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MARK 10:28-31

CHRISTIAN REWARDS!

(A "HUNDREDFOLD!")

In this Text Jesus discusses the matter of Rewards!  In fact, "hundredfold" rewards!

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,  but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS VERSE-BY-VERSE BIBLE STUDY SERIES HAS A TOTAL OF SIXTEEN EXPOSITORY LESSONS.

 

LESSON 1:

Our Text is set in Mark's 10th chapter.  It is recorded and placed just after the episode of "The Rich Young Ruler."

Read with me verses 17 through 22:  "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions."

Jesus has in essence told this young man that true salvation will lead to true discipleship which will cost him much, in fact, everything!

Now do not misunderstand here.  Salvation is the free Gift of God!  Jesus has provided That through His precious shed Blood! 

But, once saved, we (no longer being our own but being bought with a Price) are to live for our Lord totally and unreservedly!

The "cheap" Grace that's being preached all too often today is something Jesus never recognized!

Young man, give ALL you have ... and enjoy great REWARD in heaven!

The COST of serving our Lord God seems to be a barrier for many, if I am reading this parable and the following paragraph (verses 23-27) rightly.

THEN Peter makes his statement!

"Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee."  Mark 10:28 

(Luke 18:28 records a parallel account:  "Lo, we have left all, and followed thee."  Word for word the same!  But Matthew phrases it as a question:  "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"  Matthew 19:27)

Now many commentators and preachers and scholars and theologians tell us that Peter was way out of line when he spoke.  And of course I need to leave open the possibility that they might be right.  But I must say this:  Jesus DID NOT rebuke Peter ... not at all!  Dr. So-And-So might believe Peter to be wrong and might criticize him severely ... but I'm sticking with Jesus' response personally!

In fact, I'd like to say this.  It will cost everyone who chooses to follow Jesus fully! Ask Paul or Jeremiah or Isaiah or any godly fully-committed Believer!

Peter has left his ship (perhaps still owned by the family understand), many of his loved ones, his livelihood and his very past ... all to follow Jesus!

So have the other Disciples sacrificed in like measure.

When Peter first heard the "call" of God, it went something like this:  "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Matthew 4:18-19

Their very call implied "letting go" and falling in love with Jesus and His Mission!

Again, I say ... salvation is free!  Jesus PAID the Price!  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

But serving Jesus is another matter!

"And when they (Paul and his company) had preached the gospel to that city (Derbe), and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."  Acts 14:21-22

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."  Matthew 16:24

The old Preachers used to talk about "counting the cost" in Christian service.

Today, to hear the modern crowd preach, there is no cost!

All I want us to do today is realize that after our salvation, following our dear Lord will involve some effort!  We will need to practice diligence!  We will need to "study" (an old Greek verb meaning do your very best) to show ourselves approved unto God!  And we will be asked to forsake certain things!  Some friends will have to go! Jobs might too!  Certainly former activities have to be eradicated!  In fact, one needs to present his whole body a living sacrifice!

Old Peter was right (for once)! 

Lord, we must be willing to leave all to follow Thee!

Once an old song said:  "I'd rather have Jesus ... than silver or gold!

That was certainly true of the saints of yesteryear!

Is it true of you ... and me?

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

The Lord was always honest in His dealings with mankind.

He never deceived anyone.

In reality His method of truth sharing was based upon this principle:  "If it were not so, I would have told you!"  John 14:2

You see, that statement goes well beyond just telling the truth.

It also implies removing any false conceptions as well!

Our Lord does not want us to expect unrealistic results!

The statement I just mentioned ... "If it were not so, I would have told you!" ... is located in that great "Heaven" paragraph of John 14!  That's where Jesus taught:  "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."  There are mansions in Glory!  If that were not the case ... Jesus would NOT have allowed us to go on believing so!  He would have corrected the error in our thinking!  He would have told us if that had been a wrong conception!

He's the Champion of Truth ... and the Enemy of Error!  Actually He IS the Truth! ("Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."  John 14:6)

With this in mind, listen to Jesus respond to Peter in Mark 10:28-30.  "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's. But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."

Is Jesus telling the truth?  Yes!  He always did!

In fact, God is not capable of telling a lie!  And Jesus IS God!

"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began!"  Titus 1:2

And "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us!"  Hebrews 6:18

There is reward for serving God!

If that were not the truth ... Jesus would have revealed it to us!

It might be best not to press the extent and scope of those rewards (like Peter did here) ... and leave it ALL in the Lord's Hands! 

He will not disappoint His Own children!

It is sufficient that He has told us blessings are ahead!

Truthfully, just KNOWING Jesus and His Father, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is alone blessing enough!

But according to our verses today ... there's more!  Let me again show you what Jesus said next:  "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  Mark 10:28-30

This is the truth, folks!

And just to see how very truthful our Lord really is ... look at the end of that list of blessings:  "He shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions!" If that were not so ...!

