Summary: It’s eternally more important for Christians to have treasures in heaven than in their hometown.
If Jesus Passed a Note in Church, What Would it Say? Series (part 2 of 7)
(Series of sermon content original to W. Herschel Ford)
To the Church That Was Broke and Blessed
Oct. 15, 2006 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor
A There are two kinds of rich & poor:
1 A person can have untold millions materially & be a pauper spiritually.
2 A person can have little (pauper) materially & be rich spiritually.
3 Many times poor folks will lament, "I just can’t get a break" or, "I’m just waiting for my ship to come in."
a Our ship came in 2,000 years ago outside Jerusalem on a dusty hill called Golgotha.
b All of us got our big break at Calvary!
B "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: 9 ’I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 ’Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until 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 by the second death.’ Rev 2:8-11 (NASB)
1 Historical background on Smyrna (bitter, suffering-from myrrh)
a 35 miles NW of Ephesus, seaport city (money), learning, sciences, medicine flourished. Birthplace of Homer.
b First city to have a temple built for the Roman emperor Tiberius (23 AD).
c Smyrna was seen by some as the church in the martyred church period (2nd & 3rd century).
d Emperor worship/Jews were major antagonists to Christians.
aa All citizens of Rome had to call Caeser "Lord" (about 100 AD).
bb Once a year burned incense at an altar, to the godhead of Caesar & say, "Caesar is Lord." Received a certificate good for a year.
cc Jews were exempt.
2 Jesus knew that the Smyrnan church He saw as rich in Him, the world perceived as impoverished (essence of the text in a sentence)
a It’s eternally more significant for the Christian to have treasures in heaven than in Chester (essence of the sermon in a sentence).
b I pray you’ll know how to find blessing when your heart is being broken (objective).
c What are you doing to be blessed in your brokenness? (Probing question).
3 Let’s look at two promises that Jesus makes that can help us to find the blessing when our hearts are being broken.
I There is promise of tribulation to the faithful. ’I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 ’Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
A The little church at Smyrna was persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
1 Tribulation (thlipsis) was more than just a bad day.