“WISDOM OF LIVING (46): CROWNS”                         Pastor YAU

Text: Revelation 4:6-11                                                       May 21, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   “I’ll lay down my crown”: Once during the reign of Britain’s famous Queen Victoria, she was at a worship service when the royal chaplain preached on the second coming of Christ. People near the royal box noticed that the queen’s eyes were filled with tears. When the service ended, she asked to see the chaplain alone. Seeing her great emotion, the chaplain asked why she was so moved. The queen replied, “Because of what you said about the coming again of the world’s rightful King. I wish I still to be there when He returns so I will lay down my crown at His feet.”

2)   There are many crowns: There are many incentives for faithful service that involve both our acts and motives. Some of these rewards are called “crowns” in the New Testament. (2 Tim. 4:7-8) Some people may treasure their accomplishments as “crowns” in their eyes and hearts. Crowns are symbols of glory, success, power and achievement. Even though there may not be real crowns laid on our heads when we have achieved something extraordinary, we may feel the glory or even power like crowns in our hearts.

 

CROWNS OF THE WORLD: Except in few countries where there are still crowns for kings, queens, princes and princesses and of cause those beauty pageant winners wearing those look alike, people are not really craving for “crowns.” But most people, including many Christians, are still living or fighting their lives to win rewards like crowns.

1)   Crowns of glory: Although most people understand in their mind that glory is something so fleeting and empty, many still strive hard to get that empty glory. Glory represents recognition mostly from fellow people that feed our pride on the inside. While the drive to achieve is nothing wrong, the desire for glory is another way of pride and it is the root of many evil.

2)   Crowns of power: Regardless of whatever political system, most people who seek for position in government are seeking for power even though they may put on many beautiful slogans as “serving the people.” Wars were waged for power and control. Millions of lives were destroyed because of power struggles of the powerful. Power is glorious like crowns and still is one of the evils in this world. But power is as fleeting as glory. It may be lost overnight.

3)   Crowns of wealth: While most of us may never have a real crowns on our heads as do the kings and queens but we all may create our own crowns with wealth and possessions. That is why so many people are crazy in working double jobs, buying bigger house and newer cars, keeping bank accounts increase in figures, etc. When all have been said and done, they feel like kings and queens on top of the world with crowns on their heads. But we all know that money has wings. They may come today and may go tomorrow. Jesus has so much to say about the uncertain nature of money in Matthew 6:19-20. Real life experience proves that Jesus was right.

4)   Crowns of success: The Bible is pro success. Most of the faith giants are people with great success: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David and King Solomon, Elijah, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Paul, John, Apollo, Barnabas, Timothy and many others. It is the self-made attitude and pride man made crowns that God has opposed. People make their own crowns with grades in school, the position of their job, the size of their salaries, the top-notch college they send their kids to, the business they own, money they made and many other kinds of success. When you see the expression on their faces and hear the words from their mouths, you know they think they have crowns on their heads.

 

CROWNS IN THE BIBLE: According to Bible concordance, there are 81 times “crowns” were listed in the Bible. Evidently we can’t discuss all the 81 crowns in a sermon. Let me choose 4 out of the 81 crowns from the Bible and see what they mean to us as Christians.

1)   The incorruptible crown: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last (corruptible); but we do it to get a crown that will last forever (incorruptible). (1   Corinth. 9:25) Paul used the games to symbolize competition. He said that the whole purpose of going to the games is to win a crown but all crowns in all games are corruptible—temporary. Most people, including some Christian, live their lives like competing in the games but they end up winning something that will never last. Just look at the crowns of the world and you know none of them may last longer than our earthly journey much less for eternity.

2)   The crown of righteousness: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on the day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8) Paul was talking about the last day reward when he had finished his faithful journey on earth (4:7) and what the Lord will reward him with this crown. Here Paul was talking about the glory and honor the Lord will bestow on him because of his faithful service. He also encouraged all faithful ones to look for that day and that crown when we see our Lord in heaven.

