Revelation 4:4 “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.”
The golden crowns given to the 24 elders here represents the rewards that they have earned (compare Rev. 3:11 “let no man take thy CROWN” and Col. 2:18: “let no man beguile you of your REWARD”). So the five crowns that every believer must aim to possess are not literal crowns, they are actually rewards coming from our Lord. We need to aim to possess those rewards. But before we tackle what are these five rewards (crowns), we need to tackle first this subject about the rewards and why we should aim for them.
OUR REWARDS WILL BE ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS
All over the Bible, we can read the truth that their will be giving of rewards based on our works here on earth:
Rev. 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
1 Cor. 3:6-8 “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
Mat. 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
But we must take note also that these works are not just any works. Our works should have eternally value, that is, if they are tested by fire, these works should abide:
1 Corinthians 3:13-15:
“13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Only those works that can stand the test of fire are the ones that will be rewarded. The next question is, how can our works stand the test of fire?
ONLY THE WORKS OF CHRIST WILL BE REWARDED
Not all our works can stand the test of fire. Even if you will cast demons in Jesus Name, even if you heal in Jesus name, even if you do many wonderful things in Jesus name, as long as it is only your works and not the work of Christ in you, those works cannot stand the test of fire. Just like what we can read in Matthew 7:22-23:
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
All our works will be in vain if they are not the works of Christ. Just because you have done many wonderful works “for the Lord”, does not automatically mean that you will reap a reward. ONLY THE WORKS OF CHRIST WILL BE REWARDED. Only the works of Christ in us have eternal value. This we can read in Philippians 2:13:
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
And in Hebrews 13:21:
“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
This is the reason why in Revelation 4:10-11, we can read that the 24 Elders who received crowns from our Lord also cast their crowns back to the Lord. This casting of crowns back to the Lord means that the 24 Elders give the glory back to our Lord! These 24 Elders know that it is not there works, instead, it is the work of the Lord through them. For them, the Lord is the One Who is worthy of those crowns.
Make sure therefore that your works are the works of Christ. How can you know that it is Christ’s works? If it is His leading. If you are doing His will.
Mat. 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF CHRIST IS INTENDED FOR THE REAPING OF OUR REWARDS
Matt. 19: 27-29:
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
The Age of Regeneration is the 1000 years reign of Christ or also known as the Millennial Reign. It is during this period that we will reap our rewards from our Lord. This period is intended for the reaping of rewards. This was even emphasized in Luke 19:15-19. Those good and faithful servants of the Lord will be given corresponding number of cities to reign depending on how they have been faithful on those things given to them by our Lord while they are here on Earth.
One of the biggest areas of discouragement comes when believers think that they get their rewards in this life. They think that if they work for the Lord, they will be rewarded of material riches in this life. These we can often see in prosperity gospel preachers and televangelist nowadays.
We should check our motives in the work that we do to ensure we are not doing it to receive temporal rewards here and now. It would be foolish of us if we choose those materials (temporal) rewards than spiritual (lasting) rewards. Heavenly rewards coming from our Lord are much, much better compared to anything that this world can offer. We should all live with eternity in view.
Even the Apostle Paul did not expect to get paid here on Earth while working for the Lord. What he is expecting is his heavenly reward:
1 Cor. 9:17 “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”
IT IS PROPER TO AIM FOR THE REWARDS
Some people think that it is a wrong motive to aim for the reward. Out of humility, they think that to aim for the rewards will give them self-glory. THIS IS ACTUALLY A WRONG THINKING. Our Lord wanted us to aim for the rewards because IT WILL GIVE HIM THE GLORY, NOT US. People who aim for the rewards are also the people who give more glory to Him compared to those who do not aim for the rewards. This is why in 1 Corinthians 9:24, we are encouraged to run in such a way to get the reward:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? RUN IN SUCH A WAY AS TO GET THE PRIZE.”
