How "co-incidental," that this past Sunday, July 30th, in worship we sang two songs about crowns. "Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon the throne..." And, "To Him who overcometh, a crown of life shall be..." Our church has given me the opportunity to share with you some Bible study lessons I had previously taught; these lessons on crowns were already prepared for this week's blog.
For the next several weeks we'll look at the "crowns." Did you know which crown is reserved for a special type of Christian?
**Background study notes for these "crown" studies are revised from The Christian Life New Testament, King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1978.
Christ has given us the free gift of salvation; we cannot work to earn it. Our service to Christ is what we do for Him, and this service will be judged when He comes again (Matthew 16:27). Our works bring rewards, and these rewards are referred to as "crowns."
The Bible tells of several types of crowns Christians can earn. And, these crowns are what we shall give to Jesus as an offering, what we shall lay at His feet in adoration. But, did you know there is a "crown" that is reserved for certain Christians?
Ask yourself if you are basing your service for Jesus on what the Bible calls wood, hay, and stubble, or on gold, silver, and precious stones? What is your motive? (1 Corinthians 3:8-15) Only precious works will last at the judgment; works built on wood, hay, and stubble will be burned away, though the Christian shall not lose his salvation; he just won't have a crown or multiple crowns to offer to Jesus (Rev. 4:10).
James 1:12 tells us about The Crown of Life. "Blessed is the man who endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to those that love Him."
Loving God, growing more and more in love with Him, loving Him to the end, these are paramount to receiving this crown. Without love we become bitter and critical and have a difficult time with temptations. What might tempt you to sin? Loving God is how we can avoid the temptation to sin. How can you love God more? Jesus tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that temptations are common; everyone is tempted by something. He promises He will always be with us and help us through every situation. Loving God til our dying day will bring us this reward. Even if we are persecuted for our faith, He will help us to be faithful to Him (Revelation 2:10).
Jesus told His disciples, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Keeping His commandments is one way we can put our love for Jesus into action. You might consider 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, and discern in which areas of loving you need improvement with God's help. Christ told us that others would know we are Christians by our love. Additionally, read Hebrews 12 and 13 for a list of what Christ wants Christians to do. (Or see Ellen for a print out.)
**Check back next week for "Did You Know?" A discussion on The Crown Incorruptible.
Ellen Freytag and her husband, David, recently joined Central Park after living near Orlando, Florida for 38 years. They met while in college in Michigan, and now have three children and four grandchildren. Ellen is a retired teacher of history, French, English, ESOL, and humanities. She recently earned a Master's degree in writing and is the author of a novel "The Morning Side of the River," which can be found in the church library. Ellen's blog may be found weekly here on our website.