Upon this rock I will build my Church
Since this is memorial day weekend, and it marks the beginning of summer for many when they like to dress down and show lots of skin, I decided to preach on modesty this morning.
Different people have different views of what modest dress is. For example, some think wearing tight jeans is immodest while others do not. Some think a dress or skirt that comes above the knee is immodest while others do not. Some think that bare arms are immodest, while others do not.
Determining who is right and who wrong is difficult because the NT Scriptures do not give a precise dress code for Christians. You cannot find a Scripture that says, Thus says the Lord, the men shall wear loose fitting clothes that do not show their form and women shall wear loose fitting clothes that does not expose any of their skin.
Even though we do not have specific instructions on what we are to wear the Bible can help us to determine what is modest and what is immodest based on principle. What is principle?
1. “Ā basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct” (Word Web).
2. “Ā fundamental or general truth” (Collins English Dictionary).
3. “Ā general truth that can be applied in many situations” (Quotes & Things, Definitions, D. Collins).
To help us understand the idea of principle in Scripture, I want to give you two examples:
1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
One of Paul’s main goals was to win as many to Christ as He could and he did it by following the basic principle in these verses, which was to relate to those he was trying to reach. These principles could include many things. For example, Paul said:
1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
In this chapter, Paul is talking about eating meats that had been sacrificed to idols. He was not concerned if all meats were acceptable to eat because he told Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
His concern was for the conscience of the weaker Christian who had not came to fully understand that eating all meats was acceptable. Under this circumstance, he was willing to abstain from eating meat if he thought it would cause a weaker Christian to fall.
If we follow the principle that Paul did, we will do what we can to become like those we want to reach with the good news without violating God’s Law, and under circumstance where a weak Christians might be offended by our actions due to a lack of knowledge even though they are lawful, we will not do those things for the sake of that weaker Christian.
For example, if a person is converted out a religion that forbade certain foods, we would not eat those foods in front of them until we had to teach them those foods are acceptable to eat under the new covenant.
A second example comes from:
1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
The principle is to give each week, but you can search the NT all day long and you will never find a specific amount to give. Instead, we must give based on the principle that if we give little we reap little and if we give bountifully we will reap bountifully. When we give, we must give as we prosper and do so with a cheerful heart.
Now lets examine some Scriptural principles that will help us to determine what is modest or immodest clothing.
NKJ 1 Timothy 2:9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,
ESV 1 Timothy 2:9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
This verse gives us the principle on how we should dress. While it is talking about how women should dress, the same principle applies to men.
We are told to dress in a modest or respectable clothing. The Greek word behind modest or respectable is defined in the following ways:
BDAG - to having characteristics or qualities that evoke admiration or delight … respectable, honorable
FRIBERG - strictly well-arranged… of dress characterized by respectability modest, sensible
This includes under dressing and over dressing. So, we should dress in such a way that is well arranged and that will be viewed as respectable and honorable in the sight of God.
We are also told to dress with propriety. While the ESV uses the same English word modesty it has a different Greek word behind, which means;
THAYER - a sense of shame or honour, modesty, bashfulness, reverence, regard for others, respect
The idea is that, we should dress in a way that does not cause a sense of shame within us, and we should be thinking about how our dress will affect those around us. Unfortunately, there are many who wear inappropriate clothing whose conscience does not bother them because their conscience has been trained by the principles of the world. But a Christian’s conscience must be trained by Biblical principles if we want to pleasing to God. When we choose what we are going to wear in public, we need to ask ourselves, is this a shameful outfit? Would I be ashamed if I saw my mother or my children dressed this way?
We are also to dress with moderation or self-control. The Greek word behind these words means:
BDAG - soundness of mind, reasonableness, rationality
FRIBURG - as a quality of life characterized by the ability to restrain passions and impulses self-control, moderation, sensibleness
The idea behind this is that we should not dress according to our impulses or our desire to look like the world. Instead, we should dress ourselves by using good judgment. As I said earlier, we should not under dress or over dress because when we do, we will bring unwanted attention to ourselves. Those who dress from one extreme to the other are usually wanting that kind of attention, but Christians should not do this because we are representatives of Christ. As Paul told Timothy:
Titus 2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
This is directed at the young men, but the same principle applies to us all. Since every Christian is a representative of Christ, we must set the example of how Christians should behave and how they should dress. When we became a child of God, our old self was put death and we were raised a new creature of Christ. We no longer live for ourselves, we live for God, and we must take the responsibilities we have been given seriously, and we must never underestimate the influence we have on other by the way we act and by the way we dress.
