The Crown Of Life
Thursday, December 30, 2010
THE CROWN OF LIFE
Sunday, November 23, 2008 Foundation Scripture: James 1:12
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor's] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12 AMP
I. The Crown of Life
ý The Crown of Life is also known as the Martyr's Crown
ý This crown is promised to those who are faithful unto death.
ý Revelation 2:10 AMP - Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. [Dismiss your dread and your fears!] Behold, the devil is indeed about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and proved and critically appraised, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be loyally faithful unto death [even if you must die for it], and I will give you the crown of life.
ý It is also promised to those who live prepared to die for their witness.
ý Revelation 3:11-12 AMP - I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. 12 He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name.
II. The Crown of Life will be given to those who are persecuted for their faith and yet endure.
ý Persecution comes simply because we bear His Name.
ý John 15:20-23 AMP - Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. 21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin [would be blameless]; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates Me also hates My Father.
ý Persecution is the suffering Jesus talks about that His people would go through ý not sickness or disease.
ý Philippians 1:29 NKJV - For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
ý You will be persecuted for righteousness and living a godly life.
ý 2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV - Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
ý Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV ý Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
ý If you are completely submitted and obedient to the Lord and doing His work, and they persecute you, it is as if they are persecuting Jesus, Himself.
ý Acts 22:7-8 AMP - And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me [harass and trouble and molest Me]? 8 And I replied, Who are You, Lord? And He said to me, I am Jesus the Nazarene, Whom you are persecuting.
III. How should you respond?
ý Bless your enemies.
ý Romans 12:14 AMP - Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.
ý Resist the urge to fight back ý let God fight your battles.
ý Romans 12:19 AMP - Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God's] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.
ý Hebrews 10:30 AMP - For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people.
IV. The Persecuted Church.
ý Remember ý you are not alone.
ý 1 Peter 5:8-10 NKJV - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
ý Those who have gone before us suffered so that we could receive the Truth.
ý Hebrews 11:35-38 AMP - [Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. 36 Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated ý 38 [Men] of whom the world was not worthy ý roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.
ý The genuineness of your faith will be tested.
ý 1 Peter 1:5-7 AMP - Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God's power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time. 6 [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, 7 So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.
ý We are counted worthy of the kingdom of God when we endure persecution and tribulations with patience and faith.
ý 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12 NKJV - We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
V. Don't ever give up!
ý Philippians 1:21 NKJV - For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
ý Struck down but not out.
ý 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 AMP - However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. 8 We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; 9 We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed; 10 Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies. 11 For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus' sake, that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death.
ý Who shall separate us from Christ or His love?
ý Romans 8:35-39 AMP - Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? 36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, 39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ý We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!