DUNCAN/Kingdom rewards for faithful disciples

DUNCAN/Kingdom rewards for faithful disciples


I would invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 19:27-30.  Here the Lord Jesus Christ is saying, ‘You know disciples, it’s hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ The disciples are shaken up by this.  And so, Peter and the disciples want to ask a question. Then Jesus will give a three-part response to their question. In this passage I want you to see four things, the question and Jesus’ response. First is the question, are there kingdom rewards for faithful disciples? Second, there will be future glory in the kingdom for Jesus’ disciples. Third, there will be blessing here and hereafter for all who follow Christ. Fourth, by way of warning, many who are perceived to be highly blessed shall be outranked.

I. Are There Kingdom Rewards for Faithful Disciples?

You see, Peter’s question in verse 27. “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” Peter, in light of what Jesus had just pronounced about the rich man, is asking about the status of the disciples. Notice he uses we and us. What about us?  What is our status in Your kingdom?’ In other words, he’s saying, ‘Lord, if we have lost the world for Your sake, I mean, if we have risked being kicked out of synagogues, if we have risked losing our family connections, if we have risked our trade, our vocation, our material ability to provide for our families for Your sake, can we expect there to be some sort of reward? Have we done this in vain?’ Friends, this is a vital question, no matter what we think of Peter’s motivation. The Lord Jesus Christ is waiting to say to His disciples, ‘There is nothing that you give up in this life that is worth losing the reward that I have for you. And there is no reward that I give to you that anything in this life even vaguely compares to.’ 

II. There Will be Future Glory in The Kingdom for Jesus’ Disciples. 

Let’s look then at Jesus’ answer to this question in verses 28-30. It’s a three-part answer and the first part of Jesus’ answer is found in verse 28. He says to His disciples, ‘Let me assure you that there will be future glory for you in My kingdom. When you see Me coming on My glorious throne, you too will reign, judging over the twelve tribes of the restored Israel.  You will have a place of honor in My kingdom.’  Jesus is saying to the disciples that their service of Him will not be without reward in kingdom come.  He is asking them to look at their lives now and to judge their losses in light of the blessings that He is going to give them in the future. No man is ever ultimately a loser when you serve Christ.  No matter what you lose in serving him. We never ultimately lose, because God is the rewarder of His people.

And it is vital for us, just as it was vital for the disciples, to recognize that nothing that we sacrifice here can possibly compare to the glory that awaits us.  That’s why Paul can say in the third chapter of his letter to the Philippians, “I count all things to be rubbish in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” 

III. There Will be Blessing Here and Hereafter for All Who Follow Christ.

But that’s not all, part two of the answer in verse 29 makes it clear that the eternal blessing is not just for His twelve disciples; it’s for everyone who follows Him.  And that blessing is not just hereafter. It’s here. I want you to hear me there.  Jesus says, ‘My blessing of you, when you give things up for Me, is not just in the hereafter, it’s here. It’s not pie in the sky by and by. This is not some trick that preachers are trying to play on you in order to keep you in line.  You already get a taste of the blessings of God even now.’  You see, the Lord Jesus isn’t just saying this to His disciples. He’s saying it to you.  Because He knows that over and over and over the world wants to offer you something which it says, if you don’t have this, you can’t have richness and satisfaction and contentment in your life. And you know in your heart of hearts that you can’t do those things because you follow Him.  And the world and Satan himself is going to whisper in your ear and he’s going to say, ‘If you give that up, you are going to miss satisfaction in this life.’ And the Lord Jesus is saying to you, ‘Let me tell you, you’re not going to know satisfaction unless you give it up.’ You have no idea of the blessing that you will squander if you will not deny yourself.’  

IV. By Way of Warning, Many Who are Perceived to be Highly Blessed Shall be Outranked.

Then we see the final word of warning that He gives in verse 30. He says, many who are perceived to be highly blessed in this life, even by Christians, will be outranked in the kingdom to come. He is warning His disciples. They’re just starting out in their pilgrimage and they’re already wanting to know what the reward is going to be. Why does He say, “That the first will be last, and the last first”? God’s gracious rewards will not be assigned according to the wisdom or the perception of men. The person who seeks self-interest never finds fulfillment in this life.  The reach always exceeds the grasp. And the law of diminishing returns means that once we get what we thought was going to be so rich, we get tired of it after a while. And then we move on to thinking something else will provide us the ultimate satisfaction. It is only the person who disowns self-interest and who cherishes Christ’s interest who discovers that even here, God is a God of grace and He repays it in countless ways granting eternal life far beyond anything that we have earned or deserved. What a message Jesus’ words are for us. The world is holding out contentment in many forms and saying: take, eat, drink be content. And Christ is saying, ‘If you do that, you’ll die.  Because contentment is not there and you will miss a greater blessing.  Not just in the life to come, but now.’ 

Do you believe it?  Christ is calling us today to believe this truth and by the grace of the Spirit to have our whole lives transformed because of it. May the Lord bless this word.

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