Summary: Some of our rewards are represented by crowns. Whether victors’ garlands or signs of authority — or both— they merit further examination.
Rewards That Keep on Giving!
(see note at bottom of page first to suggest that diadems are a sub-category of the broader word garland, which includes but is not limited to a victor's wreath but can be used of royal privilege as well).
1. “More than 40,000 people have claimed 078-05-1120 as their number.
It's the number issued to Hilda Schrader Whitcher, who was a secretary at a wallet manufacturing company in Lockport, N.Y. A vice president at the company decided to illustrate their wallets' utility by using a sample Social Security card. (Not a bad idea, as it was 1938, and Social Security cards were pretty new.) However… the fake card in the wallet contained Hilda's real Social Security number. And it was for sale at Woolworth's and other department stores across the country. Over time, the SSA had to straighten out more than 40,000 incorrect earnings reports attributed to Hilda's number, some as recent as 1977.”[www.fool.com]
2.Every so often, Social Security projects my retirement income: how much at 62, how much at 66, and how much at 70. The amount I will receive depends upon how much I have contributed to my Social Security, and how long I am likely to draw it.
3. Our eternal rewards, likewise, depend upon how much is in our spiritual fund. But, unlike Social Security, my projected draw is forever. Gifts that keeps giving.
4. Although the Bible makes a clear distinction between heaven and our rewards, some teachings —like the parables — are unclear as to rewards or eternal life?
Main Idea: Some of our rewards are represented by crowns. Whether victors’ garlands or signs of authority — or both— they merit further examination.
I. Unique Blessings: The Five CROWNS
Some of us will have several, others none. Will people be jealous?
Wayne Grudem writes, ““Even though there will be degrees of reward in heaven, the joy of each person will be full and complete for eternity. If we ask how this can be when there are different degrees of reward, it simply shows that our perception of happiness is based on the assumption that happiness depends on what we possess or the status or power that we have. In actuality, however, our true happiness consists in delighting in God and rejoicing in the status and recognition that he has given us. The foolishness of thinking that only those who have been highly rewarded and given great status will be fully happy in heaven is seen when we realize that no matter how great a reward we are given, there will always be those with greater rewards, or who have higher status and authority, including the apostles, the heavenly creatures, and Jesus Christ and God himself. Therefore if highest status were essential for people to be fully happy, no one but God would be fully happy in heaven, which is certainly an incorrect idea” (Grudem, Systematic Theology p. 1145).
A. The crown of REJOICING (I Thessalonians 2:19-20)
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”
B. The crown of GLORY (I Peter 5:1-4)
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 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.”
C. The crown of RIGHTEOUSNESS (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
“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. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
D. The crown of LIFE (James 1:12)
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
E. The crown of disciplined INTEGRITY (I Corinthians 9:25)
“ Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
II. What Do These Crowns SIGNIFY? (Revelation 4:10-11)
A. Perhaps those with crowns will better ENJOY the worship of God
John Bunyan wrote: “He who is most in the bosom of God, and who so acts for Him here, he is the man who is best able to enjoy most of God in the kingdom of heaven” [q.Erwin Lutzer]