3 Posts from February 2013

Crowns God Sets Aside for His Servants, Part 2

Last week, we began our look at five eternal “crowns” set aside for God’s servants. After listing the first three crowns again, I’ll add the final two and offer a brief explanation of each.

1. The Imperishable Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24–27)
2. The Crown of Exultation (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19–20)
3. The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7–8)
4. The Crown of Life (James 1:12)

This wonderful reward awaits those saints who suffered in a noble manner during their earthly life. The significance of this reward is not only related to the words perseveres under trial but also the words those who love Him. This crown is not promised simply to those who endure suffering and trials . . . but to those who endure their trials, loving the Savior through all the pain and anguish! Therefore, loving the Lord and having the desire that He be glorified in and through the trials become the dual motives for the believer’s endurance. Those saints who qualify (and the Lord is the Judge!) will receive the crown of life.

5. The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:1–4)

This reward is promised to those who faithfully “shepherd the flock” in keeping with the requirements spelled out in verses 2 and 3. Those faithful under-shepherds who fulfill these qualifications (willingness, sacrificial dedication, humility, an exemplary life) will receive this crown of glory.

After receiving these crowns, what then? Is that all there is? Look at Revelation 4:9–11:

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

What a scene! All God’s servants are before His throne. What are they doing?

  • Strutting around heaven displaying their crowns? No.
  • Separated from one another, like peacocks, proudly displaying their tangible trophies? No.

The servants are bowing in worship, having cast all crowns before their Lord in adoration and praise, ascribing worth and honor to the only One deserving of praise—the Lord God. What a scene that will be!

—Chuck

Crowns God Sets Aside for His Servants, Part 1

As those who serve the living God, we occasionally need to consider the eternal “crowns” being set aside for God’s servants. What an intriguing study!

There are at least five specific crowns promised in the Bible. For our purpose here, I will simply list the eternal crowns mentioned in the New Testament and offer a brief explanation of each. We’ll cover three today and the other two next week.

1. The Imperishable Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24–27)

This reward is promised to those who victoriously run the race of life. Taking into consideration verses 26 and 27, that is, the “buffeting” of the body, it is clear that this reward will be awarded those believers who consistently bring the flesh under the Holy Spirit’s control, refusing to be enslaved by their sinful nature. In other words, those who carry out the truths of Romans 6:6–14.

2. The Crown of Exultation (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19–20)

This crown will be one over which its recipients will glory and rejoice! This is the “soul-winners crown.” It is claimed by Paul regarding two bodies of believers whom he had led to and discipled in Christ Jesus . . . the Philippians and the Thessalonians. Our Lord will distribute this crown to those servants who are faithful to declare the gospel, lead souls to Christ, and build them up in Him. And remember: the rewards at this judgment will be based on the quality not quantity of our earthly works (1 Corinthians 3:13).

3. The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7–8)

The crown of righteousness will be awarded those who live each day, loving and anticipating Christ’s imminent return . . . those who conduct their earthly lives with eternity’s value in view. Kenneth Wuest captures the complete meaning of verse 8 with these words:

To those who have considered precious His appearing and therefore have loved it, and as a result at the present time are still holding that attitude in their hearts, to those the Lord Jesus will also give the victor’s garland of righteousness.¹

Those who qualify for this crown anxiously look for His return from one day to the next.

—Chuck


Endnote

  1. Kenneth S. Wuest, The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), 163.

Eternal Rewards for Those Who Serve God

While preparing the Twelve for a lifetime of serving others, Christ promised an eternal reward even for giving someone a cup of cool water.

“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. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:41–42)

Those words tell us that “improving our serve” begins with little things. It begins with thoughtful things—an understanding embrace of one who is hurting, a brief note to one who is lonely and feeling unappreciated and forgotten, a cup of cool water for one whose lips are parched from the hot blast of a barren desert when all seems futile and worthless.

God takes special notice of all these efforts.

These words take on a new shade of significance when we read that familiar account in Matthew 25. Jesus said:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:31–40)

The scene is after this life. The Judge is offering His rewards. The servants receiving them were so unselfish, they had long since forgotten the deeds.

But not our Lord!

—Chuck