Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MATTHEW 10:40-42


  1. I would like to speak on rewards this morning.  Our Lord said in Matthew 10:41, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward…”
  2. The word “receiveth” (10:40, 41) means to receive into one’s house (cf. Matthew 10:12-14).  Some of you have small or crowded houses and do not have comfortable accommodations for visiting missionaries, but you can still get in on the blessing by giving them a “cold cup of water” (10:42).  (Or perhaps by inviting them for a nice meal.)
  3. You can get an even greater blessing by helping them with their financial needs.   I thank God many of our members have been a great blessing to missionaries, and by giving generously and sacrificially, they themselves have received a blessing.
  4. Our Lord said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
  5. We do not give in order to receive.  This is what some people teach but we must reject this as unscriptural.  We give “only in the name of a righteous man” or “only in the name of a disciple” (10:41,42), i.e. only because they are righteous men and they are disciples and we want to help them.  If our motives our right, God will surely give us our reward.
  6. But if our motives our not right, we will lose the blessing (cf. Matt. 6:1, 2).
  7. I remember when I surrendered to preach.  My pastor told me Christian people wanted to help me financially.  I was very surprised at this and I even objected.  (It was my pride.)
  8. But my pastor explained that these Christians wanted to invest in a young preacher.  This is what our Lord is saying in Matthew 10:41.
  9. Then I went off to Bible college, and I remember when I was a student in Bible college, I received a number of anonymous gifts.   According to the Bible, these generous givers will share my reward (I Cor. 3:13, 14; cf. Matthew 10:41).
  10. Rewards will be given by our Lord at His judgment seat. This doctrine of the judgment seat of Christ is not properly taught today, nor is it even understood by many Christians.
  11. I am speaking specifically now to Christians.  The lost will not be at the judgment seat, but at the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).  There will be no rewards for the lost, only eternal damnation.
  12. We could spend much time with this, looking at the various rewards.  There will be a crown of righteousness for those who love His appearing (II Tim. 4:8).  There will be a crown of life for those who are persecuted for their faith (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10).  There will be an incorruptible crown for those who stay in the race (I Cor. 9:24-27).
  13. There will be a crown of rejoicing for soulwinners (I Thess. 2:19, 20).
  14. There will be a crown of glory for pastors (I Peter 5:4). And if you work alongside the pastor and help lighten his load, our Lord says you will get the same reward.
  15. The Bible has much to say about rewards.  Our Lord said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matt. 10:41).
  17. So this morning I would like to apply our Lord’s words to two great prophets - Elijah and Elisha - and to two women who helped them, and therefore shared their rewards.



  1. The doctrine of rewards is very important, and it is taught all throughout the Word of God.  In the very last chapter in the book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12).
  2. Our Lord said in Matthew 16:26 and 27, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.”
  3. Most people (even many Christians) want everything now.  They crave everything this wicked world has to offer.  But those who walk with God learn to wait for their reward.
  4. The other day, I read an interesting quote from Mayor Bloomberg.   He said, “An ‘I want it now’ society that refuses to live within its means is partly responsible for the subprime-mortgage crisis. I think you just can’t blame the banks. They say, ‘I want the great American dream. I want it now and I'm not going to wait until I put some money in the bank.’…That’s where we lost the moral compass of saying no to people who did not have the earning capacity to support a mortgage.” (NY Post, 9/17/08).
  6. Hebrews 11:26 says Moses esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
  7. When it comes to rewards, our Lord does not necessarily recognize the sphere of service, but the spirit of the believer.  Or as one preacher has said, it is “not position, but disposition” (AT Pierson).
  8. That is why our Lord said in Matthew 6:1, “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.”
  9. If you study Matthew 5 & 6, you will note that our Lord uses the word “reward” nine times (5:12, 46; 6:1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 16, 18).
  10. Our Lord has a perfect will for each and every one of us.  He assigns to each one of us our sphere of service.  Therefore, rewards should be looked at from this perspective (cf. Matthew 10:40-42).
  11. To appreciate what our Lord is saying here in the Gospel of Matthew, we should note that in Bible times, the Jews thought the prophet was greater than the priest, and even greater than the king.
  12. This was because the prophet was the spokesman for God.  To the devout Jew, the prophet was even greater than the king because the prophet could rebuke the king (cf. I Kings 18:17, 18; 21:17-24; II Kings 1:15-18; 3:11-14).
  13. There are many other examples in the OT, but I want to focus this morning on Elijah and Elisha.
  14. Therefore, since the office of the prophet was considered higher than the priest and even higher than the king, the Jews thought the prophet would receive the greatest reward.
  15. But our Lord startled His listeners by declaring that to receive a prophet, in his capacity as a prophet - “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet” (Matthew 10:41) - entitles one to share the prophet’s reward.
  16. To receive a prophet means one is assisting the prophet in his great work for God.
  18. This can be applied today to the preacher of the Gospel - pastor, missionary, evangelist, etc.



