Crown Him Lord Of All

Bible Book: Revelation  4 : 1-11
Subject: Heaven; Crowns; Rewards

Revelation 4:10 reminds us of a day that will come when the children of God will fall down before Jesus and lay crowns at His feet. There are some questions related to this event which we need to answer. Who are these people who cast crowns at the feet of the Lord? How did these people get before His throne? Where did the crowns come from which they place before Him? Why are the beleivers in heaven casting the crowns before God's throne?

Today we are going to answer these questions as we look at the subject, "Crown Him Lord of All." Let me state, before we proceed to the text, that next week marks the beginning of something very important in Sunday School here at The Church That Loves. We are ready to launch a campaign entitled, Crowns For The Savior. This program is designed to accomplish three things. First, it should cause all of us to concentrate on inviting people to His House, specifically to Bible Study through Sunday School. The Bible says, "Study to show thyself approved unto God and workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Secondly, Crowns For The Savior is designed to reach new people. You see, first it prompts us to obey God in inviting people to His House, and when that is done it will bring people into Bible Study and, prayerfully, will bring lost people to know the Savior. Did you know that 1 out of every 2 lost people who attends Sunday School will be saved? Compare that to only 1 in 12 who receive our witness solely apart from involvement in Bible Study and you see the significance of it. Thirdly, this program is a visible, albeit unsophisticated, way of viewing the lesson we are going to learn today. Crowns For The Savior will allow your Sunday School class to earn crowns which you can place on a large board represting the throne of God just five weeks from now. Hopefully, this experience will make all of us more conscious of the fact that we are going to meet Jesus one day and lose or gain rewards. To see the truth of this look with me at Revelation 4 more closely

I. The Rapture of the Christians

The first thing we see in this chapter is an open door into heaven. Here is a picture of the rapture. The rapture is a scriputural event, a sure event, it will be a sudden event and it will be a splendorous event for the children of God. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 tells us about the rapture.

When General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in the early months of World War II, he fled Corregidor in apparent defeat. Upon reaching Australia, he sent back this now famous declaration: "I SHALL RETURN!" And he kept his promise, for 3 years later he stood on Philippine soil and proclaimed his second historic statement, "I HAVE RETURNED!"

The Ohio highway was unusually crowded. Cars came to a standstill in the night air. Yet the drivers couldn't see what the problem was. As one traveler recalled, "I thought there must have been an accident." He later discovered that a rumor had spread that an image of Christ had been appearing nightly on a nearby soybean tank. Many seemed shaken by what they saw. Others contended that the image was nothing more than a shadow effect created by night lighting and a badly stained, rusty tank surface. The response of one driver was especially noteworthy. when he leaned out his van window and asked someone what was going on, the bystander looked at him and said, "Jesus is here!" The van driver remarked to a reporter, "For a moment I really freaked out. I was scared. I mean, I wasn't prepared for judgment day." How will we feel when Jesus really does return? Will we be excited? Will we be afraid? We can be fully prepared.

Thomas Lister placed these words on nearly every grandfather clock he made:

"Lo! Here I stand by thee upright

To give thee warning day and night;

For every tick that I do give

Cuts short the time thou hast to live."

A. The Door of the Heart

In Revelation 3:20 we see the door of the heart - the door of Salvation!

B. The Door for the Hands

In Revelation 3:8 we see the door for the hands - the door of Service!

C. The Door into Heaven

In Revelation 4:1 we see the door into Heaven - the door of Splendor!

The door of Salvation is necessary to enter the door of Service, and the door of Service will be followed by the door of Splendor when we enter into Heaven.

II. The Review of the Christians

Upon arrival in Heaven at the time of the Rapture, there will be a great gathering of all the saints. Then a judgment will take place! Yes, there will be a judgment for the Christian.

Billy Graham said, "There are three things that all of us have to do: 1.) You have to be born, you cannot be unborn; 2.) You have to die, (unless Jesus comes soon); 3.) And you have to stand before God and be Judged."

Of course, this judgment will be different than that of the lost person. Turn to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Note here the judgment of the believer.

A. The Foundation

The Foundation is Christ. He is the Chief Cornerstone. He is the One upon who all believers are placed. Outside of the the Foundation, you are building on sinking sand.

Did you know that the land beneath your feet is actually moving? According to the Smithsonian magazine, scientists are studying what they call "crustal plates" that are emerging at the location of ridges deep within the oceans. It is believed that when these plates abut and lock together, the sudden release of accumulated stress is the cause of earthquakes. Yes, there is a constant imperceptible change going on below us. This "shifting" is not limited to land masses and ocean depths. It is taking place in every area of life. The songwriter summed it up in these words: "Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day, Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see‑‑ O Thou who changest not, abide with me!" Do you have the sure foundation found only in Christ?

B. The Material

These words were uttered by Scott Hamilton Olympic skater, shortly after winning his Gold medal: "It was a moment to be shared. Someone asked me why I was looking at the medal so intently. What I was doing was looking at 16 years of my life." One day each believer will be called upon to look at all the years of your life for Christ. It will be a life history made up of wood and hay, or made up of gold and silver!

C. The Test

How will the structure be tested?

Paul called himself the wise masterbuilder - sophos architekton. We get our word "architecture" from the Greek word "architekton." An architect must follow the principles of building. The builder must follow the plans precisely. God has given us the architectual plans for Christian living in His Word. We will be tested as to how we followed God's plan in living our lives and not by our own plans in living our lives. Matthew Henry said, "Let us not dare to join a merely human or a carnal life with a divine faith, the corruption of sin with the profession of Christianity."

One day a man in England found an old blue and white vase in his attic. Thinking it might have some value as an antique, he took it to an auction to see what he could get for it. To his utter amazement he sold the porcelain item for the fantastic sum of $324,000. The buyer had recognized it as an original piece of 15th‑century Chinese art from the Ming dynasty! So, too, when believers stand before the judgment seat of Christ, there will be many surprises. Kind words and deeds of Christians, now considered to be insignificant and worthless, will be praised by the Savior as having eternal value.

During 1977 literally millions of people lined up at museums in different cities across the United States to view the treasures from the tomb of King Tutankhamen of Egypt. My wife and I have visited he Cairo Museum where the artifacts of King Tut and permanently housed. But, when these items were in the U.S. a story appeared shortly after in a Chicago newspaper. It seems that Ali Hassan, curator of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, discovered that some of the jewels found in the tomb were not genuine. They were nothing but glass! The question was raised, how could this fact go undetected for so many years? Here's the answer given by Mr. Hassan: "We were blinded by the gold. One just assumes that real gold and real gems go hand‑in‑hand. This is a case where they don't." Think about Ali Hassan's explanation: "We were blinded by the gold!" One just assumes that real gold and real gems go hand‑in‑hand." Although even the experts were fooled, God never makes that mistake. He can tell the difference between"gold, silver, precious stones and wood, hay and stubble".

III. The Rewards of the Christians

M.R. DeHaan II tells of a newspaper article that speaks of the blessing of "delayed returns." He told of a car dealer who went out of his way to give a foreign student an honest deal on a new automobile. Fifteen years later, the young man had become the sole purchasing agent for the Iranian Contractors Association. He showed his gratitude for the kindness he had received by placing a multimillion‑dollar order with that dealer for 750 heavy dump trucks and 350 pickups. "It's unbelievable!" exclaimed the businessman. The good he had done was rewarded years later beyond his wildest imagination. Just as that salesman's reward came later so too God will commend us in Glory. If we do good to others for the immediate thanks we receive, we already have our reward. But if we do it for God, the future return will be as sure and generous as He is. He will award crowns for faithfulness in heaven. These have nothing to do with granting us salvation. Our redemption comes through Christ and Christ alone, but after we are saved, our works will follow us into heaven.

A. The Life Crown (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
B. The Lasting Crown (1 Corinthians 9:15)
C. The Longing Crown (2 Timothy 4:8)

Christ's return can be viewed by believers in at least two ways. A. B. Simpson says, "There is a looking FOR it and a looking AT it. We may regard it with a keen intellectual interest and yet have it mean nothing to us personally. On the other hand, we may know little about the theology involved in the subject and still enjoy a deep longing for the Lord's appearing. Let me illustrate. When a wedding occurs, the public looks AT it, but the bride has been looking FOR it. May the theme of the return of Christ not only be our study but also our personal hope, for'unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.'" An unknown poet has written: "What would He find, should He come just now; A faded leaf or a fruitless bough; A servant sleeping, an idle plow; What would He find should He come just now? What would He find should He come tonight, Your garment soiled or a spotless white; Your lamps all burning or with no light; What would He find should He come tonight?"

D. The Love Crown (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19)
E. The Leader's Crown (1 Peter 5:4)

An Atheist farmer often ridiculed people who believed in God. He wrote the following letter to the editor of a local newspaper: "I plowed on Sunday, planted on Sunday, cultivated on Sunday, and hauled in my crops on Sunday; but I never went to church on Sunday. Yet I harvested more bushels per acre than anyone else, even those who are God‑fearing and never miss a service." The editor printed the man's letter and then added this remark: "God doesn't always settle His accounts in October." That editor was right! Sometimes even dedicated Christians are tempted to complain because of what they see in the world around them. Perplexed by the success and prosperity of the wicked, often at the expense of the righteous, they ask, why doesn't the Lord do something about it? Why doesn't He reward those who fear Him, and judge those who disregard Him? Be patient. He will! True, He doesn't always "settle His accounts in October," but He does settle His accounts! So if you're trying to do the will of God and you become discouraged because unjust people are getting ahead, don't be shortsighted. Remember what the psalmist David advised: "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither like the green herb." He went on to say, "For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth." (Ps. 37:1,2,9)

IV. The Reverence of the Christians

Those casting crowns before the throne are the faithful believers who received the crowns as rewards, but give all the glory to the Lord.

A. Adoration - Love for Him
B. Acclamation - Lauding of Him
C. Appreciation - Laying before Him

2 John 1:8, "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully."

When the Prince of Wales was making a tour of some seldom visited areas, he decided to stop at a workman's home. The next day the laborer said sadly, "I never expected him, nor did my wife. The house was untidy, and I hadn't even washed. We shall never forgive ourselves. If we had only known he was so near, we would have set things in order and been better prepared to receive him." The great Prince of Peace may also suddenly appear. Although we know not the exact day or hour, He has promised it will be soon‑‑VERY SOON!

Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ's second coming, Roy W. Gustafson said that in southern England there is a village with the curious name of Tiptoe. It seemed natural to call it that because years ago before paved streets and sidewalks were installed, the muddy condition of the lanes in that area often made it necessary for the people to walk on tiptoe. Gustafson remarked, "The child of God who walks the streets of this life faces a similar situation. He is to go forward on the tiptoe of expectancy, not only because of his evil surroundings, but also because he is waiting for Someone who is coming very soon!"

Additional Notes:

The seats denote honor, rest and satisfaction.

Sitting around the throne shows the nearness to Christ and the clear sight of Him. The clothing is pure white, symbolizing the purity imparted by Christ.

The crowns on their heads represent rewards.

verse 2

Only in the spirit will we be able to fully appreciate the scene.

Throne. God is seated. His Lord and Master!

verse 3

The stones speak of his holiness, the rainbow of his mercy!

verse 4

Surrounding the great throne of God was 24 lesser thrones upon which sat the 24 elders. Twenty-four represents all those saved in the OT age and those saved in the NT age, representative of the twelve tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles.

verse 5

Lightening of judgment, the blazing light of perfection. God will judge the church in holiness.

Verse 6

Sea of glass. A glass sea was one without high waves. There are no waves around the throne of God. There is calm and peace there from the cares of the world.

Verse 10

They fall down, they adore and they cast their crowns!

The stephanos was a crown given, not for who you are but for what you have done. It is a gift of reward for an accomplishment. It was the type crown given to athletes who competed and won in ancient athletic competition.

Extra Illustrations:

A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking in her purse, she commented, "That's funny. When I lost my bag there was a $10 bill in it. Now there are ten $1 bills."

The boy quickly replied, "That's right, Lady. The last time I found a lady's purse, she didn't have any change for a reward." 

A minister and a Congressman arrived at the pearly gates at the same time. Saint Peter greeted both of them and assigned them to their quarters. "Pastor, here are the keys to one of our nicest efficiency units. And for you, Mr. Congressman, the keys to our finest penthouse suite."

"Hey, what's the deal?" asked the minister. "This is unfair!"

"Listen," said Saint Peter, "ministers are a dime a dozen up here, but this is the first Congressman we've ever seen!"

A man who hadn't lived the best kind of life had passed away. At his funeral the pastor gave a nice description of the man, telling what a good husband and father he had been. After listening for awhile, the wife leaned over to her daughter and whispered, "Go over there and make sure that's your father in that coffin."

It was the first day of school and the kindergarten teacher asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. One little boy spoke importantly:

"When I grow up, I'm gonna be a lion tamer. I'll have lots of fierce lions and tigers, and I'll walk in the cage..." he hesitated, then continued, "But, of course, I'll have my mother with me."

After buying a $50,000 insurance policy before a plane trip, the traveler stepped on a nearby scale. Out came one of those fortune‑telling cards. The message read, "A recent investment may pay big dividends."

"Do you say your prayers at night, little boy?" inquired the preacher.

"Yes, sir," answered the lad.

"And do you always say them in the morning too?"

"No, sir," responded the lad, "I ain't scared in the daytime."

Pessimist: A guy who feels badly when he feels good for fear he'll feel worse when he feels better.

A cute girl was giving a manicure to a man in the barber shop. The man said, "How about a date later?" She said, "I'm married." "So call up your husband and tell him you're going to visit a girl friend." She said, "You tell him yourself...he's shaving you."