03/20/2011 No Matter What!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 Under: Sermon
The Letters to the Seven Churches Series - Smyrna

Text: Revelation 2:8-11 (HCSB)

8 To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: "The
First and the Last, the One who was dead and came to life, says: 9 I know your tribulation and 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 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have tribulation for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.” R

Romans 8:35, 37-39 (HCSB) 35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Intro: This is the stuff that movies are made of! Imagine being a person or in this case a church that continue to do what it was suppose to do “no matter what!”

This church was dealing with bitter sorrow, affliction and persecution!

Smyrna means bitter. It received its name from myrrh, one of its chief commercial products. Myrrh was a gum-like resin taken from a shrub and was very bitter. It was used in making perfume, oil, for embalming, for purification of women, and for relieving and dulling pain. This church was experiencing what its name said: bitter sorrow, affliction, and persecution.

Smyrna was a proud city—proud of its culture, its beauty, its commercial wealth, its social life. Its citizens called it the first city in Asia. There was a municipal vanity among the people. Everyone tried to climb the social ladder a step further than his neighbor. Everyone wanted the first place, the highest seat, the most recognition. To these, Christ proclaims loudly and clearly, "I am the first and last"; "I am the one who has the crown of life.”

Smyrna was persecuting the church severely. The city had a large number of Jews who were influential in city politics. Jews were, of course, steeped in the Old Testament and the prophecies of the Messiah. Many of the early converts to Christ were Jews. Here in Smyrna, the reaction of the Jews was severe. They reacted severely and did all they could to influence the city officials to stamp out the church. The Christian believer knew God personally and intimately; therefore, he could not worship or participate in the festivals to the god and goddesses of his day. He was marked. In some cases jobs were lost, and in all cases, social life within the city was severed. Mockery, abuse, scorn, and persecution were applied. When Jesus says He is the first and the last, it is a promise that He is with the believer through it all—from the very first to the very last. He knows what the believer is going through, for He has suffered not only the threat of death, but death itself.

The Message to Smyrna: The Persecuted Church

The church is sometimes called upon to suffer terrible persecution. This has always been true down through history, and it was certainly true in Smyrna. The church was under heavy attack from both the community and city officials. And there was even more horrible persecution lying over the horizon. The church was faithful to Christ and His mission. The church was standing fast for the truth against all attacks. It was a church in which nothing was wrong, that is, nothing of any major significance. Therefore, it was one of the few churches that Christ did not have to warn. Smyrna is the picture of just what a church should be: a dynamic witness for Jesus Christ through all circumstances no matter the trial or temptation. It is the picture of a church that loves the Lord enough to stand up for Him even when the community attacks its witness.

Application: No Matter What you keep going!

Greek word: nikaō = Conqueror, Overcome, prevail, victorious

1. Passing Episode: Vs 8

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: “The First and the Last, the One who was dead and came to life, says.”

The minister is to take the lead in standing fast against persecution. He is to stand forth for Christ and lead his people to stand for Christ. Christ is bringing a message to this church! Christ is the first and the last!

Jesus Christ is the first and the last; He spans time, all the minutes and hours of time. His presence covers all the problems, circumstances, and troubles of human life. Jesus Christ is always in charge of what happens to us. He controls the circumstances and trouble no matter what happens. Therefore, He will work all things out for our good.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (HCSB)

Romans 8:35, 37-39 (HCSB) “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

The message to the church at Smyrna is that no matter what they experience, it is a passing episode. Even if they experience death, it has been conquered. Christ has personally been there and triumphed over both pain and death. The believer shall live forever even if he is martyred.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (HCSB)

THIS TOO SHALL PASS!


2. Praising Episode: Vs. 9

“I know your tribulation and 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.”

The church bore up under terrible tribulation. The word means affliction, the pressure of crushing affliction. This word indicates that the trials and persecution were most severe. But the believers were holding up under the attacks and refusing to deny Christ. They were faithful to Christ despite all the ridicule, mockery, abuse, cursing, loss of property, possible imprisonment and martyrdom.

1 Peter 4:12-13 (HCSB) Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don’t be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you. 13 Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.

The church bore up under poverty.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 (HCSB)

The church was spiritually wealthy. They were outwardly poor, but inwardly they were rich toward the Lord and His mission. They were faithful to the Lord...God flooded them and carried them through all their trials. He strengthened and settled them, empowered and assured them with His presence . "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

The church bore up under all kinds of slander.

This is a strong message to every church. We are either an assembly of God, of the true and living God, or of Satan. It all depends upon whether or not we worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We are a true church if we proclaim and stand up for Christ in the midst of an evil and corrupt world, a world that slanders those who live righteous and godly lives.

The praising for this episode comes when you the Christian or church can overcome!

3. Persecuted Episode: Vs 10

“Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have tribulation for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Christ tells the church that more persecution is coming. The devil is going to arouse the unbelievers of the world to attack them for ten days. The idea of ten is that of brevity, for just a short time. God was allowing the persecution, and the reason is given—that the believers might be tried. What does this mean? God was allowing them to be tried... so that they would draw closer and closer to Him and learn more from Him.

The counsel of Christ is a clear message to the church when it is being persecuted: do not fear but be faithful. He is able to take care of us and make us dynamic witnesses for Him even in the midst of terrible persecution. He will comfort and strengthen us to be faithful. He will help us to stand fast against all the trials and temptations of life.

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB)

This persecuted episode is evident in any and every church, the question remands how are we going to handle it when it comes?

4. Promised Episode: Vs 11

“Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.”

The overcomer shall receive a crown of life. This simply means the reward of eternal life, of life that goes on forever and ever. Persecutors may take our life on earth, but quicker than the eye can blink, God transfers us to heaven. Men can kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul. They cannot extinguish our lives. If we are faithful to Christ, God takes us home to heaven to live with Him eternally.

John 6:27 (HCSB) “Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.”

“And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life.” 1 John 2:25 (HCSB)


The overcomer shall be delivered from the second death. What is the second death? The second death is the lake of fire, the judgment of eternal hell and torment from the presence of God forever and ever. The believer who overcomes in persecution shall escape the second death, the lake of fire and torment. The believer may have to pass through physical death, but he will never go through the second death. He shall be transported immediately into the presence of God to live forever and ever. It is the duty of every believer and every church to hear this message. We must all stand fast against the persecution of the world: ridicule, mockery, abuse, being bypassed and overlooked, neglected and ignored, being imprisoned and killed. We must be faithful. The promises are too great to lose: we shall receive the crown of life and never suffer the second death.

The promised episode is eternal life!

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" 2 Corinthians 4:17

No matter what these episodes will pass!

In : Sermon 


Tags: "seven churches" 
blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Tags

Make a free website with Yola