Summary: There are 5 Crowns of Eternal Reward that the believer can receive if what they how they are lived passes the test of fire - 1 Cor 3:8-15 (Thsi message was preached in tandum with my wife.)
CROWNS OF ETERNAL REWARD
OPENING REFERRENCE - 1 Corinthians 3:8-15
The one who plants and the one who waters work as a team with the same purpose. Yet they will be rewarded individually, according to their own hard work. 9 We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God’s field, God’s building—not ours.
10 Because of God’s special favor to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. 14 If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.
Psalm 37:18 Day by day the Lord observes the good deeds done by godly men and gives them eternal rewards.
One day we will all stand before God and our lives will be judged. Many believers think they will not face God’s judgement because they repented of their sins and received God’s forgiveness.
That is partly true. Believers will not face the God’s Judgement when the Book of Life is opened. Because we accepted Jesus our names are in the Book and welcomed and received into the Lord presence. Those whose names are not in the book are judged and sent with the devil and his demons into hell.
But there is a judgement of the believer as we have just read. Our life, our work, our deeds will be ‘put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value.’
Our open passage tells this –
• Though we are to work together, we are reward individually.
• We are partners with God in this work. This is not works for salvation but works flowing from salvation.
• The work’s foundation can only be Jesus Christ.
• Two choices of material - gold, silver and jewels or wood, hay and straw.
The believer that works together with others in partnership with the Holy Spirit and uses Jesus as his only foundation and uses ‘eternal’ materials that pass the fire test will receive eternal rewards.
The believer who works as a lone ranger, in his own strength, using a different foundation and uses ‘temporal’ materials that will not pass the fire test will ‘suffer great loss’.
Not the loss of salvation. They will be saved but like someone just escaping a fire – with nothing. They will miss out on rewards.
1 John 2:28 says that some will ‘shrink back from God in shame’ when He returns because they know they will stand before their Saviour empty handed.
Illust - A minister one day sat at the bed side of a dying friend. As they talked of heaven, tears filled his friend’s eyes. The young minister thought his friend was afraid to die, and so attempted to speak words of encouragement to him. His friend responded, “I am not afraid to die; I am not ashamed to die.” He went on to say that Jesus was his Saviour, but he had lived for self and now had to meet Jesus empty handed.
His life loomed up before him as ‘wood, hay and straw’. He was saved but just escaping.
God does not want us to just escape hell, but to live a full life for Jesus and receive eternal rewards that he has prepared for those that love him.
In the Bible these rewards are defined as crowns and today we are going to look quickly at 5 CROWNS OF ETERNAL REWARDS.
1. THE CROWN OF LIFE
2. THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN
3. THE CROWN OF REJOICING or the SOUL WINNERS CROWN -
4. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
5. THE CROWN OF GLORY (The Pastor’s Crown).
THE CROWN OF LIFE - to those who devote themselves to Jesus.
James 1:12-14 God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
This crown is given to those who love God. Devote themselves to Him in every area of their lives.
It is not just a ‘ho hum’ love – “yes I love him” but there is no outward expression of it. We must be completely devoted to God. It is the type of love that loves the Lord more then our own lives. The scripture says to love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart and strength. It is the type of love that will take up our cross and follow Him. Set aside every thing and every one so that God can be glorified in us. The crown of life or the lover’s crown as it is sometimes called is given to the believer who loves the Lord more than his own life.