Church in Smyrna: Faithful in Tribulation

Church in Smyrna: Faithful in Tribulation

Deacon Chengji - 14 January 2024

Church in Smyrna: Faithful in Tribulation

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Do you love God for who He is or what he can give you in this life?
Will you still love God when loving Him is costly?

 

God has a wonderful plan for your life!

Myrrh

  • Exodus 30:23-25 – Anointing oil
  • Esther 2:12 – Perfume / Beauty
  • Matthew 2:11 – Gift
  • John 19:39 – Embalming

Revelation 2:8-11

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that 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 throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto 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. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’


God is eternal, sovereign over history and life

Revelation 2:8

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

Revelations 1:8

I am the Alpha and the Omega … who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:17-18

 …  I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore …

Revelation 22:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

Isaiah 44:6

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.

Revelations 2:8

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

Revelations 1:17-18

 …  I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore

 

God knows the persecution we are going through

Revelations 2:9

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander[a] of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  

  • Tribulation
  • Poverty (but you are rich)
  • Slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 

 

2 Corinthians 6:10

10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. 

James 2:5

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

 

Early Christians were slandered

Eat the body, drink the blood – Practise cannibalism

Fire of the Spirit / Judgement – Commit arson

Love feasts – Participate in orgies

Refuse to worship Caesar – Disloyal to Rome / Godless

Disowned by families – Split families apart

 

God calls us to be fearless and faithful

Revelations 2:10

10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

 

God promises the crown of life 

Revelations 2:10b-11

Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

Second death – Lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15, 21:8)

Matthew 10:28

 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell

Luke 12:4–5

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him!


Polycarp – Bishop of Smyrna

  • Disciple of Apostle John.
  • Martyred around AD 156
  • At age of 86.

“Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

“You threaten me with the fire that burns for a time and is quickly quenched, for you do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in the judgment to come and an everlasting punishment.”

I give you thanks that you count me worthy to be numbered among your martyrs, sharing the cup of Christ and the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and body, through the immortality of the Holy Spirit. May I be received this day as an acceptable sacrifice, as you, the true God, have predestined, revealed to me, and now fulfilled. 

 

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”

 

Purge the hidden traces of “prosperity gospel” in our beliefs 

John 15:18-20

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 

1 Peter 4:12-13

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 

 

Stand with the persecuted and confirm the value of our faith.

 

Surrender ourselves to the authority to the Word.

In our condolence, we might say … In His authority, God says:

 

I have been in similar situation and will be praying for you

 

I know it is not easy and I may not fully understand what you are personally going through.

 


(I am the) first and the last, who died and came to life.
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 
Hope things get better soon.

Have you tried to talk things out with them?

10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation.

 

Stay safe, keep yourself alive Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 

Matthew 24:35 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Deacon Chengji
Deacon Chengji
c.chengji@gmail.com

Deacon Chengji is currently studying at Singapore Bible College. He joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a ministry staff in 2013. He is married to Preacher Huijun.

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