October 22, 2017 Conditions Granting Rewards

Conditions Granting Rewards

The final chapter of Revelation discusses Jesus’ return to a New Earth to receive His bride and give her gifts. We are His bride and will enjoy the various gifts He will give us. Specifically, Revelation 22.12 AMP tells us: ”’Behold, I am coming soon, and I shall bring My wages and rewards with Me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit.’” Notice that I have underlined certain words about which we must be concerned in the following study.

A. Rewards in the New Earth depend upon our works in the Old Earth.

  1. No, our salvation does not depend upon works but upon our faith in Jesus alone, as He states in John 3.16-18 & 47. Paul repeats this reality in Ephesians 2.8-9 and Titus in chapter 3 and verse 5.
  2. This ‘faith’ is our means of ‘escape’ from the Old Earth, as Paul writes a warning in Galatians 1.4. He repeats this warning, similarly, in Acts 17.22-31.
  3. But, James reminds us that works illuminate, or give life to, our faith (14-26).
  4. Old Testament writers wrote about our rewards depending upon our works: Job 34.11, Psalm 62.12, and Jeremiah 17.10 & 19 for example.

B. But, which works?

  1. Paul reminds us that we have been saved to produce “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2.10; my underline).
  2. Paul warns that not just any works will be rewarded, but only those built upon the foundation laid by Jesus Himself; see 1 Corinthians 3.11-15.
  3. Consequently, Jesus says that our works are to be like His; see John 17.18 & 21 & 14.12-14, and Matthew 10.7-8 & 9.35-38. How do the passages from Matthew explain those from John? Almost three years have passed.
  4. And, in Jesus’ last command to His followers, i.e., His Great Commission, in Matthew 28.18-20, He commissions us to go in His authority to baptize and disciple new believers (John 14.6, my underline). In Mark’s version (15-20), Jesus gives details about the work of a ‘disciple’ of the Great Commission similar to His initial commands in Matthew 10.7-8. Then, Jesus assures us disciples that His authority will continue after He ascends to Heaven (even today?: Mark 16:20; Psalm 110.1-2; is the name ‘Jesus’ the “rod of Your strength”?; is the name ‘Jesus’ the ‘mystery’ of Colossians 1.27?) His practicum in Luke 10.1-19 illustrates Jesus’ authority being distributed in an earlier time of training His disciples. Is this true today? Why or why not?
  5. Paul, also, writes in 2 Corinthians 5.17-21 that the end result of our works must be the reconciliation of mankind to God. Does this include man’s employment and institutions (to be covered in Section C). We are to be “salt” and “light” on the Earth, as Jesus preached in Matthew 5.13-16.
  6. Our works must be initiated and accomplished by the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus makes this clear in John 16.8-11 & 26 (also Mark 13.11 {does this broaden the work of the Holy Spirit into our daily decisions?}; 1 Timothy 4.14; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11). So, Paul writes in Romans 8.14: be led by the Holy Spirit. Do you see the connection with God’s “good work” in Ephesians 2.10?

C. Will our ‘calling’ or ‘purpose’ be included in our works?

  1. Is our individual calling part of God’s “good works” of Ephesians 2.10? Why or why not?
  2. The contexts for our works is our daily life styles and activities. This is inferred by John the Baptist in John 3.27 and in God’s words to Jeremiah in5-10. Consider King David’s enlightened statement in Psalm 139.16.
  3. John the Baptist, Jeremiah, and David illustrate Paul’s writings that Jesus was a Servant because He was in the form of man; see Philippians 2.5-8. How do Psalm 33.11 (Isaiah 46.8-11; Jeremiah 6.16 & 23) and Proverbs 16.9 (Isaiah 30.21) amplify this understanding?
  4. Jesus is our example of the thoroughness of learning God’s voice (Jeremiah 30.21; Proverbs 3.5-6) and doing His will; see John 5.19-20, 30, & 36. How were Psalm 1.6, 8, and 37.23 illustrated by Jesus? How are they instructional for us?
  5. Since God birthed each of us with His calling or purpose (Jeremiah 29.11), it stands to reason that He will call us to account for any results and, then, pay us our ‘wages’ (Revelation 22.12 AMP).
  6. “Wages” and “rewards” brings to mind His payment for expected performance of God’s “good works” (Ephesians 2.10) and payment of any bonus for superior performance thereof. Jesus’ Parables of the Talents (Matthew 25.14-30) and Minas (Luke 19.11-27) may illustrate wages and rewards, respectively. So, what constitutes superior performance deserving of ‘rewards/?

D. Therefore, we should do our work in the present with the future of Jesus’ rewards in mind, not just our wages; i.e., in His name (Colossians 3.17), as unto Him (Colossians 3.23), and for His glory (1 Corinthians 10.31) as led by His Holy Spirit (Romans 8.14)!

  1. Jesus, Himself, identifies what “work” will paid with “wages” in John 6.28-29, 40 & 57: believing in Jesus is God’s “good works” and our “wages” is eternal life.
  2. Matthew 25.31-40 may evidence “superior performance” of Matthew 9.35-38 and John 3.27 that produces “rewards” of “the kingdom prepared for you” (Matthew 25.34; described in Luke 19.16-19?).
  3. Thus, the result of reconciling a person to God through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5.20) should be the reconciliation of his or her institutions and relationships to God, too (Mark 9.37). This is because the Christian mindset should develop Christian thinking that guides us to Christian behavior. We are, after all, “Salt” and “Light” (Matthew 5.13-16) in the context of our lives.

Praise God!!!         Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017     www.sozoclass.com

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