ER6. Victors’ Crowns
1. Jesus Taught about Eternal Rewards
· Jesus taught directly or through parables the reality of Eternal rewards, and the need to pursue them
· “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”(Mat.16:27)
· Jesus is looking to see that our love for him and life qualify us for the Eternal rewards he has offered.
2. Saved by Faith……Rewarded for Service
· Receiving a Reward is not the same as receiving the Free Gift of Eternal life by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross
· Free Gift:
· Eternal life is a free gift offered to all men by faith and faith alone
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph.2:8-9)
· Our salvation is totally based upon the work that Jesus did as our representative.
· By that work we are completely justified before Our father in Heaven and become part of His Kingdom and family. We cannot add or contribute to that work in any way
· Once we have been born again and become children of God He purposes that we grow and that we serve our father
· Reward for Service:
· “Reward”…..to recompense, to give something by way of compensation for service or damage incurred
· A Reward or prize is something we receive because we have done what was required to qualify for it
· Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
3. Rewards are Not Given Automatically…Only to those who fulfil specific Conditions
· “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev.3:21)
· “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (Jn.12:26)
· Note that in each of these scriptures receiving a reward is conditional upon our works and actions in response to Jesus
4. Three Main Categories of these Many Rewards
· There are very many different rewards mentioned in the Bible, especially in the Book of Revelation
· These different rewards can be understood most easily under three different headings. Each of the rewards that are promised to those who overcome fall under one of these categories
(i). Eternal Intimacy
God invites us into the same intimacy and fellowship the Father Son and Holy Spirit have always
(ii). Eternal Authority (Responsibility)
God invites us to share in ruling with him and in expanding His rule throughout His creation
(iii). Eternal Glory (Honour)
God invites us into His throne, to see Him face to face and to Radiate His Glory
· These different rewards correspond to God’s Sonship Design for each of us
5. Sonship Design
· Sonship is a key part of God’s Eternal Purpose
· Sonship will be the subject of a further series of studies.
· Here are some Key Concepts of Sonship Design. Each Function relates closely to a Category of Eternal Reward
· Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
Joh 17:6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
· Once we are born again into the Family of Our Father we have three key area of function as Sons
Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
We are called to ongoing intimacy with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ who represents Him
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
A son in the Bible means a “ Builder of the Father’s House”
We each have a personal assignment to complete to bring honor to our Father, and to develop faithfulness, and fruitfulness
Joh 17:6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.
To “manifest your name”means to accurately represent the character and nature of God as a Son
Each Son is called to accurately represent what their Father is like, to represent Him on earth
This requires that we embrace the work of personal transformation to become like Christ (Rom.8:29)
· Each of these three functions interact with the others like interlocking circles. All are necessary for balance
II. Reward 5: Victors’ Crowns
Some Believers will Receive Crowns
· A crown is bestowed as a reward or as an honour, to give the recipient recognition and honour because of what they have done or have achieved
· In order to have value and worth a crown must be earned. It is given for a reason
· Two different words are used for Crown in the New Testament…”Diadem” and “Stephanos”
(i). The Crown of a Ruler…..(Gk. Diadem)
· Rev 19:12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
· The concept of the crown originates from a cap, turban, or more formal metallic crown that was decorated with jewels. Its placement on one's head indicated that one was set apart for a particular task or calling.
· This Crown symbolises the Royal Position and Honour as a King ruling over a Kingdom
· Jesus in Revelation has many crowns…….He is the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords
He is the Emperor who rules over an Empire made up of kings ruling over kingdoms
· Christ now reigns as the King of the Universe and will do so forever. He is the Centre of God’s Purpose
“which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church”(Eph.1:20-22)
· Christ is far above all forms of rule or authority or power in the universe……”far above”
· He is above all rulers in the Natural realm and all rulers and powers in the Spiritual realm
· “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1Cor.15:25)
· He makes victory possible for every one of us in our personal lives and callings
· “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2Cor.2:14)
(ii) The Crown of a Victor….(Gk. Stephanos)
· “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1Cor.9:24-25)
· The second term for Crown (Stephanos) means a wreath or garland given as a prize to a victor in the public games
· “Stepho”….a twine or wreath encircling the head and it refers to winning a race or winning a fight
· It also refers to the sovereign crown that a Roman Conqueror wore after triumphing in a battle and overcoming an enemy. It is a cause for glory and great joy
· Paul declared that a crown was laid up for him….reserved in heaven and awaiting him (2Tim.4:8)
Five Different Crowns(Stephanos):
· There are Five Different Victors Crowns (Stephanos) referred to in the New Testament.
There may be more but these are the ones referred to in the New Testament
Some of these crowns may refer to the same thing
· Each of these crowns represents a Prize or Eternal Honour to be contended for and won.
· These are possibly literal crowns but certainly they will be a recognisable eternal honor bestowed upon people for their distinctive service as a believer.
· Crowns are always worn as a sign of recognisable or tangible honor or distinction, and are highly prized.
· Crowns are worn by Kings, Rulers, Victors, and often, by a bride at her wedding.
· Crowns are important to God. He designed them for beauty and glory and honor (Exod.28:2, 36-37)
· The Crown will be a highly treasured and valued possession for the believer who receives one!
1. The Incorruptible Crown
· 1Co 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1Co 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
1Co 9:26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
· “Run the Race”: Paul uses the Roman Public Games as an illustration of how we must live our life
· Not everyone who enters the race wins the prize. It will require personal discipline and effort
· “Prize”…(Gk brabeion)….The crown awarded to the victor in the public games, a symbol of the heavenly reward
The prize in the Public Games is corruptible….perishable, temporary….and yet people strive to possess it
The Crown set before us as a prize to win is “incorruptible”….can never perish, continues on forever
· Paul’s Exhortation: “Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize”
“Obtain”….(Gk. Katalambano) to eagerly possess, to take hold of and make your own
Four Criteria for Obtaining the Incorruptible Crown
(i). Value the Prize
· Unless a believer knows there is a prize, and places value on that prize he will not pay a price to win it.
· Eg. Paul: Knew the value of the prize and gave his whole life for it
· Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
· Eg. Esau: Placed no value on his spiritual inheritance, and traded it for a bowl of beans
· Gen 25:34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
“Despised”…..MW…to look down upon with disrespect, to regard as negligible, worthless
· Heb 12:16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
Heb 12:17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
(ii) Run with Determination
· 1Co 9:26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.
· “Determination”……a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end, a judicial decision settling and ending a controversy
· Runners in a marathon must fix their mind on completing the course and winning the prize
· “Not uncertainly”…not clearly identified and defined as the goal of the race
· A Runner must begin with the end or prize in mind, or he will be distracted and fail to put in the necessary discipline to win
· There must be a mental determination at the beginning of the race of running to win
(iii). Engage The Enemy
· 1Co 9:26 Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
· Paul changes the analogy from running a race to fighting with an opponent.
· “One who beats the air” ……refers to shadow boxing
· What is a “Shadow Boxer”?..........Shadow Boxer is a person who:
Practices boxing with an imaginary opponent. He is not facing a real opponent
Has the appearance of fighting, but he is not engaging anything.
Just pretends to fight, but never faces the risk of being hit
Will practice in the safety of a gym, but will never engage in the real conflicts of serving Christ
· Many believers are just shadow boxers. They have an appearance of being spiritual, but have no impact.
· They never really engage the invisible spiritual realm, never engage and overcome spirits
· They never actually get involved with the real difficult work of ministry to people
· They never get engaged in the real work of advancing the Kingdom of God with its risks
· They control personal risk and sacrifice by limiting the Lord’s influence to their own agenda
· Paul declares that we are all involved in a fight against invisible spiritual beings.(Eph.6:10-13)
· The opponent and the resistance are real, and we must be willing to engage and take a blow or two
(iv) Develop a Focused Lifestyle
· 1Co 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.
