“WHO MAKES UP THIS CROWN?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

“WHO MAKES UP THIS CROWN?” (1 Thess. 2:19)
Crown of Rejoicing February 19, 2017 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor

Today’s Special “The Judgment” During an impassioned sermon about death and final judgement, the visiting evangelist said forcefully, “Each member of this church is going to die and face judgement.” Glancing down at the front pew, he noticed a man with a big smile on his face. The minister repeated his point louder. “Each member of this church is going to die and face judgement!” The man nodded and smiled even more. This really got the preacher wound up. He pounded the pulpit emphatically when he came to the ultimatum: “Each member of this church is going to die and face judgement!!!” Though everyone else in the congregation was looking somber, the man in front continued to smile. After the service was over, the preacher made a beeline for the man. “I don’t get it,” the preacher said in frustration. “Whenever I said, ‘Each member of this church is going to die,’ your smile got bigger. Why?” The man replied, ”I’m not a member of this church.”

INTRODUCTION: By request, we are studying the 5 crowns found in Scripture which a believer could be given by the Lord Jesus when we get to heaven. We have learned much so far! One day we will cast all our crowns at Jesus’ feet, reminding Him – and us – that these crowns are for His glory. Last week, we learned about the “Incorruptible Crown” – this crown is fall all believers, and it involves a journey in training which includes Bible reading, prayer, and focused service for Jesus’ glory.
Today we are looking at the “Crown of Rejoicing”. The name comes from the KJV, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?”. Paul says this crown is for believers – and pastors! – to work together to receive. PRAYER

#1 HOW DOES SOMEONE GET IT? (1 Thess. 2:11-20)
a. Get involved in the parent/child relationship which is a pastor/Christian’s (vs. 11-12)
b. Received God’s Word through the pastor, but really from God Himself (v. 13)
[while you’re here, check out SECOND Thess. 2:13! While most theologians agree that the Scriptures are inspired BUT the chapter and verse numbers are not, it is neat that BOTH “2:13″‘s deal with God’s Word and the change it makes in a life!]
c. Be an imitator/observer of God’s churches (v. 14ff).
ILLUSTRATION: the child who follows his dad’s BIG footsteps in the snow. We should follow the one who is setting the example on following God.
Point: The believer and the pastor work together! The pastor shares the joy and the Word, and the believer obeys the Word and has a joyful life.
The end? Is the crown of rejoicing!

#2 WHERE DOES THE REJOICING COME FROM? (Luke 15:7, 10, 32)
a. In all 3 accounts, something/someone was lost but was found
b. Jesus makes the comparison over the joy in heaven over (1) a sinner who gets saved (vs. 7,10) or a believer who returns to a faithful walk (v. 32)
The application, of course, is HUGE! We need to see all people as God sees them!
ILLUSTRATION: a friend recently shared about a pastor who was untrue to his marriage vows. The response given back to him, “that could have been one of us. We need to pray instead of making any judgement!”.
The end result will be a church that is REJOICING because people are coming to the Lord Jesus for salvation at the cross, or returning to the journey of faith & obedience.

#3 WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? (Philippians 4:4)
A simple verse – rejoice always. In this journey of faith, the rejoicing [NOT the happiness, but the REJOICING] is unceasing. It is not the circumstances which bring us joy. It is the Lord Himself!
I am challenged that throughout Scripture one will find “joy”, “rejoice”, “rejoicing” and the like. It is important to God!

CONCLUSION Revelation 21:4
This is a sobering passage. It reminds us that there is an end to this journey – and the end is two-fold:
#1. There is no more sorrow, pain, death, etc.
NOTE: now is not the time to sit back, settle for rest, and give up the walk of holiness before the Lord.
#2. There is eternal rejoicing – the crown will be earned and cast at Jesus’ feet! In the words of Coach Jim Valvano, when he was losing a battle to cancer, “Never Give Up. Never Give Up. Never Give Up.”
Pastor Jeremy’s paraphrase: “if I’m still breathing, God isn’t done with me yet!”
Where do you stand in this journey for the “crown of rejoicing”? Do you know Jesus? IF SO, how is your journey to a holy life, to a consistent daily living in God’s Word and in prayer, in encouraging other believer by your faithful attendance to God’s house?
Remember the foundation of this crown: the pastor and the believer work together to receive it! The pastor is faithful in his proclamation of truth. And you are faithful in your application of truth. And the end result? God gets the glory, and His church REJOICES NOW AND FOREVER!
close in prayer

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