1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We welcome you to this second broadcast in our series, “What Does Jesus Think?”
3. The series looks at the seven letters that Jesus sent to the churches in Revelation;
4. and, today, I’m going to talk about what Jesus thinks about our suffering for Him.
5. There has always been a world-wide persecution and harassment of God’s faithful children;
6. and that is why the message of the resurrected Jesus to the church in Smyrna is a message for every believer.
7. Every true believer in Christ should take this message into his or her heart.
8. It is a message of comfort.
9. It is a message of strength.
10. It is a message of hope.
11. It is a message that is needed today
12. and will be even more desperately needed in the days to come.
13. This is a message for students.
14. This is a message for workers.
15. This is a message for preachers and teachers.
16. This is a message for all of us.
17. Please listen to the words of the resurrected Jesus to the church in Smyrna;
18. and it is found in the Book of Revelation, the last Book of the Bible, Chapter 2, verses 8 to 11.
19. In our last broadcast, we saw that the church in Ephesus was a church that was biblically sound;
20. but they had lost their first love for Jesus.
21. The church in Smyrna is only one of two churches out of the seven that received no condemnation.
22. Smyrna received no correction or rebuke.
23. Believers in Smyrna were hated because they were faithful;
24. and, because they were hated, they were persecuted;
25. and, because they were persecuted, they loved Jesus all the more.
26. Smyrna is the modern-day city of Izmir, in Turkey.
27. It’s about 35 miles north of Ephesus.
28. This city was a great trading city.
29. It was a beautiful city.
30. It was called, “The Ornament of Asia.”
31. It was called “The Flower of Asia.”
32. It was founded as a Greek colony back in 1000 BC;
33. but, about 600 BC, it was totally destroyed by the Lydians;
34. and it remained desolate for more than 400 years until the Romans rebuilt it in 195 BC.
35. Because of this rebuilding, Smyrna became indebted to Rome.
36. Smyrna became the very first city to build a temple to the goddess Roma in order to show their gratitude to Rome.
37. In fact, they became more Roman than Romans.
38. They built temples for every god that they could think of.
42. to mention just a few.
43. Why am I telling you all of this?
44. Because the very people who bowed down to every god that they could think of,
45. they were the same people who accused the worshippers of the one true God of being atheists.
46. My listening friend, when you understand this, you will understand that the devil has not changed his tactics in 2,000 years.
47. Many times, unbelievers accuse Christians of unbelief.
48. Many times, those who do not worship the one true God attack the worshippers of the one true God.
49. Well, think about this-
50. the most loving people on the face of the Earth are accused of being hateful.
51. The most caring people on the face of the Earth are accused of being unbelievers.
52. See, the devil had not changed his tactics.
53. The devil did it in the city of Smyrna 2,000 years ago,
54. and he does it today.
55. The devil is the father of lies and confusion.
56. He creates confusion in the minds of the masses.
57. He confuses them so much that they can’t distinguish between the truth and falsehood;
58. but here is the good news-
59. Jesus told the faithful believers in Smyrna the same thing that He says to the faithful believers today--
60. “I know.
61. I know of your affliction.
62. I know of your being falsely accused.
63. I know of your being misunderstood.
64. I know of the price that you are paying for being faithful.”
65. What do you think the devil’s purpose is in using the non-Christians in Smyrna to persecute the faithful believers?
66. It is very simple.
67. The devil wants to make the Christians afraid;
68. and, when they become afraid, they are silenced.
69. There is nothing the devil loves more than to silence the believer.
70. He wants believers to keep their mouths shut about Jesus.
71. If he can intimidate you into fear, he will silence you;
72. and that is why the risen Lord Jesus Christ begins His message to the believers in Smyrna by saying, “I know.”
73. After Jesus’ saying, “I know,” He then immediately tells them that He is the First and the Last;
74. the One who was dead and is now raised alive;
75. and, because of that, Jesus said, “Do not fear.”
76. There is nothing that can frighten away fear more than the fact of who Jesus is.
77. There is nothing that can banish fear like the power of the resurrected Jesus.
78. There is nothing that can replace fear with faith like knowing the power of Jesus.
79. Nothing will give you confidence in the midst of trouble more than fully trusting in who Jesus is.
80. The pagans told the faithful to burn incense to the image of Caesar.
81. The Christians politely said, “No thanks.”
82. The pagans told the faithful simply to add Jesus to all the other gods;
83. and the Christians politely said, “No way.”
84. The pagans told the believers, “You will lose your jobs.
85. You will become poor.
86. You will become destitute.
87. You will become an outsider.
88. You will lose your life...”
89. but the Christians said, “Do what you want,
90. because Jesus said to us, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega;’
91. ‘I am the Beginning and the End;
92. I died, but I rose again;
93. I have power over death;
94. I have power over your enemy;
95. and I have power over fear.’”
96. Even the Jews, who were supposed to believe in Jehovah God,
97. in order to save their skins, they turned on the Christians and handed the Christians over to their enemies;
98. and that is why Jesus calls them the “synagogue of Satan.”
99. That is why verse 9 of Revelation, Chapter 2, said,
100. “I know the slander of those who say that they are Jews and they are not...”
101. You know, my listening friend, there is a question that I have asked myself many times.
102. Why do some people, whether they claim to be religious or not, hate the Gospel?
103. Why do they hate the believers in the Gospel?
104. Why do they hate the Person of Jesus Christ?
105. And I want to answer this question;
106. but I want to answer this question in our next broadcast;
107. so I hope that you will tune in in order to listen to the answer to the question.
108. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.