Here are some examples of the saints in the Bible who live their lives aiming to posses the rewards:
1. ABRAHAM – he was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:16). He wanted to be on that City.
2. MOSES – he suffered disgrace for he was looking for a reward (Heb. 11:26).
3. THE SAINTS – they are tortured and killed for they want the reward of better resurrection (Heb 11:35).
PRIDE WILL NOT GIVE YOU REWARDS
1. You will have no heavenly rewards if your works is to gain attention.
Matt 6:2 “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.”
2. Don’t be like the hypocrites who advertise their good deeds. You will have no heavenly rewards.
Matt. 6:5 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
3. Don’t show to others that you are fasting. You will have no reward on it.
Mat. 6:16 “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
4. Don’t tell everybody that you should be addressed as Pastor, Apostle, Teacher, Prophet or Evangelist. You will lose your reward.
Matt. 23:6-8 “And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues. And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.”
HUMILITY AFFECTS YOUR REWARDS
1. You will have a reward if you are not charging anyone in return to your service for the Lord.
1 Cor. 9:17 “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”
Pastors who demand to pay them your tithes will fail on this. They have already gotten their rewards.
2. Loving your enemies will give you great reward.
Luke 6:35 “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
OUR REWARD WILL BE IN PROPORTION TO THE TALENTS GIVEN TO US
Matthew 25:15 “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.”
It is the Lord who determines what amount of talents He give us. The talents here symbolize every gift given to us by our Lord (may they be spiritual gifts, revelations, material gifts, etc.). Some were given five, some two and some receive only one talent. He is the One who knows how many talents we can handle.
Our rewards will be according to what we did on those talents and in proportion to the number of talents we received. Those who were given more will be demanded more. Those who were given less will be demanded less. The Lord cannot demand 10 talents to those who were only given one talent. The Lord will only reward us based on the number of talents He has given us, not to the number of talents He has given to others. I can only be judge by the Lord based on the revelations He has given me and what I did to those revelations, not on the revelations He has given to Apostle Paul or to others. That will make Him an unrighteous judge.
This is why if you have read in the Parable of the Talents (Mat. 25:14-30), the one who was given two talents has received the same praise from the Lord as the one who was given five talents. Both of them have received the praise “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord..” This for the truth that the other have only presented four talents and the other have 10. This is because God can only judge us in proportion to the number of talents He has given us. Not to the number of talents He has given to others. Even if you have only been given two talents, as long as you have been faithful to it, He will still praise you.
GOD’S MEASUREMENTS OF OUR REWARDS
You don’t need to be an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher in order to received great rewards from the Lord. Even if you are just a simple believer, a cook or a cleaner in the Church, as long as you are faithful on the talents He has given you, you will receive great rewards.
God’s standard of measurement is different from ours. This He illustrated on the giving of the poor widow:
Mark 12:42-43 “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.”
God does not look on how much we give, what He look at is how much of those He had given us do we give back to Him. If for example, He had given you 10 dollars and you give it all back to Him, while He had given me 100 dollars and I have given back 50 dollars to Him, although I have given a large amount compared to you, you still have given more than me because you have given all that you’ve got from Him.
The same is true with our rewards someday. Even if the Lord has given me diversities of gifts like the gifts of knowledge, wisdom and the gift of teaching; and He has only given you the gift of helping others, if you have given your all to exercise that gift and I have only given my 50% effort to exercise those diversities of gifts that I have received, then you will receive a greater reward from the Lord compared to me. This is the reason why our Lord said: “Many who are first will be last and many that are last will be first” (Mat. 19:30).
THINGS THAT CAN MAKE YOU LOSE YOUR REWARDS
According to the Bible, there are two things that can make us lose our rewards. We need to take note of them in order to avoid them. They are the following:
1. Believing on False Doctrines
2 John 1:7-8 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, BUT THAT WE RECEIVE A FULL REWARD.”
False doctrines will not only lead you astray, it will also make you lose your reward. Especially the doctrine that says that it is not the Lord Jesus Christ Who come in the flesh and that He is only the physically body of God. This false doctrine of confused men had also led many to think that the Lord Jesus is only a man because He is only the physical body of God. But 2 John 1:7-8 above is very clear: IT WAS THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF WHO COME IN THE FLESH. He is not only the physical body of God. The Lord Jesus is the Spirit of God Who came in the flesh.
