The crown of life shields us from the second death.
May 4, 2021 verse of the day. Revelation 2:11:
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death."
I recently saw a church sign say: "Born once, die twice; born twice, die once." Everyone faces death on earth. The Bible refers to our earthly physical death as the "first death." The "second death" is eternal separation from God and his common grace. God's common grace allows unbelievers to experience blessings not a part of salvation (food, jobs, rain, family, breathing, health, etc.). After the 1000 year reign of Christ and His saints on the earth, unbelievers will receive resurrected bodies and stand before the "Great White Throne of Judgment." Being judged guilty of not accepting Christ's death for their sins, each unbeliever will stand alone and answer for their sinful actions (rebellion against God's will and ways). They then will individually be separated from God and each other and be cast into eternal hell (second death). No relief from pain and suffering, no one to help comfort them, alone groping in the dark, unimaginable heat and night sweats, and forever punished describes the "second death."
Jesus promises the church at Smyrna that the "second death will not hurt believers." We can be born twice while on earth and only die once. Being born twice requires that we die to sin while living on this earth (Hebrews 9:27; John 3: 5–7). Jesus died and received punishment for our sins. If we believe and ask Him to forgive us and live life following Jesus' instructions, we never fear the second death. We will suffer bad things on earth, but earthly suffering is a light affliction compared to eternal damnation.
Jesus asks us, believers, this morning, what is the worst that can happen? Whatever trouble you face today, the worst that can happen is you die and go to heaven. Jesus is the first and last Eternal/Invincibleble Savior who was dead and came to life (Revelation 2:8). Jesus sees the beginning of our troubles and tribulations, and He sees how they end.
Jesus gives us two commands. First, do not fear earthly suffering (2:10). Satan and those doing his bidding (unbelievers and demonic angels) will continually test us. Jesus promises our tribulations are temporary (lasting ten days; 2:10). Second, remain faithful to Jesus no matter what Satan slings your way today (2:10).
Jesus says, listen up! The Spirit is speaking to believers (2:11). Jesus promises us the crown of life that protects us from the second death (2:10–11). The crown of life refers to eternal life with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, and all believers. I hope to see you in heaven. When you ask me if believing in Jesus and obeying him was worth all the suffering and trouble, I will say look at the crowns of life we are all wearing. We have won the victory over the second death.
Lord Jesus, my Eternal and Invincible God and Savior thank you, for dying for me and granting that I am a reborn child of God (John 1:12). Lord, you know I don't like suffering, and I usually don't handle trouble well. I do not know what will happen today. I do know the worst thing is I depart here and receive the crown of life. Lord Jesus, while I remain, help me not to fear the hurts and harms of earth. Please keep me faithful to you in all I say and do. I love you because you first loved me (1 John 4:18–19). In Jesus' name, amen.