By John Foll, written between 03/11/2017 and 03/12/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
We would like to thank the Disqus.com user “Evolution is a Hoax” for this idea that he presented in his discussion: “Extra rewards on top of getting to live eternally?” in the “Grace and Truth” channel:
Are there “extra rewards on top of getting to live eternally?” After thinking more on this, we now think that this is a good question! We had seen this article on Disqus.com for several days before responding to it, probably because it seemed extraneous or something like that. (We don’t remember exactly.) Maybe we thought that those who get to Heaven won’t care how they got there after the fact. But after thinking on this some more, a statement made by Jesus was presented to our mind, which we posted in this Disqus discussion:
To answer this discus main question, Jesus said that those who teach others to keep even the least of God's commandments shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:19. Those who have been moved with love and compassion to help erring ones to know and keep God's commandments, which are all love, will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Do you want this blessing? Then let God make a change to your heart and life, so you can bring honor and glory to His wonderful name, and teach others to love and obey God too! And you will get that promised great reward.
Are there any of God’s commandments that are too small for us to concern ourselves with? Are there any of God’s commandments that are too small for us to worry about keeping or too small for us to teach others to keep? No. Jesus says that those who keep even the least of these commandments and teach others to keep them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. What about those who keep God’s greatest commandments and teach others to keep them?Will they not have even a greater reward?
“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses thatof the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20 NASB.
We don’t want to focus on this text in its typical manner, but focus today on ‘keeping these commandments and teaching others to do so’:those that do this ‘shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.’
What commandments does Jesus mean when He says “these commandments?”Jesus here plainly declares which commandments we are to keep and teach others in the preceding passage: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 NASB. The ‘commandments’ that Jesus is talking about here in Matthew 5:19-20 is “the Law and the Prophets”. This means not only the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20,but it also clearly means the entire Old Testament, because they were the only Scriptures when Jesus spoke this. But since the words that Jesus spoke are also the Word of God, and since He commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world, we also include the entire New Testament as well to be the Word of God.
Jesus declared here that those who keep ‘these commandments’, contained in the Bible, and teach others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Yes it’s true, there is great reward in keeping God’s Law, the commandments, and in teaching others to do so, even though many in our day think that you shouldn’t keep them or can’t keep them, or shouldn’t teach others to do so! They try to say that this is works, and that we are under grace and thus should not keep God’s holy Law. Some of them even imply that you are sinning if you want to keep God’s Holy Law, since they say we are under grace, and equate all attempts to keep God’s commandments as self-righteousness. But the Bible clearly teaches that God can give us the power to keep His Law when He writes His Law in our Heart. Jeremiah 31:31-34. But what does the Bible say regarding God’s holy Law? “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORDis sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD aretrue and righteous altogether. More to be desired are theythan gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.Moreover by them is thy servant warned: andin keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11 KJV. In keeping God’s 10 Commandments and other commandments in the Bible there is great reward! Do you want this great reward? Do you want to be warned so that you are not lost? Do you want to be truly converted so that you can go to Heaven? Do you want to be pure? Do you want to be clean? Do you want to be good and live a righteous life? Do you want your eyes to be enlightened? Do you want to rejoice? Are you simple but want to be wise? Do you want to taste of the good things to come from God, with all of the sweetness of the rich experience of the blessing of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32. Then study God’s Law of Love, or the two Tables of the Testimonies or the 10 Commandments and all of His righteous judgements and commandments in the Bible, and ask Him to help you to keep them. In keeping them and teaching them to others there is great reward!
Now back to the question to be discussed: Is going to Heaven the highest reward? No.While many people will be happy just to get there, those who have fallen in love with God, will have great joy in teachingothers to love God too! They get a reward of joy in this life, from the ones that they know of whom they have helped, but in Heaven they will get a much greater reward of eternal joy, that lasts forever! This is because those whom they helped to get there will remind them of how thankful they were that someone showed them how to be saved, but more importantly Jesus and His Father will be happy with them! But the ones who get these higher rewards are not doing it just for the reward, but because they love Jesus and His Father!These rewards are above and beyond that of just going to Heaven. These rewards are something a selfish heart can never know or understand, unless it has a great change made in it.
