These are the sermon-based notes for Growth Groups meeting for the week of January 27, 2019. Not in a group yet? Find one here.
Read Revelation 2:8
—> How is it a comfort, in whatever you are facing today, to know that Jesus is the “First and the Last” and the “one who was dead and came to life”?
There are many names given to Jesus in the Scriptures.
Isaiah 9:6 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 59:20 Redeemer John 8:12 Light of the World
Matthew1:23 Immanuel “God with us” John 10:11 Good Shepherd
John 1:29 Lamb of God John 11:25 Resurrection and the Life
John 6:35 Bread of Life 1 Timothy 1:1 Christ Jesus our Savior
—> How do these various names help you better understand who Jesus is?
Which of these names is especially meaningful to you today?
Read Revelation 2:9
—> How does this verse sound like a contradiction? In what ways was the church at Smyrna both rich and poor?
“I know” Jesus began with the most comforting two words anyone could ever hear: “I know.” There were two basic words in the Greek language which are translated “to know.” One means “to begin to know.” The word Jesus used here is the other and means “to know in a full and complete manner.” He knew what they were going through in a most complete and thorough way because He experienced it Himself in the events of His journey to the cross.
—> How is it a comfort to us to know that Christ knows what we are going through?
“poverty…but…rich” Material poverty and spiritual strength
—> In what ways do you experience spiritual richness in your life today?
opendoorsusa.org has a “World Watch List” of persecution today.
—> What can we do to strengthen our commitment to pray for those around the world facing persecution for their faith today?
Read Revelation 2:10-11
How does knowing that you can never be separated from God’s love encourage your faith today?
Expository Notes Revelation 2:8-11 The Church in Smyrna
Source: Ray Frank Robbins, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Broadman, 1975
8 “Write to the angel of the church in Smyrna:
“The First and the Last, the One who was dead and came to life, says:
The words of the address are taken from the titles of Christ in the introductory vision (1:17-18).
“the first and the last” reminds them the while their sufferings, hardships, and possible death are for a short time He whom they worship and serve is eternal. He is the beginning and the end of all things; He has lived through all the past and will live through all the future.
“dead and came to life” He will continue to live forever. Death was to Jesus the gate to life eternal.
9 I know your affliction and 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.
“poverty” caused by the oppression they were experiencing rather than the working poor.
“yet you are rich” abounding and abundantly supplied in the true and durable riches of God.
“slander” The unbelieving Jews were slandering Jesus as the Christ.
“a synagogue of Satan” (John 8:39) Satan was using them for his own purpose as an instrument of evil. The linking together of the place of worship familiar to all Jews and the common enemy of all God’s people is dramatic.
10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have affliction for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
“Don’t be afraid” It must have been an odd experience to have a message from God that guarantee suffering with a directive to not fear it.
“ten days” The number ten is a round number which represents a measured and very brief period of time (Gen. 24:55; Num. 11;19). This short period of time for testing is meant to be a ground for encouragement and consolation. The severe persecution would be but a little while when compared with the life with which they would be crowned. The time of the persecution is short; the duration of the joy is forever.
11 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.
“second death” Only used in the NT in Rev. 20:6, 14; 21:8 and 2:11. A state of living torments and final separation from God. The “first death” means natural, physical death which separates one from physical life and the hope of physical life. The “second death” separates one from God, the source of all life. The first death is contrast with the enduring pain of the second death.