The Bible has a lot to say about rewards for faithful and good service. While salvation is a free gift, Jesus does take note of our service and will reward us for it. It does appear that rewards can be lost as well due to unfaithfulness. Again we note that rewards can be lost, not salvation.
The following is a Bible study on the subject of rewards. Reflect on the passages and seek to find application for your leadership regarding recognizing and rewarding those you are leading.
REWARDS FOR SERVICE
1. Salvation vs. Rewards
Salvation a free gift, not worked for; results in eternal life and forgiveness of sins; through faith – Eph. 2:8-9
available to all – Jn. 3:16
never can be lost – Jn. 10:27-30
Rewards awards given for service to God; distributed in heaven; available only to Christians; can be lost
Matthew 16:27 – For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
• based upon the work we have done
1 Cor. 3:8 – The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
• based upon our labor (planting and watering)
1 Cor. 3:14 – If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
• based upon the quality of our work
2 Cor. 5:9-10 – So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
• based upon living a life pleasing to God
Col. 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
• is an inheritance from the Lord based upon working with a whole heart
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
• based upon seeking God earnestly
Rev. 11:18 –
The nations were angry;
and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your saints and those who reverence your name,
both small and great–
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
• given to the Lord’s servants and prophets
Rev. 22:12 – “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
• based upon what we have done
3. Examples of Work That Will be Rewarded
Matthew 6:1-6 – for acts of righteousness done with pure motives: giving to the needy and secret prayer
Matthew 6:16-18 – for righteous acts with pure motives: fasting
Matthew 10:41-42 – given for showing kindness and hospitality
Luke 6:35 – for loving your enemies; being kind to the ungrateful and wicked
1 Cor. 3:8 – for evangelizing (planting) and discipling (watering)
4. Rewards Can Be Lost
1 Cor. 3:10-15 – lost because of poor quality of service
2 John 1:8 – lost because we are deceived by false teachers who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ
Rev. 3:11 – lost for not enduring during a time of trial
Is there someone you are leading who needs some recognition or reward for a job well done?