In Revelation chapter two, starting with verse eight. Jesus tells John to write another church. This is the church of Smyrna. And he tells them as he told the church in emphasis, I know. What does he know about them? Well, he says in verse nine, I know your tribulation and your poverty, but you are rich.
I think it’s interesting that we sometimes tend to look at churches and measure their prosperity by the outward material things. How much land do they have? How big is their building? What is their attendance? What are their offerings like? Be careful, never measure the church based on these things, because Jesus knows, even though they may have been called a poor church, they were a church in His sight that was rich because they had the Lord. They had the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They have the word of God. And they had nothing to fear.
Yes, they were going to face trouble. And tribulation. But it says this in verse number 10. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested. And for 10 days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
I want to remind you today that because we are followers of Jesus Christ, we are not above being persecuted or above suffering. We may go through hard times as individuals or even as a church. Some people are really worried what will happen if the government does things to churches and treats churches wrong and tells us we can’t have our freedom of religion? If they do. We need this to go right on.
Sure, we should try to do what we can to protect ourselves. But remember this we are not dependent on the government’s permission to do things. We’re not even dependent on how we do things. We’re dependent on the Lord.
And so I want to remind you today, as Jesus often does tell us, we in this world will face tribulation this church that represented that second period of church history where there was persecution. This church reminds us that as believers, we are going to face difficult times, but when we do, we have nothing to fear. Because we have the Lord’s promise that he is with us.
Whatever you’re facing the day, he loves you. He’s with you. Let me encourage you. Do not fear. Keep your eyes on him and listen to the voice of Jesus.