We wish we could make everyone understand the great reward that God wants to give them, if they would only want to keep His Law, because they love Him and teach others to do so too! But alas, this great reward can only be known by those who want what God has to give them, before they have fully learned how precious it is.This reward of love can only be known by those who want to obey Him, because they have learned to love Him, and received His help to obey. There is no way to fully understand what God wants to give you until you experience it for yourself, because it has to be experienced to be understood! But we have tried and will keep trying our best to try to inspire you with the joy and wonder of loving and serving God all-the-way, as long as He gives us breath to praise His name and helps keep us on track with His love. God never fails!
Jesus also said: “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” Matthew 24:44-47 NASB. Here again,Jesus is promising that there will be a great reward in serving Him faithfully in giving His household their food (the word of God) at the proper time and season, which is the same thing as teaching others to keep God’s commandments: the reward for them will be to be put in charge of all of His possessions. This is not just talking about the eternal life that Jesus has promised to all who believe in Him, but the special blessings that come from serving Him willingly, and teaching others to love Him and His Father’s Law too: there will be blessings for this in this life and forever in the life to come!
And again, here is another place where Jesus declares that there is a great reward to be gained: “Butlove your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” Luke 6:35 NASB. Why? Because God is also kind to ungrateful and evil men, so you will have a great reward if you love your enemies. If you do this, your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High! Just think about the honor that God is willing to bestow on you! “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1 KJV.
And what is another great reward that Jesus promised? “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23 KJV. If you suffer for His sake and are persecuted, you will have a rich reward in Heaven, becauseyou will have shown others that He has the power to help all to obey Him! This same reward is spoken of in Revelation: “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:13-17 NASB. So the ones who made it through the great tribulation and have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb will have the great reward of serving Him day and night in His temple, and they will hunger and thirst no more, because He will satisfy their hunger for Him, and satisfy their need of His love and His righteousness! And He will shield and protect them!
At the Second Coming, Jesus speaks of the reward to be given to those who have done His work in helping others for Him: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You somethingto drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them,you did it to Me.'” Matthew 25:31-40 NASB. So Jesus will reward all those who helped others with their needs, or visited those who were sick, alone, or in prison, clothed and fed those who were hungry and in need, and preached the gospel to others; this reward will last for all eternity. All who are saved alike will share in this reward, but those who have given more or all for Jesus and served Him gladly, helping and teaching others to love and obey Him will have a greater reward.Notice that Jesus is addressing all of those who are on His right, which are all of those who are saved: that they have served Him by helping others. Thus it appears that no one who enters Heaven will do so without serving Him and helping others. So is there really an extra reward above being saved? Not if everyone is sharing in at least part of the reward of serving Him and helping others. But there still appears to be a choice of how much someone ones to do in loving and serving God and in helping others!Those who really love Him, will give all to serve Him, and will see no great sacrifice in doing this for Him, it will be their greatest desire! And it will be no great sacrifice for them to do everything they can to help others get to know Him, and to help them with all of their needs that are in their power to help. We believe that God sees this and will reward every man according to his works. Notice what Jesus says here in Revelation: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12 KJV. Thus every faithful man or woman’s reward is according to their works or according to their love and devotion and service to God! Each is rewarded according to their works; this is above and beyond just being saved and going to Heaven! Here is another place in Revelation that declares that there is a reward that the righteous in Christ will get, because their works follow them: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13 KJV. We are not saying that their works saved them, only the blood of Jesus can save anyone, it is an act of Grace from God, but of all who love God, their works will follow them in the resurrection! And they will be rewarded according to their works.So some may have a greater reward than others, depending on their works, done by His power, as an act of love and devotion to Him!
Conclusion: Jesus says about this great reward that He promised to His faithful in Heaven:“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’” Matthew 25:21 KJV. Thus all may share in this great reward, if they will be willing to do all that they can to serve Him and help others. Then they will enter into the joy of their Lord, they will enter into Heaven and live forever with Him in eternal peace, love, joy and happiness! Amen!
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