Rewards of Faithfulness

Error message

  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/
  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/
(Matthew25, Hebrews 11, Romans 8)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 12

Rewards of Faithfulness

(Matthew 25, Hebrews 11, Romans 8)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Whenever I have my vision tested, they check to see how far to each side I can see when I’m looking straight ahead. Some people have injuries or a disease that cause them to have only a narrow field of vision. My thought is that many Christians have very narrow vision when it comes to the “Rewards of Faithfulness.” They see a reward only after they go to heaven, and that tends to create confusion about the relationship between works and salvation. While it is true that some will only see their reward in heaven (see Hebrews 11), for most Christians this narrow vision is akin to a disease. It causes them to miss the most obvious rewards for faithfulness, which come here and now as a result of obeying God. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and you can decide whether I’m looking at this correctly!

  1. Talents and Heaven
    1. Read Matthew 25:14. Jesus says that “it” will be like a man on a journey. What is “it?” What is the subject of this story? (Read Matthew 25:13. Jesus is telling parables about His Second Coming. Not knowing the day or hour refers to the timing of His coming.)
    2. Read Matthew 25:15-18. What do you think “talents” represent in this parable? (God-given abilities. Note however that verse 14 refers to the talents as the master’s “property.”)
    3. Read Matthew 25:19-21. The master says precisely the same to the two talent servant. What do you think it means to “enter into the joy of your master?” (Given the context, this must mean enter into heaven.)
      1. Does that mean the “narrow vision” Christians are right? Our reward for faithfulness is eternal salvation?
    4. In Matthew 25:24-27 the one talent servant insults his mater by calling him “a hard man” and suggesting that he is greedy. The master tells that servant he is “wicked and slothful.” Read Matthew 25:28-29. Is this a comment on salvation? (It could not be. Can you be saved more than once? Is the ten talent guy getting tickets to heaven for others? Jesus might be saying that he had eleven talents given to him in heaven. That is possible. But, this sounds like Jesus might be talking about something here on earth - especially since the talent doubling took place on earth.)
    5. Read Matthew 25:30. Is this a reference to losing heaven? (Yes. That is clear.)
      1. Does this clear reference to losing heaven teach us that we lose heaven by a lack of works? (If we had not heard the one talent servant call his master names, and assault his character, we might reach that conclusion. But, since we know what he said, we understand that his attitude towards his master was not right, and that is what caused him to do nothing.)
    6. Let’s revisit a previous answer. I asked you what these talents represented and I suggested the answer was “God-given talents.” Read Matthew 25:7. What does this say is the talent? (It says it is “money.” Jesus makes this even clearer by referring to placing it in a bank and receiving interest.)
      1. What does that teach us about where we receive our reward? (Since we know this was money, and it was given to the ten talent servant, we see that he received more money. Since we cannot take money to heaven, the strong suggestion, once again, is that we are talking in part about rewards which come on earth.)
  2. Noah and Here
    1. Read Hebrews 11:6. What does a positive relationship with God require? (We must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.)
      1. Is it important to get the “rewards” part right? (This tells us it is incredibly important! The faith that pleases God is a belief in His existence and that He gives rewards.)
    2. Read Hebrews 11:7. Why was Noah warned about the coming end of humanity? (Because he had faith.)
      1. Was this a reward reserved for heaven? The Second Coming? (No! Noah’s faith resulted in him being warned and given the opportunity to save himself and his family. This reward happened on earth.)
  3. Abraham and Here
    1. Read Hebrews 11:8-9. What “inheritance” is referred to here? (Land!)
    2. Read Hebrews 11:10. What other reward interested Abraham? (Heaven!)
    3. Read Hebrews 11:11-12. Where is this reward given? (This is a reward on earth. The reward is having land and many descendants.)
    4. Read Hebrews 11:13. When this verse says that they had not “received the things promised,” what is it talking about? (It is talking about the entirety of the promise. Abraham lived in the land promised to him and he saw many descendants. But, he never saw the complete fulfillment of this reward.)
      1. What can we confidently say to “narrow vision” Christians? (Faith in God, obedience to God, gives us rewards during our life, after our life, and in heaven.)
  4. Suffering Here
    1. Read Hebrews 11:36-39. Were these faithful people rewarded here on earth? (No. The Bible informs us that this can happen. Although God’s rewards generally come in part during a faithful life, in some cases they do not come until heaven.)
      1. Think about this. If the person who was sawed in two read what we have studied so far, what would be that person’s reaction? (Discouragement, I fear. We need to be sensitive to those who are among the small group who seem to have a reward only in heaven.)
    2. Read Hebrews 11:40. What does it mean “apart from us they should not be made perfect?” (This tells us that the faithful in the Old Testament looked forward to the Messiah coming and providing eternal salvation to them. This further bolsters the conclusion that an important part of the reward for faithfulness is heaven.)
      1. Is the reverse true? That apart from the Old Testament we cannot be made perfect? (The Old Testament is critical to a correct understanding of God.)
    3. Read Romans 8:16-17. What kind of suffering is this talking about? Jesus was crucified. Is that the point of reference?
    4. Read Romans 8:18-19. Are these two verses connected? Is verse 19 explaining the kind of suffering referred to in verse 18? (I think they are connected.)
    5. Read Romans 8:20-23. What kind of suffering is indicated here? (This is the suffering that everyone experiences as a result of sin. The entire creation feels it. But it ends at the Second Coming of Jesus.)
      1. Did Jesus subject Himself to the suffering that we and the creation suffer? (Yes. Plus He suffered in other serious ways ending in the torture at His death.)
    6. Read Romans 8:28. What does God do when we face suffering? (He works it out for our good.)
      1. Do you think it is likely that God makes advance arrangements for “our good?” (Consider the big picture. We all suffer because of sin. However, God in His love gave us His commandments so that we could avoid sinning and therefore avoid the consequences of sinning.)
      2. What does that say about the relationship between suffering and God’s commandments? (The commandments are an antidote to protect us against suffering. Following God’s rules gives us rewards here and now.)
    7. Friend, don’t have narrow vision. For the vast majority God rewards His people now and in heaven. Why not decide, right now, to determine to follow God’s rules and enjoy the immediate and ultimate rewards of faithfulness!
  5. Next week: We begin a series of studies entitled, “Three Cosmic Messages.” If the world is getting more and more confusing to you, our next series will help explain what is going on.