Sunday, December 15, 2013

Riches or Rewards?

Heb.11: 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

These historical and spiritual verses were given to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But why? And what application can we make from what they say and teach? I want to first address the phrase “refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter”. This of course refers to Moses who was born to Amram and Jochebed who were both Jews living in Egyptian slavery. And we all recall that the Pharaoh had ordered that all the male children of the Jews should be drowned in the river and all the females could be kept alive. And Jochebed mad a little raft and pushed her male child into the river and the daughter of Pharaoh took the baby and he was raised in Pharaoh’s palace. But Moses was aware of his ethnicity and through God’s providence Moses left the palace and Pharaoh’s daughter and served under Jethro who was the father of the woman Moses had married.

Now reflect on what has happened. Moses had everything this world could offer in the palace of Pharaoh and yet he chose to live as a Jew among the Jewish slaves. That is some sacrifice. But notice how the Holy Spirit Himself gives us some insight as to this story’s application. In fact, the word says that Moses “esteemed the reproach of Christ greater that the treasures in Egypt”. Moses did not know Christ, and Christ had not yet even come. So why did the Spirit use His name in this situation?

Oh what a glory! Oh what a soaring truth! The grace of God shares with us through the Spirit that Christ can be seen throughout the entire Old Testament. While some feel satisfied with dragging the Law of Moses into the New Covenant they have missed the sacred mysteries of Christ still being revealed to we who are followers of Christ. This is the time you must capture your mind and escape the mere narrative of the life of Moses. These are the holy revelations which lay dormant within the lives and events in the Old Testament until the Spirit feel on Pentecost and He led the church into many hallowed truths not even dreamed of before Jesus.

These three verse capture the process called redemption for sinners who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. When we as a lost and blind sinner become aware of Who Jesus is and what He has done as well as our need of Him, we cannot just compartmentalize redemption as one of many parts of our lives. Faith in Jesus is not just some religious overture that can guarantee a trip to heaven but can be kept at arm’s length so as not to inconvenience the lives we have come to love. Moses left all and we are called in like manner.

We live in a money centered culture as well as a money centered Christian expression. But here we find the Spirit says that the riches of this world can never compare with being reproached for following Christ. Think about first how that demolishes the so called prosperity message. This doesn’t say that Moses left the earthly riches of Pharaoh to enjoy the earthly riches that God will provide. No, to be reproached for following Jesus will always be greater than enjoying the temporal riches this world has to offer.

And just why is that? It is found in the phrase “for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” Or as the New American Standard translates it, “he was looking to the reward”. Who is looking for the reward today? Most believers just embrace heaven as the reward and with that they are satisfied and content and hopeful. But there are two very important issues that deal with this word reward.

Yes, it is true that eternal life with Jesus is in fact the reward of every true believer. But this object lesson is teaching something much deeper than a faith which secures heaven and then turns around to finish the life it had begun. Redemption is by faith alone through the grace of God, but there is a sacred and unbreakable bond between gospel faith and gospel deeds. Let me repeat.

There is an unbreakable and sacred bond between gospel faith and gospel deeds.

At the outset we must come to terms with we mean when we say “the gospel”. It is simply the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Incarnate Christ. And upon that truth, that sacrifice, is the door to eternal life and it is the foundation of the true church. But it must be made clear that eternal life through that gospel is a matter of faith and faith alone. There is a fire wall between faith and works which must never be breached. But even with that conviction it must be noted that the New Testament outlines and exhorts us to live a life of service, of works, which identify us as believers as well as reveal the love of God to the world.

Even though our good works play no part in true redemption, they still are so pronounced in Scripture that even James comes very close to hurdling that fire wall and dragging works into faith. So let us explore that sacred bond between gospel faith and gospel works. You will notice that both phrases use the word gospel. To have faith without the gospel is hollow, just as good works without the gospel is also spiritually hollow.

Jam.2: 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

But here we have a very revealing truth that is very often overlooked. We laud our justification by faith theology and we tout the reformation and Luther’s awakening to the verse “The just shall live by faith.” And we magnify the word “faith” and almost ignore the word “live”. And with that kind of perspective we allow ourselves the luxury of wonderful statements of faith to define who we are and what we believe. And yet the Spirit tells us that statements of faith are hollow without observable, living statements of good works. Now let’s unpack this concept of “good works”.

