Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If Heaven Itself is Not the Reward, What is the Great Reward that Awaits Some People in Heaven?

A Look At Prophecy In The Gospel of Matthew

A Great Award Awaits You in Heaven

Matthew 5:11-12 NLT

Peaceful Evening - Soirée paisible


11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.


The Beatitudes say the poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for doing right receive the Kingdom of Heaven. Verses 11 and 12 of Matthew 5 talks about another reward for these individuals.

Peaceful mind"What do you mean?" you may ask.

Verse 12 talks about a great reward that awaits some individuals in heaven. Verse 11 will tell us who, but remember you have to be one of the individuals who will receive the kingdom of heaven - the poor and spirit, those who are persecuted for doing right - to receive this other great reward.

Who will receive this great reward?

People who are mocked, persecuted, lied about, and who have all sorts of evil things said against them because they are Christ's followers.

My pastor at Caledonia Presbyterian Church near Portage, Wisconsin regularly referred to believers, not as Christians, but as Christ-followers. I love that term and it has a firm root in this beatitude. It is an active label, not a passive moniker.

In America, and many other places in the world, Christ-followers are lied about in the news. They are lied about in the cultural assessment of who they are. They are lied about by people who cannot stand their biblical standards of living, of what is right, or what truth is. People who do not believe in God or who feel God's revealed standards are abrasive rather than freeing, lie about Christ-followers. 

The same thing happened to Christ on earth. They called him a drunkard, a customer of prostitutes, a friend of people hated or ostracised by the Jewish community. They called him demon possessed, a blasphemer when he spoke the truth and all manner of other false names. They told false stories and made false accusations.

Jesus said people will treat us the very same way if we follow him.

Christ-followers who are lied about will received a great reward in heaven. Are you up to being lied about? Can you handle it in love? Or are you too "sensitive" to be treated the way Christ was treated?

And being lied about is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Christ-followers will receive this great reward for -
  • being mocked
  • being persecuted
  • having all sorts of evil spoken against them.
(Note: Despite the spiritual condition of the church, many Christ-followers are earning this reward today.)


Rewards in heaven seldom get taught. There is a reason. Scripture speaks of them without even hinting what they are. Sure, crowns are mentioned. White robes are described - if we can describe the nature of white in heaven. 

Like this passage, most passages about rewards do not give a hint at what they will be.

Anything received in heaven must be awesome. Do you believe that enough to be excited about being a recipient of lies, mocking, persecution, and being spoken evil of? Does the promise of a reward, cause you to rejoice and be exceedingly glad?

This beatitude, the attitude of this beatitude, explains the response of the Coptic families to the death of the Egyptian martyrs. 

(Note, these great rewards are not based on the number of people you lead to Christ. At least not here.)

These are the rewards of a heady crowd.

These are the rewards of the prophets. And the actions for which they are received are the mark of the prophets. Not of the soothsayers. Not of the so-called prophets of many churches and television ministries, but of the Prophets of God.

We live in a prophetic age where the church must be a prophetic voice and a prophetic example. The Church, and its Christ-following members, will be lied about, mocked, persecuted, and have all manner of evil spoken against them. This tests which so-called churches and denominations are part of the Bride of Christ or the Great Prostitute who claims to be his bride.

Not fun stuff, this opposition. Especially persecution. But note persecution for Christ's name sake (vs. 10) receives the kingdom of heaven. Then persecution is rewarded with a great reward in heaven.

If we can grasp this then we can stand this opposition with happiness and joy over what it is witnessing to on our behalf.


Photo Credits:
Peaceful Evening - Soirée paisible, by Monteregina (Nicole), some rights reserved
Peaceful Mind, by Peter Thoeny, some rights reserved
Peaceful, by Joe Wong, some rights reserved

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