Summary: The series of messages on End Times for Today will take the words from Revelation chapter by chapter and reveal the blessings that are promised within these pages. The city of Smyrna was called “The Crown City” because it was surrounded by hills that res
The city of Smyrna was called “The Crown City” because it was surrounded by hills that resembled a crown. It was also called “The Flower of Asia.”
When the city chose a motto to be imprinted on their coinage, they chose the phrase “First in Asia in Size and Beauty.”
In this beautiful, wealthy pagan city, there existed a struggling Christian community.
The church in Smyrna was undergoing intense and withering persecution.
The Lord Jesus comes to them with a word of comfort for their dark days.
He tells them that even though they appear to be so weak and so poor, they are, in fact, rich beyond imagination.
So let us take a look at this “Rich Poor Church” and see how it relates to us today.
Turn with me this morning as we take our text from Revelation 2:8-11. Please stand and follow along with me in honor of the Word of God.
8And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:8-11
A Crushed Church by Tribulation
The church at Smyrna was during the historical period where terrible persecution inflicted upon believers by the Roman emperors between the years of 100 AD and 312 AD.
When one takes a look at Christianity around the world we will see churches that are being persecuted because of their beliefs.
Even in America we are starting to see a push to discredit the New Testament church.
Hollywood portrays the New Testament church as that relies on the fables of an out of date book.
In verse 9 it says that Smyrna faced tribulation. The word tribulation means pressure.
The pressure did not come from the lost people of Smyrna alone.
It also came from the liberals, so called Christians, the Jewish community.
The Jews in Smyrna joined hands with the idolaters in that city to defeat and destroy the Christians by whatever means necessary.
Jesus calls them “the synagogue of Satan” and accuses them of blaspheme (slander) against these believers.
Why did the people of Smyrna hate the believers so? There are several reasons.
The same reason the church today is being or starting to see tribulation (pressure) from the world.
They misunderstood the church and therefore fabricated lies against the church.
Besides the Jewish community, there where liberal Christians that came against the church at Smyrna, spreading lies.
A liberal Christian is one who is willing to discard traditional values to fit into society. In reality there is no such thing as a liberal Christian, because you cannot embrace the world and Christ.
The Bible says in 1 John 2:15-17 that you cannot, Love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Today we have those that call themselves Christians, yet embrace the world’s liberal views.
When I see this happening I see a caution sign going up and I am reminded of 1 John 2:15-17 that you cannot, Love the world, neither the things that are in the world and call yourself a Christian.
You cannot embrace the world view and Christ, either you will love the one and hate the other. 1 John 2:15 says;
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
At Smyrna they accused the church of:
1. Christians were accused of cannibalism. Christians kept communion and part of that observance was eating the bread and drinking from the cup. These represented the broken body and the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:24-26 says; 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.