Crowns For The Savior

Bible Book: Revelation  4 : 1-11
Subject: Heaven; Crowns; Rewards
[Editor's Note: This sermon was in preparation of an outreach program done through our Sunday School and Bible Study program. Wonderful growth took place during the weeks that followed and quite a few people came to salvation in Christ.]

Crowns For The Savior

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Revelation 4:10 reminds us of a day that will come when the children of God will fall down before Jesus and lay crowns at His feet. There are some questions related to this event which we need to answer. Who are these people who cast crowns at the feet of the Lord? How did these people get before His throne? Where do the crowns come from which they place before Him? Why are the believers in heaven casting the crowns before God's throne?

Today we are going to answer these questions as we look at the subject, "Crowns For The Savior?" Let me state, before we proceed to the text, that next week marks the beginning of something very important in Sunday morning Bible study here at The Church That Loves. We are ready to launch a campaign entitled, Crowns For The Savior. This program is designed to accomplish three things.

First, it should cause all of us to concentrate on inviting people to His House, specifically to Bible Study. The Bible says, "Study to show thyself approved unto God and workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.

Secondly, Crowns For The Savior is designed to reach new people. You see, first it prompts us to obey God in inviting people to His House, and when that is done it will bring people into Bible Study and, prayerfully, will bring lost people to know the Savior. Did you know that 1 out of every 2 lost people who attends Bible Study or Sunday School will be saved? Compare that to only 1 in 12 who receive our witness solely apart from involvement in Bible Study and you see the significance of it.

Thirdly, this program is a visible though unsophisticated way of viewing the lesson we are going to learn today. Crowns For The Savior will allow your Bible Study or Sunday School class to earn crowns which you can place on a large board represting the throne of God just five weeks from now. Hopefully, this experience will make all of us more conscious of the fact that we are going to meet Jesus one day and lose or gain rewards. To see the truth of this look with me at Revelation 4 more closely

I. The Rapture of the Saved

The first thing we see in this chapter is an open door into heaven. Here is a picture of the rapture.

For believers in Christ, the Rapture is:

  • A Scriputural Event
  • A Sure Event
  • A Sudden Event
  • A Splendorous Event

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 tells us about the rapture.

When General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in the early months of World War II, he fled Corregidor in apparent defeat. Upon reaching Australia, he sent back this now famous declaration: "I SHALL RETURN!" And he kept his promise, for 3 years later he stood on Philippine soil and proclaimed his second historic statement, "I HAVE RETURNED!" Far greater than that, Jesus promised to return for His Church - all the saved - dead and alive. He will keep His Word!

One day an Ohio highway was unusually crowded. Cars came to a standstill in the night air but the drivers couldn't see what the problem was. As one traveler recalled, "I thought there must have been an accident." He later discovered that a rumor had spread that an image of Christ had been appearing nightly on a nearby soybean tank. Many seemed shaken by what they saw. Others said that the image was nothing more than a shadow effect created by night lighting and a badly stained, rusty tank surface. The response of one bystander was especially noteworthy. When a driver leaned out his van window and asked the bystander what was going on, the bystander looked at him and said, "Jesus is here!" The van driver remarked to a reporter, "For a moment I really freaked out. I was scared. I mean, I wasn't prepared for judgment day." How will we feel when Jesus really does return? Will we be excited? Will we be afraid? Know this, you and I can be fully prepared for that day.

Thomas Lister placed these words on nearly every grandfather clock he made:

"Lo! Here I stand by thee upright

To give thee warning day and night;

For every tick that I do give

Cuts short the time thou hast to live."

Think about three doors with me this morning.

A. The Door of the Heart

In Revelation 3:20 we see the door of the heart - the door of Salvation. Jesus stands at the door to the human heart, and He knocks to seek admittance into the life of one who hears Him. The famous painting of Jesus knocking on the door reveals a great truth. On the outside of the door in that painting you will note that there is no door handle or door knob. It is incumbent on each individual to hear Jesus and open the door for Him fro the inside. Someone here today needs to listen to Jesus. He is seeking entrance into your life, but He will not force Himself in. You must open the door by repenting of your sin and accepting Him as Lord and Savior.

Note also ...

