Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Seven Churches Part 3 – Smyrna

The Seven Churches
Part 3  – Smyrna
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
This is the revelation of Jesus Christ to John.

John is told to record what he had seen, is seeing, and will see, which is the key to the Book of Revelation. John saw Jesus and his description defines and sets the foundation for the rest of the book. Jesus IS Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and the Alpha and Omega.

John then records the letters to the pastor's of each of the seven churches, or, what is taking place NOW, and then record what WILL take place in the end.

Chapters 4-22 of Revelation is for those who will be here during tribulation.

Last week we took a look at the first of the seven churches, Ephesus, the apostolic church, and read what was good, and bad about the church. The end of the letter states, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says unto the churches.”

In other words, these things apply to US today, as The Church and Body of Christ.

Today we look at the second church, Smyrna, the martyr church.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
Revelation 2:8-11
“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.


I.       THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA
a.      Jesus has first established Himself in Chapter 1, making it clear through John's description of Him, that He is the Lord.
i.       Standing in the midst of the seven lampstands, representing the seven churches

ii.    Holding the stars or pastors of the seven churches in His hand

iii. Clothed in robes to his feet wrapped in a gold sash

iv.   white hair and beard signifying His majesty and authority

v.      eyes were as a flame of fire, portraying penetrating scrutiny and fierce judgment

vi.   His feet like brass burned in a furnace

vii.   His voice the sound of many waters

viii.   from His mouth a sharp two-edged sword

ix.   His countenance was as the sun shines


b.     He is the Alpha (first letter in the Greek alphabet)
i.       The beginning of everything, the creator

ii.    John 1:1-3 "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.


c.      He is the Omega (the last letter in the Greek alphabet)
i.       Being the first and last means all things that are, belong to His control.

ii.    He is also the last, for He alone has the last say as Judge

iii. He alone will decide on Judgment Day


d.     This establishes Jesus as the Lord, Judge and final authority to speak these things.

II.   THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN
a.      I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!
i.       The first words Jesus says to the Smyrna church is;

ii.    I know your afflictions and your poverty
a.      Smyrna was poverty stricken outwardly
b.     However, the Lord proclaimed them SPIRITUALLY RICH!

iii. Later we will read how Laodicea claims to be rich, but the Lord proclaims them poor.


b.     I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
i.       The Jews continued to attack and slander the church

ii.    This is not the first time Jesus called the Jews the synagogue of Satan.

iii. From this verse, we learn that God does not consider Jews who reject Christ as truly Jewish.

iv.   The worship of Christ-rejecting Jews is concluded by the Lord to be Satanic.


c.      Who are truly Jews?
i.       Romans 2:29 "a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

ii.    How does one become a Jew inwardly?
a.      Circumcision of the heart by the Holy Spirit

b.     The work of the Holy Spirit, inwardly changing our hearts, this is done by the power of the Spirit of God, not by written rules or codes.

c.      Inwardly, only God knows our hearts, therefore praise for what takes inwardly comes from God alone.




III.            SMYRNA, FEAR NONE OF THOSE THINGS
a.      Dispensationally Speaking
i.       Remember, Ephesus was the Apostolic Church Age (first 100 years)
ii.    Smyrna is the Martyr Church Age (from 100AD - 300AD)


b.     Ephesus labored hard, had patience, did not allow evil in their church, tested apostles, they were steadfast in serving the Lord, they continued to believe regardless of what was taking place around them, and they did not give up!
i.       For the overcomers, they would eat from the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God.


c.      Smyrna has withstood tribulation, financial poverty and remained spiritually rich.
i.       For those faithful unto death, they will receive the crown of life, and the overcomers will not be hurt by the second death.

a.      We know that the second death Jesus speaks of, is Gehenna. The Lake of Fire.

b.     Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

c.      The scripture has warned us of this, the "Works of the Flesh";

d.     Galatians 5:19-21 " 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."


d.     Jesus' word to the martyrs
i.       Revelation 2:10 "Fear none of those things which you shall suffer..."
ii.    "...be faithful to the end, and I will give you the crown of life."







CONCLUSION

Revelation 2:11
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches.


Revelation 1:3
Blessed is he who reads, and they who hear the words of this prophecy, and do those things which are written therein.



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