Cycling is a sport with some crazy prizes.  There’s a race in France where the winner gets a piglet.  Wow – what do the losers get? 

In the Paris-Roubaix race they give the winner a cobblestone which was part of the pavement from the race.  Gee that’s nice. 

However, in the classic Hairibo race in France, the winner gets their body weight in gummy bears.  OK I’m in!

In Bema seat – part 1, we found that Christians will one day stand before Christ and be rewarded for the manner in which we have lived our lives.  (2 Corinthians 5:10-11; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

So, what is this reward and is it worth it?

The victor will be given crowns

James 1:12 speaks of those who “will receive the crown of life…”   The Greek word for crown is “stephanos” better known as the Victor’s Crown.  This was a wreath made of olive or ivy branches which was given to honor a military or sports victory.  It was worn on the head.  

There are 5 different situations where a victor’s wreath could be won 1) There is the Crown of rejoicing (1 Th. 2:19; Phil 4:1) which consists of the people we have led to Christ. 2) and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:1-4) given to those who have labored to care for and disciple other Christians.  

3) And the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:6-8) given to those who live their lives in the light of Christ’s return, 4) the crown of Life is given to those who lose their life for the cause of Christ (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10)  5) and the crown of mastery (1 Cor. 9:24-27) for the one who faithfully completes the race of faith       

Now before you cast your ivy hat in the trash, let’s consider this.  In the first century a crown represented ruling authority

The victor will rule with Christ

When Christ returns, He will rule this earth for a thousand years. He will invite believers to participate with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?”  2 Tim 2:12 says, “If we endure, we will also reign with him.”  The believer who squanders their heritage today will be privileged to live and dwell in the Kingdom, but the believer who lives for Christ shall rule alongside Him.

The victor will receive commendation

To the victor, Jesus, Himself will one day say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) We all have our various love languages.  Mine is words of praise. Anticipating Jesus’ commendation motivates me way more than winning my weight in gummy bears. 

So what do we do about the Bema seat?

At graduation all of us got a prized piece of parchment. Among us were some who received special honors for stellar grades and college scholarships.  The Bema seat will be a graduation day of great rejoicing for all of us but it may be tinged with some regret for those who didn’t make a greater effort.

I have a container of foreign coins I have accumulated through my travels.  The money has value in the country where it was issued, but no practical value to me in the US.  Heaven is kind of like that.  We can accumulate lots of stuff down here.   But when we get there it will no longer have value.  We need to work to obtain an inheritance today, that will mean something when we get to heaven

Bruce Wilkinson, the founder of Walk Through the Bible told this story.  He spoke at a conference where he met a 9-year-old boy named Will.  Will asked Bruce to donate to his mission project? 

Bruce asked, “What’s the money for?”  He said, “It’s for people who live in the jungles so they can hear about Jesus.”  

Bruce said “OK but I have one rule: You have to give first.  I will match and multiply whatever you first give.”

Will’s eyes were as big as saucers then his face fell.  Bruce asked, “Don’t you like my idea?”  “Yes!”  “So, what are you going to do?” 

Will said “Nothing! I already gave everything I had.”  “You mean you put all your money in your own fund drive.    Will nodded yes.

Bruce said, “Will, I have another rule.  If you give everything, I will give everything too.  As it happened, he had just been to the bank and had withdrawn a considerable amount of money with which to finance his trip.  He opened his briefcase and gave a huge stack of cash to Will. 

I think the Bema seat will be a lot like that.  We sacrificially give and serve today, what little we have, only to receive a ridiculously lavish reward from Jesus in the future.  Serve Him.  You will never be sorry.

A PRAYER: Oh, Jesus give me the heart of Will    

This has been Jim Johnson will

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you   

Scripture references are from the NETBible ®