Valley View Church

The WKND 24 | Crowns Down

March 04, 2024 Valley View Church
Valley View Church
The WKND 24 | Crowns Down
Show Notes Transcript

Sunday Morning | March 3, 2024 | Colby Flowers | Louisville, KY

In his sermon on March 3, 2024, Colby Flowers concluded the "Crowns Down" event for WKND students by drawing from Revelation 4, where the 24 elders cast their crowns before Jesus. He challenged the audience to reflect on what they value above the Kingdom of Heaven, echoing the dilemma of the rich young ruler. Quoting Jim Elliot's timeless words, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose," Flowers urged listeners to examine what they cling to and consider the eternal rewards of surrendering earthly treasures for the sake of Christ.

At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.

24, 24, Thrones, 24 Elders, 24 crowns. They surrounded the throne of God in heaven Four living creatures which sing day and night. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come whenever they gave glory, honor, and thanks to God, the 24 elders would get up from their 24 thrones and fall down before God casting their 24 crowns down in worship saying, Worthy, are you our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created. So we pray your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Well, good morning, church. It's so good to be with you all this morning. As you can see, we just completed our DNow WKND 24, and we've been so blessed by God's presence in this place. And honestly, it was evident this morning that we're just keeping the ball rolling, that we're we were fueled by God's spirit this weekend. And now it's just pouring out into this place on this Sunday. And we're so excited to share with you what God has been doing in the lives of our students and I want to take a moment that we were actually walking through a series on Wednesday nights with our students called Footsteps. And my challenge to them was, you need to be following someone in your Christian life, following another believer who's following Jesus. But you also got to check the rearview mirror and see who's following you. And so this morning it was a testament, and I want our students to hear this from me. You just witnessed what you can do by simply stepping out in faith and leading, and you were able to lead this congregation in worship this morning. So with the weekend, we really focused on this idea of 24 with it being 2024. So of course, where does 24 pop up in the Bible? Revelation 4-24 elders surround the throne of God. They worship God and they - it says that they take their crowns off and lay it at the throne of God. And it's the crown of life. It's the crown that we receive at the end of our journey. When we place our faith in Jesus and we get to the end of our life and we go to be in His presence, we receive a crown of life that was given to us, not earned. We take it off our head and place it at the feet of Jesus. So our prayer this weekend was your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it's currently being done in heaven. We want the same atmosphere to be that is going on in heaven to happen in this place. And it was amazing to see that to witness that, to be a part of that this weekend. But to have this idea of living out our faith in such a way where we are surrendering our lives and laying down our crowns before God, it's humility, it's sacrifice. And I want to say something or give this opportunity for that to say this. We had so many people help with the weekend from the people who were in the trenches who actually were, I want to say, dumb enough to stay with the students overnight. I don't know why they did it or why they'd be willing to do it, but with the lack of sleep, they were able to walk through God's Word with these students to be up in the middle of the night having tough conversations, to do all the crazy stuff that you can imagine. But we from someone like Cliff who is helping keep the facilities clean for us, to people who are preparing meals, I mean, it was just all over the place. People were helping. So I want to take this moment. If you help with the weekend, this weekend, would you stand so that we can just thank you for all of your help. If you help with the weekend at all leaders, people who prepared food, help with trash-- every aspect, please stand. Awesome. Yes. So as we talk through this series, I had a verse that came to my mind and we're going to be looking in Matthew chapter 13, verse 44. You can go ahead and turn there. And as you're turning there, you know, I couldn't help but think of a quote that Pastor John actually passed it along to me. And it fits so well with our theme for the weekend. But there is an interesting conversation that Queen Elizabeth had in an interview. She was speaking to a chaplain and Queen Elizabeth is having this conversation and she said something really cool. And I want to put this up on the screen so that you can see it. This is her speaking. She says, how I wish the Lord would come in my lifetime. And the chaplain asked her why and listen to her response. I love this, the Queen replied with a trembling voice full of emotion. I should so love to lay down my crown at his feet. Now, something we can't relate to that I don't know if there's any British monarchs tied to the royal family in here. Like there's no kings and queens in this room. I'm certainly not a king. But what's what's different from us and Queen Elizabeth is we don't have a literal crown for us to take off. But I can assure you we are giving crowns in this life. There's various things that we can value and consider to be precious to us. And so one of my challenges and one of our challenges for our students this weekend was what's something that you're clinging on to that you're not willing to lay over to God? And so a couple of questions I want to ask this morning as we get into our text is how can someone have joy in surrendering all they have? How can someone have joy in surrendering all they have? Because what we're going to see in this passage is this idea of surrender. And how can someone actually surrender something that they have maybe some type of value in, but then actually have joy from surrendering it? Here's my second question for us this morning, though. How can a person surrender what is most valuable to them? How can someone surrender what's most valuable to them? I can think of the various things that I consider very precious in my life and would I be willing to surrender those things to God? And so we're going to see this morning in Matthew chapter 13, verse 44, some incredible truths, some amazing truth in it, although it's one verse and it's a short verse, it's

