Summary: Many believers live defeated lives and miss the crown or reward that could be theirs if they only lived for Christ.
MISSING THE CROWN
I. Our Salvation is not based on how we live our lives.
B. "I know I’m going to heaven, not because of what I’ve done but because of what Christ has done for me."
C. John Wycliffe, in Christian History, no. 3. "Trust wholly in Christ; rely altogether on His sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation. There must be atonement made for sin, according to the righteousness of God. The Person to make this statement must be God and man."
D. The repeated promises in the Qur’an of the forgiveness of a compassionate and merciful Allah are all made to the meritorious, whose merits have been weighed in Allah’s scales, whereas the gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of true Christianity is the cross, not the scales.
E. One time in an evangelistic crusade the evangelist stopped the invitation and asked for every Christian to witness to the person next to them. A small boy turned to the gentleman standing near him and said, "Mister, do you know Jesus as your personal Savior?" Very condescendingly the man looked down at the little boy and replied, "Why son, I’m an ordained deacon." With all the innocence in the world, the little boy replied, "Mister, it don’t matter what you’ve done. God will save you anyway!"
II. Our Reward IS based on how we live our lives.
A. An individual does not become a Christian by professing to live a sinlessly perfect life, nor does he become a Christian by making a promise to be perfect but rather by accepting what Jesus Christ has done for him. However, once a person does accept Christ, according to I John, he does not habitually practice sin.
B. 2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
C. James 1:12 "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the CROWN OF LIFE, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."
D. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  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."
E. Revelation 22:12 "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
III. Many of us will miss the crown because of the way we live our lives.
A. Verse 5 - "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness."
1. Verse 6 - "we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted."
2. Lust = "strong desire"
3. Numbers 11:4-6 "And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes."
4. It is possible for Christians to fall by getting their eyes focused on the wrong perspectives.
? Psalms 73:1-3 "A Psalm of Asaph. Truly, God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."
5. Mark 4:18-19 "And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."
6. "Our necessities are few but our wants are endless."
7. A man walked into a mental institution one day and was taken on a tour. The tour saw one cell where the man was beating his head against the padded walls. He kept saying, "Linda, how could you do it? Linda, how could you do it?" The guide explained that the man was in love with Linda, and when Linda jilted him, he drifted off into the ozone. He couldn’t handle it. They went to the next cell, and there was a man saying, "Linda, Linda, how could this happen? Linda, Linda." The visitor said, "Who’s he?" The guide said, "He’s the man who married Linda." That’s the myth of the greener grass.