THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-23-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER: FAITHFULNESS AND A CROWN”
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” Romans 8:37. Praise be to God that through Christ Jesus we are able to conquer this world and the evils of it!
It is before this loving God who makes us victorious, that we assemble on this wondrous day! And let me welcome you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord’s Day morning! Thank you for joining us today as we commit this time to the things of God. Together we will have the privilege to study from God’s Holy Word and to sing praises to His wonderful name. Let’s each do our part this morning in making this time of offering acceptable in His sight. Will you go to God in prayer with me at this time?
What a privilege we have to come before the throne of God and to worship our Creator. Our first song of the morning ask a question concerning our relationship with the almighty God. So won’t you join in our first hymn of the day as we sing together, “Is Thy Heart Right with God?”
(SONG # 1)
In Romans 8, we read about the elect of God and how they often suffer, “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword,” verse 35. However, despite all of this we can make it through for Jesus Christ makes us “more than conquerors,” as we read earlier. As our friend, mediator and Creator, Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to give us the opportunity to be His children and to obey His saving grace. How encouraging it is to know that we can endure anything in this life with the help of God and we will be rewarded in the end.
Another verse which helps us to understand this same blessing is found in 1 Corinthians 15:57, where we read, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here we read of a victory that is ours and again notice that it is through the same Jesus! However, in this passage the victory that Paul is talking about is a victory even over death! Wow, our God cares enough for us that He has promised to be with us in life and in death, knowing that eternal life is awaiting those who are obedient to His cause.
Finally, I want you to notice our part being clarified in the same text, if we are to be those who are victorious. Verse 58, says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” We must stand strong and firm in the things of God and always work as He has commanded. Otherwise, he mentions here the outcome, our labor is considered as vain. Are you living, standing and working for God in such a way that you will receive the victory? Will you be among those who are “more than conquerors,” because you have lived in such a way that God is on your side?
In just a few minutes it will be time to consider our main topic of the morning. Today we will be continuing our discussion entitled, “What God Has Joined Together!” Our specific lesson of the day is entitled, “Faithfulness and a Crown!” So please stay with us and after our next song we will be lead in this important topic.
As far as our speaker of the day, we are happy to again have brother Brent Green. Brother Brent is the minister for the Carthage Church of Christ, in Carthage, Missouri. However, brother Brent is also about to come on board full time with the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank this good brother for joining us today and we look forward to him leading our thoughts from God’s Word.
Now, won’t you join in with the congregation, as we sing our second song of the morning - the name of this song is, “Jesus Calls Us?”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
What a great privilege it is to open the Word of God and study from it. The overall theme that has been under consideration is “The Things That God Has Joined Together.” And so this morning we do have the opportunity to consider again “Faithfulness and a Crown,” two things there that God has joined together.
Before we begin looking at those finer points there of those two elements, I want us first to consider some of the promises of God and the differences between some of them. You have on one hand promises of God that are unconditional. You think back to what is said there in Genesis chapter 8 verses 21-22, “After God had destroyed the earth with a worldwide flood and Noah and his family got off the ark after the waters recede and Noah offers worship to God, God then tells Noah, “I will never again destroy the earth with water as I just did.” That’s an unconditional promise. There’s nothing that man can or cannot do to change that promise. That will happen regardless of what man does. Unconditionally God will never again destroy the earth with water. Now we know the earth will be destroyed one day but not with water. So we think about the unconditional promises of God.
There’s another one that we of course look forward to especially those who are of the faith and faithful to God throughout this life- The promise of Jesus Christ coming again. John chapter 14, there in verses 1-6 Jesus said, “Indeed He had gone to the Father there in Heaven to prepare mansions,” and if He went to prepare those mansions, He was going to come again. That’s an unconditional promise. There is nothing we can or cannot do to stop that from happening. Jesus Christ will come again! Those are unconditional promises.
We also want to think here as we begin about conditional promises, as well things that are promised to us by God but those things that have conditions on them or contingencies if you will.
