The Certainty of God's Rewards
Great Certainties for Uncertain Times • Sermon • Submitted
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What is our motivation for serving God?
After all, this world is no friend to the righteous. In fact, more and more it seems that the world is arranging itself to wipe out righteousness, so those who want to be righteous are going to need great determination and endurance.
But what is it that gives us that kind of grit and determination?
Well, the primary thing that ought to motivate us is our love for the Lord. Above everything else, our love for the Lord will give us more persistence and faithfulness than anything else.
But there is something else that can motivate us - God’s rewards for the faithful.
Not a bad thing to remember the rewards of God.
 "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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
So, this morning, I want you to be encouraged and motivated by “THE CERTAINTY OF GOD’S REWARDS”
Prophet Ahijah to Jeroboam
1 Ki 11:38
 "And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.”
Obedience Rewarded with Gracious Fellowship
Obedience Rewarded with Gracious Fellowship
“…if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee...”
“thee” - message to an individual
Imperfective action > something done that is part of the whole thing
Out of all the things that God has said in His Word, there is a specific message for each of us to pay attention to.
None of God’s Word is optional, but there are also specific steps that you need to take today that are different from the steps I may need to take today.
God’s Word speaks corporately (to everyone) and personally (to the individual).
We can get good at the message from the ‘big picture’, but there is also the targetted message for each of us that we need to pay attention to.
Any message you listen to, the two things you need to grasp are:
What is the overall principle I need to understand?
What is the specific message God has for me?
That is seen in what comes next.
“WILT hearken” & “WILT walk … and do”
“if thou …wilt walk in my ways” - DIRECTION
“if thou …wilt … do that is right in my sight” - DECISION
Language interesting - different tense used for “walk” and “do”
Perfective action > persistent and with purpose
DIRECTION > We’re to walk in God’s ways - the principles found in Scripture - and we’re to do so persistently and with a purpose in mind
That purpose = go the way God has placed before us - faithfulness for the long-term
DECISION > We’re to do what’s right in God’s eyes - the choices we make at each step along the way
Our general direction will be determined by our individual decisions.
We know that God says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” - and so our general direction is holiness.
But our obedience to that command will depend on the choices we make:
during the next hour;
or when we turn on the TV during the week;
or when we come across someone we’d rather not stand and talk to;
or when when someone in our family rubs us up the wrong way.
All those momentary choices, all those individual moments of time, they will all come together to either help us walk God’s way or hinder us from walking God’s way.
And so our responsibility is to pay attention to God’s commands for the direction He wants us to travel and for the decisions He wants us to make in order to get there.
And we do that by listening as the Holy Spirit speaks through the Scriptures.
The reason is in the middle of the verse:
“…to keep my statutes and my commandments...”
Why statutes and commandments?
 "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Obeying God’s statutes brings joy, and obeying God’s commandments brings wisdom and discernment.
God’s ways are for our benefit.
God is saying through Ahijah that our motivation for obeying Him is that He wants to make us joyful and wise.
Even thinking philosophically - people choose a faith that they hope will make them happy and satisfied, but only faith in God through Christ can actually deliver on that hope.
But God gives more than happiness.
He gives joy - a character trait that is ever hopeful and content in Christ within, whatever the environment outside.
And He gives wisdom, discernment - the ability to make choices that we can always be content and satisfied with, because they’re God’s choices and not just ours.
If we choose what God leads us to choose, how can we ever regret those choices? Would we not always be satisfied that our choices were right, if we always made the choices God leads us to?
Our reason for obeying is simply that God can be trusted to lead in what’s best. Our reason is one of unconditional faith in the goodness and wisdom of God.
Three aspects to God’s reward for obedience:
“I will be with thee”
“I will build thee a sure house, as I built for David”
“I will give Israel unto thee”
Need to recognise that these specific promises were made to Jeroboam and not to us.
But there are still principles in these promises we can learn from and enjoy.
“I will be with thee”
No greater reward than to enjoy the presence of God.
More than just some theoretical notion that God is present because He’s present everywhere.
This is a deep convicting knowledge in our soul that God is present with us. It’s an awareness of God’s nearness. A resting in His everlasting arms. It’s enjoying conscious fellowship with God.
