Jentezen Franklin - The Rewards Of Faithfulness
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If you ever get discouraged on your job, if you ever get discouraged in your family, if you ever get discouraged in the call of God on your life, you need to remember a hero in the Bible that I'm gonna preach about, His name is Matthias. He is mentioned by Luke, who wrote the Book of Acts. In this one passage, his name comes up, and it is in reference to the prophecy in the Book of Psalms of one of the apostles that would betray Jesus and have to be replaced. And that is what was happening. They had been in the Upper Room about seven days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The disciples, 120 of them, were assembled, praying. And around the seventh day, they said you know, we've been praying, and we need to fill the slot. There's one missing place, and according to the scripture, we should put someone in the place of Judas who hung himself and betrayed the Lord. And that's exactly what was taking place in this scripture. And they began to pray. They began to say Lord, you know the hearts of men. You know who we need to choose.
And I want you to notice the qualifications that it took to be named. And notice the word apostleship. This was not just a leader in the church, in the first church. This was apostleship. This is same status as Simon Peter, and James, and John, and Matthew, and all of the apostles. All 12 of the apostles. Of course, Judas hung himself, and now somebody is going to be elevated to that position, and here's the qualifications for it. Wherefore, find men who accompanied us all the time through the in and outs of Jesus and who were with us, listen to this, from the baptism of John 'til He was taken up in the resurrection 40 days after He rose from the dead, and He went up on a cloud into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.
That was the qualifications. And only two fulfilled that criteria. And it was a man by the name of Justus, and it was a man by the name of Matthias. And when they had prayed, this is almost funny, but they cast lots. They rolled the dice. That's like some of you do when you buy your lottery ticket in the name of Jesus. And they actually said now, God, we're picking a leader, and we need you to lead us. This is funny, isn't it? And they cast lots, and they said now if you get the... I don't know if they used toothpicks or what, but if you get the short toothpick, you're the loser, and the guy with the, I don't know how they did it, but it was basically a natural contest that they used something, and many believe it was dice or something like dice.
And one of 'em chose a number or whatever, and whoever got it, welcome to the exclusive 12 of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the real qualification was they had to be faithful. They had to be there from beginning to end. I'm preaching tonight on the rewards of faithfulness. It really didn't matter, they were saying. It really doesn't matter. One is about as good as the other because they're both faithful. And so just roll the dice and see who God wants to choose tonight. And so they chose an apostle, and it fell on Matthias, and he was numbered among the 11 apostles. The only place that he's mentioned in scripture. He's chosen to be an apostle. And what was the qualification? Why did they choose him?
Notice that it wasn't about his preaching. Notice that it wasn't who could sing the best. It didn't have anything to do with his leadership qualities. It was simply the fact that he was looking for, they were looking for an apostle, and this person had to be faithful through the ins and outs of Jesus. It speaks of faithfulness. It speaks and denotes of being there in and out. Doing, serving behind the scenes with no recognition. With nobody praising him. Never coming up in the scriptures, neither one of these men. They weren't doing it for any other reason. They were serving in their place. We don't even know what they did. But they followed the disciples around. They hung around. They were not talked about. They never performed a miracle. They never preached. They never sung. They didn't do, they might have built a campfire or something like that. But they did nothing that caused them to be recognized in man's eyes.
Qualifications. Not based on talent. Not based on skill. Not based on education. God's trying to tell us that when I'm choosing my last apostle, I'm not choosing based on their knowledge, or even their scripture quoting, or their ability to get up in front of people. I'm choosing on the basis of faithfulness and loyalty. I'm choosing on the basis of whether or not they've been there, and they were consistent, and they were faithful. And I'm saying to you that God has called you to do things that may seem small to you. But I don't care how small and insignificant it seems, He will not overlook your faithfulness. If you give a cup of water in my name, I will reward you one day at the judgment seat of Christ.
You may not be able to rub shoulders with great people. All of that stuff. But one day, one way you can be equal with everybody is, they may can outdo me in other things, but you need to say they can't outdo me in faithfulness. They were there from the baptism to the resurrection. And I'm saying to you that if people never recognize what you do for the Lord, the real boss is upstairs, and He sees, and He knows. Matthias had to be with Him constantly. What does that mean? From the time that Jesus went in and out, the verse said. You know, there's times when Jesus is in, and it feels like revival. And it feels like, woo, I got chill bumps on top of my chill bumps, and it's awesome, and God is here.
