Five Crowns and Rewards in Heaven
(Greek ‘stephanos’ a crown, garland, wreath)
We need to see an overview of the known world at the time of Jesus and the early church during the first three centuries AD.
I must confess that I have never desired rewards or a crown in heaven. I don’t believe I have ever done anything in serving Jesus in my life in order to get anything in heaven. It has never been a part of my nature and walk with Jesus. I obey because I love Jesus. It’s that simple.
I have never preached a message on the subject because I did not feel I knew the real meaning of the crowns and why they would be in heaven.
Today heading to our basement office. I was planing to outline this message and the scriptures on my computer. As I started down the stairs Jesus spoke to me. “Don’t go down the stairs. Go get the cross and carry it. As you carry the cross I will show you what the crowns meant and will mean.”
It was cold and while I was carrying the cross along the street, Jesus showed me in my spirit the sufferings, death and pain of huge crowds of people in the early days of the church and the first 300 years of oppression toward believers. Tears were flowing. My heart was overwhelmed. Then I saw through the ages known and unknown saints, the killing of masses of those who were faithful to the end.
The ‘crowns’ is God saying ‘I remember you’. Jesus saying ‘I was with you in the darkest hour you ever faced.’ It was the Holy Spirit saying ‘I was in you, strengthening you all the time.’
Now I understood. The crowns are rewards and honors that God gives to those who truly serve, obey and love Him. You are not nor ever shall be forgotten. This crown is imperishable and incorruptible for all eternity. All Glory to God.
Consider the great suffering, trials, and even martyrdom unto death. People believing in and following Jesus were mostly unknown. They with their wives, husbands, children, friends and fellow believers were often cast into the Roman/Greek arenas to suffer and die. This was where champions were given awards, garlands and crowns with great joy and honors.
For the Jesus followers … nothing! Names not remembered on earth. No statues, cheers, crowns or honors. Unnamed people…forgotten. Unwanted! Suffering!
But wait a moment!!!!! I see Jesus giving out eternal crowns as the crowd watches. The people at the back…the least are called forward to the front. As those who had gone to the front expecting a crown are slowly moved back and back.
Jesus with His nail scarred Hands embrace these champion saints with rewards earned by their faithfulness, love and commitment. These unselfish followers are given not only crowns but places of honor and service in the Kingdom of God.
The crowns are not about salvation. That is a gift of God to all who repent and put their faith and trust in Jesus who has washed them clean in His Holy Blood. All in heaven will have been saved on earth. A gift to all who call upon His Name Jesus.
The crowns are about how we have lived our lives upon the foundation of Jesus. Everyone in heaven will be happy and filled with the promises the Bible makes for the saved.
So everyone will be fulfilled. But there will be rewards in heaven for those that have met the conditions set by God. We do not know exactly how this will work but God does and that is enough for me. I trust Jesus and I know He has got it right.
1.The Crown of Righteousness:
(Those who love intimacy with God. Who long for and look forward to the appearing of Jesus. Being with Jesus. Hearts Afire!)
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:8
2.The Crown of Life:
For those who have been faithful through trials, sufferings and even martyred unto death. “Martyr’s crown.”
“Blessed is the one who endures under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
(death…I will give you Life… opposite)
3.The Crown Incorruptible (Imperishable):
(For those who discipline, deny themselves and endure.)
The Victor’s Crown.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown (garland) that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable (incorruptible). So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
I Corinthians 24-27
4.The Crown of Glory:
(Those who are servant shepherds of followers of Jesus.)
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” I Peter 5:2-4
5.The Crown of Rejoicing:
(For those who have been a part of evangelism and soul winning.) “Soul winner’s crown”
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing (boasting) our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you?”
I Thessalonians 2:19
“Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.”
“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as by fire. (Through fire; snatched from the fire; escaping through the flames)” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
Judgment Seat of Christ
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
Treasures in Heaven
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Matthew 6: 19-20
They Cast their Crowns before the throne!
“Day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:8-11
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt