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The Uncompromising Church (4 of 4)
INTRODUCTION: Many refer to this church as the "Suffering Church." Smyrna is today called Izmir - we have two of our church families that are serving there.
This church's experience continues to validate the truth that the more the church is persecuted and suffers, the greater has been its purity and strength. In our own lifetime, we have seen the destruction of the Iron Curtain only to find that the church had not only survived, but prospered. The church was powerful, pure, characterized by genuine faith, deep spirituality, humility, zeal, love for the truth, and a single-minded devotion to the Lord.
EXAMPLE: Paul Negrut, Onesimus, T.T., Russia, Ukraine, and Romania
Suffering in persecution has been used to develop the church's depth.
James 1:2-4, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
Peter encouraged suffering believers with truth:
1 Peter 5:10, "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you."
"The purest Christian graces are those forged in the furnace of adversity."
Revelation 2:8-11 records the successful enduring of a church that chooses not to compromise in suffering.
Trials and persecution strengthen and refine genuine saving faith, but uncovers and destroys false faith.
Smyrna and Philadelphia are the two churches that received no rebuke in His church letters.
I. THE FAITHFUL TRUTH. 8-9
A. HIS OMNIPOTENCE. 8
"the first and the last, who was dead, and came to life" - His names identify His nature, attributes, and character. As He speaks to Smyrna, which means myrrh or bitterness, a sweet perfume used for embalming th ...
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