similar to what a what a diamond is:

small and beautiful. And all it takes is a little turn in that diamond to get some form of light reflection, refraction from it that we see another glimpse of beauty and want to see in this passage this morning. And this is what it says in Matthew chapter 13, verse 44. It says, The kingdom of heaven is like, The kingdom of heaven is like... Now, this phrase, the Kingdom of heaven is all throughout the Bible and the New Testament. This idea is spread throughout all throughout the Bible. In fact, it's mentioned a bunch of times in the Gospels, and there's a phrase that's also similar. You may have heard, if you've read your scriptures, there's a phrase Kingdom of God, two synonymous phrases, meaning the same thing. And often Jews would want to say and describe this kingdom, but Jews were so scared to to to say the Lord's name in vain that they wouldn't say Kingdom of God, they would say Kingdom of Heaven. But this phrase, these two phrases added up. They they come out to 106 times in the New Testament, 61 times in the Book of Matthew. So it's an important idea that Jesus hits on. But we're looking at one verse. So I'm trying to help us understand this in a short term, but this is what the Kingdom of God is. Kingdom of Heaven is not a physical place you see with your eyes, but it's a spiritual reality that you experience through faith. You see, I can't point you to a physical address where the Kingdom of Heaven is, but I can certainly point you to the lives of people who have been changed by the Gospel. So no, it's not an actual building that we can go and walk to, but it's something that happens internally in a person's life when they accept Christ and Christ becomes the king on their, in their hearts. So there's not necessarily a physical throne, but there is a throne on our hearts where something is sitting and for the kingdom of heaven to enter us, to enter this world, it comes and sits on our hearts. Jesus Christ. That's what this kingdom of Heaven looks like. And so listen, the Kingdom of Heaven as a basic definition, it is the saving reign of Christ in the hearts of His people in a basic way. And I give you a bunch of references just so you can do some study later on. But this is what it means. The Kingdom of Heaven is the saving reign of Christ in the hearts of His people. When I come to Jesus and I accept him as my Savior, he reigns in my life. In my heart. He is the Lord of my life. So when we talk about this in the verse 44 is where to work through this. This is what it means when he says the kingdom of Heaven is like. So for us this morning, the Kingdom of Heaven is something that began with Jesus. It began with the work of Jesus, and it's going to culminate. It's going to finish when he returns in all of his glory. It began with Jesus, his ministry, and now it's going to be finished and culminate when Jesus comes back. This is the idea of the Kingdom of Heaven. So let's look back here in verse 44. Go back here to the verse, if I can get it up on the screen. There we go. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure. And this is important. The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. So Jesus says, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure. And so this treasure is found in the field by this man. And he goes and sees it. And because he sees it as valuable, he doesn't immediately take it, but he hides it and buries it back. Now, why would he do that? It's because back in the day, back in the first century, they didn't have banks. They didn't have places where they could put it in a lock box somewhere, any valuables or money or possessions that they had had to be buried in their field. And because it was in their field, it was in their property. So this person, this man comes up and sees it, sees it as valuable, and then buries it back in the field because he didn't want to get caught for theft and stealing. But something I already know from this passage is that we will protect what is most valuable to us. My first car in high school was a 1993 Honda Accord. It was maroon, paint was chipped.. Things were falling off of it. It wasn't the-- it wasn't at the top of the list for car thieves. Like it wasn't something that someone looked at and said, I'm going to steal that car. The car itself didn't have a catalytic converter, so it sounded like a lawnmower. Wasn't a great, great car, but at least it got me from point A to point B, So I do cherish it in some ways, but I was smart enough to never to put anything valuable in it because it really wasn't that valuable car. So because of that, I left the thing unlocked. I really didn't care if someone stole it. In fact, they probably would have been doing me a favor because I could have gotten a little bit of money out of it, but I would rather just them steal the car than break the window., right? I don’tknow if you ever had a car like that. But later on when we had Charlie, my wife and I had Charlie, we we had to upgrade. We had to upsize. We eventually get a new car. And I'm telling you, I handled that car a lot differently than I handled that 1993 Honda Accord. We kept those doors locked. We parked it all the way up in the driveway and we hid it in a sense because we wanted to protect it. But this idea is