The Crowns of LifeBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 11/22/2020
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12 AMPC
1. The Crown of Life (Crown #3).
a. The Crown of Life is also known as the Martyr’s Crown.
b. This crown is promised to those who are faithful unto death.
c. Revelation 2:10 AMPC — Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. [Dismiss your dread and your fears!] Behold, the devil is indeed about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and proved and critically appraised, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be loyally faithful unto death [even if you must die for it], and I will give you the crown of life.
d. It is promised to those who live prepared to die for their witness.
e. Revelation 3:11-12 AMPC — I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. 12 He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name.
2. Faithful unto Death.
a. The Crown of Life will be given to those who are persecuted for their faith and yet endure.
b. Philippians 1:29 NKJV — For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
c. Persecution is the suffering Jesus talks about, that His people would go through—not sickness or disease.
d. Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV — Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
e. Persecution comes simply because we bear His Name.
f. John 15:20-23 NKJV — Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also.
g. You will be persecuted by the world for righteousness and living a godly life.
h. 2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV — Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
i. If you are completely submitted and obedient to the Lord and doing His work, and they persecute you, it is as if they are persecuting Jesus, Himself (Acts 22:7-8).
3. How Should You Respond?
a. Bless your enemies.
b. Romans 12:14 AMPC — Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.
c. Resist the urge to fight back—let God fight your battles.
d. Romans 12:19 AMPC — Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.
e. Hebrews 10:30 AMPC — For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people.
4. The Persecuted Church.
a. Remember—you are not alone.
b. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
c. Hebrews 11:35-38
d. Those who have gone before us suffered tremendous persecution, physical and emotional suffering, torture, and death—so that we could receive the Truth—men and women, of whom the world was not worthy.
e. 1 Peter 1:5-7
f. The genuineness of your faith—which is infinitely more precious than gold—will be tested by fire and bring glory to God.
g. We are counted worthy of the kingdom of God when we endure persecution and tribulations with patience and faith.
h. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12
5. Do Not Ever Give Up!
a. Struck down but not out.
b. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NKJV — But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
c. Nothing, and no one, could ever separate us from Christ or His love.
d. Romans 8:35-39 NKJV — Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
e. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us!
f. Philippians 1:21 NKJV — For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.