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John Brown :: Revelation 2:8-11

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Revelation 2:8-11

Sometimes We're Like the Battered Fighter: He heard his trainer say between rounds, "Champ, you're doing great! He ain't laid a glove on you!" The champ says, "Well, you better keep an eye on the referee then, because somebody in this ring is beating the daylights outta me."

Story about being in Anchorage, Alaska: little or no darkness = no sleep!

We learn some things from prosperity, but we learn many more from adversity. --E.C McKenzie

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. (NKJV)

B. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. (NKJV)

1. The One who writes this letter to the persecuted church in Smyrna, is familiar with suffering!

2. He knows what it is like to suffer at another's hand to the point of death!

3. Smyrna was such a church. Their pastor, Polycarp, was burned at the stake at the hands of the Roman Empire!

a) Many Christians during this intense time of persecution would give their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ!

b) It seems only appropriate that the One who gave his life for them would be the One to encourage them!

II. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (NKJV)

A. Notice that this verse says, "...all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."

1. This generation may not be required to give up their life (physically) for Jesus, but:

2. Any person who desires to "live Godly in Christ Jesus" MUST give up their lives!!!!!!

3. A Godly life cannot be lived without an abandonment of the self-life!

4. Any person committed to living for the Lord will to some degree suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ!!

B. Acts 14:22..."We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." (NKJV)

1. Being a Christian is not an easy life!

2. Every decision must be judged and every choice governed by God's Holy Spirit!

3. And sometimes, in fact most of the time, what He wishes for our lives is different than what we want!!

4. When we finally get to heaven, it will not be without "many tribulations"!

III. THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA

A. Smyrna was also a port city located about thirty five miles north of the church that had lost her first love, Ephesus! Today it is called ISMIR, Turkey.

1. Smyrna was named after it's main commercial product; MYRRH.

2. For years it was a very prosperous seaport city because of the export of this product.

a) The word "MYRRH actually means "bitter". The gum resin was taken from a shrubby tree and had a very bitter taste!

(1) How appropriate for the church under great persecution and "bitter" suffering!

B. Scripture tells us Psalm 30:5...Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (NKJV)

1. So it was with this "bitter" root! It was used to make a very fine perfume!

2. When we, as the Lord's children, suffer for His sake: it is a very sweet perfume to the Lord!

Your character is what you have left when you have lost everything you can lose. --E.C.McKenzie

C. The myrrh in Smyrna had several uses:

1. Psalm 45:8 All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad. (NKJV)

a) (PERFUME)

2. Exodus 30:23 "Also take for yourself quality spices -- five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, (NKJV)

a) Ingredient of the holy annointing oil of the priests.

3. John 19:39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. (NKJV)

a) MYRRH was used in embalming, TO KEEP THE STENCH AWAY FROM DEATH!

b) Doesn't it seem almost mystical that this church the Lord now addresses to give encouragement, produced the same product used in His burial!!!!!

(1) 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (KJV)

IV. TEXT

A. VERSE 8 (READ)

1. Notice also, how He addresses Himself: "...the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:"

(1) Quite different than the One "who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands." in verse 1.

(a) To the church that has lost her first love, he identified Himself as the One in charge of all the churches!

In other words, we stay in love with the Lord by keeping our eyes ON the Lord!!

(b) To the suffering church here in Smyrna, he identifies Himself as the conqueror of death!

(i) He wanted them to know that death was not final!!!

B. VERSE 9 (READ)

1. Lehman Strauss says, "There is a poverty that is riches and a wealth that is poverty."

a) Mark 8:35-36 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (NKJV)

b) The members of this church had lost much of the world's goods but they were rich in the things of the Lord!

c) They understood Luke 12:15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (NKJV)

(1) Later the Lord accuses a very wealthy church of being spiritually bankrupt!

(2) The danger in this life is to assume that because we are blessed financially, that our spiritual life is in order! It may not be so!

(3) Some of the poorest of saints materially are the richest spiritually!

C. VERSE 9 (READ)

1. These Christians in Smyrna were also being "slandered" by a group that called themselves "Jews" but weren't even truly Jews!

a) Even today the greatest persecution seems to come from those who are "religious" but not born again!!

b) Hundreds of thousands have been murdered in what is called "holy wars"!

(1) These murders have been committed by men who thought they were doing the Lord a favor!

(2) During the great tribulation, many will be killed in the name of "religion"!

D. VERSE 10 (READ)

1. 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (NKJV)

2. Jesus knew what it was like to suffer. He knew what it was like to be thrown in prison, and he knew what it was like to die merciless at the hands of ungodly men!

a) And he promises them the "crown of life" for their faithfulness!

b) This is a special reward for those who suffer for the cause of Christ!

c) Jesus, knew that physical death was not the end! So did the Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (NKJV)

d) The reference to "ten days" may mean a lot of things symbolically, but one thing it does mean for sure is that our present suffering is temporary!

(1) 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:1 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen areeternal. 1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (NKJV)

E. Verse 11

1. The "second death" is eternal separation from the Lord!

2. 1 John 5:5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (NKJV)

V. CONCLUSION

A. None of us enjoy trials!

B. None of us look forward to the persecution that comes form serving the Lord!

C. But, there is a place that is much worse than this!

1. It is a place of compromise that causes us to miss the Lord's best!

2. A place that preoccupies with the world's goods. An attachment to worldly things!

3. There will be many who will miss the Lord completely because they are not willing to give up their "THINGS"

IT IS WHAT WE VALUE, NOT WHAT WE HAVE THAT MAKES US RICH!!!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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