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Summary: How does the Church in Smyrna compare to our Church? 2nd in series of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

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To the Church in Smyrna

In this series on the seven churches of revelation, we will be examining the commendation and condemnation of each of the seven churches and learning the lessons that is meant for our Church. Today we will look at the 2nd church of revelation, the church in Smyrna.

Let’s read:

Rev 2:8-11

8 "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.

9 I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

(NIV)

The City of Smyrna was located about 40 miles north of Ephesus. It was a very old, beautiful city. Today it is called Izmir and has a population of over 300,000. It is the third largest city in Turkey. Smyrna was nicknamed "Port of Asia" because of its excellent harbor on the Aegean Sea. It was part of the trade route from India and Persia to Rome. Smyrna was very patriotic to Rome and built the first Roman temple in honor of Tiberius and accepted the principle of Caesar worship. Each year every Roman citizen had to burn incense on the altar to the godhead of Caesar and say, "Caesar is Lord." Because the Christians at Smyrna refuse to participate in this act, they suffered tremendous persecution. Smyrna also had a large population of apostate Jews, who didn’t practice their faith and hated the Christians.

Let’s now look at the message to the church in Smyrna.

Rev 2

8 "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.

Jesus is reminding the Pastor and the church in Smyrna, that He is the First and Last. Jesus is ensuring the church that He was the one that spoke the world into creation and that He will still be their God after Satan is thrown into the burning lake of fire. Jesus is also ensuring them that He did die on the cross for their sins, but also rose on the third day and He sits at the right hand of God the Father. This is not only a message of comfort to the Church in Smyrna, but also to us. God is in control then and He is still in control today and will be in control tomorrow and always.

The Commendation:

Rev 2

9 I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Christ is telling them that He knows that they are being persecuted and that they are very poor. The Christians were being thrown into prison and even killed because they refused to worship Caesar. Because of their refusal to obey the Roman laws, they were not allowed to belong to the labor guilds of that day, thus they were not able to obtain decent paying jobs to support their families. They were in extreme poverty. God never promised any of us that we would be wealthy or famous. He did promise that He would provide for our needs; food, clothing and shelter. I watch a lot of TV preachers on the Sky Angel satellite system and I get so upset when I hear some of them telling their congregation that if they would tithe then God would bless them with large houses and expensive cars. We are required to tithe, but we are to do it with a feeling of love and not out of obligation and not expecting anything in return. Even though they were in poverty, Christ said they were rich! You can have all the money in the world and be the most liked and famous person in the world, but without Christ you are nothing, you are dead. Having Christ has our Savior and Lord is greater than any riches that we could every hope for. If you have Christ in your heart and are living a true Christian life, then you are the richest person in the world.

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