bible a reference to human righteousness and also divine righteousness.

And the gap between the two of them is infinite and unbridgeable. That's why nobody can ever be saved by good works. And today, undoubtedly, someone is listening to me who is not yet converted. And you're still thinking that you're going to be in heaven because you're a good person.

I want you to know today that the lake of fire is going to be filled with good people, good people who were good so far as this world is concerned, but they were not good enough for God. Only Christ is good enough for God. And that's why you must believe in him alone and get to heaven on the basis of his merit.

So that's number one. Works before our conversion are of no merit in the sight of God. Secondly, works after our conversion, listen carefully, works after our conversion are made acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. You see, even after we are converted, we serve God. We may serve in the church, though that's not the only thing that God evaluates us for. Obviously, our vocations, our families, our homes, all of our relationships. But we may do what appears to be the purest act, and yet it is tainted with human sin and self-interest.

And the Scriptures indicate that God takes our imperfect works and receives them because Jesus takes those works and makes them perfect. Our motives are never entirely pure. One day I was driving along in Park Ridge, Illinois off of Devon Avenue and I saw a car parked along the side and a woman walking along the road. And I knew that she was in some distress and some trouble. And so I was a little hesitant to stop because as a pastor I have a policy that I do not like to ride alone in a car with another woman who isn't my wife because it might not look good. But I stopped and talked to her and she needed gasoline. She didn't have any money. We of course had to go to a service station and buy, you know, the right can.

They wouldn't lend us a can to use. And then, you know, I bought a couple of gallons of gas and took her back and there I was pouring this gasoline into her car along the road and just like that, as clear as anything, the thought came to me, I sure wish all the people of Moody Church could see me now. Right there. Doing this wonderful Christian act.

And I felt so bad that nobody was there to see it. My dear friend, we might be generous in our giving but sometimes we give because it makes us feel good. There is no such thing as a perfectly pure, untainted human motive. How can a work like that become acceptable to God? If it is done in the name of Christ and done because we are Christians and we love God, God receives those works because Christ makes them acceptable. First Peter chapter two verse five. We are to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Did you catch the scripture reading from Philippians chapter one? Paul says that we should be filled with works of righteousness which by Christ are done for the glory of God.

By Christ. Now that doesn't mean that Jesus takes all of our works and makes them acceptable. He does not take our sins and make them acceptable. But a cup of cold water given in his name and given because we are filled with his Spirit and we will not lose our reward because Jesus makes the works perfect. You see it still is true that the only person that God is really satisfied with is Christ and he's satisfied with us as we are in him received on his basis and our works are spiritual sacrifices made acceptable because of him. Let me give you a third principle of judgment that ultimately God rewards us for the work that he does in us. Ultimately God rewards us for the work that he does in us. Jesus said abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself excepted abide in the vine no more can you except you abide in me. Now notice for without me you can do nothing. Nothing. Christ is not saying we can't do anything without him but he means we cannot do anything that will really last.

We can't do anything that will survive the fire that we talked about a few messages ago. You see what we need to understand is that it is God who works in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure and it is the work of Christ in the heart. It is that work that especially attracts the attention of God and it is for that work that we will be rewarded. You see that's why we can't expect rewards in heaven if we're not walking with God. Even if we're doing good things there are many people who do good things but their motivation is not a motivation that has been born about through the work of the Holy Spirit of God in the heart and that's why sensitivity to the Spirit and yieldedness to the Spirit becomes indispensable when we stop to think of the works that will merit reward. First of all works done before our conversion are of no merit. Works done after our conversion good works after our conversion are made acceptable to God through Christ and ultimately God rewards us for the work that he does in us.

Let me give you a fourth principle. The best works the best works are those that involve sacrifice those that involve sacrifice. Now I'm going to go rather quickly here if you attend here at the Moody Church regularly you know that I always like to have one major passage of scripture whenever possible to base my remarks on but here I'm going to be quoting some verses I'm going to be just giving them to you because this in itself is an entire message this fourth point the works of sacrifice that gains special reward but I need to do this very quickly and give you an example of texts in the scripture where it says if you do this you will be greatly rewarded or at least it refers to the fact that there will be a reward. Let me give you some of the good works the works of sacrifice that God pays attention to. Number one the joyful acceptance of persecution the acceptance of persecution.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake for great is your reward in heaven. Don't ever bypass an opportunity to suffer for Christ. Don't ever bypass an opportunity to be fired from your job because you love Jesus.

I was talking to a doctor recently he was saying that in the hospital this was in another state but he said that in the in his hospital all kinds of integrity questions and he keeps raising these integrity questions he and the other Christian doctors and they're considered to be irritants. Well you have to live out your Christian life and you know what the cross of Christ is? We talk about bearing our cross. The cross is the trouble we are in because we are Christians. Bear that cross joyfully. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad if you're not invited to the office parties because you're a Christian or because you are ostracized or bypassed because you are an honest person and you're goofing up company policy.

