Forgotten! The Word of God (the Bible) seems to have been forgotten by the majority of preachers today. You can visit most any Church today and learn all about how to live a "good" life. How to "live" it now. How to turn your tithes into instant gain. How to get along with other people. How to get your "best" life now! BUT, very seldom will you hear anything about Repentance, Salvation, Following Jesus, Humbling yourself before the Lord, or SIN.
This Ministry is devoted to bringing to all peoples the understanding of the Apostasy and down right manipulation of the Gospel Message found in our Churches today.
Our Country & the World has fallen away from not only Traditional Values but from all Moral Values and Christianity.
Please Post Your Comments at the end of the article. We appreciate your thoughts on this article.
|We would ask you to pray about each article, video or audio we present here. If the presentation is about a Preacher or Ministry which we feel is preaching or teaching false doctrine or false teachings, we would ask you to be in prayer that the Lord would touch their hearts and minds so that they might see the error in their ways and turn to the Holy God who is Lord over and of our lives. We mean no ill will to anyone or any ministry but we must, according to Scripture, warn the people when we see the enemy at work regardless of the nature if it is contrary to God's Word.|
Links on this Site
The Philadelphian Church, to which these stirring words are addressed, is the only church of the seven in which there was nothing that Christ rebuked. It had no faults, or at least no recorded faults, either of morals or of doctrine. It had had no great storm of persecution beating upon it, although one was threatened. But yet, although thus free from blame and occasion for censure, it was not beyond the need of stimulating exhortation, not beyond the need of wholesome warning, not beyond the reach of danger and possible loss. ‘That no man take thy crown’ - as long as Christian men are here, so long have they to watch against the tendency of received truth to escape their hold because of its very familiarity; of things that are taken for granted to become impotent and to slip, and so for the crown to fall from the head, which is all unconscious of its discrowned shame.
We have here, then, three things: ‘thy crown’; the possibility of losing it; the way to secure it.
I. Now, as to the first.
It contributes to the understanding of the meaning of the metaphor to remember that the crown spoken of here is not the symbol of royalty, not the golden or other circlet which kings and emperors wore, but the floral wreath or garland which in ancient social life played many parts: was laid on the temples of the victors in the games, was wreathed around the locks of the conquering general, was placed upon the anointed heads of brides and of f casters, was the emblem of victory, of festivity, of joy. And it is this crown, not the symbol of dominion, but the symbol of a race accomplished and a conquest won, an outward and visible sign of a festal day, with all its abundance and ease and abandonment to delight, which the apocalyptic vision holds out before the Christian man.
The crown is a common figure all through the New Testament, and it may help us to grasp the fullness of the meaning of the metaphor if we just recall in a sentence or two the various instances of its occurrence. It is spoken about under three designations, as a crown of ‘life,’ of righteousness,’ of ‘glory’; the first and last designating it in reference to that of which it may be supposed to consist, namely, life and glory; the centre one designating it rather in reference to that of which it is the reward. The righteousness of earth is crowned by the more abundant life and the more radiant glory of the future. The roses that were wreathed round the flushed temples of the revelers withered and faded, and their petals drooped in the hot atmosphere of the banqueting hall, laden with fumes of wine. The parsley wreath, that was twined round the locks of the young athlete who had been victorious in the games, was withered to-morrow and cast into the dust heap. ‘But,’ says one of the New Testament writers, ‘the crown of glory fadeth not away.’ And the other wreaths, intrinsically worthless, were only symbols of victory and honour, but this itself is full of preciousness and of substance and of power.
So the crown is the reward of righteousness, and consists of life so full that our present experience contrasted with it may almost be called an experience of death; of glory so flashing and wonderful that, if our natures were not strengthened, it would be an ‘exceeding weight of glory’ that would crush them down, and upon all the life and all the glory is stamped the solemn signature of eternity, and they are for ever. Now, says my text to each Christian, all this, the consequence and reward of gore toil, faithfully done, and of effort that strains every muscle in the race - the festal participation in life and glory for evermore - is ‘thy crown’; not because thou hast it now, but because, as sure as God is God and righteousness is righteousness, nothing can prevent the man who, holding by Jesus Christ, has become possessor of the righteousness, which is of God by faith, from receiving that great reward. It is his already in the Divine destination; his by the immutable laws of proprietorship in God’s kingdom; his upon the simple condition of his continuing to be what he is. Like Peter’s saying about the inheritance ‘reserved in heaven for you,’ this representation treats the perfect future blessedness of us who are toiling and struggling here as already in existence and waiting for us, beyond the dust of the wrestling-ground, and the fury of the battlefield. Of course that is not meant to be taken in prosaic literality. The place ‘may indeed be’ prepared ‘in which that blessedness is to be realized, but the blessedness itself can have no existence apart from those who possess it. The purpose of the representations is to put in the strongest possible way the absolute certainty of the heads that now are pressed by the helmet being then encircled with the crown, and of the strangers scattered abroad reaching and resting for ever in the Promised Land to which they journey. The reward is as sure as if each man’s crown, with his name engraved upon it, lay safely guarded in the treasure-house of God.
The light of that great certainty should ever draw our weary eyes, weary of false glitter and vulgar gauds. The assurance of that joy unspeakable makes the best joy here. Future blessedness, apprehended by the long arm of faith, brings present blessedness. The gladness and the power of the Christian life largely depend on the habitual beholding, with yearning and hope, of ‘the King in His beauty and of the land that is very far off,’ and yet so near, and of our own proper portion of the inheritance of the saints in light.’ Christian men, it much concerns the vigour of your Christianity that you should take time and pains to cultivate the habit of looking forward through all the mists and darkness of this petty and unsubstantial present, and of thinking of that future as a certainty more certain than the contingencies of earth and as a present possession, more real by far than any of the fleeting shadows which we proudly and falsely call our own. They pass from hand to hand. They are mine to-day, another’s tomorrow. I have no real possession of them while they were called mine. We truly possess but two possessions - God and ourselves. We possess both by the same way of giving ourselves to God in love and obedience; and of such surrender and possession the crown is the perfecting and the reward. ‘Thy crown’ will fit no temples but thine. It is part of thy perfected self, and certain to be thine, if thou hold fast the beginning of thy confidence firm unto the end.
II.Note next the grim possibility of losing the crown.
‘That no man take’ it. Of course we are not to misunderstand the contingency shadowed here, as if it meant that some other person could filch away and put on his own head the crown which once was destined for us, which is a sheer impossibility and absurdity. No man would think to win heaven by stealing another’s right of entrance there. No man could, if he were to try. The results of character cannot be transferred. Nor are we to suppose reference to the machinations of tempters, either human or diabolic, who deliberately and consciously try to rob Christians of their religion here and thereby of their reward hereafter. But it is only too possible that men and things round about us may upset this certainty that we have been considering, and that though the crown be ‘thine.’ it may never come to be thy actual possession in the future, nor ever be worn upon thine own happy head in the festival of the skies.
That is the solemn side of the Christian life, that it is to be conceived of as lived amidst a multitude of men and things that are always trying to make us unfit to receive that crown of righteousness. They cannot work directly upon it. It has no existence except as the efflorescence of our own character crowned by God’s approbation. It is an ideal thing; but they can work upon us, and if they stain our heads with foul dust, then they make them unfit for our crown. So here are we, Christian men and women! in a world all full of things that tend and may be regarded as desiring to rob us of our crowns. This is not the way in which we usually think of the temptations that assail us. For instance, there comes some sly and whispering one to us and suggests pleasant hours, bought at a very small sacrifice of principle; delights for sense or for ambition, or for one or other of the passions of our nature, and all looks very innocent, and the harm seems to be comparatively small. Ah! let us look a little bit deeper. That temptation that seems to threaten so little and to promise so much is really trying to rob us of the crown. If we would walk through life with this thought in our minds, how it would strip off the masks of all these temptations that buzz about us! If once we saw their purpose and understood the true aim of the flattering lies which they tell us, should we not see over the lies, and would not they lose their power to deceive us? Be sure - and oh! let us hold fast by the illuminating conviction when the temptations come - be sure that, with all their glozing words and false harlot kisses, their meaning is this, to rob us of the bright and precious thing that is most truly ours; and so let us put away the temptations, and say to them, ‘Ah I you come as a friend, but I know your meaning; and forewarned is forearmed.’
III. Lastly, note the way to secure the crown which is ours.
‘Hold fast that thou hast.’ For if you do not hold it fast, it will slip. The metaphor is a plain one - if a man has got something very precious, he grips it with a very tight hand. The slack hand will very soon be an empty hand. Anybody walking through the midst of a crowd of thieves with a bag of gold in charge would not hold it dangling from a finger-tip, but he would put all five round it, and wrap the strings about his wrist.
The first shape which we may give to this exhortation is - hold fast by what God has given in His gospel; hold fast His Son, His truth. His grace. Use honestly and diligently your intellect to fathom and to keep firm hold of the great truths and principles of the gospel. Use your best efforts to keep your wandering hearts and mobile wills fixed and true to the revealed love of the great Lover of souls, which has been given to you in Christ, and to obey Him. You have got a Christ that is worth keeping, see to it that you keep Him, and do not let Him slip away out of your fingers. When the storms come a wise captain lashes all the light articles, and then they are safe. You and I have to struggle through many a storm, and all the loose stuff on deck will be washed off or blown away long before we get into calm water. Lash it by meditation, by faithful obedience, and by constant communion, and hold fast the Christian gospel, and, in the Christ whom the gospel reveals, the spiritual life that you possess.
But there is another aspect of the same commandment which applies not so much to that which is given us in the objective revelation and manifestation of God in Christ, as to our own subjective degrees of progress in the appropriation of Christ, and in likeness to Him. And possibly that is what my text more especially means, for just a little before, the Lord has said to that Church, ‘Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.’ ‘Thou hast a little strength . . . hold fast that which thou hast.’ See to it that thy present attainment in the Christian life, though it may be but rudimentary and incomplete, is at least kept. Cast not away your confidence, hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm, with a tightened hand, unto the end. For if we keep what we have, it will grow. Progress is certain, if there be persistence. If we do not let it go, it will increase and multiply in our possession. In all branches of study and intellectual pursuit, and in all branches of daily life, to hold fast what we have, and truly to possess what we possess, is the certain means to make our wealth greater. And so it is in the Christian life. Be true to the present knowledge, and use it, as it is meant to be used, and it will daily increase. ‘Hold fast that thou hast.’ Thou hast the ‘strength’; thou hast not yet the crown. Keep what God has committed to you, and God will keep what He has reserved for you.
And so the sure way to get the crown is to keep the faith; and then the life and the glory, which are but the outcome and the fruit of the faithful, persistent life here, are as sure as the cycles of the heavens, or as the throne and the will of God. Men and things and devils may try to take your crown from you, but nobody can deprive you of it but yourself. Hold fast the present possession, and make it really your own, and the future crown which God has promised to all who love and thereby possess Him will, in due time, be twined around your head. He who has and holds fast Christ here cannot fail of the crown yonder.
Comment Form is loading comments...
Search This Website