what happened to the church at smyrna


2. We need to look beyond the trial. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. The church at Smyrna was to undergo some intense persecution and tribulation.

This was a message meant to encourage them in light of what they were facing presently and were about to face in the future. They despised and hated Jesus Christ.

They cannot coexist. Anyone who has said I cannot earn salvation on my own so I put my faith in the blood of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for my sins. I understand. He can walk right through it with them. (Notice the similarities to the description of Christ in 1:17-18). They already were in the midst of tribulation (v. 9) and Jesus had no rebuke or condemnation for them. My time came to rotate through that lab. They will suffer and be tormented for a period of time, but it will not be for eternity because it says the second death. They took him to the amphitheater where the proconsul tried over and over to persuade him to renounce his faith. They did not look at my life and go, wow, I love her life! They were looking at my life going, what a loser, you know, she cannot even get drunk. It was hard, but that still is not the kind of pressure that these Smyrna Christians went through. At first, the emperors did not want anything to do with it, but by the time Domitian became the Roman emperor, he made it mandatory that all citizens would worship the emperor or face death. Explain your answer. I was going in the next morning and I was going to tell this lady that she was going to hell and I was going to celebrate that she was going. He is like a lion prowling around looking for someone he could use. This will give great comfort to this church because this was a church that was going to be persecuted. For instance, telling them that they were practicing cannibalism because they were partaking of the Lords Supper, eating of the body of Christ, drinking His blood. Well, the first type of suffering they were going through is pressure. They just put a rope around his hands. Who is it that overcomes the world? Right now, I hate this woman. So, I got up the next morning before dawn and I took a walk. I was not Crickett then. I was so bitter. You cannot do them at the same time. in Christian Education with a focus on Women's Ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary. Jesus thus says in effect, you know what, I know what it is like to be persecuted by your enemies. So, I opened the door and walked through the lab. The substance was used to make fragrant perfumes and anointing oils (Exodus 30:23) and was used in ancient burial preparations (John 19:39). Jesus was reminding these suffering Christians in Smyrna who may be facing death in the near future. 3:12). I do not agree with that. The first thing He promises is that they will receive the crown of life for being faithful until death. That night my roommate came in and I was telling Tina about what had happened and my plan for the next day, and how I was going to really get her. Maybe you are in a season that everything is going great and you are just loving life.

She went on and on and on and I was dumbfounded. As with all Jesuss letters to the seven churches, His letter to Smyrna ends on a note that invites every Believer, in every age, to hear and receive these important messages. Annette Marie Griffin is an award-winning author and speaker who has managed and directed childrens and youth programs for more than 20 years. They were going to nail him to the stake, but he said they did not have to nail me, I will stay.

The second death will be eternal separation from God in torment. They were doing Satans will and not Gods. What are some reasons God allows suffering in our lives? As a result, the Smyrnaean believers lived in genuine poverty for their faith.

If you are only born once, you will die twice. If you are only born physically, you will die physically and you will die spiritually. Jesus had a reason for mentioning this fact. The purpose of this crown or crowns is not for you.

Even if these believers face death at the hand of the persecutors, it is not the end for them. I want to begin by asking you a question. Undoubtedly, the church of Smyrna could have justified any syncretistic actions to preserve their livelihood and lives by proof texted scripture or by claiming that their compromise was for the greater good of tolerance, love, and grace.

It is not a question of, will you suffer? The question is, how will you handle it when it comes?. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.

I had some coworkers in Dallas who used to joke about the parties they were going to have in hell. They cannot coexist. It is eternal torment. I believe it exists. You would listen to these believers pray and you would just think they are on a different level than we are. They might face death. We need to be ready to stay firm and to stand and resist his attacks. They could not advance in jobs.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. - Psalm 37:7. 3. While there, the Holy Spirit spoke to John and instructed him to record everything Jesus was about to reveal via a vision. You see, Smyrna had a lot of religions. The ultimate enemy is Satan and that is pointed out in these verses. They got drunk. Based on His intimate awareness of their spiritual condition, Jesus uses these letters to dig deep into the inner workings of each church and flesh out areas of commendation or correction. Well, you know, God never promises us as a believer that life is going to always be fun. They cannot coexist. How does 2 Corinthians 6:10; 8:9 and James 2:5 shed light on this? It reminds us of five things that we must remember if we are going to suffer well. She read, He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. (NIV).

I wanted to hurt her and I wanted her to go to hell. Are you a God pleaser more than a people pleaser? Others were taken to the Coliseum and fed to angry, hungry lions. (NASB). 1 John MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Revelation 1-11 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 69. I just thought, you have no idea..

