Press on to win the race and receive the prize of eternal life. We will now discover why Paul was so willing to give everything up for his Lord Jesus Christ. Rewards are for those who Win the Race – The Prize of Eternal Life. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Jesus Wore A Crown of Thorns at His Death
Jesus Wears Many Crowns When He Returns
Crowns are a symbol of authority. As such, they denote the authority granted to some Christians during the Millennial period when they reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Christians are earning their position of service for Christ here on earth. Knowing this should give us the incentive to pursue better and more lasting heights in fulfilling God’s purpose for our life.
The FIRST CATEGORY OF REWARDS is the Five Different Crowns reserved for those who are faithful in doing God’s work on earth.
Faithfulness in self-control: This Crown, often called “the victor’s crown,” is for those who “keep under [their] body and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Those who purged themselves from the appeals and pleasures of the world. — Those who disciplined their bodies and brought their bodies unto subjection. And them who had self-control over their physical appetites. Such a useful service for the Lord Jesus Christ merits this Crown.
Faithfulness in Temptation: This is the Martyr’s Crown – for those who were Faithful unto Death— those who faithfully endure and persevere under the testing’s, temptations, and trials of life.
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Often called “the martyr’s crown” or “the sufferer’s crown,” this reward will rectify the many injustices Christians suffer in life. Those who have suffered much yet endured with a sweet Christian spirit receive the “crown of life.” The Crown is also a special reward for those who have been “faithful unto death” as a witness for Christ.
Faithfulness in Tending Those Entrusted to you: Often called “the elder’s crown,” “the shepherd’s crown,” or “the pastor’s crown.” Given to those who have given their lives to the teaching of the Word of God. This Crown is for those leaders, pastors, elders, teachers who were Godly Examples to the Flock of Believers entrusted with and assigned to their care.
“Feed the flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Faithfulness in Testimony: This Crown is for those believers who were ready, waiting, and loved His appearing. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
This unique Crown is for those Christians who, inspired by the imminent return of Christ, have lived a very righteous and holy life. God does not demand talented vessels for His service. What comes from our lives is due to His power, not our skills or talents. He lays down one primary requirement: that a Christian be clean. Somehow the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ has a purifying effect upon the believer, (Titus 2:12-14; 1 John 3:2-3).
Faithfulness in Service: This is the soul winners crown, given to those who win people to Christ. For believers who were obeying Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Believers who have devoted their primary attention to the salvation of lost souls receive this Crown — often hidden in obscurity, unknown to other Christians. Those unsung heroes and all those who have given themselves to winning people to Christ will receive this Crown.
“For what [is] our hope, or joy, or Crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy: (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). Paul was so excited about these things, he said, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
“There are no CROWN-WEARERS in Heaven who were not CROSS-BEARERS here below.” Quote from Charles Spurgeon [1834-1892]
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
THE SECOND CATEGORY, POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY. After the victor’s Crown and others in positions of authority. It is abundantly clear in the New Testament that we shall reign with Christ. But that privilege is not automatic and equal for every believer. It is part of the rewards we earn.
A THIRD CATEGORY IS AN ETERNAL INHERITANCE. There is a sense in which every believer is an heir. In Galatians 4:7, we read, “Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” There are two types of inheritance for some, both in the millennial Kingdom and in the eternal state.
FOURTH, THERE IS TREASURE IN HEAVEN. Not only can we have an inheritance, but we can have treasure in heaven. For example, in Luke 12:33-34, Jesus says, “Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”
This treasure is unknown, but it sounds good! Anything called a “treasure” must be precious and worthwhile. And Jesus assured us that we can be laying up for ourselves that valuable treasure in heaven right now. It’s a treasure that will be ours to enjoy when we arrive in eternity.
FIFTH, COMMENDATION FROM OUR SAVIOR. A significant point in the parables Jesus told about the talents and the minas. In both, there is a word of commendation. “Well, done, good and faithful servant.” We long for a word of approval and appreciation from our love ones. Some people ache for a word of support, and they feel as though they cannot live without it.
The most important person in your life throughout eternity will be The Lord Jesus Christ, far more than any human being has ever been on earth. Even one word of commendation from Him will bring you greater joy than all the pleasures of earth combined. What should you be doing with your life that will earn you a word of praise from your Savior at the Bema?
A SIXTH CATEGORY A ROYAL WELCOME: There’s an exciting thought tucked away in 2 Peter 1:10-11, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent in making your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
An abundant entrance! The idea is a vibrant and blessed reception into Christ’s Kingdom. Our Savior Himself will welcome us personally and warmly. “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.” “Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat and will come and serve them” (Luke 12:37).
We learned that it would be an honor to sit at His table. We learned that it would be an honor to serve Him. Now, He’s going to help us! Can you imagine the Lord Jesus Himself serving you? The eternal Son of God? What an honor!
When He comes, those waiting for Him will sit down to eat, and He will come and serve them. Such a royal welcome!
THE SEVENTH REWARD IS GREATER GLORY. Our profession in eternity will be to glorify the Lord Jesus. There will be glory for us, as well. Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 4:17. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
This glory will be our ability to reflect the radiance of the Lord. Jesus said, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43). We’re going to shine. That will be exciting for you in heaven. The more of His glory we reflect, the more glorification He receives.
THE EIGHTH REWARD WILL BE GREATER JOY. This idea comes again from the parable of the talents. Investing with eternity’s values in view, the master said, “Enter into the joy of your lord.” Peter was there with Jesus on the Mount of Olives when He told that parable, and he picked up on the same theme in his first letter. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed”–when He comes, in other words– “you may also be glad about exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
If we accept trials with a willing and gracious spirit, we are going to have extraordinary joy when Jesus returns.
THE NINTH REWARD IS SPECIAL PEOPLE WILL SURROUND YOU. Will people be part of our reward in heaven? Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, “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? For you are our glory and joy.” Thus, related to the Crown of rejoicing.
These special people are there because of us. Can you imagine the pleasure it will bring you to have people in heaven whose very presence there is because of you as a testimony to your faithful witness? WHAT A REWARD!
“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:12-14)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
“Dear God, thank you for loving me, saving me, and protecting me. Give me the strength to press on toward the high calling for which you have apprehended me. May my light shine bright as you receive the glory as you transform me into the image of Christ. Might I do your will as you guide me and instruct me daily? Give me faith to believe and wisdom to obey Your Word throughout my journey. In Jesus’ name-AMEN!”
EVEN SO, COME LORD JESUS – AMEN