· Temperate in all things”….to exercise self restraint, self control, to master desires and passions
· Temperance means moderation…refusing to come under the control of anything
· Temperance is a fruit of yielding to the leadership and training of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22-23)
A person who is in training for the Olympics does not live the same lifestyle as a non athlete
· 1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
· “Discipline”….literally….To hit under the eye so as to disable vision and ability to resist
· Paul strongly disciplined his body, like a fighter in training so he could always be in peak spiritual condition
· Paul disciplined his body through fasting and he practiced self discipline lest he should be disqualified
· “Castaway”…..Disapproved, not standing the test, unfit for the victors crown..the Incorruptible Crown
Weights and Besetting Sin
Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
· We are exhorted to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and to focus upon Jesus
What is the sin that so easily ensnares us?
· “Ensnare”….Literally to stand all around, or surround and distract like a competitor hindering you winning
· It is a sin that surrounds us at every moment and presses upon us to defeat us. It hems us in on every side and seeks to defeat us.
· This most likely refers to the sin of unbelief….loss of faith in God as a result of hardship and opposition
· It could also refer to a particular problem or stronghold that a believer struggles with.
What is a Weight?
· A weight is different to a sin
· Weight: (Gk. Ogkos)…a Burden or a Hindrance.
In the Roman races the runners cast aside all clothing so nothing would hinder them being a winner
A burden is something that weighs us down so that we cannot perform our best.
A Hindrance is something that holds us back or interferes with our progress
There can be many things that burden or hinder us running our race and fulfilling our calling
· “Lay aside”…….to put away or to cast off (anything that hinders and obstructs you running strongly)
Examples of Weights:
(a). Unresolved Issues
The heart is the center of our life and directs the course of our life
Unresolved sin or relationship issues burden the heart and keep people trapped in cycles of failure
Unresolved issues include: Unforgiveness, bitterness, judgments, grief, failure, abuse, betrayal, fear, addictions
We must be determine to face and to process the issues in our heart so we run freely (Ps.84:5-7)
(b). Ungodly Heart Beliefs
Beliefs are formed in the heart as a result of how we interpret life experiences good and painful
Ungodly beliefs are beliefs we hold that are contrary to the truth of God’s word…they are a lie
Those heart beliefs then trigger ungodly responses or reactions to things that we experience
(c). Ungodly Relationships
Relationships can either accelerate us towards our destiny or become a hindrance and a weight
God blesses us by introducing new relationships, the devil hinders us by using relationships
Ungodly relationships consume time, energy, resources and produce no lasting fruit
This includes relationships that are controlling, abusive, without healthy boundaries,
Codependent, idolatrous (where the person is set up on a pedestal to be served), ungodly
yoking to unbelievers
It also includes relationships involving rescuing, enabling people to avoid responsibility or
(d). Wrong Focus
Whatever we focus upon, our heart and life opens up to…eg focus on offense and you become
God desires to be the focal point of our lives…he wants us to place Him first
Failure in life frequently comes through having a wrong focus. These are idols of the heart!
Eg. Self, pleasure, entertainment, social media, making money, pleasing people, being needed,
Wrong focus will produce fatigue, weariness and constant irritation in our lives
Loss of focus through distractions is a key strategy of the enemy against us.
· Heb 12:2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are exhorted to intentionally fix our focus upon Jesus as our example and on the reward to
“Looking”…to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them (upon Jesus)
(v). Finish Your Course
Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
· “Endurance” …persevering, remaining constant, not swerving from deliberate purpose, loyalty and faith
· It means to bear up under trial and difficulty and keep going courageously when the going is tough
· It is not how we start the race it is how we finish our race. We must finish, and finish strong in faith
· Many start out strong and enthusiastic, but drop out in the face of pressure, opposition, disappointment, and difficulty, and delays in seeing fruit for their labour
· 2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race, I have kept the faith.
