There are rewards in Heaven:
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. (1 Cor. 9:25)
This crown is given for those who strive for mastery and is temperate in all things. Now here is a simple truth. Only those who strive will get this crown so therefore if you don’t strive then you will not get this crown. Not everyone is going to get one.
Crown of rejoicing
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. (1 Thes. 2:19-20)
This is often referred to as the Soul Winners Crown. The verse says what is our crown of rejoicing? And then it answers the question with ‘ye are’. Who are the ‘ye’? They are the people that they won to the Lord. This is the Soul winners crown. So people who win souls get one and those who do not win souls don’t get one.
Crown of righteousness
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Tim. 4:7-8)
This crown goes to those who love his appearing. Now if you are sitting there with a bottle of the Devils brew in your hand when Jesus comes, you are not going to love His appearing. If you are carrying a load of un-confessed sin, you are not going to love His appearing, because when He appears you are then going to the Judgment seat of Christ to give an answer. That is not going to be any fun if you are living in sin. And again some Christians are going to get a crown of righteousness and many Christians are not.
Crown of glory
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:2-4)
This is often referred to as the Pastor’s crown. This crown is for those who feed the flock and take oversight of it. And notice that they have to do it with the right motivation. They have to do it willingly and not for money. There are many Pastors that are expecting to get this crown that won’t. Instead of preaching the whole counsel of God and exercising proper oversight over the flock, they tickle people’s ears so that they can have more people so that they can have more power and more money. Some Pastor’s are going to get this crown and some will not.
Crown of life
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
This crown is often referred to as the Martyr’s crown. This crown goes to those who are faithful unto death. This crown goes to those who are killed for their faith.
There are a total of 5 crowns that Christians will be rewarded with. But that is not the only rewards in Heaven. Matthew 6:20 tells us “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” We are commanded to lay up treasures in Heaven. That tells me several things.
- There must be treasures for us to lay up in Heaven. We would not be commanded to do it if it was not possible. And if we have to lay them up, then some people are going to get them and some will not.
- Treasures. Plural. So there are many treasures that we can lay up in Heaven.
- It should be obvious that some are going to lay up more treasures than others.
Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. (2 John 1:8) This verse is talking about rewards and not salvation. You cannot lose your salvation. But this verse teaches that you can lose your rewards. It says to look to yourselves so that you don’t lose the things that you have wrought so that you can receive a full reward. If you are not careful you can have a full reward laid up and then get careless during the last years of your life and lose those things which you have wrought. And when Jesus comes you will not get what you would have had coming.
I think there is definitely going to be, in heaven, varying levels of service, just as there are with the angels: there are archangels, and there are cherubim and seraphim, and principalities and powers and rulers, and all of those varying levels of angelic hierarchy. I think in eternity, we are all going to be sorted out within that eternal worshiping community and given varying capacities and varying responsibilities, which are determined by the sovereignty of God and our faithfulness here. That’s why John says, “Look to yourselves that you lose not the things you have wrought, but that you receive a full reward.” It is possible that you could be faithful, and the Lord be ready and prepared to give you a full reward, but by some sin in your life towards the end of your life, you could begin to forfeit and those things would be taken back off the list, added to the “wood, hay, and stubble” kind of thing, and your reward would be less.
Just stop and think about it for a moment. These rewards will not affect you for just a year or a decade or a century, but for all eternity. That is why the Bible says in Col 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
And yet, I believe we will lay our crowns at Jesus’ feet when we see Him in all His glory. 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… (Revelation 4:10). These elders place their crowns at Jesus feet and if they do, would not all of us want to more so do because of our love for Him. As you can see each crown is given to those who do a good work on His behalf and it appears that we will want to place whatever crowns we may have at the feet of Jesus when we come face to face with Him. It is interesting to know that when Jesus returns, “on his head were many crowns” (Revelation 19:12). Could these be our crowns presented to Him prior to His return? I believe they are. I want to serve Him the best I can so I can give Him as many crowns as I can because He deserves it. No matter how many crowns I have to give Him, I’m sure when I have finished I will wish I had one more to give Him.
What is your favorite crown?