Today you should read: Revelation 2:8-11
We are now rolling through the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Today we look at the letter to the church in Smyrna. This message is pretty short so let’s break it down a bit.
- The greeting- “This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead and is now alive;”
Each message has a unique greeting that we can assume have special meaning to the church being addressed and their current situation at that time. What we see here are two descriptions of Jesus that I believe are foundational truths this church is going to rally need to lean on. Here they are:
- Jesus has always been and always will be. He was in the beginning and will be there in the end.
- Jesus defeated death. His sacrifice cleared us from our sins and His resurrection sealed death and sins fate for good.
- Jesus knows the situation they are in- “I know about your suffering and your poverty- but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.”
Jesus wanted this church to know secondly, that they were not forgotten. They were in a bind. They were in the midst of some real struggles. They were suffering persecution from a particular group of Jews as well as dealing with some poverty. Jesus knew their situation and He knows yours too.
- Jesus told them they were about to face even more trials- “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.”
When you and I face trials and hard times the last thing we want to hear is that there is more on the way. That was exactly what happened here. This is where those two things about Jesus come into play. If Jesus is all-powerful and has conquered death and sin then in the midst of persecution and struggle we can find hope and peace as we struggle for Him.
Posted by: Robbie Byrd
Today you should read: Revelation 2:1-7
Loving God…the greatest priority
There are many commendable things to do as a Christian. But we can often settle for the commendable, rather than pursuing the vital.
In our passage today, we see Jesus’ words, through the author John. Jesus is commending the church in Ephesus for some pretty good things. The church in Ephesus is hard working, they endure hardship, they uphold right doctrine, they keep their church pure, they suffer for Jesus, and they don’t quit. They are a good church, doing good things. But there’s a problem. Doing good things doesn’t always equate to worship. To put it another way, you can do good works as a church, and miss the point. You can miss treasuring Jesus.
In verse 7, Jesus says that the church in Ephesus has lost its intense love for God. They have lost their deep satisfaction in Christ. They have lost the main thing: worship.
- It is possible to do good things with the wrong intentions. It is possible to have Christian values and yet miss the main point of Christianity: treasuring Jesus.
- In our lives we must be careful. Our flesh can trick us that we are doing this “Christian thing right” when we do what we think God expects. When we have a good day with people, check off all of our Christian boxes, and go to bed feeling like we made it, we could still be missing the main point. Loving Jesus.
- Let’s not be deceived. Good works are good. They do bring honor to God. But unless we count all things as loss, and knowing God is of supreme worth, we’ve missed the point.
Here’s a question we can ask ourselves, today:
In all of your ambitious goals “for God,” has He remained your greatest treasure?
Posted by: Sam Cirrincione
Today you should read: Revelation 1:9-20
We started the book of Revelation yesterday and outside of a sermon series over the 7 churches and several individual passages that I’ve preached on, I’ve never given a verse-by-verse commentary on this important yet confusing book of the Bible. I know that I’m not alone in these views, for John Calvin wrote a Bible commentary for every book of the bible except this one. However, the CPC Staff ain’t scurred so let’s five in church fam.
In today’s passage we see that the apostle John (the only disciple who was not martyred for His faith in Christ) was banished from civilization (for his faith of course) and sent to the island of Patmos to live and die alone (v. 9). However God has other plans for Him on this island as He gave Him a vision for how the world will come to an end and how Jesus will defeat Satan for once and for all. With a loud voice God tells John to write everything he sees in this vision and send it to seven churches (v. 10-11) (along with specific instructions for those churches that we’ll get to later). Before revealing what Jesus instructed for these churches for the end times, Jesus reveals a picture of Himself in all His glory in the end times. This picture of Jesus that we see is not the gentle effeminate pictures you usually see of rosy cheeks Jesus like the one below.
Instead it describes Jesus as our warrior king who has eyes like a flame of fire, feet glowing like burnished bronze, with a voice that booms like the roar of an ocean with a sharp 2 edged sword coming out of his mouth. I’m not sure if anyone is falling to their feet to the Jesus in the above picture but John certainly went down to his knees at this Jesus as he laid His hand on John and said…
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. Revelation 1:17-19
Let this be a reminder to us that Jesus is not someone we want to take lightly. Yes, He is tender (which we see in the Gospels) but He is also tough dealing with sin (which we see as He describes His authority over satan, sin and death) and we need to remember that He is going to ultimately be tough and tender toward us as well. Do you have that same awe and respect toward our warrior King who fights for us and against our sin once and for all in the cross and resurrection?
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: Revelation 1:1-8
Welcome to the book of Revelation – not only the final book in the Bible, but the final book in our JumpStart journey that we began in January 2011.
Revelation is a book of intrigue. It’s a book that so many wonder about, are confused by, or simply avoid.
The Author (v.1-3)
Revelation was written by the Apostle John (the author of The Gospel of John and 1, 2, 3 John) from the Isle of Patmos at about age 92. Patmos was a Roman desert penal colony on an island in the Aegean Sea. The Romans thought that banishing John there would quiet him – instead this became the location God would reveal mysteries of eternity to the world through him.
God showed John the sights of heaven and he faithfully reported everything he saw (v.2).
The Recipients (v.4)
John is writing to the seven churches in Asia:
Chapters 2-3 are specific instructions to each of them and to us. We’ll look at each carefully in the next few days.
The Subject (v.5-8)
In addition to end time events – the subject of the book of Revelation is of course Jesus. John describes Him as:
- The Faithful Witness (v.5)
- The First to Rise from the Dead (v.5)
- The Ruler of all the Kings of the World (v.5)
- The One who freed us from our sins (by shedding His blood) (v.5)
- The One who made us a Kingdom of priests (v.6)
- Returning Conqueror (v.7)
- The Alpha and Omega – Beginning and the End (v.8)
- The Eternal God (always was and still to come) (v.8)
- The Almighty One (v. 8)
Jesus is truly the beginning of all things –
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
…and the end. Spend some time today realizing this. We live our lives like this is make believe and all that really matters is us and what we do. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Our lives are short and time on earth is fleeting. Live like you know that today.
Posted by: Tim Parsons