true. This story, this treasure was so valuable that it was hidden. And this person, this man comes up, sees it, and sees it as valuable. So he himself desires that treasure, hides it back, and look what happens next in the verse. It says, After the man found it and covered up, it says in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. He goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. So because he couldn't take it, he had to go bury it and go back, sell everything that he has so that he could then purchase the field and have the treasure that is in the field. So what Jesus is pointing out here is that the treasure is so valuable that this man was willing to give up everything to have it. So I'm wondering this morning just for you to ask yourself, how valuable is the kingdom of heaven to you? How valuable is Christ? Because, listen, the focus of the parable is not that we can buy or earn the kingdom. We can't buy or earn our salvation. We can't do enough good things. We can't be good enough. We can't attend church enough, We can't muster up enough strength. It's not about earning or buying. Instead, it's focused on that we should treasure the kingdom more than anything else in our lives. For us to see the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, we should treasure it more than anything else in our lives. And I wonder if that's true for you this morning. Wonder if it's true that you treasure the Kingdom of Heaven more than anything else. Because it's interesting. Whatever we treasure most, whatever we treasure most, it tends to be on our mind. It tends to be on our hearts. It tends to be what we spend our money towards, what we spend time on. So to look at your life, where's your treasure? Where's your treasure this morning? Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And I think Jesus is trying to challenge us in this verse. Are you willing to surrender everything? So listen, how you value the Kingdom of heaven will determine what you do with it. How you value the Kingdom of Heaven will determine what you do with it. We have this furniture piece in our house that we absolutely adore. And it's a funny story how we got it, because it is an older piece of furniture that we actually received from a psychiatric hospital. Bear with me. So there was a psychiatric hospital that was closing down. It was shutting down. And it's here in Kentucky. And part of the process for them is they were pulling everything out And determining what was valuable and what's not, they were going to keep some things and trash other things. Well, part of that was these several 1850 singer sewing machines and it’s really cool pieces of furniture. But you know what? After we got it, I was like, why in the world will we ever want to put this in our house? I don't understand. But they kept them there for the patients to to have clothes, and they made clothes for them there. And so we received this this we come in to we received this, the singer sewing machine. My wife paints it. That makes it look really nice. And now it's a furniture piece in our home and it's a cool reminder of, you know, things that are old can be made new and look awesome. But I bring all that to say is that one man's trash is another man's treasure, right? Some people saw it as a horrible piece of the thing. We're just going to throw it out and get rid of it. Now we see it as something incredible and we value it and we treasure. But listen, I think it's important that you hear this this morning that we will that we will value the kingdom of God as a priceless treasure, as another possession, or we might even see it as trash to just to be thrown out. How do you see the kingdom of heaven? How do you see it in your life? Imagine a 50 lb. block of iron, a 50 lb. block of iron. Some of the some of the men in here, the big, big, strong men are like, that's nothing. 50 lbs. I can easily carry that anywhere. Not that big. But it's a burden, right?, Imagine carrying 50 lbs. of anything, a 50 lb.. block of iron. Why would one want to burden themselves and carry this 50 lb. block of iron? But let me change it a little bit. What if it was a 50 lb. block of gold? Would you carry it? How far would you carry it? But if you think about it, the weight didn't change. But what did? So if it goes from my block of iron to a block of gold, it becomes valuable because we see it as valuable. So I would be willing to carry that burden a long way. So how do you see the Kingdom of Heaven? It's a block of iron or block of gold. Story in the New Testament, Jesus is, is is teaching and doing ministry and this rich young ruler comes up to him and says, Jesus, how am I to be saved? He says, Keep the law, keep the commandments. Rich, young ruler with a smirk-- and I can imagine having a smirk on his face, said, Jesus, I kept all the commandments. I'm good. I did it. Is that it? Jesus comes right back at him and says, You know what? If you would be perfect, go and go and sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me. Rich young ruler heard that, I can imagine the look on his face, considered his possessions, and verse 22 says, When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. He didn't see the Kingdom of Heaven as something that he would be willing to carry this block of