If your brother or sister in Christ comes up to you and tells you what you are wearing is too revealing, don’t take offense at, take it to heart and reexamine yourself in the mirror when you get home and look at yourself from several angles to see if they were right. If they are, then don’t wear that anymore, or if possible add something to it so that its not so revealing.
Consider this next passage:
Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 ¶ And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Do you remember what Adam and Eve did when their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked? They covered themselves with fig leaves. But what did they do when the Lord came to talk with them? They hid themselves. Why did they hide themselves? Adam gives us the answer, but pay close attention to his words:
Genesis 3:10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Even though they were clothed with fig leaves, he still considered himself naked because his covering was not appropriate.
In the New Testament, the Greek word “gumnotes” (goom-not-ace) is often translated nakedness and denotes one who is without adequate clothing (BDAG).
Even though Adam and Eve were clothed, they still felt a sense of shame, and the Lord dressed them more appropriately (Genesis 3:21). From this example, we can conclude that God does not approve of clothing that does not properly cover our bodies. God has given us enough sense to figure out what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.
Notice what Paul wrote in:
Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
It should be obvious that if we dress in a way that arouses lustful thoughts in others, we are violating this Scripture. Sometimes people say, “I am not responsible for what others think.” While that is true to a point, we are responsible if we dress in such a way that exposes parts of our body that should be covered. It is like we are giving an open invitation for wondering eyes and lustful hearts.
Even those in the world understand how we dress can cause others to lust, because one man wrote an article about visiting a youth detention center where he saw a sign that read,
“Visitors must be appropriately dressed, Underwear and bras must be worn. No halter tops; No shorts, No revealing clothing.”
When he asked the guard why this was, he said that such clothing was provocative. (See Gospel Truths, Volume XV, Number 7, page 11).
Keep in mind this was a secular institution not a Christian one. So, deep down, even worldly people know that such clothing is provocative. Paul also says:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
As Christian, we should not allow how we dress be determined by what the world considers to be modest dress because many times their idea of modest dress is immodest many times because it still exposes too much skin. We should not allow ourselves to be sucked into to the latest fashions or designer labels especial when those type of clothes are designed to show off your body either through tightness or by showing more skin.
It wasn’t that long ago when low riding jeans were in style. Since I am not a fashion guy, I cannot remember if they were called hip huggers or low riders, but I think were designed by a plumber if you know what I mean.
Since Memorial Day weekend is when many begin to swim in the lakes and the pool. I want you to keep in mind what you are wearing in public. If you want to dress like the world, then men put on your Speedo and ladies put on your two dots and dash.
It has never ceased to amaze me how we can rename something and it can change our whole outlook. Most people would be horrified if someone saw them running around in their underwear, and if someone knocks on their door while they are dressed that way, they quickly look for some clothes to throw on, but rename a bra and panty to a bikini bathing suite or rename underwear to swimming ware or Speedo and like magic it becomes something that ok to be seen in even though it have coverage as their underwear. When go out to swim, look at what you wearing and ask yourself is this appropriate clothing that will glorify God and show that I am not worldly or do I look like everyone else?
One of the easiest ways for us determine what we should wear as Christians it to ask ourselves, “Would I wear this if I were standing in front of Jesus right now, or would I be ashamed of what I am wearing?
While there are no specific instructions that tell us whether our clothes we are wearing are too tight or if a dress is too short, there are certain principles in the Bible that are sufficient to guide us on how to dress modestly. We should never dress in a way that invites people to lust after our body or in a way that we know is not proper for a Christian to wear. If we study the Scriptures carefully, we can determine whether we are dressed modestly or immodestly. I hope everyone here will do their best to represent Christ by your actions and by how you dress.
Adapted from David Cambridge’s lesson on Modesty http://www.davidsplace.eu/Sermons%20Single/Modesty.htm
The reality of Hell
The reality of Hell
In our modern day society hell is not topic that you will hear preached or talked about very often because many people today want to pretend that it doesn’t exist. In fact some religions groups such as the Jehovah Witnesses deny that Hell even exists. The reason why some don’t want believe in the horrible place called hell is because they cannot see how a loving God could send people to such a place. However, no matter how much people want Hell to be myth the Bible makes it very clear that this place does exist and those who are outside of Christ will find themselves there. Have you considered the fact that the Bible talks about punishment and hell around 5 times more than it does about rewards and heaven. Even Jesus himself spoke more about Hell than he did about heaven.