B. The Door for the Hands

In Revelation 3:8 we see the door for the hands - the door of Service. For the person who is a Christian, Jesus opens the door for you to serve God. No one has ever found the full purpose of life without knowing the joy of walking through the door that our Lord opens for each Christian to fulfill his or her purpose as a believer. Every Christian is called to serve, not just to be saved. God enters your heart, but He desires to use your hands.

Then, we see ...

C. The Door into Heaven

In Revelation 4:1 we see the door into Heaven - the door of Splendor. What a moment that will be when we go through the door that leads into His glorious presence. The door of Salvation is necessary to enter the door of Service, and the door of Service will be followed by the door of Splendor when we enter into Heaven.

Yes, one day the redeemed will be taken up to live with Christ, but note something that will happen at that time.

II. The Review of the Saved

Upon arrival in Heaven at the time of the Rapture, there will be a great gathering of all the saints, and that will be followed by a judgment. Yes, Christians will be judged. Our judgment will not be one of determining whether we have a right to be in heaven, that was settled when you repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. No, this judgment will be about what you did after you were saved.

Billy Graham said, "There are three things that all of us have to do:

1.) You have to be born, you cannot be unborn

2.) You have to die, (unless Jesus comes soon)

3.) And you have to stand before God and be Judged

Of course, this judgment will be different than that of the lost person. Turn to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Note here the judgment of the believer is like inspecting a house.

First, note ...

A. The Foundation

The Foundation is Christ. He is the Chief Cornerstone. He is the One upon whom all believers are placed. Any place other than the Jesus as the foundation for salvation means that you are building on sinking sand.

Did you know that the land beneath your feet is actually moving? According to the Smithsonian magazine, scientists are studying what they call the "crustal plates" that are emerging at the location of ridges deep within the oceans. It is believed that when these plates abut and lock together, the sudden release of accumulated stress is the cause of earthquakes. Yes, there is a constant imperceptible change going on below us. This "shifting" is not limited to land masses and ocean depths, but is taking place in every area of life. The songwriter summed it up in these words:

"Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day,

Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see

O Thou who changest not, abide with me!"

Do you have the sure foundation found only in Christ? Everything is changing, but Jesus never does. Knowing and Serving Him has eternal consequences.

Secondly, we see ...

B. The Material

After you are saved, you begin to build a structure - your life for Jesus is like a building. Christ is the foundation, but you build upon that with materials that are excellent or poor.

These words were uttered by Scott Hamilton Olympic skater, shortly after winning his Olympic gold medal: "It was a moment to be shared. Someone asked me why I was looking at the medal so intently. What I was doing was looking at 16 years of my life."

One day each believer will be called upon to look at all the years of your life for Christ. It will be a life history made up of wood and hay, or made up of gold and silver. In other words, God knows whether I'm doing my best in His service, or whether I'm just slipping by. He will judge the results of my Christian life on that day in the future.

Also, we observe ...
C. The Test

How will the structure of our Christian life be tested?

Paul called himself the wise masterbuilder - "sophos architekton." We get our word "architecture" from the Greek word "architekton." An architect must follow the principles of building and those who build must follow the plans precisely. God has given us the architectual plans for Christian living in His Word. We will be tested as to how we followed God's plan in living our lives. Matthew Henry said, "Let us not dare to join a merely human or a carnal life with a divine faith, the corruption of sin with the profession of Christianity."

One day a man in England found an old blue and white vase in his attic. Thinking it might have some value as an antique, he took it to an auction to see what he could get for it. To his utter amazement he sold the porcelain item for the fantastic sum of $324,000. It was an original piece of 15th‑century Chinese art from the Ming dynasty! So, too, when believers stand before the judgment seat of Christ, there will be many surprises. Kind words and deeds in the lives of Christians, now considered to be insignificant and worthless, will be praised by the Savior as having eternal value.

During 1977 literally millions of people lined up at museums in different cities across the United States to view the treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamen of Egypt. My wife and I have visited he Cairo Museum where the artifacts of King Tut are permanently housed. But, when these items were on display temporarily in the United States, a story appeared shortly after in a Chicago newspaper. It seems that Ali Hassan, curator of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, discovered that some of the jewels found in the tomb were not genuine. They were nothing but glass! The question was raised, how could this fact go undetected for so many years? Here's the answer given by Mr. Hassan: "We were blinded by the gold. One just assumes that real gold and real gems go hand‑in‑hand. This is a case where they don't." Think about Ali Hassan's explanation: "We were blinded by the gold!" One just assumes that real gold and real gems go hand‑in‑hand. Although even the experts were fooled, God never makes that mistake. He can tell the difference between "gold, silver, precious stones or wood, hay and stubble" in your life and mine - and He will judge them on that day when we stand before Him.

