Summary: How to find encouragement when everything seems to be against me.
Satan has three lines of attack. First, he tries to keep men from becoming Christians. Then, if stopped here, he tries to keep them from being active and useful as Christians. And finally, as a last resort, he tries to destroy their character. (Lou Nicholes - Author and Missionary).
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
The letter to Smyrna, the shortest of the seven letters, was written to Christians being persecuted not only by pagan Gentiles but also by hostile Jews and by Satan himself. Smyrna, a large city, rebuilt by Alexander the Great, was wealthy and famous.
I. Smyrna was a crushed Church. (vv. 9b-10a)
1. They faced persecution. This church was paying the price for their allegiance to Jesus.
2. They faced poverty. They had none of this world’s goods because of their relationship with Jesus.
3. They faced prison. Soon the Romans would begin imprisoning people for being Christians.
II. Smyrna was a consistent Church. (v. 9a)
1. They had a positive testimony. The Lord had no rebuke for this church.
2. They had a powerful testimony. Jesus said to them, “I know thy works.”
III. Smyrna was a comforted Church. (vv. 8-11)
1. They had the interest of Heaven. “I know thy works.”
2. They had the involvement of Heaven. Jesus comes to them as “the first and the last.”
3. They had their investment in Heaven. What they lacked God made up for in Heaven.
4. They had their inheritance in Heaven. Their faithfulness had purchased a great inheritance.
I need to look at our Lord’s words to this struggling little congregation to find the encouragement that I need to be able to stand when all else is against me.