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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

If We Aren’t Motivated by Rewards, We Can’t Please God

Reward from Microsoft Publisher Clipart 2

My final sermon series at Mercy Hill Church is on the three words that summarize our vision – Faith, Community, and Mission.

This last Sunday I preached on faith, from Hebrews 11, focusing on verse 6.

As I soaked in this powerful chapter, and meditated especially on verse 6, I saw three truths which are crucial for every believer to understand.

First, we should always have faith in God.

I see that in the first half of Hebrews 11:6 –

And without faith it is impossible to please him…

If it is impossible to please God without faith, then the only way to please God is with faith.

Which means there should never be a time when I am not looking to God by faith.

But that raises the question – what is faith?

Second – an essential part of faith is seeking God’s reward.

That truth is implied in the second half of Hebrews 11:6.  Here is the whole verse to give you the flow of thought –

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

The second half of verse 6 explains why it is impossible to please God without faith.

The reason is because anyone who draws near to God must believe two things: that God exists, and that he rewards those who seek him.

What I had not noticed before was that word “must.”  The author is saying that anyone who wants to draw near to God with faith MUST believe that God rewards those who seek him.

Which means that if I am not seeking God’s reward, then I do not have biblical faith.

I had never seen that before.

So seeking God’s reward is not optional.  Rewards are not a lower motivation which some weak Christians might need.

Quite the contrary.  Hebrews 11:6 says every believer should seek God reward.

But that does not mean pursuing health and wealth and earthly comforts.  Those are puny compared to the reward God offers — which is the pleasure of beholding his glory in Christ now and forever (see Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14; Revelation 21:23; 22:4).

Nor does it mean thinking we can earn rewards from God.  Since even our best moments are tainted with sin, all we ever deserve from God is punishment.  So the only way we can be rewarded is because by faith alone we are forgiven through Christ’s shed blood, and clothed with his perfect righteousness.

So we do not earn rewards from God.  Instead, because of Christ, God mercifully chooses to reward our undeserving faith and obedience with more joy in him forever.

And an essential part of faith is seeking the mercy of this reward.

Third, we should always be seeking God’s reward.

If we should always have faith in God, and an essential part of faith is seeking God’s reward, then it sounds like we should always be seeking God’s reward.

This was a new thought for me, so I wanted to see if it was taught anywhere else in the Bible.  And it is — in Colossians 3:23-24 –

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.

So everything we do should be done with an awareness that God will mercifully reward our work with the inheritance of more joy in him forever.

So Paul agrees with Hebrews 11:6 — we should always be seeking God’s reward.

What’s Motivating You?

So ask yourself – right now, as you are reading this blog post, are you doing it to seek God’s reward?

Are you seeking God’s reward as you –

  • drive to work?
  • change the diaper?
  • attend your small group?
  • pray?
  • go to the gym?
  • read God’s word?

Start asking yourself that question about everything you do, and watch how it will transform your heart.

It’s transforming mine.

Questions?  Comments?

I’d love to hear them, although I might not be able to respond.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture is from Microsoft Publisher clipart.)

Category: Motivation for Obedience

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10 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much Steve for this sermon and words. It has given me a better understanding of these scriptures. Blessings to you my brother in Christ, and your family, on your new journey.

    Best,

    Lucy

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good insight here. I tend to think of seeking a reward as being legalistic in a sense. Thanks so much.

  3. Jim at Growing Faith says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for posting it.

  4. Kathy Woods says:

    Good words. Goes with the session I’m teaching in Women’s Bible Study on Romans. Thanks

  5. Excellent post! I think that the way the reward’s process works out is that everything you do for God must be done out of your love and faith in Him in response to His unconditional love extended to you through Christ. Then God will reward you based on that. However, if your heart isn’t in what you’re doing for the Lord, something big is missing.

  6. Karen says:

    Of course, God gives us so many wonderful tangible rewards as a result of obedience to Him, but I thing the greatest thing He gives is Himself! What could be greater than to be invited into the blessing of knowing Him! All the work required is to ‘draw near to Him’ and ‘He will draw near to you”

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