Summary: Perseverance is trusting God no matter how painful or difficult your situation is.When our faith it tested understand it produces perseverance. Let us look at the perseverance of the Church at Symrna.
Series – Revelation: Letter to the Church at Smyrna
Title – Perseverance
Scripture: Revelation 2:8-11
Introduction: Have you ever felt like you are losing your patience waiting for God’s promises in your life? Times you may feel nothing in your life seems to be coming near the promise. There is absolutely no change in your condition or problems. People are accusing you for nothing etc. The Bible says we Christians have to be people of perseverance. Perseverance is being patient while waiting for the promises of God. It keeps on believing, seeking, striving, and trusting God even when success takes longer than expected. Perseverance is trusting God no matter how painful or difficult your situation is. James 1:2-3 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. When our faith it tested understand it produces perseverance.
Today I want to speak to you on perseverance of the church at Smyrna and God’s promises for perseverance. I spoke about the letter to the church at Ephesus. Today I am going to speak about the letter to the church at Smyrna.
Read Revelation 2:8-11
Background of Smyrna: Smyrna is in present day Turkey, now called Izmir. It was a port city with big building and lots of trade. At John’s time it was a beautiful city with approximately 100000 residents. Smyrna was ruled by Roman Government and Caesar worship was very common.
What is Jesus telling to the church at Smyrna?
1. I know thy afflictions (Rev. 2:9). Affliction means persecution, tribulation etc. In Greek it means to crush, to apply heavy pressure upon. It has the same meaning of pressing fruits to obtain the juice or torture as a person is crushed under a giant boulder. Jesus is in other words telling them that he knows them intimately and he knows their problems. Christians at Smyrna were a minority. We have all gone through some trouble being a Christian but the church at Smyrna faced more persecution. Each year every citizen had to burn incense on the altar to the God of Caesar and say ‘Caesar is Lord.’ The Christians at Smyrna refused to practice Caesar worship because of which they faced severe persecution. The Christians were mocked, abused, and cursed. They lost their property and were put in jail, all because of their faith in Jesus. The church at Smyrna had persecution and trouble yet they persevered in their faith in Jesus. Jesus is commending them for their wonderful attitude in trials, perseverance.
2. I know your poverty (Rev. 2:9). The church at Smyrna was very poor. They had the worst possible state of poverty. Their material procession was taken away by persecution. Christians were excluded from their community by law. They could not sell or buy anything. They were not given jobs and could not do business because of their faith in Jesus. The believers were in poverty. Now, Jesus knew the financial difficulty they faced. Today, he knows our financial problems and struggles. He knows the condition of our businesses. He knows as a believer we lose up in business. Child of God when there is not enough cash for your basic needs like food, clothing, and fees for your children Jesus knows it. The church at Smyrna was poor yet they persevered. Let us learn to keep our faith in God in tough times.
3. I know the slander against you (Rev. 2:9). Slander/blasphemy is profane accusations. Remember slander came from the Jews of the city. They used all their influence to trouble the children of God. They ridiculed, mocked, spread rumors, accused, and criticized God’s people. Jesus is telling them that he knows the cruel things said about them. “People are trying to accuse you and tear you down,” I know you. Child of God many of us has paid a price for following God. Some have come alone from their families and are facing accusations. Remember Jesus knows your pain and the wrong accusations against you. He knows you are facing the slander alone. Let us persevere like the church at Smyrna.
Now, the church at Smyrna was a very positive church. In the midst of their persecution, poverty, and trials they kept up their faith, the trusted in God. God really did not have any word of rebuke for this church. In spite of their difficulties they were faithful to God. Jesus is encouraging them not to be afraid (Rev. 2:10). In our difficulties God is telling us the same word of encouragement, do not be Afraid (Isaiah 43:1-3a). We can see God giving them 3 promises mainly because they persevered.
The promises to the church at Smyrna (Rev. 2:9-10).
1. You are rich. God is telling you are poor – Yet you are rich! Yes indeed they were rich in grace and truth. Understand financial prosperity alone is not richness. A child of God can be rich even without money, in grace and truth. The church at Smyrna was satisfied with whatever they had. I believe that they were faithful to God in tithing with the little that they had, therefore God definitely provided for them. Read Psalm 37:25 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.