Based on the verse above, not confessing that it is the Lord Jesus Who come in the flesh will make you lose your reward.
2. Believing on False Testimonies and Lies
Col. 2:18 “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”
Some people use false testimonies and false dreams and visions that did not actually happened just to lift up themselves among the believers. Those who does not make the Bible their absolute are the ones who are prone to believe this. But if your absolute is the Bible, we can easily see that they are telling lies. This is why we should hold on to the Truth.
These things can rob you of your rewards. All your rewards will be in vain if you believe on these things.
With all of these in mind about our heavenly rewards, we will now tackle the 5 crowns that we must aim to possess.
THE 5 CROWNS THAT EVERY BELIEVER MUST AIM TO POSSESS
Just like what I have written above, these crowns are actually rewards. So the following are the five rewards that every believers must aim to possess:
1. CROWN OF LIFE
James 1:12 “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.”
Rev. 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
The first reward is the crown of Life. All of us who perseveres in persecutions and tribulations will received this crown. This is for those who do not give up in this life. Some will even die of their faith during these tribulations. This crown therefore will be given to those who keep their faith and endured till the end even if the world prevents them.
2. CROWN OF GLORY
1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
This crown is given to those who will be raptured during the appearing of the Chief Shepherd. Therefore, this will be given only to the Bride of Christ. It is called the “Crown of Glory” because those who will be given this crown will have the glory of ruling with our Lord during the Millennial Reign. They will be called “lords and kings” (Rev. 17:14).
3. CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
2 Tim. 4:8 “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.”
There is only One righteous in this world, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). He is our “JEHOVAH TSIDKENU” or “The Lord our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:6, Jer. 34:16). Therefore, those who will receive this reward are those who will fully possess the Lord (Eph. 4:13). They will possess the complete righteousness of God. These are the people who also love his appearing. They are those who are waiting for the rapture and are completely filled by the Lord.
4. CROWN OF REJOICING
1 Thes. 2:19-20 “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? For ye are our glory and joy.”
This reward is the result of being a member of the Family of God. The Crown of Rejoicing can only be possessed if you are a member of the Body of Christ, if you have been baptized by His Spirit. Especially if you let God use you in His body. This reward is actually the reward of fellowship that we will have with other saints when we will be finally united with them who have gone before us. There will be much rejoicing and much welcoming there. Our fellowship and rejoicing will never end.
5. THE CROWN OF INCORRUPTION (INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN)
1 Cor. 9:24-25 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 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.”
Generally speaking, the crown of incorruption here referred by the Apostle Paul speaks of the spiritual crown that cannot be corrupted unlike those material crowns that can be corrupt. So he is referring to all the spiritual rewards that we will obtain. But specifically speaking, there is one specific reward that is called “incorruptible.” It is no other than our Glorified Body:
1 Cor. 15:52-54 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
This Glorified Body or Incorruptible Body will be given to those who had keep the faith and finished the race well. During the Millennial Reign, some people do not possess this crown of incorruption. Remember also that our Glorified Bodies function to display the glory of God (Mat 24:30, Rev 1:13-16). According to Daniel 12:3:
“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Just like the heavenly bodies and the stars in heaven that has a glory of its own, each of our glorified body also will have different capacity to display God’s glory as well. Those who have work well in the Lord will display God’s glory much brightly compared to the others.
That there is the giving of rewards to those who are good and faithful servants of our Lord is one of the fundamental truths of the Bible that cannot be denied. Our Lord encouraged us to aim to possess them.
Remember also that these rewards will be according to our works, specifically, based on the works of the Lord Jesus Christ in us. Your participation to be led by the Lord is needed in order for you to posses these rewards. This is unlike our salvation that we have possess without doing anything because it is a gift from God. Rewards are different. Your participation and willingness to be used by our Lord are needed. If you will not let our Lord used you, He will use another one (Esther 4:14) and you will have no rewards.
To read more about what will happen during the awarding of the rewards, you may want to read this article:
May the Lord continue to guide us into His Truth is my prayer.
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