Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is the revelation of the kingdom of heaven and the characteristics of citizens of heaven.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In Matthew’s Gospel, heaven, heavens, and heavenly are mentioned seventy-five times.
Heaven is featured in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount sixteen times and talking about God as “heavenly Father” four times. This dual emphasis is beautifully seen in the Lord’s Prayer.
Matthew 6:9,10 “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus goes the extra mile to prepare us for a central theme in life in His heavenly kingdom: reward in heaven.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
Matthew 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
Matthew 6:1 For then you will have no reward.
Matthew 6:4 And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:6 And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:18 And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 10:41 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.
Matthew 10:42 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.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Years later, after Jesus’ resurrection, He appears to the Apostle John and restates the message He launched years before.
Revelation 22:12-13 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Recompense is the same word Jesus used for reward in His Sermon on the Mount. HELPS Word Studies definition is:
a reward (recompense) that appropriately compensates a particular decision (action).
The Apostle Paul took enormous encouragement from Jesus’ promised reward and took his illustration from the early Olympic style Isthmian games.
This word was taken from the Isthmian games where the contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed. https://bible.org/article/doctrine-rewards-judgment-seat-bema-christ
2 Timothy 2:5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
The victor of a given event who participated according to the rules was led by the judge to the platform called the Bema. There the laurel wreath was placed on his head as a symbol of victory. https://bible.org/article/doctrine-rewards-judgment-seat-bema-christ
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Five aspects of the reward in heaven:
Treasures in Heaven
Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Verbal Appreciation and Approval
1 Corinthians 4:5 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Extra Special Reward for those who Overcome Significant Trials and Tests
Revelation 2:7 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:11 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
Revelation 2:17 To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
Significant Responsibilities and Authority
Matthew 24:45-47 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,[c] whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
Revelation 2:26 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
1 Corinthians 9:25 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Be mindful and thoughtful to protect your heavenly reward.
Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
Listen – My Story
- What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
- What it a favorite recognition, award, or commendation that you have received?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Of the “Five Aspects of the Reward in Heaven,” which is most motivating for you? Talk about the Bible verse listed for that aspect.
- Pastor Kent closed with Revelation 3:11. “I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your reward.”
- What does Jesus mean, “I am coming soon?”
- How do you “hold fast to what you have?”
- How might someone seize your reward?
Life – Taking it Home
- What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson?
- What can you do in your daily life to show your priority is on your reward in heaven?
Lift – Prayer
- Pray for Bill Burger, Pam, and Michelle as they process life with their beloved Lucy in heaven.
- Pray for “Bridging the Gap” our upcoming training on building bridges to our Muslim neighbors for the cause of Christ. October 19, 20 at MCA Church.
- Pray for “BAM” our upcoming Business as Mission training. We are asking God to help us launch five businesses in the next five years for the cause of global evangelization. October 6th, 9 AM to 1 PM.
How did your invitations to your friends to join your Life Group go? How may we help you increase friend participation?