"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 2
2. The Smyrna Church
“8 To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Revelation 2:8-11)
This is basically an afflicted and poor church. This is a Church that does not look like much; perhaps a small congregation with not many resources. This kind of Christian will be placed in prison because of his/her faith. The world will attempt to terrorize them and test them. Nevertheless, in the midst of all, they are called to be faithful even at the point of death. Many of us probably will never experience such level of hatred against us because of our faith.
The Bible tells us about this church that even as they are poor and afflicted they are rich. This individual is walking in love, is working hard for the Lord, has intimacy with the Lord and has all that the other kinds of Christians are lacking. The sad reality is that this kind of church is not even preached these days. This church is experiencing great anonymity. They are not the majority; not what sells, not what gets on TV, not popular and they do not have many following. However, it is one of only two churches that received no negative reviews from the Lord.
They are going through hell and back on this earth; their faith is constantly challenged, but they are promised the crown of life. I see the Smyrna Christian really shining during the millennium and really shining when we get to the New Jerusalem.