Crowns in Heaven
Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 20, Feb 2018
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 62:3
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
According to the Bible, there is a day coming when Jesus Christ Himself will return from Heaven, will raise those who have died in Him from the dead, and will change those believers who are living into His image. He will gather all these redeemed saints together and will take the back to His heavenly home, where they will abide forever with Him in a state of absolute joy and utter perfection. The Bible speaks of this event in several places in scriptures. We know this event as the Rapture of the Church. I look forward to the rapture with profound joy! It is called the “Blessed hope of the believer,” and by it, millions will bypass the undertaker and leave with the Uppertaker! Many hold the opinion that as soon as the rapture takes place, the saints are going to go to Heaven where they will be issued a halo, a harp and a new pair of wings. Then, they will be assigned to some cloud or the other where they will spend eternity strumming on their harps and floating serenely through Heaven. Well, the good news is there will be a new body, a new home, a new atmosphere and new surroundings. Yes, there will be peace, bliss and unsurpassed joy and contentment. There will even be the personal presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. However, before we get to enjoy all these things, we will have to appear, one by one, before the Lord Jesus Christ to give an account of the deeds done in these earthly bodies. Since we are going to face Jesus in judgment, and since how well that goes depends entirely on how we behave here, it would do us all eternal good to spend a few minutes remembering that there will be a Judgment Seat of Christ. And it seems that your appearance in eternity will depend on what you receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We need to understand that every deed done in the name of Jesus will be blessed and rewarded over there. Men may not see the value of your service, but rest assured that Jesus takes perfect note and that He will reward you fairly for your sacrifice for Him. God will apply the fire of His judgment to our works, and those that were done for Him and for His glory alone will pass the test and we will be rewarded accordingly. At the judgment seat of Christ, crowns will be distributed accordingly.
I want to share a few truths that are found in the bible.
1. The Five Crowns
The Bible gives us 5 types of crowns in heaven. This does not mean that these are the only crowns in heaven but they are the only crowns mentioned in the Bible. I believe there is a crown that awaits every saint; every saved person. Will one have more than one type of crowns in heaven? Well, most likely yes; but I think probably most will receive one crown as the crown describes, depicts and defines you. So you need now to make your choice while here on earth. Make a good choice. When I was a young Christian, I have this impression that I will be given a crown where I wear it on my head and move around in heaven with that crown. Honestly I did not find it appealing. That is one of the reason I did not share about crowns in heaven. The truth is crowns are not things we wear on our heads or parade with. Most likely the crowns are not things we wear on our heads but they are the glowing, glory and outshining of our resurrected bodies. I believe when others see you in heaven, they immediately recognize what type of crowns you have been rewarded with. We will have different bodies in heaven. Your body and my body will be different in heaven. And the type of crowns determines the glory of your bodies, that is, the outshining of your eternal, immortal body. Like the stars, different bodies will outshone differently in heaven according to the type of crown or reward awarded for the works we have done on earth. This what the Apostle Paul meant: ‘There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. SO ALSO IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.’ (1 Cor 15:41-42)
Crowns are for rewarding of saints at the judgment seat of Christ. Crowning is the rewarding of Saints for their life time work on earth. Take note: lifetime work on earth. You will not get a crown for earthly careers, how much money you have accumulated and how many houses you have built. I look at some of the CEOs of this world. Joy was telling me that most CEOs have no holidays. They are sold out for their companies. They have no time for recreations, holidays and even family. They make millions yearly. They spent their entire life on what they are doing like Steve Jobs who founded Apple; who had passed away. These people will not receive a crown for their tremendously hard labor on earth. How about billionaires? Do you know how much is a billion dollar? You will never have to work anymore. You can live luxuriously, travel by first class, stay in 5 star hotels, eat in the most expensive restaurant, live in the most hi-tech home and yet you are only spending on your interest you earn from the bank. It is amazing how these people make their billions. It is an achievement. Actually they sold their lives to make those billions. Yet the bible is so clear. Naked I come into this world, naked will I return back to dust. The billionaires will not get a crown for the billions they have made. But what you have become or what you have been doing in relationship to the purpose of God for your life will determine your crown. I said that I believe that God has a purpose for your life here on earth. You are the only one that can fulfill that purpose while here on earth. When you fulfill that purpose, you will receive that crown. The Bible gives us 5 types of crowns in heaven.
2. Crown of Glory
1 Pet 5:2-4 says, ‘Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.
Peter seems to be wanting this crown.
The crown of glory will be given to those faithful ministers who give themselves to lead and feed the flock of God. When I say ministers, I am not addressing the Pastors, Prophets, the Teachers, the Evangelists and Apostles. I am referring to all to ministers to souls.
I am sharing ‘crowns in heaven’ because I was doing my devotion recently and I caught the attention of this verse that speaks directly to me. God speaks to me. Jesus speaks to me. Just on Tuesday, less than a week ago, a TV program in United States called ‘The View’, hosted by Joy Behar made waves and uttered some shocking comments that startled the Christian world. She said it is essentially ‘mental illness’ to believe that ‘Jesus talks to you.’ She says, I quote, ‘It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That is mental illness.’ Joy Behar said she is not sure that she wants her ‘Vice-President (who is Mike Pence) speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.’ She said she is worried about Mike Pence becoming President of the United States if Trump is no more in office because Mike Pence is extreme as a Christian. The saddest thing is her guest by the name Newman, a supposedly Christian adds in, ‘I’m a Christian, I love Jesus, but he (Pence) thinks Jesus tells him to say thing. I’m like, Jesus didn’t say that.’
This is the quality of Christians we have in the United States today and in the world today. Newman has to give an account of what she said. We as Christian must never discourage another Christian when that Christian is serving the Lord. For Joy Behar, I am very sure that she will be the unhappiest, troubled woman I will ever see because she doesn’t believe Jesus talks to people.
Anyway Jesus speaks to me and that is all that matters. Paul is saying that he is a fellow elder and he is a witness and he shares in the suffering of Christ. We are witnesses of Christ and we share in the suffering of Christ. If we share in the suffering of Christ we will also share in the glory one day. Then Paul gives us instructions as leaders in this church. As a leader, we have to give a shepherd’s care, exercise oversight over the flock that God has given us. Feed the flock willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit and not to Lord over them. Instead be an example. And if we do that we will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.
Vernon McGee when commenting on this portion of scriptures wrote that he did a study on the word glory. He realized that Glory does have shape and size. Glory also has color. Look at the trees and the flowers and the leaves. You see all the color. That is glory. And Glory is something that is quite wonderful. We will have the Crown of Glory.
What I am trying to say is that as a leader in this church, whatever department head you are, whether you are a cell leader or a youth leader or a children’s Church leader, if you take care of God’s flock, who are given to us by God; and if you do it willingly under God’s direction, be an example to them, faithfully, continually, yearly, you will receive a crown of glory one day. Crown of glory is a crown for every person who feeds the flock; the pastors, leaders and every person who carries out the Great Commission. It is a crown for the Peters, the Pauls, the Johns and every of God’s servants in the church preaching the Gospel to every creature. The bible is so clear concerning the communities we go to every week, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every Creature (Mark 16:15). You will receive a crown of glory one day. Your body will have this amazing outshine, this bright light that exudes from your celestial bodies glowing eternally because you have been taking care of God’s flock. This is a crown that is especially for many in this church which you are fighting for, toiling, remaining strong in faith and sharing the Gospel no matter what comes your way as you strongly guard your crown. Your heart rejoices when you know that a great reward awaits you in heaven; the crown of glory.
Pastor Peter Chng, instead of celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore decided to go to Phnom Penh. He was in Phnom Penh since last Wednesday until today. He not only goes there for a holiday but he wants to visit our missionaries in Cambodia. He brought the whole family of Pastor Edgar and the family of Nehemiah out for a meal. He shared his testimonies on his life as a missionary to Africa. Pastor Rowena was so blessed by his testimony. Then he said he is concerned for the two children of Pastor Rowena. I told Pastor Rowena that if God takes care of my two daughters who stayed in the Philippines, God will also take care of her children in Cambodia. They will be special children because the parents ‘Go into all the world to preach the Gospel’. Pastor Rowena was saying that Ryan is topping the class in English in the school and Ron is also able to understand and read English now, which he couldn’t when he was in the Philippines. Pastor Edgar and Rowena are opening cell groups and conducting children’s church. But the most beautiful of all is if they remain faithful, caring for the flock that God has put them as oversees, their reward will be this amazing Crown of Glory that is imbedded in their bodies that will shines like stars for eternity and will always remain with them.
We have a successful reflection with the Saint Robert’s students last Monday. Many of you came and we work as a body, serving, watching and teaching these unbelievers. Sis Kabayao says that in her past reflection, she has to go to at least 10 churches to solicit workers to assist her and even then, these workers came late, disorganized and with no purpose. But she is amazed that we Evangel Tabernacles members work as a team; no complaints, faithfully fulfilling each our responsibilities with a sweetness and humility and a joy. Even though the teachers snub us, were unhelpful, the students look hostile at times, we did not waver because we know that we have planted seeds in their hearts. But the most beautiful of all is that we will receive our Crown of Glory if we faint not but continue the ministries that God has entrusted to all of us. I believe the Crown of Glory promised is a motivation for service. Elders are not to expect to become rich or be greedy for gain but they could expect to receive great reward at the return of Christ. Just yesterday, Quiboloy was arrested at the Hawaii Airport when US$350,000.00 was found in his private jet. We don’t have $350,000, so most likely we won’t get into trouble but we will have a great reward in heaven. I want to encourage you that have been serving God. The Crown of Glory is for those who persevered through suffering and is received for endurance. Don’t get the impression that we are working for nothing. We are not. I am very confident and many of the people in this church that serve selflessly towards the salvation of souls will receive a crown of glory.
3. Crown of Righteousness
2 Timothy 4:6-8 says, ‘For I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 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.’
The crown of righteousness will be given to those who anticipate and live in the light of return of Jesus Christ.
This is another Crown that caught my attention when I was reading the Bible a few weeks ago. We are told that this is a crown for every person who loves the appearing of Jesus Christ, like Timothy. This is a crown for those ready and waiting for Jesus Christ’s coming. It is called the crown of righteousness. Righteousness is only possible by faith. When you believed, God count you righteous. I was explaining to Pastor Lily the meaning of ‘faith without work is dead’. Last Tuesday Pastor Lily was sharing about the need to work in maximizing your potential. I thought we are saved by faith only. Then why did James mentioned work? Well the word ‘work’ here implies obedience. I think the Amplified Version explains it so well. It says in James 2:21, ‘Was our father not justified by works (of obedience which expressed his faith) when he offered Isaac his son on the altar (as a sacrifice to God?). Why am I explaining this? We are righteous when we have faith in the second coming of Christ and we live a life of obedience ready and waiting for his return.
Please understand that when Paul wrote Timothy, it is probably one of his last books, because he is awaiting execution. Going back to Paul, if you had gone into that execution room in Rome, you would have seen a bloody spectacle. Very candidly, it would have been sickening to see him put his head on the chopping block, to watch the big, burly brutal Roman soldier lift that tremendous blade above his head, then with one fell swoop sever the head from the body and see the head drop into a basket on one side and the body fall limp and trembling on the other side.
But Paul doesn’t see things that way. He sees things in the eye of faith. He could see that his life is poured out like a drinking offering as a sacrifice for Christ. Paul’s life would soon disappear, and all that could be seen was Christ. This is one of the most wonderful figures of speech he has used. So many Christians try to be remembered by having their names chiseled in stone or by having a building named in their memory. Paul was not interested in that type of thing. He says, ‘My life is a drink offering poured out; Christ – not Paul- is the One who is to be exalted.’ The crown of righteousness is related to Paul’s execution.
In order to win this crown, the believer must not only ‘fight a good fight’ and ‘finish his course’, but he must also ‘keep the faith.’ Paul summed up his life in three different ways: I have fought a good fight. He had been fighting for Jesus. My friend, all believers should take that position. There is a battle to be fought, and every Christian should be a defender of the Word of God and stand for the great truths of the Bible; I have finished my course’. Some translation says he has stayed the course. He has stayed steady, attempting to live the Christian life in such a way that he would not be disapproved. That is the meaning of faith without work is dead. Paul’s faith is manifested in his obedience to the great truth and staying steady, attempting to live the Christian life in such a way that he would not be disapproved; I have kept the faith. That is the most beautiful of all. Life has been a trust from God, and he had been a good steward. He had never veered from the great truths and doctrines in the Word of God. Paul says his departure is at hand. The Greek word is made up of two words, one of which is ‘luo’, which means ‘to untie or unloose’. Another is ‘Analusis’ which could used to refer to untying anything. Paul is saying ‘Don’t look at my execution and let blood make you sick. I’m like a ship tied to the harbor. Now I’m unloosing the rope and really taking off to go and be with Christ. A crown of righteousness is really a reward for righteous life and Paul will receive that.
