Church Of Smyrna a Part 2
Revelation 2:8-11 8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. 11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Persecution, torture, and imprisonment based only on a person’s faith in Jesus Christ is very active today just like in the time of the church in Smyrna. Jesus through John wrote an encouraging word to the Smyrna church and to all Christians who are threatened, in persecution and/or facing death for their faith. He starts by telling them I was dead and I came to life. He is reassuring those facing death for their faith in Him, your Redeemer lives. Death will not separate you from Me, you are promised eternal life through Me.
THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN SMYRNA
Smyrna was a wealthy and prosperous city, and the people living there had jobs, wealth, possessions, and they worshiped many pagan gods. They loved Rome, Rome loved them, and Caesar was declared god. For some all of this was about to change. The gospel of Jesus Christ came and was being preached in Smyrna. Not everyone agreed with what was being said especially the part about worshiping other gods. As the message of Christ continued a few of the people received Jesus Christ into their hearts. Now their loyalty was to another God, a living God, One who had sacrificed for them and gave them a secure hope for their future. But accepting this God came with a price. According to the other people they were seen as traitors and a threat to the godship of Caesar. They began to lose their place, position, job, and material possessions until they became poor. They went from having more than enough to living day by day.
DOES THIS CHURCH STILL EXIST TODAY
This is still happening today all over but now it is beginning to occur in America.
Most Americans are blinded to the fact that our basic freedoms are being abolished, our standard of living is diminishing, and our faith in Christ and His Holy ways will now cost us. What will it cost you? It will cost you your Business, your Job, and all your material stuff you own. This is how persecution begins when people stand for the living Lord God, and the rest are turning their back to worship pagan gods.
Jesus reassures believers He knows all about being persecuted and hated “without a cause.” Jesus was not hated by the world only, but the religious hated Him also.
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
John 15:18-19 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
THE WORLD VS. THE JESUS
Unbelievers and the religious are offended when told salvation is by Jesus Christ alone. There is no salvation plus works or anything else. Jesus finished the work of salvation. Salvation is by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ and man is completely absent from its accomplishment. A Christian’s work is their faith and their obedience to the commands of Christ is a testament to their love for Christ. So the works of a Christian is a manifestation of their faith in the finished work of salvation by Jesus on His cross.
The believers in Smyrna were suffering for their Lord’s sake but the world saw them as weak and stupid for losing all they had gained in life. The same is true today, the world says retaliate, God says “vengeance is Mine.” The world says, be aggressive or assertive, Jesus says “lay down your life and follow Me.” Christians know God’s grace is their need and when they suffer insults, hardships, persecutions, and trouble for Christ sake; in their weakness they are strong ( 2 Corinthians 12:8-10). The world sees a Christian Faith in Jesus as a crutch because of the assumed lack of strength and courage. The world may see you as poor and weak but Jesus sees you very differently. How much courage does it take to live a life of ease and wealth?
I watched a video of ISIS beheading Christians. They did not struggle, they did not plead for their life, and they knew in their heart the One Who Holds and Keeps Them. Though you may be afraid Jesus sees our heart and He knows our faith in Him. Jesus sees someone rich in spiritual maturity and eternal wealth. Jesus sees someone afraid but standing in their faith for His name sake and not giving into the fear, He says this is courage.
WHAT DOES ONE RECEIVE WHEN THEY STAND
Revelation 2:10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. 11 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.
Do not fear is Jesus instruction. Satan is the believer’s enemy. Persecution even to death is their future. The crown of life and eternity in heaven not hell is their promise.
The word BE in Revelation 2:10 means
I came into being, am born (Strong’s Concordance)
Signifies a change of condition, state, or place – (Vine, Unger, White, NT 109)
To come into being/manifestation implying motion, movement, or growth. Thus it is used for God’s actions as emerging from eternity and becoming (showing themselves) in time (physical space) – (M. Vincent, HELPS- Word Studies).
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN
Being born again is God’s action from heaven and faith in Jesus Christ is always in motion. A believer’s faith is growing and maturing by way of testing. A believer’s faith will manifest itself through their life here on earth.
Jesus held nothing against the church in Smyrna. Those being persecuted and being faithful through horrific circumstances today, even unto death, will receive the crown of life and will escape the second death, hell. Jesus is telling all Christians, past, present, and future, I see, I know, I will never leave you, and I have great rewards in eternity for you.
Is Jesus your heart’s desire? Will your faith stand the test?
2 Corinthians 5:6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 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.
Biblegateway.com (we use Bible verses from this site)
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