Introduction: Whenever I have my vision tested, they check
to see how far to each side I can see when I’m looking
straight ahead. Some people have injuries or a disease that
cause them to have only a narrow field of vision. My thought
is that many Christians have very narrow vision when it
comes to the “Rewards of Faithfulness.” They see a reward
only after they go to heaven, and that tends to create
confusion about the relationship between works and
salvation. While it is true that some will only see their
reward in heaven (see Hebrews 11), for most Christians this
narrow vision is akin to a disease. It causes them to miss
the most obvious rewards for faithfulness, which come here
and now as a result of obeying God. Let’s jump into our
study of the Bible and you can decide whether I’m looking at
this correctly!

I. Talents and Heaven

A. Read Matthew 25:14. Jesus says that “it” will be
like a man on a journey. What is “it?” What is the
subject of this story? (Read Matthew 25:13. Jesus
is telling parables about His Second Coming. Not
knowing the day or hour refers to the timing of
His coming.)

B. Read Matthew 25:15-18. What do you think “talents”
represent in this parable? (God-given abilities.
Note however that verse 14 refers to the talents
as the master’s “property.”)

C. Read Matthew 25:19-21. The master says precisely
the same to the two talent servant. What do you
think it means to “enter into the joy of your
master?” (Given the context, this must mean enter
into heaven.)

1. Does that mean the “narrow vision” Christians
are right? Our reward for faithfulness is
eternal salvation?

D. In Matthew 25:24-27 the one talent servant insults
his mater by calling him “a hard man” and
suggesting that he is greedy. The master tells
that servant he is “wicked and slothful.” Read
Matthew 25:28-29. Is this a comment on salvation?
(It could not be. Can you be saved more than once?
Is the ten talent guy getting tickets to heaven
for others? Jesus might be saying that he had
eleven talents given to him in heaven. That is
possible. But, this sounds like Jesus might be
talking about something here on earth – especially
since the talent doubling took place on earth.)

E. Read Matthew 25:30. Is this a reference to losing
heaven? (Yes. That is clear.)

1. Does this clear reference to losing heaven
teach us that we lose heaven by a lack of
works? (If we had not heard the one talent
servant call his master names, and assault his
character, we might reach that conclusion.
But, since we know what he said, we understand
that his attitude towards his master was not
right, and that is what caused him to do

F. Let’s revisit a previous answer. I asked you what
these talents represented and I suggested the
answer was “God-given talents.” Read Matthew 25:27.
What does this say is the talent? (It says it is
“money.” Jesus makes this even clearer by
referring to placing it in a bank and receiving

1. What does that teach us about where we receive
our reward? (Since we know this was money, and
it was given to the ten talent servant, we see
that he received more money. Since we cannot
take money to heaven, the strong suggestion,
once again, is that we are talking in part
about rewards which come on earth.)

II. Noah and Here

A. Read Hebrews 11:6. What does a positive
relationship with God require? (We must believe
that God exists and that He rewards those who seek

1. Is it important to get the “rewards” part
right? (This tells us it is incredibly
important! The faith that pleases God is a
belief in His existence and that He gives

B. Read Hebrews 11:7. Why was Noah warned about the
coming end of humanity? (Because he had faith.)

1. Was this a reward reserved for heaven? The
Second Coming? (No! Noah’s faith resulted in
him being warned and given the opportunity to
save himself and his family. This reward
happened on earth.)

III. Abraham and Here

A. Read Hebrews 11:8-9. What “inheritance” is
referred to here? (Land!)

B. Read Hebrews 11:10. What other reward interested
Abraham? (Heaven!)

C. Read Hebrews 11:11-12. Where is this reward given?
(This is a reward on earth. The reward is having
land and many descendants.)

D. Read Hebrews 11:13. When this verse says that they
had not “received the things promised,” what is it
talking about? (It is talking about the entirety
of the promise. Abraham lived in the land promised
to him and he saw many descendants. But, he never
saw the complete fulfillment of this reward.)

1. What can we confidently say to “narrow vision”
Christians? (Faith in God, obedience to God,
gives us rewards during our life, after our
life, and in heaven.)

IV. Suffering Here

A. Read Hebrews 11:36-39. Were these faithful people
rewarded here on earth? (No. The Bible informs us
that this can happen. Although God’s rewards
generally come in part during a faithful life, in
some cases they do not come until heaven.)

1. Think about this. If the person who was sawed
in two read what we have studied so far, what
would be that person’s reaction?
(Discouragement, I fear. We need to be
sensitive to those who are among the small
group who seem to have a reward only in

B. Read Hebrews 11:40. What does it mean “apart from
us they should not be made perfect?” (This tells
us that the faithful in the Old Testament looked
forward to the Messiah coming and providing
eternal salvation to them. This further bolsters
the conclusion that an important part of the
reward for faithfulness is heaven.)

1. Is the reverse true? That apart from the Old
Testament we cannot be made perfect? (The Old
Testament is critical to a correct
understanding of God.)

C. Read Romans 8:16-17. What kind of suffering is
this talking about? Jesus was crucified. Is that
the point of reference?

D. Read Romans 8:18-19. Are these two verses
connected? Is verse 19 explaining the kind of
suffering referred to in verse 18? (I think they
are connected.)

E. Read Romans 8:20-23. What kind of suffering is
indicated here? (This is the suffering that
everyone experiences as a result of sin. The
entire creation feels it. But it ends at the
Second Coming of Jesus.)

1. Did Jesus subject Himself to the suffering
that we and the creation suffer? (Yes. Plus He
suffered in other serious ways ending in the
torture at His death.)

F. Read Romans 8:28. What does God do when we face
suffering? (He works it out for our good.)

1. Do you think it is likely that God makes
advance arrangements for “our good?” (Consider
the big picture. We all suffer because of sin.
However, God in His love gave us His
commandments so that we could avoid sinning
and therefore avoid the consequences of

2. What does that say about the relationship
between suffering and God’s commandments? (The
commandments are an antidote to protect us
against suffering. Following God’s rules gives
us rewards here and now.)

G. Friend, don’t have narrow vision. For the vast
majority God rewards His people now and in heaven.
Why not decide, right now, to determine to follow
God’s rules and enjoy the immediate and ultimate
rewards of faithfulness!

V. Next week: We begin a series of studies entitled,
“Three Cosmic Messages.” If the world is getting more
and more confusing to you, our next series will help
explain what is going on.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.