Smyrna is the Greek word for myrrh, a flagrant perfume used in burial. Appreciation for this transcription work goes to Marilyn Fine. 3.

They were being slandered by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. These Jews were physical descendants of Abraham.

That is a way of worshipping Him, showing honor to Him. Their businesses were shut down. They were a synagogue of Satan because they were attacking the church.

Why are these blaspheming Jews referred to as a synagogue of Satan? How did you handle the situation? 6. Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. My exhortation to you on this one is to be ready, to be ready for the suffering that will come into your life. As a matter of fact, He promises us that if you are a believer, you will face suffering and you will have some persecution in your life (2 Tim. Some people believe that people who are unbelievers will go to hell for a period of time. Perhaps there are people in the church who are just trying to make life hard for you, but they are not really your enemy. Her debut childrens book, What Is A Family? Father, I just thank you for the privilege of knowing you personally. But, maybe there are some of you who are in a very difficult season of life. You Can Share a Gift & a Bible With a Fatherless Boy.

Because they did they were considered to be unpatriotic traitors: you do not love Rome. Thus they were tortured. He who overcomes is any believer, anyone who has placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his savior. She would take the other student aside and sit down and show her how to do the instruments and explain the physiology behind what we were testing. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The first thing He tells them is be fearless. Tina said, you know Crickett, or at that time I was Janene. Verses 9 and 10 also go on to tell us a third thing we need to remember in order to suffer well. 4. I want that kind of depth. (Ephesians 1 is a good reminder of our riches in Christ.). What helps you endure? They were despised. How do you respond to suffering and tribulation? Perfusionists, for some reason, or at least the ones I know, love to drink and party.

Their enemies can only take their lives once. From the message to Smyrna, Christians today can glean several important truths. He has always existed. God knows and He cares for you. The second thing He promises is eternal life. Smyrna is still a large seaport with the present population of about 275,000 people. Second, in a lesson especially relevant for todays Western Christians, Jesus praised the church at Smyrna for choosing poverty over compromise. Read Revelation 2:8-11 (Our focus will be on verse 8 today, but read the entire letter to get an overview.). Others roasted alive. He casts us in the fires of trial in order to refine us and strengthen our character. (NASB). After repeatedly just not doing it, he said for 86 years I have served Him and He has done me no wrong. I had a conversation Sunday morning before church with a good friend here. They would tell us about their relationship with the Lord and they would tell us about the things they had endured during the Cultural Revolution because of their faith in Christ.

The crown of life is one of several crowns mentioned in Scripture. But we do experience our own pressures, suffering, and afflictions. He was martyred for his faith in A.D. 156. She would not teach me. In fact, it has been said that more Christians have lived in this region than any other Turkish city in the world. They were reporting false allegations to the government about these believers, saying things which were not true about them. And He genuinely cares about what happens to His children.

1. You and I and our congregation may not be a Smyrna church just now. Let me tell you one other thing. He is aware of the enemys plans and the afflictions we face (Hebrews 2:17-18). You know that it is spiritual warfare where you get discouraged by things you hear said.

First, the letter is the shortest of the seven, at only 90 words.

Thank you for the strength that You give us when our flesh just does not have it. In verse 9 when He says, I know your tribulations. That word used here for tribulation literally means pressure. He has witnessed their continual affliction and the slander theyve suffered from those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. The fact that these hardships have not escaped their Saviors attention surely would have strengthened the Body and served as a loving reminder of Jesuss abiding presence. What are the other crowns and to what are they referring? It is a synagogue of Satan. Which attributes of God most comfort you in the midst of trials and why? 5. They were dirt poor. You cant associated with us in these festivities to our gods. He mentions four ways that this church is suffering because He knows exactly how they are suffering. 2. Seldom has a decade gone by without a significant event ravishing the city. The Bible tells us that. 4. No second-place prize existed. Then, they would want to pray with us. It would be fine if they just left me alone. All they had to do was burn a pinch of incense and say Caesar is lord, but many of the Christians refused to do so. The first way they are suffering is through pressure. My entire senior year was spent at the hospital as we would rotate through labs. He is an enemy who will stop at nothing. By surrendering our lives to our born-again existence, we join our Smyrnaean brethren as overcomers who wont be harmed in the second death, which is the final judgment of the wicked (Revelation 20:6, 20:14, 21:8) Jesus Christ paid for our sin on the cross at Calvary. Today, it is known as Izmir, Turkey. But, we are going to experience suffering on this earth without doubt. Why does God allow Satan to bring tribulation in our lives if God is ultimately in control? 4. Every day there is just a wonderful surprise and you are just in a great season of life. Even after I left to go on staff of Campus Crusade, she wrote me while I was in ministry. It was the loveliest of all the cities. released through Familius Publishing in 2020. Editor's Note: a lightly edited transcription of the attached audio file will be found at the end of this originally written daily study guide. But, the second type they were dealing with was poverty.

