12 Rejoice…for great is your reward in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets… 19 Whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom… (Mt. 5:12, 19)
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? (Mt. 5:46)
35 Love your enemies, do good…and your reward will be great. (Lk. 6:35)
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… (Mt. 6:19-20)
22 You will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. (Lk. 18:22)
42 Whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to
you, he shall by no means lose his reward. (Mt. 10:42)
27 The Son of Man will come…then He will reward each
according to his works. (Mt. 16:27)
12 I am coming…My reward is with Me to give to every one according to his work. (Rev. 22:12)
27 Peter said, “We have left all and followed You. What shall we have?” 28 Jesus said, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration (Millennium), when the Son of Man sits on the Throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel…30 But many (majority) who are first (prominence, gifting, and privilege, etc.) will be last, and the last first. (Mt. 19:21-30)
“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” (1 Cor 1:27)
▪ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.
For most, it is an offensive idea that the Lord would call us to be great in His sight. Yet, it is a strong biblical truth and reality in the Scriptures. Jesus taught on the invitation to be great. If you took all of the other Bible teachers in the Scriptures, added them together, and combined all their exhortations on this subject, Jesus spoke more than all the others put together. Jesus understood something about this reality that is very foundational to walking out the Sermon on the Mount.
19 Whoever breaks (consistently) one of the least of these commandments (Matt 5-7 lifestyle of voluntary weakness), and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches (encourages) them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:19)
▪ This is a core teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, which is the constitution of the kingdom of God. So here we have one of the foundational pillars of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is releasing a call to the human race: for whoever will say yes to Him in the grace of God. It is a strong biblical truth and reality in the Scriptures.
▪ We must also repent if we neglect to seek to be great in the way Jesus exhorted us to. Many people are in error, and do not seek to be great but think wrongly that whether they live for themselves or for Him the pay is the same, and so they dismiss any conviction of the Spirit to attain a serious prayer life or grow their hearts in love. Unfortunately such heart growth is the only power to do the 1st and 2nd commandments (1John 4:19)
▪ Most are mostly unfamiliar with the many commands of Jesus, and the Apostles and yet Jesus said if we love Him we would seek to obey them (John 14:15). Essential to being great in the Kingdom is being one of the few who refuse a false grace message.
▪ Most Christians walk in the flesh because they seek greatness in a non- biblical way and in a non-biblical time frame. Their lifestyle is oriented around financial gain, self-indulgence and comfort, which is our cultural definition of greatness. Jesus rebuked a man in an ‘early Judgment Day’ experience in Luke 16. He told the man He should be storing up treasures in heaven instead of on the earth. This only makes sense for us to do in the long term if we are continual renewing a vision to for great reward in the heavenly Kingdom. Besides repenting for seeking greatness in a wrong way, we also need to repent for neglecting to seek greatness.
▪ We cannot repent of the desire for greatness because God Himself is great, and He designed our spirits with this longing to be great. We are ashamed of the desire for greatness itself but it is a core part of how God designed our spirit.
▪ The restraint of weakness can only be corporately sustained in the long term with a vision for greatness in the Kingdom. Few can maintain consistency at the heart level, when no one is looking and compromise of the sermon on the mount heart postures would serve them better in the natural.
▪ Most believers read Jesus’ many commands about greatness and disagree with His leadership in using this as a motivator and passively resist it. They have made the mistake and have decided that they do not really need His teaching of greatness as a motivator.
▪ When Jesus issued this mandate to be great, they just do not know why He did that. They are in it just for Him. They realize that Jesus is trying to help motivate them, but they think He is giving them a unnecessary motivation to be great in His kingdom. Obviously, that is not clear biblical thinking, but a lot of people have this thinking.
▪ The truth is that they would have to live very differently if they took Him seriously and set a life vision to live a lifestyle of being great in His sight in the secret. It’s hard to spend all of one’s free time watching television and feel like we are obeying God in seeking greatness.
▪ It is actually very normal that we do our Christianity more for others in church and in our house, than for the eyes of Lord, in secret. Most so intensely struggle with how lowly or highly others think of them, that trying to seem ‘a good Christian’ or maintain faithfulness is their main motivator. The devil exploits this with causing them to fear rejection from others, and to earn praise of others. The two demonic forces driving them are ‘pride’ (before man) and ‘insecurity’ (before man). It is actually a new idea to most that Jesus does not like this and wants them to repent of it. Paul called it ‘man-pleasing.’ Jesus said ***
▪ It is not an accident that this paradigm of life is central to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus talks about being rewarded before God the Father five or six times and receiving treasures in heaven. He hits it over and over throughout the Sermon on the Mount because it is important.
▪ Why do your disciples not fast… When I am taken, then they will fast. (Mat 9:15)
▪ Fasting is central to the lifestyle of a disciple (Mat 9:15) and of the SotM (Matt 6) yet it is resisted by most Christians. Jesus could have said so many things about fasting in Matt 6, and yet He focused on the wisest motivator to do it He knew of. That the Father would actually reward it. Contextually the reward is in the age to come (Matt 5:19), yet most resist that and focus on the truth that are down payments of that coming reward in the here and now. When Jesus is evaluating us at the Judgment Seat and giving us roles in the Millennial Kingdom, He is going to look at the Sermon on the Mount values such as prayer and fasting, giving of time, talent and treasure and choose those who did it most related to what was given to them.
▪ Those who bury their talents’ for the most part and live for the here and now instead of the age to come, believing that it will be enough to be in heaven will later regret such a decision and despise the counsel that led them down such a dark road. I believe when we stand before Jesus face to face, the things we said that were against Scripture we will regret saying.
▪ The Father’s total love for our person does not equate His total love for our actions. It’s safe to estimate that when we got saved we went from 100% disagreement with Him to 90-95%. He is radically committed to our total sanctification through the Spirit and is so jealous for us to press into the 100% by sustaining our wholeheartedness and refusal to stall out in doing our part.
▪ To this one will I look he that trembles at My Word.
▪ Just as a natural father totally loves his son but is wounded when the son refuses to obey him, the Father wants us to so value and esteem His commands and Scriptures that we radically align our hearts with them, swimming upstream against a church culture that is mostly humanistic and self-centered. Greatness in the age to come is the main message that can penetration such a culture, and heart-heartedness.
▪ We error to claim that God is totally pleased with us while we are in disobedience. For some the message of the Father’s love is disconnecting them from the leadership of God that will burn cities to get a bride prepared for His Son. Holy trembling before God enables us to rightly value the lavish love of the Father and be rooted and grounded in such a way that compels us to war against our compromise.