What Christ Considers ‘Rich’: Smyrna
Just as we read Colossians or Romans as if it is speaking to the ‘Universal Church’ we read this part of revelation cultural standards for the universal church
We are looking at the entire book of Revelation and making personal application
All of that application has to do with our role as a member of the Body of Christ
Who we are as individuals is fully realized as part of a whole: ‘The Church’
So we are going to keep looking at everything we can about ‘The Church:
- What is ‘The Church’?
- By who’s authority does the Church Exist?
- Why is the Church to be Set Apart?
- Who is a part of the Church? Who makes them part of The Church?
- What are Standards for ‘Church Body-Life’?
- How does the Church Operate?
- Who sets direction in The Church?
- How does accountability and enforcement of standards work in The Church?
Messages to the 7 churches reveal aspects of what ‘The Church’ should be
No just in this set of messages but throughout the whole New Testament we learn Standards and values and focuses of ‘The Church’
This message is without criticism or rebuke… the church in Smyrna is an example
Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna.
- 35 miles NW of Ephesus…No record of how church started there
- Smyrna is greek for the spice Myrrh, key product, resin from indigenous trees
- Beautiful city: ‘Crown of Asia’
This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:
- Jesus says: I am God, All Powerful, Self Existent, Sovereign Lord of all creation
- Jesus says: I was bodily incarnated (God among us) I died and rose again
- Jesus says: I not only made YOU I experienced life like YOU do!
I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich!
- “The pressure of events is on the Church at Smyrna, and the force of circumstances is trying to crush the Christianity out of them.” ~ William Barclay
- Tribulation, stress, pressure…this is what this refers to
- Poverty because they were ‘Called Out’, not part of trade guilds, satanic jews
- Treasure was in Heaven: Matthew 6:20
- Christ says: Don’t measure what most valuable with the scales of this world
- Christ Says: Obeying my will is what ‘Rich’ is (He has No criticism of Smyrna)
I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.
- Opposition to Christ’s Church, in God’s name, is of Satan (Heretic Church)
- Satan is a LIAR! He teaches those opposed to God how to lie & deceive
- Every DAY there is evil done that blasphemously uses the name of God
- Our Lord says we can be ‘Without Fear’ regarding any earthly sufferings
- God allows Satan to test us
- These test have finite periods defined by God for OUR benefit
- Surrendered to Christ: Satan can cause suffering here but cannot effect eternity
- Ten Days used as period of testing in O.T
1st Samuel 25:38 Ten days later the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
Jeremiah 42:7 Now at the end of ten days the Word of the Lord came to Jer
Daniel 1:14 So he listened to them in this manner & tested them for 10 days
But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
- What does it mean to remain faithful?
- Nothing will compromise someone like the threat of death…
- The Crown of Life is an ‘extra reward’ not the reward of Eternal life itself
- Judgement #1: Did you give your life to Christ? If you did = Eternal Life
- Judgement #2: What did you do with God’s Spirit in you? (Rewards & Jobs)
Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
- If God has placed His Spirit in you then you MUST listen…
- But those without the Spirit can ignore, pay lip service or even mock this Word
- We must apply it to our lives: Relationships, Careers, Finances, Goals, Dreams
Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.
- Commitment to Christ’s Discipleship as a way of life is what He called us to
- He gives us the victory of eternity with Him when we give Him our lives
- The second death…is for everything in this ‘world’ except Christ’s Disciples
- Lake of Fire = Eternal Tormenting of the souls who reject God’s Christ
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
What is significant about Christ declaring himself as: First / Last AND Dead / Alive?
What pressure are you under and what do you do without to be Christ’s Church?
How aware are you of historical heresies in Christianity that are believed now?
How might you live ‘Without Fear’ regarding any earthly suffering?
Christ declares He allows Satan to test His true church, how well are you prepared?
If you are going to heaven what’s the point of getting special rewards there?
How can you be sure that you will not be harmed by ‘The Second Death’?