And that's awesome, and people love that. But sometimes it feels like Jesus has left the building. But he said the people that are there with the ins and outs of Jesus. So you stay faithful in the Word whether you feel like it or not, and you stay faithful in prayer, and you stay faithful in your commitment to God and to His house. You just stay faithful. You're there when Jesus is in, and you're there when Jesus is out. You're there, and I know He's always with us, but the tangible presence of God you don't always feel.
So sometimes you're going through a valley. You're going through a dry spell. You're going through a wilderness. But you stay faithful through the ins and outs of Jesus. You just keep praising Him whether you feel like it or not. And sometimes you feel like lifting your hands, and other times you just do it 'cause the Bible said do it. And you worship God. I'm telling you, that is faithfulness and loyalty to God, and He will not let it go unrewarded. There are too many greenhouse Christians. They bloom in a protected environment only.
As long as they have no wind, they have no rain, they have no storm, they're faithful to God. But when the elements hit, and the storm hits, and the rain falls, you find them weak, and you find them in situations where they lose their faithfulness to God because things are not going perfect. But He's looking for people who will stay with Him through the ins and outs because the truth is, He's using those times to expand your faith and your trust. He's using those times to teach you that you don't always have to feel God to know that He's with you. But there is a settled confidence and a peace in your soul that says come what may, He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. I'm not afraid of the future. I'm not afraid of tomorrow. I'm not afraid of any bad report 'cause the Lord is with me.
There'll be times in your life when you feel like Jesus has exited the building. Where did He go? What's wrong with the church? Why aren't we having a move of God? But what I've found is if I'm faithful through the ins and outs, He always rewards my faithfulness. If you get discouraged like that and say where's God, you have to remember if you're involved in nothing but just being faithful, and I may be preaching to somebody who feels like quitting tonight. You can't quit. This is no quitting place. He'll have no pleasure in you if you draw back. We're not of those who draw back.
Set your face like a flint. Put your hand to the plow, and double up on your dedication, and make up your mind. I will not stop reaping the harvest. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna give more than I've ever given of my life to the kingdom of God 'cause one day the trumpet's gonna sound. And the Lord is coming back, and His reward is with Him, the scripture said. Everybody take a praise break, and thank Him if you found that there's power in just being there.
I've watched some of you. You're my children in the Lord. I've watched some of you, and you came in struggling, and you came in with stuff going on. But I've just watched you. You just keep coming, and you just keep coming. And your marriages might have been weak, but they just keep coming in and out, in and out, in and out. And you know what? They're strong in the Lord. They're seeing the blessings of God on their life. God'll do it for anybody in this room who'll be faithful to Him. But this wishy washy stuff? This hit, skip, and miss stuff? That doesn't work in the kingdom. You just disqualified yourself from high places God would have taken you to. He'll overlook somebody that's a lot smarter than you and give it to you if you're faithful.
The highest calling in the New Testament church is apostleship, and all the guy did to get it was, I was there. I love that. Don't you love that? That kind of gives us hope. You know, I can look back on my life and the past 25 years. If I haven't done nothing else, I've been here. Isn't that right? Shout about it. Praise God. Hallelujah. Sometimes we let the devil just put us down and tell us how sorry we are. But you need to remind him, you couldn't be faithful when you were in God's presence looking at Him, and I've been faithful, and I've never seen Him. Hallelujah! But one day I'm gonna see Him. One day I'm gonna behold Him.
You got to learn how to hang tough. You know, that's a surfer term. That when the pressure of the waves, my son-in-law Ben is a surfer. And he said to hang ten, the way you hang ten is you have to have strong pressure on the back of the board. And he said and what they have to do - to keep the board from going over, they have to run all the way to the end of the surf board. And he said the reason it's called hang ten is you hang your toes over. And sometimes you feel like you're going through the storm.
What do you do? You just hang ten. Just hang in there through the ins and the outs. Through the ups and the downs. Tell the devil you can't, I don't care what anybody says about me, they're not running me off. That's what you have to do. Don't bail out. Don't give up at the slightest problem. The Bible said if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is weak. Stay strong, and especially in adversity. Stay strong in the Word of God. Put on the whole armor of God. That's why it's so important to read this book. Because if you'll read this book when you think you don't need it, God'll bring it out of you when you do need it. And that, you don't, that word you read tonight may mean nothing to you.
And you may think well, it's just another word. But you get up tomorrow, and here comes the devil right at you, and the Holy Spirit will bring up that word you read last night. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard again him. And that's the power of just being faithful in spiritual things. Now I want you to see this. So Matthias, his greatest moment, you know, faithfulness gives you glimpses of intimacy. He had been there. Every miracle Jesus had performed, he was there. Every sermon Jesus had preached, he was there. He was an eye witness. He was there.
