Thursday, September 15, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 6 - Rewards

by Stan Feldsine (

In Chapter 6 Jesus changes His teachings from correcting Pharisaical misinterpretations of the Law to explaining what makes true righteous conduct, living out our good character (Mat 5:16), as we are transformed (2Co 3:18).

Matthew 6:1 - Rewards For Righteousness

Human nature tends towards vanity, craving validation and recognition. The Pharisees had perfected self glorifying righteousness, announcing the giving to the needy, praying on street corners to pray, long babbling prayers, disfiguring faces while fasting, etc. Jesus introduces the concept of rewards, one type through the attention of other people, and the other through the attention of God in the form of heavenly rewards when we arrive in heaven.

A Look at the Doctrine of Rewards

Jesus has chosen to motivate us through rewards for good deeds. Bad deeds result in no rewards, good deeds result in rewards (2Co 5:10).

The Prize

Paul describes this event as one in which rewards are given for placement at the Isthmian games, which we pursue with fervor. The "training" is training in righteousness (1Co 9:25-27). We are to be zealous in winning, which is producing good deeds as a product of righteous character.

The Basis of Rewards

The process of determining rewards is based on works and motivations, but salvation is not. A person can loose rewards, but will be saved and go to heaven (1Co 3:11-15). Gold, silver and costly stones consist of serving wholeheartedly (Eph 6:7-8), giving to the needy in secret rather than seeking praise for generosity (Mat 6:3-4), praying in secret rather than seeking praise for piety (Mat 6:6), fasting without making a show of it rather than seeking praise for your suffering (Mat 6:17-18). Our future rewards are our heavenly treasure. We are told to actively seek and store these rewards (Mat 6:19-20).

Don't Be Concerned With Others

We should not be concerned with the activities of others. If they don't seem to be measuring up to what our standards are for ourselves, that is not our concern. Rewards will be equitably distributed. We should be concerned with ourselves (Rom 14:10-12).

A Future Reward

Our rewards will not be given in this life, but the next following the Rapture (1Co 4:5). Paul says that "on that day" (of Christ's return) there is in store for him a crown of righteousness (2Ti 4:8). Peter refers to that same day as the day that Jesus, the "Chief Shepherd" appears and distributes "crowns of glory" (1Pe 5:4). Luke, in the parable of the Great Wedding Banquet tells us that rewards will be handed out at the time of the Rapture (Luk 14:13-14). If we endure with persistence the pursuit of righteousness we will reign with Jesus in the Kingdom (2Ti 2:11-13). Those who are faithful in small things will be put in charge of many things, speaking of reigning with Christ in the Kingdom (Mat 25:23). In the Messianic Kingdom the Lord's people will judge the world (1Co 6:2). John, speaking of Christ's return weighs in with "rewarding your servants" (Rev 11:18). And finally, Jesus Himself says that He is coming to hand out rewards when He comes back (Rev 22:12).

Persevere and Hold On

Other writers speak of the Bema Judgment and encourage us to pursue the heavenly rewards and treasures with perseverance (1Ti 6:18-19). The Hebrews are told their reward is sure if they persevere (Heb 10:35-36). James encourages us as well (Jas 1:12). And finally John encourages us to hold on to what we already have, so no one can steal away our crowns (Rev 3:11).

Rewarded Saints

John, in the Revelation sees that the Bema Judgment takes place before the Wedding of the Lamb, as those taking place in the Wedding of the Lamb are have already received their wedding garments (Rev 19:6-8).

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