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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. 9I 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. 10Do 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. 11He 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. ---BACKGROUND--Smyrna was a large, beautiful, prosperous port city during the time of John's revelation. The name Smyrna means "myrrh." The city still exists today but the name is now Izmir. And there is still a good number of Christians living in the city. ---v8--Jesus Christ is the FIRST and the LAST. He is the ALPHA and the OMEGA, the BEGINNING and the END. For those who may not know it, Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter. John 1 says 1In the BEGINNING was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD. 2He was with God in the BEGINNING. 3Through HIM ALL THINGS WERE MADE. Here we see that Jesus is the WORD and also the CREATOR. Jesus is equal to God. He is a part of the Trinity, three in one. Some people have the misconception that Christians worship three gods but this is not the case. We worship ONE GOD who is made up of three persons; the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit and they are in perfect unity and harmony. We know that this is talking about Jesus because it says "these are the words of him...who died and came to life again." This is a direct reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we read about in the Gospels. Jesus died, but did not stay dead! He conquered sin and death and the grave! And he ever lives to make intercession for us. He is at the right hand of the Father interceeding for us! ---v9--Smyrna was a prosperous city but the Christians were discriminated against. They were denied jobs and other opportunities because of their faith. Because of this the Christians had fallen on hard times economically. We have seen this type of thing in India where Christians have been denied jobs and opportunities because of their faith. Just a few months ago, there was a man who accepted Christ and wanted to be baptized. He applied for leave at his job but he was denied. He felt a strong conviction that he should resign from his job and Subscribe to WeeklyWorship.org FREE! And get FREE worship music and bonus items!
obey the Lord by being baptized. So he quit his job and took baptism. After that he began to attend the daily Bible studies to grow in his faith and also because he was not working. As it happened, within a short time, there was a serious fire that burned the factory where he had worked and a number of people died, including some of his co workers. Let the poor say "I am rich" because of what the Lord has done for us. We have spiritual riches beyond compare! How much is PEACE in your HOME worth? Can you buy it with money? How much is GOOD HEALTH worth? There is a popular saying in India that "HEALTH IS WEALTH!" and I think there is a lot of truth to that. How much is your SALVATION worth? Can you purchase it with your worldly wealth? No! ---v10--Do not be afraid of suffering. Jesus and Paul would not qualify to be poster children for today's hyper prosperity teaching because they suffered. Jesus did not have any place to lay his head and he suffered the crucifiction, one of the most painful ways to die and that by design. The Apostle Paul suffered so many things that I cannot list them all here. Paul and Barnabas encouraged the believers in Acts 14.22 "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." You will suffer for "ten days." This is probably a reference to the testing of Daniel and the three Hebrew children; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, that we read about in Daniel 1. They were Jews who had been captured and brought to Babylon. They were well educated and capable men who had been selected for further training to fill some administrative positions in Babylon. But they were determined not to eat the rich food they were being served. So they spoke with the head official and urged him to "TEST" them for ten days. He agreed and so they ate only fresh vegetables and water for those ten days. They followed a strict vegetarian diet. And they were found to be even healthier than the rest so they were permitted to continue. Be faithful to the point of death. History records that St John discipled Polycarp and appointed him as the Bishop of Smyrna. He served the Lord for many years and gained the respect of the believers throughout the region. But in his old age, he was targeted by anti Christian elements who wanted to kill him. They had him put to death as a martyr. But Polycarp told them that there was no need to nail him to the stake as he would not try to escape. It is also recorded that just prior to his death, he was permitted an hour of prayer. His prayers were so fervent and effective that even the soldiers who arrested him converted to faith in Christ. That is amazing since Roman soldiers were well trained and hardened. Polycarp made such an impression on these rough and tough men! ---v11--There are two deaths we have to face, the FIRST DEATH and the SECOND DEATH. The FIRST death is the death that every man faces in this world. The Bible says, "...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (heb 9.27). You are born, then you live and then you die. That is the normal course of things. There is a joke that says the role of a pastor is to help with the HATCH, MATCH and DISPATCH. That is BIRTH, MARRIAGE and DEATH. There will be some people who will escape the FIRST DEATH. They are those who are alive at the coming of Christ. Paul says, "We will not all sleep (meaning death) but we will all be changed (1 Corin 15.51)." We see here that whether the believer dies or is raptured that the end result is the same. We will all be changed and we will receive a heavenly, spiritual body, even as Christ received at this Subscribe to WeeklyWorship.org FREE! And get FREE worship music and bonus items!
resurrection. He was able to appear and disapper at will and to travel long distances quickly. He was not immediately recognized by his own disciples. Yet he was able to eat and drink and walk with them. The SECOND DEATH is the defining moment. This refers to the judgement we will all face. The Lord will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will receive eternal life and will be with the Lord forever and the goats will be placed into eternal fire with the Devil and demons (fallen angels). My friend, are you ready for the second death? Are you ready to face God Almighty? The one who created you? The one who knows everything about you? The one who knows your deeds? All your sins? Have you given your life to Him? Have you made him the Lord of your life? Have you confessed your sins to Him and asked him to forgive you? If you have never done that, this is your moment of opportunity. Or if you are backslidden, this is your moment to return to your Heavenly Father. If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I invited you to pray this prayer with me right now. Raise your hands with me right now. "Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I confess right now that I am a sinner. I need a Savior. God I confess my sins before you right now. (Take a moment to name them) Please forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Please accept me into your Heavenly Kingdom as your son/daughter. Please help me to walk on the highway of holiness. Help me to become a true disciple of yours. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen." Now I want to tell you that you need to do several things to follow up on this decision. These things are very important. You need to start reading the Bible daily. You need to start praying to God daily, simple prayers in your own words are fine. And you need to find a good church where you can meet other believers and you can come under the leadership of a pastor who will guide you. You may send your prayer requests also which we will give to our prayer team. We have a prayer team in India which will fast and pray over your requests. Send us an email at email@example.com And also, consider sending a missions offering today. The offerings are used for our MISSION outreach in India. We have slum ministry going on among the poorest of the poor. We provide education, medical and spiritual care and more. God Bless You! Copyright (c) 2009 Serve International, Inc. You are welcome to make copies for FREE distribution or re-transmit the Weekly Worship via e-mail but all Weekly Worships must be copied or re-transmitted in its entirety. However, Weekly Worships may not be posted on any website, printed, or used in any media without written permission from Serve International, Inc. Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zonderva
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