Think about some of the conditional promises we see in the Bible. You can go even back to the Old Testament to Joshua chapter 23 and we think about what God told His people there concerning what was going to be done for them if they obeyed Him. Joshua, there in Joshua chapter 23, in his farewell address reminds the people that God was going to be with them and He would bless them, but look at the conditions of that promise. Joshua chapter 23 and verse 5 beginning said, “So you shall possess your land as the Lord your God has promised you.” Well there’s the promise of God that you would indeed possess that promised land of Canaan, but look what he goes on to say in verse 6. “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Law of Moses lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left. God gave them that promised land and God would still be with them to drive out their enemies before them if indeed they would only what? Keep the conditions and the promise, if they would serve God, and not turn aside after the foreign gods, the Baals and Ashtoreths and all those gods of the pagans around them, but if they would serve God, obey what He gave to them in His Book, the Law of Moses, then He would be with them and continue to give them that promised land. So there the promise of that land had the conditions of a servitude and a service to God in this life.
Think of also, as we continue to set the stage here for these few things that God has joined together, of another conditional promise. There in 1 John chapter 5 and verse 14 there it says, “If we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us.” But what are the conditions there of that promise? It has to be in accordance to His Will. So we see there is a difference between an unconditional promise and a conditional promise.
Well what we have under consideration in this lesson is two things God has joined together: Faithfulness and a Crown. The crown is the promise. It is actually a conditional promise.
Well let’s consider that great promise of a crown. There the crown is a symbol of honor, a symbol of royalty. Think about in 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 9 where God’s people there are called “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.” So those there who are followers of God are indeed a “royal priesthood.” They are the sons of the King, the King God who is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. And so that crown of honor, that crown of royalty bestowed upon those who serve God. There the crown is that promise. Not a crown that is going to perish.
No doubt we have many passages that wo
uld remind us of such a crown. One of them is 1 Corinthians chapter 9. We think about the race that we are all in as Christians and Paul brings this point to a head here in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 there in verse 25. He says, “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. There is a prize to be won, a prize to be gained for living such a life before God, a prize that isn’t going to perish unlike those crowns whether it be the wreaths or whether it be the roses or whatever an honor there that is bestowed upon somebody in a physical sense, what is going to happen to all of those things? Well as soon as you pick those flowers, as soon as you cut those branches to make that wreath that you’ll crown somebody who is a victor in the race, well those things begin to fade away. Well we’re not competing for such a crown. We’re not competing by something that will decay or be eaten by moths. We are competing, or we are in a race, a spiritual race rather for an imperishable crown, one that will not fade away.
If you think also about what Peter said on several occasions there in the book of 1 Peter if you look first there in chapter 5 and verse 4. There concerning as he gave an exhortation actually to the shepherds, the elders of the congregation, he also talks about the chief shepherd, Jesus Christ. There in verse 4 he says, “When the chief shepherd appears you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” There’s the promise again. There’s the promise of God of a crown, one that’s not going to fade away, a crown of glory. Well shouldn’t we all look forward to such a promise? What a great promise it is to think about the fact that each of us can have such a crown.
Think about also in that same book going back to chapter 4 of 1 Peter. Here Peter talks about what we look forward to as an inheritance. What would go along with such a crown? There he says of that inheritance, “One that is incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away reserved in Heaven for you.” With that crown there comes the reward of Heaven, a reward that isn’t going to fade away just as that crown does not fade away, a reward that is not defiled, a reward that is incorruptible. Nothing can destroy it if we make it to that great heavenly home. Well a crown of glory here, one that is eternal in the heavens. One that is multiple times promised by God.
James chapter 1 and verse 12 talks about the crown of life that is promised by the Lord. We think also about that familiar passage, Revelation 2 and verse 10, those there who were going to endure in their day trials and tribulations and there Jesus said to the pen there of John the Revelator, “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.” Jesus promised. He said, “I will give you a crown of life.” Well there that great promise that is made unto those who run in this race.
Also there in 2 Timothy 4 and verse 8, Paul speaks of that crown of righteousness which had been laid up for him. That’s the promise that is under consideration here. That’s the promise that those who are Christians, those who are heirs, the blessings of the King, that is God, have to look forward to.
We know that in 1 Timothy 6 and verse 15 that God is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the All-Powerful, the Almighty One. And what are we? Well think about that in relationship to what Paul says in Romans chapter 8. What we have in this life spiritually because of God as our King, the promise, that promise of a crown and all that goes with it.
Romans chapter 8 verses 16-17 there here the writer says the following, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God, sons of God, sons of the King.” He says, “Children, Heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together.” We are heirs of the King. The promise to those heirs is a crown of life, a crown of righteousness, a crown of glory that will not fade away. That’s the promise, but it’s a conditional promise, one that requires us to do our part and this is why that crown, a crown that we just mentioned cannot be separated from that idea of faithfulness. That little word in our English language “if has such huge ramifications. They are the contingencies, the conditions of the promise if we what? If we live faithfully before God we will indeed have that promise.
