In Jesus’s words to us through the church in Philadelphia (not Pennsylvania)
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." Revelation 3:11
The "crown" talked about was the laurel wreath awarded to winners of athletic contests. Paul writes to Timothy, shortly before his death about it:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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 to me only, but to all who have longed for His appearing" 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
The Greek word translated “crown” is stephanos (the source for the name Stephen the first martyr in the Christian church) and it means “a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor generally.” This word is used figuratively in the New Testament of the rewards of heaven God promises those who are faithful. Paul’s passage in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 best defines for us how these crowns are awarded.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate [disciplined] in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown”.
All things on this earth are subject to decay and will perish. Jesus urges us to not store our treasures on earth “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” Matthew 6:19. This is similar to what Paul was saying about that wreath of leaves that was soon to turn brittle and fall apart. But not so the heavenly crown; faithful endurance wins a heavenly reward, “an imperishable crown” which is “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, that is reserved in heaven for you."
Tomorrow we will look at another crown, a crown of rejoicing.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,