Posted by Peter Thompson

Revelation 2:8-11

What Does Jesus Think? #2

INTRODUCTION:  Last week we looked at Jesus words to the church at Ephesus.  We found out that Jesus wants a working, enduring, discerning, humble and most of all loving church.  This week we look into the words of Jesus to the church at Smyrna.  This church was doing great things for God in the midst of the hardest of circumstances. In fact, Jesus has nothing negative to say to this church.  He begins by letting them know that He is in control he is the first and the last of everything and that He has power over death (the one that was dead, but is alive).  They needed to be reminded of that because they were facing death every day.  In this church we find five things that Jesus would have our church to be.

  1. ACTIVE CHURCH (V. 9)
  2. Again here just like in the letter to the church at Ephesus we have this word works
  3. Jesus assures the church at Smyrna that He knows their works
  4. This is what they are employed at doing
  5. Again, this is a good thing that is pointed out to just about every church at the beginning of every message
  6. This church is busy about the work of God
  7. This is not a dead or inactive church, although in the environment that they existed nobody would have blamed them
  8. This church as actively employed about the work of the Lord on earth
  9. In the scriptures we find the work of the church as spreading the gospel, training Christians and encouraging each other in the faith
  10. This church was busy doing those things that Jesus had left them on earth to do
  11. This church too, is supposed to be active in that way
  12. It is easy for comfortable churches in the United States
  13. To rest on what we have accomplished in the past
  14. You know somebody did some pioneer work to plant a church here in this place
  15. Somebody really thought outside of the box and made great effort in the work of the Lord to establish this church
  16. Somebody had the idea to leave the city of New London and trade for land out here, probably so they could have more space to grow
  17. People have been actively doing God’s work in this place for at least 161 years
  18. Otherwise this church would not exist today
  19. We have to stay active in the work of the Lord
  20. Doing the same work that churches have been doing for ages
  21. Spreading the gospel at the top of the list
  22. Then training disciples and encouraging the saints
  23. We have to make plans to deliberately accomplish those things, in new ways if they can be more effective
  24. Let no one ever say, Pleasant Hill never does anything
  25. We need to be active in the work of the Lord, so that all around can see our activity
  26. TARGET CHURCH (V. 9)
  27. The next thing that Jesus says to the church at Smyrna is that he knows their tribulation
  28. Tribulation is a word that we like to associate with the book of Revelation
  29. We think of the 7 year tribulation period before Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth
  30. The word tribulation actually means to be pressed or to have pressure applied to you
  31. It is used as a metaphor for oppression, affliction, struggle or trial
  32. These people were under pressure from the Jews in particular who did not believe
  33. They were being persecuted, we find out later, they were being tried and thrown in jail
  34. Some of them were being killed
  35. Now why were these Christians a target?
  36. Because they were turning people to Jesus Christ
  37. If they had been a nice a quiet church that was not really doing anything out in the world, nobody would care that they existed
  38. But they were telling people that Jesus was the way to God and that they Jewish law system would not get them to heaven
  39. These Jewish religious leaders were losing their power because this church was winning people to Christ in the community
  40. Nobody was coming to the synagogue anymore
  41. Is this church making that kind of impact in the community and cities around us
  42. Where false religions would be concerned that they were losing converts
  43. Are we out there sharing our faith so much that it is changing the belief system of the people around us
  44. In order for the church to be that way, you as an individual have to be that way
  45. The idea that we are not suppose to push our beliefs on people is a lie that Satan is telling Christians
  46. The early Christians at the direction of Jesus Christ himself were turning their communities upside down
  47. You don’t believe me?
  48. Acts 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
  49. Could that be said of Pleasant Hill
  50. Are we turning the world upside down for Jesus
  51. When I look at it honestly, I have to say, no, we are not
  52. And we need to begin to do so, it starts with each of you turning the world upside down for Jesus in your life
  53. Then maybe we will be the target that this church was.
  • SPIRITUALLY RICH CHURCH (V. 9)
  1. Then Jesus says that He knows about their poverty
  2. This church was poor
  3. They didn’t have money, they didn’t have things
  4. Looking at some of the persecution that went on with the early church it is possible that even the assets of the individuals in the church had been seized
  5. They church didn’t have anything and their members were poor personally as well
  6. If a church was in this state today, people would start talking about closing the doors
  7. But look at Jesus parenthesis
  8. He told them, but you are rich
  9. These people were rich spiritually
  10. You see, the goal of a Christian person is to glory to God
  11. The goal of a Christian person is to be affective for God in the work
  12. These Christian people in the church at Smyrna were rich because they were content in God
  13. They were happy to have salvation
  14. They were happy to be called to work for God
  15. They were happy that they had the opportunity to bring glory to the Savior that saved them
