Revelation 2:8-11 Godly Trials

Posted on February 5, 2015


This is the seventh in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of February 1, 2015. This message deals with the fact that trials are promised for those who follow Christ. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

Rev 2:8-11

The second letter was addressed to Smyrna, a large and wealthy city 35 miles north of Ephesus.

Like Ephesus, it was a seaport.

In contrast to Ephesus, which today is a deserted ruin, Smyrna is still a large seaport with a large population.

Again, there is no doubt that it is Jesus who is speaking.

He represents Himself as eternal, which is very common in Revelation.

He shows Himself as the one who suffered death at the hands of His persecutors and then was resurrected from the grave.

This was particularly relevant to the Christians at Smyrna who, like Christ in His death, were experiencing severe persecution.

Once again, He knows their works.

In this case, it was probably very comforting to the Christians in Smyrna to know that Christ knew all about their suffering.

They were being persecuted not only by pagan Gentiles but also by hostile Jews and by Satan himself.

Although they were Jews physically, they were not true Jews but spiritual pagans.

Romans 2:28

They even allied with other pagans in putting Christians to death as they attempted to stamp out the Christian faith.

Jesus even refers to the local synagogue as the “synagogue of satan”.

In the history of the church the most severe persecution has come from religionists.

A true believer is not just the outward appearance, but in the heart “not by works”

Titus 3:5

Ephesians 2:8-9

The true believer follows Jesus, not man-made laws or philosophy.

Jesus offers a word of encouragement, and lets them know that they need not fear.

Matthew 10:28

A healthy fear of God means we don’t have to fear the world.

We don’t need to fear the world because we a secure in Christ.

No one or nothing can separate us from His love. We should take great comfort in that promise.

Its good and beneficial to have a healthy fear of the one who loves you so much.

Having said that, Jesus makes it quite clear the tribulations will befall them, and they will be quite severe.

Faithful Christians can expect trials, the Bible promises nothing less.

2 Timothy 3:12

1 Peter 4:12-13

Jesus makes it clear that satan will be the instrument of their suffering.

Though we may not always understand it, God does allow Satan to test believers (i.e Job).

They will be imprisoned for their faith, and will face trials for the name of Christ.

Jesus says that the tribulations will be for ten days.

As is common in Revelation, this may refer back to Daniel.

Daniel 1:12

This ten days of testing in Daniel was a minor test, and a prelude to the much greater trials which were to come.

The ten day reference here is likely a period of minor testing, which would be a prelude to much greater trials.

This church faced trials, and many Christians were martyred in Smyrna over the next several centuries.

However, along with this encouragement comes a promise.

Those who are faithful unto death would receive a crown of life.

Psalm 34:19

Matthew 5:10

God will provide the ultimate deliverance to those who are martyred in the name of Christ.

Think about a crown of life being given to martyrs.

Life given in exchange for death. . . it’s a picture of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

His death delivered life to us.

This message of encouragement was one which Jesus desperately wanted this church to hear.

Believers and unbelievers alike experience physical death.

All people will be resurrected, but believers will be resurrected to eternal life with God while unbelievers will be resurrected to be punished with a second death, eternal separation from God in Hell.

Revelation 20:14-15

Revelation 21:8

The faithful, those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, need not fear the second death. It does not apply to the saved.

Thankfully Christ has done all the work of salvation, and there is nothing left for us than acceptance of Christ on faith.

Romans 10:9

We have no need to fear trials.

We have no need to fear what satan or the world can do to us.

Believers are secure in the hands of a loving God.

It are unbelievers who should fear, for they are sinners in the hands of an angry God.

Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons