Crowns Anyone! 1 Corinthians 3:10-14NASB
Bob Carlyle, who sang Butterfly Kisses a few years back, also sang these words in the song Heaven: “Sometimes this tired old world starts bringing my heart down, but you gotta bear the cross if you want to wear the crown.” To have reward, you must first undergo hard times. Jesus told us that we too must follow God’s will for us; sometimes it comes like a cross, a burden that seems too heavy to bear. What is your burden today? What are you afraid to bear? What are you holding out on? What is God saying to you, that you are telling Him “no”?
One of the great doctrines of Christianity is our belief in a heavenly home. Ultimately, we shall spend eternity with God in the place He has prepared for us. (John 14:1)
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
I want you to remember that part of that exciting anticipation is His promise to reward His servants for a job well done. Tonight, I want you to see that Scripture not only supports the idea of eternal rewards, it spells out the specifics.
As I read our text, I found 3 primary facts about rewards.
Most rewards are received in heaven, not on earth.
There are earthly rewards, but when it comes to servanthood, God reserves special honor for that day when “each man's work will become evident” and “He shall receive a reward.”
1 Corinthians 3:13-14NLT But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.
2. All rewards are based on quality, not quantity.
We humans are impressed with size and volume, noise and numbers. It’s really easy to forget that God’s eye’s are on motive.
Again, when He rewards servants, it will be based on quality- Which really means everyone has equal opportunity to receive a reward.
Illustration: An elderly woman who prays before an audience of one will be rewarded as much as the evangelist who preaches before an audience of thousands.
3. No reward that is postponed will be forgotten.
God doesn’t settle His accounts at the end of everyday. Nor does He close out His books toward the end of everyone’s life.
Remember this, However when that day in eternity dawns, when time shall be no more on this earth, no act of serving others- be it well-known or unknown to others- will be forgotten.
Unlike many people today, God keeps His promises.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20NLT For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” He always does what he says. 20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
In other words, “When you're obedient to Christ, God hears an amen!”
According to one person's count, there are 3573 promises in the Bible. The word promise itself occurs over 50 times in the King James Bible.
Just one example: 2 Peter 1:4NLT And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
Don’t forget, God alone is perfectly and consistently just. We forget, God remembers. We see an action, God sees a motive. This qualifies Him as the best record keeper and judge.
Again back to the text, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11NLT Because of God’s grace 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 foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
Believe me, “There will be times that the only thing that keeps you going is a promise from God that your work is not in vain.”
Say this, “If what I do is done for Christ, I will not lose my reward!”
Remember, “When any servant has served, given, and sacrificed and then willingly stepped aside for God to receive the glory, our heavenly Father promises he will receive back!”
Let’s look at two temporal rewards on this earth. First, what we will receive is the quiet awareness that the life of Christ is being modeled.
The second temporal reward is the joyful realization that a thankful spirit is being stimulated.
Hear this scripture, 2 Corinthians 4:15NLT All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
Finally I want you to get in your mind and heart the eternal rewards. Some of them are referred to as “Crowns.” There’s at least five.
The imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27NLT Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
This reward will be awarded to those believers who consistently bring the flesh under the Holy Spirit’s control and refuse to be enslaved by their sinful nature.
2. The crown of exultation. Philippians 4:1NLT herefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.
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.
3. The crown of righteousness. 2 Timothy 4:7-8NLT
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
The Crown of Righteousness will be awarded to those who live each day with eternity’s values in view, anticipating Christ’s imminent return.
4. The crown of life. James 1:12NLT God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
This crown is promised not to those who simply endure suffering and trails, but to those who endure their trials, loving the Savior all the way.
5. The crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:1-4NLT And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
This reward is promised to those who faithfully shepherd the flock in keeping with the requirements spelled out in verses 2 and 3.
Close your eyes for a moment, What a scene! Imagine, All God’s servants before His throne. Are they strutting around heaven displaying their crowns?
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!