Lots of blessings ahead!  And some persecutions too!

This text, long avoided by many fundamental Bible believers (yet over-emphasized by the "health and wealth" preachers), does NOT promise all ease and luxury!  No!  It also promises persecutions!

How open and honest Jesus was ... and still is!

Then I found this verse.  In it Jesus is talking:  "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God ...."  (Revelation 3:14)  Jesus' very Name in that verse is "The Amen, The Faithful and TRUE Witness!"  Wow!

Now, be sure of it!

Blessings ahead for those who give ALL to our Lord!

Right, blessings mixed with persecutions ... but then followed by Heaven itself, eternal Heaven!  Praise the Lord!

Be encouraged today, Christian friend!

Whatever you've given up for the Lord ... will be insignificant (either now or later) in light of His overall Plan!

Trust Him completely!

If it were not so ... He would have told us!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3: 

The Lord always spoke the truth of course.

But occasionally He reinforced His words with a formula that always indicated "extra" emphasis!

"Verily I say unto you!"  Mark 10:29a

This "string" of words, as the grammarians call it, is found 77 times in the New Testament according to my computer.

This adverb "verily" translates a Greek word that's spelled "amen."  See it?  Amen!  It has come into English directly, without change!  (That's called a "loan word.") 

Jesus in our Mark 10:29-31 context is assuring us (with a hearty "amen") that there are rewards for serving Him!

And He promises so with emphasis!

And as we shall later see ... also with some "warning!"

Let's get the whole picture here.

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."  Mark 10:28-31

Those who criticize the Bible (including many educators, theologians and preachers) try to tell us that these words are misplaced here in Scripture.  That Jesus probably didn't really say these things!  They believe they see evidence of textual tampering by ancient scribes and copyists!

I reject all their theories as pure trash!

If it's in the Bible ... I believe it!

I simply accept Paul's statement that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."  2nd Timothy 3:16

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, there are rewards and trials ahead as we serve the Lord Christ!

Jesus promised them!

VERILY He did so!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The Lord did not hesitate to rebuke Peter when he needed it!

Perhaps the most stinging correction came in Matthew 16:23 where it's recorded: "But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

Now, that's a rebuke!

It's also clear proof that Peter was not perfect!

Therefore when Peter asked his well-known "rewards" question ... and our Lord gave His straight-forward "rewards" answer ... let it be observed that no rebuke was issued! 

Here's Peter's question:  "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" 

And here's Jesus' answer:  "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."  Matthew 19:28-29

(Now it's true that there may be a "hint" of warning in verse 30 ... but no rebuke is evident.  "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.")

Jesus obviously allowed His Disciples to believe that there was reward in serving Him!

I know some among us would respond ... "I'll serve Him reward or not!"  And that unselfish attitude is to be admired.  Job came to the place where he uttered these words:  "Though He (the Lord God) slay me, yet will I trust in him."  Job 13:15

That wealthy patriarch did not have to have riches in order to serve His Redeemer!  "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."  Job 1:21

As soon as Job learned of the deaths of his ten children ... we are told:  "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped."  Job 1:20

However, though such rewards are not the REASON we serve Jesus, they are nonetheless a fact of the Christian life!  God blesses those who "sell out" to Him!

Paul, the great Apostle, believed in rewards!  He is the main teacher in Scripture as far as the "crowns" of glory and righteousness and joy are concerned!

Even as Paul was ready to die he had rewards in mind ... at least to some small degree:  "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."  2nd Timothy 4:6-8

John, who loved Jesus so, adds to this "reward" concept by telling us: "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward."  2nd John Verse 8

And even our Saviour seemed to set the perfect example for us concerning these rewards!  We are Biblically told that He had something ultimately on His mind as He died on Calvary!  "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:2

That "joy" was an incentive!  Maybe Jesus' "reward" was pleasing His Father! Or redeeming His Bride (the Church)!  Or returning to Glory!  Or perfectly completing God's Will!  But (whatever it was) He kept it before Him as He died on that old rugged Cross!

Rewards (in their proper place) are all right!  Valid motivators!  Bible taught truths!  And, yes, tremendous incentives!

Now they can be carried too far!

The Mother of James and John did so too!  "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask." Matthew 20:20-22

Now I think all Christians will at least agree with this truth:  Of all God has promised to His children ... the Capstone is simply knowing Jesus!  And through the Son knowing the Father! 

I'm simply saying this now:  Jesus IS The Reward!

It's like the Psalmist said:  "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee."  He's talking to the Lord!  Also get this: "All my springs are in Thee!"  The Lord was his "everything!"  (Psalm 87:7)

I suspect every faithful Christian will spend eternity ... joyfully thanking God for the privilege He bestowed upon us ... the honor of serving Him!

