Sunday Service | Mt. Zion Church | 5 August 2018 | The Crown of Life | Eternal Crowns Series James 1:12, Revelation 2:10
The Bible mentions so many times about the crown. Crowns symbolize something that very special and not supposed to be used just for daily activities. Crown will be given to the king or those who win the battle or those whom really honoured by the kingdom. A crown is a mark of royal or (in general) exalted ranks! King David wore a very awesome crown, its weight was a talent of gold (about 33 kilograms), with precious stones 2Sam.12:30. Speaking about a crown will always make everyone amazed and astonished in regard to the value of the crown itself. However, no matter how expensive the crown it is still perishable! The good news is apostle Paul told us about imperishable crown which was provided to all believers who run and compete in the good race of faith 1Cor.9:24-25.
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. 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. 1Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV
Whenever we read about that eternal crown, let us understand and keep believing that there is always a good reward for all things that we do for Christ and in Christ! There is nothing in vain in the Lord! Even Paul encourage believers to be always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord 1Cor.15:58. God will never ever forget for everything that we do. Jesus promises us that we will by no means lose our reward even for one single and simple thing that we do for Jesus’ sake Mat.10:42.
The importance of eternal crown:
a. Accountable, detail, and trustworthy Mat.10:42
Jesus promised that nothing will be forgotten. There is no system in this world that can record every single thing happened specially for what people can’t see (motive, effort, heart). All measurable things in this world can get its reward but all immeasurable things will never able to be recorded by anyone except from God Himself!
b. Will reflect all our works in this life Rev.14:13
Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded 2Chr.15:7! Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord 1Cor15:58. Do not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching Heb.10:25.
c. Imperishable 1Cor.9:25
No one can destroy it, no one can steal it! Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal Mat.6:19-20.
d. Guaranteed and no delayed Rev.22:12
Jesus said: And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Jesus always fulfil whatever He already promised, and He also declared Himself as Alpha and Omega, He was from beginning of everything and He also will finish everything!
The Bible explains different kinds of eternal crowns and we are going to have a look on those crowns and start to build our faith upon the promises of God, so we also can receive that crown in our eternal life!
THE CROWN OF LIFE
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. Revelation 2:10 NKJV
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12 NKJV
The first crown that we are going to learn is the crown of life. This crown will be given to those who make their way to the REAL LIFE in the eternity! Our life in this earth is only 70-80 years old Ps.90:10 while our life in the eternity will last forever and ever. God prepared a special crown for those who prepared and equipped themselves for the REAL LIFE in heaven.
WHAT IS REAL LIFE?
Back to the book of Genesis when God created human for the first time, we must understand that we are created in God’s image and to be together with God always Gen.1:27. This is the real definition of life. Unfortunately, the nature of sin makes people keep forgetting about that real life and trap people in the crowd and pleasures of this perishable life. What kind of life we are looking for? God really appreciate and honour believers who decide to make their way to the real life and not get entangled with the pleasures of this life. How Moses valued his life is a very good and important example for all believers! By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward Heb.11:24-26. Moses rejected all glory of Egypt since he saw the better life, the real one, which is the eternity! Moses surrendered all pleasures of sin and chose to suffer affliction with the people of God. That was a very big decision and that’s the most important reason why God prepare a crown of life!
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26 NKJV
We must have a brave heart to have that decision as well. To run away from luxurious life at Egypt is totally a fool decision in this world’s eye, but in God’s eye it is a true wisdom! God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong 1Cor.1:26-27. That decision is really important and precious, it deserves for a CROWN! Don’t be shame with that decision since there is a crown awaiting! God knows exactly that it will not be easy to accept that heavenly calling. God knows that the gate is narrow, and the way is difficult that leads to LIFE, and there are few who find it Mat.7:13-14. Most people will prefer wider gate and spacious way, but Jesus said that it will lead to destruction!
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
THE CROWN OF LIFE PACKAGE
Evermore, God said that the crown of life always come together with suffering and temptation! In the book of Revelation, when God address His message to the church in Smyrna, Jesus emphasized the existence of suffering and tribulation before the crown itself! We need to understand that God will never create that problem, but He will allow that problem occur in the life of believers! Back to the life story of Job, when Job decided to have a culture of the REAL LIFE, which is blameless, upright, feared God, and shunned evil Job.1:1, we can see how the devil was not happy and proposed to bring disaster and calamity in Job’s life. Somehow, God gave permission for the devil doing that!
The same thing also happened in the Smyrna’s church which symbolize the condition of church in the last days. The devil already lost his right and his glory when he fell down from the heaven and the bad news is he become very angry and always try to bring more people blaspheming God just like what he always does! The devil know that the Smyrna’s church will receive the crown of life, the one that the devil never has, and that’s why he wants to bring so many problems as he can do, so if possible the church in Smyrna also lost their crown! God encouraged Smyrna NOT to fear any of those things which they are about to suffer (prison, tribulation, death) because God will give the crown of life only those who be faithful until death! So, here are some important facts about the package that come with the crown of life:
a. Eligibility test
Some of people at Smyrna will be thrown into prison while in general they will have tribulation for 10 days, that they may be tested! Apostle James wrote: Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him Jam.1:12. Apostle Paul told the church in Thessalonica: I sent Timothy to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this 1Thes.3:3. All this afflictions will be a true and clear evidence for the whole world that the believers have God’s approval about their faithfulness.
b. Promise of protection
God said and will always say: DO NOT FEAR! Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer Rev.2:10. Blessed is the man who endures temptation Jam.1:12. There is God’s protection, there is God’s blessing, even in the midst of suffering and temptation we must always believe that God’s promise of protection will be always there for us! Don’t be afraid if we don’t go with the crowd of this world. Never be afraid even we are alone in the narrow path while all people surround us choose the wide path!
c. Long (short) life journey
The good news is that suffering of Christ will keep occurs along our journey of life which is very short compared to the REAL LIFE that wait for us. Don’t bother ourselves with this ‘life in world’ challenge as we heading to ‘real life’.
CONCLUSION: FAITHFUL AND LOVE
There will be a fabulous and extraordinary welcome party whenever believers finish all of their tests and then receive their CROWN OF LIFE! When Stephen finished all of his test he said: “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Ac.7:56. the Lord has promised the crown of life to those who love Him. Love and faithful will always walk side by side. Let’s love God more and more with all of our heart and our mind, so we will be able to walk in our commitment until the end. AMEN.Tags: crown, jam1, rev2