Rejoice. Second example financial generosity financial generosity. I've already quoted the words of Jesus who said you know if I can't entrust you with filthy lucre that is to say the mammon of unrighteousness to use his words. How shall you receive the true riches? You know money in the Bible is one of the most important tests of our loyalty to God. In fact a series of messages like this should have an entire message just on money but you know when I started this series someone said well how can he preach six messages on the judgment seat?

My problem is not six I wish it were eight because there's so much in the scripture about this. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust is corrupt and were thieves break through and steal but treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupt were thieves cannot break through and steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also. And so at the Bema I fully expect that our checkbooks are going to be opened. We're going to be evaluated based on not just the amount of money we gave though that will be interesting but also the amount of money that we spent for ourselves and whether or not the other money was spent wisely. We will be accountable to God. We'll be accountable to God for all the debt that we got ourselves into because we would not trust God to give us those things that we thought we need. All of those things become very important because now remember God is testing us to see where we're going to be slotted in the kingdom. And we here at the Moody Church have a policy whereby people who give give in secret and we honor that but there's a reason for that too so that the father who sees in secret can reward you openly. It has a downside however also because there may be those who who are financially able to give and yet they do not give. They do not have a generous heart and Jesus said your reward is in heaven if you use your funds wisely.

Hospitality. Let me read you a verse and I wonder if it's been a while since you've read this text because it struck me with a new force. He says when you have a luncheon or a dinner do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors lest they invite you in return and repayment to be made.

Watch it. Don't invite the people who might have you back but when you give a reception invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed since they do not have the means to repay you. Now notice this verse.

How quickly we read without recognizing what Jesus continued to say. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. Giving to people who cannot give back to you is especially precious to God because there's no way that you're going to be rewarded on this earth. You have to wait until the resurrection but Jesus promised a reward at the resurrection of the righteous.

Another example. Loving the unlovable. By the way I read from Luke 14. Now I'm reading from Luke 6.

I prefer that you just listen for a moment. Do you know anybody who's difficult to love? Have you ever met anyone like that?

Did you marry somebody like that? Is it not true that God often brings into our lives people that are difficult to love? And notice what it says. But love your enemies and do good and lend expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great. God gives you an enemy to love and he does it because we always say that we want to be godly and that's one way to be godlike. The text says you will be sons of the most high for he himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. So be like your father who is in heaven. Love your enemies and the text says your reward will be great. It's the promise.

Take it to the bank. It's Jesus who's speaking. Let me give you another example and that is doctrinal integrity. Doctrinal integrity. You know there's a little verse tucked away in 2 John verse 8. Those epistles of John sometimes we don't read them as carefully as we should. By the way the epistles were not the wives of the apostles like the little boy in Sunday school. Boy in Sunday school thought. But tucked away is in those letters of John it says that we should guard the doctrine do not lose what you have accomplished that you may receive a full reward.

The church to which that letter was written was in danger of being inundated with false doctrine. What about an investment in the lives of people? It says in 1 Thessalonians 2 19 who is our hope our joy our crown of rejoicing Paul says is it not you in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ it is coming.

The investment in lives. The ability to be hospitable yes the ability to disciple the ability to go out of our way and to ruin our own schedules because there are people who have needs that merits great reward. Well there's just one other and I'm by no means giving you an exhaustive list but another is diligently waiting for the appearing of Jesus Christ. The servants when they were waiting for the appearing of the master the scripture says that because they were longing for his appearing he will reward them diligently and completely. You remember what the apostle Paul says there is for me a crown of righteousness which shall be given to me in that day and not to me only but to all of those who love his appearing.

How far have we come in our discussion? First principle works before our conversion are of no merit. Good works after our conversion are made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Thirdly God rewards us for what he does in us that's why submission is so important. By the grace of God I am what I am the apostle Paul says.

Number four the best works the ones that merit special attention are those that involve sacrifice and I've given you a sampling of them but now there's a fifth principle and the fifth principle is that rewards are not just based on actions but also attitude not just actions but also attitude. Well my friend you're going to have to listen to Running to Win next time as that message continues and as we expand on some of these ideas. I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry.

It's because of people like you that Running to Win is heard throughout Nigeria, in most of India, East Africa and other countries of the world. Thank you for helping us. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course you need some info. Hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. You can go to Of course RTWOffer is all one word. or call us at 1-888-218-9337. We depend on those who are endurance partners even as we plan the expansion of this ministry. If you'd like to become a part of the Running to Win family and give regularly, pray for us pray for us regularly, go to

When you're there click on the endurance partner button or as I mentioned you can call right now 1-888-218-9337. Thank you so much for your support and your prayers. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. You've heard Pastor Erwin Lutzer with part one of Payday Someday, the fourth of six messages in his series, Your Eternal Reward. Next time, more about how our works on earth will be evaluated at the judgment seat of Christ. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-26 03:41:23 / 2023-10-26 03:50:08 / 9

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