Sunday, October 28, 2018
Read Matthew 19.16-29
This story is captured in Mark and Luke, signaling its importance. It starts with a young ruler who comes to Jesus and asks about how he can inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus tells him to sell his property and come and follow him. After Jesus told him to obey the commandments, he said he had done so from his youth. It was then that Jesus realized the remedy for his situation was for him to forsake his riches to follow him. The man left sad because he did not want to part with his wealth. It was then that Jesus also talked about how it was difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
After this, Peter asked Jesus what they were going to get having left all they had to follow him. Some may condemn Peter for being too carnal but Jesus didn’t think that the question was carnal or inappropriate. There was a time when Jesus rebuked Peter for asking an inappropriate question but this time, he felt the question was appropriate.
I like people who are honest. You may not have verbalized this question but you may have asked it in your heart: “What am I getting in return for all that I have forsaken to follow the Lord?”
*Godliness is profitable*
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. (1 Timothy 4.8 NKJV)
The exercise of godliness is a profitable venture. He uses the word ‘profit.’ That means you can think of it as business. To avoid ambiguity, he says that it has promise in this present life as well as the one which is to come.
There was a time when I was in the Scripture Union and some people believed that, as a Christian, you could not drive cars, own houses, and wear nice clothes. There was a man who was one of our leaders who always looked miserable—his life was such that it wouldn’t attract anyone to serve God. However, godliness—the exercise of faith, living in obedience, living in holiness, living in service to God—leads to profit. There is profit in it in this life. So in our marriages we must see profit, in our lives, in our businesses, in all that we do, we must see profit. If you are not in a position to say that this morning, my prayer and message is that your story will change.
*Compensation and reward*
Compensation is something or an award given to someone in recognition of their loss, suffering, and injury. It is also the total cash and non-cash payments given to an employee in return or exchange for the work they do; it is translated in salaries, bonuses, perks, and amenities.
Reward is something given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement. The Christian walk is a walk of service, effort, and achievement and it requires holiness, faith, obedience, and service. It is in the nature of God to reward you.
There are people who come here to get this place cleaned. We may not know them but God does and they will not lose their rewards. Another example is the prayer tower that is engaged in intercessory prayer that requires a great deal of sacrifice. It is work that involves a lot of sacrifice and dedication. Someone once told me where they live and I wondered how they could come from such a long distance on a regular basis. You can be sure that they will be well-compensated. You can consider all the ministries and you will see that it involves a lot of sacrifice—sacrifice God will not overlook.
If you decide to be honest in your business or at your workplace, you will be adequately compensated. There will be due reward for every effort invested because we are all workers in God’s vineyard.
*Man is a bad paymaster*
I had a friend who was an engineer working with a contractor who had a lot of contracts but refused to pay him. When my friend discovered that this contractor had several girlfriends for whom he had built houses and so on he was furious and quit his job.
In Genesis 31.37-42 Jacob talked about his toil and sacrifice in Laban’s house and described the unfairness with which Laban had treated him. If you toil for the Lord, he will never send you away empty-handed.
There are two types of blessing. There is the kind where he blesses you not for anything you have done but out of his kindness and mercy. But there is another blessing that comes as compensation for what you have done—for living in obedience, holiness, faith, and purity. We are not working for God for compensation but it helps to know that there is compensation.
God knows that you need material things. We need to be compensated because after you have served here you will go home and pay your rent and put food on the table so God will not just let you go empty-handed.
As I waited on God a couple of weeks ago, God said tell them that this season is a season of due reward. He said “Tell them to select their own rewards.” This is the season of due reward and compensation because so far as God is concerned, every laborer is due his reward.
I’ll give three examples of God rewarding people for their labor, service, and sacrifice.
*Jesus rewards Peter*
In Luke 5.1-11 Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach and after that Peter was rewarded. He felt he had to compensate Peter after using his boat as a platform to preach to the people. Jesus told him to launch into the deep for a catch—his reward for offering his boat for the Lord’s use.
For some of you, your holiness is a platform, for some it is your service, for some it is your business and God is saying that as you allow these aspects of your life to be a platform, he will ensure that you are duly compensated.
A presiding elder I had once told me that he went for a COP crusade and saw a man, a pastor of the COP, dancing and praising God. This presiding elder did not consider himself a handsome man so he said to himself: “If this handsome man can be so dedicated to God, the I can also serve God.” You will be surprised the things that go through people’s minds. Whatever platform you have made available to God he will make sure that you are duly compensated. For making your life available to God as a platform, may he bless and multiply you. May he bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land. May every blessing that has been spoken over your head descend upon you and overtake you. May the blessings dwell on your head and overtake you.
*God remembers Hezekiah*
In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.”‘ Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.””‘ (2 Kings 20.1-6 NKJV)
As I thought about this message, the question I thought about was that if it were you in Hezekiah’s place, what would you have to stand on? What would you ask God too look at? He said he had served God in truth, with a loyal heart and done what is good in God’s eyes.
Maybe you are growing weary in doing good. Don’t grow weary in praying, or serving in the house of the Lord, or in being sincere and holy because in due season—and this is the due season—you will receive the due reward.
God has his own way of accumulating back pay. The pay is there but for some reason he has kept it to give it to you at some time in the future.
When the Israelites were leaving, God told them to borrow ornaments from the Egyptians. And he said for whatever work they had done for which they were not rewarded, they would receive back pay. This is our season of back pay.
*God compensates Hannah for her loan of a son*
But Samuel ministered before the LORD, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The LORD give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the LORD.” Then they would go to their own home. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD. (1 Samuel 2.18-21 NKJV)
You cannot beat God in giving. It does not matter how old you are or where you stand. I used to wonder where God would pass to do this or that. There are things that in our feeble minds we think are impossible but God will make sure that for every period of sacrifice that you give for his work, he will reward you. The blessings will sit on you and overtake you. I don’t believe that it is in the perfect will of God that people should serve him whole-heartedly and be poor. I believe that the God we serve—and this is not the prosperity message—is a God of riches. It is a contradiction for the one who serves God to be in tatters. The earth is the Lord’s and so are the cattle on a thousand hills. He is more than able to reward his children.
For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Hebrews 6.10 KJV)
God equates not rewarding you with being unjust or unrighteous. Hence, he will not forget your reward.
*Four things God has laid on my heart*
As I was meditating, God said I should tell the church to ask for some specific things in this season of rewards. He also said that for those not yet doing anything for him, they should start, not because of the reward but because they have to serve him.
The four things he said we should ask for are:
1. Long life (Psalm 91.16)
2. Good health (Deuteronomy 7.11-12)
3. His protection (Psalm 91.2-8)
4. His prosperity and progress (3 John 2-6)
God is a god of compensation and due reward and he says the season of due reward is now. It hurts God that his beloved children are lamenting and he says you will begin to see the due reward now and as you choose, it will be yours. But, for others, God is saying as I come with my reward, I don’t know what to give you because when I evaluate your life I don’t know what opportunity to use to reward you. God is saying that this is the time to do something or him.
Matthew 19.16-29, 1 Timothy 4.8
Genesis 31.37-42, 2 Kings 20.1-6, Galatians 6.9, Habakkuk 2.3, Genesis 18.25, Psalm 91.16