· At the end of his life Paul testified that by holding faith, he had finished his race strongly and was ready to receive a crown of honor and recognition of his life and works
2. The Crown of Rejoicing
· 1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
1Th 2:20 For you are our glory and joy.
· Father places great value on each person. There is rejoicing in Heaven over every sinner that repents
· The Crown of Rejoicing is the Reward for Leading People to Christ
· Every person you have helped lead to Christ in this life will be a crown of rejoicing in the next.
· 1Th 2:2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
1Th 2:3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.
1Th 2:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
1Th 2:5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.
1Th 2:6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
1Th 2:8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
1Th 2:9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
1Th 2:10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
1Th 2:11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
· Paul modelled what is is to be a successful soul winner. He describes key characteristics
(i). Pure Motives
“No error, uncleanness or deceit”
Paul operated out of a genuine interest in people and not trying to prove a point, or claim a soul
(ii). God Honouring
“We speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts”
Paul sought to represent God and please Him alone, and he was willing to face rejection by
He refused to flatter people, ie. Speak with the intention of gaining their money, acceptance or
As God’s entrusted representative he spoke the truth boldly, in spite of reactions and hostility
“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children”
Paul was gentle in how he treated people, kind, friendly, easy to talk to
He had a tender heart, and genuine love for people, like a mother is gentle with her children
(iv). Authentic Lifestyle
“Laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,”
Paul worked to support himself so he could be generous, sow into evangelism, and place no
demands upon people for money
“You are witnesses, and God also how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved
ourselves among you”
Paul lived a lifestyle that was above reproach. He was a living letter.
People could see that he lived the message he preached and were attracted by the life and power
(v). Endured Conflict
“Even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we
were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
Paul maintained boldness in the face of conflict through prayer and the power of the Holy
It takes courage and commitment to maintain boldness in the face of the deep hostility Paul
A Crown of Rejoicing awaits the Soul Winner. He will be honoured for continuing Jesus Work
3. The Crown of Righteousness
· “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2Tim.4:7-8)
· Paul declared how he had lived a righteous life:
He actively engaged evil spirits and persevered in his fight to resist and overcome temptation
He completed his course…he completed the assignment and ministry Jesus had entrusted him
He maintained his faith in spite of circumstances, he held onto first love, trusting Jesus and His Word
· The Crown of Righteousness is the Reward for Longing for His Appearing
· What does it mean to “love His Appearing”?
To love His appearing means to live in expectation of the coming of Christ, to behave as if He were coming today.
· It refers to a Bride waiting in expectation for her Bridegroom and making herself ready( Rev.19:7-8)
· To love His appearing means
(i). Pursue ongoing Intimacy with Christ……
“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.(Matt.25:6)
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not
be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1John 2:8)
(ii). Commit your life to His ongoing work of transformation, preparation……healing,deliverance,
1Jn.3:3. “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure"
Rom.8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”
(iii). Make the seeking the Kingdom of God our first priority ….”
Matt.6:33 “Seek first The Kingdom”
Col.3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
(iv). Serve the people of God…..
“Giving them "food in due season" (Matt.24:45-46)
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.
· This Crown is laid up for us….as a prize to be won….in view but not yet in possession
The Crown of righteousness is reserved for those who love it enough to let the truth shape their lives.
· It will not be given to those that say they love Christ but hate their brother
1Jn 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1Jn 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
· It will not be given to those who say they love Christ but do not obey His Commandments
· Joh 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
· Paul lived his life from the point of view of Resurrection and Eternal Reward
· Act 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
4. The Crown of Life
· “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved(tried), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (Jam.1:12)
The Crown of Life is the Reward for Persevering through the tests of their faith (Trust in God)
· “Temptation”….to put to proof, to be put to a test, to have your character and heart tested by adversity
· “Endure”…………to bear ill treatment bravely and calmly, to persevere, suffer patiently without reacting
· “Tried” ……………to test the quality of something so that it can be approved…i.e. Quality tested
· The testings of life have the purpose of revealing the quality of our faith and developing character. Vs 2-4
· Those who love Jesus remain steadfast in the face of trials and temptations
· “ Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev.2:10)
Many Believers Suffer Persecution and even Death for their faith in Christ
· All of the apostles apart from John were put to death for their ministry
· In many parts of the world today Christian believers are also severely persecuted and suffer much
Every week there are reports of Christian men women and children being put to death rather than renounce Christ.
