Seven Churches of Asia – Smyrna

smyrnaTITLE: Seven Churches of Asia – Smyrna

SUBJECT: Church History

PROPOSITION: In the letter to the church at Symrna, we have Jesus’: 1) Description 2) Knowledge, 3) Prophecy, 4) Command.

OBJECTIVE: Each hearer should know that Jesus knows, cares for, and challenges the church.


1. Read: Revelation 2:8-11

2. About the city of Smyrna

1) It is located about 45 miles North of Ephesus along the western coast of modern day Turkey.

2) The city was founded as a Greek colony around 1000 B.C.

3) The city has been destroyed (by both natural and manmade catastrophes) several times.

4) Near the city was Mount Pagos at the summit of which was a citadel called “The Crown.”

5) During the time of John, the city’s population was near 200,000.

6) Today, the city hosts over 2,000,000 people and is now named Izmir

3. Religion in Smyrna

1) The city had a temple for Athena that was built very early on (c600 B.C.)

2) The city built a temple to the goddess Roma in 195 B.C.

3) Cesar worship was popular as the city was loyal to Rome.

4) The Jews had a synagogue here as well.

4. About the Church

1) Smyrna was the second church addressed in the book of Revelation (Rev.1:11).

2) The church was established between 53 and 56 A.D. during the work of Paul at Ephesus.

3) Acts 19:10 – “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

4) We don’t have any other mention of this congregation in the New Testament.

5. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: In the letter to the church at Smyrna, we have Jesus’. . .

I.   Description.

1. Rev.2:8 mirrors what was said regarding Jesus in Revelation 1:17, 18.

2. Jesus is first.

1) Col.1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

2) 1 Cor.15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

3. Jesus is last.

1) Rev.22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”

2) Rev.1:7 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

3) 2 Thess.1:7-9

4. Jesus was dead.

1) 1 Cor.15:3 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”

2) Mark 15:37 “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit.”

5. Jesus is alive.

1) 1 Cor.15:4 ” And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

2) Acts 1:3 “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”

II.  Knowledge.

1. Works

1) Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

2) Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

2. Tribulation

1) Word signifies the press of the grindstone mill upon the grain.

2) Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

3) 2 Tim.3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

3. Poverty (Riches)

1) Physical poverty due to persecution (consider Hebrews 10:34 “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”)

2) 2 Cor.8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

3) James 2:5 “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

4. Enemies

1) Blasphemy – Matthew 12:31, 32 “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

2) Jews who were not Jews. Consider Romans 2:29 “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

3) Synagogue of Satan – consider Revelation 3:9 “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”

III. Prophecy

1. Fear none of these things.

1) Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

2) 2 Tim.1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

2. The Devil will cast some of you into prison.

1) 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

2) Luke 22:31 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:”

3. You will be tried and have tribulation ten days.

1) In the book of Revelation, numbers are significant of other things. Here the number 10 signifies completeness. Their persecution will not be half-hearted.

2) 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

4. Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.

1) James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

2) 1 Cor.9:25 “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

5. Around 155 A.D. Polycarp was martyred in Smyrna for refusing to bow to the emperor of Rome.

IV.  Command

1. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear!

1) Pay attention to what is being said and listen!

2) The Spirit is speaking!

3) Do we listen to the Spirit?

2. The overcomer will not be hurt of the second death.

1) Revelation 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

2) Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”


1. We’ve taken a glance at the letter to the church at Smyrna. We’ve seen Jesus’

1) Description –”And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;”

2) Knowledge—”I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”

3) Prophecy – “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.”

4) Command – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

2. Invitation