A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
In our series of homilies from the book of Ephesians, we focused on reviving Christian families. Now, I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages from the book of Revelation, specifically targeted at reviving the church. If our country is to be awakened, the family and the church must be revived first.
TEXT: Revelation 2:8-11:
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
Charles Spurgeon said, “I know of nothing which I would choose to have as the subject of my ambition for life than to be kept faithful to my God till death, still to be a soul winner, still to be a true herald of the cross, and testify the name of Jesus to the last hour. It is only such who in the ministry shall be saved.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “God pity us that we have swung from the Upper Room with its fire to the church with the supper room and its smoke.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The pastors who were trained by Robert Haldane stood in stark contrast to those who had preceded them, and their coming often sparked revival in the churches they served. Several students became involved in a Swiss mission to the French-speaking residents of Lower Canada (now Quebec) and carried the torch of revival to North America. In fact, some of the earliest reported revivals in the later Laymen’s Prayer Revival took place in the churches of Quebec established by Haldane’s students.”
In Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna, He details the suffering that they will shortly face. He says, “The devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days.” Going to prison and going on trial before the Roman authorities were frequent experiences for the members of the early church. As we read in the book of Acts, the early missionaries were arrested and taken before religious authorities, city leaders, regional rulers, and the emperor of Rome himself not infrequently. Sometimes, they were kept in prison for days, sometimes they were beaten before being released, sometimes they were miraculously delivered.
In the West, we might think that persecution in this form is foreign. But, a review of recent news events will tell us that such events are not far-fetched. For example, in England, street preachers have been jailed and taken to court for preaching the Bible in public. In other countries, the situation is far more dire, with Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, facing kidnapping, torture, imprisonment, and death. So, Jesus’ words to the church at Smyrna are just as relevant today as they were back then.
He tells the church, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” He is saying that some of them will die for His name. If they remain faithful — that is, if they do not abandon Christ — they will receive the crown of life. The issue here is that we must decide what we value more. If we value our life in this world more, we will not be faithful unto death. But if we value eternal life with Christ more, we will not fear death, imprisonment, trials, or anything that the world may bring against us. In the face of persecution, the only thing we can do is remain faithful to Christ and to what we believe. We must present a consistent witness to the world even if it costs us our lives.
This poem expresses the mandate the Christ gave the Church at Smyrna and gives to us today:
Christian worker, be thou faithful
Till life’s toil and care be o’er;
See, a crown is waiting for thee,
Over on the other shore;
When at last thy journey ended,
Thou shalt with the angels join,
And a crown of fadeless glory,
Then, oh Christian, shall be thine!
It is Christ himself has promised,
And his word is ever sure.
To reward the faithful servant,
Who shall to the end endure,
That a crown of life awaits them,
Who are faithful to the end,
In a home at last in heaven,
With the dying Christian’s friend.
Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, please keep in mind that the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” First, understand, that you are a sinner and that the wages of sin is death and Hell. But God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead by the power of God so that you can be saved from death and Hell. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.