The Lord Jesus promises that we’ll reign with him, if we suffer for him. He’s promised us the reward of heaven, for our little time of faithfulness on earth. He will resurrect us from the dead to be the envy of our enemies. Hold on to this gospel with hope. Your joy will be full.
First, our enemies are going to see us resurrected from the dead, and ascending to heaven [vs7-13]. "Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them." At the last trumpet, the Lord Jesus will descend from the heavens, and take us with him. Thus, we shall ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 - "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."
All those who’ve persecuted us, and rejected this gospel, shall be astonished and horrified. They will know that he is Lord, and we have confessed him properly. They’ll know that they are the greatest of fools.
Those who would not trade places with us in time will wish to be us forever. They laughed, mocked, and ignored, but now terror will seize them. They didn’t want his Lordship, but they’ll desperately want his salvation: Only, it will be too late! Just like the door of the ark shut before the rain fell, even so, on this great day, it will be TOO LATE to cry out for mercy [Gen 7:16]. Oh, cry out now, while you can. Look to the Lord Jesus, and serve him.
Secondly, the reign of Jesus is eternal [vs14-15]! "Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."" He suffered on earth, just like we must, but he shall have his enemies in the grinder, while his people rejoice. All of his tears have been wiped away, and he’s entered his eternal reward.
It is the same for us. A little suffering here leads to eternal rejoicing. We will be pleased beyond measure in Paradise. No longer will we be looked upon as fools. Smoke and the suffering will ascend from the pit, while we’re forever satisfied. Our Lord said,
Luke 6:21-23 - "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets."
Oh, great is our reward in heaven. Our tears will be wiped away, and our joy will be full. We were wise, and built for eternity, while they were foolish. We have all our agony now, and then no more forever. They will weep, and gnash their teeth, while we sing songs of praise. They’ll forever be in torment, while thrill and satisfaction fills us. There is a reward for the righteous! Psalm 58:10- "The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked." He’s a God who judges in the earth.
Hold out, dear saints. Don’t give up. Don’t count your sufferings worth bragging about, unless you use them to teach others, like Paul [2 Cor 11-12]. We have suffered nothing, compared to what we’ve been spared. 2 Corinthians 4:17 - "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." We could never earn what we’ve been given, if we died a thousand deaths. It is wonderful beyond measure that we will reign with Christ. Eternity will unfold his glory, and they’ll be no higher creature. He’ll sit at the right hand of God, forever worshiped, as God in the flesh, our glorious redeemer. He’ll see us all rejoicing, and his joy will be full. He will not have lost a single one, and his love will forever be satisfied. One thing a loving person demands, even more than his own happiness, is the happiness of his dear one. It is so with Jesus: Seeing us will make his heart brim, as we’re clean, holy, and happy. Zephaniah 3:17 - "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." We’ll likewise sing his praises in unblemished purity, and he will receive us. Look to what’s coming, and rejoice. Our sufferings are momentary, and joy is eternal.
Thirdly, everyone, both small and great, will be rewarded [vs16-19]. The Lord Jesus doesn’t only reward the mighty and the noteworthy. We all have the exact same reward as Paul, which is the crown of perfect righteousness. 2 Timothy 4:8 - "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." We all receive the crown of life, because we endure to the end [James 1:12]. The thief on the cross and the virgin Mary enter the same Paradise at the right hand of God. We shall all see his face, because we shall all be like him [1 John 3:2].
Our entrance to heaven is the blood of Jesus, and our works follow us [Rev 14:13]. We’ll thank God and remember what we’ve done on earth, but we’re not accepted because of it. Imputed righteousness has one the day, and we’ll all be equally holy. We’ll rejoice over everyone that we influenced into the kingdom, but the smallest soul winner will have the joy of the greatest! Matthew 20:16 - "So the last will be first, and the first last."
There’ll be no tears in Paradise. Our sins - all of them - were punished at the cross. We’ll receive varying degrees of thankfulness, but we’ll all be satisfied. Therefore, don’t look upon yourself as second class. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor, or how few knew of you on earth. Christ’s blood was shed for you, as much as any other believer, and you have the exact same inheritance right now. Labor because you love him, not to get some higher place in heaven. You're seated with Christ, which is as high as it gets [Eph 2:6].
Finally, bless God for this glorious gospel. Bless him for a little suffering, and then enter the fullness of the kingdom. Hold out in hope for the joy that’s coming!
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