Peter felt that he will receive the crown of glory because he took care of the saints. Paul felt that he will receive the crown of righteousness because he has fought a good fight, stay the course and kept the faith. How about you? How about I? I have been a Christian for 39 years. In this 39 years, I have fought many a battle for the sake of the Gospel. Have I stayed the course; still living in obedience to the great truth of the word of God and veering and living a life that I would not be disapproved by Jesus at the Judgment Seat? Have I kept my faith, never losing my trust and belief in my great savior? If you can say like Paul, a crown of righteousness awaits you.
Those Christians who are alert to and anxiously looking for the return of Jesus are the ones who are keeping the faith. These are Christians who are daily occupied with Jesus Christ through his Word and anticipate his return.
‘Unto all that love his appearing’ does not refer to doctrine you hold regarding His appearing. You may be a premillennialist, a post millennialist, or an amillennialist. You have to Pre-Trib, Mid-trib or Post-Trib. I have news for you; there’s no rewarding for holding any of those views. The question is: ‘Do you love his appearing? To love His appearing means that you will have to love Him. Oh, my friend, do you have a close relationship with Him? Have you ever told Him that you love Him? I think Paul told the Lord that he loved Him every day, because he had hated and persecuted Him before. There is a crown for those who love His appearing. I would like to have that crown. I believe it will shine brighter than all others.
Of course Paul did not experienced the rapture but he definitely look for the Return of Christ.
4. The Crown of Rejoicing
1 Thes 2:19, ‘For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
I believe Paul will have more than one crown. He also talks about the crown of rejoicing. If you look at the stars. Some shines brighter than others. I believe Paul’s body will shine brighter than a lot of others.
This is the soul winners’ crown. The Apostle Paul looked upon those he had won to Christ as his crown – his crown of rejoicing. There is an old song that was always sung in church; ‘Will there be any stars in my crown?’ People whom we influence for Christ are our crown, our joy, our glory. Someday in heaven, someone will come to us and say, ‘Thank you for coming to me, to my house, to my country for telling me about Jesus. Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a soul that was saved because of you.
Recently, Mike had a teacher who taught in Tung Ling bible school. She is in her 80s. She is a missionary from the United States and she has stayed in Singapore probably close to 60 years. Many souls were saved through her ministry and these souls became pastors who build big churches in Singapore and Malaysia. She is still as dynamic as before and I only wished that I can get her to come to the Philippines. Actually she is the one who cast out the devil out of my life and through her ministry I was filled with the Holy Spirit. That was in 1980; 38 years ago. I was able to come to be a missionary because I was saved through her. I believe she will receive a crown of rejoicing.
As your Pastor I have seen quite a number of you that are simply great soul winners. You have this ability to bring people to church. I remember during those times when we still uses the G12 paradigm, a number of you just simply can bring people to church every Sunday. To me it is a gift. But I also notice that for some they gave up that gift. They stopped bringing people and they themselves even stop coming to church. Well, I want to say that you must continue to bring souls as God enables you because you have a crown of rejoicing waiting for you. God will not forget your labor of love and he said in Rev 2:14 ‘‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’. Even the prophets in the Old Testament prophesied about this crown of rejoicing. We see prophet Isaiah prophesying of the crown of rejoicing. Isa 51:11: Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
There is no joy in this world. Let no person lie to you that there is joy or happiness in the world. The world is all full of pain, sorrow, bitterness, stress, crying, mourning, tears etc and we are always groaning and travailing. Crown of rejoicing is only attained by salvation. They can only find joy through someone sharing the Gospel to them.
5. The Crown of Life
James 1:12 (KJV) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
The crown of life is for those who endures and overcome temptation. It is a reward to those Christians who seek the Lord and overcome the flesh through confession of sin and filling of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 1:9). These are the Christians who lost all of their reward by living a life controlled by the soulish or flesh nature. Saul is a primary type of the Christian who loses his life and his crown by disobedience. Other Old Testament types who lost their inheritance by disobedience are Reuben who lost his double portion because of sin, Esau who sold his birthright for a meal of red stew, and Lot who lost his reward because he loved the things of the world. Every Christian who wins the crown of life is an overcomer over temptation.
6. The Incorruptible Crown
1 Cor 9:24-27 (KJV) Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The incorruptible crown is awarded for faithfulness to the Lord. The incorruptible crown is awarded on the basis of winning a spiritual race that is marked out by God for each believer.