This is the end of my lesson based on Steve Berger's book "Between Heaven and Earth". The book is available on Amazon.
Jesus tells four parables in
Matthew 24 and 25. This is at the end of His life. He knows he’s leaving soon,
so you know what He’s telling His disciples at this point is extra important.
The first is Matthew 24:44-51. A
parable showing a contrast between a faithful and an evil servant. The faithful
servant worked in expectation of his master’s return. The evil servant was all
about “now” and himself.
The second parable is the wise
and foolish virgins. Matthew 25:1-13. The wise ones kept the oil burning
waiting for the bridegroom. The foolish ones weren’t prepared. They didn’t know
the truth of the Word and wasted time and energy on foolish things.
The third parable is the Parable
of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-50. This one goes even further in explaining
how important serving in the harvest is to Jesus. One day there will be a
settling of accounts. The 5 and 2 talent workers were wise because they took
what their lord gave them and worked hard. They doubled what they’d been given.
And their lord rewarded them with more. This is where he says, “Well done, good
and faithful servant.” The one talent
worker was unthankful, bitter and rebellious. He was an excuse maker. And he
was cast out into darkness. The last parable is the sheep and goats in Matthew
25:37- 46. The people represented as sheep served the last, the least and the
lost. Because of their faithfulness
Jesus invited them in. They loved God, they loved people and their love for people
manifested itself in serving others. By doing that they were actually seeing
Jesus. The people representing goats were in trouble. They rejected serving
other people and God and Jesus took their reward away. (Not truly saved!)
Remember the 1 Corinthians
3:10-15 passage mentioned earlier? Paul tells us that God is entrusting work to
us. Then it is to be tested by Him. That work will either be something of
eternal value or not. Enduring work will receive a reward. Work that is burned
will be a loss. There will be a final accounting and how we serve will
determine our rewards in Heaven. The very Christ we serve here is the One we
will stand before in judgment. That shouldn’t distress us if we’ve been doing
His work and look forward to His return. Every person we serve, everyone with
whom we share Jesus, and every moment we spend praying with someone whose life
is broken is a treasure stored up for us in heaven. It’s part of our reward.
Let me end with a couple
promises about heaven.
In John 14:2 Jesus tells us that
in His Father’s house there are many mansions. If you are a believer one of
these is yours!
Jeremiah 31:33 “This is the covenant
I will make with the people of Israel after that time,”
declares the Lord. “I will put my law in
their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” This verse makes it clear that God wants to be among
us. Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling
place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his
people, and God himself will be with them and be their God shows the fulfillment of this promise. Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every
tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or
pain, for the old order of things has passed away. shows God’s promise of happiness.
God gives us hope in Revelation 21:5-6 – hope
because His promises are absolutely true and faithful. He who was seated on
the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He
said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the
End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water
Colossians 1:4-5 God’s promises of heaven are reserved for
you. They give you hope and that hope causes you to reach out in love for all
God’s people. It’s a calling based on His promises.
James 2:17-18 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is
not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have
faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith
without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
Our faith makes a difference in what we do. Real
faith is accompanied by works. Faith in action. Get in His Word, let the Holy
Spirit guide and lead you into the harvest. See the need, have compassion and
meet it. Live a profitable life for Jesus right now – it’s not too late. And
you’ll discover the joy of heaven, the joy of serving others and the joy of
seeing other people receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.