Summary: 1. History of Smyrna (Modern day Izmir) 2. The Trials/Tribulations they faced. 3. Worsening Persecution 4. Their reward
September 21, 2003
Title: 7 Churches of Revelation: Smyrna
Text: Rev. 2:8-11
1. During this series on the 7 Churches of Revelation, there are several things that we want to happen.
A. We want to understand that Jesus is walking amongst the lampstands...
He is walking amongst His Churches...
He is visiting them
Checking them out
Seeing what they are up to
I’m sure that at some churches, Jesus receives a warm welcome...
And I’m just as sure that if the Holy Spirit were to show up at other churches, he wouldn’t be welcome!
As Jesus is visiting our church, I want us to extend to Him the warm welcome.
I want Him to know that we WANT Him to be here.
B. Another thing that we want to happen during this series...
We want to listen...
We want to hear God’s Voice
We want the Holy Spirit to move into our hearts and lives...
We want Him to have His way...
We want to be receptive to the command of Christ "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches"
2. Last week, we talked about Ephesus...a Church that once had a fiery passionate love for the Lord...
A. But they had let it wane.
Their love had cooled off
They took it for granted...
Much like an old married couple after years of kids, financial problems, and just the cares of life.
B. Tonight, we will look at Smyrna.
Read Text: Rev. 2:8-11
1. History of Smyrna
A. Smyrna is by far the oldest city on the Aegean coast.
Legend says Smyrna was founded by the queen of the Amazons, a mythical nation of women soldiers.
Other stories say that the first settlement was built by a roving band of pirates.
The name Smyrna, is derived from myrrh,* a small tree that grows abundantly in the region
Smyrna was a prosperous town in the 7th century BC.
Homer, the poet, is claimed to have been born in Smyrna
He is thought to have written the Iliad here between 750 and 725 BC.
The city was sacked by the Lydian king Alyattes about 600 BC
and again by the Persians around 545 BC.
B. Afterward Smyra was an unimportant scattering of villages until 334 BC when it was seized by Alexander the
Legend says that while on a hunting expedition in the surrounding area,
Alexander became tired and fell asleep.
In a dream he was advised to move the city three miles to the south,
on top of the present acropolis, Mt. Pagus.
This new city--is the Smyrna of the New Testament--
It grew and became an important city.
After the time of Alexander, the city was taken by the King of Pergamum.
Still later, after the fall of Pergamum, it passed into the hands of Rome.
Even before the founding of the Roman Empire, the city was a faithful ally to Rome.
In 26 AD the city won out over several other cities for the right to build a temple to emperor Tiberius,
and from then on it became a center for the cult of emperor worship.
The city never wavered in its loyalty to Rome,
and the emperors protected Smyrna and contributed heavily to its development.
Smyrna is not as well known as the other churches...
Smyrna is known as the home of one of the early church leaders named Polycarp.
Smryna was located on a harbor...
the surrounding land rising gently from the water’s edge to a hill or small mountain in the background
Located on top of this hill was the Acropolis. (show pic)
The city was one time destroyed by fire.
For 400 years, the city barely existed...
but it was finally rebuilt
Perhaps this was why Jesus revealed Himself to them as Rev 2:8 "This is the message from the one who is the first and the last, who died and lived again. "
The city itself had experienced this.
C. More current history...
the city often suffered from attacking armies, massacres, earthquakes, fires and plagues.
In 178 AD, eighty years after the church received John’s revelation,
the city was destroyed by a terrible earthquake,
but it was restored by emperor Marcus Aurelius.
They have frequent earthquakes.
In 1688 the city was almost completely destroyed by a severe earthquake,
the ground opened up and swallowed 5,000 people.
In 1758 a plague almost wiped out the city,
and in 1922 the city was burnt by the Turkish Army
Under Turkish rule it was renamed Izmir,
and today it is the only one of the seven cities of Asia which retains anything of its ancient standing.
Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city (2.7 million) after Istanbul and Ankara.
Izmir is the last stronghold of Christianity in Turkey.