Self-Control is Rewarding
3 November 2019 PM – 1Corinthians 9:25 – Temperance – Scott Childs

Introduction: Having a garden is very rewarding. It gives us needed exercise. It is fun to watch plants grow and produce. It is wonderful to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. It is enjoyable to be able to share with others. In an even greater way, self-control is rewarding.

Transition: As I pondered the rewards of self-control, the Lord brought to mind three types of rewards received for self-control for which we ought to strive.

1.        There are Personal Rewards for Self-Control
a.         Freedom from guilt is a great reward.
I cannot begin to count the times that I failed to control myself and have suffered from guilt. When a Christian loses self-control, the Holy Spirit immediately convicts him of his sin. Conviction is God’s loving chastening, but it is very unpleasant. (Hebrews 12:6) “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Praise God for 1 John 1:9! Self-control prevents this unpleasant conviction and guilt. Self-control does several things to keep me free from guilt.

1)         It keeps my mind clean when tempted to pollute it.
2)         It keeps my mouth controlled when tempted to retaliate.
3)         It keeps my spirit calm when tempted to react.
4)         In general, it prevents much regret.
b.         Fellowship with God
1)         Lack of self-control is sin. It is walking in darkness. This prevents fellowship with God. (1 John 1:6) “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:”
2)         Fellowship with God is a privilege that every Christian can enjoy if he will live a self-controlled life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
3)         When I have self-control, I am walking in the Spirit, abiding in Christ and walking in God’s light. (1 John 1:7) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
2.        There are Temporal Rewards for Self-Control
By temporal rewards, I am talking about rewards that we can enjoy right now in this life.

a.         Improved testimony
Our testimony is what people around us know about us. A young man once said to me, “I don’t care what people think of me.” No Christian should have that attitude. Our testimony matters to God and men. Jesus said, (Matthew 5:16) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Self-control will truly improve our testimony and reputation.

1)         Self-controlled people display strong, godly character. (Proverbs 16:32) “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
2)         God says that self-controlled people have great understanding. They are intelligent. They have great insight. (Proverbs 14:29) “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
3)         Self-controlled people live clean lives. (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
4)         Children, God says this applies to you as well. (Proverbs 20:11) “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
b.         Improved relationships
Self-control is not going to solve every relationship issue, but it will certainly reward us with improved relationships.

1)         It will strengthen your marriage by treating your spouse as you want to be treated. You do not like having words spouted at you that are harsh, unkind, cruel, hurtful, angry or bitter, so treat your spouse as you want treated. This will greatly improve your marriage. (Ephesians 4:32) “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” This requires the Holy Spirit’s help with self-control.
2)         It will help you to prevent provoking your children. (Colossians 3:21) “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” One of the sins that provoke children is lack of parental self-control. Children can be VERY irritating at times. They can push can push the most saintly parent to his limits. Maintaining a self-controlled attitude and action when your child is repeatedly disobedient or rebellious requires God’s help.
a)         Stop! Quote (Proverbs 29:20) “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” Then pray.
b)         Remember how God treats you when you repeatedly sin.
3)         It will builds better work relations. (1 Peter 4:15) “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” One who rules his own spirit can be gentle with others and strong with himself.
3.        There are Eternal Rewards for Self-Control
a.         God’s crown
1)         Paul said that he was striving control his fleshly responses that he might win God’s incorruptible crown (v.25).
a)         It is incorruptible because it is received in eternity not in this life.
b)         Whether this crown is literally one that sits on the head or a verbal praise symbolised by a crown, we cannot say for sure.
2)          Every Christian is in God’s contest whether he knows it or not. (Romans 14:12) “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”  Each of us will give account to God for the way we have lived our Christian life. (1 Corinthians 4:5) “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” On Judgment Day, God will expose all sinful secrets as well as the desires of the heart. (2 Corinthians 5:10) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
a)         The things done in the body include our self-control or lack of it.
b)         Notice the phrase “good or bad”. That judgment will be a time of praise or rebuke. It will be a time of reward or loss.
b.         Eternal gratefulness
1)         (1 Corinthians 3:11) “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (12) “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” (13) “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (14) “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (15) “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Self-control is a building block that will last forever.
2)         God promises to wipe away all tears from our eyes when we get to heaven, but I believe we will be eternally grateful for the times we lived in self-control for God’s glory.
Conclusion: This evening we have considered some of the personal rewards for self-control. Freedom from guilt and fellowship with God are two key rewards. Improved testimony and improved relationships are great temporal rewards. When it comes to eternal rewards, both God’s crown and our own gratefulness will make it worth it all.

Quashing self and controlling passions takes a great deal of discipline, devotion and dependence on the Holy Spirit, and I might add perseverance and humility, but it will be worth it. When you are struggling to meet the demands of self-control, remember the rewards. Press on! You can do it!

Song: When We See Christ – 149