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Rewards From God

Rewards From God

In my last few posts, I’ve been looking at a teaching that Jesus gave His disciples about a Last Days mindset. He finishes, by talking about rewards and punishments. Our best bet is to live in such a way as to receive rewards.

Did you know that your eternal rewards are based upon how well you live up to the Lord’s teaching? The Bible does speak over and over again about the different levels of rewards based upon the work we perform throughout our lives.

“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Luke 12:47-48 NIV

The fact is that we’re responsible for what we’ve received. A young Christian is not responsible for the truths that have not yet been made real to him. Someone who’s been walking with the Lord for years, and ignoring the Lord’s call, will receive less in the kingdom.

It’s clear from Scripture that we’re going to be responsible for the grace that we’ve been given. With a greater anointing and calling comes greater responsibility.

I’ve found that many believers, ministers especially, want the miracles and the big churches without the character it takes to walk uprightly before God in that kind of work. The Lord wants us to grow from the inside out. An increase in power, without a corresponding increase in character, will destroy our spiritual walk.

As a matter of fact, it’s probably too late for you now. You’ve read too much. If you’ve been reading my blogs regularly, then God is going to require excellence from you and your ministry. Now that you know He’s a God of excellence, and that He requires excellence in His followers, you must begin to walk in it. Read on!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

The Lord talked to His disciples about the narrow road. We like to interpret this verse as if it’s merely talking about the road of salvation. Salvation is indeed the first step. When we choose to follow Christ, we choose a better path than that of the world.

I believe, however, that this Scripture has a broader meaning in application to the body of Christ. Very few find the walk of excellence to which we’ve been called. “The few;” that sounds like the definition of excellence to me – “that which goes beyond the expected or the normal.”

The Lord expects us to find the narrow gate of excellence. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. That’s why we need to be living up to the revelation we’ve received.

This is especially true as we live out the last few years before the Lord’s return. The world is not going to get any better. The challenges of society will continue to grow. Our only response should be to deepen our walk with God, if we want to live victoriously.

I know there are those who get upset when I talk about striving to receive a reward from the Lord. They say that we should serve God without any thought of rewards.

That is partly true. If I received nothing from the Lord except for this great salvation, it would be worth it all. I would serve Christ wholeheartedly no matter what.

However, God knows how human beings think. He makes it clear to us that He has rewards in store for those who overcome in life. If the Lord didn’t want this knowledge to motivate us, then He should never have told us about it.

So, since He places the hope of rewards before me, I’ll strive to receive everything that God has prepared for me and wants me to have. I hope you have that same desire.

Question: How well are you living up to your knowledge of God’s Word?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Passion for Greater Gifts

In my last post, I finished talking about the local church ministry gifts.  Paul concludes this section of his letter with an exhortation as well as an introduction to his next thought.

But eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And now I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31

The first thing that gets my attention is that Paul tells us to eagerly desire something.  That’s important.  The word he uses means to be passionate about it.  We’re to be emotionally invested in obtaining these gifts.

I feel bad when I see Christians who seem disinterested in walking in the power of God.  What greater witness could there be than to see a divine miracle take place in your life or the life of your loved one?  It’s the power of God that draws people to the cross.

However, there’s another aspect of this statement that’s often misunderstood.  I’ve heard teachers use this verse to say that some gifts are more important than others.  So they start comparing gifts.

“After all, speaking in tongues only builds up that believer; while prophecy builds up the church.  So it’s more important that you prophesy.”

That statement shows a lack of understanding concerning the gifts of the Spirit.  I’ve heard others explain that the greater gifts are the ones that you need right at the moment.  While that’s a little bit better, it doesn’t go far enough.

The word greater, in the Greek, is a special word.  It literally means larger or to a greater degree.  I don’t believe that Paul wants us to compare gifts and only be passionate about the better ones.  He’s telling us to be passionate about walking in God’s gifts to a greater degree.

There’s a verse of Scripture that will bear this out.  Look at how this same Greek word is used here.

But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6

More grace.  Do you think that the grace we have isn’t good enough?  So God has to give us better grace?  No!  God wants to give us His grace to a greater degree.

We need to be passionate about walking in God’s gifts, and His grace, to a greater degree than we now have.

But Paul isn’t finished yet.  He wants to show us the most excellent way of walking in the gifts of the Spirit.

The Greek word translated as excellent is hyperballo.   Hyperballo, literally means, to throw beyond.  The word picture being used is of an Olympic sport such as the javelin throw.

Everyone else has thrown it to a certain, average point.  You, however, get up and throw it beyond all the others.  That’s a picture of the concept of excellence.  When you throw beyond the normal or what’s expected, then you’ve entered the realm of the excellent.

When you serve Christ, you need to be going beyond the average or what’s expected.  That’s what will get people’s attention.

So starting in my next post, we’ll be looking at this most excellent way of ministry.  Of course, many of you already know that Paul is going to be talking about the way of love.  Hopefully, as we study it together, we’ll get some new insight into this amazing walk.

Questions: How passionate are you about walking in the Lord’s power to a greater degree?  How does it show?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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