The Persecuted Church

Smyrna: Trust in God, even when it seems like the world is against you

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Bro. David continues his sermon series Touring the Churches with Revelation 2:8-11, where we look 40 miles northwest of Ephesus to the harbor town of Smyrna located on the Aegean Sea. Unlike Ephesus, who had forgotten their love for God, the people at Smyrna remained faithful. But their faith had led others to hate them, and because of that hatred they suffered persecution for their beliefs. Smyrna was a productive church, and were able to accomplish much in spite of the opposition they faced.   Jesus had no words of criticism for them.

Instead, Jesus acknowledged their tribulations. It was not unusual for the church of God to be persecuted. Like so many others, Smyrna experienced anguish, affliction, and pressure from others for following Jesus; This same persecution takes places today all over the world. The church was slandered by those who claimed to be something they were not. But Jesus saw all the struggles of the church at Smyrna just as He knows all our struggles and woes as individuals. His commands to Smyrna give us a guide to follow in the face of conflict.

Although the world seemed against them, Jesus commanded the people of the church not to be afraid. By trusting in God, their continued faith served to assuage their fears, because fear and trust cannot exist at the same time! And like Smyrna, we can always be faithful in God's word, so we should also focus on nourishing our spirits by attending church so that our renewed faith will can give us strength to face the following week. By enduring our struggles to the end, the faithful are rewarded by Jesus and they depend on Him in turn for the strength to endure, knowing they will join Him at the end.

Other sermons in this series: