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The 7 Churches of Revelation

Part 4: Revelation 2:8-11:Smyrna: Faithful under Pressure.”

How to stay true to Jesus even when your world is falling apart.

Background Info: “Although these 7 churches were actual, historical churches in Asia Minor, they represent the types of churches that perennially exist throughout the church age. What Christ says to these churches is relevant in all times.”[1]

Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only 2 of the 7 churches who were not rebuked by Christ in some way (Nelson).

Revelation 2:8-11; “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,

‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation 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 shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’

How to stay true to Jesus when your world is falling apart:

  1. R_______ that you are following the One who defeated ______ and made the way for _______ (v. 8).
    • Jesus is the First and the Last.

John 1:3; All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

John 1:10; He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.

Hebrews 1:2; But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.

Hebrews 1:3 (NLT); The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Colossians 1:17 (NLT); He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

  • Jesus was dead, but He came back to life!
  1. L_______ to see the world through God’s ______ (v. 9).
    • Know that God knows everything about you right now:
      1. Your w_______-everything good that’ve done in His name.
      2. Your t________-every trial that you been through; every tear that you have shed.

Psalm 56:8 (NLT); You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

  • Your p_________-the times you didn’t have much in this world.
  • God’s perspective on the faithful follower:

James 2:5; Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Ephesians 1:18; The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

  1. God sees things much differently than the world.

Application: What happens when you become a believer?

  • You are adopted into God’s very own family (John 1:12, Romans 8:15).
  • You have an inheritance in heaven (I Peter 1:4).
  • You are now in Christ (Colossians 2:10, Ephesians 2:5)!
  • You have citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
  • You are now right with God (Romans 3:22).
  • You are set apart for God and have a calling on your life (Jeremiah 1:5, Romans 7:18).
  • God now lives inside of you through the Person of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16).
  • You have hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • You have a heavenly home that is being prepared for you right now (John 14:3).
  • You now have eternal life (John 3:16).
  • All your sins have been taken away (I John 3:5).
  • Jesus is now your defense attorney (I John 2:1-2).
  • You have at least one spiritual gift to serve the local church (Ephesians 4:7).
  • Jesus calls you to be His very own ambassador (representative) (2 Corinthians 5:20).

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”  ― Corrie Ten Boom

  • God knows who the real believers are—those who say they are Jews but are not—but are a synagogue of Satan.
  1. R______ fear with _________, knowing that God has a better plan in mind (v. 10).
    • Do not fear—this is mentioned so many times in the Bible. Why does God not want you to fear?
    • Any of those things which you are about to suffer: Suffering is part of our story this side of eternity.

John 16:33 (NIV); “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV); In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

  • The devil is about to—all opposition to the Gospel work ultimately comes from Satan.
  • The devil-Greek “accuser.”

Ephesians 6:11; Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

  • Tribulation 10 days—a period of time that is short but very difficult.
  • The reward: The crown of _______.
  1. O________ every fear with the _______ of a better and lasting life beyond this present short life (v. 11).
    • Remember that the Spirit is always speaking to the churches. Are we listening?
    • He who overcomes=any true ______ (see I John 5:5).
    • The promise: You will not ultimately be hurt by the second death. The second death=eternity in hell.

Those who are born once will die twice, but those who are born twice will die only once!

Revelation 20:10, 13-14; 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8; But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The Big Idea: Be faithful instead of fearful as you look forward to a far better and lasting life.

Action Steps:

  • Don’t despair when your world is falling apart, but Jesus is the one who is holding your heart!
  • Learn to see the world from God’s perspective. You are actually rich and doing amazing even when the world doesn’t see it that way!
  • Replace fear with faith which leads to faithfulness! Suffering is just part of our journey here on earth, but one day, suffering will turn into celebrating!

Preview for next week: Part 5: Revelation 2:12-17: “Pergamos: Sleeping with Satan.” Moving out of compromise and into conviction.

 

[1] Quote from John MacArthur Study Bible.

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