Since the Word of God emphasizes this place many times don’t you think that it important that we learn as much as we can about this horrible place and how to avoid it?
Now the first thing I want to do is to point out some different Greek words that are translated as hell or hades within our Bibles and to learn difference in words.
Now the Greek Word hades – mean the place of the unseen dead. When the Bible speaks of this place it talking about the waiting place that the soul goes to when a person dies. This place consist of 2 areas that are divided by impassible gulf. One area is described as Abraham Bosom or Paradise where the righteous will wait for the final judgment. The other place is described by the Greek word Tartaros where the wicked waits for their final judgment. I believe these 2 areas are a foretaste of what heaven will be like and what hell itself will be like. To help us gain a better understanding of what I am talking about in regards to this temporary waiting place known as Hades. We need to examine the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
Luke 16:19 " There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' 25 "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' 27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "
The first thing we learn is that there was a rich man who was just living life to it fullest. He had everything a worldly man could want and we also that he was very self centered and only cared about himself. Then we also learn about this poor man named Lazarus. He did not have any worldly riches. In fact he was destitute and all he could do to survive to beg for help from others. We see that he was at the gate of this rich man just hoping that he would share some of the crumbs from his table but apparently this rich man was even to greedy to this. We see that Lazarus was in bad shape and had sores on his body. He must have been struggling with strength because allowed these dogs to come and lick his wounds.
So while living on the earth the rich man had it good and the poor man had it bad. But we learn from this story that is much more to life than what we live here on this earth. As the story continues on we learn that rich man and Lazarus dies. You no matter how rich or how poor you are we will face death on day and this story teaches us that everyone after they die there soul will be separated from the body and they will go to one or two place. The first place we see from our story is that the angels take Lazarus to this place called Abraham bosom and it tells us that the rich finds himself Hades as well but he is in a different area where he is being tormented. In fact he describes it as place full of flames.
I don’t know of any worse pain than that of being burned or any worse torment of being surrounded by unending fire. Now we to keep in mind that God can burn something without destroying it. For example, when the Angel of the Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush one of thing that Moses observed in Exodus 2:2 was that the bush was full of flames yet the bush was not consumed or burned up. Then you add the fact that a person soul never dies shows us how a person can continually be tormented forever.
We also learn from our text that in this waiting place that we are conscience. We can see just as the rich was able to see Abraham and Lazarus. We also learn that we communicate as the rich man cried to Abraham. We learn that all our senses our working as the rich man was experience the torment of flames and how he desired to have his tongue cooled by a drop of water from Lazarus. We also learn that Lazarus was able to experience what true comfort felt like after the hard life he lived while on the earth. Here we see a role reversal because now the rich men is begging for just a drop of water just like Lazarus had begged for the crumbs from rich man table. The difference is that Lazarus cannot give the rich man anything because there is a great gulf that separates them.
Another thing that we learn from Abraham is that the rich man is going to have to think about he lived his life for the rest of eternity. Can you even begin to imagine how it would make you feel if you realized that you could of done things differently while you lived on the earth that would have kept from being in that awful place. Those who have made poor choices are all going to have plenty of time to think about those mistakes they made.
One last thing we learn from our story is that the rich man also can remember his family that this left behind on the earth and because he now knows the reality of his situation he desperately wants his family to know the truth about God so that they don’t have to come that horrible place. However learn that from Abraham that no one is one is going to come back alive from the dead to go warn his family and if that did happen they most likely would not believe that person. He concludes by basically saying that they have word God and that should be enough to persuade them because if it won’t nothing else will. So we learn from our story that when a person dies their soul either goes to Abraham’s bosom or this or place of torment where we will all wait for our finally judgment as either go to heaven or to hell.
Now real quickly I want to show where I get the idea that these 2 places in Hades are also called Paradise and tartaros.
First lets deal with the term Paradise. When Jesus was on the cross and the thief asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom Jesus responded to him and said,
Luke 23:43…"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
You see when Jesus died his soul left his body and his soul went to Hades. Surely no one would every think that he went to the place of torment. So, from this I conclude that the place the Lazarus went to is also called Paradise.
Now lets look at the word tartaros.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
This is the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible as we see translated as hell. Notice this also the place where the angels who have sinned are held until the day of judgment. So this is why I conclude that place where the rich man is also called tartaros. This passage also shows that this realm called Hades is a waiting place until the day of judgment occurs. Please note the following passage.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
You see at the day of Judgment Hades will give up the dead. Those who are written in the book of life will go to heaven and those not found in that book will be cast in the lake of fire which is the finally destination of all those who are wicked and have not obeyed the will of God. Please notice the words of John
John 5:28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 "and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
According to Paul in 1 Cor. 15 it is at this time that we will receive or immortal bodies that will last throughout eternity and Mat. 25 Jesus says at this time that there will be a division between the righteous and the righteous and that there eternal destination will be sealed at that time.
Matthew 25:46"And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Now I want you to think about this for a minute. If the waiting place know as Hades was full of torment and it was just a preview of what was going to happen in the final place called hell then can you even begin to imagine how much worse actually hell will be or to even begin to imagine spending eternity there. Now that we have examined the waiting place now let take a look at what the Bible says about hell itself.
Now the Greek Word used to describe this place is Gehenna. This word is found twelve times in the Greek New Testament and Jesus himself uses this word 11 times. It interesting to note that Jesus spoke of “hell” more frequently than he did of “heaven.”
The word Gehenna comes from an Old Testament Hebrew expression, “the valley of Hinnom,” which was used to describe a ravine on the southern side of Jerusalem. This valley was used by certain apostate Hebrews as a place where their children were offered into the fiery arms of the pagan god Molech (2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; 2Kings 28:3). It was deemed an area of suffering and weeping. When Josiah the king started going around and destroying the false idols this valley was considered as a site of dreadful abomination (2 Kgs. 23:10-14). It finally became the garbage dump of Jerusalem where there was a continual burning of waste.
When Jesus would teach people about things such as heaven or hell he always used something that they could relate to in the 1st century and so he used this term Ghenna to describe where the sinner would end up and horrible it would be. Now of course mere words can only come close to describing how dark and terrifying hell will be. Now one will now the true horrors of Hell until they get there and hopeful none of will find our way there.
Now lets take a look at some more passages that talk about this horrible place called hell. Fist note what Jesus said.
Matthew 5:29 "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Now Jesus is not literally saying that we should cut parts of our body but he makes this statement to show how important it is for us to get the sin out our life no matter what the cost because no sin is worth the Horrors of Hell. This teaches us that we must take sin very serious and not allow it to drag us down to the pits of hell. In another place where Jesus was teaching the parable about tares and the wheat he conclude by saying.
Matthew 13:41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Now this idea of wailing and gnashing of teeth is something that happens when someone is great discomfort and the only thing they can do from torment they are is to cry and gnash there teeth in pain. Again notice another point that Jesus makes about hell.
Mark 9:43 "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched -- 44 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' 45 "And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched -- 46 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' 47 "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire -- 48 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'
Here we see Jesus is describing this awful place where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. This teaches us that those who find themselves in this place will never die but will have remain in this fire that can never be quenched. I cant even begin to imagine of the pain of being burned or exposed to fire over and over again with no end in sight. You some people who struggle with the health and feel miserable they long to leave this world so no longer will suffer the pain they are going through right now. But just try to imagine being tormented in hell a never being able to escape the suffering that will be there.
Mat. 25:30 describes hell as place of outer darkness
Mat. 25:46 say that is a place of everlasting punishment.
Rev. 21:8 describes it as lake burns with fire and brimstone.
Finally take a look at what,
Revelation 14:10 "he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
You see there is no rest in horrible place. Those who are opposed to God will be tormented fire and brimstone and notice it says the smoke of their torment ascends for every and ever. So, please realize the Hell is a reality and no one should want to go there but unfortunately many will.
Matthew 7:13 " Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
We learned last week that heaven is a prepared for a prepared people. We in the same vain Hell is prepared place for unprepared people.
Matthew 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
So not only is Hell prepared for the devil and his angels it prepared for all those who do not choose to obey God.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Every single person who disobeys God word will go to this horrible place. Paul gives us an general list of those who will end up in hell in,
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
There will even be a great number of people who claim to be religious there because they have never fully obeyed God’s word.
Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
We also learn from the Bible that there will be Christians the end up in this bad place if they are not living faithfully to God and they lukewarm in their Christianity.
Revelation 3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Here Jesus was writing to a church and he wanted them to know the being Lukewarm is not acceptable to God and unless they repent he will vomit them out of his mouth. So this teaches us that we must not become lazy in our Christianity because Jesus promises us a crown of righteous only if we are faithful until the end.
Revelation 2:10 "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
This tells us that we must be very careful to stay committed to the Lord and serving him. This is why I believe Paus tells us,
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;