160626 Revelation 2:8-11

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Revelation 2:8-11

Sermon Theme: From the Savior with Love: Smyrna

Last Sunday we began a sermon series based on the seven letters written to seven 7 different pastors and congregations recorded for us in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Last Sunday, Pastor Pagels focused on the first of these 7 letters written to the Christians in the city of Ephesus. Today, we consider letter number two. From the Savior with love, we read from Revelation chapter 2, verses 8-11:

To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your 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. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Before going any farther, we need to remind ourselves who is speaking to us in these verses. It is not Jesus' disciple John, although he is in the inspired author of Revelation. Rather we are told, "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again." Jesus, the eternal true God, is the one who is dictating this letter as his disciple John writes down his words. Jesus, the one who loved you and me so much that he willingly came to this earth to offer his perfect life as the full payment price for all your sins and all my sins; Jesus, the one who rose again on Easter Sunday in great victory over sin, death and the devil; Jesus, the ascended Lord who watches over you and me day after day, until that great Last Day when he will return in all his glory.

In verse 9 before us, our loving Savior writes to you and me, "I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich!" The Lord Jesus Christ has a first hand, personal knowledge of those who are his. And Jesus says that those he knows are rich. We are not talking about earthly wealth, which is here today and gone tomorrow. The Bible clearly teaches us that you and I are born into this world in spiritual poverty. The price demanded by the holy and just God for our sinful condition and the sins that we commit is far too great a price for you and me to pay. But, because our loving Savior knows each one of us personally, you and I are spiritually rich! Because of Jesus you and I are members of our heavenly Father's family. The forgiveness of sins which our one and only Savior won for all people, is our personal possession freely given to us by God the Holy Spirit through the Word of our God. Because of our loving Savior-God, you and I are rich!

As we continue our look at this "love letter" from our Savior, we read these words in verse 10, "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days." At the time this letter was written, it was a very real threat for Christians of being thrown into prison for confessing Jesus as the Savior from sin.

While none of us here today may have to face jail time for confessing Jesus as our Savior, you and I still have difficulties and hardships to deal with on a daily basis. The loving Savior knew this was part of life on this sin-filled world. That's why, in his great love, he says to you and me, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

The same Savior makes you and me the promise that times of suffering here on this earth will one day come to an end. When our bodies fall asleep in the sleep of death, at that moment you and I will enjoy eternal rest and peace. Our souls will be at the side of our loving Savior in heaven. Our bodies will rest for a time in our graves, only to be awakened from their sleep and reunited with our souls when Jesus Christ comes again on the great Last Day. And until that day, the loving Savior promises that he will give you the rest, the peace and the comfort, you are searching for and that only he is able to provide through his Word.

Let's look at one more promise of the Savior in this letter. "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." At first reading, it may sound like it is our faithfulness, our effort, which will get us into heaven. It is important for us to remember that the Bible makes it clear that you and I are not able to earn our way into heaven. Your sins and mine make us guilty before our God. We need a substitute who could live a perfectly faithful life in our place. And that Savior is Jesus. Our being faithful to the Lord and his Word is a result of the Word of God working on our hearts. Faith is a gift given to us by God the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean for you and me to be faithful? It means living our faith. "To be faithful" means to live our lives for the praise and glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It means being in his Word on a regular basis, whether during worship in God's house or in the privacy of our own homes. As you and I stay connected to our Savior, Jesus Christ, throughout our days on this earth by regular use of his Word and Sacraments, you and I can look forward to wearing the "crown of life". We can say with confidence that we will enjoy wearing the victory crown of eternal life in heaven not because of anything we do while here on this earth, but because Jesus Christ has won our forgiveness and remains faithful to you and me.

Think of the excitement you have when you go to the mailbox and you find a card or letter addressed to you. You can't wait to open it and read it. Today, you and I have received a letter that offers us a peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding. Today, you and I have received this letter from the Savior with love: "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Amen.

 

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
Thursday at Noon & 7:00 P.M.
Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985 or on-line

 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

Map

 

 

 
© 2012. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church • Privacy Notice
Powered by Joomla 1.7 Templates