Crown of Glory March 5, 2017 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor

TODAY’S SPECIAL Three women go down to Mexico one night to celebrate college graduation. They get drunk and wake up in jail, only to find that they are to be executed in the morning – though none of them can remember what they did the night before.
The first one, a redhead, is strapped in the electric chair and is asked if she has any last words. She says, “I just graduated from Trinity College and believe in the mysterious power of God to intervene on the behalf of the innocent.”
They throw the switch and nothing happens. The executioners all immediately fall to the floor on their knees, beg for forgiveness, and release her.
The second one, a brunette, is strapped in and gives her last words. “I just graduated from the Harvard School of Law and I believe in the power of justice to intervene on the part of the innocent.”
They throw the switch and again, nothing happens. Again they all immediately fall to their knees, beg for forgiveness and release her.
The last one, a blonde, is strapped in and says, “Well, I’m from the University of Texas and just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I’ll tell ya right now, ya’ll ain’t gonna electrocute nobody if you don’t plug this thing in.”

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. We learned about the “Incorruptible Crown” – for all believers & it involves a journey in training which includes Bible reading, prayer, and focused service for Jesus’ glory. We learned about the “Crown of Rejoicing” – it is given to the pastor and his sheep to work together as one body. Will we get that?
Last week we looked at the “Crown of Righteousness”. Some of Paul’s last words included this crown, given to those whose lives are focused on longing to be with Jesus rather than being with all the world has to offer. Today is Crown #4, the Crown of Glory. Peter is addressing pastors to strive to encourage a church to be humble. What does a humble church look like? PRAYER

Verses 1 & 4 tell us that the “Crown of Glory” is for those who serve the Lord – not necessarily “elected”, but working as one humble body in Christ together, and will share in the victor’s/conqueror’s crown (v. 4). What characterizes the humble church? There are at least 5 characteristics of the humble church member:
1. EAGER TO SERVE for no other reason but God’s glory (vs. 1-2) In order to do that “look unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:1-3), counting the cost (Luke 14:28-30)
2. BE AN EXAMPLE of the oneness of the body of Christ (v. 3)
Illustration: Usain Bolt is considered the best sprinter of all time. But this year he was stripped of a gold medal won in the 2008 Beijing Olympics relay along with 3 other teammates because, using improved testing methods, a banned substance was found in one of his teammate’s drug samples. The teammate said, “it’s not fair that MY indiscretion costs Usain HIS medal.” Teamwork. Oneness. One person’s lack of humility affects the whole team/church.
3. WEAR NEW CLOTHES! (vs. 5-6). A good study is the phrase “clothed with” used 15 times in our Scriptures. 2 Chron. 6:41 God’s priests (servants) are “clothed with salvation”; Job 7:5 Job was “clothed with worms and scabs”; Ps. 35:26 those who exalt themselves are “clothed with shame and disgrace”. Ps. 104:1 God is “clothed with splendor and majesty”. Prov. 31:25 a godly wife is “clothed with strength and dignity.” 1 Cor. 15:54 one day all believers will be “clothed with the imperishable.” New clothes! The clothes of humility!
4. PRAY AND STAND FIRM (vs. 7-9) Note the oneness with believers around the world.
Illustration: look again at our missionary list. We care about them and their needs because they are our representatives, we are partners with them – enduring on the battle fields where God has placed them, enduring the same things we endure here!
5. REMEMBER YOUR CALLING (vs. 10-11) – sharing in God’s eternal glory, we suffer for just a little while in comparison with eternity, our focus being on Him and His honor alone.

The “Crown of Glory” is often also called the “Victor’s” or “Conqueror’s Crown”. So…are you defeated or are you a champion of the faith? Coming to the cross by faith gives each of us an eternal victory. And seeing each other in the same battle gives us the spirit of humility which should characterize today’s church.
So, here’s the hard question: when you think of First Baptist Church of Earlville, do you think we’re a humble church? You can’t say NO by pointing to others – true humility begins with yourself!
What characteristics of the humble member do you need to apply today?
As we look forward to this morning’s communion service, let me close with a good application. My “bride” and I have talked much lately and I asked her, “if needed, what would you like on your tombstone?” She replied, “pepperoni and meatball!” Paul’s tombstone inscription is found in Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should GLORY except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ – by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

close in prayer

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