THE POOR LITTLE RICH CHURCH (Smyrna)
Revelation 2:8-11 (NKJV)
The Persecuted Church
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until 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. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’
Ill. Three interpretations – Smyrna was located 40 miles from Ephesus. It was called “The Crown City”. It was famous commercially, because it was a port city. It’s main export was myrrh, a spice that was used in embalming, and for perfume. It was also a famous religious center. There were temples to Zeus, Cybele, Diana, Aphrodite, Apollo and Asclepius. There was a street paved with gold running through the center of town connecting the temple of Zeus with the temple of Diana. Smyrna was famous for its theater and for its music center. It was a city of great wealth and culture.
It was also a city which hated Christians. They (the Church) stood opposed to all the sin and idolatry of that city and they suffered as a result.
This church represents the time period from 100 A.D. to 312 A.D. It is the Martyr Church.
Let’s join Jesus as he come to this church that is facing the fire and the lion. Notice with me the POOR LITTLE RICH CHURCH (Smyrna).
I. v.8-9 THE CHURCH’S COMFORT (C)
A. v.8 IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST
1. The First and the Last – Jesus has already been there! He tells them He is the one in charge! Nothing can happen to them except what He allows it to! Rom. 8:28! (Ill. Map and Dragon!)
2. Was Dead and am Alive – He has already conquered death for these people! He can identify with their sufferings. Jesus can help us through anything! – Heb. 4:15
B. v.9 IN THE PERCEPTION OF CHRIST
(Ill. Jesus knows – Heb. 4:13)
1. Their Pressure – They worked on inspite of trouble. (Ill. Crushing – Grape vat) Ill. The persecution that was there and what will come!
2. Their Poverty -(Ill. 2 Kinds of poverty! – They had no material wealth. Their faith in Jesus had caused them to lose all they had financially. (Ill. It will and can happen again in our world today! Jesus knew about poverty; 2 Cor. 8:9)
a. A Parenthetical Statement – Were poor Materially, but were rich Spiritually.
b. Rich in the things that the world could not touch – Matt. 6:19-20
c. Believers who gave much and lost it all.
3. Their Provocation –
a. The Synagogue of Satan – Jews who were trying to destroy the Christian church in Smyrna. (Ill. Today, Preachers in Devil’s suit!)
b. Ill. Satan is an imitator. He has never had an original idea!
c. Ill. Jesus was also provoked – Matt. 10:24-25
d. The Godly church will never be liked by others – 2 Tim. 3:12
II. v.10a THE CHURCH’S COMMOTION (C)
A. The Misery Of It – (Ill. The sufferings of the believers – millions!)
1. Suffering in Christ Jesus is sure – We need to be prepared!
2. Suffered some now, more on the way – Jesus knows what is ahead. If we will let Him, he will tell us.
B. The Mystery Of It – Not that Satan does it, but that God allows it! (Ill. He has a plan! Isa. 55:8-9)
C. The Ministry Of It – (To try their faith!)
1. Our faith being tried by fire comes out more perfect! 1 Pet. 1:6-7
2. Ill. 10 days = 10 persecutions under 10 emperors. (Ill. Nero and
description!) (Ill. We may suffer, but Jesus has put a limit on it – See Job’s testing by fire!)
III. v.10b-11 THE CHURCH’S CONQUEST (C)
A. The Secret Of It – (Faithfulness!)
1. You may not or can be a lot of things, but you can be faithful – 1 Cor. 4:2
2. Ill. Polycarp!! (Ill. Believer facing the sword!)
B. The Sweetness Of It –
1. A Crown of Life – Ill. The world may kill us here physically, but it can never touch us there in HEAVEN! ( A Crown of Living it up). Many will receive this Crown of Life for faithfulness in the Lord!
2. No Second Death, Rev. 21:8 (Ill. Peter – Acts 4:12) We can face trials with confidence when we are assured of our salvation and the eternal nature of it!
(Ill. Born once die twice, Hell forever. Born twice die once, Heaven forever! Hallelujah!)
Are you suffering because of Jesus today? If so, rest assured that Jesus knows, cares and understands. But, even better than this, He will go with you through your trials and afterward take you home to glory.
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11): Remain faithful in the face of tribulation and poverty.
Further Studies :
Our focus should be on what message God is giving us through the seven churches in the Book of Revelation :
The MESSAGE of the Seven Churches were :
Summary of the LESSONS we can learn from the instruction God gave each church:
- 1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7): Don’t lose your love for God’s truth or His people.
- 2. Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11): Remain faithful in the face of tribulation and poverty.
- 3. Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17): Resist Satan’s influence, even to death, if necessary.
- 4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29): Resist false teaching.
- 5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6): Remain zealous and pure in conduct.
- 6. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13): Persevere and walk through the doors God opens.
- 7. Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22): Don’t become lukewarm about God’s way of life.