Sermon:
LIVING FAITHFUL IN AN UNFAITHFUL WORLD
REV. 2:8-11

I. INTRODUCTION
IT APPEARS THAT WE ARE LIVING IN AN AGE WHERE WICKEDNESS REIGNS, RIGHTEOUSNESS HAS RESIGNED, MORALS HAVE MOVED, AND SIN IS SITTING ON THE THRONE. YES MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, IT SEEMS AS IF SOCIETY IS HEADED FOR A COLLISION COURSE WITH CHAOS; AS HUMANITY DANCES WITH DESTRUCTION, BECAUSE GENUINE COMPASSION AND CONCERN HAS BEEN EVICTED FROM THE MINDS OF MEN. THE NEWS BROADCASTS ARE FILLED WITH MORE BAD NEWS THAN GOOD NEWS. THE PAPERS ARE PERMEATED WITH THE PAINS OF THIS WORLD. THE RICH GET RICHER, THE POOR GET POORER, AND THE HAVE NOTS HAVE NOT, BECAUSE THOSE WHO HAVE CONTINUE TO TIGHTEN THEIR GRIP ON WHAT THEY HAVE.
THERE ARE THOSE WHO PERSIST IN PUTTING GOD OUT OF EVERYTHING. WHENEVER GODS’ PRESENCE IS OMITTED FROM ANYTHING, IT MESSES UP EVERTHING. IS THERE ANY HOPE OF MOVING OUT FROM UNDER THIS BITTER CLOUD OF CONFUSION? WHAT IS OUR DISCOURSE IN THE MIDST OF DISTURBING DILEMMAS? WHAT CAN THE PEOPLE OF GOD DO? THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE, BUT THE PROCESS IS CHALLENGING, AND THAT’S TO LIVE FAITHFUL IN AN UNFAITHFUL WORLD.
II. THE TEXT
WHEN WE LOOK AT THE CITY OF SMYRNA, IT WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST CITIES OF ITS’ REGION, KNOWN BY MANY AS THE “FIRST CITY,” OF ASIA. THE CHURCH OF SMYRNA, ALONG WITH THE CHURCH OF PHILADELPHIA, ARE THE ONLY TWO CHURCHES IN REVELATION THAT CHRIST DID NOT REPRIMAND.
CHRIST KNOWS THE WORKS OF HIS CHURCH. JUST AS HE KNOWS THE WORKS OF SMYRNA, HE KNOWS EVERY MOTIVE BEHIND WHAT WE DO HERE AT ZION. NOT ONLY DOES HE KNOW THE WORKS OF THE CHURCH, BUT HE KNOWS THE WORKS OF EACH INDIVIDUAL.
NOT ONLY DOES CHRIST KNOW THEIR WORKS, BUT HE KNOWS THE TRIALS, THE DISTRESS, AND THE AFFLICTION THAT HIS PEOPLE ENCOUNTER FOR HIS SAKE. YES, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THERE ARE GOING TO BE TIMES IN THIS LIFE WHEN WE MUST SUFFER FOR OUR BELIEF IN THE MASTER. I HAVE DISCOVERED THAT SUFFERING IS CONDUCIVE TO THIS CHRISTIAN JOURNEY. BUT WE MUST LIVE FAITHFUL IN AN UNFAITHFUL WORLD.

THIS CHURCH WAS PHYSICALLY, FINACIALLY BANKRUPTED, BUT SPIRITUALLY WEALTHY. THE WORD POVERTY IN THIS PASSAGE COMES FROM A WORD THAT MEANS HAVING NOTHING. BUT NOTICE IF YOU WILL, THAT FROM MAN’S STANDPOINT, THEY ARE POOR, BUT FROM CHRIST’S STANDPOINT THEY ARE RICH. FAR TOO MANY CHURCH FOLK ARE CONCERNED WITH MAN’S STANDPOINT AS OPPOSED TO CHRISTS’.

CHRIST KNOWS THOSE WHO ARE HIS, AND THOSE WHO BELONG TO SATAN, JOHN 10:5, “AND A STRANGER WILL THEY NOT FOLLOW, BUT WILL FLEE FROM HIM: FOR THEY KNOW NOT THE VOICE OF STRANGERS. 27, “MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME.” IN OTHER WORDS, CHRIST KNOWS THE SAINTS FROM THE AINTS.

REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE LORDS’ FAITHFUL GO THROUGH IN THIS LIFE, WE ARE NOT TO BE FEARFUL OR FRETFUL, OUR LORD IS A VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE. WE MAY FIND OURSELVES OSTRACIZED, CRITICIZED, AND DISENFRANCHISED, BUT WE HAVE THE ASSURANCE ACCORDING TO 1 JOHN 4:4 THAT GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN US THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD. WE ALSO HAVE THE GUARANTEE