Highlights In Today's Reading:
Learn much from the seven churches (1:4,20)! Praise Jesus who washed us . . . in His own blood (1:5-8). Jesus holds keys to life & death (1:9-18). One mark against, one for Ephesus (2:4-6). Smyrna encouraged (2:9-10). One mark for, two against Pergamum (2:13-16). Four pluses, one negative for Thyatira (2:19-25).
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants . . . and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John. . . . Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein (1:1,3). The Christians at Smyrna faced great tribulation — not merely tests of faith but intense trials. Jesus did not tell this church what they and the world would like to hear — "Be faithful and I will reward you and show the world why it pays to be a Christian." Instead, He observed their suffering and said: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich). . . . Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (2:9-10).
The Christians who remained faithful to Christ were told to fear none of those things which they were to suffer. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake (Matt. 5:11). There are many important reasons why God allows persecution — trials develop our long-suffering and patience, test our faith, and enable us to become more like Him. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Tim. 3:12; I Pet. 4:12-19). Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service (John 16:1-2).
The safeguard against spiritual defeat is to be strengthened in the Word daily. Then when we face tribulation because of our faith, we will be able to stand: If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together (Rom. 8:17).
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the Living God, who is the Saviour of all men (I Tim. 4:9-10). If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us (II Tim. 2:12).
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (I Pet. 4:16).
Thought for Today:
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled (I Pet. 3:14).
For Rev. 1:5: See Ps. 89:27. Rev. 1:6: See Ex. 19:6. Rev. 1:7: See Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10. Rev. 2:7: See Gen. 2:9. Rev. 2:23: See Jer. 17:10. Rev. 2:27: See Ps. 2:9.
1:8 I am Alpha and Omega =I am the First of all things and the End of all things and know all things A to Z; 1:13 girt =wrapped around; paps =chest; 2:9 art rich =are abounding in faith; 2:19 charity =love; 2:23 reins =minds, innermost thoughts.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Nan Bush • Staff: Dan Murton • Government Officials: Rep. Michael Burgess (TX) and Rep. David Loebsack (IA) • Country: Portugal (10 million) in western Europe • Major language: Portuguese • Limited religious freedom • 94% Christian; 5% non-Religious/Other; .5% Muslim; .1% Hindu; .01% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God that the answers to your prayers are granted through the grace of God (Is. 30:19).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 28:19