Monday, June 11, 2012

Rewarded - Part 3

Isaiah 40:10 “Behold, the Lord Yahweh shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

There will be a day when every believer will stand before the throne of Jesus to be judged for what they have done after their salvation. This is not a judgement to decide Heaven or Hell - that was already decided in the moment you gave your life to Him. No, this judgement is to determine our eternal rewards.

Last time, we discovered five things that the Bible specifically says bring rewards. But there’s even more! You see, God is a very rewarding God! I believe He’s given us opportunity after opportunity to earn (that’s right, I said earn!) rewards! Salvation is free by grace, but that same grace will push us to do “good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

So here are a few more things I’ve in God’s Word that bring a reward. Again, this list is by no means exhaustive...and if you find any more, let me know! Remember, these acts bring rewards to the believer - but you cannot earn salvation by them! Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone!

#1 - When you do an act of love in secret and without recognition
Matthew 6:3-4 “But when you do a charitable deed (loving act), do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
If, after you’ve spent a lot of time and energy helping someone, you get upset because no one recognized your effort - you may want to examine your priorities! When you do a “charitable deed” without getting the credit, your reward is far greater than anything you could receive here on earth!

#2 - A sincere and diligent prayer life
Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
The day’s coming when we’ll know who really had a healthy prayer life and who didn’t!

#3 - True fasting
Matthew 6:17-18 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
The kind of fasting that brings a reward doesn’t announce itself. It doesn’t play the “rules game” - that is, “Can I drink broth? Can I eat soup? Can I keep a hard candy in my mouth? Should I only drink water?”
According to Jesus’ own words - if other people know you’re fasting, you’re doing something wrong. Don’t complain about how hungry you are. Don’t engage in theatrics when someone invites you out to lunch. Keep your fast between you and God, and you’ll get the reward from it!

#4 - Accepting a prophet (or any other minister of the Gospel) for the sake of their office, regardless of their personality
Matthew 10:41 “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
I believe Jesus was showing us how to receive from a preacher, even when his personality doesn’t “click” with our own. He said, “When you receive a prophet because he’s a prophet (not because you like his style) you’ll receive the same reward as he does!”
Don’t get caught up in styles and personalities in ministry. Your focus should be on Jesus Christ and His calling. When you’re sitting in a church service that’s less than exciting, refuse to let your emotions steal what’s being ministered! You don’t have to be bored - you can choose to listen to what is being said, in spite of how it’s being said.

#5 - Preaching/Spreading the Gospel
1 Corinthians 9:16-17 NIrV “But when I preach the good news, I can't brag. I have to preach it. How terrible it will be for me if I do not preach the good news! If I preach because I want to, I get a reward. If I preach because I have to, I'm only doing my duty.”
Firstly, you have to open your mouth and preach the Gospel. You can’t stay silent! Your friends, your family, your coworkers may die today...where would they go? If they end up in Hell, would it be because they’ve never heard the good news of Jesus Christ?
Secondly, you have to preach the Gospel willingly. Don’t keep putting it off and putting it off until you finally feel so guilty and convicted that you have to tell them about Jesus. That may be good for them (they finally get to hear the message of Jesus!), but what’s the reward in that? That’s only doing your duty.
Instead, you should be excited to tell others about Jesus! And why wouldn’t you be? This is the greatest thing the world has ever known, and anyone can get in on it! So let’s do this because we want to, not because we have to!

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