Recently, I sent out a text meditation about being ready to meet the Lord and receiving the Crown of Righteousness. I got to thinking that you might be interested in knowing about other crowns that are available to believers. Salvation is a gift. You can’t earn it. You receive it when by faith you make Jesus your Lord and Savior. You can earn the rewards.
In 1 Corinthians 3:8-15, there are several truths about these rewards.
1. Each of us will be rewarded according to his/her faithful labor. (vs. 8)
2. We are partners with the Lord in His service. (vs. 9)
3. Christ is our foundation and we build our service on and for Him. (vs. 10)
4. We have a choice of two kinds of building materials: gold, silver, and precious stones or hay, wood, and straw. The first speaks to us of eternal rewards. The second set of materials speaks of things that don’t last and of disappointment at the judgment seat of Christ.
What crown(s) do you think you will qualify for?
Let’s consider the Crown of Life. In James 1:12 we read, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the Crown of Life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
In Revelation 2:10 we read “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful, even when facing death, I will give you the Crown of Life.” In Mark 8:35, we see that we must love Christ more than life itself. “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake and the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Folks, by the power of the love of God, we can live and die victoriously.
Next, is the Crown of Rejoicing. It is also called the soul winner’s crown. I do not know of any greater joy than to guide people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Have you ever had that experience? I pray that you have.
In Proverbs 11:30 (NKJV) we read “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
Listen to what James has to say about winning the lost (5:20) “You can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
All of heaven rejoices when a sinner turns to Christ. Luke 15:10 “In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Can you imagine the celebration when Saul of Tarsus turned to Christ?
In Daniel 12:3 we read that soul-winners will shine as the stars forever.
“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”
Growing up on the prairies in Western Canada, one of the wonders we frequently saw was the Northern Lights dancing across the sky. They were spectacular. I wonder if they were dancing because of sinners turning to Christ.
Maybe you are wondering, “How could I win someone to Christ?”
We can influence people to turn to Christ by living godly lives. In 2 Corinthians 3:2, Paul wrote “The only letter of recommendation we need is you, yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.”
We can lead others to Christ by verbally telling them that God loves them and that Christ died for them. The Holy Spirit will empower us to share the Good News. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said to His followers —
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere — In Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Recently, we had a major focus on missions. You have been able to support our missionaries as they go all over the world sharing the good news about Christ.
In Philippians 4:15-17 we read, “As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.”
Now, let’s consider the Crown of Righteousness. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:8 wrote, “And now the prize awaits me — the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give me on the day of His return. And, the prize is not just for me, but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.” Do you want Jesus to come back? Are you eagerly anticipating His return?
In 2 Timothy 4:6-7 Paul wrote, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”
Paul gave his all to get the Good News out to perishing people. How I pray that we will give our all to receive this reward.
Next, we read about the Crown of Glory. In 1 Peter 5:4 we read, “And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a Crown of Never-ending Glory and Honor.” Many think this crown is intended for the faithful obedient, God-called pastor. I am our Lord’s under-shepherd. I can think of no more humbling experience than to have Jesus present this reward to me. Pray for me that I will always be obedient and faithful to Him.
Peter, in 5:2, wrote, “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.” One of the most frustrating times in my life has been, trying to do as much for God’s people as I did before I broke my hip. I am much stronger and I can go to most places now, using my cane. No matter what, I want to be faithful to Him. How about you?
The last crown we will consider is the Incorruptible Crown. This crown will be given to those who live victoriously. In the Greek games, the athletes ran for a wreath that would fade. We are to compete for the Crown that lasts forever. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Paul wrote, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for one eternal prize.”
Years ago I visited the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It was amazing how many years the athletes trained to make it into the Olympic games and how disciplined they were.
Is there anything weighing you down and holding you back in this race? In Hebrews 12:1 we read — “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trip us up. And, let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
In my physical therapy, they put weights on my legs for some of the exercises. It was so much easier when those weights were removed. What is weighing you down or holding you back?”
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the excess baggage in your life.
In Hebrews 12:2 we are challenged to keep our eyes on Jesus who will meet us at the finish line.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
We are in a spiritual warfare and we must find our strength in the Lord. Ephesians 6:10-18 (a must-read).
We must give ourselves totally to Him not holding anything back. Romans 12:1-2, here Paul wrote “And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Folks, we are in the world but not of the world. We are of God.
We must live by faith and refuse anything that would interfere with our spiritual progress. (Hebrews 11:24-29) Be sure to read.
I hope this study on crowns or rewards has been encouraging to you and has motivated you in your devotion to our wonderful Lord. What crown are you seeking to win? I pray that you will not fall short of the goal.
For His glory,