“I will … build thee a sure house”
 "And he changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings ...”
God’s power does these things.
Our obedience opens the door for God to show His power, not because He needs us, but because He chooses to work through us and for us.
It’s all voluntary on God’s part. We can’t make God do anything. We can’t force His hand to do something He’d rather not do.
But we can be the obstacle to Him choosing to show His power. We can be what prevents God from doing what He wants to do. We haven’t limited His power, but He has chosen to limit the circumstances in which He will use His power.
He can work outside of those restrictions any time He chooses, but His normal way of working is through us and for us.
And so our obedience could create the circumstances in which God unleashes His power in ways we maybe never even considered before.
“I … will give Israel unto thee”
For Jeroboam, God promised that He would give Jeroboam authority over the 10 tribes of Israel, while Solomon’s sons would rule over 2, known collectively as Judah.
If Jeroboam submitted to God’s authority over him, God would grant him authority over the 10 tribes.
But Jeroboam initiated a Golden Calf cult in Israel, and although he reigned for about 22 years, his son reigned for less than 2, before he was killed and another family came to the throne.
The authority Jeroboam enjoyed was temporary and not lasting, not even beyond his own son.
God was not pleased with Jeroboam, nor with his legacy.
Is God pleased with us? With you, or me?
I found the wording interesting here: “I…will give Israel unto thee”
“Israel” = he who struggles with God
Remember how Jacob wrestled with God even after God put his hip out of joint, and Jacob wouldn’t let go until God had blessed him?
That kind of determination and dedication pleases God.
How often have we missed out on blessings because we gave up wrestling with God too early?
Believers once talked about “laying hold on God in prayer” - we don’t tend to think like that anymore, let alone talk like that.
But there’s something to be said for laying hold on God, for wrestling with God in prayer, for praying persistently, day after day, week after week, year after year, until God answers.
How pleased do you think God would be if we continued to pray like that for our unsaved loved ones and neighbours?
What if we prayed like that concerning the COVID situation?
What if we kept ministering faithfully in spite of the difficulties and obstacles?
What if we didn’t allow isolation and lockdown to hinder the work of God but followed God’s leading to instead grow the ministry into other areas?
What if the trials we’ve endured only made us more determined to obey God and do His will?
Would that not please Him?
And would He not then be pleased to pour out His pleasure on those who obey Him.
Obedience rewarded with gracious fellowship.
2. Righteousness Rewarded with Great Fruitfulness
2. Righteousness Rewarded with Great Fruitfulness
 "The wicked worketh a deceitful work: But to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”
Principle of reaping what we sow
 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
“soweth righteousness” ??
Not just what we do, but how we do it.
NB In Mt 7.22, those who are busy and active and say they’re doing it in the name of the Lord, but “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt 7:23).
What they did may have appeared good - preaching, casting out demons, miracles - but it wasn’t genuine. Didn’t come from a redeemed heart. Motives and attitude were wrong.
Paul reinforces that in Galatians:
 "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Sowing to the Spirit = sowing INTO the Spirit
Putting our efforts into the Holy Spirit, rather than into the flesh.
Actions are immersed into the Holy Spirit - they are:
Commenced according to His instructing
Carried out according to His leading
Completed according to His enabling
Same actions done different ways - one is fruitful and one isn’t > difference is the Holy Spirit
Another truth we need to remember...
“…IN DUE SEASON we shall reap, if we faint not.”
We may have to wait for the reaping. The reaping may not come during our earthly lives, but if we sow righteousness, we can be sure that God will bring about the harvest.
1 Co 3:6–8
 "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
 "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
 "Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
We can explain what Paul is saying by remembering that our works are nothing without the Holy Spirit.
One person’s planting is nothing without the Spirit, and another person’s watering is worthless without the Spirit, but when both are done into the Holy Spirit, in His power and for God’s glory, God will bring forth the increase.
But 1Co 3.8 reminds us that we won’t be judged (or assessed) as a group or a congregation or assembly. We will each be assessed individually.
"he that planteth and he that watereth are one” - we are individuals, and we will be assessed individually, and rewarded individually.
So, what are you doing for God?
Are you doing something in the power of the Holy Spirit, with His leading, and for God’s glory?
