Smyrna-The Church That Suffered For Her Lord
The book of Revelation brings the battle that started at the beginning of history when Satan rebelled—resulting in mankind’s plunge into sin and loss of dominion over Earth—to a glorious conclusion as Jesus Christ returns to Earth and claims what is rightly His!
Letters to the Seven Churches–
#2 Smyrna—The Church that Suffered for Her Lord!
I. The History of the City (Current day Izmir, Turkey—2.8 million people.)
1. The city was built on a hill called Pagus about 1000 BC.
2. It was captured and destroyed around 600 BC.
3. It was rebuilt by Alexander the Great around 301 BC. There was great pride in this city because it had died and come back to life.
4. Mt Pagus was a rounded hill so the city looked like a crown if you were on the sea at night. It was called the “Crown of Asia”.
5. It had a “Gold Street”—the street of the gods (Cybele, Zeus, Apollo). Numerous coins have been found there and Smyrna was called “the First City of Asia”.
6. It was a center of Caesar Worship.
7. The chief product was myrrh—the berry from a thorny tree that had to be crushed to let out its fragrance. It was sweet smelling and used as a burial spice.
8. Possibly the pastor of the church was Polycarp—a disciple of John.
II. The Description of Jesus Christ—2:8
1. “the First and the Last.” Smyrna and the Emperors considered themselves the first and the last. BUT there is nothing before Jesus, nothing after Him. HE IS THE ETERNAL ONE!! The first thing to remember about suffering is that “Jesus is in control!”
2. “who was dead and came to life” Just like the city died and was reborn—Jesus is triumphant over death! His victory over death identified Him with 5 million martyrs from AD 167-308. He can save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25)
III. The Approval—2:9
1. It was a productive church (I know your works)
2. It was a suffering church (your tribulation—pressure)
3. It was a poor church (not “pemaia but ptokia—absolute beggarliness) Although physically poor they were spiritually rich.
4. They had enemies.
IV. The Condemnation—there is none in this letter (or Phileadelphia)
Ephesus deliberately left her first love (love for Jesus).
V. The Counsel—2:10
1. Do not fear! Proverbs 29:25; Hebrews 13: 5-6
2. Ten days—Satan is limited in time and power.
3. That you may be tested—You claim to be a Christian? Let’s find out if you really are. False shepherds run when the wolves come. 2 things phonies never do—give and suffer! True believers—give and suffer.
A. disciplinary reasons—Heb 12
B. refining process—Malachi 4, 1 Peter 1
C. It is part of the growing process—Isaiah 28:23-29
4. Be Faithful—We are not silent Christians. Some say—“I’ll live a good life—but then they get the credit not the Lord”. Baptized—publically identified!!
5. A reward is coming—stephanos—a reward for running the race well. Smyrna—the city with a crown—every year a few faithful citizens would receive a crown from the administrators for faithfulness.
VI. The Promise—2:11
1. Shall not be hurt by the 2nd death. What was on the mind of the Smyrna Christians? “Today could be the day…”
There are believers who have never stood up for the Lord at work or with family or friends. There are some who have never been ridiculed for their faith. Some have never led somebody to the Lord.