Today I want to remind us of the REWARDS that come with this way of life and try to put our current situation and circumstances into perspective.
Accentuate the positive…
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing [rewards] and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
Psalms 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalms 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Following God’s Way is the Key
Deuteronomy 15:5 only if you carefully obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today.
Deuteronomy 15:6 For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
Deuteronomy 15:7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother,
Deuteronomy 15:8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.
Deuteronomy 15:9 Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you.
Deuteronomy 15:10 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.
Rewards come from this way of life
The difference between a reward and a gift
Reward: Something given or received in recompense for worthy behavior or in retribution for evil acts.
Gift: Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
Now that we have that straight let’s notice that there is a:
Correlation between WORK and REWARD
Here are some of the works we are to be doing, but note what the recompense for them is:
Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
Luke 6:29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.
Luke 6:30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.
Luke 6:31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luke 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
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.
Luke 6:36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
This is the way a son of acts and it is what it takes to become a son of God for eternity. God wants us to be doing the job, before we get the job.
in 2 John 1:8 and we will see that a reward is the return for performance of a desired behavior; it is a positive reinforcement.
2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves [and not to deceivers is the context here], that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
We do not want to undo the good that we have done by not staying the path and enduring to the end.
We have been told that there will be something at the end our journey and we see this in:
Revelation 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly [Christ at His return], and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
There is NO DOUBT then that REWARDs come from our WORK
The next question then is do we recognize them?
One of the biggest faults (that I came across) of those that left the church was that they didnt recognize the rewards for keeping the law of God. They felt the law was a burden and a weight had been lifted and they were now free to: Eat unclean food; Work on the Sabbath; Worship on other days; fill in the blank
These things were done because they felt the law was a burden instead of rewarding.
Our focus today is not on the requirements of keeping the law of God and the Commandments, though we will see this as we go through the scriptures.
It’s not my intent to reiterate the fact that works are necessary, but rather that there are rewards for this way of life. But as we go along you will see that they are inextricably linked.
What are the Rewards?
Immediate and Long term – Of This Life Time
Some of the rewards that we receive are now and some occur now and continue through our life and others happen after continued living Gods way of life.
One of the things that we tend to overlook, and is found in Mark 10, is that we are currently being rewarded
Beginning in verse 28 we Peter is feeling a little cheated, a little like what’s in it for me
Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
Mark 10:29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
Mark 10:30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
One of the first things that we can notice is that Our Needs Will Be Met
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
What things → Matthew 6:25-34
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Matthew 6:28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
Matthew 6:29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6:30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matthew 6:32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This is a blessing just to have our basic needs met. By contrast look at the world around us. The third world. It has been this way for a long time. Persistent hunger; lack of food and nutrition; potable water
So looking back on these things who has not had these things as God has PROMISED?
The next category is:
God is not opposed to blessing us with wealth…it is just a matter of whether it fits in with His will and whether or not we can handle it. God would love to give us many things but He will not tempt us with more than we can bear.
Bad examples of today: Athletes, Actors, Singers, etc. How many have we seen who believe they are something special because of their money and fame…and it eventually leads them down some road of self-destruction (alcohol, drugs, etc)
But it doesn’t have to be this way
Examples of the wealth of in the Bible (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Job)
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Next we see that this began with Isaac
Genesis 24:34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.
Genesis 24:35 The LORD has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.
Genesis 24:36 And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and to him he has given all that he has.
Genesis 26:1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.
2 Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Jacob (His Agreement with Laban)
Genesis 30:25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country.
Genesis 30:26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service which I have done for you.”
Genesis 30:27 And Laban said to him, “Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.”
Genesis 30:28 Then he said, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.”
Genesis 30:29 So Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me.
Genesis 30:30 For what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I also provide for my own house?”
Genesis 30:31 So he said, “What shall I give you?”
And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks:
Genesis 30:32 Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and these shall be my wages.
Genesis 30:33 So my righteousness will answer for me in time to come, when the subject of my wages comes before you: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the lambs, will be considered stolen, if it is with me.”
Genesis 30:43 Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
God continued to bless the descendants of Abraham all the way down to us today.
Jacob became Israel
He had 12 sons that became the Israelites
This passed on through Joseph to his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh
to the great nation and company of nations – the US and UK today
We are now the beneficiaries of this promise of blessings today!
Job 1:1-3 1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
Job 1:2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him.
Job 1:3 Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.
Then came the lesson that was more important than the physical wealth
Job 42:12-17 12 Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had [twice as much as he had before] fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. [the same number and configuration that he had before; 10 more] 14 And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. 15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. 17 So Job died, old and full of days.