The “orthodox” church has sometimes defined a believer’s works in terms of what he does not do anymore. He does not lie, or cheat, or steal, or curse, or get drunk, or do drugs, or practice immorality, and many other things that are clearly sin. But on the other end of the good works scale are things that are clearly laid out in Scripture as well. But they receive very little publicity in comparison with the things we are not supposed to do. And our focus on sinful acts of commission is so strong that it overwhelms the sinful acts of omission.

This kind of perspective can be seen when some unbeliever does some good things or helps the poor or provides food for starving children. If that person is living a sinful lifestyle we as believers tend to discredit the good in anything he does. Now his good deeds are not redemptive to his soul to be sure, however we as believers should be shamed when unbelievers minister to the earthly needs of sinners. But because we are self righteous about what we do not do and about our statements of faith, we discount any unbeliever’s good deeds. And what we do is condemn the sin in sinners so we can subtly move past our own deficiencies concerning good works. We avoid being confronted with good deeds that we should be doing by those who do not claim to know Jesus. But gospel works must be a powerful and observable offshoot from gospel faith. We have been so careful not to allow good deeds into gospel faith that we have become complacent about allowing gospel faith to give life to good deeds. And, yes, that emanates from an obsession with written doctrines without the same obsession with living deeds.

The doctrinal gospel that lives and breathes overwhelmingly in written format is a lifeless caricature which the world cannot see and cannot hear and cannot feel. Should not the true church be the most aggressive humanitarians of all? And yet we are so frightened by the social gospel that we tread lightly on humanitarian deeds or standing in the gap for the downtrodden and those who suffer all kinds of earthly injustices. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be believed for a sinner to be saved. But many times the gospel must be seen before a sinner will believe. Well if a sinner will not read our statements of faith then how can he know what the gospel is? We must tell him through our lips and show him through our hands and heart. Gospel faith must produce gospel deeds.

And let us get down to the purest truth. When we believe the gospel, and when we believe that Jesus is Lord, then what the path to which we are called? If Jesus told us to count the cost, then what is that cost if we are to truly be His disciple? The church has so emphasized the concept of salvation through faith alone (which is absolutely true) that it has seriously neglected the cost of being a disciple. And that cost is not just in leaving a life of sinful activities, but it involves understanding how Jesus lived and living that life as well.

One of the reasons the world can live alongside of the church without having to accept or reject Jesus is because we exhibit so little gospel deeds. William Booth was the man who began the Salvation Army in 1865 which in his day combined gospel faith with gospel deeds. In these days it is known for its humanitarian deeds much more than it is for spreading the everlasting gospel itself. But William Booth was scheduled to speak at the world wide conference to those members of the salvation Army. But he was old and ill and could not come. So he sent a telegram to all those at the conference, and the telegram only said one word.


But I return to that word reward. Now you may want to remove your shoes because we have been, and we now are going further, into holy ground. This is where the shekinah glory of God becomes even brighter if that indeed is even possible. God has come to earth as one of us and He suffers and dies an excruciating death for us and in our place. And then Jesus resurrects from the dead with many infallible proofs to make an open show over wicked spirits in high places and over death itself. And then He offers the gift of eternal life through that gospel event by believing in Him with all of your heart. And with that the Word tells us that we have our reward of eternal life secure in heaven and eternally pristine.

And true believers gladly lay down their lives and pick up His. We are imperfect to be sure, but if a sinner claims to believe in Jesus and his life remains the same he has been deceived. But the Spirit empowers us to do good deeds in Jesus’ name and not in our own. Yes, we could have done some of those deeds before we were followers of Christ, but we would have done them in our own name and in our own strength and because they made our flesh feel good. But now we do them because we love Him and He has shown us what He desires of us. Everything is because of Him – the faith, the deeds, the compassion, the message, and our very lives.

