October 31, 2021 Jesus is Talking About Rewards Again

Jesus is Teaching on Rewards Again

October 31, 2021


Read 10:40-42.


Our Lord had just taught on being persecuted and on the reality of having enemies of the gospel in our own households. Those truths can be discouraging. Jesus then briefly gives words of encouragement. He will touch on rewards once again, as he did so often during his ministry. But, before he does, he makes a reassuring statement:


Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.[1]


He teaches the fact that those he sends represent him. They are identified with Jesus. It is not just that we are going about sharing our beliefs. We are not just promoting a belief system. We are not just expressing our opinion about something. We are not even just those who promote the Bible, as important as that is (because the Bible contains the very words of God). We are identified with Christ Himself in the eyes of the Father!


Because we are so identified, when someone receives us they are receiving Christ! In a way, this is mind-blowing! Someone may think, “How can a sinner like me represent Christ in such a way?” You can because Jesus said that you do. Whenever you speak to someone about the law or the gospel (a proper presentation of the gospel must start with God’s law and our violation of it[2]) and they receive your words, they receive the words of Christ. If they reject your words they reject the words of Christ. This is the authority that the Lord has given to you!


The second half of the verse says that he who receives Christ receives God the Father. This too is amazing. It is not amazing that Christ fully represents the Father. What is amazing is that Jesus is comparing our representation of him with his representation of the Father! Of course, his representation is perfect and ours is imperfect. Yet, the authority is the same! If someone receives you in your gospel endeavors, they are receiving Christ! This ought to enliven you! This ought to give you confidence when you go out!


Then Jesus says:


The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.[3]


Once again, Jesus brings up rewards! We must see how often Jesus taught on this subject. Jesus had already taught on rewards in chapters 5, 6, and 7. He will return to rewards in chapters 13, 16, 19, 21, 22, and 25! Our Lord thought highly of this doctrine and, obviously, believed it imperative to faithfulness and godliness. Yet, this is a neglected teaching in modern times. I have taught on it often, but one does not hear much about it. I do not recall hearing a single message on rewards the first seven or eight years that I was a disciple.


Not only did our Lord teach on it often, but the apostle Paul did, as well. Amazingly, Paul teaches about rewards in every one of his letters except two, and even in one of those he speaks of the judgment to come. Thus, rewards are one of the most predominant themes in the NT.


I will tell you why the Lord and the apostle taught so often on the doctrine of rewards. It is because there are times when we become discouraged and we need motivation to keep us in service to the Lord.


Edward Steichen, who eventually became one of the world's most renowned photographers, almost gave up on the day he shot his first pictures. At 16, young Steichen bought a camera and took 50 photos. Only one turned out -- a portrait of his sister at the piano. Edward's father thought that was a poor showing.  Wouldn’t it have been easy for Edward to get discouraged? But his mother insisted that the photograph of his sister was so beautiful that it more than compensated for 49 failures. Her encouragement convinced the youngster to stick with his new hobby. He stayed with it for the rest of his life, but it had been a close call. [Show slides of his photographs.] If he had given up the world would have lost many beautiful and moving photographs.


It is easy to get discouraged. Our failures loom large and our successes seem to wane with time. Many times it is not even our failures that can get us down. It can just be the sameness of our daily routine and the conjecture of whether what we do and say makes any difference or does any good.  The apostle Paul was aware of this.


And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. [4]


Paul writes, “Let us not grow weary of doing good.” When Paul asks us not to grow weary, what does this imply? Answer: That we have a tendency to grow weary! When you grow weary of something you stop doing that thing. I fear that some of us have ceased to do good.


What Paul meant by “doing good” included many things; but Jesus, here in Matthew 10, means being rewarded for our speaking on his behalf. This is not only the context of the immediate verses, but all of chapter 10.


The Lord knows that we are a weak and selfish people. Therefore, he has given several motivators in order to encourage us to live for Him and to engage in expanding his kingdom. There are four primary motivations for us to live for him. The first and greatest of these is love. When we love someone it is an easy thing to do those things that please the one we love. We have spoken often of the love we have for our Lord. We ought to nurture this love by spending time with him, especially in the Word.


The second motivation is joy. The Holy Spirit has worked in our hearts in such a way that when we live in accordance with his will we are filled with joy. There is nothing quite like the enjoyment that comes from doing the will of God. Jesus called this joy his food.


