As we proceed through Jesus’ letters to the seven churches we come to the second church which is often known as the suffering church – Smyrna. Jesus wants to prepare His Church for facing persecution. That is what this letter is about because Jesus knows that all who will live godly will suffer persecution and we must be strong enough to go through it. We will begin with a video on the church of Smyrna.
One of the phrases used in this letter is “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan”. Jesus dealt with this problem often during His ministry.
“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. … Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” – John 8:39-44
The issue was the religious in Jesus’ day enjoyed the benefits of their religious positions but, they did not want to do what their religion taught. As Jesus said to the Smyrna church “they say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue (congregation) of Satan.”
This truth applies to today as well as then. There are many who claim the name of Christian but, they do not follow the teachings of Jesus. When true Christians stand on the truth – they will be seen as judgmental, bigoted, discriminatory, and hateful. As we approach the end of days, this reaction will intensify causing many to be offended and to “sell out” to the world.
President Obama claims to be a Christian but he celebrates the homosexual – lesbian lifestyle by lighting up the White House in rainbow colors, even though the Bible is clearly against it, because they exchanged the truth of God for the lie –
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” – Romans 1:26,27
Churches and ministers are claiming Islam and Christianity are just different ways to the same God equating Allah with Jehovah. The Pope is seeking to establish a world religion where all religions are equal paths to the same God. But, Jesus clearly denied this –
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6
I just received a comment on one of my former postings claiming all Bible prophets were Islamic, even Abraham. They showed a video of a Jewish professor claiming that Islam was the dominant religion from the beginning of creation. All of which reminds us that religion without God is full of deception and will be the main persecutor of true believers. Remember what Jesus told the false professors of His day –
“If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. … Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Jesus was not ‘politically correct’ and He believed in telling the truth. His letter to Smyrna reminds us to be likeminded even though it may cost us the acceptance of the politically correct crowd. As we face these days, we can see the cost of being faithful to our confession of Jesus, as fellow Christians of all ages are being persecuted around the world, even to the cost of their lives. Jesus warns us that though many might say they are Christian, when He comes, He will find few that hold to faith in Him –
“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:7,8
Don’t buy into the ‘sloppy agape’ or ‘greasy grace’ message that the modern church dispenses. Many churches are preaching feel good, prosperity messages but, the message of the Smyrna church is faith! Faith that will withstand poverty, trouble, and persecution. It reminds us that this life is short but as Jesus said –
“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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” – Rev. 2:10,11
Remember God loves all people, even those that hate Him, and we should strive to be the same. Our message should not be one of antagonism but, one of truth. We may even win some to the Lord even by our suffering.