gold. He saw it as trash compared to his possessions on earth. But notice what Jesus says. He said to his disciples, Truly, I say to you only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. And why is that true? It’s because riches and things of this world will steal your heart from valuing God and His kingdom more than anything else, and not just riches and possessions, but relationships and people and status and experiences where we live for this world, assuming that we're going to keep everything. But in turn, when we pass away, we get none of it. Instead, what Jesus says, You would be better off selling everything here so you can gain everything later. And Jesus says again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. He has a little humor here, but notice what he says next. In this next verse. Go to the next verse, please. I guess it’s not on there, but here's what he says. What is impossible with man is possible with God. God can do the impossible. He can save all of us from our sin. But it requires us to say my possessions aren't worth holding on to if I don't get Jesus. So the question is, what is something that if God asked you to surrender, would you hesitate to give up? Like if I asked? Some of you have to give up tuna salad for the rest of your life? Some of you, I'd be like, That's not that big of a deal. Like, that's good. If I asked some of you to give a barbecue that might be a little bit tougher, right? If I asked you to give up, maybe your screens, your devices, your cell phone, your computers, that might be a little bit harder. Maybe if I, maybe if Jesus said, well, maybe you’ve got to give up that yearly vacation you take every year that you lean so heavily on. Am I getting a little bit more personal? But all that to say, listen, if Jesus were to ask you to give something up, what would be that one thing that you would hesitate and cling to? Because that's a sign that that's probably an idol lurking. And we've got to be very careful. Interesting quote here from Saint Augustine. I think it helps us understand this a little bit. He says, God means to fill each of you with what is good. So cast out what is bad. You can't be filled up with what is good. If you have trash in it. He wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine. Where is the honey to go? He says the vessel must be emptied of its contents and then be cleansed. Yes, it must be cleansed. Even if you have to work hard and scour it, it must be made fit for the new thing, whatever it may be. So maybe the question for us this morning, what are we willing to do? What length and what extent are we willing to go to cleanse ourselves of the trash so that we can receive the treasure? And for some of us, we may have been following Jesus for a good bit now longer than me. I've been following Jesus since college, but some of us may have let a little bit of trash get in our life, distance us from God. We value those things more than the treasure and the kingdom of Heaven. And as a result, we've started drifting. What length and extent are you willing to go to give up those things so that you can have the treasure? See, when you see the kingdom as the greatest treasure, this world and the things in it become less attractive and appealing. If you see the treasure, the Kingdom of Heaven, as more valuable, these other things in this life, they're going to fade away from your focus. But if you honor and value the things of this world more than the Kingdom of Heaven, it's obvious what you're going to go after. Listen, you're always going to choose what your heart most desires. If you most desire something, you're going to choose it. So for you this morning, do you value the treasure and the Kingdom of Heaven more than you value the kingdom of this world? See, the problem is not that we're seeking satisfaction. So I think sometimes in Christian circles we think satisfaction is horrible, it's bad. We can't be. We can't have joy and happiness and satisfaction. And sometimes the world looks at the church and says, Well, they're just not happy. They don't do anything fun. They can’t have fun. Baloney. I've been with the weekend with these kids. They have a lot of fun and a little too much of it sometimes. But satisfaction is the key to the Christian life. If you're not satisfied by your relationship with Jesus, what else can you be satisfied with? Knowing Jesus in a personal relationship is the most satisfying thing you can experience in this life, right? But the problem is, is you're looking for satisfaction in the wrong places and the world's promising you things and making promises to you that it keeps breaking. The world won't satisfy you, it won't fulfill you. And the things of this life and the status and the rewards and the awards and the accolades and the all the 401K. Everything that we could accumulate in this life will not compare and match up to the treasure and the kingdom of Heaven and eternity with Christ. So here's your first point this morning I'm challenging us to do is to seek first the kingdom. Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, what you will drink. Don't be concerned about these worldly things. Why? Because God knows that you need them. He knows that the world needs them. He certainly knows that his people need them.

So look what it says in Matthew 6:

33. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness-- and here's the caveat-- and all these things will be added to you. Jesus will give you enough. If the Kingdom of God is first in your life, Amen. You don't have to worry about all the little things that you can get stressed over because God will provide them. If His kingdom is first. Here's your second point this morning. Invest your entire life in the kingdom. And big point for us this weekend with our students is you can’t give 100% to two things because if you give 50% to the world, you can't give 100% to God. So for us to be 100% and to be all in that is to give 100% to God. Everything hedge your bets all of your life towards God invested in the kingdom. Look what it says

in Matthew six:

lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Where's your heart this morning? Is your life being invested in the kingdom, the Kingdom of heaven? This incredible quote by Mr. Jim Elliott. He's a pastor missionary. He says he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to attain and gain what he cannot lose. Friends, you can't keep any of the stuff that we got. There's nothing that we have that we're going to keep. Our life’s going to fade away and pass by. But the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven is forever and ever and ever. And guess what? You'll never lose it in Jesus. Let's go back to our verse, because there's one more aspect, one more caveat, one more thing that I want you to see out of this verse. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up. And here's the phrase, the clause. Then in his joy,... what? He has joy in selling all that he has. How? Why would a person find joy in surrendering and giving up everything he has? How can someone have joy from sacrificing all that they have? Ask that, ask that question to yourself. Because the truth in this, I think, will change the way that we see the Kingdom of God in our relationship with Christ. Let me show you some Scripture to help us understand that

this morning. Hebrews 12:

2 says, Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the... what...? joy that was set before him, endured the cross. How could Jesus see the cross in front of him and have joy? How could Jesus know what He's about to go through when he goes to the cross to die, to hang 6 hours, to then die on a cross, to be buried? The reason why he has joy is because of what happens after. It’s because of what he gets. It's because of what he accomplishes and gives victory. Because when Jesus goes to the cross and dies, he's in the tomb for three days and he didn't stay there. And so because he is raised from the dead to new life, he gives victory and salvation to all those [who] believe. So the reason why Jesus has joy with the cross in front of him is because salvation is coming after it and because salvation is coming to all those who would believe he has joy to go through the cross. So, listen, this morning you can have joy in surrender because you realize what you receive is infinitely greater than what you're giving up. You may be giving up a lot, but what you're getting is infinitely greater and better in Christ Jesus. Possessions, money, time, relationships-- if Christ is asking us to move and give and be open to surrender those things, what you're getting is infinitely greater and better. But the temptation is that we become so easily pleased and satisfied with the things of this world. We're so easily pleased with the things in this world, and we've got such a small view on things that we miss out on the Kingdom of Heaven. And we can live a life for this world for 60, 70 years if we're blessed and have a great life on this world according to the worldly standards, but then lose it all in the end. Look at this In Second Corinthians chapter five. Paul's writing and says, So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison... And this we look not to the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen. For the things that we see with our eyes, they’re transient, they're fading, they're going away. But the things that are unseen

are eternal. [2 Corinthians 5:

