The Suffering Congregation in Smyrna—Revelation 2:8-11
A. Persecution of Jesus and His followers
- By the religious leaders
- Tempted of Satan
- Alone often
- Spit on
- Falsely accused
Paul is the poster adult for persecution and suffering.
- Five times he received 39 lashes from the Jews.
- Three times he was beaten with rods by the Romans.
- Three times shipwrecked
- Stoned, dragged outside the city, and left for dead. He was pronounced dead. I think he was raised from the dead. If not from the dead, he was miraculously healed. “ But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.” Acts 14:2 I love the massive understatement of that scene. Just think about it.
- Spent about 24 hours in the open sea
- Labor and hardship
- Many sleepless nights
- Hunger and thirst
- Often without food, cold, and lacking clothing
- Finally martyred, it’s believed. “…Eusebius, an early church historian. Eusebius claimed that Paul was beheaded at the order of the Roman emperor Nero or one of his subordinates. Paul’s martyrdom occurred shortly after much of Rome burned in a fire—an event that Nero blamed on the Christians.”
It’s believed, all the disciples except John were killed for their faith.
B. Today, persecution continues.
- Lack of respect
- False accusations
- Burning church buildings and homes
14. Matthew 10:28-33
A. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body;
They cannot touch your soul.” NLT
He overcame the world and death. This life is only temporary. We will spend eternity with Him.
B. We can do all things because Christ give us the strength.
(Based on Philippians 4:13)
He didn’t promise to deliver us, but He does give us the strength.
Love grows stronger among believers during times of persecution. Petty issues become insignificant.
15. Personal question about suffering and persecution–
I answered this question in detail in Lesson 3.
Anyone living “all in” for Christ faces opposition in the spiritual realm, and it manifests in the physical.
Technical problems hindered my plans to get off to an early start on this study of Revelation. Three family members had visits to the emergency room (two were admitted,) and the washing machine broke. Life happens and some seasons are worse than usual.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I expect there will be more battles to face and mountains to climb (or cast into the sea.)
Last year was a doozy.
Moses’ encouraging words to Joshua come to mind—
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT (I added the bold text.)
16. This week’s study—
Nothing stands out as a new revelation about the nature of God. But the debatable questions about symbolic versus literal; application to the past versus present or future; etc. begin. I pray this study will bless me and not leave me frustrated or confused.
Photo Credit Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon CC
My answers—not THE answers—to study questions for BSF Revelation Lesson 4 Day 5
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