Main Text: Revelation 2:8-11
Additional Texts: Romans 8:28-39; Luke 12:4-11; 1 Corinthians 10:13
INTRODUCTION (Citam Buru Buru)
Apostle John who was among those who pioneered the early church wrote he letters to the seven churches when the early church was experiencing persecutions and he was in the middle of the same. The whole book was a prophecy into the things that were and are still bound to happen. Each of the letters highlights the authority of the One who spoke them (Jesus), the unique characteristics and the state of the individual churches, warnings to heed and actions to take concerning the same.
The church of Smyrna, being the second recipient of the letters, is the first to be forewarned about persecution in spite of being a prestigious and strategically located within its city. It is reflection of the situation in the present times where truth is relative and the gospel of Jesus Christ is slandered, leaving the Christians exposed to diverse forms of persecution. As we study these letters, it is our prayer that by the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to interpret the message relevantly in our context and find practical applications to help us live our faith despite the prevailing circumstances.
The church in Smyrna may have appeared to be poor physically but they were rich spiritually. They endured a lot of suffering. Jesus charged them through John’s letter to remain faithful even to the point of death for they were assured of victory and eternal life.
It was important for the church to take this message seriously for when the real suffering happened only the strong would stand firm.
In my view if the church today was cautioned on the challenges it faces, some of them would be teaching of false doctrine. Remember a few years back, a Pastor would go on TV and urge his congregants and anyone who stumbled upon the recordings to contribute an offering of Ksh. 310 for their problems to be solved. Many fell into his message and sent the money. Another challenge is sexual immorality and loving earthly things such as money, wealth and fame.
James 1:2 encourages us that if we persevere these sufferings and struggles we will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love and obey him.