And these "rewards" just might be only the "fringe" benefits!  (After all there are "benefits" to loving the Lord!  "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."  Psalm 68:19)

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1st Corinthians 2:9

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:  

The Apostle Peter asked a question:  "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"  Matthew 19:27

In essence Peter just inquired:  "Lord, what's our reward for following Thee?"

The Bible speaks of several kinds of questions.

The Queen of Sheba asked Solomon HARD questions, which he was able to answer! 1st Kings 10:1 and 2nd Chronicles 9:1 tells us about these.

Jesus as a Lad of 12 years asked many questions to the doctors of the Law.  Then He listened to their answers also!  See Luke 2:46.  These are HUMBLE questions!

Some questions only lead to strife and envy says Paul in 1st Timothy 6:4f --- "He (the false teacher) is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."  These are HATEFUL questions!

Then Paul also mentions one more kind of question.  He teaches the young preacher Titus about foolish questions:  "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."  (Titus 3:9)  These are HELPLESS questions ... no profit!  "Unprofitable" in Greek is "anopheles," a compound term meaning: with no ("a") + gain or value or service ("ophelimos")!  The verb "ophello" means to heap up, to accumulate gain!

Hence it is Biblical to say that some (wise) questions can minister profit to the inquirer!

And that's exactly what Peter has done here!  For once the Apostle is right in his words!

Here's Peter's question one more time:  "Behold (Lord), we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"  (Matthew 19:27)  Now Peter has asked one of the most HELPFUL questions ever!

And the Lord gives him a full and encouraging answer!

There is blessing and reward for serving Jesus!  An hundredfold it seems!

Such expectation is even once included in the very description of Bible faith!  Hebrews 11:6 tells us --- "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Did you see it?

God is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him!

Amen!

By the way, there is one more question that one can ask.  This is the HIGHEST question of all!  "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"  And of course the answer is readily given:  "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."  Acts 16:30-31

Are you saved?

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

Once the Lord promised "an hundredfold" reward to certain of His followers!

Listen to His exact words:  "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with 'persecutions;' and in the world to come eternal life."  Mark 10:29-30

We live in a day where these "blessings" of Christianity are far more emphasized than the "responsibilities" are! 

Preachers jump on the "bandwagon" of these many benefits ... but seldom do we speak of the persecutions mentioned later in the passage.

I want to say something this Sunday morning.

This "hundredfold" promise is NOT for everyone!

Just any casual careless flippant Believer cannot claim it!

It is reserved for a special group!

It's just for those who have "left" some things ... for Jesus' sake!

The verb, "hath left," is a rendering of the Greek word "aphiemi" which means to send away!  To let alone!  To disregard!  It's an aorist ... telling us the "leaving" is a past act, done once and for all.  (When someone meets Jesus ... nothing is ever the same again!  While he may not sell his house or land, they will never be as valuable to him again!  After all, they're just possessions! Jesus is the Real Meaning of life!  And the same is true of family!  After being saved, one does not love them less ... rather more ... but the love assumes a whole new perspective!  Jesus becomes the Center of affection!)

But, folks, you know as well as I do ... there will be attendees at Church today who have NOT left all to follow Jesus!  Baptists who still love the world and still adore their many possessions and even have trouble tithing (giving 10%) their abundant income to the Lord!

They want Jesus and everything else too!

These people have NOT left much of anything to follow Jesus!  In fact, I wonder if they're following Him at all!

But, to encourage some dear saint of God today, let me say this.  IF you've given up these things for Him ... good news awaits! 

He has promised to bless you both in this life ... and in the life to come!

Preacher, I had to give up my job when I got saved.  I couldn't keep driving that beer truck!  Well, God is able to give you a better job!  (Maybe not literally a hundred jobs ... but one which you will enjoy 100 times more than taking booze to dozens of folks every day!)

Preacher, my family wants nothing to do with me since I was born-again!  My language changed and my behaviour did too.  We no longer have anything in common!  (Do not disrespect them in any way, mind you.  Keep loving them ... but keep faithfully living for Jesus too!)  And guess what?  He will give you a bigger family than ever!  A Church family!  A spiritual family!  Hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ who will do anything for you!

See how this works?

All this ... then heaven is next!

This great "hundredfold" promise is ONLY for those who have "left" some things behind!

Preacher Bagwell, the Lord doesn't ask for that kind of dedication!

Oh, really?

How about Jesus' words in Matthew 22:37 --- "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

Or Matthew 6:24 where He taught:  "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

And a verse I do not fully understand, Luke 14:26, where Jesus said:  "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

This "discipleship" thing, this matter of Christian "commitment" can be rather drastic it seems!

But again ... to those of you who have "sold out" to Jesus ... here's the great thing!

He (and leave it to Him alone please) will choose the areas and the times and the circumstances ... and then just bless and bless and bless you some more! To bless you a hundredfold!

It's a promise of God!

Of course in reality ... we have not got over His saving us yet, have we?

