Monday, November 28, 2016

The Christian Reward(s)

Definition:  Reward = something given in return for service, work, faithfulness, or good deeds.  Not to confuse rewards with all the grace that comes from God.

On one hand, in the Greek, the word for reward was used primarily of wage, payment, compensation for work done.
However, in the New Testament, carries the idea that the service was NOT mandated, but 1) voluntarily performed and 2 voluntarily rewarded (beyond wages)

Heb. 6:10   Eph. 6:8   Matt. 16:27

Remember - rewards not to be confused with gifts of salvation (forgiveness, cleansing, reconciliation, adoption, eternal life, heavenly home)

His rewards appear somewhere between wage and gift  - (extra, additional compensation ... for a job "well done".)

I.  The Promise of Reward(s) - throughout the scriptures
Appears from Gen. 15:1 - Amplified - "I am your abundant compensation and your reward shall be exceedingly great"

to..... Rev. 22:12

II.  What are we rewarded for?

III.  What are we rewarded with?
Rewards are available to anyone who wants to serve Him, work for Him.

Rewarded for?  - Matt. 6:1 - umbrella = "acts of righteousness"
Examples = 1) generosity - Matt. 6:2-4
                   2)  prayer - Matt. 6:5-6
                   3)  fasting - Matt. 6:16-18

New Testament = rewards for faithfulness, obedience, service, righteous living, faithful witness, hospitality!!!  Matt. 10:40-42. (The bulk of scripture refer to rewards that come after death.)

Rewarded with?   language is often symbolic (therefore, illusive)
Example = the 7 churches in Revelation.
"to him who overcomes I will give.......
Rev. 2:7 - the right to eat of the tree of life
Rev. 2:11 - that he not be hurt by the second death
Rev. 2:17  - some of the hidden manna
Rev. 2:26 - authority over the nations
Rev. 3:12 - make him a pillar in the temple of God
Rev. 3:21 - the right to sit with Christ on His throne

Question:  Are these literal?  symbolic?  Clearly they are precious rewards given for faithfulness!!!

CROWNS" - James - "crown of life"
                      Paul - "crown of righteousness"
                      Peter - "crown of glory"
                      Paul - a victor's crown "that will last forever"
Note:  Rev. 4:9-11 led to idea to "Casting Crowns" - Christian group

Whatever else may be - Rewards clearly include:
1)  Recognition of our Service (to Christ) - He won't forget
2) the Praise of Christ (for that service) - is an awesome thing that the Creator would praise us!
Illustration:  Matt. 25:19-21 - Talents - KJV - "enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"

With the promises ALSO come warnings - 2 John 1:8, Heb. 10:35-36, Rev. 3:11
Vividly described by Paul --- 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10

Question:  Is the desire, anticipation of reward(s) acceptable motivation?? (to serve, work, etc.)
MRP answer = probably!!  Because 1)  Jesus is the One who "dangles the carrot" (of rewards) - His teaching, His promises
and, 2) we are human (are we capable of pure, unselfish motives?)

Nonetheless, seems clear what should be our motivation: 
ie:  LOVE - for Christ (reverence, gratitude, appreciation)
 -  for our fellow man ie:  (good Samaritan)
 - for the Kingdom - here and now, as well as there and then
Col. 3:23-24

Question:  can a person serve Christ before accepting, recognizing Him?!
MRP experience/testimony = I did (OR at least attempted to!!)

Point = some here who believe ...
                             who want to honor Christ
                             who attempt to serve Him .....
BUT - hesitate to take the final step!!

Challenge - IF you know .... IF you are sure ... WHY WAIT?
Why not .... Make it final ... make it Public?

For all of us --- 1 Cor. 15:58

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