· It is right and just that God would place an eternal honor on those who love Him and give up their lives for Him. We will rejoice with them at the honor they receive
· When you take a stand for your faith you may face reaction, hostility and possibly persecution
· Those who receive this crown do not blow hot or cold depending on circumstances
· Father is watching how you respond, to see if you qualify for rewards for your consistency.
· “Losing your life for Jesus sake”…may not mean physical death, but death to self-centeredness
· Every Believer will experience their Faith being Tested
Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
Jas 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Jas 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Jas 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Jas 1:7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Jas 1:8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
· (i) Rejoice
· When people experience trials or difficulties their first response reveals their heart condition
People choose to Complain and Blame, or they choose to Praise God
When our faith is put to the test it becomes strengthened in the process and our character developed
· Jas 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
“Patience”…..Endurance, a characteristic of a man who does not waver in purpose or loyalty
· When people go through trials of life they usually cry out for God or someone to rescue them
· God tells us to rejoice in trials because of they work for our good, and to ask for wisdom from God
· (ii). Pray for Wisdom”
· “Wisdom”……..Understanding what God is doing and knowing how to respond to Him
· People usually want God to fix the circumstances or rescue them out of painful circumstances
· God wants us to be developed and become mature through painful circumstances.
Parents who rescue children from negative consequences of bad choices do not help them mature. They enable them to avoid the painful consequences and they do not learn and grow mature
· When we ask God for wisdom we must believe that He will give us the resources to handle the hardship
· 1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
· God is faithful. He will provide a way through each trial so we can handle it correctly and grow because of it
· (iii). Expect to Grow
· “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor.4:17-18)
· “Affliction”…..the pressure, troubles, difficulties we experience as a believer
· These pressures are light……………..light in weight, easy
· These pressures are temporary ……very brief in the light of eternity. They have an expiry date!
· These pressures “work for us”………to form, shape, render you fit for something
· These pressures prepare us for Eternal Intimacy, and Eternal Authority, and Eternal Glory
· The condition is that our focus remains on Christ and Eternal reward and not on temporary pain or difficulty and longing for rescue
· “Look”……to fix your attention upon
· For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:18)
· The Crown of Life is reserved for those who love Christ more than their own life, and comfort, and who hold onto Christ through the trials of life and grow
5. The Crown of Glory
· “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (1Pet.5:2-5)
· The Crown of Glory is reserved for those who faithfully shepherd Gods people
· Jesus is the Great Shepherd. He entrusts the pastoring of His people to under-shepherds to represent Him. The importance of this role cannot be overstated
· Shepherding people is a very difficult and sometimes a frustrating and grief filled work.
· There can be great personal sacrifice and very little result for the work invested into shepherding people
· Often the people you have loved, cared for, sacrificed for, become offended, react and walk away when you try to help them face the truth and grow. It takes great courage and perseverance to shepherd
· Not all who hold leadership roles will receive the Crown of Glory
The Responsibilities of the Shepherd:
(i). Shepherd the Flock
· “Shepherd”……To tend a flock, provide pasture, be a friend to, to rule, to defend, to give your life for.
· A major role of Shepherding is providing a balanced diet of truth…not just what people want to hear
· This includes reproving and correcting as well as encouraging and instructing (2Tim.4:2).
· Often people react and become critical when they are faced with truth that would help them change.
