“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’
Pastor Danny Forshee. Great Hills Baptist Church. March 30, 2014:
- Commands (v. 10-11)
A. Stop being fearful
1 Peter 1:6-7
B. Be faithful "and do the best you can."
- Promises (v. 10-11)
2 Corinthians 4:17
A. The Crown of Life
B. Shall not be hurt by the second death.
- God will put you in tough places not because you've done anything wrong, but so He can do something amazing in your life.
- The Church grows where it's persecuted.
- Smyrna was the seat of Emperor Worship.
- In America, a lot of these mass shooters target Christians.
- The Devil will do everything he can to hinder the Gospel, including persecution.
- "Be faithful unto death...."
- Faithfulness is not the absence of fear, but moving forward in spite of it.
- Those who are born once, die twice; but those who are born twice, die once.
- Martyrdom of Polycarp (Pastor @ Smyrna):
- In his 90's
- He had a dream, after which he stopped running.
- Church at Smyrna FED the Roman soldiers when they came to take him.
- Polycarp went upstairs to pray.
- Roman procounsul gave him the opportunity to say "Caesar is Lord" and be let go; he declined.
- "You are the Atheists, away with all of you!"
- "How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?!?"
- They tried to burn him alive, but the flames would not touch him.