But when we get to heaven we will be given rewards for those deeds done in His name and in the power of the Spirit. What? How can this thing be? It is all of Him and yet we will receive rewards? Just when we thought we had our theology about redemption by faith and the finished work of Christ all neatly in order, the love of our Blessed Savior opens another bottomless cavern which confounds all earthly wisdom. But there you stand immobilized by the sheer weight of His presence and the realization of His grace in your life. I do not know exactly how wide will be our perspective, but perhaps we will be allowed a holy and sacred and majestic perspective as to who we once were and who we are now and most importantly who He was, and is, and always will be. And standing there you are beginning to come to terms about life eternal and in His holy and magnificent presence.

And then you are given rewards. I am embarrassed to even think of it now. How can I receive any rewards? I mean we could have done so much more. We stumbled so often. We spent money sometimes on our lusts. We did not pray as we should have. We did not witness as we could have. And yet we receive rewards for deeds He Himself actually did through us? It seems like madness, does it not? So what can we do with these rewards? Shall we show them off to others? Shall we admire what we have done? Shall we be thankful that we did serve Christ? I mean what really can we do with these spiritual and eternal rewards?

There is only one thing we can do with them and on that day there will be only one thing we desire to do with them. Imagine you in your new body and amidst the voices of angelic beings expressing the holiness of God as well as the incredible echoes of songs and praises and worship lifting up like a wondrous cloud within the expanse of God’s throne room. And without hesitation or fear, but filled with a spirit of worship that only a new body could contain, you make your way to the place before His throne, and while the everlasting glory of the nail scarred Lamb radiates through your entire being, you bow before Him and lay those rewards at His beautiful feet.

You have received those rewards but they will always belong to Him alone.

Halleluiah to the Eternal Lamb of God!!!
So while we live upon this earth we will be challenged every day to choose between the riches of this world or the rewards of the reproach of Christ. Although all of us have never been perfect in ourselves, we still must never compromise the goal. There is no gray area here. Either we are in this world but not of it, or we are in it and of it. Which will it be? Which will it be? Will you embrace His reproach or the respect of the world? Will you seek the world's riches or rewards of serving Christ. Which will it be?


michael said...

A couple of responses I'll make in commenting about what I just read.


You: "... Gospel faith must produce gospel deeds."

Me: " Gospel Faith WILL produce gospel deeds."

Second, I'm convinced the True militant Body of Christ is here on earth today lying deep within a multitude that is far to many to count but far less than the estimated 7 billion souls living and dwelling on the planet today.

When truly anointed preachers preach the whole counsel of God, no holds barred or words wanting, this Body of Christ among the billions alive today will fire up like a boiler when you ignite the fuel that heats the water up boiling hot!

I'll cite just one portion from Scripture that if given a full accounting as this message were heard those who hear these words in their fullest or words to the exacting same sense will fire up and burn hot and bright Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

The Apostle Peter:

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
22 Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.'

I'll make an emphasis of the part these days that is missing from this totally comprehensive convicting and cutting Gospel Message in all caps:


As the poet songwriter sang and many have sung: "it's a hard rain a coming"!

The Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ does have rewards to those whom God transforms and saves from their sins.

It's a hard thing to walk on a straight way and eventually enter through Him, the narrow Door, into an amazingly vast and wonderful paradise filled full of vibrancy and majesty for the rest of one's eternity after we pass putting off this mortal corruption by putting on the immortal holiness of His GLORY by yourself!

God's message is easy to those who hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.

Anonymous said...

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
:30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."


James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Most American Christians look on this word “works” as being work like the job they go to Monday thru Friday. They also believe that doing these “works” entitles them to have a day off once a week and paid vacation time once a year. But I do not see anywhere in the Holy Scriptures anything of the sort. We are not to assume that we that we will have regular days off or vacation time paid or unpaid. For our time of rest and reward are in Heaven.

Christians complain that they do not have time to care for the widows, orphans and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Their lives are busy with keeping up with the Joneses at church. Or they state “I put money in the plate every Sunday, isn’t that enough works”.

First off we really are not doing the “works” it is the Holy Spirit that is doing it. We are but the vessels to go to and the mouthpiece for the Holy Spirit. We only repeat what Jesus has already stated in the Bible. What is it that Matthew 11:30 says that we don’t understand? Jesus has already completed the hard work!


Anonymous said...

Greetings Rick and all readers,

Moses knew Christ as did David, Isaiah, Adam and Abraham. Christ is God and they knew God. A true believer always knows Christ!



