Lessons from Smyrna

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Be faithful in times of persecution

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Lessons from Smyrna

  1. 1. Lessons from Smyrna Revelation 2:8-11
  2. 2. 8 “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 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 the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
  3. 3. Revelation 1 Who is Jesus? Son of man Prophet, Priest and King Revelation 2-3 What Jesus expects of his Church Jesus’ Letters to the Seven Churches Ephesus Smyrna Pergamum Thyatira Sardis Philadelphia Laodicea
  4. 4. Structure of the Letters 1 Destination 2 Description of Christ 3 Commendation 4 Rebuke 5 Exhortation 6 Warning 7 Promise
  5. 5. 1 Destination 2:8a angel of the church in Smyrna 2 Description of Christ 2:8b the First and the Last, who died and came to life again 3 Commendation 2:9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan 4 Rebuke 5 Exhortation 2:10a Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer 6 Warning 2:10b I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days 7 Promise 2:10c-11 Be faithful, even to the point of 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 will not be hurt at all by the second death
  6. 6. 1 Destination 2:8a angel of the church in Smyrna 2 Description of Christ 2:8b the First and the Last, who died and came to life again 3 Commendation 2:9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan 4 Rebuke 5 Exhortation 2:10a Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer 6 Warning 2:10b I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days 7 Promise 2:10c-11 Be faithful, even to the point of 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 will not be hurt at all by the second death
  7. 7. Persecution in Smyrna (context) Judaism, Christianity and Imperial Worship
  8. 8. Persecution in Smyrna (result) v. 9 & 10 • Afflictions • Economic poverty • Imprisonment • Death
  9. 9. Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155 AD)
  10. 10. Martyrdom of Polycarp
  11. 11. Persecution of Christians worldwide
  12. 12. Persecution of Christians worldwide 1. North Korea 2. Saudi Arabia 3. Afghanistan 4. Iraq 5. Somalia 6. Maldives 7. Mali 8. Iran 9. Yemen 10.Eritrea
  13. 13. Is there persecution of Christians in Malaysia?
  14. 14. 1. North Korea 2. Saudi Arabia 3. Afghanistan 4. Iraq 5. Somalia 6. Maldives 7. Mali 8. Iran 9. Yemen 10. Eritrea 11. Syria 12. Sudan 13. Nigeria 14. Pakistan 15. Ethiopia 16. Uzbekistan 17. Libya 18. Laos 19. Turkmenistan 20. Qatar 21. Vietnam 22. Oman 23. Mauritania 24. Tanzania 25. Egypt 26. United Arab Emirates 27. Brunei 28. Bhutan 29. Algeria 30. Tunisia 31. India 32. Burma (Myanmar) 33. Kuwait 34. Jordan 35. Bahrain 36. Palestinian Territories 37. China 38. Azerbaijan 39. Morocco 40. Kenya 41. Comoros 42. Malaysia 43. Djibouti 44. Tajikistan 45. Indonesia 46. Colombia 47. Uganda 48. Kazakhstan 49. Kyrgyzstan 50. Niger
  15. 15. Responding to Persecution • Denial • Flee o Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt (Matt 2:13-14) o disciples told to flee (Matt 10:23) o Paul over the Damascus wall in a basket (Acts 9:24) • Stay and Endure o Peacemaking (Matt 5:9; 5:38-48) o Overcome evil with good (Rom 12:19-21) o Accepting martyrdom for Jesus’ sake (Matt 16:25) • Appeal to Authorities – Legal Rights o Paul appealed to Caesar (Acts 22 &25) o Exercise legal rights to be protected
  16. 16. 1 Destination 2:8a angel of the church in Smyrna 2 Description of Christ 2:8b the First and the Last, who died and came to life again 3 Commendation 2:9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan 4 Rebuke 5 Exhortation 2:10a Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer 6 Warning 2:10b I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days 7 Promise 2:10c-11 Be faithful, even to the point of 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 will not be hurt at all by the second death
  17. 17. Lessons from Smyrna: Faithfulness in Persecution • Be at peace in the midst of storms – God is in control (Mark 4:35-41; Acts 27:25; Daniel 6:21-23; Revelation 14:12)
  18. 18. Acts 27: 13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure.
  19. 19. 17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
  20. 20. 21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
  21. 21. Lessons from Smyrna: Faithfulness in Persecution • Be at peace in the midst of storms – God is in control (Mark 4:35-41; Acts 27:25; Daniel 6:21-23; Revelation 14:12) • Keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2-3)
  22. 22. Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
  23. 23. Lessons from Smyrna: Faithfulness in Persecution • Be at peace in the midst of storms – God is in control (Mark 4:35-41; Acts 27:25; Daniel 6:21-23; Revelation 14:12) • Keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2-3) • Present suffering future glory (Rom. 8: 28-30)
  24. 24. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
  25. 25. Storm in the Sea of Galilee Rembrandt • Revelation 2:8-11
  26. 26. Lessons from Smyrna: Faithfulness in Persecution • Be at peace in the midst of storms – God is in control (Mark 4:35-41; Acts 27:25; Daniel 6:21-23; Revelation 14:12) • Keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2-3) • Present suffering future glory (Rom. 8: 28-30)

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