By Albert Ngu May 25, 2020 New York
Problem of misrepresenting Gospel messages
Problem is today we are fearful that we are not motivated by God but by rewards which descends into religion, not relationship, emphasizing that we should serve God because of God, not by what He can bless us with. This sounds spiritual, and not self-seeking, but it’s a lot more nuanced than that. There is truth in it, but rewards is from God, and part of God. So long we take care of that nuance, we should love God, and be motivated by his rewards.
Is reward a Biblical concept?
Hebrews 11: 6 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
God rewards. And it’s very important to remember that, and do not think its carnal to think of that in terms of God. It’s not worldly, its actually godly.
Serve God for He is only?
It is true that the Gospel centered messages has been saying that we should love God, serve God for who he is, and not for what he can do for you. For God is not our vending machine etc. There is a lot of truth in it, and I am grateful, but there must be a balance, and it is much more nuanced to it. And the Reformed circle hardly preaches on the Rewards sermon, why? In Pentecostal circles, I know it’s a valiant topic!
I would argue that for folks to preach that without mentioning the rewards of God in heaven, it will be a truncated gospel message and a disservice to the gospel and the Kingdom of God. Dr Michael Krueger, my Gospels class professor in Redeemer Theological Seminary published a great article today. He articulated something I have felt for a long time.
The Lord Jesus, the Son of God look for the joy set before Him
Rewards motivation is so very real in the Bible, and repeatedly shown, and Jesus endured the cross as he looked forward to the joy (reward).
“ fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Even Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him! That’s the glory! Reward of bringing many sons to glory! The purpose.
Moses was looking to the reward
“Choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:25-26)
Did Moses forsake Egyptian palace, prince hood, because of who God is only? He looked forward to the reward! That motivated him to endure the reproach of Christ, which he considers worth it, more wealth or better than the treasures of Egypt! Remember he had a lot of wealth and power tied to the palace of Egypt; he was a prince of Egypt!
Abraham looking forward to the city
By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Heb 11:9-10).
Abraham was looking forward to the eternal city. Motivation is real, my friends. To say that Abraham’s motivation is solely in Yahweh, is incomplete and misleading.
Rewards is an eschatological living theology
Revelations 22 12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
This is Jesus speaking to us in the book of revelations, and He is the Alpha, Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. There is nothing more transcendent than that. And this is his words: My reward is with me; I will give to each person according to what they have done. It’s what we have done that’s going to be judged by Christ on the end time, for his deciding what reward we are going to receive from him. There you go. It’s from the Lord’s mouth himself. How can we be silent on rewards today in the church pulpit? It’s been lost for a long time. For the third world pulpits, it’s very commonly preached. But the danger, of course, is that people slide into the mode of getting rewards, not living for the Lord as much. How I wish we get both right, and really serving the Lord because of his love for us, and also be motivated by the rewards the Almighty God promised.
I believe this is eschatological, fixing our eyes at the end time.
Heb 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.