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GOD REWARDS THE FAITHFUL
Victor M. Eskew
A. A verse with which most Christians are familiar is Revelation 2:10b.
…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
1. In this verse we learn that faithfulness is tied to a crown of life.
2. In essence, we are taught that God rewards the faithful.
B. Other verses teach us this lesson also.
1. Hebrews 10:35
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
2. Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
C. In this lesson, we want to develop the theme: “God Rewards the Faithful.”
I. WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FAITHFUL
A. A simple definition of faithful is found within the word itself, one who is full of faith.
B. Faith involves the trust and the confidence that one puts in another person. For the Christian, that person is God.
C. According to Romans 10:17, our faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
1. Man has confidence in God because of who He is (Tit. 1:2).
2. Thus, he hears what God has to say and puts his full trust in God’s words.
a. If God speaks facts, the individual believes them.
b. If God speaks promises, the individual embraces them.
c. If God speaks commands, the individual obeys them.
II. OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT CONTRASTS
A. Cain and Abel
1. Early in the Bible, God gives us a contrast between faithfulness and unfaithfulness in a story about two brothers, Cain and Abel
a. These were the sons of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4:1-2a).
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel.
b. “And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground” (Gen. 4:2b).
2. The faithfulness of the two men was tested in the worship of God.
a. The two offerings:
1) Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord (Gen. 4:3).
a) He appears to be sincere.
b) He brought from that which his hands had produced.
c) It was definitely something that cost him.
2) “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof” (Gen. 4:4a).
a) Abel was sincere.
b) He brought from that which he worked with his hands.
c) His sacrifice cost him something.
b. The reaction by God (Gen. 4:4b-5a).
And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
1) What caused God to react in this manner?
a) Both appeared in the presence of God.
b) Both were sincere.
c) Both offerings cost the worshiper something.
2) The text indicates that Cain had not done well (Gen. 4:6-7a).
And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?
3) It is not until we come to Hebrews 11, that we find the real answer to God’s reaction (Heb. 11:4).
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
a) Abel was faithful. Cain was not.
b) Abel heard the Word of God and complied therewith. Cain did not.
3. Abel was rewarded in that God accepted his sacrifice and counted him to be righteous. He did not reward Cain. He rejected his offering completely.
B. Five, two and one talent men (Matt. 25:14-30)
1. Three servants were given talents by their master to be used while he went on a journey (Matt. 25:14-15).
2. The five and two talent men traded and doubled their talents (Matt. 25:16-17).
3. The one talent man dug in the earth and hid his talent (Matt. 25:18).
4. “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them” (Matt. 25:19).
a. The five and two talent men were commended and rewarded (Matt. 25:21, 23).
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
b. The one talent man was rebuked and cast into outer darkness with his talent being removed from him (Matt. 25:26, 28, 30).
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed…Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath talents…And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
C. A one verse contrast (Rev. 11:18)
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
1. Give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name small and great.
2. Destroy them which destroy the earth.
III. MANY EXAMPLES OF GOD REWARDING THE FAITHFUL
A. Three popular examples:
1. Enoch was translated and did not see death
a. Gen. 5:21-24, esp. v. 24
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
b. Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he walked with God.
2. Abraham was so faithful, that he was known as “the father of the faithful” (Rom. 4:11, 16).
a. Faith manifested:
1) Left his home to sojourn in a strange land
2) Trusted God would give him a son
3) Carried out the command of circumcision
4) When to Moriah to offer Isaac as a burnt offering
5) The seed promise
b. Statements about Abraham’s faith in Romans 4.
1) “Who against hope believed in hope…” (v. 18).
2) “And being not weak in faith…” (v. 19).
3) “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief…” (v. 20)
4) “…but was strong in faith” (v. 20).
5) “And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (v. 21).
c. He, too, is found in “The Hall of Fame of the Faithful” (Heb. 11).
1) By faith he obeyed God, “and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (v. 8)
2) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise” (v. 9)
3) “These all died in faith” (v. 13)
4) “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac” (v. 17).
d. Did God reward Abraham?