The people loved the Roman government because it was strong. Jesus wanted to encourage them to stand strong, even if it meant physical death.

Be thankful that He did this that He died for us. She would not spend one minute helping me, somebody who had thrown their life away believing in this fantasy of Jesus Christ. They, and the zealot Jewish leaders, hated Christians and prohibited them from working, buying, or selling, any time they got a chance. If I am afraid that means I am not trusting God. The closest that I have ever come to feeling that kind of pressure was when I was perfusionist at Texas Heart Institute in Houston. Absolutely nothing is hidden from our all-knowing, all-seeing God. The use of the strong term, blasphemy, here indicates how evil, how wicked, how intense this slander was. I want that kind of prayer life. But then we would always say, I dont want to go through what they went through. You see, the road to getting there is through suffering. I went into her office and I said you know I just wanted to ask you a question. 3. But instead, through their surrendered lives, the Holy Spirit empowered the Smyrnaean Christians to choose spiritual wealth over worldly gain. They had laid up for themselves treasures in Heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:20) No doubt, Jesuss commendation would have been a timely affirmation that their sacrifices had not been made in vainand that they should continue basking in the abundant life Jesus had purchased for them. If we are going to suffer well we need to remember these five things: Probably the closest that I have ever come to being persecuted for my faith was as a senior in college at LSU. Do not let him use you. Janene Keeth (nicknamed "Crickett") holds a M.A. You do not need to fear or worry about the future! How would these verses encourage you in the midst of tough times? What else do we learn about those over whom the second death has no power according to Revelation 20:6? Nor will we suffer hardships like imprisonment for our faith, and very few of us will face the choice between our livelihood or a life with Christ. 2. Jesus is upfront about the fact that we will experience trouble in this world, but He has also promised that His peace, grace, and abiding presence are our refuge during our trials (Matthew 28:20). He just reminded them that what you have in Christ is far greater than anything on this earth materially that you will have. If so, pray for those who dont know Christ and dont have eternal security. How does this compare with the strong terminology Jesus uses in Rev 2:9? She said, Janene, lets just get down on our knees. Christians were viewed as antisocial elitists for refusing to participate in it. Throughout history, Smyrna has suffered its fair share of hardship. Do you fear God more than people? The fourth thing we need to remember is that the ultimate solution is trust. Do not be afraid. It was probably six weeks. Annette has also written curriculum for character growth and development of elementary-age children and has developed parent training seminars to benefit the community. Be faithful even if it leads to your physical death. Article Images Copyright 2022 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Very few of us today know that kind of pressure, but they refused to worship Caesar.

So, I went into her office, which was at the back of the lab. In this same verse, Jesus offers great comfort to His church by assuring them that He is the God who sees, knows, and cares about their troubles. God is very much aware of all that is going on in your life and is not surprised by anything. What Did Jesus Mean by 'Man Shall Not Live on Bread Alone'? What Is the Significance of End Times Prophecies? Satan does not want believers to study the book of Revelation because he does not want you to know your eternal hope. He just came in. If they kill you, they just ended your physical life. I Peter 4:19 instructs those who suffer according to the will of God to entrust their souls to a faithful creator in doing what is right. What does He promise to the one who overcomes? These actions would have given the believers could a measure of favor with the government and secured a much easier life. However, the church was wealthy, not in the temporal things that had brought their city fame. As believers, we should expect persecution and suffering in this life. After college (the first time), Crickett was on staff with C More. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. My prayer for us is that we would suffer well. They had no means whatsoever. If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people. Oswald Chambers5. So, they were infatuated with the Roman government and they worshipped the emperors. The problem was that it bugged them that I did not drink. Then, I got my purse and I drove home. But, you know, they heard every word.

Give it to the Lord, trust His hand, and look ahead to the blessings that await you eternally. How is it possible to not fear impending tribulation and suffering? He always will exist. She hated Christians. Faith and fear are opposites. Some suffered the Roman crucifixion, a horrible way to die. Some of the first schools of science and medicine were founded in Smyrna, and on the beautiful slopes of Mount Pagos, the city erected a theater that sat twenty thousand people; the ruins of the theatre are still visible today.

