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.
Tim Keller said, “Christianity teaches that, contrary to fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contrary to Buddhism, suffering is real; contrary to karma, suffering is often unfair; but contrary to secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “We raise our hats to the martyrs, and we thank God for the last drop of their blood, but we won’t give Him the first drop of ours.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “When Robert Haldane decided to winter at Geneva, he moved to a suite of apartments located at 19 Promenade St. Antoine. In the generation following Haldane’s death, that address was still being called ‘le berceau’ (the birthplace) of ‘Geneva’s Second Reformation.’ The reform began quietly there and never grew into a large meeting.”
An age-old question, asked by countless numbers throughout history, is: Why is there suffering? Many have asked, “Why is there suffering in the world?” Most of us have asked, “Why am I suffering? Why me?” The Church at Smyrna was going through suffering, and in His letter, Jesus has just informed them that more suffering is on the way. We can imagine them asking, “Why must we endure this? Why must we suffer?” The Bible reveals at least four reasons why God allows, and sometimes even brings, suffering into our lives.
One reason suffering comes into our lives is for disciplinary purposes. Suffering can be God’s way of disciplining or chastising us for our sins. Hebrews 12:5 says, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” No one likes pain. No one likes suffering. But suffering for the purpose of chastisement is a part of the life of the Christian. God would be less than a father if He let us get away with our sins. He wants us to recognize the painful consequences of our wrongdoing so that we won’t do wrong again. Charles Spurgeon said, “If affliction seemed to be joyous, would it be chastisement at all? If suffering has no pain, then it surely has no benefit.”
All of life is based on the principle of reaping what we sow, both good and bad. While no justice dispensed by humans is perfect, governments, parents, employers, and other authority figures mete out appropriate punishment when those under their authority do wrong. This “suffering” can be physical, material, or financial. The point is for us to experience the pain of disobedience so that we will no longer disobey.
When we are undergoing this type of suffering, we ought to recognize that it is for our own good. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Instead of focusing on the suffering that you are going through, focus on what comes “afterward.” The “peaceable fruit of righteousness”, and the blessings that come from God as a result of that, are worth temporary suffering through chastisement.
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 Gospel Light Society.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.