Another motivator is the fear of God. All of God’s servants feared God in the Bible, including Jesus Himself. It is a good and healthy thing to fear God. We ought to fear Him because He has the authority to cast into hell. That is the reason that Jesus gives for fearing Him. More, we feared our parents when we were young because they could administer discipline that was painful.  Show me a child who does not fear his parents and I will either show you parents who are living in disobedience to God for not disciplining their children or I will show you a child who has deep-seated rebellion in his heart and who hates God. Those of us who were disciplined by our parents feared them. Even those who have God as their Father (not everyone does!) need to fear Him for the same reason.


Gratitude for what the Lord has done for us is another motivator.


If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that our love for the Lord wanes. If we lack in outreach and other good deeds then this is prima fascia evidence that our love has waned. If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we find joy in other things besides the will of God. Now, God did create all things for our enjoyment. Our trouble is that we too often choose lesser joys rather than the best joys.


It is a fact that our love wanes, our joy lessens, our fear can be minimal, and our gratitude is not what it ought to be. Therefore, the Lord has established rewards as a motivator to joyful, godly service to him.


The other motivators can fail us and they have failed us, not because they are inadequate, because we are inadequate, selfish, and weak. Because of this we need to be reminded often of the rewards that await us.


The rewards of which both Jesus and Paul speak will be received in the next age. They will be received at the Judgment Seat of Christ.


What are the rewards that we will receive? Time prohibits us from examining each reward, but we may at least mention them. Our reaping, our rewards, are also called prizes and crowns in the New Testament. Each one is imperishable (I Cor 9:24-27). This means that once we receive them they will never be taken away.


[A.] There is the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:5-8). This means that we will receive an abundance of rightness in our being.

[B.] There is the crown of glory (I Peter 5:2-4). This means that we will receive an abundance of glory as part of our reward.

[C.] There is the crown of life. This means that we will receive an abundance of life even beyond the already abundant life that each genuine believer in the Lord Jesus possesses.

[D.] There are other glorious rewards promised to the overcomers. These can be read for encouragement in the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation chapters two and three.

[E.] There is a “payment of interest” now. There is a small measure of reaping that we experience in this age.


  • We must wait for the Lord’s return to receive the crown of righteousness. Yet, as we serve him we discover that we gain personal righteousness even now. We do not boast in it. Neither do we look down on others because of it. Nevertheless, we see ourselves changed.
  • We must wait for the Judgment Seat to receive our crown of glory. Yet, as we serve one another we discover that we are transformed from glory to glory even now.
  • We must wait for the crown of life. But the abundant life that the Lord promised can be experienced even now!
  • There is even a measure of prosperity that comes to us when we live according to the Lord’s word.


Our rewards come in the next age. Yet, the “interest” can be enjoyed even now.


You are like the photographer. If you listen to one voice you will find discouragement. If you listen to another voice you will find encouragement. God’s voice is the voice of encouragement. He is speaking to you today. Did you know that you can produce photographs of quality and inspiration? They are photographs of yourself. Photographs of righteousness, glory, and life that picture what you will be!


The knowledge of rewards has encouraged me and motivated me for years. Allow rewards to encourage you and motivate you. How? Jesus said, “He who receives you, receives me.” We must speak to others about the marvelous and life-saving gift of salvation. We cannot be received if we do not speak. Isn’t this true? (If you are received for any other reason – like agreeing with another about politics or sports – then this has nothing to do with Christ.)


We cannot be received if we do not speak! So, allow the rewards that the Lord has promised to motivate you to open your mouth!


It is not only we ourselves who will receive a reward, but those who hear us will also. This is the Lord’s point:


And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” [5]


You are the “little one”! When some one treats you kindly because you represent Christ, then they receive a reward.


You are a prophet! A prophet is not just one who speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. A prophet is also one who speaks on behalf of God. You speak on behalf of God!


You are a righteous person! You may not feel that way. But, we do not live by our feelings. We live by God’s word. God says you are righteous! And, you are because the righteousness of Christ has been applied to you!


Even though you are a little one, you are a righteous prophet! Live like it! Put away trivial things. Speak as a prophet. Then take hold of the promise of rewards…both to yourself and to those who receive you!



[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:40). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The exception to this is if we would meet someone whose conscience is already convicting them because of their self-aware moral failures.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:41). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 6:9–10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:42). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.