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Crowns of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)

Sermon on 11 April 2021 by Ps Paul


Introduction

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor. Paul encouraged Timothy to remain faithful in the Lord, to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ and to be an approved worker for God. Paul warned of dangers in the last days.


Message


As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. – 2 Timothy 4:6-7


And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:8


What is the crown of righteousness?


The crown of righteousness awaits for us on the day of the Lord’s return. It is given by the Lord, the righteous judge, no one else. It is given for all who eagerly look forward to the Lord’s appearing.


No one is righteous. No one can earn the crown of righteousness by his own works. No amount of good things we do can make us righteous.


God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one! - Psalm 53:2-3


Only Jesus can make us righteous, because Jesus has no sin and He has died for our sins and redeemed us.


“For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. – Jeremiah 23:5-6


We are made righteous through faith in Christ.


For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” - Romans 4:3


It is not the good works of Abraham that made him righteous, but his faith in God. His good works confirmed his faith in God. If we believe in God, let us good works express our faith. May our good works come out of our obedience to God.


How do we receive the crown of righteousness?


Our life has already been poured out as an offering to God. Let us present our bodies as living sacrifice to God. This means that we live a life that is pleasing to God. Our worship should be every day. Live a life that honours God and do what is right. Do we bring God’s peace wherever we go?


There are 3 indicators of our faith with good works:

1. Fought the good fight

2. Finished the race

3. Remained faithful


1. Fought the good fight

In the world, we will face tribulations (John 16:33). But Jesus has overcome the world, so we can fight the good fight. The fight refers to spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). We do not need to battle alone. We have Jesus. It is about how well we can stay close to the Lord.


Ephesians 6:13-18 tell us to accept God’s truth. Seek and walk in God’s righteousness. Share the gospel of peace. Have faith in God by believing in His words. Hope in God and cling onto His promises. Obey and apply God’s words. Never cease to pray. Always connect with God. We need Him all the time.


2. Finished the race

God has a purpose for each of us and has given us the breath of life to praise Him. The word “finished” tells us that we have work to complete (John 4:34, John 19:30, Philippians 1:6). There is a journey, and end goal, the prize awaits and there are supporters (Hebrews 12:1-2).


Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. – John 4:34


When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30


Jesus finished His work when He hung on the cross. We are all sent to complete our work, just as Jesus Christ was sent to do the work of God.


And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne. - Hebrews 12:1-2


Let us focus on Jesus. Let us be aware of temptation and stay away from what trips us. Let us persevere and press on to complete God’s work. Let us not be weary while doing good, let us not lose heart.

3. Remained faithful

The apostles, apart from one, remained faithful till the end. Let us remain steadfast and have endurance (James 1:2-8). We are to have faith in Jesus and His words (Mark 1:15, Matthew 25:21,23).


Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. - James 1:2-8


When troubles come our way, it is a chance for our faith to be tested and our endurance to grow. Therefore, let us be encouraged when trials come our way.


“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” – Mark 1:15


Let us actions follow what we believe. When we say we believe in Jesus, do we really follow His ways? Or do we only select some things that are easier for us to do? Let us accept all His teachings, His ways.


“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ - Matthew 25:21,23


Consider great joy when we face troubles, for our faith and endurance will grow. So let us believe in Jesus and His words wholeheartedly. Do not let your faith waiver. Be a good and faithful servant.


Closing


‘Yahwei Tsidqenu’ is another name for Jesus. It means ‘the Lord is our righteousness’. We do not earn the crown of righteousness by our own merit. It is our Lord Jesus who will give us the crown of righteousness, when we believe in Him, when we follow His ways, when we truly seek Him. Let our good works confirm our faith in Christ.

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