The Rewards of Following Jesus

  • April 22, 2018
Sunday 22

Matthew 19:16-29

No sane person would willingly and knowingly follow someone off a cliff, because this goes against the natural instinct of self-preservation. And if we do choose a path of self-sacrifice, there’s usually a higher good we seek to achieve. It could be some benefit we hope to enjoy in the end, an ideal we think is more important than our own life, or a way to help other people.

When a rich young ruler was challenged to give up what he most valued and follow the Lord, he was devastated because the price was too high. From his perspective, such an action was the equivalent of following Jesus off a cliff. He didn’t have eyes to see what Christ was promising him in exchange—treasure in heaven. He was unwilling to sacrifice his earthly security, comfort, and position in order to receive eternal benefits.

In contrast, the disciples had left everything—families, vocations, financial security, and positions in society—to pursue Christ, because they considered their Messiah more valuable. As they watched the rich young man walk away, Jesus assured them that their sacrifice for righteousness’ sake would not be overlooked. They would one day sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel in Christ’s glorious kingdom.

We serve a truly gracious Savior who not only saves unworthy sinners like us but also promises His followers rewards. Some of these benefits are available now in the form of Christ’s peace and joy filling our hearts, and the sweet fellowship of our faith community. But in eternity, He will give us much more than we have ever sacrificed to Him.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 1-3

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16 And someone came to Him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"

17 And He said to him, Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."

18 Then he said to Him, Which ones?" And Jesus said, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS;

19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

20 The young man said to Him, All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?"

21 Jesus said to him, If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, Then who can be saved?"

26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

27 Then Peter said to Him, Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?"

28 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.

1 Now Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.

2 And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers and said to them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness."

3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them, `Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?'

4 Now therefore thus says the LORD, `You shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'" Then Elijah departed.

5 When the messengers returned to him he said to them, Why have you returned?"

6 They said to him, A man came up to meet us and said to us, `Go, return to the king who sent you and say to him, Thus says the LORD, `Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.'"'"

7 He said to them, What kind of man was he who came up to meet you and spoke these words to you?"

8 They answered him, He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins." And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite."

9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him, and behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill. And he said to him, O man of God, the king says, `Come down.'"

10 Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

11 So he again sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he said to him, O man of God, thus says the king, `Come down quickly.'"

12 Elijah replied to them, If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

13 So he again sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. When the third captain of fifty went up, he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight.

14 Behold fire came down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of fifty with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight."

15 The angel of the LORD said to Elijah, Go down with him; do not be afraid of him." So he arose and went down with him to the king.

16 Then he said to him, Thus says the LORD, `Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron--is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word?--therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.'"

17 So Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.

18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

1 And it came about when the LORD was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

2 Elijah said to Elisha, Stay here please, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.

3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?" And he said, Yes, I know; be still."

4 Elijah said to him, Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho." But he said, As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho.

5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?" And he answered, Yes, I know; be still."

6 Then Elijah said to him, Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." And he said, As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on.

7 Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.

8 Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me."

10 He said, You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so. "

11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

12 Elisha saw it and cried out, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan.

14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.

15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

16 They said to him, Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley." And he said, You shall not send."

17 But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, Send." They sent therefore fifty men; and they searched three days but did not find him.

18 They returned to him while he was staying at Jericho; and he said to them, Did I not say to you, `Do not go'?"

19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold now, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad and the land is unfruitful."

20 He said, Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him.

21 He went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, Thus says the LORD, `I have purified these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.'"

22 So the waters have been purified to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.

23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!"

24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

25 He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.

2 He did evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and his mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal which his father had made.

3 Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.

4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and used to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.

5 But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

6 And King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel.

7 Then he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" And he said, I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."

8 He said, Which way shall we go up?" And he answered, The way of the wilderness of Edom."

9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days' journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them.

10 Then the king of Israel said, Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab."

11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?" And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."

12 Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother." And the king of Israel said to him, No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab."

14 Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you.

15 But now bring me a minstrel." And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.

16 He said, Thus says the LORD, `Make this valley full of trenches.'

17 For thus says the LORD, `You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts.

18 This is but a slight thing in the sight of the LORD; He will also give the Moabites into your hand.

19 Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.'"

20 It happened in the morning about the time of offering the sacrifice, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

21 Now all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. And all who were able to put on armor and older were summoned and stood on the border.

22 They rose early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood.

23 Then they said, This is blood; the kings have surely fought together, and they have slain one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!"

24 But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites arose and struck the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they went forward into the land, slaughtering the Moabites.

25 Thus they destroyed the cities; and each one threw a stone on every piece of good land and filled it. So they stopped all the springs of water and felled all the good trees, until in Kir-hareseth only they left its stones; however, the slingers went about it and struck it.

26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not.

27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land.

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Publish Date April 22, 2018
The Rewards of Following Jesus

Though following Jesus may feel like a sacrifice on earth, doing so assures blessings in heaven.

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