By: Bible Teacher - Herman Parks
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the going home of Lonnie Harrington. First but not foremost, Lonnie went home on Friday 20 June. The body of Christ lost a wonderful man of God. His life was celebrated on 28 June at 1100 at 914 Scenic Hwy in Lawrenceville Georgia. The church was packed with standing room only. Nevertheless, as people left others came in to take their place. He was remembered by many.
Our brother Lonnie was a former pastor, church elder, master musician, who helped many church bodies with music, he was a member of the board of directors of the Whole Body of Christ Alliance, a teacher, a speaker, a husband and father. He will never be replaced, but he will always be missed. "He was the one that was always so gentle and sweet," said an older lady who knew him well. I tell you these things so that you might know what things were important to Lonnie.
Nevertheless, and foremost, the primary purpose of this gathering was not to comfort the family, nor was it to celebrate Lonnie's life. It was for those of us who are among the living. It was, to cause us to reflect more seriously of our own inevitable end. Lonnie went home to be with the Lord. One day I pray that you too will do the same. His destiny is written in stone. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: What judgment? Christians are not judged unto salvation at the "Great White Throne Judgment". They have already been judged righteous. That is why they are home with the Lord. Nevertheless, on the Day of Judgment, they will be judged as to what rewards they will receive.
Securing a place with the Lord is just the beginning of our journey. At the point of salvation we are accepted of the Lord. After that comes the rest of our lives. What do we do now? Paul said it this way in 1 John 5:13.
1 John 5:13.
The knowledge of you having eternal life doesn't come when you get to heaven. It comes now in this world. To be more precise, eternal life itself starts in this world, but that is another story for another day. I am trying to get to our reflecting more seriously on our own inevitable end.
Paul went on to say in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10:
Paul went on to say in 1 Corinthians 3:8-15:
Paul was using a physical truth to illustrate a spiritual truth.
This verse shows that even our smallest acts of kindness will be rewarded. As revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:13, every person's work shall be tried to determine "what sort it is," not what size it is. Many people who have never done anything to gain the attention of the masses will shine bright in the day when the Lord passes out His rewards.
Some of the Lord's rewards for our actions come in this life, such as children, financial blessings, health, etc. However, some of our rewards will not be realized until we stand before God. This is the case with the reward for enduring persecution (Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23).
Hebrews 10:35 says "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward". Hebrews 10:35 says "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me." As stated in Matthew 10:41; rewards can be shared by those who aid others in their righteous tasks. Again many of the rewards for ministering the Gospel will not come until we appear before the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:8-13, which speaks to works will be tested by fire, and above 1 Corinthians 9:17, which speaks to what was the motive behind the works.
Our good deeds that would normally be rewarded by our Father can be voided if we do them seeking the praise of people (Matthew 6:1-4). We can also receive a partial reward (2 John 8).
Those (ungodly) who are not in the kingdom of God will receive no rewards even though some of their actions might have been good (Proverbs 24:20). Rewards are only for those who have been cleansed from their evil deeds by the blood of the Lamb. Regardless of what these rewards shall be, there will not be any exalting of self over another. 1 Corinthians 4:7 says, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" The twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:10 are shown casting their crowns (which are rewards) down before the Lord and giving all their praise and worship to Him.
Most people today are preoccupied with quantity of ministry instead of quality of ministry. Yet Paul said that the Lord is going to reward us based on how well we did, not how much we did.
In keeping with Paul's illustration, some people will stand before the Lord with huge houses that will be reduced to rubble after God rejects the building materials they used (works of the flesh). Others who never gained acclaim here on earth because they never did any big, important works will be greatly rewarded because they faithfully fulfilled what the Lord called them to do (Luke 12:48).
In summary, the primary purpose of the funeral gathering was not for Lonnie nor was it to celebrate his victory, nor to console the family. Rather it was to cause us to reflect more seriously on our own inevitable end. How often do we watch funeral processions going through the streets or even take part in the funeral procession and carry the casket and then go home and fuss and fight with our brothers and sisters and even our spouses. Why are we Christians so easily offended? Why do we not realize that our unwillingness to suffer loss now, will only result in our suffering the loss of our rewards in the world to come? By and by Lord when the morning comes, we'll tell the story of how we have overcome. Blessed be the name of the Lord.