Table of Contents
2. God’s Reward
3. Dismissive of God’s Reward
– Frustrated with God’s giving
– Blind to the goodness of God
4. God’s Great Reward of Living Sincerely
– A new heaven and new earth
– A New Jerusalem
– God’s great joy
– God will glorify us
Watch & Listen
As you have heard me say in recent weeks, we should live honoring the Lord by living sincerely – loving Him and all of those around us. God has promised that He will reward those who faithfully live according to His instructions to love. So, I ask you today: Are you living sincerely? Do you believe God’s reward is worth sincerely living for? My hope is yes.
Now, some of us may not know what God’s reward is for living sincerely so, let’s first answer the question: What is God’s reward of sincere faith?
In general, God rewards all people, whether they are of faith or not, as the sovereign ruler by watching over His creations. As I often quote from Matthew 5:44, God causes His sun to shine and His rain to fall on all life. Therefore, God is both a provider and sustainer of physical life.
Now, for those of us that are of sincere faith, we are greatly rewarded through our fellowship with the Lord. Through being in fellowship with Him, God rewards us by tending our soul — our spiritual needs. God uplifts, encourages, and keeps us spiritually motivated, which to me, is a wonderful blessing. As James said in his letter, God rewards us with gifts that are unique and perfect for all of His children (Jas .1:17).
Now, in my key verse for today, we see God’s reward of sincere faith is shared through the prophet Isaiah. The prophet spoke of the day where the “deaf will hear” the words of the book and the “eyes of the blind will see” out of obscurity and darkness. We are also told that the joy of the humble will increase and the poor will rejoice in the Lord.
To be clear, while Jesus restored the hearing and sight of the deaf and the blind, these are spiritual rewards of the Holy Spirit that are still being shared to this day. You see, to those that open themselves spiritually to the Lord, they will begin to listen and comprehend His word. To those who were once spiritually blind to the goodness of God, they will begin to see clearly with the reward of spiritual discernment.
Dismissive of God’s Reward
Now, for some of us, this gift from God is absolutely wonderful and is worth sincerely living for. However, there are many others who are dismissive of God’s reward. Why is that? What would lead one to be dismissive of God’s reward?
Frustrated with God’s giving
Impatience. Simply put, many people want to see their faith in anything or anybody rewarded immediately, and so we begin to lack patience. You see, lack of patience is the downfall of mankind. Many people are of the belief that God moves too slow and because most folks can’t wait just a second, there is a tremendous struggle to wait for long periods of time.
As we know, true faith calls for one to be patient with the Lord. Patience, we must remember, is one of the fruits of the Spirit that should be in the hearts of all believers. To the Galatians, Paul said that those who wait on the Lord shall, of the Spirit, reap God’s reward (Gal. 6:8-9).
You see, patience (faith) leads to the great reward of God. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord said that those who wait on the Lord shall be rewarded with renewed strength (Is. 40:31). The renewing of our spiritual strength leads to the blessing of overcoming — this is God’s reward of salvation that sadly, many dismiss.
Blind to the goodness of God
Some that are dismissive of God’s reward actually profess to believe in the Lord, yet, they dismiss His reward by being ungrateful. An example I often use to show such ungratefulness is that some can ask the Lord for a cake and will grow angry when God gives them the ingredients to bake a cake. Again, because of our impatience, many of us want the Lord to give us an already baked cake at the snap of a finger rather than give us the tools to bake a cake.
God’s reward of our faith should never be frowned at and dismissed – it should be celebrated! When one is dismissive of God’s reward of faith, they can (and do) become blind to His goodness. In our responsive reading for today, we see that this is what befell those of Israel.
In Isaiah 29:10, we see that because of their dismissiveness of God, the Lord poured out a spirit of deep sleep on Israel. In their deep sleep, Israel would not understand the Lord’s instructions (Is. 29:11-12), and they did. The Lord said to Israel at that time that the ‘wisdom’ of ‘their wise men’ would perish and the understanding of ‘their prudent men’ would be hidden (Is. 29:14), and that did happen.
What the Lord did to Israel at that time reminds me of what Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome. In his letter, Paul wrote that the Lord rewards those who dismiss Him by giving them over to a debased (reprobate) mind (Rom. 1:28). The reward of a debased mind leads to a reward of eternal damnation; a reward that nobody should desire to receive from the Lord.
God’s Great Reward of Living Sincerely
Personally, I desire to receive God’s reward of salvation which is spoken of in my key verse for today. Salvation, again, is deliverance and overcoming spiritually; that is victory over sin unto everlasting life.
As Jesus promised, whosoever believes in Him (lives sincerely) will not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus promised that God’s reward is for the sincere believer to have a home in one of the many mansions that fills His Father’s house (John 14:2). Do you believe having a mansion in the Father’s house is worth living for? Personally, I would say that having a mansion in the Father’s house is certainly worth living for!
Yet, those that refuse to live according to God’s word think otherwise. They often ask, “why live for something that isn’t real?” They say that if they could see heaven and have proof of its existence, then they would believe and live for it.
Yet, in this same mindset, those that dismiss God’s reward of salvation will look at this world and believe that heaven can be found in our world! I have mentioned this thought in the past and it’s still a thought that I can’t wrap my mind around. Yes, this world is physically beautiful but at the same time, we, mankind, pollute it by being messy; we litter the earth and the space around it with trash. Spiritually speaking, our sin is doing even worse to all of God’s creation.
A new heaven and new earth
To those that think this way, I want you to understand that heaven can’t be found in this world. I want you to also understand that Jesus is the proof of heaven! Jesus’ eye witness report of the heavenly kingdom is the proof of heaven that we should all believe.