The crown of life is a special reward for endurance in your persecution. In verse nine, Jesus praises and affirms the church by recognizing their material poverty in contrast to their vast spiritual prosperity. 4. It was mighty. Is there anything in your life that is causing you to be fearful?

Take some time to praise God for who He is in light of the Scripture you read today. Smyrna is the Greek word for myrrha sap-like substance extracted from tree bark. 5. He knows the thoughts and inclinations of our hearts (Psalm 94:11). In Jesus name, amen. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. One of the instructors of one particular lab was a well-known atheist there at the hospital. They are for us to give back to Him. Maybe you are dealing with an illness. She used the Word of God to just muzzle me. Time and time again, wars, massacres, earthquakes, and plagues have threatened to destroy Smyrna, but the city has always bounced back and rebuilt. Maybe those are metaphors. 1. I do not want to simply stand there. I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. It is believed that a man named Polycarp was the pastor of this church at Smyrna when this letter was written. They will only last for a moment in life of the blessings that you will have for eternity. Smyrna was a seaport city about 35 miles north of Ephesus. We need to be on guard and we need to commit to pray for the church for the leaders. She finally said, do you have anything you want to say? I said nope. I did not know what to say because I thought I knew I was going to cry. 5. She began to just blast me for my faith.

He is not referring to eternal life here because you do not work for eternal life. What does He mean when he refers to their being rich in the midst of poverty? All rights reserved. It is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible other than these four verses, but it is believed it is with the other churches that were founded while Paul spent two years in Ephesus on his third missionary journey. Suffering either gives me my self or it destroys my self. What Does God Say about the Church at Smyrna? He assures His people that their continued faithfulness, even to the point of death, will earn them a reward that far outweighs their earthly trialsa victors crown. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God. We need to look beyond the pain and look for that purpose that He wants to accomplish in our life.

Do you ever feel that way that you are under that kind of pressure that it is just going to suffocate you? That is according to I Corinthians 3:13-14 which talks about that approval, that standing before him, to be evaluated for our works.

I lived in mainland China for four years and during those four years I studied the Chinese language of Mandarin. Revelation 20:14 and Revelation 21:8 tells us that the second death is the lake of fire and brimstone. A fourth form of suffering that they were not facing yet, but would soon be facing (as if these first three were not enough to kill them). I cannot remember all the things said, but I do remember pieces of it that I was a weak little wimp who cannot stand on your own two feet. Rest in His presence.

I never wanted to open my mouth to pray because my words seemed so shallow compared to the prayers of these godly men and women who had suffered greatly.

If I am trusting God then I should not be afraid. How have you seen God use trials and suffering in your life? Death means separation. Oh, youre too good for us. Is there something difficult going on in your life today? It reads, You will not in any way be hurt by the second death. As a believer, you do have eternal life and He is saying you may suffer the first death, you may die physically, but you will never die again. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. The local church still thrives there too.

It is the only one of the seven cities still in flourishing condition. Scripture does not give us any information concerning the founding of this church, nor is it mentioned in the book of Acts. Throughout the history of the Church the more that the Church has been persecuted the greater its purity and strength. What two instructions did Jesus give them concerning the upcoming tribulation? That is the idea. 5. The second death is spending eternity in hell, separated from God forever. I need strength. She started and began by reading from Isaiah 53 about Jesus the suffering servant. I do not think I can be like You. I went into that lab and got there before she did. I cried and I prayed and I said, God, I do not think I can do this. And finally, Smyrna was the only congregation besides Philadelphia that did not receive admonishment from Jesus. I am so thankful. But, in the process, when I am in the middle of it, it is hard to find joy in why He has me there. Today, we look at the letter to the church at Smyrna, a church known for suffering. I know your afflictions and your povertyyet you are rich!

Christ not only knew their hearts, but He spoke to this flock using language and terms that held deep personal meaning for them. I had decided how I was going to handle this. I came back that fall and I was so on fire for the Lord. Garlands of victory were bestowed only to the highest achieving athletes. Have I done something to offend you? He knows what you are feeling. I do believe that hell is a literal place. Who Are the Four Horsemen in Revelation?

Her passion is to help wanderers find home. Third, at the end of Smyrnas letter, Jesus makes this promise to whoever has ears to hear: He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death (Revelation 2:11, KJV). Finally, one of the soldiers took his sword and he ended the life of this great martyr, Polycarp.
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