  1. Now let us apply this to Elijah the prophet.  Elijah was “received” by the woman of Zarephath (I Kings 17:8, 9).
  2. The woman of Zarephath gave Elijah her last handful of meal and her last drops of oil (I Kings 17:10-13).
  3. Jesus said in Matthew 10:41, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.”
  4. The widow received her great reward when God miraculously increased her meal and her oil (I Kings 17:14-16).
  5. That was just the beginning of her blessing.  Later, her son died and God raised him from the dead.
  6. Her great faith is commended by our Lord in Luke 4:26.
  7. Furthermore, she received her greatest reward when she went to heaven (Daniel 12:3).



  1. Let us also consider Elisha the prophet.  He was “received” by the Shunammite woman (II Kings 4:8-11).
  2. God rewarded her kindness to Elisha by giving her and her husband a son (II Kings 4:12-17).
  3. Later on that boy died, and God raised him from the dead (II Kings 4:18-37).
  4. God rewards the quality, not the quantity of the work done.  The woman of Zarephath only had a handful of meal and a few drops of oil.  But she gave it all to Elijah the prophet.
  5. The Shunammite woman just had a little room with a bed, a table, a stool, and a candlestick, but she gave her best to God.
  6. The poor widow she threw her two mites into the treasury, and our Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:43, 44).
  7. Remember: the smallest act done for Christ will surely bring a great reward (cf. Matthew 10:42).



  1. Since next Sunday happens to be both “Missions Emphasis Sunday” and “Sacrificial Sunday,” I would like to say a few words about Christian stewardship.
  2. The main reason some Christians do not contribute much (and some Christians do not contribute anything) to faith promise missions is because they (mistakenly) believe they cannot afford to give more than they are already giving.
  3. The widow woman in Zarephath felt the same way.
  4. Elijah said to her, “Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.  And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.” (I Kings 17:10, 11).
  5. In other words, Elijah is saying, “Put God first.  Trust in God.  If you put God first, He will take care of you.”
  6. “And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die” (I Kings 17:12).
  7. In other words, she is looking at her situation from a worldly perspective.  Do you remember when Elisha’s servant was worried the time Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, and his great army were getting to invade Israel?
  8. The servant of Elisha was not exercising faith, so Elisha prayed and asked the LORD to open his eyes spiritually (II Kings 6:13-17).
  9. II Corinthians 5:6 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
  10. Four times in the Bible we read these words: “The just shall live by faith.”
  11. Those two little words “by faith” are very precious.  These two words appear 16 times in Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith.
  12. This widow woman lacked faith.  “And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son” (I Kings 17:13).
  13. In other words - continue with your plans, but put God first.
  14. And when we put God first, God takes care of everything else.  “For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth” (I Kings 17:14).
  15. In other words, God will provide (cf. Luke 6:38).
  16. “And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah…” (I Kings 17:15).  She obeyed God.  She put God first.
  17. By FAITH (this is what we mean by “faith promise”), the widow BELIEVED God and by FAITH she OBEYED GOD.
  18. Through her act of faith, God supplied her needs, her family’s needs, and the prophet’s needs as well (17:14-16).

| Customized by Jun Gapuz |