Eternal Rewards

28 March 2021 AM – Matthew 19:27-20:16 – Parables21 – Scott Childs
Introduction: One morning Marion Gilbert opened the door to get the newspaper and was surprised to see a strange little dog with her paper in his mouth. Delighted with this unexpected “delivery service,” She fed him some treats. The following morning she was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of the door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers. She spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners. Marion Gilbert, Reader’s Digest, February, 1994, p. 12. Like that little dog, we all enjoy rewards!
Transition: Our text today deals with eternal rewards. As we study Peter’s Question, Jesus’ Answer, and Jesus’ Explanation, we will find principles, which ought to comfort and encourage our souls.
  1. Peter’s Question
a.         His question was prompted by Jesus’ words
1)         Jesus had just given a young rich man, who thought he was perfect, a startling charge (Read Mt 19:21).
2)         When the rich man turned away sad, Jesus gave His disciples an equally startling statement (Read Mt 19:24).
3)         With these startling truths buzzing around in Peter’s head, he asked the question that we find in Mt 19:27.
b.         His question was legitimate
1)         Was Peter wrong for asking such a self-seeking question? Evidently not, for Jesus did not rebuke him.
2)         Though Peter was the bold spokesman, very likely the other disciples had similar thoughts.
3)         We too may ask, “If I surrender all to serve the Lord, what will I gain?” “If I become a preacher or missionary or marry a preacher or missionary, will God reward me for that?” “If I sacrifice to support God’s work, will it benefit me?” “If I separate from the world and live a godly life, will it have any eternal impact?”
4)         I believe these are legitimate questions. Even the Apostle Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14).
2.        Jesus’ Answer
a.         Jesus promised a reward for His followers
1)         Evidently, the apostles will be given places of authority in the Millennial Kingdom (Mt 19:28).
2)         Those who forsake earthly treasures in order to serve the Lord, God will give them an abundant reward and an eternal inheritance (Mt 19:29).
a)         Jesus was not telling us that we must turn our backs on all the comforts and joys of this life. He was not against us owning a house, owing property, or loving family members. However, He was saying that He will richly reward those who leave these joys behind in order to serve Him. Do not let selfishness or fear keep you from giving God your very best!
b)         You cannot out give God. It will be worth it all when we see Christ!
3)         Elsewhere, Jesus said, (Luke 12:34) “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
b.         Jesus said that His reward system is different
1)         Look at His words in Mt 19:30. Many shall be first last and last first.
2)         The disciples were poor, but the rich man Jesus had just talked with had everything money could buy. Perhaps they envied that rich man. Our flesh is tempted at times to envy the rich.
3)         God gave us the entire Psalm 73 to record Asaph’s frustrations over the prosperity of the wicked. (Look at it.) To Asaph, the prosperous wicked had few troubles compared to his own. This greatly troubled him until he remembered Judgment Day (Ps 73:17).
4)         Those whom men think should receive first reward; Jesus said they may be last. Those whom men think are worthless; Jesus said they may be first. God sees much more than the external. He sees the heart.
5)         God is also very generous and will reward justly, as He wisely chooses.
3.        Jesus’ Explanation
a.         Jesus told the parable of the vineyard workers
1)         The householder who was the master of the house needed workers in his vineyard during harvest time (Mt 20:1). Thus, he went out to the marketplace looking for workers to pick his grapes.
a)         He hired some early in the morning [6:00 a.m.] (20:1-2). They agreed to work for a penny.
b)         He hired others at the third hour [9:00 a.m.] (20:3-4). They agreed to work for whatsoever is right.
c)         Again he hired more workers at the sixth and ninth hours [noon and 3:00 p.m.] (20:5), with no comment on pay.
d)         At the eleventh hour [5:00 p.m.] (20:6-7). He promised to pay these whatsoever is right.
2)         At 6:00 p.m., the twelfth hour, the householder told his steward to call the labourers and give them their hire, beginning from the last to the first (20:8).
a)         The lord of the vineyard gave each worker a penny.
b)         The early morning workers complained that they did not receive more than the other workers (Mt 20:11-12). I do not know about you, but I can see myself as the spokesman for the tired morning workers saying, “Boss, you are not being fair!”
3)         Note the boss’ answer to them (Mt 20:13-15).
a)         He gave what he had promised.
b)         He did no wrong in being generous.
c)         He had the right to do as he will with his own money.
d)         It is wrong to have an evil heart when generous people are good.
4)         This vineyard master’s answer is a comforting picture of our Lord Jesus Christ’s grace.
b.         Note how Jesus applied the parable
1)         Highlight the word “So” in Mt 20:16. It means in this manner. This word links the parable back to Mt 19:30 (write that in the margin). Jesus told this parable to the disciples to assure them that on Judgment Day He would be generous and yet do as He knew best.
2)         Every Christian will receive what God has promised him, i.e., eternal life and a home in heaven. It will make no difference whether you have been saved 60 years or 60 seconds. Every Christian will receive this same promised gift. (Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
3)         However, God will give special reward to those He knows are worthy. Jesus said, “for many are called, but few are chosen.” The word chosen may be translated choice. God’s humble, faithful, worthy, quality workers who forsake all to follow Him are His choice workers whom He will reward according to His sovereign generous grace.
4)         What was Jesus saying? He was saying it will be worth it all when you see Christ. God will justly reward! (1 Corinthians 3:13-14) “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. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 9:25) “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (Revelation 22:12) “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Conclusion: When God challenges you to sacrifice for Him, you may ask the same question that Peter asked, “What will I receive for my sacrifice?” Take comfort. Be encouraged. Your labour for the Lord is not in vain. Not only to you have a home in heaven, but God will generously reward your faithfulness to Him.
If you are not yet a Christian, do not fear what you may lose by trusting Christ. You will gain eternal life in heaven and our generous God will reward all that you do for His glory. I encourage you to trust Him today.
Song: When We See Christ – 149