Smyrna: The Poor Church That Was Rich Spiritually in the eyes of the Lord, in a rich city in Turkey called Ismir. Jesus brings no criticism against the church at Smyrna; He, instead, comforts them by assuring them that He was acquainted with their situation Isaiah 53: 2-4.

They are going to be persecuted for the faith they have in Him. No matter what experiences we as God’s people may have, our Lord identifies with us because it was through His suffering He learned perfect obedience. The Lord’s victory over death should inspire confidence within the body of Christ.

Jesus says this to each of the seven churches. We cannot escape the penetrating vision of the Lord; we may fool some members of the church. But the Lord knows our works; we cannot fool Him. Jesus knows whether or not we, individually, are being fruitful in every good work. He knows whether or not a local church is busy teaching the lost and edifying saints.

The church at Smyrna was not having an easy time, the members were persecuted, possibly because they refused to compromise with a sect in Smyrna which professed Judaism, Jesus told them you say you are Jews, but you are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan.

He forewarned His faithful followers not to fear that they were about to suffer even greater tribulation: “the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, they were about to experience the testing of their faith to the fullest extent. Jesus reassures them to remain faithful even unto death, because there is a crown of life waiting for only that to overcome.

My brothers and sisters trust only in the Word of the Holy Spirit, Jesus made it clear that only those who remain faithful will overcome the second death. Jesus’ faithful followers will always have persecution.“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…

If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…In the world you will have tribulation…”(John 15: 18-20; 16: 33). We must reconcile ourselves to the fact that it has never been popular to be a faithful follower of Christ. It should not be a great source of concern to God’s people if we are scorned and ostracized because of our convictions and unpopular views. When one understands and obeys what the Bible teaches and begins to talk to others about this simple, so easily understood message, the tribulation begins.

After the facts of the gospel were proclaimed in Acts 2, and Peter told his audience to repent and be baptized (vs.38), about 3,000 gladly received the word and were baptized (vs. 41). When they obeyed the gospel, God added them to the church (vs. 47). As we read the book of Acts, we find it wasn’t long before they began to be persecuted. The apostles were imprisoned; Stephen was stoned to death; the disciples were scattered everywhere; James was killed; and Paul was persecuted, which makes us believe today we will not be persecuted, when there are more unbelievers now than before.

My brothers and sisters Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of darkness in this world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom.


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