Two weeks ago, as I was walking down my hallway, I heard these words ring out in my heart out of nowhere and I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking. "That no one may take your crown"
I have never thought that deeply about crowns and what they mean biblically. But when the Holy Spirit speaks, He intends to bring revelation and we need to pay attention to what He is saying!We serve a living God who is interested in our present!
When the Lord speaks to me, He usually speaks a very specific phrase from Scripture that can only be found in one specific verse. Sometimes I know exactly where it is, sometimes I have to look it up to find out where in Scripture it is.
As I dove into Scripture, I saw that the Lord had something pressing and clear He wanted to speak to me and to the church.
The phrase comes from Revelation 3:11
" "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."
Do you believe that Jesus speaks to the local church? That He has specific words in season for a particular fellowship? I believe He does, and this is for everyone who is part of the local church.
My immediate question from this Scripture this:
What is your Crown? And how can someone take it?
First, what is our Crown?
I believe that there are FIVE things that this crown represents and will give us insight into How to "Hold Fast What we Have"
The CROWN given to believers in Jesus represents
Hopefully these Five words will help you remember what your crown is and equip you to run this race, casting off every hindrance that would be laid in front of you as a trap. Today I believe that God wants to uncover traps that have been set for you, that you can see them clearly avoid them and walk straight ahead into the calling He has for you!
1. POSITION : Holy and Righteous
By Position, I mean your Position in Christ! Your Position is HOLY and RIGHTEOUS. Your Position is What you have Received in Christ and stand in Him. You must be Totally Secure in the understanding of your Position in Christ to be able to stand against the trickery of men and the devil.
Holiness and Righteousness are NOT something that you work toward. But something that is Given to you in Christ.
We have a shadow, a picture of this gift of Holiness in the Old Covenant. The First Crown in Scripture is the Crown of Holiness. And we see it in the Priestly Crown made of pure gold that was placed on Aaron, the High Priest.
Exodus 39:30 "Then they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD."
Exodus 28:38 "So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD."
So, over the head of the High Priest was this: HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
Which means: SET APART FOR GOD AND TO GOD, SEPARATED, and CONSECRATED TO GOD and to the ministry of reconciling men to GOD. The priest was set apart for the ministry of the Temple.
In the Old Covenant, there was only One person who could where this Crown of Holiness.
BUT NOW, in Christ you have Received the full promise and privilege of Holiness to the Lord. The Scripture says that "HE HAS MADE US PRIESTS AND KINGS" This banner is enshrined over your head giving you full and free access to the holy of hollies that we may have boldness to enter in and approach His throne, that we may enter the cloud and the fire!
In Fact! The HOLY OF HOLIES comes to dwell inside of us so that our very Identity becomes this: HOLY .
Did you know that the Word "SAINT" in the New Testament is the exact same Greek word as HOLY. That is your name!!!
You have been SET APART as HIS OWN people. YOUR POSITION IN CHRIST IS: HOLINESS TO THE LORD --- SO GO BOLDY BEFORE HIS THRONE AND STAND IN THE GAP FOR YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND FOR THOSE WHO HAVE YET TO COME INTO THE KINGDOM. YOU ARE A PRIEST TO GOD.
NOT ONLY IS YOUR POSITION HOLINESS TO THE LORD, YOUR POSITION IS : RIGHTEOUS !!
Holiness: Means that you have been set apart for God, totally other than the world
Righteous: Means that you have been made FLAWLESS in the Eyes of God. God will not count your sins and failures against you, but ONLY sees the perfect obedience of Jesus when he looks at you.
2 Timothy 4:8
"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
Now let me be clear. No one can TAKE your Holiness or your Righteousness away from you as though someone could steal your salvation. BUT You can allow someone to deceive you into believing a lie about What you have been given in Jesus, and then you can begin to live in a manner that Denies the very gift you've been given.
It is what happen in Galatians and it is easily Happening to you if you allow it!!
Galatians 1:6-8. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
3:1-3 "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Do not assume that you are not Being continually lied to by voices and people at every turn, some ignorant, and some by deceitful plotting, trying to lure you away from Christ to try to make you put confidence in your own abilities, for you to put confidence in Man-Made Solutions as apposed to the life of Christ dwelling in you.
Do not be moved away from the Simplicity and Sufficiency of Jesus, for your joy, for your favor, for your righteousness, for your peace of mind. THERE IS NO PEACE OF MIND LIKE THE MIND OF CHRIST!!!
The Crown is Given to those who Persevere. Perseverance is also a gift given to the elect to be able to withstand and press through difficulties, trials, all forms of opposition and yet not deny Christ and not turn away. If it were Up to you to Persevere, YOU WOULDN'T .
But just because PERSEVERANCE is a gift, it does not prevent Jesus from commanding us to Persevere. We can persevere only Because JESUS persevered.
The First Crown in the New Testament is the Crown of THORNS. It is the crown Jesus had persevere through to get to the crown of Glory. Suffering comes before the Glory.
Mat 27:29 "When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
In this life, Christ endured a Crown of thorns that we could receive a Crown of Glory!!!
In everything Jesus lead the way. He came as a servant. He died in shame. That he might reign in glory and all authority!!! If Jesus endured such hostility, can He not sustain us through trials, insults, pressures on all sides, being delivered to death at every turn!! Have we forgotten Paul's desire to fellowship in Christ's sufferings. How is it that we as Americans hate all forms of suffering. We run and protect ourselves from any pain, any trial, any difficulty as though Eliminating Difficulty is the mark of Spirituality-- I am guilty !!
