Summary: Faithful disciples of Jesus will receive their rewards in heaven. That's a promise from God.
A. The comic strip characters Calvin & Hobbes have been many people’s favorites over the years.
1. Calvin is the hyper-active little boy with a wild and vivid imagination, and his companion is Hobbes, a tiger.
2. One of their cartoons shows Calvin & Hobbes lying in the shade of a tree on a summer afternoon discussing the important things of life.
3. Calvin says, “What if there is no heaven? What if this is all we get?”
4. Hobbes answers, “Well, if this is all we get I guess we’ll just have to accept it.”
5. But Calvin replies, “Yeah, but if I’m not going to be rewarded for my good deeds, I want to know it now.”
B. It’s only fair, isn’t it, for all of us know that?
1. Don’t we have a right to know that how we live in this life has a bearing on what happens in the next life?
2. Don’t we have a right to know that if we believe in God and try to faithfully serve as disciples of Jesus, that will we be rewarded?
C. I like the story told about the preacher who died and went to heaven. (Ray Heit, in Reader’s Digest)
1. There in heaven, he noticed that a New York cabdriver had been given a higher position and better place in heaven than he had.
2. “I don’t understand,” he complained to St. Peter. “I devoted my entire life to serving the Lord and His people so why did I get so little reward compared with the taxi driver?”
3. Peter explained, “Our policy is to reward results. As you know, when you preached, people slept. But when people rode in this man’s taxi, they not only stayed awake, they prayed.”
D. In another story, a wealthy woman dreamed she visited heaven and saw a mansion being built.
1. The wealthy woman asked, “Who is that mansion for?” The answer came, “For your gardener.”
2. The woman replied, “But my gardener lives in the tiny cottage on my estate. He’s a good man, but he would have more if he didn’t give it all away to his friends in need.”
3. As she continued her visit in heaven she noticed a tiny cottage being built.
4. “Who is that tiny cottage for?” she asked. The answer came, “It is for you.”
5. The wealthy woman replied, “But I have lived in a mansion all my life. I wouldn’t know how to live in a tiny cottage.”
6. The answer came, “The Master Builder is doing the best he can with the material He is receiving from you.”
7. The wealthy woman awoke abruptly from her dream and resolved to lay up for herself treasures in heaven, rather than treasures on earth.
E. Christian author, Ken Boa wrote: “If any of us would be transported to heaven for even a five minute visit, we would never be the same after our return to earth. For the first time, we would have a true perspective on the frailty and brevity of life on earth and the absurdity of giving our hearts to things that will not last.”
1. Another Christian author, John White wrote: “It is want of faith that makes us opt for earthly, rather than heavenly treasure. If we really believed in celestial treasures, who among us would be so stupid as to buy gold? We just do not believe. Heaven is a dream, a religious fantasy which we affirm because we are orthodox. If people believed in heaven, they would spend their time preparing for permanent residence there. But nobody does.”
2. I’m not sure I would go so far as John White, saying that nobody is preparing for their permanent residence in heaven, but I would agree that we likely don’t give it enough attention or value it as much as we should.
3. And I agree with Ken Boa, that a five minute visit to heaven would do us a world of good.
4. It would bring clarity and strengthen our commitment to live for Jesus with an eye on eternity.
F. I hope you have found our series on discipleship to be inspiring and challenging.
1. As we bring our series on discipleship to a close today, I want to emphasize a very important truth: faithful disciples of Jesus will receive their reward.
2. This is a very important promise from God and it is God’s will and God’s plan for us to be motivated to remain faithful because of God’s promised rewards.
G. Many of us are familiar with the incident that happened one day between Jesus and a young man who has been referred to as the rich young ruler in Matthew 19.
1. The young man came to Jesus because he was interested in eternal life and wanted to know what he had to do to be saved.