1. These verses contain the 8th Beatitude that Jesus presented as He began His Sermon on the Mount. a. He showed how those who "are persecuted for righteousness' sake" will be blessed -- "theirs is the kingdom of heaven." b. He also showed how His followers are to react to such persecution. 2. This evening we are studying "the message to the church in Smyrna" (Revelation 2:8-11) -- it illustrates the Lord's teaching in the 8th Beatitude.
I. (vs.8) THE INTRODUCTION TO THIS MESSAGE
A. (vs.8a) It was addressed to "the angel [messenger] of the church in Smyrna." B. (vs.8b) Although John wrote this message, it was actually spoken by the Lord. 1. He described Himself as "the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive." 2. By describing Himself as: a. "the first and the last," He declared His eternal existence ["Alpha and Omega" -- 1:8] b. the One "which was dead, and is alive," He showed that He overcame death. 1) Jesus endured cruel treatment when He was killed. 2) He persevered, He faced death, and He overcame it. C. In the introduction to this message to the church in Smyrna, Christ let this congregation know that He was familiar with ill treatment.
II. (vs.9) THE LORD KNEW THIS CHURCH'S SITUATION
A. He knew: 1. this church's "works" 2. this church's "tribulation" [trials] 3. this church's "poverty" a. From a financial standpoint, this church was poor. b. From a spiritual standpoint, this church was rich. c. Contrast this with the church in Laodicea (3:17). 4. that this church was being blasphemed. a. This blasphemy was coming from some who claimed to be "Jews," but they were actually followers of Satan. b. Paul showed in Romans 2:28-29 how to identify true "Jews." B. In addition to knowing what this congregation was going through, Jesus was able to empathize with it (1 Peter 2:21-24). C. After He informed the congregation in Smyrna that He knew what it was going through, . . .
III. (vs.10-11) THE LORD EXHORTED THIS CHURCH TO REMAIN FAITHFUL
A. The Lord did not remove this church's trials. B. Let us notice what He did. 1. The Lord told this church not to "fear" the things it would suffer. a. This church was already facing trials. b. There would be additional trials -- the devil would cast some of them into prison. 2. The Lord told this church that its tribulation would last "ten days" [a relatively short time]. 3. The Lord encouraged this church by promising "a crown of life" to those who remained faithful (James 1:12). 4. The Lord also promised that those who overcame would not be hurt by "the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
1. The Lord wants us to listen to this message (vs.11a). 2. The church in Smyrna suffered because it did the Lord's will -- we can expect no less (2 Timothy 3:12). 3. Let us remember the Lord's instructions in the 8th Beatitude.