Winning and Losing Crowns

1 Corinthians 916-27

DATE: 27 July, 2003 PM          PLACE: BBC Blarney

I.         Introduction (1Cor 9:25)


A.      Everyone strives for rewards. Strives for accomplishment. For crowns. EX of the Scouts and their badges. EX of athletes striving for medals.

B.       Those rewards are however corruptible, and fade away with time. Difference with Christians is that they strive for incorruptible crowns!

C.       Every Christian is capable of earning all five incorruptible crowns in heaven by their life here on earth. The key is whether you want them or not. Why waste your effort on corruptible crowns of this life and world, when you can obtain incorruptible rewards!

D.      Not talking here about earning heaven at all! Salvation is a free gift! We are dealing with rewards for how a Christian lived his or her life!


II.       Message – Winning and Losing Crowns


A.      The Necessity of Living for Christ (9:16)


1.        Necessity, obligation, duty, responsibility

2.        Used to think I was living for my self – my own happiness

3.        Discovered I was a puppet – manipulated by the pressures of the world

4.        Wanted to be free – not free to do my own thing, but free to live for my Liberator

5.        Since I have been made free, I live for Him

6.        Woe is me if I do NOT live for Him


a.       If I preach not the Good News of the Gospel – I hide its life changing words

b.       If I do not live my life as a living sacrifice – live my life as a jerk

c.       If I do not care about a lost world going to hell!


7.        There is no other reason to live


a.       Some for their church

b.       Some for their team – only last a few years, and then are forgotten

c.       Some for their kids

d.       Some for career – get forced into retirement


8.        Only with Christ are there any lasting rewards


B.       The Rewards of a Life for Christ (1Cor 9:7-19)


1.        For some, it is the rewards that only man can give (Mt 6:2,5,16)

2.        For some, it might be the regular pay that is due to people who preach the Gospel (9:7-14)


a.       It is work planting a Bible Church

b.       It is work, soul-winning

c.       It is work, studying

d.       It is work, preaching and teaching

e.       It is work, discipling new Christians

f.        People who labour in faithfully teaching and preaching God’s word are to be given double honour (1Tim 5:17)


3.        For others, it is far more than weekly pay and wages (9:15-19) – The Bible refers to our rewards as Crowns


a.       Payment, or the repayment for any cost to you for persecution as a Christian


1)       The rewarding of a soldier who risked his life for another

2)       The rewarding of a Garda who went beyond the call of duty to protect someone or help someone

3)       This is over and beyond the normal weekly pay that a soldier, or a Garda get


b.       They are eternal investments – you can’t take anything with you when you die, but you can send it all ahead!

c.       They are a reflection of two things:


1)       Who we are – our consistency, or inconsistency

2)       What we wanted out of life – short term or long term gratification


d.       They are Something that WE have earned


1)       Salvation and heaven itself is a free gift, accepted by faith in Jesus Christ!

2)       The rewards we have earned are things we actually own in heaven that can then be truly given back to the Lord Jesus

3)       This is seen in Rev 4:4, 10


C.       The Means of Living a Life for Christ (1Cor 9:19-22)


1.        As a Servant – self and selfish desires are supposed to be DEAD


a.       Christians are to minister to people – selfishness does not belong

b.       We are to be as Joseph was in slavery, and in prison

c.       We are to be as Jesus was throughout His entire life


2.        As a Soul-Winner


a.       Meeting people where they are at

b.       Talk to the Jew as a Jew, helping them to see who Jesus is

c.       Talk to those under the Old Testament law as yourself under the law, and get them to see the perfection of Jesus Christ

d.       Talk to those who haven’t got a clue about God’s righteousness, and get them to see they are sinners, and need God’s righteousness in Christ

e.       Talk to the weak, and down-hearted, and troubled, and relate to them with YOUR troubles, all so that you can introduce them to the Almighty God and Saviour of all Mankind, Jesus the Christ

f.        A soul-winner ignores who he or she is (Irish, American, Rich, Poor, Black, White), and relates to the world around them so that they might win them to Christ


D.      The Risks of Ignoring, Neglecting this Duty.


1.        You might end up Waiting too long – be too late to live for Christ

2.        You might become numb, or burned out by the sin of this world, so that you have no softness or gentleness, and are therefore of no use to Christ – the world has a way of burning you out like a light bulb on too high a voltage!

