Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Seven Churches: Suffering in Smyrna

Share a time you’ve been “persecuted” as a Christian?
What you need to know about Smyrna...
It still exists today as Izmir and is supposedly the birthplace of Homer, though it is disputed. It won the right to build a temple to Tiberias in 26AD because of its long-lasting loyalty to Rome. Smyrna called itself “first” among the cities of Asia, which is contrasted with Jesus being “first and last.” Mounce says coins said: “First of Asia in beauty and size.” It had a stadium, library, and the largest public theater in Asia. According to Mounce, this is the only remaining church of the seven from Revelation! [73].

How are the Smyrnans enduring suffering?

What does Scripture say we should expect in terms of persecution? (See Mt. 5.10-12; Jn. 15.18, 20; 16.33; 2 Tim. 3.12)

What should we conclude if we’re not being persecuted?

How do we avoid suffering in our culture?

How could the Smyrnans be considered rich in this context? Do you buy it? (See Mk. 10.29-30; Phil. 3.10; 1 Pt. 4.12-19; James 2.5)

How can He honestly say, “Don’t fear”? (Ps. 46.1-3, Mt. 10.28; Ps. 56.3; Mk. 5.36)

What are the rewards of enduring?

How does Jesus’ self-description in v. 8 help in enduring persecution?

Can we prepare for persecution?

Are you persecuted for your faith? If so, how do you respond? If not, why not?

How are you preparing for persecution?

Pray for the persecuted church. For more info, go here: http://www.persecution.com/

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