Pressing On: Our heavenly calling
The current lockdown and quarantine measures have caused churches and Christians to take time to reflect on what God is doing. Also, we are challenged to consider preparing ourselves for our heavenly calling in Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-2 and Philippians 3: 10-14 speak to us afresh:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus
In the book of Revelation, we see Christ assessing and encouraging His church. It is a call for the last days Christians to be victorious as we battle the enemies of the faith. As the enemies of the Gospel double their efforts to make us fall and fail in our calling, we, with God’s power must be victorious in Him.
As we enter this time of reflection, we may want to prayerfully consider looking at the condition of our churches and give an honest assessment as Christ did.
The rapture will take up those who are still alive and are left (1 Thessalonians 4:15,17).
This refers to the faithful remnant who do not fall away and have been proven genuine through the fire of the time of sorrows (Matthew 24:8; 1 Peter 1:6,7)
It includes those who are victorious in Revelation 2: 7, 11,17,26 & 3:5,12,21). They will receive their rewards before the Judgement seat of Christ in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Some of the rewards will relate to the degree of ruling authority we will be granted during the Lord’s millennial reign (Luke 19:11-27). Others will consist of crowns and special robes. There will be a “crown of righteousness” for those who lived yearning for the return of Jesus (2 Timothy 4:7-8). A “crown of life” will be given to those who persevere under trial (Revelation 2:10 and James 1:12). Faithful leaders will receive a “crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4). Soul winners will be given a “crown of rejoicing” (Philippians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19). An “imperishable wreath” will be given to those who exercise self-control (1 Corinthians 9:25). Even the clothing we receive will indicate our degrees of reward. It will in some way reflect “the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8).
Let’s encourage one another—and even more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).