1) He was brought to the land of promise even though he himself never truly possessed the land (Heb. 11:9).
2) He did become the father of a great nation, the nation of Israel. They did not hesitate to call Abraham their father (John 8:39).
3) The seed of Abraham was ultimately born into the world and through Him all the earth was blessed (Gal. 3:16).
4) He has gone on to ultimately possess that city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10).
3. The apostle Paul was faithful.
a. Statements of faith
1) “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection (I Cor. 9:27).
2) “For to me to live is Christ…” (Phil. 1:21).
3) Philippians 3:13-14
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
4) “…nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Tim. 1:12).
b. His reward (II Tim. 4:6-8)
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
B. Three unnamed individuals whose faith was rewarded.
1. The Centurion (Matt. 8:10, 13)
When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel…And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
a. The centurion had a servant who was sick at home. He had enough faith to first come to Jesus. (Mat. 8:5-6).
b. Jesus offered to come and heal him (Matt. 8:7).
c. The centurion acknowledged his unworthiness to have Jesus in his home. He also knew that by simply speaking the word Jesus had the authority to make his servant well.
d. It was that faith that Jesus both commended and rewarded.
2. The Syrophoenician woman (Matt. 15:28)
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
a. This woman of Canaan had the faith to come to Jesus (Matt.15:22).
b. She had enough faith to plead for His mercy (Matt. 15:22).
c. She had enough faith to make her plea the second time (Matt. 15:25).
d. Her third response to the Master finally brought reward to her faith (Matt. 15:27).
3. The woman with an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-44, 48)
And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind, him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood staunched…And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
a. This woman had enough faith to come to Jesus (Luke 8:44).
b. She also had enough faith to realize that all she needed to do was get close enough to touch his garment (Luke 8:44).
IV. JESUS’ FAITH WAS REWARDED
A. Everyone who truly knows Jesus knows that He was faithful to His Father.
1. As He grew (Luke 2:52).
2. At the temple at the age of twelve (Luke 2:49).
3. When He was baptized (Matt. 3:13-17).
4. When He was tempted (Matt. 4:1-11).
5. In His teaching (John 12:49).
6. In His observance of the Law (John 8:29)
7. When He yielded Himself to be crucified (Luke 22:41-42).
B. Was He rewarded? (Eph. 1:20-23)
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.
1. He was raised from the dead.
2. He was placed on the right hand of God.
3. He was put far above earthly and heavenly powers.
4. He was given a name that is above all names.
5. All things were placed under Him
6. He was made the head of the body which is the church
V. THE REWARDS GIVEN TO THE FAITHFUL
A. In this life:
1. A happy live (Matt. 5:1-12)
a. Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes.
b. Each one of them begins with the word “blessed.”
c. The definition of the word is “happy.” Those who practice the things Jesus sets forth will find true happiness in life.
2. An animated life (John 10:10)
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
3. Answered prayer (Matt. 7:7)
Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
4. A fellowship with God’s people (I Pet. 1:22)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeign love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
5. Providential care (Matt. 6:33)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
6. Deliverance (II Pet. 2:9)
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.
7. Hope (Rom. 12:12)
Rejoicing in hope…
B. In the world to come:
1. Rest from their labors (Rev. 14:13)
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.
2. Resurrection from the dead (I Thess. 4:15-16)
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
3. A glorified body (Phil. 3:21)
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
4. Eternal life (Rom. 6:23)
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
5. Fellowship with God forever (I Thess. 4:17).
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
6. An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away (I Pet. 1:4).
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.
a. A crown of life (Rev. 2:10)
b. A crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:8)
c. A crown of glory (I Pet. 5:4)
A. In the New Testament, the word “reward” is found 36 times in 35 verses. Twenty-three of them have reference to the reward that the Lord will give His faithful followers in the Last Day.
B. John gives us some very good advice in II John 8 about obtaining our reward.
Look to yourselves that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
C. Before we close, we want to remind ourselves of what rewards indicate.