Just as an individual is not condemned for the faithlessness of the congregation as a whole, so they are not rewarded for the faithfulness of the congregation as a whole.
Each of the seven churches in Asia mentioned in Revelation chs 2-3 received a message from the Lord, but over and over again the Lord also addresses the individuals and says something like, “to him that overcometh” - not “them”, but “him”.
So what are you sowing?
And how are you sowing? For your own benefit, or for God’s glory?
If you’re sowing for God’s glory, then you can expect a harvest in due time, in God’s time - a harvest that God will bring about using the seed you have sown.
Is that not exciting?
Obedience rewarded with gracious fellowship
Righteousness rewarded with great fruitfulness
3. Godliness Rewarded with a Glorious Future
3. Godliness Rewarded with a Glorious Future
1 Ti 4:8–9
 "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
 "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.”
During lockdown we have been encouraged by the Chief Medical Officer to get exercise and stay fit. And many have taken the opportunity to do that. Apparently there was a huge number of dogs bought as pets last year. That would explain why it’s so expensive to buy a dog now.
But one of the reasons people got a new dog was to have a reason to go for a walk. It became a motivation to exercise.
That exercise is a good thing, and there is benefit in it. And Paul agrees, for when he says “bodily exercise profiteth little” he is saying that it “profiteth [a] little”. There is some benefit to the individual.
But godliness isn’t just beneficial for the body - it’s beneficial for soul and spirit too. Why?
Well, because there aren’t just the rewards gained during this life, that we’ve already considered, but also rewards in the life to come.
We know about the judgment seat of Christ, the BEMA, the Adjudicator’s seat. It’s the place where our actions are assesse and rewards distributed according to thoe deeds that have been faithfully performed for God’s glory.
There’s the incorruptible crown given to those who “run the race” faithfully and with endurance (1Co 9.25).
There’s the crown of rejoicing for the soulwinners (1Th 2.19).
There’s the crown of righteousness for those who will love the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Ti 4.8).
There’s the crown of life for those whose love for God enables them to endure trials (Jas 1.12).
And there’s the crown of glory for faithful elders (1Pe 5.4).
But aside from those crowns, there’s a glorious future awaiting every child of God.
1 Jn 3:2
 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
We can look forward to finally being changed and made perfect. Can we even begin to imagine what it will be like never to have a sinful thought, never to have a selfish motive, never to have any more need to repent and ask forgiveness? Will that not be glorious for us?
 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
No more, death, tears, sorrow, or pain. Those are the former things. Those are the things we have now. But when we're with the Lord, those former things are past, and all that’s left is wonderful for us who are saved.
 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
The glory awaiting us then is infinitely greater than the suffering surrounding us now.
2 Co 4:16–18
 "... though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
What we have now is for a moment, for a period of time, but what we are going to will last for eternity, making this period of time seem so light and passing.
The who have endured childbirth and the labour associated with it can testify that, even though they may remember some of the pain associated with it, it’s not a daily thought that makes them wince with the memory. Why? Because they now have a child whom they love. and the joy of that life far exceeds the pain of labour.
That’s a picture of what will happen to us. The pains and suffering of this life will be insignificant compared to the glory God has planned for us in eternity.
But for some, that pain of labour came with loss, and the pain of that loss lingers and still hurts.
For those who have suffered miscarriages or who have lost babies, there is coming a day when you will have joy. That little life that was taken so early is with the Lord.
On the basis of God’s Word I firmly believe with all my heart that all those little ones, who never even had the capacity to reject Christ, are now with Him in glory.
And when you as a child of God are taken to glory too, the reunion you have with that little one will be so wonderful that these years of pain and that sense of loss will fade.
Folks, for those who belong to God, we have the promise of a life to come which is going to be glorious and magnificent and perfect.
Folks, this present time is difficult and can be very unpleasant, but keep in mind the great certainty of God’s rewards.
Obedience is rewarded with gracious fellowship.
Righteousness is rewarded with great fruitfulness.
Godliness is rewarded with a glorious future.
These things are certain, and they can thrill our hearts and lift our spirits. And I trust they will do so, today, and in the days to come in the Lord’s will.
And to Him we give glory and praise, saying, “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad”!