Feeling Poor, But Being Rich – Rev 2:8-11

Sermon NotesClick here to see sermon notes (click)

Preached by Senior Pastor Julian Riddle
Summary:  The churches in Smyrna received no rebuke from King Jesus, who encourages them as they endure persecution. Roman Smyrna was a harbor city renowned for its provincial imperial cult temples to Tiberius (1st century a. d.) and Hadrian (2nd century). The city was steeped in the worship of Caesar as a god. Anyone who did not pay tribute of worship to Caesar were not able to make purchases in the market place.  So, physically poor, Christ reminds the Smyrnan believers that they are spiritually rich (cf. James 2:5), whereas the Laodiceans thought themselves affluent but in Jesus ‘eyes were bankrupt (Rev. 3:17).  Christ says that the church’s opponents, those who call themselves Jews, have no legitimate claim to that name (John 8:39–44; Rom. 2:12–29). Quite to the contrary, they belong to the synagogue of Satan. The NT defines God’s people in relation to Jesus, not to their ethnic genealogy. Christ says that the tribulation for Smyrnan Christians will be brief (cf. Dan. 1:12–16), yet it may end not in discharge from prison but in death. Yet, these believers can take comfort that they will receive from King Jesus the Crown of Life (eternal life) which alludes to the laurel wreath of victory that God promises to those who love him (1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:6–8; James 1:12).

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