FROM THE DESK OF Patriarch and Presiding Prelate
HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11).
When James and John came to Christ with their mother, asking Him to give them the best place in the kingdom, He did not refuse their request but told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism.
Do we want the competition? The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown. I am here to remind you [us] that our battle has begun and the trials are with us regardless of the name title we hold. You may be close to the Bishop or elder but can you drink of the bitter cup? Faint not my brothers and sisters your eyes should be set on the Crown of Glory.
Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the Providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies embedded in the very heart of these things–those hardships and trials that are pressing you this very hour, week and month of your life. The hardest things are not those that the world knows of. Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial that you would not dare to mention that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.
There, beloved lies your crown. God help you to overcome and sometimes to wear it. “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 Peter 5:1-4
I. The Crown of Glory.
• The Crown of Glory is awarded to pastors and elders, who have been faithful ministers of the Gospel. (There are other offices I will not mention for this specific topic)
• The Crown of Glory is for all those who are called of God, who have obeyed God in their calling and who have faithfully served His people.
• Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
• God has called some people to be in full-time ministry. He has called others to serve in a “ministry of help” capacity.
• 1 Corinthians 12:28 KJV – And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
II. Shepherds of the flock.
• 1 Peter 5:2 says that the people belong to God—they are His sheep; His flock—and do not belong to any man. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and we are all under-shepherds, who answer directly to Him. When He comes, He will award the Crown of Glory to the shepherds who carried out their responsibilities diligently and in a spirit of love and truth.
• As ministers of the gospel, we are responsible to diligently tend the flock of God; nurturing, guarding and guiding them.
• Ministers must have a good attitude about their calling. The Lord wants you to do it willingly—not by coercion or constraint; not because you have to, or are forced to—do it because you want to do it; do it because you want to please God! That is how God wants it.
• Never minister to God’s people out of a money motive or because of any other selfish reason. Do not calculate what you can get out of it. The (Bylaws) says that we should not be dishonourably motivated by the advantages and profits belonging to the office. What we should do is be spontaneous, be cheerful, and be eagerly happy to serve.
• Ministers are in a place of leadership, but 1 Peter 5:3 says that you should never use that authority to dominate others. Never be arrogant, dictatorial, or overbearing and do not bossily tell others what to do.
• Rather, be a good example to the flock; to the congregation. You can be both firm and kind, tenderly showing them the way. Be a pattern and model of Christian living. Live what you believe and practice what you preach!
III. Work Together to Build the Kingdom of God.
• Everyone has their part to do. Leaders are to lead in the Spirit of Christ and the flock is to respect and work with the leadership that the Lord has placed over them.
• 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
• We do the work, but God is still in charge. He is the boss and He pays the wages!
• 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.7 So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
• Give it ALL you’ve got, but don’t try to do it in your own strength! Lean on the Lord—He will empower you with superhuman energy!
• Colossians 1:28-29 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
IV. The Reward of Your Labour.
• 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.7 So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
• Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
• 1 Peter 5:4 says that when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
• The Greek word for “crown” is Stephanos, which is the crown awarded at the games. It was made of olive or laurel and soon faded. The Crown of Glory, which the Lord will give to His under-shepherds, is eternal and will outlast the ages.
My fellow Ministers of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I wrote these words to encourage you in the Lord and to continue in the fear of His word. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. No matter what is thrown at you in these last days even though we may not meet on these shores again but one day we will meet face to face with God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ the righteous and giver of life. I am encouraging you not to give up. Keep trusting the Lord and under all circumstances hold on to the Rock that is higher than you.