A Time of Reward
Look, if you will, in verse 14 of this same chapter right now: “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive”—what? What? Say it. Are you here? Hello. He shall receive what?—“a reward”—“he shall receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:14).
Now, some people don’t believe in rewards. Some people have the idea when we all get to Heaven, everybody’s going to be the same and that God just homogenizes everybody rather than letting the cream rise to the top. But, I want you to understand that Heaven is a place—a specific reward. Not everybody’s going to be the same in Heaven. There is a doctrine of rewards.
Now, we’re not saved by works. I want that to be perfectly, crystal-clear. But, we are rewarded according to our works. Our works do not bring us to Heaven, but our works do follow us to Heaven. Put this verse down—“Revelation 14, verse 13”: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead [who] die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13). When you go to Heaven, your works just follow you to Heaven.
And, the Lord knows what kind of a stewardship that you’re practicing with your spiritual gift. Put down “Revelation 22, verse 12”: Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly”—now, listen—“and my reward is with me, to give [to] every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
Can it be clearer than that? “To give [to] every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). Or, let me give you a verse that makes absolutely no sense—none whatsoever—unless there are rewards in Heaven, and it is Matthew chapter 6 and verse 20: Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). Now, that verse makes no sense whatsoever if some don’t have more than others—treasure in Heaven. And then, Paul says in this verse, again—1 Corinthians 3:8: “every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” And, you see, there are a lot of obscure and what we call little saints down here that people don’t recognize, but they’re going to be recognized up there; and they’re going to be rewarded.
You know, I believe that many of the best pastors are not in the biggest churches. I believe some of the greatest preachers in the world are little crossroad churches, overworked, and underpaid, and working without a lot of resources. But, God keeps a record of those things, and God knows those things. And so, when God comes to give out the rewards, some of those pastors may be way up ahead of some other pastors and some other servants. You see, once God … Once there comes this revelation, God begins to divide the gold, and the silver, and the precious stones from the wood, hay, and the stubble. Then, things suddenly change, and rewards then are given out. And, sometimes people suffer, and they don’t see a lot of fruit.
Adrian Rogers, “The Judgment Seat of Christ,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), 1 Co 3:9–15.