In our first Sunday service in this local church, I preached on the subject Crown of Righteous and under the same theme, Striving for the Crown. Then, I highlighted 5 crowns or heavenly crowns that I mentioned in the scripture. They are;
The Crown of life – Rev 2:10. This is given to those who suffer people who go through tribulation.
The second one was In-corruptible or the In-perishable Crown – 1 Cor 9:25. We need to be temperate, desiring to gain mastery.
The third one – Crown of Righteousness which is our main text. 2 Tim 4:6.
The fourth is Crown of glory – 1 Pt 5:4. Peter said if you do it with an unfeigned mind, without deception, hypocrisy, if you serve without proud, he said you will have a crown of glory.
The fifth one; The Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thes 2:19. Paul said to the Thessalonians you are our crown of rejoicing. I want to plead with every minister to understand, whatever you are doing; pastoral work, evangelical work, every kind of ministry you are involved in, let it be known that what will make for your crown the – crown of rejoicing, when you get to heaven is that those soul that have given their lives to Christ you make sure they get to heaven also with you, because if you missed them, you miss the aspect of the crown – Crown of Rejoicing.
Today I want to dwell on the theme itself – Striving for the Crown. This is a clarion call, its an important call, its a pointed call. Everyone that is going to win must STRIVE. The action and pointed word is Strive! If you don’t go to that path, you cannot get the crown.
What is striving? To strive is to achieve a result, you are not just beating the air, you are not just serving God for no purpose. When God called Israel, He calls him for a purpose. He didn’t just called Israel, He call him to;
- Bless Israel
- To be the medium by which He would penetrate and bless the world.
God doesn’t do a thing without a purpose; everything God does has a purpose, it’s Mission Content. Don’t let us just be aimless people. You are God’s people; you are not created for no purpose. God said let us create man in our own image. Your life has a purpose. So to strive is to achieve, make strenuous effort to achieve a result. It connotes struggling. I pray God will give every one of us the muscle to strive. May God give everyone grace to make it in Jesus name.
What does it take to truly strive to win a crown? God dropped two things in my heart and the two things are simply this;
Forego and Focus. In Phil 3:13&14.
What is Forgo? Is to abandoned, refrain from, drop, and put it aside, not necessary etc. If you are going to win a crown, you must forgo. What are we forgoing?
1. Forego dwelling on the past. Many Israelite couldn’t make it to the promise land because they could not forego Egypt. If we are going to forego, we must stop dwelling on the past. But Paul was on point when he stated I forget those things that are behind. God said remember ye not the former things not consider the things of old. If you don’t forget the former thing, it will be difficult to move forward to see a new thing. If you keep dwelling on former things, you won’t progress. Someone disappointed you or jilted you, let it be things of the past, and face your new life.
2. What we must forego? If we must make the crown, we must forego every weight and sin that is contending with our moving forward. In Heb 12:1. 1 Peter 2:7. The strength of your spiritual power resides in the soul. The soul is the middle point between the spirit and body of man. Sin makes Adam an embodiment of flesh instead of the spirit. Fleshly lust will kill your soul and you cannot wear a crown with it. 1 Jn 2:15…Love not the world. If run with the world, you will find out that you carry loads just like the man in the pilgrim race. Brother, Sister, every weight and every sin must be foregoing, if we will make the crown. 2 Cor 6:14 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…
The problem for today’s church is what we called syncretism meaning there is an admission of all kinds of things into the church and Christians cannot be differentiated from the the world. The church is not clean, we have brought all kinds of things into her and we are not standing upright. If you will not come out of the world, God cannot take you in. Heb 11:24. When Moses came to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. That is what it means to come out if we must win the crown. Brethren come out of the world and it shall the well with you.
3. Forgo Self-Righteousness, Self-Conceitedness, and Self-Deception. Don’t have self-righteousness if you must win the crown, you must be a man or a woman who is not self-righteous (Phil 3:4).
Don’t be Self-Conceited (1 Sam 3:18). When Samuel told Eli what message God has for him that, he said it is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good and many Christians are like Eli. When you do wrong, that’s not the problem of God but when you are told of your sin, then you must repent. Don’t be self-conceited like Eli. May God help us.
What must we focus on? Heb 12:2, Rev 3:11, Heb 11:26
- We must focus on becoming like Christ and living like Christ. Paul the apostle said I am crucified with Christ…Paul said I’m joined like Christ! May God make us to be like Christ. Eph 4:13 – This is the call. In the passage, we must look like Christ in everything we do. Paul said I want to be like Him. I want to be no other person than Jesus, that’s what our focus should be on a daily basis. May we not just be like any prophet or pastor but like Christ.
- Focus on Bringing and nurturing others to be like Him. It is very paramount that each and everyone of us must labor to bring others to be like Him. It is not enough to be like Him, we must also nurture others to be like Him (1 Cor 9:1-27). In verse 23 Paul said “And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partakers thereof with you. This means that if he must be partaker, wear a crown, this I do – going after men; brethren I beg you make this our full-heart burning zeal to win souls. This is what we give us a place. The mistake that Israel made was that they didn’t know that the favor God was showing them was for them to become an instrument of favor to those who are outside of their own nation. May we not make that mistake in Jesus name.
- Focus on constantly expecting the imminent return of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 4:6). May the Lord not come when you are not expecting. The parable of the 10 virgin’s shows 5 was wise and 5 were foolish. God will want us to be in expectation. Heb 9:28. The second coming of Jesus Christ will be to them who are waiting for Him. May God help every one of us to live our lives in expectation.
[A Song] : When the battle is over, we shall wear a crown, we shall where a crown, we shall wear a crown in the new Jerusalem x2.
Focus your life on becoming like Christ and aim and bring others to becoming like Christ.
[Closing Song] : On a Hill faraway, is an old rugged cross…
Grant me the grace to forgo dwelling on the past, to forgo, every weight, and every sin.
O Lord, grant me the grace to forsake self-righteousness, self-conceitedness, every pride. O Lord, give me the grace to forsake and forgo, deceiving myself, deceiving the church from today in the name of Jesus.
Father hold my hand, strengthen me. O God to attain God-ordained destiny for my life at the end give me a crown. Pray