  16. They had everything, they ever wanted or needed, because their priorities were right
  17. Those priorities should be the priorities of this church as well
  18. Money is not this churches biggest need
  19. If we don’t have any money we can still work for God
  20. When we please Jesus, in the things we are doing, the money doesn’t matter
  21. We could be completely poor like this church at Smyrna
  22. And we should still consider ourselves rich, because of the common salvation that we have in Jesus Christ
  23. Because we have the privilege and opportunity to work for God
  24. Because we get to bring God glory every day of our lives
  25. If we are busy for God, we have everything that we can ask for in this life and in eternity
  26. Be rich spiritually, so that you can help our church to be rich spiritually
  27. FEARLESS CHURCH (VS. 9-10)
  28. Remember all of that tribulation we talked about
  29. Here in vs.9-10 Jesus talks about it in detail
  30. First they were facing persecution from the Jews
  31. These same Jews tried to kill Paul on multiple occasions
  32. Jesus calls the synagogue where these Jews are meeting the worship place of Satan
  33. They were doing Satan’s work against the Christians while calling themselves God’s people
  34. Jesus calls it blasphemy or slander on the name of God
  35. So these powerful Jews are after them
  36. They are being tried and thrown in prison
  37. That would involve the Romans
  38. Maybe at the prodding of the Jews, like what happened to Jesus
  39. But the Roman government is imprisoning them
  40. Some of them are being killed, their property is being taken away
  41. Jesus tells them don’t fear the things that will happen to you in v. 10
  42. Don’t be afraid of going to prison
  43. Don’t be afraid of being tortured
  44. Don’t be afraid of dying
  45. And this has always been Jesus’ stance
  46. John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
  47. Jesus’ answer to being afraid, don’t be, because I am preparing a place for you in heaven
  48. Your worst end is death, and when you die you go to be with me
  49. He goes on in John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  50. What a timely message for us in our day and time
  51. First of all we have nothing to fear compared to these people here in Smyrna
  52. But we are afraid when we hear about things like church shootings
  53. We hear about people being shot because they will not deny Jesus
  54. We hear about Muslim persecution of Christians
  55. And Christians, maybe you, are scared
  56. Jesus simply says, don’t be
  57. Believe in God
  58. He’s got you
  59. He will bring you home with Him one day regardless of the dangers on earth
  60. If you die for the gospel you get to see Him even sooner and get more reward because you died serving Him
  61. Our church, which means you as an individual, needs to be fearless
  62. Luke 12:4-5 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
  63. David asks the questions in Psalm 27:1  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  64. Be a fearless person so that we have a fearless church
  65. FAITHFUL CHURCH (V. 10)
  66. Jesus tells these people that they will have tribulation for ten days
  67. Multiple times in the scriptures, 10 days is used to signify a short period of time
  68. That is what is going on here
  69. This is not some magic number that these people had to endure to
  70. He is telling them, that persecution is only for a short time and then I will come again
  71. The Bible teaches us that life is like vapor
  72. Here and then gone
  73. Any persecution that happens to these people in this short life is but for a little while
  74. And then they see Christ
  75. In connection to that, Jesus finishes with this
  76. You be faithful, even unto death
  77. The word faithful means to be steadfast, never quitting, continuing in a job without forsaking it, this is a person that is reliable and dependable in the work of God
  78. Even when times are hard and tribulation is there, Jesus tells them to keep going even if it means their death
  79. Keep sharing the gospel, even if it means their death
  80. Keep teaching  even if it means their death
  81. Keep broadcasting the name of Jesus as the only difference maker even if somebody is going to kill you for it
  82. Be reliable and dependable in my work until you die for it
  83. Your life is short, the life of this church is short
  84. Then you will see Jesus
  85. The question is, are you remaining faithful in the work of God during this short life
  86. Are you dependable in the work of God-are you sharing the message of Jesus every time you get the chance
  87. Are you teaching people the truths of God every time you get the chance
  88. Are you encouraging your fellow believers every time you get the chance
  89. Are you giving to the work of the Lord every time you get the chance
  90. Can God count on you to do the things that He left you here to do
  91. And to continue doing them until you die
  92. Even if it means you have to die for doing those things
  93. Be faithful in the work of the Lord so that we can have a faithful church.

CONCLUSION:  Jesus finishes again with, he that has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.  If you have a spiritual ear, you can understand what Jesus wants for this church.  You make up the church, so if all of you humbly hear it and apply it, then our church will be what Jesus would have it to be.  The encouraging words this week from Jesus are, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  If you have overcome, by believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose again, if you have confessed Him as your master and Lord, when you die, you will not have to worry about hell at all.  I’m sure that was very comforting to these people at Smyrna that were dying for Jesus every day. One day you will die too.  Until that day do your part to make your church active, targeted, spiritually rich, fearless and faithful.