A “queen’s tea” is a formal affair where people dress up and enjoy a small portion of tea and fancy cookies and sandwiches. For my wife’s birthday I surprised her one year. She was in the bathroom cleaning. She was in her work clothes and working extremely hard. I told her to come with me to shop for a good deal I had found on bathroom tile. Instead of going to the store I drove her to a 5-star hotel with valet parking. I had packed a bag to take her to this hotel for an overnight stay and a “queen’s tea”. She went from a mundane day of monotonous chores to a day of lavish extravagance at a fancy tea in a 5-star hotel. This was a sharp turn for the better.
This is the kind of sharp turn that we see happen in Philippians 2. In the first few verses of Philippians 2 Paul speaks of humility and putting others first as the theme. He then gives them an incredible illustration of what that attitude looked like in the life of Christ.
There is a sharp turn in verse 9.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Notice the word “wherefore in verse 9”. This word links verses 1-8 to verses 9-11. Because Christ humbled Himself, God glorified Jesus. God rewarded Jesus for being obedient. This is the point that he wants to make to us. God rewards obedience.
God rewards obedience.
The Philippians must have been thinking about how difficult this kind of obedience was. It was in the midst of them thinking about how difficult obedience was that Paul reminded them of Christ’s obedience, and then expressed to them the reward that God is going to give Jesus.
We can find joy for the journey by getting the answer to 5 questions about rewards.
- Who gives the reward? Answer: God.
Jesus lived to please God.
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Some live to please themselves.
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
Some live to please Satan.
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
(2 Timothy 2:26)
By your actions, who have you chosen to please?
- What does God reward? Answer: Obedience.
Because Jesus humbled himself and became obedient God rewarded Him. He will do that for us.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
What does God not reward? God does not reward us for doing religious things for the wrong reasons.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
- When does God reward us? Answer: Some rewards are now. Some rewards are in eternity.
Some rewards are given to us now. We have been blessed. We have had God answer our prayers.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Many people in the Bible never saw their reward. Heaven is the place where most of our rewards will be.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
(1 Corinthians 3:13-14)
We cannot be discouraged when we do not see rewards now.
- How does God reward? Answer: He rewards lavishly. He rewards us eternally.
Look at how lavishly Jesus is rewarded.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
We are different than Jesus. He is worthy of all praise, honor and glory.
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
But we are also exalted when we humble ourselves.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
(1 Peter 5:6)
God rewards us lavishly. He also rewards us eternally.
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
(1 Peter 1:4)
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.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
Heaven is going to be great and we will be there forever.
- Why does God reward us? Answer: Because it glorifies Him. Because He loves us.
It glorifies him.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
He loves us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
So how does a study in the book of Philippians give us joy for the journey?
Philippians teaches us to obey God’s commands by focusing on God’s rewards.
This was the theme we find in Hebrews 12:1-4.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Jesus looked past the cross to the joy set before Him.
Knowing the result of obedience are lavish rewards transforms our mind. We have joy because we know that God rewards obedience. By focusing on what He did and following His example of looking ahead to the reward we can be obedient and have joy for the journey!
Are you looking for your reward, or have you gotten weary?