Summary: In this sermon I use Natalie Grant’s song Held as a tool to understand Jesus’ message to the church at Smyrna. Smyrna was a church under attack with Pain Poverty Slander and a promise of worse yet to come. But the church was also held because Jesus sees t
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ARE HELD
July 24, 2005 Jay Davis Robison Revelation 2:8-11
According to 20 the countdown magazine
#1 Contemp Christian song 7/23/05 Natalie Grant “Held”
Song a little unsettling, verse tells of 2-month-old baby
Who dies while his mother is praying for sudden healing
Song asks who told us we’d be rescued from nightmares?
I believe this song could be theme song for church at Smyrna
Last week began series of 7 Rev churches of Asia minor
Smyrna important city, 35 mi N Ephesus Izmar Turkey today Smyrna home to great Stadium and renowned Library,
Had a marked Roman influence, called ornament of Asia
One of most incredible sights Golden Street w\5 temples on it including temples to Cybele, Apollo, Aphrodite, & emperor
1 burning incense & calling Caesar Lord. Annual certificate given to worshipers as proof of loyalty to Roman gvt.
1. A Church UNDER ATTACK
Worship of Caesar used to unify Roman empire many different
Cultures\peoples no worship Caesar imagine the trouble
I can see your pain and poverty—constant pain, dire poverty Vs 9a The Message
Gk Thlipsis=PRESSURE CRUSHING BENEATH A WEIGHT
Tribulation: intense suffering, anguish, burdened,
Daily life was a struggle for good church of Jesus at Smyrna
Church folks were at very bottom of financial scale in Smyrna. When obeyed gospel lost jobs possessions, & earthly security.
Maybe they faced sanctions because follow Christ
Golden city but church had none No social influence
Were some Jews in Smyrna who persecuted along w\Romans. Sometimes greatest threat to church are religious folk
People who claim to follow God but only from a distance
Religious professionals who have all the answers
Those with some God connection but who subvert the work
Must have been exceptionally hard to follower Jesus in Smyrna
Believers regarded w\suspicion & subject to discrimination
Ø WORSE YET TO COME
Apparently Jesus does not know how to build a church
If said being TBC member bring trouble would you still?
If I promised that because here lose your job
Or that you would be beaten or thrown into prison
How many of you would show up next week
If I knew I would have to take another job to be TBC pastor
my kids wouldn’t able to go to school would I give up?
Held song has a line how it feels when the sacred
Is torn from your life, that is what is happening
Listen to what J says to poor, troubled Smyrna church Vs 10a Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.
More suffering on its way some would even be killed
Polycarp, a Smyrnean saint Sunday Feb 23, 156 given a choice, deny Jesus, & publicly avow Caesar was Lord, life spared.
Otherwise he would be killed, indication that he was urged
Even by officials, listen just do it doesn’t mean anything
Polycarp for 86 yrs served Jesus he never done him any harm.
He not going to turn on Him now. As flames licked body, “I thank thee that thou has graciously thought me worthy of this day and of this hour, that I may receive a portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ”
Today Christian martyrs in more than 2 dozen countries
Sudan Nigeria India Sri Lanka, China Indonesia Cuba
Where people are continuing to follow Christ
Despite the harm that comes to them will you?
2. A Church THAT IS HELD
Would be easy for Smyrna church to be stifled\suffocated
Song how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
But church was true to God’s message how Jesus holds them
Some of the most powerful words for those suffering.
God SEES THEIR SUFFERING Vs 9
Do you think this situation is a surprise to God?
Do you think challenges you face are unknown to God?
Friends God’s got your back
No matter what it is you’re facing, you don’t face it alone
Eido=TO SEE AND TO KNOW
God is aware of what you are dealing with knows us all
To Face suffering need to know they are understood
Jesus’ message to church is God sees
Your suffering, your poverty, your enemies
Let your hardship know Jesus’ knows
Tell your broken bank book Jesus’ knows about you
Find your enemies tell them Jesus’ knows about them
We have A PRICELESS HOPE Vs 9
Jesus says something really amazing
I see your poverty but you are rich!
Wants us to know in him priceless, best of all hope in life
Paul: We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NCV