The Rewards of the Faithful, by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye
Two of the things I have come to know for certain that God reward are: faith and faithfulness.
Faith in God pleases Him a lot, and when He sees that or even senses it, He rewards it adequately (Heb. 11:6). Things like obedience, holiness, fear of God, etc. are similar to faith in God.
Genesis 22:15-18 – And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Faithfulness in life, especially to the things of God is another thing that guarantees Divine rewards. Things like diligence, consistency, loyalty, devotion, etc. are similar to faithfulness.
Daniel 6:10 – Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
I strongly believe that one cannot demonstrate genuine faithfulness to whom one does not have faith in. Likewise, one cannot claim that he has faith in whom one is not demonstrating faithfulness or allegiance to.
I have also come to the understanding that whatever state a believer is in life is a function of three things:
– Their previous efforts in life;
– The trials, temptation or persecution they are passing through; and
– The level of the grace of God they are operating under.
Though, there is a part that ancestry play in our lives, again it is up to the believer to do something about it.
Though, the bible says time and chance determine things in life. Again, it is still the responsibility of the believer to act on the time and chance presented to them.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 – I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
With this in mind, I have come to the realisation that I have no one to blame for my situations in life, but rather to challenge myself and to remain faithful to the course of my life, by:
– increasing my efforts in life;
– passing my trials and persecutions, resist my temptation (Mt. 5:10-12)
– praying for more of God’s grace upon my life.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
God surely blesses the faithful. So what does it mean to be faithful?
It means to be strict or thorough in the performance of one’s duty; to be true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc.; to be steady in affection; to be loyal, reliable, trusted, etc.; God looks for such people to bless them.
Throughout the bible, there are evidences to show that God blesses the faithful.
Colossians 3:23-24 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
The Parable of the pounds told by Jesus Himself assures us of this truth.
Luke 19:16-17 – Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
Even though we are not saved by works, the bible makes us to know that our works in The Lord will be greatly rewarded (Mt. 16:27; Rev 22:12).
Matthew 16:27 – For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Deed/service)
Revelation 22:12 – And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
God has the power to remember all things; He also reserves the power and right to forget whatever He wants to. One of the things God however can’t and won’t forget is faithfulness shown towards His name.
Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Jesus Christ appeared to John the Beloved at the island of Patmos. He was given 7 letters to the Churches in Asia. Every church today can fit herself to one of those prototype churches in the Book of Revelation. Also, individual believers can also be exemplified by the types of the seven churches.
It is interesting to know that all the seven letters had the same sequence of approach or format, for us to understand the mind of God as touching rewards for the faithful.
Jesus started each letter by saluting the particular church. He would then tell them Who is writing. After which, He would tell them an attribute of Himself and what He knew.
Next, depending on what He said He knew, He would offer comfort, encouragement, advice or rebuke to the particular church. After this, He would remind them that He is coming again and whether they need to change or remain how they were.
He would then charge those who want to listen to take heed. Finally, He would declare the blessings or rewards awaiting those who would decide to be faithful.
I was very surprised to find out that even when the comments of Jesus about some of the churches were bad; He still advised that for all those who would be faithful within those churches, they will receive rewards.
So their blessing was not tied to the church per se, but the individual themselves, and the fact that it was not too late for them to change.
Unto the Ephesus church, Jesus acknowledged their labours, patience and sound doctrinal knowledge. But told them that they had lost their first love, He then warned them to repent and do the first works. Finally, He said unto those that will overcome among them, that He will give them the Tree of Life in Paradise.
– Have you lost your first love? Repent and the Tree of Paradise will be yours.
Unto the Smyrna church, Jesus acknowledged their state of poverty and tribulations. He encouraged them not to be afraid of the suffering still coming. He then promised the faithful a crown of Life and the escape from the second death.
– Are you suffering from poverty or tribulations? Are things getting worse instead of getting better? Persevere and a crown of Life awaits you.
Unto the Pergamos church, Jesus acknowledged their steadfastness in trials. He however condemn them for allowing strange doctrine to thrive in their midst. They were asked to repent quickly. Finally, He promised the faithful among them a ‘hidden manna’ and a ‘white stone’.
– Are you steadfast in trials? Do you reject strange doctrine? Be sure of receiving a hidden manna and a white stone in heaven.
Unto the Thyatira church, Jesus acknowledged their charity, service, faith, patience and works. They were however condemned for allowing a particular witch wrongly known as a prophetess to teach and seduce their members to commit fornication and to eat food offered to idols. They were asked to repent. He then promised to give the faithful the power to rule over nations.
– Are involved in charity, service, faith, patience and good works? Do you stay away from fornication and food offered to idols? Jesus will give you authority to rule over nations.
Unto the Sardis church, Jesus acknowledged their works and told them that they were ignorant of their true state. He asked them to check properly and repent. He promised to give the faithful a white garment and that their names will be written in the Book of Life.
– Are you ignorant of your true state? Be sincere with God and repent. It will earn you a white garment and your name shall be in the Book of Life.
Unto the Philadelphia church, Jesus acknowledged that though their strength was small, but they were obedient and never denied His name. He promised them supremacy and protection. He then charged them to hold fast to what they had; and He finally promised those who overcame that they will become pillars in the Temple of God and to have upon them Divine seal of ownership.
– Are you truly obedient to Christ and has never denied His name, even though your strength was weak? Hold fast. Jesus will grant you authority and protection. He will also make you a pillar in His Temple and put His seal on you.
Unto the Laodicea church, Jesus acknowledged their state of lukewarmness, hypocrisy and stubbornness. He however still admonished them to repent. He then promised those that remain faithful, that they will sit with Him in His throne.
– Are you in a spiritual state of lukewarmness? Are you the opposite of what you purport to be? Has God been warning you to change and you remain adamant? He is still asking you to change today. If you become faithful, you will sit with Him in His throne.
If one of these letters is written to our church today, what will the content be?
Supposing one is written to you as an individual, what will it say?
Note that rewards are certain. What is not certain is whether a particular believer will do their best to earn or obtain their reward or not.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 – 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. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Help me to be faithful till the end.
Do not let my work got burnt. Don’t let me suffer loss.
Help me not to deny your name.
Help me to be true to myself.
Help me to be steadfast in trials, temptation and persecution.
Help me to stay away from things offered to idols, fornication and strange doctrine.
Do not let poverty or tribulation draw me back.
Help me to revive my first love and do the first works of remain faithful.
The sermon “The Rewards of the Faithful”, by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye was delivered on July 12th 2015