Anonymous said...

Greetings Joel!
It's good to see that your sense of humor is intact as 2014 fast approaches.

I must leave your company for I sense I must prepare myself like Jacob did for a spot of wrestling with my kind creator!


Rick Frueh said...

James -That's all you got from the post? No one knew Christ before He came. It was a mystery hidden before the foundations of the world. Even the twelve disciples did not know Him. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal Christ to a sinner and He wasn't given until Pentecost. The Old Testament saints knew God through the prophets and the law and the blood sacrifice, but no one knew about the coming Incarnation. No one.

Anonymous said...

If it came to that, I pray I'd make the right choice.

Not everyone is in the position to make great riches though. Average christians just get by month to month, well, the ones I know anyway. I can't say that people I know ever have riches. Riches to people in the areas I grew up and lived with thought having a swimming pool was for the richest of the rich. So, our perspectives all are different when it comes to the idea of riches. I went to school with kids who wore the same outfits every day and who didn't look clean and came from families with 10, 12 and more children. They lived in tar paper shacks and didn't know what the rest of the world looked like. I expect there are many communities like this in the U.S. No one had access to vacations, entertainment, etc. Now, this was 40 years ago, during the 60's and into the 70's. Much has changed since then. I expect my peers to have moved away and live in more comfort today.

Perspective is the key to how a christian views himself and the world around him, I think. If a person believes that being rich is having a car, then he'll embrace what the Lord asks of him much easier than a person who thinks being rich is not taking the added trip to the Caribbean this year.

I could be wrong, but it was my observation that christians less fortunate didn't emulate Old Testament heroes. They just rely on Jesus because it was Jesus who lived like one who used only what He needed, even though He was God on earth. They can identify with the Son of God, not Moses or Abraham. Even though Moses did sacrifice the pleasures of Egypt, he still had a calling, and a following and was revered by the people. He had a family that supported him, his sister and brother and he was regarded as God's prophet and Israel's deliverer. He was privileged to see God in the burning bush and see great miracles and wonders. Poorer christians today not only don't have money, but don't have family support either. They have broken ties with those mega-christians who look down their noses on the poorer ones. Mega-christians think they've arrived and anyone who is poor (means they won't pull themselves up by their bootsraps or they don't have enough faith to give their last $1000 to the TV evangelist so they can get God's 100-fold.

Was watching a documentary on the 80's on the Discovery Channel. It's remarkable how easily people are swayed by trends and gadgets and fashion and appeal. How can a church survive in this gluttony and hedonism? Something's got to give, and it's either get out of Egypt or let Egypt control the churches.

I still am perplexed at how to 'get out of her' means. Do we physically leave or is it a transformation of the mind that is needed only? Can christians transform their minds today in this thick fog? Thank you Bro. Rick for staying on the narrow path and continuing to expose the darkness.


Anonymous said...

J. here.

When I wrote 'perspective is the key", I meant to say "God's perspective is the key, and not the culture's perspective.

Cherie c. said...

Response to Comment

John 8:56

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

"and he saw it, and was glad"

Abraham knew or about the Lord according to Jesus

Response to Post

Jeremiah 17:5

5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

Rick Frueh said...

Of course Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ as did all the Old Testament saints. But it was a mystery until that day came.

Anonymous said...

Can someone know God without knowing Christ? The God of the Old Testament was never a Christless God.

Rick Frueh said...

Christ is God, but that revelation would only come in Bethlehem and with the illumination of the Spirit. The Incarnation was a mystery as well as the cross and the resurrection. Heb.1:1. God speaks today through His Son.

Rick Frueh said...

Rom.16: 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Col.1: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are blessed like no other generation to be able to discover how very great are our riches in Christ. And yes, it is a glorious mystery which is Christ in the true believer, the hope of glory.

Additionally I believe that the lamb slain before the foundation of the world was teaching Moses and Abraham and all the other people that became true believers. I believe that they listened joyfully to what He taught them. In that sense they "knew" Him.

Cherie c. said...

I must be odd. I see many write about joy, and all I can see is sorrow most of the time. The days grow darker even when the sun shines. Deception is happening right before our very eyes and no one feels the foreboding, why?