· People who are fed only on motivational messages (sugar) will never mature
· Shepherds must build a spiritual atmosphere or praise, worship, and unity where there is a flow of revelation and moving of the Holy Spirit
· Shepherds are called to mature believers for the work of ministry and growth to Sonship (Eph.4:11-13)
(ii). Lead Willingly
· “Willingly”…..embracing the ministry of shepherding others by active choice and without reluctance or
feeling compelled, or out of a sense of duty or obligation
· Shepherds must embrace people in their heart and see their role as a assignment and honor
(iii). Lead with Pure Motives
· “Dishonest gain”….eagerness to exploit people for personal financial gain
· Shepherds who rule well should be financially rewarded for their service (1Tim.5:17-18)
· This is about heart motivation….serving and ministering to people without hidden agenda of gain
· Motivation to use ministry and exploit people for personal financial gain is called dishonest gain, “filthy lucre”
(iv). Serve as an Example
· Jesus rejected leadership “lording over” people, dominating and controlling them.
Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
Mat 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
· “Being Example”…model a Kingdom lifestyle of Sonship and service for people to see and imitate.
This is what following Christ looks like….character, faith, passion, focus, relationships
· 1Co 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
The Crown of Glory is also Available to Followers
· Mat 10:40 "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
Mat 10:41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
· Jesus reveals that the person who receives and rightly responds to the person He has sent to lead them will receive their reward
· The leader’s reward is also available to those who respond to that leader and the Holy Spirit working through them
· Leadership is one assignment. There are many other assignments that people have, some in the church but most in the world
· Receiving, honoring, and responding to leaders whom Jesus has sent, positions us to receive their reward
III. Jesus Warned of the Possibility of Losing Your Crown.
· Rev 3:11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
“Hold fast”…….use strength, hold or retain from loss, to keep carefully from loss, to master, to
“Take”…………..to take away or seize by fraud, to claim or procure
Eg. Saul lost His Crown:
· “So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord." (2Sam.1:10)
· Saul acted foolishly and lost his crown……lost his Authority, Honour, & Position as Gods Representative
· How did Saul lose his Crown?
“And Samuel said, "What have you done?" Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash,
Then I said, 'The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.' Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering."
And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you." (1Sam.13:11-14)
· His heart and character were not shaped…….. Pressure and testing exposed his condition.
· He was motivated by desire for the approval of by people, and he feared their rejection of him
· He blamed people and circumstances for his actions, instead of being responsible
· He was impatient, and would not trust God and await His timing,
· He was fearful at the growing enemy opposition to him
· He tried to control the situation instead of trusting God. He took on a role or function that he was not called to….offered sacrifice and worship to appease people….
· God desired a man after His own heart….who would seek to please and obey Him
· Saul lost the presence and anointing of The Holy Spirit ….before he physically lost his crown and his life
Eg. Adam lost His Crown
· “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." (Luke4:3-5)
· Delivered to me…….to give into the hands (of another)
to give over into (one’s) power or use
to deliver up treacherously
to betray and to cause one to be taken
· Adam lost his crown….he lost his Intimacy with God, his Authority, his Glory,
· Trading….He exchanged something of great value for something of no value..suffered great personal loss
Eg. Don’t Lose Your Crown
· “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”(Rev.3:11)
· “Hold Fast”…..To use strength, to hold or retain from loss, to rule over
· It is possible to lose your crown….to lose the Eternal Reward that Jesus has prepared for you, for fighting your fight, and running your race
· Rewards are Eternal….They are the prize for winning your personal race and overcoming
· You crowns will be recognized, and will be a source of joy and honor for all eternity.
· They will not be a cause for pride…Jesus will be honored as the one who empowered your victory
“…..the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
"You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created." (Rev.4:10-11)
IV. Summary: Eternal Victors Crowns are Rewards Presented to Believers for:
1. Practicing Self Discipline…Running to Win
2. Leading people to Christ
3. Cultivating Intimacy with Jesus
4. Embracing His process of heart and character transformation
5. Remaining constant in the face pressure, opposition and temptation
6. Faithfully Shepherding God’s people
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”(2Tim.4:7-8)