16-18] Where's your vision? Are you looking at things that are right before your eyes, or are you by faith, keeping your eyes on heaven, keeping your eyes on Christ, keeping your eyes on eternity with Jesus? You see, our eternal treasure is not found on this earth in things we can see, but in the unseen reality of the Kingdom of heaven in you. God offers everything you need through the Holy Spirit, and He grants us eternal salvation now leading into eternity. Is that enough? Are you content with Jesus? So here's my last point for you this morning. Going to that last point, look to the kingdom of heaven with joy. Would you look to the Kingdom of Heaven with joy? Would you set your eyes on the crown of life that is before you and me, that we can see God enthroned and he is offering us a crown of life in eternity with us? If we would just come before him with open hands and saying, God, whatever you want, you take. Everything I have is yours anyway. My life itself is yours. So, God, take what you will so that not only do we receive the crown of life, but we talked about this weekend. You get to join in with the other 24 elders and lay down your crown at the throne of God. And I want you to be there. God wants you to be there. God wants you to be there so much. He was willing to send his son Jesus to die on the cross for that. See, to get the crown of life, Jesus had to take a crown of thorns. And for you and me, He offers simply trust and believe. And I will give you that crown of life if you remain in me to the end. One final scripture verse for you this morning, I hope this encourages you. This is a prayer from David, and he says, Restore to me

the joy of your salvation. [Psalm 51:

12] God restore in me the joy of your salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven and uphold me with a willing spirit. I think one thing that's come out of this weekend and even this morning is that there is joy in salvation. There is joy in the Kingdom of Heaven, and there is joy when you place your faith in Jesus, no matter your circumstances, no matter what you're dealing with, no matter what you have or what you don't have, Jesus is enough. So here's your challenge this morning. Do you treasure the Kingdom of God above all things? To ask yourself this question will help you understand your next step from here. In fact, we had two students to come forward over the weekend, wanted to give their life to Christ because they realized that I believe the Kingdom of God is worth it. I believe leaving my life behind for the Kingdom is worth it. And so if that's you this morning, here's my encouragement. Don't wait. This life is too short and the kingdom of heaven is going to be culminated when Jesus comes back and he's going to wrap it all up with victory. And we don't know when that day is coming. But here's what I can promise you that if you place your faith in Jesus, you will receive the crown of life at the end. And this morning that may be you. Something may be had been stirring in you for a long time, and you're not sure what it is, but God has been leading you to take the next step. And for some of you, that next step is coming forward and sharing with some of our elders or our pastors that you can accept Christ today, just like our students have been active in doing. And I pray that for you that you would value the Kingdom of Heaven more than anything. But for some of you, that next step is not salvation. It's a return to the reality that the Kingdom of Heaven is better than the kingdom of this world. With the reality we live in today, with with our homes, we build up our own castles. We wall ourselves in, pull in the driveway, close the garage door, turn the Wi-Fi on, turn the TV's on. And we sit confined in our kingdom to our deathbed. But there's a greater kingdom and there's a greater throne, a more satisfying life than living for yourself. And we offer that to you through Jesus Christ. But for some of us, we need to get back to building the Kingdom of God and not our own kingdom. And if that's you this morning, you come forward, you come forward and you pray because we want our church to be about the kingdom of heaven. Amen. So I'm going to pray for us. Pastor John is going to come up and then we'll we will close our service. Let me pray for us...