Ministries, news programs, even so called Christian tv you see the deception. And it is growing. I always wondered about how things seemed to get worse in the world this time of year. I had always hoped that things in my own family would get better, that somehow the Christmas spirit would make everything okay, only to be disappointed. Because I put my trust in man.

Today is Monday, a day that I have set aside to make the Lord my focus, for various reasons, but when I see and hear the world around me I go into despair. Not for myself, but for those who I am in contact with throughout the day.

Looking at people from the spirit side of life, I am so sad. Even brothers and sisters in the Lord.....well, I am not going to say anything for fear of retribution from the very people Jesus said to call my brothers and sisters. Just say I am grieved by some of the things I see written and what I hear.

Error is everywhere even in the invisible church, but I cannot say anything.

I was watching 60 minutes about the Coptic Christians in Egypt. They are being burned and murdered for siding with the military in Egypt. They are a very religious group that practice worse idolatry than the Catholics, if that is possible, and these people are being killed and going to hell because of their ignorance of the Word of God. The Berean Call ministries did an article about them and how they are being martyred. But it is so sad that as Scripture describes, they perish for lack of knowledge. Mary is a big part of their worship too. My heart breaks. Where are the missionaries for these people? Does no one care? They are called Christian, but are not. I had little time to pray today, but when I did, I prayed for all people not just the ones I love in my home and the brothers and sisters who not only have hurt me, but for all. I also prayed that if I hurt anyone, to be forgiven.

Tears fell when I read about the tributes to Paul Crouch of TBN. Not that he was a man of God, for God, but a shrewd business man and other things that did not pertain to the walk spoken of by Jesus. How's that for a great Christian to be praised. It is utterly sad, so sad that it makes you feel like you can't breathe. He is suffering right now, unless he repented. But since he was deceived by the lies of satan, who knows. But the Word of God is true and someone has to say the truth. It grieves me to think that Paul Crouch is in hell, and that Billy Graham may be going there too. Does no one feel the weight of this tragic circumstance?

Cherie c. said...

And I know, I am harping on this, but people will die a week from this Wednesday while celebrating a lie, and I get to sit back and watch the train wreck. I watched a few minutes of the Walton's tonight. You remember, the series about John Boy and his family. Well, this episode was a Christmas episode, and when the tree was decorated, they sung praises to it. And that isn't idolatry? I couldn't watch anymore, I had to turn the channel.

The biggest blow today was when my atheist son said that Pope Frances was someone he could get behind because of all the nice things he is doing? He could have punched me and it would have hurt less.

And now I go to my room, and I will be awake pondering all this and praying that the Lord isn't mad at me like everyone else seems to be lately. They say I am over the top for the things of God, and that it is wrong. How confused do you think I am right now? Brothers and sisters in the Lord say this to me.

I hate this time of year. I used to love the sunny cold days, the light from the sun was so peaceful. I know, I am told I am weird for liking cold weather. Just add it to the list.

You may think I am odd, but I love you anyway. Oh, and I was blasted a while ago for saying I loved a sister in the Lord because I never met her. Okay....???????

Thank you for allowing me to share with you what I am going through at this moment. Perhaps you have felt this way too at times. The battle will continue tomorrow.

Please do not post a comment to me. All I ask is that you think really hard about all the things I said. I do so care about you all, and I lift you all up in prayer everyday. Yes, all of you no matter how I feel you have treated me. I want all to share in the love the Lord exhorts us to give. No matter what.

One more request, if I may. I heard from Mrs.K (Kim K., not the Kim with Parkinson's), she has posted here as Mrs.K. She wrote me a month or two ago and she didn't say what, but she is dealing with something really bad. She would not tell me exactly what, she only mentioned a few brief things, but it was not coherent. I am really worried about her. She has not returned my emails or my request to call me. If any one knows how to reach her, please contact her to see how she is. I have never met her, but we talk via email. We exchanged pictures. She is a lovey lady and truly loves the Lord, but something happened and I fear for her. If you know her, please tell her I was asking about her and that I am so worried. Thank you.

In short, this post so touches the very heart of what our faith should be. Where is your treasure tonight? Because Jesus said where your treasure is, your heart is too.

May the Peace and the Grace from our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God be with you all this night.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.