Well let’s look at those verses where that crown is promised and we can see there the conditions that even God gives to us. We go back there to 1 Corinthians chapter 9 and the life that is to be lived in order that we might receive such a crown from God, such a crown of glory, this wonderful crown from God above. How must we run? 1 Corinthians chapter 9 and verse 24, “Do you not know that those who run a race all run but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” You’ve got to run in a specific way to obtain that prize, that crown. How is that? It says, “You must be temperate,” there in verse 25. There in verse 26, it says, “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Even Paul was concerned about losing his crown. Why? Well if he stops being faithful to God, if he stops living as he should have been living before God.
How do we have to run? We’ve got to compete. We’ve got to run in a certain way before God spiritually, to be temperate, to be disciplined, to be self controlled as Paul states here through inspiration, to run with certainty, to know that the way we are living in this life, to know that the way we are running our race as Christians is one that is faithful before God. So there are the conditions, faithfulness in the sight of God.
So think about that also as we look at other verses that we’ve already read. James chapter 1 and verse 12 there. We think about the great admonition here given to us as we also consider even further the condition of living before God as we should faithfully in this life. James chapter 1 there and verse 12, here the writer says, that is James, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation for when he has been approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” There the verse where we mentioned that very promise, the fact that the Lord has promised this crown of life. But what’s the condition? What must we do? We have to live faithfully. The man who endures temptation, the one who overcomes the (inaudible), the one who overcomes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, the one who endures, the one there who stands approved before God.
We are in a test. We are in a race. Whatever image you want to use there. We’ve got to stand before God demonstrating our faithfulness if we want to indeed receive that crown of life.
Think about also what it says there in 2 Timothy chapter 4. Well that crown of righteousness is spoken of by Paul. 2 Timothy chapter 4 there beginning in verse 7, Paul has these words to say concerning here again the life that we are to live. Paul says of himself, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the Righteous One will give me on that day and not to me only but also to all those who have loved His appearing.” Paul says, “Indeed there is a crown of righteousness, one that is promised.” But what is the condition? Paul said he had fought the good fight, he had finished the race, he had kept the faith. James tells us that faith is seen in works, a true and living faith one that demonstrates faithfulness to God in the things that are done. That’s what Paul is talking about. He had been faithful and therefore he could look forward to that crown of righteousness. He says it is not just him, not just he that looks forward to that crown, but also who else? Well all those who loved the appearing of Jesus Christ, all those who have loved Jesus and kept His commandments (John 14:15), all those who are living as they should before God. That crown of righteousness is promised to them.
So we think about again the verses that are put before us in the scripture, what God says (Revelation 2 and verse 10), Jesus says, “I will give you a crown of life.” What’s the condition? “Be thou faithful unto death.”
Think also as we consider even further in Revelation 3 verse 11 as the final words there as Jesus gives in this last book of our New Testament, Jesus reminds us here in this letter to the church of what we’ve got to hold fast to. Revelation 3 verse 11, He said, “Behold I am coming quickly. Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown.” Well there are a couple of things that verse says to us. First, we can lose that crown. We can lose that crown of life, that crown of righteousness. It can be stolen away from us if we give ourselves over to unfaithfulness. He says, “Hold fast. Don’t let go of that crown.” So if we’re going to hold on to that crown and not lose it, not let it be given over to Satan, then we’ve got to be faithful. This is why faithfulness and this crown of righteousness, a crown cannot be separated. They have been joined together in a conditional promise. We look forward to that great crown, that crown of righteousness, that crown of glory, that crown that will be eternal. But what must we do? We must be faithful unto death. Yes there is a part we must do. The challenges are great sometimes but if we will stand fast, hold on to our faith, always look to God then we can know that if we are faithful to the end we can look forward to that crown of glory. Faithfulness and a crown!
(SONG # 3 - “It Is Well With My Soul.”)
Again, let me thank you for putting God first and choosing to give this time to Him. It is always a pleasure to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves this worship to God!
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What a blessing from God we have in the promise of an eternal crown of glory. May we live every day to do our part in achieving this goal! As Jesus once said, “be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.”