So here's the great thing about that. If somebody said I don't believe Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. I believe that's exaggeration about those 10 lepers getting healed. I don't believe that actually happened. I don't believe that He rose from the dead and went to Heaven. I don't believe it. Now watch Matthias. Here comes Matthias. And he slips up his hand, and he makes his only contribution to the kingdom of God. I was there. Oh, come on. I doubt Lazarus really was dead four days. I was there.
A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. Everybody shout right there. Boy, if you were there, and you saw it for yourself, they can argue and tell you you're crazy and it's not real. But I know what I have experienced is real 'cause it happened to me, and I saw it with my own eyes.
A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. That's why I like old people. There's something about those gray-headed saints that they've just been there. And when stuff comes, they don't freak out. They don't fall to pieces. Something in them rises up and says well, I've seen Him take me through the valley of the shadow before. I've seen Him let the cabinet get empty before. I've seen the bank account go down to nothing before. But I have been young, and now I'm old, and I've never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging for bread. God is faithful when we are faithful. And even when we're not faithful, He's faithful. Somebody praise Him. Somebody praise Him.
I go to prepare a place for you that where I am, there you may be also. I still believe in Heaven. I still believe the trumpet is gonna sound. I still believe that through the rapture or through death, there is another world. And I'll never have to face God for my sins 'cause I have been covered from the womb to the tomb. The blood of Jesus has cleansed me from all unrighteousness. But I will face God at the judgment seat of Christ. The bimah. The bimah. It was an exalted area where the Romans would bring their champions, and they would stand like at the Olympics on a pedestal. And they would be rewarded either a silver, or a bronze, or a gold medal.
And the Bible is very clear. My salvation is settled, but my reward - I'm not working for my salvation. I'm working for my reward. And I'm gonna tell you, a sobering thought is how I live right now. One of the crowns is the crown of righteousness. It means right standing. It means you take the right stand. It matters, the life. It matters, personal purity, and holiness, and fighting and resisting sin and temptation. All that stuff matters. It matters because one day we shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and the bimah, the light of God will shine on us before all of Heaven, and all of our works will be examined.
But I'm gonna tell you, it matters if you're doing something in your local church for the kingdom of God. It's the only thing that, when the Bible talks about the eye of the needle? You know, it's hard for a rich man to go to Heaven. It'd be as hard for a camel to go through the eye of the needle. And then we start thinking well, how in the world can a camel go through the eye of the needle? It's like a rich man in a Porsche trying to go through a hotel revolving door in that Porsche. He can ram into that door, but that Porsche is not gonna go through that revolving door. Here's the point. It's not that rich people can't go to Heaven.
Watch. You can go through the door, sir, but you gotta get out of the car. The Porsche and all the stuff is gonna be left on this side. You can go through the blood of Jesus Christ, but you're not taking any of it with you, and it's not gonna matter when you stand at the judgment seat of Christ. Only what you've done for Him will make it through. Isn't that something? So that's why he said be a joyful giver because man, you're securing blessings in eternity. And joyfully serve the Lord. With gladness serve Him.
So here's my point. He's gone to prepare a place for us. And the Bible said that there are foundations in that city called New Jerusalem. Twelve foundations made of precious stone. Jewels. And it says this in Revelation. And the names of the 12 apostles are engraved in the 12 foundations. So one of the foundations is Peter, and one of the foundations is John, and one of the foundations is named after Matthew, and it goes on, and on, and on. Every one of them have a foundation.
Can you see the angel work crews finishing up? They're engraving names, and they get to the twelfth foundation. And the angel work crew with their hard hats hold up, and they say Lord, who would you like for us to put here on the this final foundation? The 12 apostles, the 12 foundations where all of the redeemed will live for eternity in the New Jerusalem. No weeping, no sorrow, joy unspeakable, full of glory. But there's a name missing on the top foundation. What name would you like for me to put? And the Lord says put Matthias. Well, who is that? Doesn't matter if you know their name. I know their name. And put put his name. Let him be numbered among the apostles.
And when I get to Heaven, you know where I'm gonna run to? I'm gonna run and put my fingers in the engraved name of Matthias and say I didn't preach like Peter, and I didn't work miracles like Paul, and I didn't write any books like Matthew. But Lord, I sure can identify with this man. I was there. I was faithful, and God has rewarded me for my faithfulness with all eternity. Stand to your feet and just give God praise for His faithfulness, and thank Him for a moment. Just honor Him all over this room. All of you who feel like you're not worthy of anything in the kingdom, put your hands together, and thank Him that He has a place for you. And great will be your reward.