"I'm going to crown you!" Threat of punishment? Tentative victory in game of checkers? Child's play? Pageant winner? We do not live in regent state, so not very familiar with royalty. Prince William turning 18 was a big event in England. Who will inherit the throne, inherit the crown?
And, we do not give crowns to victors in athletic events any more--we give trophies, medals. So is hard to understand the Biblical/NT use of the word crown. In Greece, it was usual word for wreath placed on head of victorious athlete or military leader. We have many depictions of Roman leaders with such a wreath or crown.
I. Bible Backgrounds
Stephanos--Stephen. But word is much richer than simply a name, although such a name certainly spoke to the hopes of a parent for that child.
Quick look through concordance reminds that Jesus was mocked with crown of thorns (Mt. 27:29; Mk. 15:17; Jn. 19:2,5)--4 occurrences. And that is the end of the word in the Gospels. Word never appears in Luke's writings, so does not appear in Acts. Most frequent use is in Revelation--eight times out of 18 occurrences of the noun form, almost half. Noun used only six times in remainder of NT in six different books, 1 Cor., Phil, 1 Th, 2 Tim., Jas, 1 Pet.
Is also a verb form--3 times, twice in Heb. 2:7,9 in reference to Ps. 8 and Christ's exaltation, once in 2 Tim. 2:5. Interesting, although perhaps not particularly significant. Total then of 21 occurrences. Eight times in Rev., four in gospels, two in Heb but really in same passage, two in 2 Tim., five in five different books.
Five times in Paul. Not much to go on, but what can we learn?
Generally may be described as references to the ultimate crown. 1 Cor. 9, contrast of two crowns--one that does not last, one that lasts forever, an imperishable crown. Paul referred to his readers as his
crown (Phil. 4:1; 1 Th. 2:19) and glory. 2 Tim. 4:8, receive crown of righteousness after death. Jas 1:12, crown of life. Crown of glory is promised to faithful elders at Jesus coming, an unfading crown, 1 Pet. 5:4.
Paul writes of receiving a crown only when one follows the rules in 2 Tim. 2:5.
Catches attention, since I am studying preaching, ministry this summer, and preaching primarily out of the Pastorals, esp. 2 Tim.
II. Reviewing Rewards--God's Rewards
III. Specific Scriptures--2 Tim. 2:5 (cf. 1 Cor. 9:25-27), 2 Tim. 4:8
IV. Some Suggestions
Here we hope to be practical.
The crown is not for everyone. I recently received a missions bulletin. Village chief's wife died. Was sad occasion, but joyous. We will see her again in heaven because she had been baptized. Not to diminish one's initial response to the will and way of God. Important, imperative. If you have never begun, entered the race, must do so. Encourage you to respond in just a moment when sing the invitation song.
But there is much more. Not saved solely because we have begun a walk of obedience. Must continue that walk. With discipline, consistency, daily, with self-sacrifice, with careful evaluation, regularly spiritual exercise. To receive a crown. A crown that God gives, a crown that is reflected by the people in our lives. If you have not continued, encourage you to respond to inv. When we sing in a moment.
Joy of ministry--return to church where one worked. See your stars, see your crown. Those you taught. Those you baptized. Those you nurtured. And to see them teaching, baptizing, nurturing others. This is my latest convert. And the message continues. Crown after crown after crown. 2 Tim. 2:2.
Will there be any stars in your crown?
Run to receive a crown. The race is not over, it is ongoing. Run the race this week. Endure. Make full proof of your service to God. Do the work of ministry.
Run obediently, run faithfully, Run for the crown. "Run, Christian, Run." These are the words that echo to us, from the great cloud of witnesses. Run. Begin the race today. Run for the crown. If you desire to respond to God with recommitment to enter or run race, come now.
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