No Fear

No Fear!

Revelation 2:8-11  8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until 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 shall not be hurt by the second death." '
Smyrna had a problem. They were a Greek city state in Asia minor that was ruled by Rome.  Everything they had, everything they wanted all came through the Emperor. In fact they worshipped the emperor as if he was God. As you can imagine, when the city around you worships the government, the worship of God comes under fire. That was the problem facing the church at Smyrna.

Jesus writes to them to acknowledge their good works in a difficult place. He begins by establishing His Authority as the First and the Last, by giving His proof of having died and risen again. He leaves them with this challenge as they see the tribulation on the doorstep of their church.

“Do Not Fear!” There are difficult days ahead, but do not let that cause you to live a life of fear.  Fear is the emotion that causes us to withdraw. Fear will undermine faith. You see, Jesus wanted to encourage them, to give them courage to face the difficult days ahead with faith. He says in verse 9, “Be faithful.”! Faithfulness is action. It is acting in accordance with what we believe to be true about God and His character. He calls them to be faithful even unto death.

He then reminds them of the prize that is waiting for them in the next life. There is a crown of life that awaits every believer. Eternal Life! The prize that is set before us, the focus of the future that looks beyond the pain and persecution of today. That brings us through death and into life. Jesus has that for every faithful believer. Let’s stay faithful just like the church of Smyrna. Let’s be ruled by faith, not by fear.

- Pastor Joel Johns