Glory to the Name of the Lord!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

One of the most astounding features of war is that the "common" soldiers, the infantry and the cavalry and the support troops, are often "forgotten." I mean just as soon as the conflict ends!

They are seldom cared for as they should be!

Too many times the real "fighters" get ignored!  In my ministry I've heard of men who gave years of their lives in combat ... only to be left without help in reference to personal war related problems!

Well, Christian, I have good news for you!

Our dear Lord Jesus Christ, in Mark 10:28-30, promises that such treatment will NOT befall you! 

If you are a "good soldier" of Jesus Christ ... or a faithful "worker" in His Vineyard ... you WILL be rewarded for your service!

You will NOT be forgotten!

This verse comes to mind as I sit here typing:  "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."  Hebrews 6:10

Isn't that just precious?

Anything you sacrifice, giving it up joyfully as unto the Lord ... will be carefully recognized and bountifully restored (in this life on earth or the next one in Heaven) by our Lord!

I mean down to the sharing of one cup of water!  Jesus said:  "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."  Mark 9:41

Now, I know we do not serve Him for rewards!  We do so because of love!  Yet, be sure, the rewards are coming!  Of course, trials and heartaches will stalk us too!  And the devil will fight fiercely!  But ... Jesus will outshine them all!

Here's how our Lord put it one day when Peter asked Him a question.  Peter: "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"

Jesus' answer:  "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  Mark 10:29-30

Pretty clear, isn't it?

The God Whom we serve will NOT forget us common soldiers, us everyday laborers, us lowly bond servants in His Work!

This almost makes "giving" to Jesus an investment ... an investment in eternity!

And is that a wrong thought?  I don't think so.  I base my remarks on Jesus' teaching in Matthew 6:19-21.  "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Now don't worry about keeping the "books!"

Let God handle all the details!

Leave the blessings in His mighty Hands!

He will do what's right!

He will remain true to His Word!

We are to just keep on loving and serving Him!

Amen!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The Bible is such a practical Book!

Let me show you what I mean.

What we are about to observe is one of the thousands of little "hints" that we are dealing with the living Word of God!

Peter has just made an observation to Jesus.

He said:  "Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee."  Mark 10:28

Now let's read Matthew's account.  Matthew who had spent his life in the world of money, finance and tax-collecting ... who was used to balance sheets and bottom lines!  There Peter responds: "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"  Matthew more clearly emphasizes the "reward" paradigm!

Immediately Jesus responds to Peter's words.

Our Lord lists some of the things these men may have given up ... for the Gospel's sake.

Back to Mark 10.  "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold ...."  Watch Jesus' list carefully.  He names 8 things.  Among those 8 things He includes one's wife and one's father!

Then the Lord immediately enumerates those things from that list that will be multiplied "an hundredfold."

Watch this list.  There are some differences!  "But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Immediately "count" again!  Now we're down to 6 things that will be so multiplied!  Which two are now missing?  (One totally unmentioned thing however has been added!  We'll talk about those "persecutions" later, Lord willing!)

Missing from the original list are:  one's wife and one's father!

Now, WHY would Jesus not suggest a future with 100 wives ... or 100 fathers?

There IS a reason!

Here goes!

The Bible is a Book that teaches the principle of ONE wife for a man!  Not two or three or a hundred!

While the Koran teaches good Muslims that their eternal state will consist of large numbers of sensual women satisfying their every need ... the Bible forbids such activity (even on earth, much less in Heaven)!

Jesus did not list more wives for a man because that's out of His will!  Outside the bounds of His Word!

The husband/wife relationship is a symbol or picture of the union between Christ and His church!  When we get to heaven that "picture" will be absorbed into reality!  Christ only has one church ... and has always been faithful to her! And He never will have another church/bride either!

Secondly Jesus did NOT list a hundred fathers!

Why?

Listen to Him in Matthew 23:9 --- "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."  During these days of such heavy Catholic influence this command needs to be emphasized!

We have no father but in Heaven!

There's no Bible authority for a "Pope" or a human "Priest" or any other such thing!  We have a Father ... Jehovah God in Heaven!  (We always called ours "Dad" or "Daddy."  He did not even want to be called father ... because of this verse!)

So naturally Jesus did not promise 100 fathers as a reward for following Him! The One Father we've been given, Almighty God, is to be valued more than 100 other fathers ... or 1,000 more for that matter!

Yes, the absence of wives and fathers from the "rewards" list is very significant!

Even indirectly our precious Bible teaches us doctrine ... if we will only be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings!

What a Book!

(Here today the Bible has revealed to us Truth by what it did NOT say ... as well as what it DID say!  Bible students, note that fact!)

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9: 

The Lord never misled anyone!

He is so honest.  Remember His motto:  "If it were not so, I would have told you!"  John 14:2

So ... even when Jesus is telling us of future blessings ... "He (the man who has given up much for Jesus' sake) shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands ... and in the world to come eternal life" ... Jesus feels compelled to add two more words ... "with persecutions!"  Mark 10:30

Wow!

Yes, there are blessings in the Christian life!

Both now and in Heaven later ... but to be completely truthful (which Jesus was and still is) ... there are some heartaches too!

That Greek noun for "persecutions" here is "diogmos" and means to pursue someone or to chase them ... with the goal of hurting them!  Hence it signifies "persecutions."

In the midst of God's blessings in our lives will be certain God-allowed problems from time to time!

The devil pursues us like a roaring lion.

And occasionally certain enemies of the Word of God may do so too!

The sharp tongues of the backslidden also will unleash poisoned arrows (barbed words of gossip) in  our direction too!

Besetting sins will hound us as well!

In each of these cases God can and will give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ and His shed Blood!

But here's some good news ... it seems that the blessings always outnumber the burdens!

The height of the mountains is always greater than the depth of the valleys!

He Who is FOR us is greater than he who is against us!

God's manifold grace outweighs life's manifold temptations!  (Compare 1 Peter 4:10 with 1 Peter 1:6.)

One hundred fold blessings supercede multiplied trials any day!

"Blessed be the name of the Lord!"  Psalm 113:2

Then let me quickly add this thought.

Maybe a life of nothing but blessings would not be good for us!

Perhaps that would "spoil" us and "soften" us so that we would no longer be good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

David thought so.  He said:  "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."  This Psalmist thought that a few trials were light payment for a deeper knowledge of God's Word!  Psalm 119:71

Plus ... if we fought no battles we would never know the thrill of victory in Jesus!

In fact it just might be that a few persecutions along the way will intensify the flavor of the blessings God sends!  Paul one day faced a battle, a "thorn in the flesh!" And if you remember ... the Lord refused to remove it!  He instead told Paul that he would learn God's Grace would be sufficient!  Grace is more brilliant in a dark world of difficulties!

Yes, living for Jesus brings "an hundredfold blessings" ... but an honest Jesus adds ... "with persecutions!"

Maybe we can some day say along with Paul:  "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Amen! 

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10:

I remember an old Preacher, now with the Lord, saying this:  "God's Commands are also God's Enablements!"

By that he just meant that with every command God gives ... He also gives the power and strength to obey that command!

If He requires us to keep from sin, He will for sure indwell us with the HOLY Spirit Who hates sin and assists us in overcoming it!

Now that leads me to today's Bible Study.

While some will disagree, I believe in Scripture our Lord commands us to follow Him totally!  Exclusively!  Whole heartedly!

Listen to Jesus:  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."  Matthew 22:37

Mark adds one more word:  "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."  Mark 12:30

Then the youngest Evangelist even quotes Jesus as He elaborates further:  "And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."  Mark 12:33

Now let's hear Luke relay Jesus' words.  He here is saying about the same thing, but in a different way:  "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."  Luke 16:13

All these "commands" when summed up ... clearly tell us that we are to forsake all, and follow Jesus!

That's exactly what Peter claims to have done in Mark 10:28.  "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee."

Now I'm going back to that quote from the old Preacher, the one with which I began this Article.  "God's Commands are also God's Enablements!"

This is true ... but I'd now like to add something else about God's Commands. They not only bring along with them God's empowering ability to obey them, but also they bring the promise of rewards if they are obeyed!

That sure is logical!

Following God's orders surely brings His blessings ... while disobeying those same orders brings chastening ... from our Heavenly Father!  

If this is so Jesus will tell Peter immediately.

Watch what follows Mark 10:28 --- "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee."

Then come verses 29 and 30 --- "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."

Wow!

See the promise of rewards!

The "pattern" looks like this:

(1) God's Command ... (2) Power to obey that command (via the indwelling Holy Spirit) ... then, the resulting sooner or later ... (3) rewards for following the Lord!

No wonder Jesus told His Father:  "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."  Psalm 40:8

Or that the Psalmist declared:  "And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved."  Psalm 119:47

Christian friend, the next time you encounter one of God's orders ... obey it!  You will be glad you did!  It has built within itself a host of blessings (100 fold blessings Jesus said) to those who forsake all and follow Him!

Amen!

Now, do not misunderstand me.  We do NOT obey Him just for the accompanying blessings!  (They can be a long time in coming!  And ... their fullest realization will not occur until we get to Heaven!  And with them come "persecutions" too!)  BUT ... they do bring abundant overflowing joyful rewards again and again!

Maybe this is why John wrote:  "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."  1st John 5:3

I guess they're NOT grievous ("barus," meaning heavy in weight) ... but bringers of blessings ... 100-fold blessings!

God's Way is BEST!

Trust Him with all your heart!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11: 

I am thrilled when I see how the Lord handled (so graciously) Peter's statement in Mark 10:28.  "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee."

Matthew even gives us more detail.  "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"  (Matthew 19:27)  Paraphrased:  "Lord's what's our reward?"