Now, consider ...

III. The Rewards of the Saved

M.R. DeHaan II tells of a newspaper article that speaks of the blessing of "delayed returns." He told of a car dealer who went out of his way to give a foreign student an honest deal on a new automobile. Fifteen years later, the young man had become the sole purchasing agent for the Iranian Contractors Association. He showed his gratitude for the kindness he had received by placing a multimillion‑dollar order with that dealer for 750 heavy dump trucks and 350 pickups. "It's unbelievable!" exclaimed the businessman. The good he had done was rewarded years later beyond his wildest imagination. Just as that salesman's reward came later, so too will come the commendation from God when the faithful Christian stands before Him. If we do good to others for the immediate thanks we receive, we already have our reward. Our redemption comes through Christ and Christ alone, but after we are saved our works will follow us into heaven.

I don't have time to describe every crown mentioned in the New Testament in this message. I will list them and say just a word of two. Later I will bring a message on all five of these crowns.

A. The Life Crown (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
B. The Lasting Crown (1 Corinthians 9:15)
C. The Longing Crown (2 Timothy 4:8)

Christ's return can be viewed by believers in at least two ways. A. B. Simpson says, "There is a looking FOR it and a looking AT it. We may regard it with a keen intellectual interest and yet have it mean nothing to us personally. On the other hand, we may know little about the theology involved in the subject and still enjoy a deep longing for the Lord's appearing. Let me illustrate. When a wedding occurs, the public looks AT it, but the bride has been looking FOR it. May the theme of the return of Christ not only be our study but also our personal hope, for "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.'"

An unknown poet has written:

"What would He find, should He come just now;

A faded leaf or a fruitless bough;

A servant sleeping, an idle plow;

What would He find should He come just now?

What would He find should He come tonight,

Your garment soiled or a spotless white;

Your lamps all burning or with no light;

What would He find should He come tonight?"

D. The Love Crown (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19)
E. The Leader's Crown (1 Peter 5:4)

An Atheist farmer often ridiculed people who believed in God. He wrote the following letter to the editor of a local newspaper: "I plowed on Sunday, planted on Sunday, cultivated on Sunday, and hauled in my crops on Sunday; but I never went to church on Sunday. Yet I harvested more bushels per acre than anyone else, even those who are God‑fearing and never miss a service." The editor printed the man's letter and then added this remark: "God doesn't always settle His accounts in October." That editor was right!

Sometimes even dedicated Christians are tempted to complain because of what they see in the world around them. Perplexed by the success and prosperity of the wicked, often at the expense of the righteous, they ask why doesn't the Lord do something about it? Why doesn't He reward those who fear Him, and judge those who disregard Him? Be patient. He will! True, He doesn't always "settle His accounts in October," but He does settle His accounts! So if you're trying to do the will of God and you become discouraged because unjust people are getting ahead, don't be shortsighted. Remember what the psalmist David advised: "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither like the green herb." He went on to say, "For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth." (Ps. 37:1,2,9)

Now, quickly, let us think on one last thing ...

IV. The Reverence of the Saved

Those casting crowns before the throne are the faithful believers who received the crowns as rewards, but give all the glory to the Lord.

A. Adoration - Love for Him
B. Acclamation - Lauding of Him
C. Appreciation - Laying before Him

2 John 1:8, "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully."

Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ's second coming, Roy W. Gustafson said that in southern England there is a village with the curious name of Tiptoe. It seemed natural to call it that because years ago before paved streets and sidewalks were installed, the muddy condition of the lanes in that area often made it necessary for the people to walk on tiptoe. Gustafson remarked, "The child of God who walks the streets of this life faces a similar situation. He is to go forward on the tiptoe of expectancy, not only because of his evil surroundings, but also because he is waiting for Someone who is coming very soon!


We will begin our evangelism program next week. Please encourage every person in your Sunday School and Bible Study classes to be involved in reaching out to the unchurched and unsaved people in the coming weeks. Let us labor for our Lord so that we might have crowns to lay at His feet when He calls us home.

But, someone in this very service today needs Jesus. Come to Him just now. Be prepared to meet Him, for He might come for us before we get to the service of worship next week.