“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Foundation Scriptures: II Corinthians 5:7-10; I Corinthians 4:4-5; II Timothy 4:6-8
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
II Corinthians 5:7-10 NKJV
For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
I Corinthians 4:4-5 NKJV
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. II Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV
I. The Crown of Righteousness
• The Crown of Righteousness will be handed out to certain believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ, together with the other crowns.
• The Crown of Righteousness is the Winner’s Crown – also known as the Overcomer’s Crown or the Victor’s Crown.
• It’s a crown for those who finish their race.
• This is not a crown just for being saved and made righteous by believing in Jesus.
• The Crown of Righteousness is given to all those who look forward to His return – those who fight the good fight of faith, who have finished the race and who have kept the faith.
II. Fight the Good Fight
• I Timothy 1:18-20 ERV – Timothy, you are like a son to me. What I am telling you to do agrees with the prophecies that were told about you in the past. I want you to remember those prophecies and fight the good fight of faith. 19 Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins.
• We have to keep God’s Word to us in our eyes and ears and fight the good fight by continuing to trust in God and do what is right. If you don’t, you might end up shipwrecking your faith.
• I Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV – Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.
• This verse in the Message Bible says: Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, 14 and love without stopping.
III. Keep the Faith
• Don’t get distracted from your end goal
• I Timothy 6:10-12 AMP – For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs. 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.
• The love of money will cost you your Crown of Righteousness.
• You have to pursue righteousness.
• I Timothy 6:20-21 AMP – O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. 21 [For] by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. Grace (divine favor and blessing) be with you all! Amen (so be it).
• Don’t be sucked in by false doctrine and flaky people who compromise the Word of God.
• James 1:3-4 AMP – Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
• Trials come to distract, hinder and/or stop you, but they can serve to grow you and grow your faith if you keep your eyes on the Lord and on His word, trust Him with your life and are a doer of the word.
• Good news! The trials you triumph over all contribute to your reward!
IV. You Can be an Example and an Inspiration
• I Timothy 4:12 AMP – Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
• I Thessalonians 1:8-10 NKJV – For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
V. Someone is Rooting for You
• Both those who have gone before you – the great cloud of witnesses – and your fellow believers are rooting for you and cheering you on (Hebrews 12:1).
• II Corinthians 1:24 Message Bible – We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.
• II Corinthians 13:5-9 Message Bible – Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. 6 I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. 7 But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. 8 We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. 9 We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
• I Thessalonians 1:2-3 AMP – We are ever giving thanks to God for all of you, continually mentioning [you when engaged] in our prayers, 3 Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith and service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
VI. Finish Your Race
• Run like a winner!
• I Corinthians 9:24-27 ERV – You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! 25 All who compete in the games use strict training. They do this so that they can win a prize—one that doesn’t last. But our prize is one that will last forever. 26 So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. 27 It is my own body I fight to make it do what I want. I do this so that I won’t miss getting the prize myself after telling others about it.