Not one word of rebuke flows from Jesus' mouth!

Oh, don't misunderstand me.  He could have rebuked Peter ... and often did!  For example, "But he (Jesus) turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."  (Matthew 16:23)  That's a pretty strong one!

But here's what I mean.

When Peter quipped, "We have left all, and have followed thee," the Lord could have said, "What did you leave Peter?"

A run-down old boat?

An aging father?

And very few possession?

Or one of the most shabby homes I've ever seen?

And, Peter, you had no education.  Your earning power was quite limited!

You were in a dead-end occupation for sure!

BUT ... NO ... JESUS SAID NONE OF THAT!

He accepted what Peter had sacrificed and was thrilled at the fisherman's love and devotion!

That leads me to observe this principle about our dear Lord.  He NEVER belittles what we give Him!

Once a little boy had nothing but his lunch ... loaves and fishes ... but he gave them to Jesus!  I think you know the rest of that story!

And what did that repentant thief on the Cross have to give Jesus?  A few more minutes of life ... at most!  But Jesus did not rebuke him for waiting so long to get saved!

He takes what we have to give ... and blesses it to His Glory!

Here is Jesus' actual response to Peter's measly offering. 

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."   Mark 10:28-30

What kindness!

What gracious method of teaching!

What love!

And you know what Jesus does when I bring Him my paltry gifts?

My backward ways!

My shy personality!

My inabilities!

He does not scoff at any of them!

He says, "Thank you, son!  Here, let me bless you an hundred fold!"

Glory to God!

Talk about trading rags for riches!

Dirt for diamonds!

Think of the return Jesus describes!  One hundred fold!

What motivation this ought to provide in our lives, motivation to serve Jesus the rest of our days!

And yet, surprisingly, Paul in one place gives another motive for serving Jesus! (Although the Apostle often does mention future crowns and rewards for faithful service.)   Here's the verse I have in mind:  "For the love of Christ constraineth us!"  2nd Corinthians 5:14

The verb "constraineth" (in Greek = "sunecho") means to hold together!  To press together!  Hence, to propel forward!  Paul is saying that the LOVE of Christ energizes him to keep on going ahead for Jesus!  To keep blazing the trail! 

And what love that is!  "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!"  1st John 3:1

So ... whether you like to think of the rewards awaiting you ... or simply the fact that you are so very loved by the Lord Jesus and God the Father ... stay faithful in your Christian walk!

Be sure you're not "holding back" anything from Jesus.

Then thank Him as the blessings flow!

And flow they certainly will!

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12:

I noticed that when Jesus promised Peter manifold rewards for serving God faithfully ... He listed those many blessings in three different categories!

Let me show you what I mean.

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  Mark 10:28-30 (KJV)

Did you see them?

Jesus assured Peter of rewards in the areas of lodging ("houses"), companionship ("brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, children"), and possessions ("lands")!

If you have any doubt, go back and again read the verses.

Follow the Lord!

Sell out to Him!

Give the Saviour all you have!

And He WILL reward you abundantly!

You will ultimately lose nothing!

Letís examine those areas of promised blessing.

Houses:

Do you mean that God can give us a better dwelling place that we now occupy? Better than three bedrooms, a bath and a half, air conditioning and central heat, carpeted floors, and all the rest?

Yes, He can!

In fact, He has promised His children all a MANSION! "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."   John 14:2

That sounds like a hundred-fold to me!

Companions:

Now this one is even better!

Yes, friends may turn against us and family members even forsake us. No doubt about it.

But ... we are going to a place called Heaven, where we will eternally dwell with both Old and New Testament saints plus the saved folks of all the ensuing ages! Talk about family ... and fellowship! How about an afternoon with Paul? Or a Bible Conference with Isaiah as the main speaker? Or a day down by the River of Life with Moses himself, or Jeremiah? Not to mention Jesus being there! And remember this too. All your saved loved ones will be there as well! I know, they died! But by then in their glorified bodies ... you will have eternity to enjoy their company!

Isnít that better than a mere hundred-fold?

Possessions/lands:

Why, we shall be a joint-heir to the whole Heavenly City! New Jerusalem! Fifteen hundred miles high and broad and long! (No grass to cut or acres to plow either!) And likely with the added supernatural ability to travel through the universe from the new Heaven to the new Jerusalem to the new Earth! Maybe with a dwelling place in each! Talk about summer homes and winter cottages! (Jesus could travel in His glorified Body at the speed of thought it appears to me!)

Brothers and Sisters, thatís better than any investment banker could have ever imagined!  One hundred- fold returns!

Yes, Jesus no doubt chose those three areas of reward for a reason! Jesus did everything for a reason!

So little folks like you and me could figure out ... from the Bible ... what kinds of blessings await us on the other side!

This Series will conclude tomorrow, Lord willing. By now you may be tired of hearing me say it ... but "an hundred-fold" awaits each faithful saint of God!

