by Tammy Phillips
September 15, 2021
TO: THE CHURCH OF SMYRNA (“Smyrna was a rich city. It was large and beautiful, a center of learning and culture. It was a city of wealth, trade, and commercial greatness. They worshipped the Roman Emperors. Once a year the Roman citizen must burn a pinch of incense on the altar to the godhead of Caesar; and having done so, he was given a certificate to guarantee that he had performed his religious duty. Christians would not do this.” -Barclay, Blue Letter Bible commentary of David Guzik)
FROM: JESUS, “the First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive” (Revelation 2:8 KJV)
I LIKE THIS: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (BUT YOU ARE RICH); I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but [are] a synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9 NKJV). They were poor because their stand for Christ cost them. It cost them jobs. It cost them their lives. Jesus declared them rich spiritually. Jesus knew them. He had not forgot them. He approved of them and their stand.
DON’T LIKE: Out of the seven churches who received letters, Smyrna is the only one whom Jesus did not correct for one evil thing. This line was blank in their letter. This should be our goal.
DO THIS: “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.” (Revelation 2:10 NKJV) Do not fear and be faithful. Stand, stand, stand. Isn’t that what the LORD has old us throughout the Bible? The time is now. In this evil world, we must stand. Oddly, enough, if they were followers of Christ, the church of Smyrna was considered outlaws for rebellion against the directive of their government to bow to Caesar. No certificate. No job. Sound eerily familiar? When tested, Christians are purified, and our testimonies become a witness for the Lord.
REWARD: The crown of life mentioned was a “wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games.” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) This was a victory crown. They were faithful to death and victory was theirs. Death was not defeat, but a result of a faithful stand. “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” (Revelation 2:10-11 NKJV). In reality, they were not hurt by the first death either, but victors in both.
I enCOURAGE you to stand, stand, stand! Remember, Jesus is the First and Last. He has the first word on all things and the last. He says, “Do not fear. Be faithful unto death.” Those are such easy words for me to repeat. However, if we believe Jesus, this is how to receive the crown of life, the victor’s crown. I do not know about you, but I do not like to lose. I particularly do not want to lose for eternity. Do you? We must choose the excellent way, the right way We must choose to stand, faithfully for all things God and not bow to anyone, but Jesus. This is not a game. This is life eternal.