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Summary: Find strength to hang tough during trying times.

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All of us will face tough times! Do we have the strength to hang tough during such times? It is difficult to remain faithful during trying times; however, the Lord will give you strength for such times. In Revelation 2:8-11 we find a group of people who were facing trying times. The people were the believers in the church in Smyrna. Notice what the Bible says about them. "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, `These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.’’

In studying this church we find several principles that will help us find strength to face tough times.

1. The first principle is: your view of Jesus will give you strength to face tough times. John described Jesus as "the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life." In this verse we find three qualities about Jesus.

A. He is the first and the last. To me this teaches us that Jesus is consistent. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. People, circumstances and life will let us down but Jesus will always be consisten.

B. He was dead. Jesus knows what it is to face trials. He was killed on a cross. He took the pain of man’s sin upon himself. He knows the pain and heart-ache you are facing.

C. He came to life. Jesus knows what it is to be a winner over trials. When athletic teams are looking for a new coach they want a coach who is a winner. Even so, it is good to know the one who is the ultimate winner.

Illustration: Your view will motivate you to keep going during tough times. I love back packing in the Smoky Mountains. Back packing is a tough experience. However, I continue to back pack in spite of the tough walks and sore muscles. The view from the top keeps me going back time after time.

2. A second principle is: your commitment will give you strength. John describes the tough times being faced by the believers in Smyrna. "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." John mentions tribulation, poverty, suffering and imprisonment. It is obvious the believers were committed or else they would have caved in to the pressures they faced.

A. In order for your faith to be of benefit there must be more than a casual commitment.


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