Philippians 3:10 " that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
2 Timothy 1:8 "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,"
Colossians 1:24 "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,"
Eliminating Difficulty from our life is not the goal or purpose of the Christian. Fellowshipping with Christ and His suffering is actually a privilege that I believe many American Christians fail to receive because they are running from all forms of difficulty. There is a Fellowship with Christ that is only Received through suffering--This is The Crown of Thorns before the Glory.
Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone."
Are we greater than our Master? Are we more important than Jesus? Are we owed Greatness and Glory on this earth?
I do not mean that we should aim our lives to grovel in the dirt and purposefully try to suffer and grit our teeth through it for the 'glory of God'.
But we can rejoice in Suffering. We can be confident that all suffering is working in us a sweet fellowship with Jesus, if we allow patience to have its work in us!
James 5:10-11 "My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful"
DON'T Set aside the crown of PERSEVERANCE because of trials and suffering .
3. POWER : Ruling Authority
By POWER I mean the governmental ruling authority that God gives his Children to administer the Kingdom of God. The Crown also represents this Authority that every believer is called to walk in. He has Made us Priests and Kings.
Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen."
Jesus calls us to Walk and demonstrate His Authority in the earth. Satan is always apposing the Church, trying to convince her that she does not have Authority and trick her into believing lies.
The Authority that Jesus Has, he gives to the Church.
The main Tactic of Satan is to pressure you into a position of SILENCE. We overcome the devil by the BLOOD of the Lamb and the WORD of our TESTIMONY. That is a living testimony of proclaiming the faithfulness and goodness of God. You have Authority when you are Not ashamed to speak the WORD of GOD, the word of the Gospel.
Do not let any man take your Crown by silencing you from proclaiming the Testimony of GOD. Let no man Trick you into thinking that some human means will give you authority. Authority comes from submitting to Authority. Satan and his minions will try to convince you that Authority comes from challenging God given authority
In the Garden, Satan stole Man's authority, convincing him of a lie that Exaltation could be achieved by going around GOD's authoritative command.
I could say much more on your Power and Authority but we must move on!
4. PRIZE : the Honor and Reward of faithfulness to Christ
There is great reward to those who follow Christ to the end! God is delighted to place honor and on His beloved. Those who hold fast His testimony through every difficulty.
I Corinthians 9:24-2724 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Paul goes as far as to compare the race of Faith to that of a competition for a prize. And that thinking is not wrong!
But What is Paul competing for? The Context is that Paul is competing to fulfill his call too preach the Gospel willingly that he might win as many to Christ as he possibly can.
The imperishable Crown is a reward of Faithfulness to the Person of Christ and Faithful to the calling He has paced on your life.
Don't sell your calling to someone Else. God has given you a mandate in this life that you cant pass off onto someone else. There is great Reward in being Faithful with what you have been given. You can't be faithful with someone else's calling, only your own.
You can allow someone to take this Crown of Reward by moving away from Connection to Christ, The HEAD by placing your faith in anything other than Christ himself for your joy, happiest, peace, provision, satisfaction, healing, and source for Life.
Colossians 2:8-10 "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
...18Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
5. PEOPLE: the People of God
Finally we come to the last but certainly not least representation of the Crown:
The Crown is the People of God that God has placed you in relationship with within the Body of Christ to be accountable for the benefit and growth of Their Faith.
God has placed every believer in a local Body of Christ to which they are responsible to love and build up the faith of those fellow believers.
In Philippians, Paul calls the Believers themselves his crown:
Philippians 4:1 "Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved."
1 Thessalonians 2:19 "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
To Paul, the believers that were in connection with him, those whom he was leading and influencing and fellowshiping with, THEY WERE HIS CROWN! Not prizes of money or fame, but people, brought into the presence of God at the Lord's coming!
People are a prize worth competing for. A prize worth sacrificing for. Worth fighting for. A prize worth disciplining your life to make yourself as useful as possible to the Lord FOR.
HOW CAN YOU ALLOW SOMEONE TO TAKE THIS CROWN?
You can allow someone to take this crown by allowing people to sow division in your heart toward the body of Christ. By listening and allowing gossip and slander toward other believers and toward the leaders in the church. By allowing division and offense to fester, you can allow your connection and responsibility to love and build up your bothers and sisters to be cut off.
Do you look at your brothers and sisters in the local body of Christ, as your Crown of glory?
Are you Holding Fast to what you have been given in Christ?
With all that we have seen of what the our Crown represents:
I want to now read the Context of the our first verse in Revelation 3:7-13
TO THE FAITHFUL CHURCH : PHILADELPHIA , THE CURCH OF BROTHERLY LOVE
7“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
- Are you Holding Fast to What you have been given in Christ
- Are you abiding in your Position as Holy and Righteous
- Are you persevering through trials, without reversing your Testimony?
- Are you walking in the Power and Authority that God has called you to, not being silenced by pressure or control?
- Are Connected to the Head, Christ, or have you been lured away to put confidence in anything else BUT JESUS?
- Are you contending for the unity of the body of Christ, holding the people of God as your crown , and fighting for their Faith?