Summary: Christ has the very special message for the church that is suffering trouble and persecution. Jesus is always in charge of what happens to us. He controls the circumstances and troubles no matter what happens. Therefore, He will work all things for our go
MESSAGES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
Smyrna – “Persecuted & Poor Rich Church”
Good News Christian Fellowship
July 29, 2006
BUCAS, Daraga Albay
Last week we began our message with the church at Ephesus. That church represents the believer and the church that had forsaken their first love. The Ephesians Church lost their zeal and enthusiasm in their service to the Lord, though they are doctrinally pure. And the Lord exhorts them to repent and do the things they did before.
Today, we will take a look to the message to the Church at Smyrna. Remember that this not only a historical church but also a symbolic church because they represent all types of churches and Christians.
The Recipient (2:8a)
A. The Minister - "And unto the angel…”
The letter is addressed to the minister (angel) of the Church. The Greek word for angel (angelos) means both angel and messenger, that is, it can mean an earthly messenger. In the case of the Church the meaning is the minister or pastor of the church. It is the responsibility of the minister or pastor to take care of the Church.
According to the history, Polycarp an elder is the pastor of Smyrna church. Polycarp is an apprentice of Apostle John.
“Polycarp, an elder at the church in Smyrna, was burned alive at the stake in 155 A.D. for his refusal to deny Christ and swear allegiance to Caesar.” (Harbor at Smyrna- David Padfield)
B. The Church – “… of the Church in Smyrna.”
1. It’s Beginning.
We don’t have the exact details when was the church began. We also don’t have an explicit account who founded the church. However, some bible commentators believes that the church there was founded during Paul’s third missionary journey (Acts 19:10)
“The Apostle Paul spent three years in Ephesus founding a strong, dynamic church (Ac. 20:31). According to Acts 19:10, word about what was happening at the church in Ephesus had spread throughout all of Asia Minor (cf. Ac. 19:26)” [The Church in Prophetic Perspective by John MacArthur]
Most likely, I believe, the seven churches were founded at this time. Apparently, these laymen and others carried the word throughout all of Asia during those two years. John McArthur commented, “I believe it was an offshoot of the tremendous work that went on in Ephesus. The church in Ephesus had excellent teachers: Paul, Timothy, Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos. Their message possibly spread to Smyrna. However it started isn’t the point; what’s important is the fact that it did. It is not named in the book of Acts, and evidently Paul never went there on any of his missionary journeys.”
2. The Name. “Smyrna is the Greek name of the Myrrha commifera shrub, also known as the dindin tree; a plant that produces the aromatic resin called myrrh and is indigenous to the Middle East and northeastern Africa. The Romans took this name over as Smyrna which is the name used in English for the pre-Turkish periods. The name İzmir is the Turkish version of the same name” – (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
A little over 30 miles north of Ephesus is the city of Smyrna -- both cities are on the Aegean coast of modern Turkey.
Smyrna, known today as Izmir, is Turkey’s third largest city. İzmir is also home to Turkey’s second largest Jewish community after Istanbul, still 2,500 strong- (Wikpedia.org/izmir)
a. Smyrna means bitter - Myrrh is a red-brown resinous material, the dried sap of the tree Commiphora myrrha. Myrrh is currently used in some liniments, healing salves that may be applied to abrasions and other minor skin ailments. It was use in making perfume ( Ps. 43:8), oil, for embalming (John. 19:39), for purification of women (Ester 2:12), and for relieving pain (Mk. 15:23) It should be noted this church (Smyrna) was experiencing what its name said: bitter, sorrow, affliction and persecution.
b. Smyrna was persecuting the church – The city has a large number of Jews who were influential in city politics. Many of the early converts to Christ were Jews. The reactions of the Jews were severe. They use their influence to stamp out the church. In some cases job were lost, and all cases, social life within the city were severe
Smyrna, unlike the city of Ephesus, stands today. Though many of these believers died a martyr’s death, Satan could not stamp out their testimony. Suffering has a way of keeping us pure in our devotion to Christ and it was evidently so with this church.
3. The History - The excavations carried out in 1948 by the British Archaeological Institute of Athens and, after 1960, by the Turkish Historical Association under Prof. Ekrem Akurgal have shown that the first settlement, known as Bayraklý, can be dated as far back as the Bronze Age (3500-1000 B.C.)