1. Welcome, listening friends.
2. Thank you very much for tuning in.
3. In the last message, I spoke to you on the words
of Jesus, “…occupy till I come…”
4. and, in that message, I mentioned the five crowns that await the faithful believer in Heaven.
5. In today’s message, I’ll explain the meaning of these five crowns.
6. The Bible tells us about five crowns that believers can receive on that great day;
7. and, by the way, I have a big surprise for you about these crowns at the end of the message;
8. so, be listening very carefully.
9. Crowns, in the Bible, are symbols of honor--
10. honor that the faithful believers will receive from the Lord, Himself--
11. so, the first crown is the crown of victory.
12. The crown of victory is mentioned in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 9, verses 25 to 27.
13. Let’s read it together.
14. In Paul’s time, the Corinthians were well acquainted with the Olympic games;
15. but they were even more acquainted with the Isthmian games,
16. which were held in Corinth every year.
17. Athletes who participated in these annual games worked hard for ten months a year.
18. The training was very vigorous.
19. These athletes were either in the gym or in the track and field several hours a day for ten months a year.
20. Why did they train so hard?
21. Because each of them was hoping to win a prize;
22. yet, out of the large number that trained hard and worked out daily, only one could win;
23. and what did they win?
24. A crown that was made of leaves.
25. How long would that crown last?
26. A few days.
27. Paul is saying that these athletes work hard for ten months a year to get a crown of leaves that would soon die.
28. Contestants wanted that wreath because of the honor associated with the award,
29. and, yet, their honor would soon be forgotten.
30. The cheers would soon die down.
31. The fame would soon fade away.
32. The sense of accomplishment would quickly disappear;
33. and, besides that, only one person could win.
34. Now, contrast that with the crown that God has for everyone who diligently serves the Lord.
35. Not just one person can win,
36. but everyone who gives of themselves to Jesus’ work can win.
37. That means everyone who sacrifices for Jesus’ Kingdom.
38. It means that everyone who strives for the glory of God,
39. everyone who guards against the Evil One,
40. everyone who wins victory over temptation--
41. everyone can win.
42. Let me ask you this, my listening friend:
43. do you pour out your time and your energy for Jesus?
44. Because that’s what really ultimately will count.
45. At the Bema Seat of Christ,
46. earthly wreaths
47. and trophies
48. and the plaques
49. and the cheers of the crowd--
50. they will all be forgotten;
51. but what was done for Christ will never, never, never be forgotten for eternity;
52. and here’s the good news:
53. every one of us has the opportunity of winning the victor’s crown,
54. but only when you choose to place God first in your life.
55. Only then can you win the victor’s crown.
56. Secondly, there is the crown of righteousness.
57. This crown is reserved for all who are looking forward to the return of Christ.
58. This crown is reserved for all who are living and working with the expectation of seeing Jesus face-to-face.
59. Paul, who was totally occupied with the thought of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-face,
60. could say, in 2 Timothy 4:8,
61. “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award me on that day --
62. and not only to me, but also all who have longed for His appearing.”
63. Are you looking forward to the return of the Lord Jesus?
64. Then, this crown is going to be ready for you when you get to Heaven;
65. then, there is the third crown, which is the crown of life.
66. Listen to what James said, in James, Chapter 1, verse 12.
67. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
68. This crown is for all those who have endured humiliation for the sake of Christ.
69. This crown is for all those who have endured persecution for the sake of Christ.
70. This crown is for all who have suffered hardships that are not of their own doing.
71. This crown is for all who suffered injustice for Jesus’ sake.
72. James is saying to them, "Jesus is promising you the crown of life."
73. God is not going to overlook your suffering.
74. God is not going to forget your pain.
75. God is going to crown you with a very special crown,
76. and it is called the crown of life.
77. The fourth crown is the crown of rejoicing.
78. This crown is reserved for all who are soul winners.
79. This crown is reserved for all who have prayed for and led others to Christ
80. This crown is reserved for all who have persevered with their friends and neighbors and co-workers and led them to the Lord.
81. Listen to what Paul said, in 1 Thessalonians 2:19:
82. “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you?”
83. For those of you parents who have led your children to the Lord,
84. you will receive the crown of rejoicing.
85. Those of you who have taught the Bible and led little ones to Christ,
86. you will receive the crown of rejoicing;
87. then, there is the fifth, and the last, crown in the Bible;
88. and it is the crown of glory.
89. This crown is for all who faithfully and truthfully taught the Word of God.
90. This crown is not for the slick and the clever speakers.
91. This crown is not for the self-seeking and self-promoting teachers.
92. This crown is not for the ones who enforced their own ideas and philosophies;
93. but this crown is for those who faithfully and honestly and truthfully taught the Word of God.
94. Whether they taught it to children or to youth or to adults, it makes no difference.
95. Listen to what Peter said about this crown, in 1 Peter 5:4,
96. “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
97. Shepherding with the Word of God is the nearest and the dearest to the heart of the Great Shepherd.
98. Feeding the flock upon the Word of God is the dearest and the nearest to the heart of the Great Shepherd.
99. Expounding the Word of God accurately is dearest and nearest to the heart of the Great Shepherd,
100. and, that is why James warns very strongly those who seek to be teachers and preachers of the Word of God.
102. Because God will judge the teachers and the preachers far more severely and strictly than others in the church.
103. By the same token, those who do faithfully expound the Word will receive the crown of glory.
104. Here are the five crowns.
105. Now, my friend, I come to you about the surprise that I told you about regarding these five crowns.
106. Listen to Revelation 3:11.
107. “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.”
108. What does Jesus mean by this?
109. It means that, while a believer can never lose his or her salvation,
110. a believer can lose his or her crown.
111. A believer can lose his or her reward.
112. Let me ask you this, my listening friend.
113. What can rob you of your crown?
114. Lack of loyalty to Jesus can rob you of your crown.
115. Not being steadfast in the times of testing can rob you of your crown.
116. Compromising your convictions can rob you of your crown.
117. Drifting on the sea of doubt can rob you of your crown.
118. Losing your moral compass can rob you of your crown.
119. My listening friend, please listen very carefully as I conclude;
120. and this is the surprise that I told you about.
121. In Revelation, Chapter 4, verse 10,
122. Revelation 4:10 tells us what we will do with these crowns.
123. Probably, some of you were sitting there listening to me talking about the five crowns and thought, "I would like to get one of these crowns…"
124. but let me tell you what these crowns are for.
125. These crowns are not given to us so that we can wear them and brag and boast and say, "Look at me."
126. These crowns are not given to us so we can brag about them and say, "Look at how many
127. but they are given to us so that we may present them to the Lord Jesus Christ.
128. Whatever crowns we may receive in Heaven,
129. out of being overwhelmed with gratitude to Jesus, we will want to place these crowns at His feet;
130. but the question, my friend, is this:
131. will you have a crown to place at the feet of Jesus,
132. or, will you come to Him empty-handed on that day, unable to offer Him anything?
133. Only you can answer that question.
134. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.