3)   The crown of thorns: “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head and they clothed Him in a purple robe.” (John 19:2) This is the crown our Lord Jesus wore before he was nailed to the cross to shed his blood for the remission of our sins. Through the suffering of this crown of thorns, the Lord will wear many crowns in the final Judgment Day to celebrate His victory over evil and the punishment of the nations. (Rev. 19:11-16) Without the crown of thorns there won’t be the crown of victory in the final days and the power and glory given to Him.

4)   The crown of life: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) This is a promise from the mouth of the Lord for those who may suffer persecution, ridicules, lost of possessions or even life. The price we pay for being faithful and dedicated will bring us the crown of life, eternal life. Death is the ultimate loss we may suffer on earth, but that will bring us the ultimate reward: the crown of life in heaven.

 

LAY DOWN YOUR CROWNS: If you have any crowns now, you don’t have to wait till the last day to surrender them to the Lord Jesus. You may do it now, let go of all hindrances so you may advance your heavenly journey without those excess weights.

1)   Lay down in proper recognition: “Surrounding the throne were twenty –four other thrones and seated on them were 24 elders… and the 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him…and they lay down their crowns before the throne.” (Rev. 4:4,10) Most Bible scholars suggested that the 24 elders represent the 12 tribes in the Old Testament and 12 apostles in the New Testament. They cast their crowns before the Lamb of God because they recognize He is the center of everything in heaven, the center of all worship, the only One who deserves all the glory and honor. Even if you were as great as the elders, you still need to recognize that Christ is much greater than you and you must surrender your crown or glory to Him and Him alone.

2)   Lay down in proper attitude: As God told Samuel, He doesn’t look at man on the outside but looks on the inside, our attitude. Crowns are not important to God but our attitude is. When Queen Victoria was so moved that she was willing to lay her crown at the feet of the Lord, her attitude to her crown was humility. Even though she may be the Queen of England, but her reverence and adoration to the Lord revealed her proper attitude: who am I compared to Christ the Lord. No matter how much you may have achieved or how high you may think you are, you need to have that proper attitude, the reverence to the Lord and humility to yourself.

3)   Lay down in proper understanding: Understanding is wisdom: the ability to see the ultimate meaning beyond the surface of things. If you can see that crowns, glory, power, status, wealth or anything else men clinch to have are never permanent but fleeting, you will see the need of something higher and more dependable for your purpose of life. All you need to see is history and modern day scenario: they may be yours here today but may be gone tomorrow. If you can trade your temporary crowns with something permanent and of higher value, you will lay down your crowns at His feel.

4)   Lay down for proper journey: If you know that there is no treasure chests nor trophy cases in heaven, your crowns or anything you may think that are worthy or glorious will find no place to store. We are traveling to heaven to be with the Lord. Neither we nor He may need anything we treasure here on earth. Leave them here lay them down so you may travel lighter and faster on your way to see the Lord. Paul admonished us “not to be entangled with worldly things.” (2 Tim. 2:4) Too many otherwise sincere and dedicated Christians find it hard and slow in their spiritual progress because they are dragging too much junk on the way including crowns.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Building the right crowns: Many of us are being tempted to build crowns we treasure as glory, power, achievements, etc. But the Bible has different kinds of crowns we should pursue. Knowing our purpose of living and the direction we are moving may help us to build the right kind of crown that will last forever.

2)     Leaving the worldly crowns: As you progress toward heaven as the goal of life, lay down earthly crowns that may slow you down. Jesus suggested what the Ephesians church should do in Rev. 2:5 to “remember from where you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did before.” Find out what has slowed you down in your Christian growth, hindrances that stop you from having the joy and hope in your daily walk. You need to let go and rededicate yourself again to the purpose God has designed for you.

3)     Seek that crown you must have: That is the crown of life, eternal life. No crown from earth may earn you eternal life except the crown given by the Lord Jesus because of your faith in Him as Lord and Savior. You can’t bring any crown to heaven. Jesus has prepared one for you and He is waiting for you to receive it.