Revelations 2:8-11 – What We Need to Know To Be Faithful to the End
As followers of Jesus Christ one of our most important responsibilities is to engage our culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the 1930’s, Churchill was a political outcast but he told of the danger of the Nazis. He called the Nazi movement “the gathering storm”. In 1940, King George VI summoned Churchill to be prime minister because of his profound wisdom and insight. Today’s gathering storm is secularism. There is a non-biblical worldview that there is nothing sacred any longer. We’ve witnessed this in other nations, and now in the United States. This “gathering storm” undermines all authority.
There is a growing intolerance of God’s Word and a growing persecution for those who live by God’s Word.
As the storm gathers against the church in America as it did around the world here’s what we need to know:
1. Who Jesus is.
Jesus is the Creator. He was eternal. He was dead and came to life.
2. What Jesus knows.
In Revelations 2:8-11, Jesus wrote to the church in Smyrna.
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, say this:
9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the slander by those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’
We know that Jesus is all-knowing, but in this passage, He wants us to know that He’s aware, that He’s acquainted with our griefs, afflictions, and pressure. He knew what the church in Smyrna was facing. At the time, this church was facing intense persecution because of their faithfulness to God. Jesus was intimately acquainted with their afflictions. He knew their poverty, materially and financially because they’d given up everything because of their faith. As the crucified and risen Savior, He knew their struggle. However, Jesus understood the riches they had because of the living hope of Jesus coming again. He understood that they were journeying through this life, but spiritually, they were rich because their faith was more precious than gold itself. No one can take it away. It’s imperishable. This lively, enthusiastic hope they had was more precious than gold. If your hope is built on the riches of this world, you can be easily shaken. So, as Christ-followers we don’t invest in this life, because we have a far and better eternal hope.
Jesus was also aware of the slander against them. Slander is where we get the English word, blasphemy. The Jews were bearing false witness against the Christ-believing Jews. If you’re being rejected or persecuted for your faith, you may think you’re alone, but Jesus knows what you’re going through.
Jesus commands us to be fearless, yet it can be easy for us to be scared or shaken as today’s climate becomes more hostile towards Christianity. But when we listen to God, we will be secure and unshaken by the dread of danger. We must be committed and faithful to the end. We can’t look back at the past like Lot’s wife, but we must focus on the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. We must be willing to die to ourselves and surrender our own personal styles and preferences for our love and commitment to the cause of Jesus Christ.