That is ... if you have given Jesus your all!

Wow!  An hundred-fold!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13:

When Jesus promised Peter such massive "rewards" for following the Lord ... He (in 2 Gospels) said that "an hundredfold" return would be normal!

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  Mark 10:28-30

Or let Matthew tell us. "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." Matthew 19:27-29

"An hundredfold!"

I got to thinking about that!

Jesus is not saying a hundred percent reward! (100%) 

No! No! No!

He is saying a hundred-fold reward. Period!

A hundred percent return is a two fold reward.

If you have one apple and are given another ... you have gained 100% in your apple portfolio!

Thatís quite a bit less than being given apples an hundred-fold!

In fact, if I have done my math correctly, a hundred-fold return equals 10,000%.

Wow!

Thatís getting into Sam Walton and Wal-Mart territory there!

Or Bill Gates and Microsoft stuff!

You donít reckon that when itís all over and weíre in Glory, weíre going to find that poor old Sam and Bill didnít do as well as ... say, as well as the least know saint youíve ever met?

An hundred-fold reward!

All for serving Jesus!

All for giving up on those silly worldly things that would have hurt us anyway!

All because some selfish family member didnít like our "fanaticism!"

All because the Lord called us out of town to some foreign place of service!

Amazing!

Let godly old Paul tell us his view on the matter: "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."  Romans 8:18

And even here on earth the rewards will begin to flow ... says Jesus!

Then I was reminded (by the Holy Spirit I believe) about Job, the suffering saint of the Old Testament. After all he went thought, God lavishly rewarded him. He originally had 7,000 sheep and 3,000 camels and 500 yoke of oxen along with ten children!

Then ... after the trial ... God gave him 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen plus ten more children! God doubled everything for the faithful Patriarch!

BUT ... again I say it ... Job only got a 100% return on his possessions!

Thatís as two-fold reward!

(Job got two-fold! We New Testament saints can Scripturally count on ... an hundred-fold!

Isnít that amazing!

Fifty times more than Jobís reward!

I think thatís the amazing exponential value of the Grace of God this side of Calvary! After the Holy Spirit has been poured out in power on the New Testament (and post New Testament) saints!

All I am trying to do today is encourage you!

And even if these verses (the hundred-fold reward ones) were not in the Bible, it would still be an honor and joy to serve Jesus!

After all, He IS The Reward!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14:

I found these words three times in the Bible.

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." Matthew 20:16

Then ... "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."  Matthew 19:30

And yet again ... "But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." Mark 10:31

What's this all about?

First being last and last being first?

To answer that question ... one can't help noticing this fact.  Each of these "first ... last; last ... first" statements is made at the end of Bible paragraphs that deal with the subject of "rewards!"

Matthew 20 records the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.  That's the one in which some of the workers "bargained" for their wages! They wanted to get the best deal!  Then other workers (the majority) were happy to work for their master, letting him decide on their "pay!"  At day's end, when the salaries were given, the "contract" workers grumbled that the "non-contract" boys got the same pay they did!  THEN Jesus told them that on "pay-day" often ... those who thought they would be "first" wound indeed be "last!"  And those who thought they would get "little" would indeed get "much!"

The other two times Jesus used similar words (Matthew 19:27 and Mark 10:28) follow Peter's inquiry about "rewards" too!  "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"  And "Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee."  Jesus' well-known response was: "But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."  Mark 10:31

I believe these words comprise a warning!

I think Jesus is saying something like this:  Do not worry so much about the "rewards" for serving the Lord!  Do not calculate if they are an hundred-fold or a thousand-fold or whatever!  Let ME handle the blessings!  If you don't, when you stand at the Judgment Seat Of Christ ... you may be surprised!  Those of you whose mental "computers" have calculated great gain ... may have not factored into that "sum" heart attitudes and motives and hidden sins, all of which will affect one's reward!  For these reasons ... the "first" (in their own eyes) may end up being "last" (in the Lord's eyes)!  And those who have stayed faithful ... not adding (calculating) the benefits in expectation (just letting God bless in His Own way) ... well may be "first" in crowns and mansions and recognition!

Wow!

Yes, Peter, there are rewards for serving Jesus!

No man will ever give up (for Jesus' Sake) more than he receives ... either in this life or (more especially) in the world to come!

But don't love the Lord for that reason!

Love Him and serve Him because He died for you on Calvary!

Worship Him for Who He is ... not just what He does!

Adore Him as The Reward ... not the Rewarder!

And your "returns," if left totally in the Lord's hands ... will be great!

That's exactly how our Mark 10:28-31 Passage ends.  Here it is for one last time:  "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."

It seems to me that one of the Lessons of the Book of Job is just this!  The devil suggested to God ... Job serves you because of the "rewards!"  His is rich and owns land and livestock and is healthy and has a great family!  Satan quipped ... "If these 'blessings' were taken, Job would not serve You God!"

