"GOD OUR FAITHFUL JUDGE"
I would imagine that one of the most difficult, most necessary, and the most humbling jobs in the world would be that of a judge. Now it's one thing to judge a pie-eating contest and even a beauty contest. But can you imagine judging someone's behavior or even their character? Can you imagine making a decision that will seriously affect that person’s future? Can you imagine the awesome responsibility of sitting on a Judge's Bench and having to determine someone's fate or his punishment or his reward?
According to the Bible, everyone must stand before the LORD. And each individual life will be evaluated and accurately, truthfully judged by Him and Him alone. In other words, the LORD has placed each of us into a race of a sort. That race is your very life. <p>Hebrews 12:1“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,...”
And He's given to each of us specific abilities, strengths, talents, etc. for which we are responsible. So, each day He gives you to live, you must live with the sense that all that you do and think is being observed and recorded by the Great Evaluator of mankind.
Romans 14:10 says “... for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
Now, according to the Scripture, God will hand out rewards in accordance to the life we lived here on this earth. There are five crowns available and awaiting Christians. There is
1. THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN (I Cor. 9:24-27)
2. THE CROWN OF REJOICING (I Thess. 2:19
3. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (II Timothy 4:8)
4. THE CROWN OF LIFE (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
5. THE CROWN OF GLORY (I Peter 5:4).
I'd like to narrow down today's study to just one of these crowns. But in order to show you just what the Scripture has to say about the whole subject, please open your Bible with me to I Corinthians chapter nine and look with me at verse twenty-four. I Corinthians 9:24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.(25) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Now it's possible that we don't even consider these crowns until late in life. But, think about it like this. It's never really too late to consider these God-promised Crowns. So, let's consider them today.
This first crown that awaits some Christians is really a “Crown of self-denial." The Incorruptible crown is sometimes referred to as “the Crown of Self-Denial."
In this passage Paul is comparing the Christian's life to a race. In the truest sense we're all running and we all have the quote “prize" available to us. Every Christian has been given his abilities and God-given supplies for his life. And you’ve been called to use all that He has given you well and for the LORD's own glory.
The term “crown" here is the Greek word stefhanos (pronounced Stephanos). We get our English name Stephen from this Greek word. And the picture Paul gives us here is that this crown is an incorruptible crown. Look at verse twenty-five. (25) “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” Go on to Page two