If Jesus’ word isn’t enough, then maybe you believe the word of one just like you. I want to share with you the beautiful picture of God’s reward that is shown to us through the apostle John as shown in the book of the Revelation of Christ.
As a spectator of God’s reward of salvation, John wrote that he saw a “new heaven” and a “new earth” for the first heaven and earth had passed away (Rev. 21:1). I want you to understand that John, in the Spirit, witnessed the end of the physical age and the coming of the new. This future that John stood in witness of is confirmation of what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah when He said, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind (Is. 65:17).”
You see, God’s creation as we know it today, is going to change forever according to His divine will. Why does the Lord plan on doing away with His current creation and bringing forth something new? Sin – sin is the answer. You see, sin fills the Lord’s creation today due to mankind’s transgressions against Him.
As we know, when God created this universe – all that is known and unknown – He said that it was all perfect (Gen. 1:31). As I preached earlier this year, God created all things with the desire to dwell with mankind, but sadly, mankind fell to sin and He will not dwell in sin Himself. So, because the Lord still desires to dwell with mankind, He is bringing forth a new creation that will come without sin and will not allow sin.
A New Jerusalem
Within the new creation that the Lord is preparing, we will see that John wrote the saw the holy city, a “New Jerusalem”, coming down out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2). Now, what is this “New Jerusalem”?
The Jerusalem of today, as lovely as it may seem to some, will pale in comparison to New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem will have the beauty of a bride adorned for her husband on her wedding day; it will be stunning – no city in the world today can compare to its beauty! Scripture shows us that New Jerusalem will be the capital of heaven.
In Revelation 21:9, John records how an angel came to him to show him the bride of the Lamb. The Lamb being spoken of is the Lamb of God – Christ, and the bride of Christ is the Church – the entire congregation of all that genuinely believe in the Lord and His only begotten Son. This is a verse where John sees us in eternity!
The angel, John said, carried him, in the Spirit, to a great and high mountain so that he could look into New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10). Why did the angel do this? Because the bride of Christ was inside of New Jerusalem as New Jerusalem will be the dwelling place of the Church.
As John continued to look at New Jerusalem, he marveled at the beauty of God’s reward. Of the beauty of New Jerusalem, John wrote that it had the glory of God; its light was like a most precious stone. John described the light like that of a jasper stone, clear as crystal (Rev. 21:11).
This city that our husband, Christ, is preparing for us is absolutely perfect; without any flaws and blemishes to make us eternally happy! I don’t know about you but this makes me so happy and so excited! Why? Because we have not only seen a picture of our eternal home but we have been seen dwelling in our heavenly home!
John tells us more about our heavenly home and its beauty when he tells us that there was no sun and no moon (Rev. 21:23). There will be no need for the sun or the moon. The reason why they will no longer be needed in the new creation is because God will illuminate it as the Lamb will be the light of the newness. You see, we sincere believers will literally be dwelling in and soaking in the light – the glory – of God! What a picture this is for all of us sincere believers!
God’s great joy
Now, in all of this beauty that Jesus shows us through John, John tells us about how joyful it was in our heavenly home. John noted that he did not see a temple in our heavenly home but that was because God Almighty and the Lamb will be its temple (Rev. 21:22).
John tells us that he heard a loud voice from heaven that proclaimed there will be no tears, no more death, nor sorrows or pain – there will be no more trials, tribulations, sufferings, and afflictions (Rev. 21:4). God’s reward of salvation comes with everlasting joy! I will be honest with all of you, this statement by itself is enough for me to find God’s reward is worth living; it is worth praising God today!
In our heavenly home, we are going to rejoice and sing praises along with those saints from the Old Testament times, the Tribulation saints, and even the heavenly hosts! As shown in Revelation 5:12-13, the voice of many will sing a new song, “Worthy is the Lamb … Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
You see, you and I are going to be rejoicing and celebrating in New Jerusalem! In our eternal dwelling place, to all of us who overcome, we will feast on God’s great joy and righteousness! To all of us who overcome sin and the world, the Lord has promised to give us to eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God (Rev. 2:7). Again, I will be honest with you when I say that I cannot understand why so many would rather have this world than the world that the Lord has not only promised to us but has shown to us!
God will glorify us
In all of this, the beauty of God’s reward of salvation is that we will be dwelling without having any worries; we won’t have to worry about anything popping up out of the blue to rob us of the joy of our salvation as that often happens in the world.
In heaven, John saw the sincere believer being glorified by the Lord and given the crown of life which nobody can take away (Rev. 2:10). Personally, I much rather live for that crown and not have to worry one second about someone coming to ruin my day over living for the riches of this temporary world!
John said that after all he had seen, heard, and recorded, all he could do was fall down and worship the angel that had given him a tour of our future home (Rev. 22:8). The angel said to John, don’t do that as he was a fellow servant (Rev. 22:9)! Yet, I have to ask: Could you imagine how overwhelmed with joy John must have been to simply fall down in worship like that? This is the joy and hope that should push us to live sincerely.
I cannot understand how anybody would be so dismissive of this picture of God’s great reward of salvation and joy. Yet, the loud voice from heaven makes it clear that many will. Scripture tells us that the cowardly, unbelieving, murderers, and liars will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8). All of those of wickedness will be cast outside of this eternal beauty to dwell in eternal darkness – an eternal hell.
You and I should take John’s overwhelmed joy to heart and live to feel it for ourselves. God’s great joy is worth living to feel, to receive, and to experience for ourselves one day. Will you join me by doing your best to live sincerely in faith today? I certainly hope so! So, let us live sincerely in faith today to receive God’s reward and experience it for ourselves.