I may have said it at a funeral myself, "He is in Heaven now; receiving his reward." How could I get this that wrong?
A reward is given because of an accomplishment. A reward requires work. I have not worked my way to heaven. I have been given salvation through faith which has been given to me. I have an inheritance in heaven because I have been adopted as a child of God. Heaven is my inheritance; not my reward.
What about all those scriptures that speak of reward? They are talking about rewards in heaven not heaven being the reward.
Why don't we hear more of this in sermons? I believe it is because we don't really know how to deal with rewards in heaven. We like the picture of being fabulously wealthy while traveling streets of gold to our enormous mansions. Rewards in heaven would change all that. We are afraid that someone will have a bigger house or a nicer car in heaven. We are afraid that we might get penalized for treating someone hatefully. We like being forgiven. We hate being held accountable.
I am preaching on rewards in heaven this coming Sunday. I believe our entrance into heaven will change us. I don't believe we will treat some of the members of heaven like rock stars. God will be the central focus of heaven.
My works will not get me into heaven but they can give my Lord joy. Could I ask for more?
Jesus said that we should rejoice in the fact that our names are written in heaven. I do but that's not all. I serve because I love my Master. There is also a reward for that. I will please Him.