Monday, July 24th, 2017
Final exams don’t bring back a lot of good memories for me. How about you?
Ken Blanchard is a well-known American author and management expert, with over 60 books published on leadership and management. He also has taught these topics in universities. He tells the story that he always hands out the final on the first day of the course, as well as the answers. As a result, all of his students get A’s. “After all,” he says, “isn’t it our goal to help the students learn and succeed?”
Now that’s my kind of final. What about you? If you give me the questions and the answers that are going to be on the test, I probably could ace it too.
It sure sounds like the Apostle Paul knew the answers to the final when he wrote this to Timothy:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Paul was certain he would have the crown of righteousness when he stood before the Lord. How could he be so sure that he had done that well? Because he knew the answers to the final.
He understood that there would be a final exam even for believers in Jesus Christ. He referred to it as “that day”—that day when every believer will stand before Jesus individually to account for what they have done that mattered for eternity. Paul had lived for that day and not for today.
Our time on earth as followers of Jesus Christ is the time we have to prepare for that final exam. In the Bible we are told exactly what will be on the exam. The Bible tells us, “If you do this, you’ll receive certain rewards.” That’s why Paul was confident. He had listened to Jesus and then patterned his life around the things that Jesus said would be on the final; therefore, at the end, he could be certain he would be rewarded.
I want to examine the questions and answers that will be on our final exam, when we stand before Jesus on that day. It will help us live with an eternal perspective.
Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
Did you know the Bible teaches that all believers in Jesus Christ will have a final examination when we’re in Heaven? It’s true—there will be a day when each of us will stand before Jesus to give an account for our stewardship of our time, money, skills, and love, and there will be certain rewards for things we’ve done. The good news is that the Bible tells us exactly what is going to be on that final test and how we can be certain that we will pass with flying colors and hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Here are some of the questions on that final test:
Have you been persecuted because of your stand and devotion to Jesus Christ?
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
We read again in James 1:12 the following:
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
We know there are many Christians in other parts of the world today who are truly persecuted, even killed, for their faith. Their crown is waiting for them. Even though we may not live under such persecution, if we have suffered for our stand for Christ, we will pass this question on the final exam.
Have you ever been fired for your faith; been ostracized by your family or friends because of your faith; taken a clear stand that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, regardless of the ridicule or isolation it may cause? This a question that will be on the final, and if you can confidently say, “Yes, I was faithful even in persecution,” you will receive a reward.
Have you made wise and eternal investments—investments that are stored up in heaven?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
We have two bank accounts: one on earth and one in heaven. We can put deposits in either one. On the final exam, we will be asked for an accounting of where we put our treasures. We’ve heard it said, “Just follow the money.” Following what we’ve done with our money on earth will be on the final exam.
Are you investing in eternity, or not?
Wednesday, July 26th, 2017
I am giving you answers to your final, a preview of what will be on your final exam in Heaven. Now, I should explain that this final exam is for those who are Christ-followers and have been born from above through faith in Jesus. The Bible teaches that Christians will have a final exam in Heaven as we will each have to give an account to Jesus for how we used our resources while here on earth. The good news is that the Bible gives us some insight into what will be important on this final exam.
For example, one question will have to do with our motivation: Did you do what you did for Jesus?
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:3-4)
Jesus is talking about doing good for the right reasons—because we truly wanted to help others rather than trying to impress anyone. Jesus said we will be rewarded for that kind of generosity.
Again in that same chapter, Jesus says this:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Jesus said that those who give to the poor or pray and fast for public acknowledgement will get no reward in heaven for it, for they cared more for earthly rewards than for heavenly ones.
Here’s another question on the final exam: Did you love unlovable people; did you love your enemies?
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great. (Luke 6:35)
Got any unlovable people in your life right now? Maybe even some enemies who are deliberately trying to do you harm? If you can love them with the love of Jesus, you will do well on the final exam.