Friday, June 8, 2012

Rewarded - Part 2

I left you last time with the words from Jesus out of Revelation 22:12 - “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” While I was writing, I started to think: Are we left in the dark concerning what these rewards are for? Does the Bible show us what exactly will be rewarded at the judgement seat of Christ? I began to look through the different passages where the Bible promises a reward and began to discover some things.

To review, we’ve already found out that we will stand before Jesus one day to account for the things we’ve done. We learned that, for a believer, this isn’t about destination - it’s about rewards. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 makes this clear: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

What I’ve found in my study is that there are two types of rewards for godly behavior:

There are certain passages that speak of rewards in this life. For example, “Honor your father and mother...that it may go well with you and that you’ll live long on the earth.” This is clearly a reward for here on earth - not necessarily before the throne of Jesus. “Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together, and running over; it will be poured into your lap.” Again, this is a reward that’s received in this life. This isn’t to say that honoring your parents and being generous won’t be rewarded in eternity, just that those specific rewards (i.e. life going well for you, people giving back to you) are given out on this side of eternity.

The other type of rewards are eternal. We’re not told what they are exactly, but we are told what kind of actions they will be given out for. This isn’t an exhaustive list  - there are probably others that you could find (if you do find some, please tell me in the comments!), but here are some of the things I’ve discovered that carry eternal rewards.

#1 - Clinging to, holding tightly, and treasuring God’s Word
Psalm 19:7-11 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
God’s law, testimony, statutes, commandments, and judgements are all contained in one place - His Word! Keeping God’s Word means so much more than obeying it! To keep it means to guard it, to treasure it, to give it a greater place in your life than anything else. There is a real reward that will be given to those who honor the Bible. I’m not talking about reading it once in awhile. I’m not talking about taking it to church with you. I’m not even talking about saying how much you honor it! There is a reward given to those who treasure every page of this book.

#2 - Living a righteous lifestyle
Proverbs 11:18 “The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.”
Psalm 58:11 “So that men will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely He is God who judges in the earth.’”
We know that we have been made righteous by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Now we stand before God blameless - righteous in position. But that is only the beginning! The more a believer grows, the more they should become righteous in behavior. This is where the reward lies.
Being made righteous is its own reward - in this life and in eternity. But a righteous lifestyle will bring other rewards when you’re standing before Jesus’ throne.

#3 - Being persecuted for the name of Jesus
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Luke 6:23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”
You shouldn’t get so upset when people pick on you, lie about you, and treat you wrongfully because you’re a believer. They’re actually doing a good thing for you - you’re going to be rewarded in heaven for what they’re doing! No wonder Acts 5:41 says that the apostles were “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name”!

#4 - How you treat your enemies
Proverbs 25:21-22 “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
We no longer have the luxury of nursing grudges. When we see our enemy (those who hate us, those who make our lives harder) in need, our response can’t be, “they deserved it.” When we’re humble enough to repay good to those who are evil toward us, it brings a reward! Sadly, this is one reward that many don’t want to pay the price for...

#5 - Ministering to kids
Matthew 10:42 NIrV “Suppose someone gives even a cup of cold water to a little one who follows me. What I'm about to tell you is true. That one will certainly be rewarded.”
As a kids pastor, this one is near to my heart. Over the course of many years I’ve seen people come and go from the kids ministry - a few have been faithful to stay, you know who you are! One thing I’ve always heard through the years is, “I don’t want to miss what’s going on in the main service.” If they really thought about it, they would understand: there isn’t one service going on in the sanctuary and another going on in the classroom! Those kids are part of the church of Jesus Christ! all you who have been faithful and persevering in your class, even when you’re the only one
To everyone who feels forgotten in an ocean of dirty diapers and loud lungs
To every volunteer who prepares for class in their personal time
To every minister who has bought juice and cookies from their own wallet
Don’t give up! Keep being faithful! God’s Word promises you this - there is a special reward that’s given to someone who cares for a child in Jesus’ name!

I had six or seven more to go...but this post is getting too long! To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment