Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WFW - The Crown of Righteousness


A Little Background

Christ was present before the world was even formed.

"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." ~ John 17:24 (NIV)

Centuries later the Word became flesh and lived among men.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." ~ John 1:14 (NIV)

Christ performed many signs, wonders and miracles and taught so much about the Father's love. He assured us of so many promises and truths. He bore our sins and died for us on the Cross, forever redeeming us by His grace.

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

Victory

Death did not defeat Him, though. He rose again on the third day, just as prophesied long ago.
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV)

Again He lived among humans, appearing to many and performing signs, miracles and wonders.
"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." ~ John 21:25 (NIV)

Can you imagine, given all that is written, the things we do not know? How precious it will be to sit at the feet of Christ, learning and knowing all the things He did say and do while upon this earth.
In the days before His ascension to Heaven He promised:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." ~ John 14:1-4 (NIV)

A Promise Kept

He also promised to send His Holy Spirit until He came back for us with these precious words.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live." ~ John 14:16-19 (NIV)

Forty days after His resurrection from the crucifixion, He ascended into Heaven.

"When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." ~ Luke 24:50-53 (NIV)

That is not the end of the story, my friend!

A Crown...For Me?

Just as He promised us, He is preparing a place for us, that where He is, there we may also be. 2,000 + years later, the signs are everywhere that His return is going to take place soon.

"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." ~ 2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

The apostle Paul tells us that if we do long for His appearing there is stored up for us a crown of righteousness. What is this crown of righteousness and what does it mean to long for His appearing?

The crown is in storage for us. The Greek word for in store is apokeimai. This verb means:

1) to be laid away, laid by, reserved
2) reserved for one, awaiting him

It's there with our name on it. It isn't something we have earned but a gift, a reward. This crown is appointed for us and is on reserve! This crown is waiting to be placed on those who long for His appearing by King Jesus Himself.
The word Greek word for crown is stephanos and means:

1) a crown
a) a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank
1) the wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games
b) metaph. the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ: the crown (wreath) which is the reward of the righteousness
c) that which is an ornament and honour to one

What a privilege it will be to have placed this prize upon our heads by our Savior. Will we wear them for eternity or return them to our Savior as the saints in Revelation do, casting them at His feet?

"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." ~ Revelation 4:10-11 (KJV)

I don't know. But what a privelge it will be to have it given to us. What an honor!
This Greek word dikaiosynē, or righteousness, describes the crown we will be given. It means:

1) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God
a) the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God
b) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting
2) in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due

Our righteousness comes from believing and accepting Christ's precious gift of grace, the penalty He paid via death in our place.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." ~ 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

Although He died and rose again and ultimately ascended into Heaven, He is not finished yet. He will appear yet again at the Rapture for the believers and the second return of Christ to the earth for the final time, to rule and reign for eternity.

Do You Long for His Appearing?

The Greek word for longed is agapaŨ. We recognize this as the word for love. This means:

1) of persons
a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2) of things
a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

This is a longing to be with Christ in the highest sense possible. We entertain the thought and welcome the future appearance of Christ. We long to be with Him and we have faith that we will be, based on His promise given in John 14 above.

The Greek word for appearing is epiphaneia and means:

1) an appearing, appearance

This will be a glorious appearing, one that shines as bright as the dawn. One that shines as brightly as only Jesus can. This world is not all there is. Heaven will not be a place where we sit on clouds and strum harps as depicted in many cartoons. We will be with Christ, in the new Heaven and Earth! The curse of this world will be lifted and we will live an active and restored life with Him.

Wrapping It Up

Spend some time in Isaiah 65:17-25 and in other areas of the Word, reading about our lives with Christ.

I also encourage you to read Revelation 21-22 to see what the new Heaven and new Earth will be like. The promise of knowing we will be with Christ forever in a resurected body and a world with no more sin is what makes me long for His appearing. No more wars, no more famine, no disease, no sickness, violence or evil.

To be with Christ forever should be our ultimate goal. It's one thing to have the assurance of eternal life and to know that we will be, but to have the promise of receiving a crown of righteousness just for longing for His appearing is a sweet, sweet gift, isn't it?

Questions for Reflection: Do you long for His appearing? If not, why not? If you aren't sure that you'll go to Heaven please email me at magnoliaheartbeats@gmail.com and let's chat.

Verse of the Day: "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." ~ 2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

Prayer: Father, thank You for reserving for us the precious gift of a crown of righteousness as a reward for longing to be with You. We know this crown is nothing we could earn on our own, but is a reward given by You based on the faith we have in the coming of Christ to bring us into Your kingdom. We rejoice that where He is, there we may also be. Set our hearts on fire to seek Your face, Lord, and to reject the things of the world in favor of the precious promises of eternity. Come, Lord Jesus, soon. Though no man knows the day or the hour, You have given us in Your Word signs that point to Your return and it seems so close. May we look forward to it with fervent hope and longing. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
RRemember that righteousness comes through Christ. “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

IImmerse yourself in the Word, finding out what God says about the return of Christ and the rewards that will be yours. (Did you know that the New Testament references His return 150+ times?) “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” ~ Matthew 16:7 (NIV)

GGuard your heart and mind in the peace of Christ. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

HHelp others develop a love for Jesus. “He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” ~ Mark 16:15 (NIV)

T - Take care to do your deeds of righteousness for God and not man. “Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 6:1 (NIV)

EEarnestly increase your faith in God. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

OObey the Word of the Lord. “The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” ~ Psalm 19:9-11 (NIV)

UUnderstand that He will return again! "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." ~ John 14:1-4 (NIV)

SServe the Lord with your whole heart. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,” ~ Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)

NNever fail to live in Christ’s humility. “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” ~ Philippians 2:1-3 (NIV)

EEagerly anticipate being with Christ in Heaven. “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” ~ Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV)

SSurrender your heart, soul and mind to loving the Lord. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'” ~ Mark 12:30 (NIV)

SSubmit to God and resist of the lies of the Enemy. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:7 (NIV)

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.
Note: This was originally posted on Friday, 2/20/09 and edited with a new picture and a couple of new thoughts, and of course, the acrostic. If you enjoyed reading about the Crown of Righteousness, you might like: Crown of Life.

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28 comments:

Faye said...

Laurie,stopped by for a visit.I really enjoyed your post.Such a blessing.Hope you have a great day! Blessings, Faye

Denise said...

Great WFW.

The Real Me! said...

I so long for His appearing. What a day of rejoicing that will be!
Hugs to you my sweet friend.
Kim

crittyjoy said...

I long for His Appearing...my heart longs deeply for it at times. And this was wonderful encouragement...to continue and to wait patiently. But oh what a day it will be :)

Blessings!

Daddy's Chick's said...

Happy WFW and thanks so much for sharing!!

LAURIE said...

Great scriptures today! Hope your headache went away. :)

He And Me + 3 said...

I love that verse!

Chelle said...

Humbling thoughts, thank you for sharing!

Cheryl said...

Laurie Ann,

Praying you are feeling better. Great WFW post!

Have a WFW day!

Love,
Cheryl

Joyfull said...

Wonderful post and encouragement for today.

Susan said...

Great word!

Powerful devotion to go with it.

I'm so blessed you are feeling better!!!!

Sherry said...

Great verse and post! Have a great Wednesday!

hip chick said...

How comforting it is to know that we will be with the Lord one day.

lori said...

Laurie Ann,
Fabulous....as always!
Glad you are back from headacheville...:)

surrendering and submitting!
lori

Peggy said...

Blessings Laurie Ann...

What a PRIVILEGE! Such a CROWN!
His RIGHTEOUSNESS! Awesome teaching & WFW!!!

Looks like you and I both were zapped by the "internet" boogie
but I'm so sorry that you had to suffer with a raging headache!

This edit is so jammed pack, who would have known!!! You bless us and I pray that you are better!
I missed you but I'm a "hit & miss"
with my internet dilemma!

Carrie said...

Your thoughtful exposition on the phrase 'crown of righteousness' is very helpful with all the scripture references. Thanks for refreshing our desire and longing for His appearing.

Samantha said...

Very humbling, beautiful post, thank you for sharing.
God bless, have a wonderful day !

Kristi said...

Amen and amen...and our reply is come quickly, Lord Jesus. Blessings to you!

Lisa said...

What a neat promise in that verse! May we all long for His return.

Beth in NC said...

That was wonderful!

Happy WFW!
Beth

Mary Moss said...

Wonderful post as always, Laurie Ann. I do long for that crown:-)

Blessings,
Mary

lisalyn said...

What a great promise!!
Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today. :)

Alleluiabelle said...

This was a wonderful, in-depth, encouraging, inspiring post. There is so much in it to chew on and digest. Oh how I long for His appearing some day and spending eternity with Him.

Thank you for blessing me again today as always.



Love you,
Alleluiabelle

laureen said...

Hi!thanks for the visit.what a powerful verse.while waiting for his great appearing.lets get busy serving the Lord knowing that our labor is not in vain.oh!how nice to know that we have a reward waiting for us in heaven.I long to wear the crown....And long for my heavenly father to say "welcome my good and faithful servant"

Angie said...

Oh girl! WHAT a message! WHAT an inspiration!

I long so for HIS return!

Have a blessed day---I enjoyed my stop by here!

Amydeanne said...

great post! and yes! i long to see him too! always encouraging! hope your connection is better!

ozjane said...

Well done. Thanks.

e-Mom said...

I have to ask myself, honestly, do I "long for His appearing?" There's something scary about the descriptions of Christ's Second Coming, isn't there? I'll muse on this verse tonight, thanks! :~D