2. Smyrna, the persecuted church: Revelation 2: 8-17
According to historians, Smyrna was a very rich city about 40 miles from Ephesus that rose to prominence due to its harbour conditions and well-designed roads. This made it a successful city frequently visited by travellers. As the other churches, a message was sent to the church in Smyrna from the Lord.
What was the attributes of this church?
She was known for its works, tribulation, poverty and suffering of blasphemy from some agents of Satan that pretended to be their brethren and yet were not.
Among all the churches, Smyrna and one other church are the only ones the Lord Jesus did not have anything against and yet were the ones that were to suffer tribulation.
Jesus said that He was aware of all that they were going through, that nothing, not one of their bad experiences had escaped Him. He encouraged them to be fearless but then, confirmed to them that they were going to go through even more troubles!!!
How do we relate to this?
Sometimes as Christians, we suffer hardship not because of sin or mistake but purely because the enemy of our souls want to discourage us and cause us to stumble and give up.
Trials and difficulties can sometimes be an indication that we are doing the right thing.
The promises of God in those moment are reassuring. Isaiah 43: 2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you”. According to this verse, occasionally, we would go through some troubles and the Lord says He will be with us in it.
Secondly, to the church of Smyrna, Jesus encouraged them to be fearless. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”.
We are living and approaching the times and seasons when as Christians, we will face trials. But that is not the time to give up but to endure till the end. Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved”.
Jesus said to His children that His concern was for them to go through and come out on the other side victorious. The crown of life await those who will overcome. 2 Timothy 4: 7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing”.
Pray for the grace of God to be able to stand firm in the midst of trials.
Ask the Lord to strengthen you.