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Midweek Discipleship Study

Revelation 2:8-11: Smyrna

Revelation 2:8-11 Smyrna: The Suffering Church

 

The City of Smyrna:

  • Smyrna was a port city located about 35 miles from Ephesus

  • Smyrna was referred to as the "Glory of Asia"

    • It was a center of learning

    • It was a center of culture

  • Smyrna was a wealthy city

    • It stood at the end of the road which served the Hermus River Valley

    • All the trade from that valley flowed into and out of the Smyrna port

  • Smyrna was a city deeply committed to idolatry

    • It was home to the Temple of Cybele (the mother of the gods)

    • It was home to the Temple of Apollo

    • It was home to the Temple of Askiepios

    • It was home to the Temple of Aphrodite

    • It was home to the Temple of Zeus

  • Smyrna was a city deeply committed to Emperor worship

    • They built the Temple to Dea Roma (the goddess of Rome) in 196 BC

    • They built the first Temple for Emperor Tiberius Caesar in 23 AD

  • Smyrna had a large Jewish population

    • The Jews in Smyrna compromised with the Smyrnan culture

      • They participated in idol worship

      • They participated in Emperor worship

    • The Jews in Smyrna persecuted the Christians

      • They persecuted the Christians because of their faith in Christ

      • They persecuted the Christians because of their refusal to compromise their faith in Christ

        • Romans 13:14

        • 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

        • Matthew 6:24

        • James 4:4

Christ is familiar with suffering:

  • Isaiah 53:3

    • Christ was despised

    • Christ was forsaken

    • Christ was a man of sorrows

    • Christ was acquainted with grief

  • Isaiah 53:4

    • Christ bore our grief

    • Christ carried our sorrows

  • Isaiah 53:5

    • Christ was pierced for our transgressions

    • Christ was crushed for our iniquities

    • Our chastening fell on Him

    • Christ was scourged

  • Isaiah 53:7

    • Christ was oppressed

    • Christ was afflicted

    • Christ was led to slaughter

  • Isaiah 53:8

    • Christ was oppressed

    • Christ was judged

All believers will suffer persecution:

  • Acts 14:22

  • 2 Timothy 3;12

  • 1 Peter 4:12

  • Philippians 1:29

  • 1 John 3:13

To the angel of the church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8):

  • Christ is the first and the last

    • This speaks to the eternalness of Christ

      • Isaiah 41:4

      • Isaiah 44:6

      • Isaiah 48:12

    • Christ is the one who was dead and who had come to life

      • This speaks to Christ as being victorious over sin and death

      • Death could not hold Christ (Hebrews 2:14)

      • Death cannot defeat believers (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

I know (Revelation 2:9):

  • I know your tribulation

    • Tribulation here is the idea of a monolithic rock crushing whatever lies beneath it

    • Tribulation here is the idea of intense and constant pressure

    • Christ knew what the Christians in Smyrna were facing

    • Christ knows what you are facing right now

  • I know you poverty

    • Poverty here is a reference to the most hopeless level of poverty that you've ever seen

    • The persecution that the Smyrnan Christians faced led to this abject poverty

      • Christians were robed because of their faith

        • It was not considered a crime in Smyrna to rob Christians

      • Christians were not able to work because of their faith

        • Those that had jobs were fired at their first refusal to compromise their faith

        • The Romans would not hire Christians because they refused to worship the Emperor

        • The Jews would not hire Christians because they were followers of Christ

      • Christians lost their home because of their faith

      • Christians were considered outcasts (worse than lepers) because of their faith

      • Christians were considered traitors because of their faith

        • They were traitors to the Romans because they refused to worship the Emperor and the Roman gods

        • They were traitors to the Jews because they worshipped Christ

  • I know that you are being blasphemed

    • Blasphemed means to speak irreverently about

    • The Christians were being blasphemed by those that claimed to be Jews

    • Christ says that these people were not Jews, but rather a synagogue of Satan

      • A true Jew would never reject Christ as the Messiah

        • The Jews, of the 1st Century, knew the Old Testament prophecies and promises concerning the coming of the Messiah

        • The 1st Century Jews rejected Christ as Messiah because He didn't fit their expectations of what the Messiah would be

      • Synagogue of Satan

        • Synagogue is a local Jewish congregation

        • Matthew 23:27

        • Matthew 7:22-23

You will have tribulation for 10 days (Revelation 2:10):

  • This persecution was from Satan (Ephesians 6:12)

  • The tribulation mentioned here refers to a trouble that they would not have to endure if they had not been Christians

  • 10 Days

    • Some argue that the 10 days equals 10 years

    • Some argue that the 10 days is a Greek expression meaning a short time

    • Some argue that it is a reference to a literal 10 days

    • Some argue that John was predicting coming persecution under 10 different Roman Emperors

      • Domitian

      • Trajan

      • Marcus Aurelius

      • Septimus Severus

      • Maximus Thrax

      • Decius

      • Valerian

      • Diocletian

      • Licinius

      • Julian

  • Our trials are used by God to purify and discipline us

    • 1 Peter 1:6-7

    • Romans 8:17

    • James 1:12

    • Job 23:10

    • 1 Peter 4:12-19

  • Great truth: Our present suffering is temporary

Christ encourages the believers at Smyrna (Revelation 2:10):

  • Do not fear

    • Fear = False Evidences Appearing Real

      • 2 Timothy 1:7

      • John 14:1

      • Joshua 1:9

      • Isaiah 43:1

    • Any church that is grounded in the Word of God is a threat to Satan and will face attack and persecution

  • Be faithful

    • The word faithful means to be loyal, to be steadfast, to be resolute, to have unswerving commitment

    • All believers are commanded to be faithful

      • Deuteronomy 5:32-33

      • Hebrews 10:23

    • Christ promises the Crown of Life to those that are faithful

      • 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

      • 1 Peter 1:3-4

      • James 1:12

He who has an ear (Revelation 2:11)

He who overcomes (Revelation 2:11)

  • He will not be hurt by the second death

  • The second death was a Jewish rabbinic expression for the total extinction of the utterly wicked

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