What are the rewards of wealth? I am sure that we have all thought about ways to make our life more enjoyable and comfortable. God is not opposed to this if we put first things first…that is prioritize God at the top of the list.
Even with a cursory examination of his life and wealth, he ranks as one of the richest men ever.
Do we think of this as a reward? If we treat our body as the temple of God, observe the health laws of the Bible and trust in God for the rest, we will give ourselves every opportunity to be healthy.
Exodus 15:26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
If we don’t follow the instructions of the Bible then we may find out the hard way!
1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1 Corinthians 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1 Corinthians 11:30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
Ties into Passover
Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Psalms 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
You can’t buy good health – it is a tremendous blessing from God in the short term and long term.
Example: There are many powerful people who had the money and resources to try and buy health.
Good health is truly a blessing and reward for us today
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
We are the sum of our thoughts
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
What is there to be afraid of?
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Enemy of faith
1 Timothy 4:2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
Grow hardened and calloused
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Focus, Perspective, Faith, Self-control, Peace of mind, comfort, hope, all guided by the holy spirit
Marriage and Family
consequences of divorce
kids likely to divorce
But if done right…it can be one of the greatest blessings.
Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 19:13-14 13 A foolish son is the ruin of his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.
14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Good Compilation To finish off this section
1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
(Wisdom comes from this way of life and the wiser we are the more that comes from this way of life
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
Peace of mind and body: Insider information (upcoming events) gives a peace of mind
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.
An allusion to the tree of eternal life that we will have the opportunity to partake of.
21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
Have you ever tried to go to sleep when you are worried about something? The two do not go together.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the LORD will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.
33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just.
1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
Character, Relationships, Health, Fuller/Richer life, this is just skimming the surface
This is not a full list, but a good reminder of all the ways that we can Count our blessings
As mentioned before a part of being blessed is following God’s Word and in particular a part of being blessed with Wealth is (A richness of life) through tithing
1st Malachi 3:8-12 8 “ Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘ In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house,And try [test] Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts; 12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts.
2nd Feast – People, Places, Experience (everywhere you went were church people, changed menus, driving around with stickers)
I still come across people that have not made it out of their local area
We have gotten to experience a way of life, whether that be other cultures or some of the finer things that life has to offer because we have 2nd tithed.
3rd Tithe – Special reward or blessing
Deuteronomy 26:12-15 12 “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year—the year of tithing—and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, 13 then you shall say before the LORD your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”’
Leviticus 11:44 For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
Leviticus 11:45 For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Leviticus 11:46 ‘This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth,
Leviticus 11:47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.’ “
Main purpose is that we are to be holy, pure and clean. But a side effect of polluting your body by not abiding by the health laws can be sickness and disease.
Many of the unclean animals are carnivores that can transmit diseases like the civet cat and SARS or perhaps a scavenger or a filter like an oyster that carries the threat of hepatitis
for this way of life. These are the ones that we speak of often and are the weightier rewards.
Transition – Keep physical wealth in perspective
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Shows how important all the physical is. Must keep in perspective.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Family of God, the lasting family where we are all brethren forever
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
John 14:2-3 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Tree of life
We will be given to eat from the tree of life (Revelation 2:7)
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Reign with Christ
2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us
On His Throne
Revelation 3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
We Will Receive
White robes (Revelation 3:4)
Special name (Revelation 3:12)
Special stone with personal name known only to you (Revelation 2:17)
Special food in the Kingdom: hidden manna (Revelation 2:17)
Revelation 21:7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
No end to His Government and Peace
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
These are just some of the promises that await us if we overcome
To him that overcomes – Greek (Nike),[subdue(literally or figuratively): – conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.] “To him that gains the victory, or is a conqueror” – may refer to any victory of a moral character, and the expression used would be applicable to one who should triumph in any of these respects: osins; the world and its temptations; error; ills and trials of life,
EAR TO HEAR
Barnes: mode of address often employed by the Saviour in his personal ministry, and quite characteristic of him. See Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:23; Mark 7:16. It is a form of expression designed to arrest the attention, and to denote that what was said was of special importance.
7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
Conclusion / Summation
This is not a compendium of all the blessings, but a catalyst to get you thinking and meditating on the ones that you have been given.
Further reinforce that God’s way works
Recognize what we need to be thankful for
Is it selfish? Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As we can see, God not only promises rewards in the future but rewards now and for the rest of our physical life.
Luke 18:30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
At the end we will give an account for which we will be graded and rewarded commensurately
2 Corinthians 5:9-11
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 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. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Brethren, this is the sure word of God that we can count on and look forward to. Why would we want any other way?