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Churches under Persecution
Today I want us to take a look at the second church that John spoke to in the book of Revelation. This was the church of Smyrna. Now as I mentioned previously this not was not only, addressing a particular church in Asia at the time of the writing but also applies to a time of history as well as churches today. The time frame of this historical period is commonly defined as from about 161 AD to 313 AD when Constantine issued a decree of toleration toward Christianity.
Let us look at Revelation 2:9-11 “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
This message was unto a church that was suffering persecution. They were being cast into prison, enduring tribulations, going through trials in their life even to the point of becoming martyrs for Christ. But what does he have to say to them? Those that are faithful will have no part in the second death and what is the second death? That is the lake of fire. So those who are enduring and being faithful to Christ through all the tribulations they are going through, even if it means dying for their belief in Christ will earn them a crown of life in heaven. This is one of the two churches that no reprimand was given to. Why? The answer is because the people of this church were doing what they were supposed to be doing. There was no fault found with these people as there had been the church at Ephesus.
Remember each of the 7 churches was getting not only the personalized message but also the “revelation” John was being given. So I present to you the following questions for you to think about.
1. Why was there a message being sent to the church of Smyrna since there were no rebukes in the message?
2. Do we have a Smyrna church in today’s world? If yes, where and what do they undergo and if no, when do you suppose this type of church ended?
3. What is the specific thing that Jesus is addressing that is found in them?
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