Well, Job's "rewards" (with God's permission) were diminished (actually erased) ... but he kept on serving Jesus!  Making along the way such statements as:  "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."  Job 2:10

And ... "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."  Job 1:21

Plus ... "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."  Job 19:25-26

And by the end ... "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6

Rewards no longer mattered to Job!

It was GOD alone he wanted!

He longed for the PRESENCE of God ... not the "presents" of God!

Don't misunderstand me early this Friday morning in April.

There are rewards (100-fold) for the faithful Believer who has sacrificed for his or her Lord!

It's just that the rewards must not become THE motive for service!

In all things Jesus must have the pre-eminence!

Yes!

After all, He is worthy!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15:

After all this time studying "rewards," I believe at least one more thing needs to be said.

While one cannot lose his or her salvation ... he can lose his rewards!

Otherwise we would not be warned: "Look to yourselves ... that we receive a full reward."  2nd John Verse 8

Partial rewards are possible!

And yet that little 1st John verse says more:  "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward."  Rewards can be taken away!

And when one thinks of "rewards" in one of their other New Testament concepts (that of "crowns") ... we have still further caution!  Listen to Jesus in Revelation 3:11 --- "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."  That no man take ("lambano" = seize or catch) thy crown.  They apparently can be lost!

Even Paul had such a fear!  "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."  (1st Corinthians 9:27)  Being a "castaway" ("adokimos" = disapproved or having taken the test, but failed) involves a loss of rewards!

If you dear Christian friends have served God faithfully for years (or for that matter months) ... having given up much for His Name's Sake ... do NOT get sloppy and lazy and careless now! 

Rewards are on your way!

Don't let the devil steal them!

Don't let slothfulness corrode them!

Make Paul's goal your own.  He longed to die having faithfully served His God!  "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."  2nd Timothy 4:6-8

Remember what Scripture said:  "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."  1st Corinthians 4:2

Be vigilant!  The devil wants to do even more than "devour" you!  He wants to rob you ... of your rewards!  (Vigilant means "awake!"  1st Peter 5:8)

Amen!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16:

One of the most neglected paragraphs of all Scripture (at least as far as we Bible believers are concerned) is found in Mark 10:28-31.  "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."

Due to the unbalanced emphasis many have placed on "rewards" and "prosperity" (a false "health and wealth" approach to Christianity) ... we Fundamentalists have backed away from the truth set forth in this passage from Mark's Gospel.

Yet in this short Text we find at least two points that bring these "hundred-fold" rewards into the world of stark reality!

By printing this Scripture one more time and highlighting in red the critical words I shall introduce you to these two issues.

"Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."

These are evident, aren't they?

Yes, Jesus here promises rewards!  Blessings galore!  To the point of being "an hundredfold!"  And both in this life and in the age to come as well!

BUT ...

These benefits require something.  There is a prerequisite!  It is part of Christian discipleship!

What, Preacher Bagwell?

LEAVING ALL!

Leaving all for Jesus!

Selling out for Christ!

Forgetting the world!

Total dedication!

Following Him exclusively!

Doing exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 --- "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

So ... it's not just all rewards for all people all the time!

No!

It's bountiful blessings ... but only to those who have yielded all to Christ Jesus our Lord!

Secondly, along with this manifold showering of rewards comes a little thing called "persecution!"  In fact the word is plural in our text, persecutions!  (In Greek it's "diogmos" and means in root form ... to pursue or to chase!  It's a picture of an enemy chasing you everywhere you go, trying to do you harm!)

This list of rewards is NOT just a "Sunday School Picnic" kind of thing!  It's not a "trip to the ice-cream store" type of theology! 

No sir!

It surely describes literal blessings, hundreds of them ... but they are tempered with trials and heartaches and difficulties!

You can't have one ... without the other!

See how very "balanced" Jesus makes His Text on blessings?

1. You must give up some things!

2. Expect persecutions along the way too!

Now, that's the reality of Christianity!

It goes something like this:

Conviction, SALVATION, consecration, blessings, persecutions, more blessings, persecutions, blessings, persecutions, blessings ... Heaven!

Jesus put all this into one short Text when He said:  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  These verses are found in Matthew 11:29-30.

In order to enjoy His rest ... we must wear His yoke!  (Living for Jesus involves servanthood!)   And walking with Christ presupposes a burden (albeit a light one)!

See the balance?

Blessings ... but we must follow as true yokefellows!

Fellowship with the King ... but with accompanying burdens!

I am so glad we have studied this "rewards" text!

And even more ... I am so glad we have an honest Saviour!

Yes, rewards (100-fold) ... but only to those who forsake all for Jesus!

Yes, blessings (manifold in number) ... but accompanying them will be persecutions!

Remember His motto:  "If it were not so, I would have told you."  John 14:2

Amen!

In His Yoke,

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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