3.        You might all your life end up having been a tool of the devil instead of a tool in the hand of such a loving Saviour as Jesus (Mt 12:30)!

4.        Heaven for many, many Christians, is going to be a place of remorse and regret simply because they ignored their duty when they became a Christian!


E.       The Way to Win (1Cor 9:24-27)


1.        Run to win – do your best!!!!!!!! Have you done your best for Jesus?


a.       This is not a game! God give us some folks who determine that the most important thing for them is to LIVE FOR JESUS CHRIST, fulfilling the greatest commandment

b.       This is not all about having fun – even though it is fun

c.       Why become a Christian if it is not to be our best?

d.       There are REWARDS at the end of life – and they are not for everybody – especially those who live only for self

e.       If someone starts off in a race, and runs with all their might, only to, half-way through give up, WILL THEY GET A CROWN (Gal 6:9)


2.        Stay Temperate in all things – under control – doing right, even when it is easier to do wrong. EX: On a hike, it would be easier to slide down a hill, but the hiker walks, firmly along, on a narrow path, and stays on that path because he wants to go higher!


a.       Attitudes – this is where most of us blow our rewards


1)       We set out to many times do something for the Lord (Mt 10:42)

2)       And then we let someone get us to blow our temper, and we lose it all! Become unworthy of the award!

3)       The WAY you handle people is just as important as the fact that you are doing something nice for them!

4)       When you serve others, if you lose your joy, you lose your reward!

5)       Don’t lose your reward!


b.       Desires, passions (1Cor 7:1,2,7-9)


1)       Keep them in check

2)       Don’t feed them with filthy TV, MTV, radio, romance novels, sweet-sixteen mags!


c.       Actions


1)       Stay busy. Get a job – keeps us out of trouble

2)       Judge your actions against Jesus’ and repent until you change!


3.       Run certainly


a.       Stay on course (Acts 20:24) – there is that JOY thing again

b.       Run patiently – not to the fastest

c.       Run keeping your eyes on Jesus only (not Mary, apparitions, miracles, lack of miracles, etc)!


4.       Fight certainly – targeting your hits – not wasting them


a.       Not against flesh and blood

b.       Target principalities and demonic powers

c.       Make contact – hit the devil where it hurts – by getting rid of your pride, and staying faithful, no matter the cost!


5.        Keep under your body – keep it under subjection


a.       Get under your own skin

b.       MAKE your body do what it is supposed to do

c.       That is what Christ expects of us – don’t wait for things to force you!

d.       Quite blaming the whole world for why you act the way you do! The world may have been to blame for your bad attitude, but Christ is greater than the whole world!

e.       It is YOU who decide on whether you do anything good or stupid today

f.        Be the thorn in your own flesh – nobody really is to blame anymore


6.        Otherwise, your life becomes useless – a big waste – a castaway!


III.     Conclusion


A.      You can’t lose your salvation, but you can lose your rewards in heaven

B.       EX: God’s or the Devil’s Wages. Two mines in the same town. One performing poorly, and the workers got poor wages. The other quite well, and the workers got paid very well. One day a worker from the poor mine went to get paid at the good mine. Told can’t be paid by them until he started working for them! You must serve Christ here, if you would share in His glory; but if you serve the devil now, to him you must go for your wages in the here-after!

C.       Run to win – do your best

D.      Stay Temperate in all things – under control

E.       Run and Fight certainly

F.       Keep under your body – be the reason why you serve the Lord!



Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Blarney, Ireland