Summary: Letter to the Church at Smyrna who were amidst suffering
The Revelation to Smyrna - Words to the Suffering.
A little boy was leading his sister up a mountain path and the way was not too easy. ¡§Why this isn¡¦t a path at all,¡¨ the little girl complained. ¡§Its all rocky and bumpy.¡¨ Her little brother kept on up the mountain, pausing just long enough to call out ¡§Sure, but the bumps are what you climb on.¡¨
Remarkable isn¡¦t it that we can look at problems and difficulties with such different perspective¡¦s. To one, they are obstacles, as big as a mountain - almost impossible to overcome, but to another they are an asset and merely a mole hill. We all suffer and we all face problems in life - every single man on earth has - even the successful and godly ones. Think of the heroes of the faith - Abraham had some pretty major bumps to overcome. He was told to leave his homeland and all he held secure. He arrives in Canaan and no sooner had he pitched his tent, than he was in the midst of a famine. Then he had problems with his greedy nephew who took all the best land, he had wars to fight, his wife couldn¡¦t bear him a child and so he agreed to have a child with his maidservant. Finally the clouds rolled away and things were looking up - Isaac was born. But then Abraham was told to go and sacrifice him. Abraham¡¦s life was not easy, neither was Joseph¡¦s, Moses¡¦, David¡¦s, Daniel¡¦s, Paul¡¦s or anyone else you¡¦d care to mention.
How about you? How is the road you are travelling? Does it seem rough and windy? Well take heart, because Christ has a message for you - a letter of encouragement, a personal message for you to take to heart and lift you up.
But before we start, let¡¦s pause and ask God to speak to us individually right where we are at today. PRAY
In the last book of the Bible - Revelation, there are recorded 7 letters written to 7 churches. The last time I spoke, we looked at the first of these letters and today we are going to focus on the second. We¡¦ll end up covering them all in the next months as we have opportunity. You¡¦ll find the second in Revelation Chapter 2.
Before launching into the second letter, I think we¡¦d better have a bit of a recap, since most of you probably don¡¦t remember anything about the first. We read previously part of Chapter 1 which sets the scene for us.
Here we find out that the following revelation was actually a revelation given to Jesus Christ from God (vs 1) which was given to
1) To show his servants what is to come (vs.
2) bless those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it. So listen this morning and take the words to heart and you will be blessed because this is what God has promised.
Who Wrote it, Where and When?
John apostle and the servant of God (vs 1, 4, 9) wrote the messages down while he was on the Island of Patmos. John had been banished to the Island of Patmos and was likely in a labour camp working the mines because of his faith. It was during a period of intense persecution of Christians - likely during the reign of Domitian (90-95AD).
The First vision & The Command to write
We see John having a vision. He was in the spirit on the Lord¡¦s day and all of a sudden, his thoughts were broken by a voice like a trumpet which commanded him (vs 11) ¡§Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.¡¨
So John Wrote - 7 letters direct from the mouth of the risen Jesus Christ. They were addressed to 7 churches in particular, but also to us as the wider church.
So that¡¦s the background are you ready to get into the second and see what it has to tell us?
Chapter 2 vs 8 lets read it ...
Letter to Smyrna - ¡§I understand your suffering¡¨
The second church on God¡¦s list was Smyrna, just 35km from Ephesus and in many way was like Ephesus.
Smyrna literally meant ¡§myrrh¡¨ - a fine perfume and this was quite fitting for Smyrna which was a wealthy and beautiful city. It was destroyed in the Seventh Century, but was rebuilt in the Third Century by Rome and was one of the few planned out cities in Asia Minor. It was a modern and architecturally asthetic city. It had an excellent harbour, lavish temples, a famous stadium and one of the largest public theatres in Asia Minor. It still exists as Izmir, Turkey