TEXT: Revelation 22:10-13
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
The Free State of Glory (Part 41) — The Reward of Believers: 5 Heavenly Crowns, Part 8
We have looked at four of the five crowns named in Scripture as rewards for believers — the imperishable crown, the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness, and the crown of glory. Today, we look at the fifth crown, named in the book of Revelation as “the crown of life.” In Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna, He writes, “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.” James echoes the Lord when he writes, “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.”
J. Hampton Keathley writes that the crown of life “is a special reward for endurance under persecution. The Smyrnan Christians are challenged to face possible martyrdom with courage and fidelity to God. Their reward for doing so will be a superlative experience of life in the world to come. So to speak, they will be ‘crowned’ with the enjoyment of life ‘more abundant.'”
Smyrna was one of the churches that Jesus did not have any words of rebuke for. It was a church that was holding up well under tribulation and poverty. But, Jesus informs them that greater persecution is coming their way. Going to prison and going on trial before the Roman government were frequent experiences for the members of the early church. As we read in the book of Acts, the early missionaries were arrested and taken before religious authorities, city leaders, regional rulers, and the emperor of Rome himself. Sometimes, they were kept in prison for days, sometimes they were beaten before being released, sometimes they were miraculously delivered.
A look at recent news will tell us that such events are not far-fetched today. Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia regularly face kidnapping, torture, false accusations, imprisonment, and even death. To those Christians who remain faithful through such trial — “even unto death” — Jesus promises to personally give them “a crown of life.” Generally, the crown of life is thought to be an expression denoting eternal life itself. So, it is something that all Christians will receive. But, how much sweeter must it be for those who receive eternal life after having their own life threatened and taken away while on this earth?
How valuable is the crown of life to you? Are you willing to endure anything for Christ in order to receive it? If we value our lives in this world more than eternal life, we will not be faithful unto death. But if we value eternal life with Christ more, we will not fear death, imprisonment, trials, or anything else the devil brings our way. In the face of persecution, the only thing we can do is remain faithful to Christ. We must present a bold, consistent testimony to the world even if it costs us our lives.
This poem expresses the mandate that Christ gave the Church at Smyrna and gives to us today:
Christian worker, be thou faithful
Till life’s toil and care be o’er;
See, a crown is waiting for thee,
Over on the other shore;
When at last thy journey ended,
Thou shalt with the angels join,
And a crown of fadeless glory,
Then, oh Christian, shall be thine!
It is Christ himself has promised,
And his word is ever sure.
To reward the faithful servant,
Who shall to the end endure,
That a crown of life awaits them,
Who are faithful to the end,
In a home at last in Heaven,
With the dying Christian’s friend.
If you are not a believer, all the rewards that you receive on earth will one day perish. But, by serving Christ, you can gain eternal, imperishable, and incorruptible rewards. I invite you to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Allow me to show you how you can do that right now.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.